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    These expansions will feature a mix of PvE and PvP content.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 28, 2017

    Blizzard has confirmed that Hearthstone will retain its three expansion a year release schedule heading into 2018. 

    "It's hard to put definitive numbers to those sets, but three full sets - whatever that may mean, give or take cards - is absolutely the plan, with missions in each," said Hearthstone's lead artist Ben Thompson in an interview with Metabomb

    Some of you might remember that Blizzard used to release two kinds of Hearthstone content; adventures and expansions. Adventures were single-player add-ons released over the course of four to five weeks that typically added about 40-50 new cards to the game. Expansions lacked the single-player component featured in adventures, but they typically added about 130+ cards to the game. 

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    Hearthstone's last expansion - Knights of the Frozen Throne - featured an adventure-like single-player element that was free to all players regardless of whether they bought expansion packs. The upcoming Hearthstone expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs, will also feature a roguelike single-player mode called Dungeon Run. According to Ben Thompson, Blizzard will retain this release model moving forward. 

    "With Adventures, we were somewhat fettered by the fact there were cards we needed to get out there, we wanted to add those 30-plus cards to the meta, but we couldn't gate those from players based on experience," said Thompson. "If they didn't complete the Adventure and they don't get those cards, that sucks...It's very different from 'I don't have a card I can add to my deck now and make a certain deck type'. For that reason, putting together three full releases with mission content is a big part of how we see the game going forward."

    Elsewhere, Blizzard confirmed that the Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will be released on December 7th. Those who log-in to the game after the release of the expansion will receive three free card packs and a free legendary card. Attempting three dungeon runs will also reward you with another three free packs. 


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    Hearthstone pays tribute to the dungeon crawler with this next expansion.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 28, 2017

    Hearthstone's next expansion is going to take us deep into the dungeons of Azeroth in search of rare treasures. It will release on December 7th and will offer players the chance to win six free packs. Here is the first trailer for Kobolds and Catacombs:

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    The Kobolds and Catacombs expansion is the third and final Hearthstone expansion of 2017. It is the second expansion of the year that embraces Blizzard's new philosophy of releasing major expansions that also include a single-player component. Previously, those releases were treated as seperate pieces of content. 

    This new single-player campaign is certainly the most intriguing yet. It's called "Dungeon Runs," and it was described by Blizzard's Ben Brode as a kind of take on what a Hearthstone rogue-like may look like. It requires players to choose a hero and use a deck only consisting of ten cards against a variety of random bosses. Whenever you beat one of these bosses, you can to select one very powerful "boss card" to add to your collection. The goal is to see how long you can last. 

    If you manage to beat Dungeon Run with all nine classes, you'll receive a new cardback. 

    As for the expansions, cards, we've unfortunately only got to see a few of them so far. However, one of those cards - Marin the Fox - is actually going to be made available to all Hearthstone players this Monday. Marin is a legendary card that requires players to kill a high health minion in order to earn a very powerful card. Other cards revealed thus far include Crushing Walls which destroys your opponent's left and right-most minions. 

    Blizzard also stated that this new expansion will add one legendary weapon for every one of the game's nine classes. It will also introduce a new keyword - Recruit - that will allows players to pull a minion from their deck and put it into the battlefield. We've seen a similar effect used in recent expansions. Already, it's proven to be a catalyst for deck types that wish to cheat out big minions and overwhelm their opponents that way. 

    There's been no word on Kobolds and Catacombs official release date, but Ben Brode stated that it will be available sometime "next month." For the time being, Hearthstone players are already able to pre-purchase 50 packs for a reduced price of $49.99.


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    The Final Fantasy series has had no shortage of memorable moments. Here are our 25 favorite!

    The ListsJason Gallagher
    Nov 29, 2017

    Final Fantasy XV finally made its long-awaited debut late last year, after a prolonged development cycle that took over ten years. The game, which was originally known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, was first announced in 2006 before Square Enix went a bit silent on the project. The game finally resurfaced with a new title and release window in 2013.

    For many, FFXV was a make or break moment for the future of the franchise. Was the series still relevant after so many years without a main title? Did it still hold the promise of the best the JRPG genre had to offer? Regardless of your opinions on FFXV - and we quite liked it - there's no doubt that the Final Fantasy series remains one of the most important pillars of gaming worldwide, and a lot of that is due to all the wonderful moments and memories that have come before. 

    The Final Fantasy franchise has created a lot of memorable moments over the years. With a new expansion, "Episode Gladiolus," coming out for Final Fantasy XV this month, we thought it'd be the perfect time to look back at some of our favorite memories from previous games. Here are Den of Geek's top 25 Final Fantasy moments of all time:

    25. The World Is Yours

    Final Fantasy

    With the exception of The Legend of Zelda and a few other titles, most video games during the 8-bit era were pretty limited in overall scope. Final Fantasy was one of the first titles to really provide a grand sense of adventure that a lot of other games of the day simply did not have. Yes, the random encounters on the world map were perhaps a little too frequent by today's standards, but the ability to simply walk across a vast world, always wondering what the game would throw at you next felt really unique for the time.

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    24. Yuna and Tidus Get It On 

    Final Fantasy X

    The most famous Tidus and Yuna scene of all-time is probably that infamous laughing scene that still has gamers cringing even today. But when they weren't being hilariously awkward, Tidus and Yuna were building up one of the better love stories in Final Fantasy history. Watching the two love birds swim underwater while kissing to the tune of "Suteki da ne" is one of the more romantic scenes Square has ever given us. And thanks to FFXbeing the first game in the franchise that ran on PlayStation 2 hardware, it was, at the time, one of the most beautiful-looking FMVs we'd ever seen.

    23. Unfreezing the World 

    Final Fantasy III

    For gamers in the United States, Final Fantasy III was not a reality until it finally received an English port in 2006 for the Nintendo DS. It was worth the wait, though, as the remake has much better graphics and an improved story when compared to the Japanese original. One of the biggest moments that really packed a punch thanks to the new graphics was watching the priestess Aria sacrifice herself to unfreeze the rest of the world map, finally opening up the game for larger exploration. Fun fact: Aria was the first Final Fantasycharacter to get personalized theme music and Square used it to great effect during her big moment.

    22. Tidus, I Am Your Father 

    Final Fantasy X

    Any Star Wars fan likely saw this plot twist coming from a mile away, but after spending most of the game working out his Daddy issues, Tidus makes it to the end of his adventure only to encounter one of the harshest father-son reunions we've ever seen. Turns out Sir Jecht disappeared from Tidus' life because he became Sin and the only way for him to be free is for his son to kill him.

    21. A Whole New World

    Final Fantasy VII

    The first half dozen hours or so of Final Fantasy VII are pretty linear and even claustrophobic at times, set within the city of Midgar. But that just served to make the moment when players were finally given access to the world at large even more epic. "Oh yeah, this is a Final Fantasy game, I can go almost anywhere I want." But this time, it was a 3D world that seemed to put even Final Fantasy VI's expansive world maps to shame.

    20. I Want to Be Your Canary 

    Final Fantasy IX

    Final Fantasy IX was in many ways an ode to the past games in the series but it also brought its own charm to the table in spades. This was clear from the very beginning of the game, when the player was tasked with acting out a Shakespeare rip-off called "I Want to Be Your Canary." Players acted out the lines while learning the ropes of the game in a battle tutorial, and it was clear from the start that Final Fantasy IX was not a title that was going to take itself too seriously. It was a breath of fresh air and a return to the franchise's roots after the darker stories penned for VII and VIII.

    19. It Was All Just a Dream 

    Final Fantasy X

    Yeah, Final Fantasy X's plot was a little convoluted and confusing at times, so we're not even gonna bother going into the fine details on this one, but essentially, main protagonist Tidus is revealed to be only a dream who is forced to fade away after he and his friends finally defeat Sin at the end of the game. Watching Tidus literally walk through Yuna like a scene out of Patrick Swayze's Ghost was one of the more bittersweet endings Square has ever released.

    18. Sin Attacks Zanarkand

    Final Fantasy X

    Hello, welcome to the PlayStation 2. That was essentially the message received by anyone who watched this cinematic from Final Fantasy X's opening moments. Sin's initial attack on Zanarkand featured some ridiculous looking graphics for the era and had a hard rock song to boot, a first for the franchise.

    17. Balamb vs. Galbadia 

    Final Fantasy VIII

    And you thought your school's biggest rivalry was intense. In Final Fantasy VIII, rival academies Balamb and Galbadia decided that this time it was personal and went into all-out war. What followed was one of the most impressive pre-rendered videos of the original PlayStation era.

    16. Galuf's Last Stand 

    Final Fantasy V

    That moment when you find out that the weird old guy that you've been taking for granted the entire game is actually the king and is responsible for saving the entire world, twice. Whoops. Sorry, old man. You know Galuf was a badass because he's the only character that we can think of in series history that was somehow able to continue fighting after his health hit 0. If Grandpa's going down, he's going down swinging.

    15. Vivi Learns About His Past

    Final Fantasy IX

    Vivi's unique character design and personality made him an instant fan favorite during the early goings of Final Fantasy IX. The character's backstory, however, was kept intentionally mysterious until much later on in the game. Vivi eventually finds out that he is one of many black mages who were artificially created as a weapon of war. That's a big blow, but it was made even worse after Vivi was captured by his former brethren, only to watch them all sacrifice themselves to save him and the rest of the party. The event serves as a major piece of character development, and eventually leads Vivi to continue on with Zidane and friends so he can try and figure out his own purpose in life.

