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    Obsidian's first sequel to one of their own games is coming in April.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 26, 2018

    Pillars of Eternity was one of the best RPGs in recent memory. Obsidian's crowdfunded project was a throwback to the glory days of isometric RPGs that featured the kind of phenomenal storytelling and gameplay depth that Obsidian is known for. However, Pillars of Eternity also felt like Obsidian's first step into something greater. The game was phenomenal, but it was a few steps short of being the company's masterpiece. 

    That's where Pillars of Eternity II comes in. This is the first time that Obsidian has been able to develop a sequel to one of their own games. That means that they'll have to deal with less technical development and can jump right into story crafting, gameplay design, character creation, and all the other things that make Obsidian one of the most respected RPG developers in the world. 

    Here's everything we know about Pillars of Eternity II:

    Pillars of Eternity II Release Date

    Pillars of Eternity II will launch on April 3rd for PC, Mac, and Linux.

    Pillars of Eternity II Trailer

    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire's Steam page has been updated to include a new trailer that actually showcases some early gameplay from the upcoming sequel. 

    Pillars of Eternity II News

    As expected, Obsidian is using their expanded arsenal of resources to produce a sequel that looks decidedly better than the original installment. This may be the first time that Obsidian has developed a sequel to one of their own games, but the fabled studio's work on other studio's sequels shines through in this early footage. 

    There are also rumors that this Steam page update may correspond to an upcoming beta for Pillars of Eternity II, but there has been no official word regarding that possibility at this time. 

    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire began as a new campaign on crowd-funding platform Fig. Obsidian initially sought $1.1 million for the development of this sequel and used the following trailer as an incentive for people to donate to the project. 

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    In exchange for that money, Obsidian promised to deliver a sequel that begins with the return of the god Eothas. Upon his return, Eothas leaves you for dead and forces you to embark on a journey that can only end when you confront the god and get answers to questions concerning yourself, the mortal world, and why the Eothas has returned. 

    Along with expanding the artistic and technical prowess of the original game, developer Obsidian is also promising to include expanded gameplay features such as "truly living cities" and "more freedom to explore the open world." Designer Josh Sawyer states that the overall purpose of their design process is to create a game that emphasizes "refinement, pacing, and overall quality."

    However, Sawyer warns fans that this sequel might not be quite as long as the original was now that the team is focusing on greater narrative pacing and overall quality. He says it's "more important for (Obsidian's) content to be high quality than it is for us to have a gargantuan 200+ hour game," and that they are trying to address player criticism of the first Pillars of Eternity that revolved around the game having "too many mob/filler fights."

    Not everything is being shelved, though, as Pillars of Eternity II will feature returning characters and the same isometric-driven art style that helped make the original game the cult classic that it is. Sadly, Obsidian is not quite ready to announce an expected release window.


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    Arcade game Starship 1 appears to hold the honor of containing history's oldest hidden video game trick.

    NewsMatthew Byrd
    Jan 29, 2018

    For years, the 1978 game Adventure has been credited in popular culture for containing the world's first in-game Easter egg. Not long ago, it was suggested that a game called Video Whizzball might actually hold that honor, but generally speaking, it was accepted that no game released before 1978 contained an Easter egg. 

    However, evidence suggests that another game may have beaten both of those titles to the historic punch. 

    During an interview with Atari engineer Ron Miller, former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft, Ed Fries, was surprised to hear Miller mention that he had once developed an accessible trick for the 1977 arcade title Starship 1 that, when found, would grant the player ten additional free games. 

    “That was the first and only game that I ever programmed and I think it was maybe one of the first games with a backdoor in it," said Miner. "I didn’t tell people about this, even within Atari, for at least 30 years, but I had some code in there that if you did a certain sequence of controls it would say ‘Hi Ron!’ and give you 10 free games.”

    Amazed, Fries attempted this trick for himself and found that if the player holds down the phaser and start button at the time that they insert a coin into the machine, they will see the "Hi Ron!" message and be rewarded with 10 additional lives. 

    By all accounts, this means that Starship 1 does contain the first Easter egg in video game history. However, you could make the argument that the trick required to unlock the additional lives also means that Starship 1 could be credited with containing the first cheat code in video game history as well.

    That's a pretty impressive legacy for a game that was loosely based on Star Trek ship designs, contained a singular goal, and has been largely forgotten by history until these recent revelations. 


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    Upcoming changes should help greatly diversify the game's competitive meta.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 29, 2018

    Blizzard has announced that Hearthstone's 10.2 update will finally nerf some of the game's most problematic cards. 

    First up is a huge change to Patches the Pirate. This one mana legendary card has been the bane of player's existence since it was released as part of the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion. While this one attack and one health card isn't game-winning on its own, the fact that it's a free play that can attack right away when you play a pirate was so valuable that Patches began working his way into nearly very aggressive and midrange deck. 