    14. Alexander vs. Bahamut 

    Final Fantasy IX

    When you think of the biggest, baddest summons in Final Fantasy history, Alexander and Bahamut immediately come to mind. One is a force of light, the other of darkness. So when Final Fantasy IXdecided to pit two of the most legendary creatures ever to appear in a Final Fantasy against each other, it was pretty clear that an entertaining show was about to unfold. This is arguably the most epic pre-rendered sequence of the PlayStation era and it ended with Alexander coming out on top, although at the expense of his life. Still, when's the last time you saw Bahamut lose at anything?

    13. Vanille and Fang Sacrifice Themselves 

    Final Fantasy XIII

    Final Fantasy XIII had its ups and downs and was far too linear for most fans' tastes, but it still had a few truly epic moments worthy of the Final Fantasy name. Perhaps the most emotional moment occurred at the end of the game, when it was revealed that Vanille and Fang, two ladies who had been by your side for most of the game, decided to sacrifice themselves in order to save millions of lives. Making the moment more impactful was the fact that both women could still be seen after they perished, only now in crystal form.

    12. Cyan's Family Rides the Ghost Train 

    Final Fantasy VI

    Final Fantasy VI's Ghost Train is one of the more memorable sequences (and bosses) in franchise history, but the real emotional punch came after the train was successfully brought to a halt. That's when Cyan, who previously lost his family in the war, suddenly sees his wife and son show up at the train station for a one way trip to the afterlife. Cyan can only watch as his loved ones move on, leaving him behind in a world that's coming apart at the seams.

    11. A Thousand Words 

    Final Fantasy X-2

    Final Fantasy X-2 was the first direct sequel in franchise history but maintains a somewhat controversial place in the hearts of most fans due to its Charlie's Angels and/or"Let's Play Dress Up" routine. That said, the sequence when the song "A Thousand Words" plays still brings that traditional Final Fantasy emotion. Shuyin and Lenne didn't really strike as strong a chord with fans as Tidus and Yuna, but their story of two star-crossed lovers who could sadly never be together still made an impact.

    10. The Sending

    Final Fantasy X

    Never before has such a sad scene been so gosh darn beautiful. The Sending is what the people of Spira call the funeral ceremony where a summoner performs a ritualistic dance to help guide their fallen loved ones to the Farplane. Sendings are unfortunately a little too common during the time of Final Fantasy Xdue to the destruction left in Sin's wake. Early on in the game, players got to see Yuna come into her own, performing her first real Sending as the haunting sounds of the Fayth echoed in the background.

    9. Warriors Transformed 

    Final Fantasy

    "This is the chamber of Bahamut, the Dragon King. Mind your tongue." Bahamut's always been a fan favorite and his first appearance was befitting of his longtime reputation as a badass. With just a touch of magic, the original Final Fantasy adventurers were transformed from essentially children or teenagers into mighty warriors. It's one of the first big "Wow" moments in franchise history.

    8. Many Deaths

    Final Fantasy IV

    Final Fantasy is a franchise known for not being shy about killing off important characters, but perhaps no game in series history made this more clear than Final Fantasy IV. The entire adventure is filled with characters sacrificing themselves for the greater good, whether it was Cid jumping off the airship, Palom and Porium turning to stone, or Yang blowing himself up. Because it's a video game though, Square at least had enough of a heart to bring many of the dead characters back by the end of the story. Still, this title should have come with a disclaimer from the start: "Will punch you right in the feels, repeatedly."

    7. Celes Attempts Suicide 

    Final Fantasy VI

    After Kefka made the world go boom, Celes wakes up in Final Fantasy VI's World of Ruin to find that she is all alone, save for Cid, her new "Granddad," who has been nursing her back to health for the past year. Just when you think it can't possibly get any worse, it does exactly that. Celes is charged with feeding Cid some fish in hopes of helping him overcome his own illness, only to find out that the fish she fed him were bad and now Cid is dead, too. Lol? At any rate, Celes is overcome with grief, and, thinking she's all alone in the world, literally throws herself off a cliff, hoping to end it all. For a game and a franchise that was still predominantly played at the time by boys and girls under the age of 18, this was a pretty heavy moment to digest.

    6. The Spoony Bard 

    Final Fantasy IV

    We've largely avoided mentioning any of the Final Fantasy franchise's numerous bugs and exploits as "memorable moments" to this point, but one exception just has to be made. The Japanese to English translations back in the early days always led to some interesting conversations, and none more so than the one between Tellah and Edward Chris von Muir in Final Fantasy IV. "You spoony bard!" was meant as an in-game insult from one character to another, but has since gone on to have a life of its own, with references made to it in plenty of other video games over the years.

    5. Till the World Ends 

    Final Fantasy VI

    Gamers spent the first 10 to 15 hours of Final Fantasy VI capturing Espers and chasing down bad guy Kefka. But just when the party finally catches up with him, he goes and literally destroys the entire world. In other words, he did the exact thing that every RPG villain ever always threatens to do but never actually pulls off. When players regained control, the entire world map they had grown accustomed to was literally ripped asunder, forcing players to set out in an entirely new world for the remaining 20+ hours of the game.

    4. The Opera House 

    Final Fantasy VI

    Oh, I'm sorry, were you not paying attention while playing this game? Ok, cool, have fun re-running the same sequence five times until you finally get it right. The Opera House sequence is often regarded as one of the reasons why Final Fantasy's music is as popular as it is, but it was the gameplay itself, the requirement to actually remember certain lines and sing them during the "performance" that made this moment feel especially innovative for its time.

    3. One Winged Angel 

    Final Fantasy VII

    This moment hardly needs an introduction, as it's arguably backed by the most popular Final Fantasy song of all-time. But just in case there's still someone out there who has never played Final Fantasy VII, "One Winged Angel" is the song that plays during the final battle with Sephiroth at the end of the game. Most gamers likely already had the blood pumping by this point, but just in case they needed some inspiration, Square provided them with a rousing, chanting chorus as they headed into battle.

    2. Ovelia Stabs Delita 

    Final Fantasy Tactics

    When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. Sorry. But that's pretty much Delita Heiral's philosophy for most of Final Fantasy Tactics. And it almost works to perfection, with Delita backstabbing and double crossing everyone until he finally manages to become King with his Queen Ovelia at his side. But then, at the very end of the game, just when you think it's a Disney-certified Happily Ever After, Ovelia stabs her King. Apparently, she didn't like being used as a pawn during Delita's political maneuverings. Ovelia is then stabbed in return, but it's left wide open as to what the fate of the characters, and even the world of Ivalice as a whole, ultimately is. Definitely one of the most ambiguous and controversial but also beloved endings to a Final Fantasy game ever.

    1. Farewell to Aeris

    Final Fantasy VII

    This was for many the moment that redefined what Final Fantasy was capable of. Sure, there had been lots of other deaths during the franchise's first six 2D titles, but actually seeing one happen in video form, watching that sword come down from the sky, watching that ball bounce down to the water below, all in 3D, it really did change everything. The saddest moment though, comes after the boss fight, when Cloud commits Aeris to the water below.

    Jason Gallagher is a freelance contributor.


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    Will this be the game that breaks the streak of bad X-Files games?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 29, 2017

    FoxNet has announced that they will be publishing a brand new X-Files video game. This upcoming adaptation - called The X-Files: Deep State -is set to release around the time of The X-Files 2018 television return - around January 3rd - for iOS and Facebook. 

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    Yes, that would be the potentially bad news of this announcement. It appears that Deep State is really just a simplified interactive novel experience that will require players to advance through prolonged story sections and basic puzzles. The trailer also suggests that this will be an entirely original storyline - well, maybe not entirely original - that may or may not feature Mulder and Scully in supporting roles. 

    Instead, you will play as a customizable FBI Agent who must team up with FBI Agent Dale to investigate paranormal and other downright odd cases involving things that leave the local police scratching their heads. We assume that includes basic math. 

    The storyline is a bit hard to pin down at this point as FoxNet has stated that they intend to release monthly updates to this game that will add to the existing plot and contribute monster of the week-type adventures to the title. It's not clear whether these additional episodes will be released for free or if there will be some kind of transaction model in place. 

    It's also not clear whether or not said storylines will branch in any way. The trailer indicates that players will be required to make certain dialog and story choices along the way, but the impact of these decisions is unknown. 

    In case you didn't know, The X-Files hasn't exactly enjoyed a sterling history of video game adaptations. There have been a few point and click adventures over the years, but we wouldn't recommend any of them. 


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    In the wake of Visceral's closure and a microtransaction scandal, EA's boss has opened up about the logic behind these decisions.

    NewsRyan LambieJohn Saavedra
    Nov 29, 2017

    We probably weren't the only ones looking forward to the Star Wars game that Dead Spacedeveloper Visceral had in the works up until about a month ago. Headed up by former Uncharted designer Amy Hennig, it was to be a solo action game that took in the grubbier parts of the Star Wars universe. Later reports suggested that it would have included gameplay elements from Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, and the cinematic quality of Hennig's previous games at Naughty Dog.