    This upcoming patch will simply remove Patches' ability to charge. While he's still a free card that thins your deck, this will drastically reduce his ability to influence early games by attacking right away. He will likely still see play, but he won't be forced into every deck. 

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    The same cannot be said for the new Corridor Creeper. Creeper has quickly become the most impactful card from the recent Kobolds and Catacombs expansion. He could basically be played for free in the early and late rounds which made him a favorite of aggressive decks that lose lots of small minions and slower decks that clear the board. The new Creeper, however, has three less attack than before. This effectively kills the card as even two of the new Creepers on a board doesn't equal the attack power of one of the original Creepers. 

    Next, we have a change to Raza the Unchained that will drastically impact the game's competitive scene. Whereas the old Raza allowed for players running to Shadow Reaper Anduin to deal two damage with every single card they played, this new version will make them consider mana economy a bit more by making the previously free upgraded hero power cost one. Raza was set to rotate out of Standard mode in a couple of months, but this new change will likely ensure he exits decks sooner than that.

     

    Finally, Bonemare - one of the most powerful neutral seven mana cards ever made - will cost eight mana instead of seven when this upcoming patch hits. To be honest, this card will likely still see play in a lot of decks that are currently running him, but this will ensure he can't swing the game quite as early as before. That makes it a pretty good nerf. 

    We'll be sure to update this post with the full patch notes as soon as they become available in February. 


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    Sources close to Microsoft indicate the company has been talking about major acquisitions.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 29, 2018

    In a recent article that examines Microsoft's struggles to bring exclusive games to the Xbox One, Polygon alleges that the console manufacturer is attempting to acquire a major video game studio. Among the names mentioned were Valve, PUBG Corp, and Electronic Arts. 

    That last name is the most noteworthy at the moment as Polygon states that "reliable source close to Microsoft" have indicated that Microsoft has been having recent discussions regarding the practical steps that would lead to an EA acquisition. 

    First off, as Polygon points out in their article, you need to remember that for as valuable as EA is, their worth pales in comparison to Microsoft's total value. That article suggests that Microsoft has about $130 billion in their cash reserve "war chest." By comparison, EA is believed to be worth about $35 billion dollars. While that does mean that Microsoft would have to pay a tidy sum to acquire EA outright, it's not as if they don't have the money to theoretically do so.

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    However, imagining a world where that actually happens is quite tough. Would Microsoft really turn best-selling games like Madden and FIFA along with upcoming EA published projects like BioWare's Anthem into Xbox exclusives? That prospect is a bit of a potential catch-22. While having games like Madden as an Xbox exclusive franchise theoretically raises the value of Xbox, it also decreases the market reach of those games that make EA valuable in the first place. Microsoft would need to believe that a good number of the people who buy games like Madden who don't own an Xbox would buy an Xbox to continue playing it. 

    PUBG Corp is a much more likely acquisition option. PUBG is temporarily an Xbox console exclusive, but it's believed that PUBG Corp plans to port the game to other consoles at some point. Given the supposed success of PUBG's Xbox release, you have to believe Microsoft is interested in not letting anyone else play host to the popular shooter. 

    The Valve acquisition seems like the least likely option. However, it is interesting to dwell on the implications of that possibility. Not only could Microsoft encourage Valve to make big name games again, but a possible relationship between Steam and Xbox Game Pass could mean big things for subscription-based gaming services. 

    As always, though, we caution you to treat these rumors as rumors until we receive official word from any of the parties involved that further steps towards an acquisition have been taken. 


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    Outrage over Microsoft's Game Pass service has some small business owners wondering what's next.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 29, 2018

    In an interview with gamesindustry.biz, the owners of various small video game stores expressed serious concern regarding the effect that Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass service will have on the future of their businesses. 

    "Essentially, it's made [our Xbox business] worthless overnight," said Stuart Benson of Extreme Gamez. "You've got the whole section sat there, and why would people buy a £12 to £15 second-hand game when they can just pay a tenner and get a massive catalog of titles to keep them going?"

    The problem is apparently so great that Australian retailer Gameware has announced they will no longer stock Xbox products at their store. Remarkably, they are not the only company considering this seemingly drastic move. 

    "If they're going to do this, I won't bother [stocking Xbox]," said Stephen 'Stan' Stangroon of Stan's Games. "You only make £3 or £4 on Xbox games like the new Monster Hunter, if you're lucky. They'll kill the second-hand market. I reckon even the public won't like it in the end - I sold a Monster Hunter this morning and the bloke's already brought it back."

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    The ire over Microsoft's monthly subscription service reached a fevered pitch recently when the company revealed that Microsoft Studios exclusive games like Sea of Thieves will be added to Game Pass on the day they are released. This has prompted some retailers to write-off the possibility of stocking these games.

    "Game Pass will have an effect on all first-party titles. We have already told Exertis we will not be stocking Sea of Thieves at all," said Paul Lemesurier of Sholing Video. "Why bother when supermarkets will throw it out less than cost, online e-tailers will break street dates - which are a joke - and ship up to five days before release cheaper than us, and now Microsoft is throwing it on Game Pass for a tenner."

    While these retailers hope that these actions will force Microsoft to change their policies, the owners of some stores state that these seemingly drastic decisions will not have as big of an impact on their bottom lines as you might think. 

    "To be honest with you, our sales are quite predominantly PS4 - the ratio is something like 5 to 1," said Steve Walker of Somerset store Insane Games. "So yes, I can see it making quite a big impact to Xbox gaming in general, but I don't think it will affect our company as much."

    As we rapidly approach an all-digital retail future, the efforts of these retailers may indeed to be a last gasp. However, as in all matters involving the market, it is gamers who will ultimately determine whether it is worthwhile for these stores to continue to stock Xbox products as Microsoft continues to push what they hope will become the Netflix of gaming. 


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    Does this artistic masterpiece hold up to the scrutiny of the 4K era? Here's our review.

    Release Date: February 6, 2018
    Platform: PS4
    Developer: Bluepoint Games, SIE Japan Studio
    Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Genre: Action-Adventure

    I’ve often heard people refer to Shadow of the Colossus as “Exhibit A” in the games as art debate. It’s never been hard to understand why.

    When Shadow of the Colossus was originally released in 2005, it left an impact similar to the one the game’s hulking behemoths impart with their every step. Team Ico’s spiritual successor to the phenomenal - yet somewhat overlooked - 2001 title, Ico, cast players as a wanderer who is trying to resurrect a young girl by slaying the great colossi that wander the land.

    That may sound like a simple and tired story, but that’s only because it kind of is. If you just take the game’s back of the box description as the complete story, though, you’re missing the point entirely.

    Shadow of the Colossus distinguishes itself from a legion of similar fantasy-like titles that have come before by virtue of its reliance on minimalism. We really don’t know that much about the wanderer’s quest based solely on what the game outright tells us. Plot details are slowly revealed throughout the game, but you never feel like the game is in a rush to ensure that you understand exactly what’s going on.

    The reason that approach works as well as it does is that there are still traditionally epic elements of the game that leave you with the lingering impression that there is actually quite a lot to take in despite the lack of traditional storytelling. Nowhere is that more evident than when you encounter one of the game’s wandering colossi.

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    Many people who played Shadow of the Colossus when it was released will tell you that their first battle with a colossus is among their favorite moments in gaming history. That’s due partially to the sheer scale of the creatures - you really get the impression you are but an ant to them - but it has more to do with the moral implications of these battles.

    You see, none of the game’s colossus boss battles involve the creatures aggressively initiating combat. Instead, you often must trigger the fight by using your bow and arrow or sword. That tiny detail eventually leads to the realization that these seemingly terrifying creatures are really majestic wonders who have likely been peacefully wandering this world for generations.

    That realization is the crux of the game’s considerable emotional presence. Shadow of the Colossus makes you feel like a true villain in a way that games which openly cast you as a villain struggle to do. Because you don’t know much about your hero or their motivations, you’re sometimes left to assume their quest is a righteous one. If that’s the case, then why do you feel as if you’re depriving the world of something beautiful for largely selfish reasons?

    The moral ambiguity of Shadow of the Colossus’ central quest has been dissected by just about every who has played it, yet, we really haven’t reached a true consensus regarding the game’s overall message. Is this a story about environmentalism? A narrative about the perils of what we consider to be true love? An epic journey that criticizes a generation’s willingness to abandon the old ways for largely selfish reasons? That lingering argument is a testament to the game’s brilliant use of minimalism as both a blank canvas for several ideas and a fully-realized masterpiece.

    However, Shadow of the Colossus crowning achievement may just be its minimalistic visuals and sound design.

    This is where the improvements of the PlayStation 4 remake come into play. The original Shadow of the Colossus was heralded as arguably the best looking game of its era - it’s still an incredible looking title - but it was clearly hindered by technical limitations of that era. Its animations were revolutionary, yet their innovations made certain frame-by-frame flaws that much more evident. The original game’s washed-out style felt appropriate, but you were still left feeling like it was only utilized because there was no viable alternative.

    This PlayStation 4 remake addresses all of those issues. The animation featured in this remake is arguably flawless. The visuals have been cleaned-up so that you can clearly see every vibrant detail of the game’s word. Meanwhile, the original title's ambitious scale has been left unaltered except when it could be improved upon. Simply put, this PlayStation 4 remake is arguably the best looking game of this modern generation. It’s certainly the one title we’d recommend you turn to when you’re looking to showcase your new 4K set-up.