    Then, in October, publisher EA made the decision to close Visceral and, in an accompanying press release, announced that it planned to "pivot the design" of the now defunct studio's Star Wars game. In essence, this means that the project once headed up by Hennig, a linear game, is effectively dead.

    Although EA didn't spell it out at the time, there were suggestions in that press release that the publisher wasn't interested in single-player experiences anymore. The firm talked about "listening to feedback" from would-be players and making a game that "players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come."

    More recently, EA boss Blake Jorgensen talked a bit more about Visceral's closure and the thinking behind it - and interestingly enough, the topic of "linear" games came up in his presentation, given at a technology conference in Arizona (via Dual Shockers).

    “As we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a much more linear game," Jorgensen said, adding that these types of experiences are things "people don’t like as much today as they did five years ago or ten years ago."

    Ultimately, he added, EA decided that it was best to "cut the bridge when you realize [you] can't really make a lot of money on something."

    Kotaku's recent behind the scenes reporting suggests that all wasn't well behind the scenes on Visceral's Star Wars action game, codenamed "Project Ragtag." The fact that EA hasn't managed to take full advantage of the Star Wars license is one thing, but the publisher's stance on linear or single-player games is what's really worrisome, especially when it comes to company's push for more microtransactions in its games.

    Just last week, the publisher was forced to shut down microtransactions (paid loot boxes) in Star Wars Battlefront II after the immediate fan backlash that came roaring through the internet after players realized they would have to basically pay more to unlock major characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker for the multiplayer mode (characters that were free in the first game, mind you). Microtransactions also allowed players to buy better perks (Star Cards) for the multiplayer, meaning that you could pay to get a leg up in online matches (pay-to-win, basically) - a situation that is never fair to those who paid the price of admission and want to earn new skills and abilities through actual gameplay. 

    Microtransactions have become a reality of today's gaming industry, as publishers push to milk every last cent from their players. EA's misguided idea that players no longer want linear titles stems from the fact these types of games eventually end, meaning that the publisher has only a finite amount of time to sell its customers extra things they don't actually need before they put down their controllers. With games like Destiny, which features both a linear campaign as well as more open-ended challenges, quests, multiplayers modes, and expansions, players could be locked in for years. It's more than clear why BioWare's next open-world multiplayer adventure game, Anthem, looks so inspired by Bungie's shooter. 

    In a separate interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Jorgensen addressed the Battlefront II debacle, claiming that the reason there were so many pay-to-win opportunities was a matter of catering to all of the game's audience:

    "We pulled off on the MTX, because the real issue the consumer had was they felt it was a pay-to-win mechanic. The reality is there are different types of players in games. Some people have more time than money, and some people have more money than time. You want to always balance those two."

    But the truth is that EA, as a business, clearly prefers the players with more money than time. Linear games don't make sense to EA's exploitative pricing model because the players with time finish them and then move on. Players that don't have time can jump into an open-ended game at any point and spend money to improve their chances of winning in the short run. Non-linear games are a win-win for EA because they keep those that have time playing and investing in expansions while those that don't can simply buy their way to better gear, weapons, abilities, and perks. 

    While players (but mostly Disney) have dissuaded EA from Battlefront II's current microtransaction model for now, Jorgensen assures that microtransactions will continue to be a key part of the publisher's strategy going forward. 

    "We're not giving up on the notion of MTX," Jorgensen told Gamesindustry.biz. "We're learning and listening to the community in terms of how best to roll that out in the future, and there's more to come as we learn more. But I would say we're certainly not changing our strategy. We think the strategy of deeply engaging games, keeping the community together, and allowing people to play those games with new content coming via events over time is critical to the future of our business. We feel like we've nailed that in the sports games, and we'll continue to try and find the best model that works in the non-sports games."

    Ultimately, microtransactions will continue to be a reality of the gaming space and publishers (not only EA) will try to find new ways to get consumers to pay more beyond the $60 price tag of most titles. After all, these companies are businesses at the end of the day, looking for profits where they can find them. But if the backlash towards Battlefront II is any indication, things can change in the long run. 


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    The best investment since Beanie Babies.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 29, 2017

    Star Citizen could very well be the space simulator to end all space simulators - if it ever actually comes out. The game has been in development at Cloud Imperium Games, founded by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, since it was successfuly crowdfunded in 2012. Boasting an enormous massive multiplayer universe, elements of space trading, first-person shooter combat, Star Citizen is one of the most ambitious video games ever put into development. 

    Several delays and an engine change later, the game is still in early Alpha state with no solid release date. Still, we've seen plenty of the game through trailers and gameplay videos. 

    Here's the latest from Star Citizen:

    Star Citizen News

    For just $50 (a.k.a., the price of a game that actually exists) you can now buy your own little piece of land in the Star Citizen universe. 

    The latest Star Citizenupdate includes the ability to purchase a 4km square parcel of United Empire of Earth controlled land. Said land can either be on a moon, planet, or asteroid. 

    Once you've purchased a few space acres to call your own, you can use the area for a variety of purposes. The Star Citizen team has suggested that you can use it for things like setting up your own space store or building some kind of space home. 

    The developers also want to assure...well, we almost used the word "players" there, but that would require a game that can actually be played outside of some tech demos. Instead, we'll say that they've assured investors that there will be enough space land for everyone. 

    Star Citizen Trailer

    During the CitizenCon 2947 livestream broadcast, Star Citizen designer Chris Roberts took the stage to present a new video that shows off the massive size of the game's worlds. 

    The footage specifically focuses on the ArcCorp planet which has been shown before, but never quite like this. Roberts described the planet's vast cityscape as "Blade Runner esque," which certainly does help capture the spirit suggested by the city's spewing flame towers and jam-packed structures. Impressively, Roberts also suggests that everything in the city can be interacted with by the player in some way. There aren't any instances of painted features designed to make the cities look larger than they are. 

    Roberts described that particular planet as being similar to Star Wars' Coruscant, but also showcased another planet that seems to have been decimated at one point or at least hasn't been fully terraformed as of yet. 

    The team certainly seems to be aiming for a shocking amount of variety in regards to the design of every major planet. That isn't to say that there won't be largely barren planets, but rather that they hope to make each new planet feel like a discovery. 

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    Thanks to this gameplay video update on Star Citizen's development, we do know that the game's first-person combat is coming along nicely. 

    The purpose of this video, besides showing off the kind of stunning visuals millions and millions of crowdfunded dollars will buy you, is to showcase the progress that Star Citizen's Vision Stabilization engine has made. In short, this improved engine allows for developer Cloud Imperium Games to implement tighter and less visually jarring first-person combat. Previously, some of the game's early users had reported that the character motions dictated by these mechanics were far too loose and had a tendency to generate a floaty sensation. 

    Currently on version 3.0, the most recent build of Star Citizen arguably stole the show at Gamescom with this nearly 52-minute long gameplay video that takes on the daunting task of trying to explain the almost incomprehensible scale of the game. 

    Not to beat the No Man's Sky horse to death, but one of the most impressive things about this demo in comparison to other titles in this genre is how substantial the universe feels. While certain elements of the experience don't feel nearly as important as the presenter hopes they might come across as ("The elevators in this game really move! *clap,clap,clap*), Star Citizen's developers seems to understand that pretty environments and theoretically infinite content will not get you far if there is not a solid core of gameplay at the center of it all. Watching the demo players navigate a character to a new planet, accept a mission, and carry it out isn't mind-blowing on paper. But, in the context of the full scope of this creation, it does show that there's a promising traditional game at the heart of the title. 

    We still eagerly await the day that all questions about Star Citizen will be answered by the retail release of the game itself, but, until then, it's nice to know that it's still capable of wowing people. 

    Star Citizen Release Date

    While Star Citizen's roughly playable builds regularly receive some kind of update, there's no word on when the game will be released. It's quite possible that Star Citizen's development team will release an Early Access model for the game that will continuously be updated for the foreseeable future. In any case, we'll be sure to update you as information regarding the game's fully-playable builds becomes available. 

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    How will EA respond to the mass outrage regarding their microtransaction policies?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 29, 2017

    New reports suggest that the fallout from Battlefront II's microtransaction controversy may have resulted in a sizeable hit to EA's stock value. 

    CNBC is reporting that Electronic Arts stock is down 8.5% as of the latest evaluation. That drop essentially wipes out $3.1 billion worth of shareholder value. As CNBC also notes, fellow large video game publishers Take-Two and Activision Blizzard's stock values have risen during this same time period.

    There are a few factors to consider here. The biggest among them is the fact that EA essentially warned investors at the end of October that they were bracing for a lower-than-expected financial quarter. As such, this news doesn't seem to be entirely unexpected. 

    However, the scope of these losses seems to have caught everybody by surprise. That element of this story can almost certainly be traced to the controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II's much-reviled microtransaction model. It's already being reported that sales of Battlefront II over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend were far, far lower than EA initially anticipated. Some outlets suggest that physical sales of Battlefront II in the U.K. are down 61 percent when compared to sales of 2015's Battlefront over the same time period.

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    The bigger issue here, though, is the scope of that controversy. After an EA statement on Reddit became the most downvoted post in that website's history, multiple news outlets began to cover the outrage that fans felt regarding EA's decision to hide most of Battlefront II's content in randomized loot boxes. EA was forced to reduce the in-game price of major heroes, and Disney's CEO eventually had to intervene and request that microtransactions be removed from the game. However, some suspect that Disney was well aware of the policy long before the intervention. 

    Now, investors, analysts, and gamers are wondering what EA's next move will be. The publisher has relied on such microtransaction models for years now, but it's hard to imagine they will be able to return to them now that they have generated so much outrage over the pricing structure.

    Currently, microtransactions are still disabled for Battlefront II


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    Okami remains a strikingly beautiful game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 29, 2017

    Capcom has confirmed an earlier report by Kotaku UK which suggested that an HD remaster of Okami will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam on December 12, 2017. 

    Capcom has also released three new gameplay trailers that give you a better idea of just how gorgeous this remaster is.

    Based on the information released thus far, this version of Okami HD will feature several upgrades not featured in a previous remaster of the game released for PlayStation 3. The biggest among them is the reveal that Okami HD will ship with Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro support. That means that this version of Okami will feature some kind of 4K upscale option. 

    Okami HD will also allow players to swap to a retro 4:3 aspect ratio as well as enjoy the original game's interactive loading screens. No additional features have been confirmed at this time, but Okami HD's digital version will retail for $19.99. There's been no confirmation regarding the price of the game's physical release.

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    Given that Capcom has previously stated that they are interested in revisiting several classic franchises moving forward, it certainly makes sense that they intend to revist a modern-day classic like Okami

    Even though Okami is no stranger to re-releases, the original title is still considered to be more of a cult classic than a bonafide sensation. At the time of its release, Okamiwas considered by many to be the best Zelda game not made by Nintendo. Okami certainly featured the large levels, quests, and combat stylings of Nintendo's famous series (at least before Breath of the Wild changed things up), but Okami's hand-painted art style and unique paintbrush mechanics helped establish the title's personality. 

    While we still hold out hope for a Switch version of Okami, we'll take any excuse we can get to experience this somewhat underrated masterpiece one more time. 

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    Is Capcom finally set to announce a new Mega Man game? Word of a 30th anniversary live stream has now emerged...

    News Ryan Lambie
    Nov 30, 2017

    Once a familiar face in the 80s and 90s, platform hero Mega Man (known in Japan as Rockman) has fallen into neglect by the company that owns him, Capcom. While Street Fighter and Resident Evilcontinue to get sequels and spin-offs, the Blue Bomber has had little to do since 2010's retro-themed Mega Man 10.

    Instead, it's fallen to indie developers to riff on the ultra-hard, precise platforming mechanics that the Mega Manseries introduced back in 1987 - including artist and Mega Man producer Keiji Inafune, who left Capcom to head up a spiritual sequel, Mighty No 9

    Mega Man celebrates his 30th anniversary this year, so you might have thought that Capcom would have something special to announce. Thus far, the Japanese company's remained ominously quiet. That may be about to change, though, as website Siliconera has given word of a live stream, due to emerge from Capcom on Dec. 4.

    The site recently revealed a card emblazoned with the Mega Man 30th anniversary logo - essentially an invitation to watch the stream on Twitch next week. "You won't want to miss it," the message reads.

    While we don't know exactly what Capcom will present during the live stream - it could be a selection of Mega Man themes played by Paul McCartney on a banjo, for all we know - to announce such an event and not unveil a new game would surely be trolling the series' fans at this point. Besides, this isn't the only tease we've had from Capcom this year. At the Tokyo Game Show in September, producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya had the following to say:

    "I want to say that Capcom has not forgotten about Mega ManThis [30th anniversary logo] here is being put to good use. Mega Man's 30th anniversary is coming in December – December, please remember that date!"

    Assuming it's a game at all, we can only speculate what form it might take. Another retro-style sequel like Mega Man 9 and 10? A spin-off like Mega Man Xor Mega Man Zero? Or a 3D game like Mega Man Legends? Our guess is a tie-up with studio Inti Creates, whose Mighty Gunvolt games are firmly in the vein of the classic Blue Bomber series.

    The live stream runs from 2 pm to 3 pm ET over at twitch.tv/capcomunity. We'll keep you posted as we hear more.

    Siliconera, Gematsu


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    Recent controversy surrounding Destiny 2 will be addressed by a variety of gameplay changes.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 30, 2017

    Recently, Destiny 2 fans discovered that the game contains a hidden XP system that regulates the experience points you can acquire from performing certain actions. The biggest problem with this system, though, is that Bungie did not inform fans about it until after it was discovered. Even after they removed it, they quietly implemented a new system that raised the XP requirements for gaining levels. 

    In an effort to throw some cold water on this controversy, Bungie updated Destiny's blog with a lengthy official post called "The State of Destiny 2."

    "With Destiny 2’s console and PC launches behind us, we want to take some time to talk with you about Destiny 2," reads the post. "Our team has been reading feedback and working on updates to improve the game. We’ve also been reading some tough criticism about our lack of communication, and we agree we need to be more open."

    Along with being more open with players regarding certain updates - and fixing the existing XP issues - Bungie promises that they're going to start tailoring most future Destiny 2 updates to meet the desires of the game's biggest fans. 

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    "Going forward, Destiny 2’s post-launch game systems, features, and updates are being designed specifically to focus on and support players who want Destiny to be their hobby...We want Destiny to be a game that fits into your life, providing you with reasons to log in and play with your friends, clans, and families. We want Destiny to be a world you want to be a part of." 

    The details of how that promise will play out in the long-term are unknown, but Bungie did disclose a few of the specific additions they plan on introducing to Destiny 2 in the near future. This includes the implementation of a new weapon tier - Masterworks - which features expanded systems like stat trackers, random, re-rollable stat bonuses, unique item tooltips, and item details screens.

    Furthermore, vendor rewards are receiving a much-needed upgrade. Now, players will be able to purchase items with Legendary Shards and Tokens. Bungie is also adding new Armor Ornaments that are acquired via completing specific challenges. 

    Bungie has also promised to follow-through on previous promises like the upcoming addition of new Heroic Strikes, private Crucible matches, and better overall rewards for completing a variety of objectives and other in-game content. 

    The full list of upcoming updates is quite impressive, but it remains to be seen if they can come together to make Destiny 2 everything that it can be. 



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    Final Fantasy's villain gets a little time in the spotlight in this upcoming DLC.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 30, 2017

    Almost a year after Square Enix's highly anticipated Final Fantasy XV hit stores, the game is still getting new DLC and story expansions. Below you can find all the details on the upcoming DLC, which includes the Comrades multiplayer DLC pack and the Episode Loctisstory expansion:

    Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn Details 

    Square Enix has announced that they plan on releasing at least three DLC episode add-ons for Final Fantasy XV in 2018. These episodes will each focus on different characters or specific aspects of the game's world just as previous major expansions for the game have done. 

    While Square Enix is choosing to remain quiet about most of the episodes until closer to their release, they did confirm that one of them will focus on Final Fantasy XVvillain, Ardyn. It seems that Square Enix plans on using this DLC as a chance to expand upon Ardyn as a character and really explore his motivations. The designers have also indicated that they'd like to focus on fellow villain Luna, but did not confirm if that story will be a separate DLC release. 

    There is no specific release date available for Episode Ardyn at this time.

    Final Fantasy XV: Comrades Multiplayer DLC Details

    Final Fantasy XV's fourth expansion, Comrades, is set to be released on November 15th. Initially, Square Enix intended to release this DLC on October 31, but announced their decision to delay it slightly in order to perform final tweaks. 

    The focus of this expansion is custom character creation. Players will be able to create their own characters and equip them with a variety of new and existing powers. While there will be plenty of content designed to allow players to grow their custom characters, it has been said that this expansion will still focus more on party combat. 

    Square Enix has also noted that the characters from the main game will be added to the expansion down the line, but they will not be available at the time of the DLC's launch. 

    Here are a few screenshots from the current build of Comrades DLC:

    Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis DLC Details

    Final Fantasy XV's epic - if controversial - story continues in this stunning new trailer for the game's next story DLC, Episode Ignis.

    As the title suggests, this next DLC release will focus on Ignis who was a primary party member from the main story. While it's clear that the DLC's story takes place sometime before the conclusion of the main game, the complicated timeline of the base narrative does make it tricky to pin down exactly when it occurs. We see scenes involving a massive invasion, for instance, so it's entirely possible that this add-on will actually takes place across a few different time periods. 

    What we do know is that Episode Ignis will include some new gameplay features designed to take advantage of the main character's unique abilities. It also seems that Ignis will not be alone in this particular journey, but it's still not clear whether or not you will be forming a full party in this new adventure. 

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    The most interesting story tidbit included in this trailer is certainly the "post-credits sequence" which sees Ignis being tempted to leave his friends. That scene is followed by the text "Master Your Fate," which may seem to suggest that there might be some kind of element of choice in play at some point during this story DLC. 

    Episode Ignis is expected to release on December 13th. It will be immediately available for all Season Pass holders, but there hasn't been any confirmation regarding the DLC's standalone price or if it will be a free content release. 