    The game’s music and sound are even better. While much of Shadow plays out in relative silence, the game’s sparse tracks are among the best in gaming history. The music is epic in a traditional sense, but it impressively manages to enhance that overwhelming sense of loneliness despite its triumphant tones. Here again, the remake does an excellent job of just improving what came before as opposed to messing with something that already works. As such, this is the definitive way to experience Shadow of the Colossus' soundtrack outside of, perhaps, that excellent vinyl release. 

    What we have in the PS4 Shadow of the Colossusremake, then, is a masterclass in visual, audio, and narrative design that can single-handedly convince you that much-maligned business of video game remakes is entirely justified. This is the definitive version of one of gaming’s greatest artistic triumphs. However, as I was playing Shadow of the Colossus, I couldn’t help but feel that the people who have long argued that this game is the greatest example of games as art have got it all wrong. Instead, it's more accurate to say that Shadow of the Colossus is the greatest example of traditional art as a game that we’ve ever seen.

    That’s not necessarily a compliment. You may have noticed that until this point, we haven’t really talked about how Shadow of the Colossus plays as a video game. For the most part, your interactive experience with this game consists of wandering some lavish landscapes in search of the next colossus, battling said colossus, and occasionally engaging in a bit of treasure hunting via the game’s optional modes.

    There's no mistake, though, that Shadow's gameplay is all about the boss battles. The level of creativity that went into imagining how players will need to fell these fantastic beasts cannot be overstated. In essence, each boss fight is a puzzle. However, they still manage to invoke that simple, yet classic, boss fight feeling of combating some great villain that takes up ¾ of your television screen and demands the absolute best from you. These are breathtaking encounters that have yet to be truly topped in terms of boss battles that make you feel as if you are battling true gods as a mere mortal.

    Unfortunately, my time with this remake confirmed a criticism that those who were brave enough to find fault in Shadow of the Colossus upon its release were known to invoke: there just isn’t a lot of actual game here. You can beat Shadow of the Colossus in 6-8 hours your first time through. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but if you trim that down to the time spent battling colossi - by far the gameplay highlight - you’re talking about a 2-3 hour game.

    The rest of your time is mostly spent navigating from boss fight to boss fight while occasionally dealing with the game’s odd pathfinding issues. Your horse will get stuck in the woods for no apparent reason. Your use of the grapple and pull system never feels quite as enjoyable when climbing cliffs as it does when scaling a colossus. Improvement have been made across the board - swimming is much easier, jumping feels more accurate, and aiming is far better than it was in the original version of the game - but these improvements don't address the lingering deficiencies in the core experience. 

    For years, fans of this game have argued that these flaws are a byproduct of the things the game is trying to emphasize. They say that if the moment to moment gameplay was more compelling, then the narrative might not feel as lonely and foreboding.

    That was a somewhat reasonable argument, but unlike many of the elements of Shadow of the Colossus, it is not one that has stood the test of time. In the years since Shadow of the Colossus’ original release, we’ve seen games like The Witcher 3 populate an open-world with more narrative than anyone thought was ever possible. We’ve seen Breath of the Wild turn large landscapes into organic playgrounds. We’ve seen Dark Souls marry minimalist storytelling and compelling gameplay in revolutionary ways. 

    Shadow of the Colossus is a piece of art in video game form. What it isn’t, though, is “Exhibit A” in the games as art debate. Not anymore. It lost that title when a new generation of games came along and showed how gameplay can be used as a vehicle for a kind of art exclusive to games.

    Still, you absolutely should play the Shadow of the Colossus PS4 remake if you’re a fan of the original or someone who has only heard about the game via the praise of those who consider it to be a mythical experience. Even its flaws are a reminder that we’ve come pretty far in the art of game design largely because games like Shadow of the Colossus forced us to reconsider the possibilities of the entire medium.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer.

    4/5
    ReviewMatthew Byrd
    Jan 30, 2018

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    What we know about Star Citizen and Squadron 42, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jan 30, 2018

    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

    Slowly but surely, Cloud Imperium is revealing more about Star Citizen's single-player campaign. This new look at Squadron 42 takes us to a dangerous gas cloud called "The Coil." Check out the video below:

    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.

    Star Citizen Trailer

    Two new trailers have arrived for Star Citizen's single-player campaign, titled "Squadron 42." This first one features a new look at Mark Hamill in the game:

    And here's over an hour of gameplay:

    During the CitizenCon 2947 livestream broadcast, Star Citizen designer Chris Roberts took the stage to present a 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 Update

    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 Citizen update 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. 


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    No Miitomo? Whatever shall we do?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 30, 2018

    In a post on the Miitomo website, Nintendo announced they are shutting down service related to the mobile app.

    The service will officially end on May 9, 2018. Nintendo has already ceased selling Miitomo coins and will be offering daily login bonuses of Miitomo coins and game tickets so users can explore the app's full features during its final days (which is a somewhat sad thought). 