    Square Enix promised that Final Fantasy XV would receive quite a bit of DLC post-release. So far, they've made good on that promise. Most of the DLC released thus far has been free in-game events and strange - but enjoyable - additions such as an enhance fishing minigame, but now that we are getting into the story DLC releases, we should finally be able to see if Square Enix is ready to use this post-release content as a way to expand upon FF XV's odd narrative beats.

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    We get playful with this holiday gift guide at the toys and games that will make this winter season a hit!

    FeatureChris Cummins
    Nov 30, 2017

    There are few things in life as certain as the fact that you can't go wrong with giving toys and/or games for the holidays. We've put some of our favorites this year together in a nifty holiday gift guide just for you!

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi Electronic Toy

    It feels like we are mere hours away from finding out if these guardians of Ahch-To Island/Brundleflyian fusions of penguins and pugs live up to the hype. But even if they fizzle out Snakes on a Plane-style we can't help but think that already Porgs are a success for the way that they have overcome their Ewok 2.0 roots to become a unique phenomenon of their own. We suppose what we are saying here is that, narrative strength or not, Porgs have already become a part of the new Star Wars mythos. So you may as well hop aboard the hype train and pass one off to a Star Warrior you know come Christmas morning.

    Buy the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Porg Electronic Plus on Amazon

    Playmobil Ghostbusters Ecto-1

    With apologies to Lego lovers out there, our favorite construction toy line this year has been Playmobil's Ghostbusters offerings. The various mini-figures and sets they've released show not only a clear understanding of the toyetic appeal of the license, but a general love for the characters and environments from the movie. This is nowhere as evident as with the Ecto-1 vehicle that comes equipped with light and sound features, Winston and Janine figures, and even little slime accessories that can be added or removed as play dictates. The video above shows you the Ecto-1 in action and this, when combined with the other entries in the lineup, rank among the best Ghostbusterstoys ever made. And this is not a claim made lightly.

    Buy the Playmobil Ghostbusters Ecto-1 on Amazon

    DC Collectibles Batman Expression Pack Action Figure

    Here's a fantastic gift idea from DC Collectibles: An action figure from Batman: The Animated Series that lets you change the Caped Crusader's appearance by changing his heads and capes. Just think of the fun you can have making his mood match your own. Our personal favorite? The shocked looked featured in the upper right. It pretty much nails what we look like whenever we turn on CNN these days.

    Buy DC Collectibles Batman Expression Pack Action Figure on Amazon

    Batman the Animated Series: Batcave Playset

    The closest you'll ever get to being inside the Batcave is this beautiful playset from DC Collectibles that includes everything you see in the video above and an exclusive Alfred figure from Batman: The Animated Series. The Bat Computer comes with interchangable screens and it lights up, all the better to illuminate Gotham City's various evildoers.

    Buy Batman: The Animated Series Batcave Playset on Amazon

    Star Wars Battlefront II

    Microtransaction controversies aside, Star Wars Battlefront II is still the hottest video game of the holiday season. You want it. Your friends want it. This is all very understandable. So we don't need to take up valuable Internet real estate telling you why its rad. Instead, here's what we want to know: How come nobody ever made a Star Wars mod of the classic arcade game Tapper? Think about it, it could have Wuher the bartender racing around the Creature Cantina trying to serve drinks to the likes of Hammerhead (Nagamaroo!) and Walrus Man. In the background, Han could be seen shooting Greedo. This sounds like bliss. I mean, Battlefront IIis clearly great, but 8-bit glasses of blue milk sliding down a bar? Where do we sign up?

    Buy Star Wars Battlefront II on Amazon

    Planet of the Apes Monopoly

    They did it! They finally did it! They created a Planet of the Apes-themed Monopoly. Highlighted by whimsical art from Dave Perillo (whose art is regularly featured in Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult shows) brings a retro simian twist to the board game night staple that will please every ape you see from chimpan-a to chimpanzee.

    Buy Planet of the Apes Monopoly on Amazon

    Stranger Things Eggo Card Game

    Is there a better gift to give than corporate synergy? Yes, just about every possible gift, dummy! But that hasn't stopped Hasbro, Netflix, and Kellogg's from forming a Voltron Lion of cross-promotion for the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game. This Uno-esque title has players choosing one of the show's characters and try to get rid of their cards and escape from the Upside Down. Better that than the futile real-life exercise that is trying to escape new and innovative branding opportunities.

    Buy the Stranger Things Eggo Card Game on Amazon

    Kid Flash Action Figure

    Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West/Kid Flash is a highpoint of The CW's The Flash. DC Collectibles has just released a fantastic 6 3/4" action figure of the character that includes three pairs of interchangable hands. And speaking of hands, we bet you can't wait to get yours on this awesome figure, amirite ladies and germs? Hello? Is this thing on?

    Buy the Kid Flash Action Figure on Amazon

    Coolbaby Mini Console

    Since Nintendo has seemingly gone out of its way to make their HDMI-ready NES and Super NES Classic consoles available to consumers, some people are taking matters into their own hands. Meet the Coolbaby Mini Console. It looks and plays like the NES Classic, but is actually easier to get. And, oh yeah, it also features 600 different games. (Mainly modded variations of a few different titles though like the Super Mario Brothersand Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games). We don't know if any of this is legal, but we can say that these things are up on Amazon, so yeah, there you go.

    Buy the Coolbaby Mini Console on Amazon

    Super Mario Odyssey

    In the interest of fairness here's a non-dubious Nintendo-related offering: Super Mario Odyssey! The latest breakout game for the Switch gives Mario's iconic hat a name (Cappy) and magical abilities (possession!), and is an enthralling universe of its own that is bold enough to have its cake and occasionally transform it into an 8-bit retro party too. The only problem is after a game this much fun -- check out our review here -- how can Mario possibly top himself? That's a problem for another holiday season, because you'll be too busy having fun playing to wonder.

    Buy Super Mario Odyssey on Amazon

    Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Rey and BB-8 Adventure Set

    This year, Hasbro debuted their Star Wars: Forces of Destiny line, an assortment that aims to "bridge the gap between traditional action figures and dolls, opening up a new play experience for Star Wars fans of all ages and genders." It was a welcome and progressive move that showcases how the space saga exists for everybody. Helping matters further is the great design of the 11-inch figures in the femalecentric character line (which also includes Jyn Erso and Princess Leia), which faithfully captures the look of the accompanying Forces of Destinycartoon shorts.

    Buy Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Rey and BB-8 Adventure Set on Amazon

    The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31

    Even those among you who are feeling weird and pissed off (a perfectly reasonable attitude given the state of, well, everything) have to concede that pop culture-wise there has never been a better time to be alive. Just take a look at the entries on this list, it's a golden age for geekery. For example, never in our wildest dreams did we think there would be a strategy board game based on John Carpenter's The Thing. Or Big Trouble in Little China for that matter. Yet games based on these box office bombs-turned-cult classics exist. And to paraphrase the immortal Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, and if that isn't a true blue miracle, we don't know what one is.

    Buy The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 on Amazon

    Come Home, Snoopy! Colorforms

    Imagination is still the greatest plaything of all. I mean, good luck telling that to your kids if they expect a PlayStation on Christmas morning, but that cliched old adage still has plenty of truth to it. Maybe that's why Colorforms are experiencing a bit of a comeback. Throughout the year the childhood favorite has been making something of a return by reissuing a few of their classic sets, including this one based on Peanuts. Vinyl pieces that stick and lift like magic don't have much cultural currency for children in 2017, but give this to the nostalgic fortysomething in your life and watch how big of a smile you get in response.

    Buy Come Home, Snoopy! Colorforms on Amazon


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    EA's boss says "linear" games are less popular with gamers than they once were. Is the end nigh for cinematic games like Uncharted?

    Feature Ryan Lambie
    Dec 1, 2017

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Huge games that last for dozens of hours. Mobile games that can fill a few idle minutes. Shooter epics that take in small armies of players, and intimate experiences that pit a single mind against a fiendish puzzle. Technology has given rise to a multitude of genres and all kinds of video games - far more than anyone could have even dreamed of back when the medium was still in its infancy in the 1970s.

    In recent months, however, there's the question of whether a very particular kind of video game can survive in an industry where replayability and continued revenue are becoming ever more important for a studio's bottom line. We're talking about single-player games - the big, cinematic kinds that include the likes of Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and The Last of Us. Sure, those games were all major successes in the past, but is there a future for such an expensive and increasingly risky subgenre?

    At least one publisher appears to have asked itself a similar question. In October, Electronic Arts took the drastic step of closing down Visceral - the studio behind the popular Dead Space horror shooter series, plus a forthcoming Star Wars action game dubbed Project Ragtag. In essence, the closure meant the end of Visceral's Star Wars game, too, since EA made clear that its aim was to "pivot" its design away from a "linear" experience and towards something that "players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come."

    An in-depth report on the making of Ragtag over at Kotaku reveals some of the complications going on behind the scenes, including an apparently stretched and demoralized team of developers - partly because of the financial under-performance of Dead Space 3, which, in the word of one team member, left them with the sense that the whole firm was "on borrowed time."

    In the end, EA decided to cut its losses, close Visceral, and scrap Ragtag altogether. While the publisher talked in delicate terms about pivoting its design, Kotaku's report maintains that EA Vancouver's essentially starting from scratch on a new game of its own. It's unclear what respected video game writer and designer Amy Hennig, famous for her Unchartedgames at Naughty Dog before she headed to Visceral, will do now that Ragtag's over. 