    Nintendo has stated that trying to launch the Miitomo app after 5/9 will result in a message that informs the user that service has ended. That means you'll no longer be able to see Miitomo messages, will no longer be able to use items related to the Miitomo app, and your sidekick Mii character will be deleted (again, that's oddly depressing). 

    There is some good news, though. You'll be able to transfer your Mii character to your Nintendo account by ensuring that your account is linked to Miitomo. However, it will not retain its "personality and other information." You can also save your Sidekick Mii characters by converting them into QR Codes. That code can then be transferred to 3DS or the Wii U.  If you want to save any Miifotos, though, you'll need to transfer them to a mobile device before the shutdown date. Otherwise, they will not be accessible via social media. 

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    Finally, just in case you haven't got the message, any Miitomo-themed icons and clothing items you may be using in Super Mario Run will no longer be available after the end of service. 

    News of this shutdown really isn't that surprising. Miitomo got off to a hot start as people eagerly jumped at the chance to use Nintendo's first mobile app, but the app never felt like more than a way for Nintendo to dip a toe in mobile waters. They've since released a few "real" gaming apps that feel much more true to the Nintendo style. 

    Besides, it's pretty clear that Nintendo is trying to move away from the whole Mii universe concept. Any hopes that Miitomo would carry on that concept when the Switch failed to do so seem to be officially crushed. 


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    Players who made purchases within Paragon will receive full refunds.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 30, 2018

    Epic Games is shutting down their free-to-play MOBA, Paragon

    "It’s with heavy hearts we’ve decided to close down Paragon," reads a post on Paragon's official website. "We truly appreciate everything you’ve put into Paragon. We received many passionate ideas for where to take the game; the outpouring of thoughtful suggestions is another testament to this incredible community.After careful consideration, and many difficult internal debates, we feel there isn’t a clear path for us to grow Paragon into a MOBA that retains enough players to be sustainable.We didn’t execute well enough to deliver on the promise of Paragon. We have failed you -- despite the team’s incredibly hard work -- and we’re sorry."

    The official shutdown will occur on April 26th. Epic has stated that they will be offering players refunds on any purchases they made have made within Paragon. PC and PlayStation 4 players will just need to make sure their Epic accounts are properly linked and can then request a refund via this website

    The studio also warns that server quality and matchmaking may suffer as the shutdown nears. 

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    Paragon was first made available as a pay-to-play title in 2016. It went free-to-play in 2017, but Paragon never attracted the same size of playerbase that games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, and even Smite. Paragon tried to distinguish itself from the most popular MOBA titles via its more cinematic style and third-person gameplay, but MOBA fans stuck with more established titles while casual gamers looked elsewhere. 

    Oddly enough, it was Epic's Fortnite that may have been the final nail in the game's coffin. Since Epic released that game's battle royale mode, they've watched Paragon's playerbase count drop dramatically. It seems that they may have realized that they were late to the MOBA game and just in time for the battle royale era. As such, it makes sense that they would remove resources from Paragon in favor of focusing on Fortnite and other projects. 


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    Video games have tackled the concept of dystopia for decades. Here are the best dystopian video games ever made...

    The ListsChris Freiberg
    Jan 30, 2018

    This article contains spoilers.

    So 2017 was a pretty terrible year for a lot of reasons, but if video games have taught us anything, it’s that things can always get worse. This is a list of games that have crafted worlds that you probably don’t want to visit, but at least these dystopic visions of the future are ton of fun to play through, and can take your mind off your real world problems if only for the briefest of moments.

    20. Papers, Please

    2013 | 3909 LLC | PC

    Most dystopian video games put you in the role of a freedom fighting good guy, so it’s unusual to find one where you play the role of the bad guy, especially one with such a mundane job. The goal of Papers, Please is to simply check passport documents, determining who is legitimately crossing the border of your fictitious militarized country and who is using forged documents. And if you do catch fake papers, you always have the option of taking a bribe before letting the visitor pass. It’s about as close as you’ll ever get to being a Soviet-era border guard without all the pitfalls of Soviet communism.

    19. Costume Quest 2

    2014 | Double Fine Productions | PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO, Wii U

    Double Fine is known for its light-hearted games, so it’s odd to find a title that paints a bleak future. Admittedly, the future world of Costume Quest 2 wouldn’t be the worst place to live, but then again, living under the rule of an evil dentist who hates Halloween and outlaws candy isn’t really anyone’s idea of fun either.

    18. Mega Man Zero

    2002 | Capcom | GBA

    It’s been more than 100 years since Zero has been seen. Reploids are on the run, hunted down at the command of a totalitarian leader. His name? X. This is the story that begins the Mega Man Zero quadrilogy, the darkest and easily most underrated series in the lengthy Mega Man franchise. It’s kind of jarring to see such a bleak future in a Mega Man game after the optimistic utopia portrayed in the earlier franchise, but this is a rare case of the darker tone helping to elevate the sequel over its predecessors.