    The reasons behind the game's collapse are manifold, but EA's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen attempted to sum up the situation in a recent talk at a tech conference in Arizona.

    “As we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a much more linear game," Jorgensen said, adding that these types of experiences are things "people don’t like as much today as they did five years ago or ten years ago."

    Certainly, EA's own output points to a firm more enamored with games like Star Wars Battlefront II, Need for Speed Payback, and FIFA 18 - the kind of open-ended, games-as-service titles that can bring in lots of after-market revenue with things like DLC or loot boxes. From a publisher's perspective, it's easy to see why: Jorgensen may think that "linear" games are less popular than they once were, but they also represent a problem for the studios that make them. As mentioned above, they're expensive - the budget on Ragtag was thought to be $100 million - and their replay value's low compared to a multiplayer game like a Star Wars Battlefrontentry. Add to this the rise of "let's play" videos on Twitch and YouTube, where we can watch the story beats from a multi-million dollar game without even buying it, and you can see why some publishers might balk at investing their money. 

    Of course, the big hitters of the genre, such as Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto and Naughty Dog's Unchartedand The Last of Us, are all reliably popular. But beyond those, making expansive, single-player games is fraught with danger: the troubled production and muted reception to Mass Effect Andromeda - a sequel from BioWare, a studio once thought unassailable - may have been partly behind EA's current line of thinking. Then there's Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, a long-awaited sequel that failed to surpass its predecessor, either critically or financially.

    The tail end of 2017 represents a volatile and, from one angle, fascinating crossroads for publishing giants like EA and Activision, in fact. As EA announced Visceral's closure and the "pivot" of its Star Wars game, the controversy of Battlefront IIand its approach to loot boxes blew up. As EA's statement on Reddit about the game's exploitative microtransactions got angrily down voted and government bodies began to wonder aloud about whether loot boxes were gambling or not, the publisher took the drastic step of temporarily disabling microtransactions altogether.

    Over in Activision's camp, hit shooter Destiny 2 has gone through a rough patch of its own since it emerged that the game quietly constrains the amount of XP players can earn organically by playing the game - all the better to coax them into spending real-world money on Bright Engrams, Destiny 2's equivalent of loot boxes. The discovery caused such controversy that Bungie was forced to respond with a statement - "We agree we need to be more open," that kind of thing. 

    So while EA may think that "linear games" are less popular than they once were, it also appears to be the case that some of the money-making tactics favored by publishers - loot boxes and other kinds of microtransactions - aren't necessarily beloved by the gaming public. At best, they're tolerated through gritted teeth. When they suffer from public relations storms, as Star Wars Battlefront II has, then the damage to a studio's bottom line can be almost as pronounced as a poorly-received single-player game - just look at the falling EA stock prices reported this month.

    Meanwhile, 2017 has brought with it a few examples of expansive, single-player games that show the genre at its absolute best. Horizon: Zero Dawn offered a compelling plot and world, while at the same time providing lots of reasons to explore and experiment with its mechanics. Likewise The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey - games that riff on their franchise's lineage while bringing broad, solo experiences that feel new, relevant, and worth revisiting. Capcom's Resident Evilseries, which suffered a bit of a wobble with its last entry, got a creative shot in the arm with the genuinely frightening Resident Evil 7.

    As ever, the video game landscape is in a constant state of flux, as ideas are tried out and audiences respond. Things like rising costs may pose challenges for games in the vein of, say, Unchartedor Visceral's deceased Star Warsgame, but titles like Breath of the Wild, Zero Dawn, and others like them prove that, in the right hands, the genre still has plenty to offer.


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    If you live in North America, you've missed out on quite a few Japanese classics that never made it your side of the pond.

    The Lists Chris Freiberg
    Dec 1, 2017

    For various reasons, a lot of games released in Japan never make their way to North America.
    This could be because the game is too culturally foreign to Americans, or there’s perceived to be little international interest for the title. Sometimes publishers want to distribute games overseas, but they just don’t have the time and/or money to do it.

    And then there are the cases where it’s clear there’s a large demand for the game, and maybe most of it already is in English, and it’s still passed over for localization. (Looking at you, Mother!) 

    These are 25 games that originated in Japan that have never made it to our shores even though we'd love to play them:

    Segagaga

    2001 | Sega | Dreamcast

    Ignore popular series like Shenmue and Skies of Arcadia. Crank out a half-dozen terrible Sonicgames. Sometimes it seems like Sega is run by a board of drunk chimps. If you’ve ever thought you could do a better job of running a once-powerful console manufacturer, releasing Segagagais a good way to start. Billed as an RPG full of mini-games, your goal is to increase Sega’s market share to put the evil DOGMA (Sony) out of business. It’s the type of unique game that would have drawn a lot of acclaim in the States, but apparently those chimps just couldn’t be convinced to release it here.

    LSD

    1998 | Asmik Ace Entertainment | PSX

    LSDwas maybe a bit ahead of its time. If it were released today, it would be considered a walking simulator, but 20 years ago, the idea of just wandering through surreal landscapes baffled many players. Based on the dream journal of an artist at Asmik, the title actually doesn’t have anything to do with drugs, although a few minutes of gameplay will likely have you questioning that. Considering how little text is in the game, and that LSDhas a bit of a cult following in the west, it seems odd that it never made its way to the PSN.

    Custom Robo

    1999 | Nintendo | N64

    While other Custom Robo games have made their way stateside, the original (which many would say is still the best) hasn’t found its way here in any form. As with other games in the series, your goal is simply to use your robo to take on robo rivals, collecting new parts and becoming ever more powerful. The original release was praised in Japan, though Nintendo oddly decided against releasing it here despite a dearth of titles in the N64’s final years. Maybe when the Switch Virtual Console is up and running more U.S. gamers will finally get the chance to try this one out.

    Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic

    1987 | Capcom | Famicom

    So we technically did get a version of this game in North America. Doki Doki Panic was altered to become North America and Europe's version Super Mario Bros. 2 after Nintendo deemed Japan's version too difficult for international audiences. Nintendo actually developed Doki Doki Panic as a tie-in for Fuji Television's Yume Kojo 1987 festival and the game incorporates several elemants from said festival.

    It tells the story of a magical land where the people have invented a dream machine so that they can always have good dreams. But then an evil toad named Mamu arrives and turns the machine into a nightmare machine. Much of the plot was changed for Super Mario Bros. 2, but there are a few elements of Doki Doki Panic that remained in the North American and European versions of Super Mario Bros. 2, including Shy Guys, Pokeys, Birdos, and Bob-ombs. They all became iconic enemies in the franchise going forward. Perhaps we'll get to see them in the original adventure one of these days.

    Dynamic Slash

    2010 | Nintendo | Wii

    The Wii became so well-known for kiddie shovelware that it was hard for any mature titles to find success on the console. That’s likely why Nintendo passed on localizing Dynamic Slash. It’s the story of two angelic siblings fighting legions of giants during the Norse Ragnarok. Combat is extremely violent, and feels great thanks to the Wii MotionPlus. The main characters did appear as trophies in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, so maybe Nintendo will eventually bring the game (or a sequel) to the U.S. in some form.

    Captain Rainbow

    2008 | Nintendo | Wii

    Think Animal Crossing with a twisted sense of humor. That’s the idea behind Captain Rainbow, a Wii exclusive that fans of been begging Nintendo to bring stateside for almost a decade now. As Nick, you’re the former TV star Captain Rainbow, performing good deeds on an island to try and reclaim your past fame. Admittedly, this one would need a lot of work to come to the U.S., as a lot of the humor would get lost in translation, but never say never.

    Bahamut Lagoon

    1996 | Square | SNES

    The working title for Bahamut Lagoon was actually Final Fantasy Tactics, which should give you a good idea of what to expect. But perhaps the biggest difference is that each party entered battle with a dragon that was the source of most of its strength. Lose the largely autonomous dragon unit, and you’re as good as dead, lending quite a bit of strategy to each fight. A North American version actually was announced, but since it was released at the tail end of the SNES’s lifespan, it was cancelled so Square could focus its efforts on PlayStation development.

    The Firemen

    1994 | Human Entertainment | SNES

    Firefighting actually seems like a great concept for a game that’s been woefully neglected over the years. In this overhead SNES title, you control two firemen as they traverse a high rise putting out blazes with their hoses and rescuing civilians. It sounds simple, but there’s actually a lot of variety in the types of fires and how they need to be put out. This seems like it would have done well in the mid-90s American console market, so it’s kind of odd that we never saw it here.

    Dragon Quest X

    2012 | Square Enix | PS4, Switch, Wii, Wii U, 3DS

    Square Enix has gotten much better about releasing Dragon Quest games in the U.S., except for the tenth entry in the storied franchise. Blame the genre. Unlike the other games in the series, Dragon Quest Xis an MMO, which means much more time needs to be put into translating text. There’s also no guarantee the game will be profitable here as Dragon Quest has never been a household name in the U.S. like Square Enix’s other big RPG series, Final Fantasy. Still, Square Enix has said its investigating the possibility of bringing Dragon Quest X here, so an American release isn’t completely out of the question.