    Buy Mega Man Zero

    17. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

    2014 | Sledgehammer Games| PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO

    We would be so lucky to let Kevin Spacey take over the world. The Call of Duty series strives for a certain level of realism, but the sight of Spacey announcing that he’s declaring war on the world on the floor of the United Nations and then following through on his promise is one of the most unintentionally hilarious and campy moments in all of gaming. The rest of the title is the standard Call of Duty formula of shooting guys while lots of things explode, but Advanced Warfare is worth experiencing to see what’s basically Spacey’s House of Cards character take over the world.

    Buy Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

    16. Homefront

    2011 | Kaos Studios | PC, PS3, X360

    Speaking of ridiculous military shooters, there’s perhaps none sillier than 2011’s Homefront, the story of North Korea suddenly becoming a superpower under Kim Jong-un and invading the United States in 2025. Yeah, two minutes on Google will tell you that’s about as likely as North Korea developing the next great video game. Still, the game does relate the uncomfortable realities of living under a military occupation well, particularly in the early chapters. It’s just a shame that the recently released sequel did nothing to follow-up on the few things the original Homefront did right in that area.

    Buy Homefront

    15. Metro 2033

    2010 | 4A Games | PC, X360

    Nuclear wastelands are the ultimate cliché when discussing dystopias in fiction. Still, 4A Games crafted a title (based on a Russian novel) that did something different with a played out formula. Rather than wandering a bombed out wasteland, the characters of Metro 2033must survive in the cramped tunnels below Moscow. The underground world of Metro 2033 is easily one of the most detailed of the past few years (especially if you pick up the remastered edition), and there’s real tension in navigating tunnels and getting into firefights with rival survivors.

    Buy Metro 2033

    14. Crackdown

    2007 | Microsoft Game Studios | X360

    At first, Pacific City doesn’t seem like such a bad place. Yes, there’s a lot of crime, but you play as a special agent. You’re there to take out the city’s rival gangs and make it a better place. That’s what you think almost the entire game at least, until it’s revealed in the final cutscene that actually your employer created these gangs as part of a plan to scare the public into accepting totalitarian rule. You spent the entire game not fighting crime, but laying the ground work for a 1984-style dystopia. This is one of the better twists in gaming that the disappointing sequel did absolutely nothing to address. Here’s hoping we find out more about The Agency’s master plan in next year’s Crackdown 3.

    Buy Crackdown

    13. Chrono Trigger

    1995 | Square | SNES

    The SNES wasn’t much of a powerhouse compared to modern systems, but Square had such talented programmers and artists on staff in the ‘90s that they easily conveyed the despair of a doomed world in Chrono Trigger’s future. Set hundreds of years after the emergence of the evil alien parasite Lavos, this future world is home to only pockets of human life, who while technologically advanced, must survive wandering tribes of angry mutants and robots while constantly fighting off hunger after Lavos destroyed all food sources. Chrono Trigger’s future is most definitely not somewhere you’d want to live, but at least you’re eventually able to avoid it.

    Buy Chrono Trigger

    12. Phantom Dust

    2005 | Microsoft Game Studios | XBOX

    A mysterious dust covers the land. Not only has it made it impossible for humans to live above ground, it’s also stolen all of their memories. Your goal in this forgotten world is to recover these memories and find out why no one can remember the past. Phantom Dust is a melancholy game with one of the most unique and enjoyable card-based battle systems ever devised. Sadly, it was released near the end of the original Xbox’s life cycle and received little attention. In 2014, Microsoft announced a remake for the Xbox One, but it’s not clear if that game will ever see the light of day. A future without more Phantom Dust might be the most depressing dystopia of all.

    Buy Phantom Dust

    11. Freedom Wars

    2014 | Sony Computer Entertainment | VITA

    Thousands of years from now, overpopulation has ravaged the planet. Existence itself is a crime, and criminals face million-year sentences. The only way for hundreds of millions of people to win their freedom is to kill giant monsters that roam the world. Freedom Wars might have the most depressing story in all of gaming. Still, it’s a lot more interesting and mature than the Monster Hunter games it takes its inspiration from, and the gameplay is very entertaining. Freedom Wars is one of the best reasons to pick up a Vita long after Sony has given up on the system.

    Buy Freedom Wars

    10. Wolfenstein: The New Order

    2014 | MachineGames | PC, PS3, PS4, X360, XBO

    The horrors of the Nazis practically define dystopia. While there’s been a lot of speculative fiction over the years about what would have happened if Nazi Germany had won World War II, The New Order adds its own twist to make that hypothetical world just a little more terrifying. In this version of Wolfenstein, not only did the Nazis conquer Europe, they also developed mechanical monstrosities - including killer robot guard dogs - and supersoldiers created in gruesome experiments. Series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz is on a mission to make the Nazis pay...

    Buy Wolfenstein: The New Order

    9. Remember Me

    2013 | Capcom | PC, PS3, X360

    Just from a gameplay perspective, Remember Me is probably the worst game on this list. It gets overly repetitive, and it’s just not very fun. That being said, it does have a great art-style and one of the best visions of a dystopia in any video game. In 2084, the evil Memorize corporation has developed a technology to track, store, and delete all memories at will, creating a police state patrolled by drones and heavily armored soldiers. The quest to take down Memorize is memorable, as are the sections where you can edit memories. It’s just a shame the rest of the game isn’t so great. Still, RememberMe is worth a playthrough if you’ve worked your way through your backlog and are looking for something different.

    Buy Remember Me

    8. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

    2010 | Ninja Theory | PC, PS3, X360

    Decades after a war has wiped out most of humanity, the planet is ruled by mechanical life forms seeking to eradicate what’s left of the human population. In this world, one man and one woman go on a quest that ultimately leads them to a difficult choice about what’s best for the future of humanity. Really, it’s best to not spoil the ending of Enslaved if you haven’t played it, but once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget it. This is a really underrated gem from the last generation, and considering how many inferior games have already been ported to the PS4 and Xbox One, it’s surprising that Enslaved hasn’t yet made its way to those consoles, too.

    Buy Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

    7. Beyond Good & Evil

    2003 | Ubisoft | PC, PS2, XBOX, GC

    Beyond Good & Evil may be set in a dystopia, but I could still play it multiple times without getting tired of it. This classic title embraces its sci-fi setting much more than similarly-themed games. Rather than being set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, Beyond Good & Evil takes place on the planet Hyllis, which is ruled by a military dictatorship locked in a war with an even worse alien threat. But the real highlight is the tight Zelda-inspired gameplay throughout that adds a few twists of its own, like photography and a spaceship. Designer Michael Ancel has long-promised a sequel, and Ubisoft has confirmed one is in development, but exactly when we’ll see it is anyone’s guess.

    Buy Beyond Good & Evil

    6. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

    2008 | Konami | PS3

    The Metal Gear Solid franchise has jumped around its timeline so much, and has had so many bizarre plot twists, that it’s easy to forget just how disturbing its universe really is. Yes, there’s a lot of cool technology to play with, but those toys come with a price. The world’s armies and private contractors are constantly at war for the sole purpose of propping up the world’s economy, and Snake must survive this never-ending battlefield in the penultimate MGS game. The world of Metal Gear Solid may be a great place for old soldiers, but it’s a literal hell on Earth for everyone else.

    Buy Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

    5. Mirror’s Edge

    2008 | EA DICE | PC, PS3, X360

    It’s easy to make an oppressive game environment with drab colors and hulking soldiers on every corner. It’s much more difficult to make a world that at first seems perfect but is actually a nightmare to live in. The unnamed city of Mirror’s Edge is bright and glistening. At first it seems like the ideal future. It’s only once you’ve delved into the game that you realize how tightly controlled everything is, and just how steep the price is for dissent. Few games have nailed such a unique atmosphere so well. Even Mirror’s Edge’s recent sequel struggled with it, yet it’s still worth checking out the original to get a view of a very different type of dystopia.

    Buy Mirror's Edge

    4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    2011 | Eidos Montreal | PC, PS3, X360

    Of course, if you’re going to do a more stereotypical dystopian game, you better do it right. Deus Exhas never strayed too far from its cyberpunk origins. There are mega corporations, conspiracies, and all sorts of cool, futuristic weapons and gadgets. But the freedom that the game gives you to accomplish goals anyway you see fit is what’s always made it stand out from similar games. While all of the Deus Ex games are great, Human Revolution is easily the franchise at its very best, as the world of the future is divided between those that have biological augmentations and those that don't.

    Buy Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    3. BioShock

    2007 | 2K Games | PC, PS3, X360

    So many of the great dystopias in fiction began as utopias. At least that’s what happened with Rapture, the undersea paradise founded on Ayn Rand’s objectivism philosophy. While many first-person shooters have tried to copy BioShock’s plasmid-based gameplay and emphasis on story over the past decade, virtually none have emulated what really made the game great: its unique setting. Rapture initially showed so much promise before it was torn down by the inherent flaws of mankind and thrown into a bloody civil war full of monsters, psychopaths, and addicts. If more games tried to tackle philosophical concepts like that, rather than just copying gameplay gimmicks, they might see the same success as BioShock.

    Buy BioShock

    2. Half-Life 2

    2004 | Valve | PC

    It’s been more than a decade since Half-Life 2 came out. Hundreds of first-person shooters have been released in that time, and many of them have featured oppressive, futuristic settings. And still none of them have come close to topping Valve’s masterpiece. From the depressing arrival in the alien-controlled City 17 at the game’s onset to the final assault on the Citadel to the weird science throughout, few games have better conveyed a sense of place and urgency. If you’re reading this, you’ve almost certainly played Half-Life 2, and you’ve probably beaten it. Still, now is as good a time as any to remember just how great Valve's dystopian masterpiece really is.