    Jump Ultimate Stars

    2006 | Ganbarion | DS

    A fighting game filled with hundreds of characters from Japan’s most popular manga is a dream for many American gamers. It would also be a nightmare for any lawyers trying to get the rights for all these different manga in order to get the title released here. Legal issues ensure Jump Ultimate Stars will almost certainly never see the light of day on our shores, but at least the Japanese version is easily importable, and can be played on an American DS without any sort of hacking or peripherals.

    Dragon Force II

    1998 | Sega | Saturn

    The original Dragon Force made it to the U.S., and it was one of the best games on the Saturn, featuring deep tactical gameplay and gorgeous sprite-based battles between dozens of enemies. The story, which saw you selecting one of eight leaders to unite a continent, was also one of the best of the ‘90s. Sadly, the complete failure of the Saturn in the U.S. killed any hopes of the sequel making its way here, and fan translations have only made their way online in the past couple of years.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner

    1995 | Atlus | Saturn, PSP

    Here’s a weird one: all of the sequels and prequels to Devil Summoner have been released in the west in one form or another. And while Shin Megami Tensei was virtually unknown here in the ‘90s, its reputation has only grown in the U.S., with almost all of the entries released in North America receiving wide critical acclaim. Devil Summoner may not have all of the features of the later games in the series, but many fans would still love to see where the franchise's negotiation and devil fusion systems began.

    Marvelous: Mōhitotsu No Takarajima

    1996| Nintendo | SNES

    Marvelousis the title that laid the groundwork for the next two decades of Zelda games. The title was the first to be directed by Eiji Aonuma, who has served as either director or producer on every Zelda title since Majora’s Mask. Unsurprisingly, Marvelous plays a lot like a 16-bit Zelda game, except you take on the role of three characters simultaneously as they search for treasure. There’s also a point-and-click aspect to the game that makes it feel a bit like a PC adventure title. Marvelous features a ton of memorable characters, and an oddly dark atmosphere for a Nintendo game that would show up in Aonuma’s later titles, but sadly few American gamers have had the opportunity to see his early work.

    Deep Fear

    1998 | Sega | Saturn

    Deep Fear was Sega’s answer to Resident Evil, a survival horror game set deep under the ocea. You fight zombies and monsters while also maintaining an oxygen supply. The controls are much more user friendly than early Resident Evilgames though, allowing for complete 3D movement, and ready use of many items without having to pause and go into menus. In some ways, Deep Fearwas an underwater Dead Space a decade ahead of its time. Thankfully, all of the voice acting and most of the menus are in English, so this one is easily importable, and actually quite cheap online.

    Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse

    2008 | Koei Tecmo | Wii

    The motion controls and built-in speaker of the Wii-mote were a good fit for more immersive horror games, but the family-friendly audience unfortunately made those games a hard sell. That’s ultimately what doomed a North American release of the fourth entry in the underrated Fatal Frameseries. And while we may never see the title here, at least the outcry from fans was enough to get Nintendo to put Mask of the Lunar Eclipse’s sequel on the eShop.

    Shining Force III: Scenarios 2 and 3

    1998 | Sega | Saturn

    Shining Force III was an early experiment in episodic gameplay. Comprised of three scenarios, each with a separate but overlapping storyline. You had to play all three games to fully understand what’s going on and see the true ending. Unfortunately, only the first scenario was ever released in North America, and while it’s still seen as one of the best games for the underrated Saturn, the cliffhanger ending has left many American gamers forever waiting for the rest of the story.

    Phantasy Star Online 2

    2012 | Sega | PC, PS4, Vita

    Lots of American players have fond memories of playing Phantasy Star Online on their Dreamcasts, Xboxes, and Gamecubes in the early 2000s. And more than a decade later, there are few console games that capture the simple joy of grinding for loot with three other players so well. It seems like it would be easy money for Sega to bring Phantasy Star Online 2 to this side of the world. A North American build was even shown in 2012, but five years later there’s no sign of the game on our shores. Sega must really hate making money.

    Policenauts

    1994 | Konami | 3DO, PC, PSX, Saturn

    It’s hard to imagine a Hideo Kojima game not getting a release in North America now, but this was still a few years before the success of Metal Gear Solid. It’s also a very different game. Originally released only for Japanese computers, Policenauts is a point-and-click adventure about astronaut cops, with some shooting segments on the side. It’s been praised for its detective story, which is no surprise given Kojima’s involvement. The Saturn version was actually going to be released in North America, but development was abandoned due to issues with syncing English voice acting with the game’s many FMV cutscenes.

    Metal Wolf Chaos

    2004 | FromSoftware | Xbox

    Metal Wolf Chaos seems like a game tailor made for a U.S. release. You play the U.S. president, a descendant of Woodrow Wilson, piloting a giant mech. Your goal is to blow a lot of stuff up as you take back portions of the country that have attempted to secede. It’s insane. It’s ridiculously patriotic. It even has full English voice acting, which would have made it super easy to bring to America, but many have speculated that FromSoftware got cold feet about its themes, given the country’s political climate following the War in Iraq. Damn politics ruin everything.

    Valkyria Chronicles III

    2011 | Sega | PSP

    Valkyria Chronicles might be the most underrated series of the last decade. Featuring the perfect combination of strategic and real-time gameplay, it’s easy to get lost for hours in Sega’s fictionalized take on World War II. Sadly, the first two games in the series didn’t sell very well in North America, leaving Valkyria Chronicles III behind in Japan. Being a PSP exclusive also didn’t help matters. The latest game in the series, Valkyria Revolution, was released here last summer, so there’s always a chance that this one could show up here in some form.

    Sweet Home

    1989 | Capcom | NES

    Based on a Japanese horror movie of the same name, Sweet Home is perhaps best known as the game that inspired the original Resident Evil. Players guide five characters through a massive mansion, solving puzzles, managing inventory, and battling ghosts and zombies. Violent imagery ensured the game was never released overseas during the NES era, but as few people now view video games as a hobby exclusively for kids, there’s no reason for Capcom not to release an official port here.

    Tobal 2

    1997 | DreamFactory | PSX

    Tobal No. 1was released in the U.S. to respectable sales and critical reception, but apparently it didn’t sell quite well enough to justify a release of the sequel here. That’s a shame, because Tobal 2 is superior to the first game in every way. Its 200-character roster still hasn’t been matched by any other fighter, and modern fighters could also learn a lot from its ridiculously lengthy quest mode. Square ultimately blamed poor sales of Tobal No. 1 and translation issues for the lack of a North American version.

    Seiken Densetsu 3

    1995 | Square | SNES

    Secret of Mana is considered one of the best games of the 16-bit era, yet its sequel, which has even better music and graphics, has never officially made it to North America. Even more heartbreaking, the official reasons for why Square never brought it here aren’t entirely clear. A U.S. release was once announced in the ‘90s, but cancelled due to mysterious “programming bugs.” The first two games were previously released here, so only the third one would need to be translated for American gamers to finally enjoy this lost classic.

    Terranigma

    1995 | Quintet | SNES

    The SNES is fondly remembered for its great RPGs, but one of its very best never left Japan. After billions of years of fighting, the Earth has been almost completely destroyed by God and the Devil. As Ark, one of the last survivors, you must resurrect the planet. Perhaps such a deep story was thought to be too risky for a release in the ‘90s. Although the game was released in Europe, so this one is a little bit easier to play in English than a lot of the other games on this list. 

    Mother 3

    2006 | Nintendo | GBA

    There is perhaps no Japanese game that gamers want to see officially released in the States more than the sequel to Earthbound. And the sad thing is that when Mother 3 was first under development as an N64 title in the ‘90s, Nintendo talked openly about bringing it to North America. That version of the game was cancelled in 2000, only to be resurrected on the GBA a few years later. Mother 3 was met with immediate acclaim in Japan for its colorful graphics, unique humor, and a battle system that requires attacking in sync with the background music.

    Fan translations have been readily available online for years, and every now and then rumors make the rounds that Nintendo is bringing a port to the American Virtual Console, but that has yet to materialize. Maybe on day Nintendo will come to its senses and realize it’s just leaving easy money on the table by refusing to bring Mother 3 here.


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    Oh internet, why must you make things that will never happen look so good?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 27, 2017

    It's become a bit of an unfortunate trend to compare every hard game out there to Dark Souls. Saying that such and such game is the Dark Souls of "insert genre here" has become something of an internet meme. 

    The latest game to inspire that comparison, Cuphead, may indeed be quite the challenge, but unlike titles like Hollow Knight or Salt and Sanctuary, it doesn't actually feature any Dark Soulselements. 

    Perhaps inspired to lend a little more credence to those comparisons, the YouTube channel 64 Bits recently imagined what a Cuphead and Dark Souls crossover would look like. 

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    While the team at 64 Bits deserves quite a bit of credit for their design and animation work - this is seriously well-done stuff - we have to admit that these two universes do go together surprisingly well. No, not every aspect of Dark Souls necessarily carries over to the world of Cuphead - and vice-versa - but it's clear that the Cuphead/'30s cartoon animation style is quite capable of conveying the inherent charms of a darker world.

    Then again, those who played Cuphead might not be too surprised by that revelation. After all, that game is loaded with subtle dark elements - smoking, gambling, gun violence - that were prevalent in cartoons from that era. It makes sense that a slightly toned down take on Dark Souls wouldn't feel too out of place in that era of animation. 

    All the same, the level of detail in this animation is undeniably impressive. From the Gaping Dragon wearing a bib to Sif, the Great Grey Wolf starting off as a cute puppy, the crew at 64 Bits have clearly played through Dark Souls quite a few times and understand what makes its design so appealing. 

    Actually, we're starting to feel pretty depressed about the fact that we'll likely never get an official Dark Souls-themed expansion to Cuphead


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    Capcom's Mega Man celebrates his 30th birthday this month. A new video explores the creation and legacy of a classic series...

    News Ryan Lambie
    Dec 4, 2017

    The sheer number of games in the Mega Man franchise is positively mind-boggling: the main-line series alone spans a total of 10 titles, but then there are the handheld spin-offs, the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero lines, the 3D Mega Man Legends games, and dozens more besides.

    Mega Man celebrates his 30th birthday this month, with the original game being released in Japan way back in Dec. 17, 1987. Since then, he's become an enduring staple of the video game landscape, even if it's felt as though the Blue Bomber himself is in danger of slipping into obscurity - it's now several years since the release of the 2010 8-bit themed sequel, Mega Man 10, and at the time of writing, Capcom has syet to announce a new game in the series.

    Still, the Mega Man library is chock-full of gems and classic moments, as the video below - brought to us by the always informative Gaijillionaire - reminds us. Indeed, even Mega Man afficionados will likely find some trivia and development stories that they haven't heard before. All those sequels might lead you to assume that Mega Man - or Rockman in Japan - was an immediate smash. Rather, the response to Mega Man 1 was so muted that its developers wound up making Mega Man 2 in their spare time.

    The series as a whole therefore owes its existence to a bunch of artists and designers who crafted a game out of love and determination - and we like to think that's partly why the franchise has endured for so long. Here's hoping that Capcom's 30th anniversary live stream, due later today, will bring us some good news.

    Until then, here's a fascinating look at Mega Man's history and legacy...


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    Japan's getting an exclusive set of Transformers based on characters in the classic Street Fighter II. Check them out within...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Dec 4, 2017

    We've spent many sleepless nights wondering what Transformers get up to on their days off. Dry-cleaning? Maybe a spot of origami? But thanks to Takara Tomy, we now have one official answer: cosplay. 

    Next year, the toy manufacturer will launch a small set of action figures based on characters from the fighting classic, Street Fighter II. In essence, this means you'll get Optimus Prime painted up to look a bit like Ryu, Hot Rod as Ken, Megatron as Vega (or M. Byson) and, perhaps best of all, Arcee as Chun-Li.

    We're not sure what the in-universe explanation for all these antics would be - a Street Fighter-themed office party, perhaps - but they all look pretty cool. Prices are likely to go up pretty swiftly, too, since these Transformer brawlers are currently planned as Japan-only exclusives. According to Destructoid, the figures will be sold in packs of two, with Ryu and Bison going for about $115, and the Ken and Chun-Li set going for $75. If you're planning to find the things on eBay, expect to pay even more.

    Still, if these cosplaying Transformers are a bit out of reach for most of us, the trailer is worth a watch, at least. It's the branding synergy we never knew we wanted. Pokemon-themed Transformers next please, Hasbro.

    Event Hubs


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    What other secrets lie in Bloodborne's dungeons?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Dec 4, 2017

    A YouTuber named Sanadsk has uncovered several unused Bloodborne NPCs, enemies, and bosses that were hidden in the game's code.

    Sanadsk collaborated with fellow Bloodborne data miners id-daemon and luxos18 to dive into the game's recently released code structure. As noted in the video, the majority of their discoveries seem to qualify as abandoned concepts that were simply left behind in the remnants of the game's code. For instance, there seems to be an NPC/enemy character that would have been found at the game's university.

    One discovery of note is Sanadsk's observation that many of the enemies they found seem to carry a fire-related theme. He speculates that there might have been a fire level in the game at one point that was scrapped during development. That makes sense considering that most Souls games have had such a level at one point during development. 

    Here are a few shots of some of Sanadsk's discoveries. 

    Elsewhere, YouTuber Moros Nyx found something in Bloodborne that supports Sanadsk's fire world theory.

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    In the video above, Nyx details his discovery of an enemy known as the Flaming Undead Giant. The reason that discovery is so significant is because this particular foe hasn't been seen in Bloodborne since 2014 when From Software revealed the game's Chalice Dungeon feature via new footage. When Bloodborne was actually released, fans couldn't help but notice that this enemy was nowhere to be found. Most people assumed that he'd simply been cut alongside a few other creatures featured in the game's early trailers. 

    So how did this baddie manage to elude being found for so long? To answer that question, you first have to understand that Chalie Dungeons in Bloodborne add a roguelike element to the game. That is to say that certain details of their design change from playthrough to playthrough. It's highly unlikely that two players will have identical Chalice Dungeon runs. The design variance of these runs is so great that some dungeons even include certain boss battles that other players may never find unless they enter a specific code to access that dungeon.

    Even still, it's downright odd that nobody else has found this particular enemy up until this point. Nyx - an experienced dungeon crawler - even admits that he finds it likely that someone has encountered this enemy at some point and simply didn't know that they were looking at something very, very rare. An alternate theory suggests that this monster may have been added to the game sometime after its release via a content update. 

    As exciting as this discovery is for the Bloodborne community, it is nothing compared to the implication this find represents. Could it be true that some previously suspected "cut" content is really hiding in the nearly infinite depths of Bloodborne's dungeons? Have some of those enemies already been found by players that were unaware of their discoveries? 

    If the answers to these questions aren't enough to convince you to jump back into Bloodborne - or try it for the first time - perhaps our look at how Bloodborne is one of the most effective gothic horror masterpieces of the modern era will do the trick. 


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    The game's latest trailer has attracted a great deal of controversy.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Dec 4, 2017

    Activists, including a member of the UK Parliment, are lobbying against the upcoming PS4 game Detroit: Become Human over its controversial portrayal of domestic violence. 

    The footage in question shows an abusive father acting violently towards his daughter and his android assistant. The android and the child form a bond over their shared torment. Eventually, the daughter shoots the father and escapes with help from the android. 

    It's not entirely clear whether or not this scene will play out quite like this in the final game. Instead, it is meant to showcase the choices that players will be able to make and how they will impact the direction of the story. Even the shooting is not guaranteed to happen. 

    Still, the footage has ruffled the feathers of several activists whose displeasure was first reported in The Mail and The Sun. Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association of People Abused in Childhood had this to say regarding the regarding the potential damage this footage may cause. 

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    "Abusers will get off on this stuff and the other thing we know beyond question is that videos [sic] games end up being played by children and, scarily, the proliferation of salacious and abusive images is actually encouraging violence and abuse...we know that abuse in all its forms is escalating on this planet so why not help to tackle it constructively rather than sensationalise and make money out if it?"

    Others, such as Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, have stated that the real problem is that "it seems to end up in a clumsy, inappropriate and graphic gameplay that is no more than an unpleasant exploitative way of making money off the back of real suffering."

    Detroit: Beyond Human director and writer David Cage has been defending the footage since it was released. In an interview with Eurogamer, he stated: "I try to tell a story that matters to me, that I find moving, interesting and exciting and my role as a creator is to maybe deliver something that people don't expect...The rule I give myself is to never glorify violence, to never do anything gratuitous. It has to have a purpose, have a meaning, and create something that is hopefully meaningful for people."

    Despite his assurances that the game will not trivialize this issue, advocacy groups are already calling for the game to be canceled or not sold in the UK. 


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    The best look we'll probably ever get at this promising cancelled project.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Dec 4, 2017

    Factor 5, the studio behind Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, once worked on a flying game for the Wii that may have become the next Pilotwings. While this project was scrapped in development, a never-before-seen trailer for the game has since emerged on YouTube

    As noted in the video above, the found footage for this project - which was then referred to as WeFly - was only ever meant to be viewed by Factor 5 and Nintendo. What's truly remarkable about that information is that WeFly looked to be surprisingly far along in development at the time that this footage was made. This is not a series of wireframes and concept art stills. Instead, this footage shows several locations, several vehicles, fully-rendered particle effects, and the introduction of certain key gameplay concepts.

    To be fair, it's clear that this was what the final game was going to look like. The level textures and certain effects were clearly not ready for prime-time. However, the game appears to have been playable and even sports some fascinating ideas that surely would have been welcome in the final game. Said ideas are highlighted by a trip to the moon which sees players operate a space shuttle and a UFO. 

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    As for WeFly's association with Pilotwings, it seems that the project was pitched as a kind of spiritual successor to that franchise. The footage above certainly shows that WeFly shared Pilotwings enthusiasm for aerial-based objectives. However, WeFly was going to be an open-world game that would allow players to travel between various real-world locations. A running challenge would have even asked players to take aerial photos of certain famous locations. Despite its apparent realism, the game would have also featured outlandish locations and vehicles like Santa's workshop and a flying magic carpet. 

    WeFly certainly looked promising, but the development of the game was canceled when Factor 5 and the project's publisher both began to suffer from financial difficulties. Those who worked on the game recall that it was almost universally beloved by everyone involved with its development. While Factor 5 is slowly beginning to reassemble itself, there has been no indication that a completed take on this game will ever be released.


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