    Buy Half-Life 2

    1. Fallout: New Vegas

    2010 | Obsidian Entertainment | PC, PS3, X360

    Perhaps no gaming franchise has become so synonymous with the idea of dystopia as Fallout. The great thing about Fallout is its realism. No, there likely wouldn’t be any super mutants or laser weapons after a nuclear war, but there would be people trying to survive in the ashes. Some of those people would be soldiers. Some would be psychopaths. Some would just be normal citizens just trying to get by in a terrible situation. While the setting of the Fallout games has always been depressing, the series has never forgotten this basic tenet of humanity, and the writing in New Vegas displays this better than any other game in the series. Fallout almost makes life after the nuclear holocaust enjoyable.

    Buy Fallout: New Vegas

    Chris Freiberg is a freelance contributor.


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  • 01/30/18--15:30: Overwatch League Live Stream
  • The Overwatch League has arrived! Here's how to watch the live stream...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 30, 2018

    Blizzard's Overwatch League is arguably a developer's most ambitious attempt to organize and curate a game's competitive scene.

    Essentially, Blizzard wants to give major cities in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and South Korea their own Overwatch teams. The city approach conjures images of the formats used by sports organizations like the NBA and the NFL, but the Overwatch League's competitive format is actually structurally closer to the system used by the World Cup. 

    Every Overwatch team will compete in a series of pre-season and regular season matches. Every team will play 20 games within their division and 20 games outside of their division. The top team from each division will move on to the postseason. Joining them will be the four remaining teams with the best record (regardless of division). From there, the teams will compete in a multi-week series of matches for a variety of prizes. The championship team gets a cool $1 million in prize money (plus bonuses). 

    Be sure to check out our full breakdown of how the Overwatch League's format and prize money system will work.

    There are a variety of ways to watch the Overwatch League. Thanks to a new deal, Twitch fans will be able to watch the first two seasons of the Overwatch League via the popular streaming service. Games will be broadcasted in English, Korean, and French across multiple Twitch channels. 

    You can also view Overwatch League matches through MLG.com, the MLG app, OverwatchLeague.com and the Overwatch League app. Meanwhile, ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC, and Panda TV are expected to broadcast Overwatch League matches to fans in China. 

    If you're looking to get right in on the action, you can watch the Overwatch League English Twitch channel via the player below:

    Here's a quick look at the Overwatch League matches happening this week:

    Wednesday, January 31st

    Los Angeles Valiant vs. Philadelphia Fusion - 7:00 PM

    Florida Mayhem vs. Los Angeles Gladiators - 9:00 PM

    Houston Outlaws vs. San Francisco Shock - 11:00 PM

    Thursday, February 1st

    Philadelphia Fusion vs. Dallas Fuel - 5:00 PM

    New York Excelsior vs. Shanghai Dragons - 7:00 PM

    London Spitfire vs. Seoul Dynasty - 9:00 PM

    Friday, February 2nd

    San Francisco Shock vs. Florida Mayhem - 7:00 PM

    Seoul Dynasty vs. Houston Outlaws - 9:00 PM

    Los Angeles Gladiators vs. Boston Uprising - 11:00 PM

    Saturday, February 3rd

    Shanghai Dragons vs. London Spitfire - 2:00 PM

    Dallas Fuel vs. New York Excelsior - 4:00 PM

    Boston Uprising vs. Los Angeles Valiant - 6:00 PM

    Can Blizzard's ambitious plan succeed? Will the Overwatch League be the future of eSports? How will the competitive matches shape the game's online meta? Which stars will rise from the competition and single themselves out as some of the best players in the world?

    Most importantly, which team will win it all? 


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    Everything we know about World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, including latest news, release date, trailers, and more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jan 30, 2018

    The next World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, takes the game back to its roots a bit by focusing on the battle between the Horde and the Alliance. Each side will be able to explore three new zones. The Horde will have access to the islands of Zandalar while the Aliiance will be able to traverse the island of Kul Tiras. These new areas will reportedly contain "allied races" which players will be able to recruit and eventually play as. 

    Perhaps the most exciting addition this expansion brings to the table is the inclusion of a new islands system that adds an almost rogue-like element to the game. Basically, players will be able to build parties of three and explore these island areas. The catch here is that these areas change slightly every time that you visit them. You'll also be able to access new areas called Waterfronts that support 20 player fights over locations that are reportedly of strategic importance to both the Horde and the Alliance. 

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    Battle for Azeroth also includes a new legendary neck piece called the Heart of Azeroth. This neck piece will allow players to unlock new abilites that are directly tied to their armor. This system sounds very similar to the one that Blizzard implemented in Legion that allowed players to build upon existing weapons via in-game artifacts. 

    Finally, Battle for Azeroth will raise the current level cap to 120 and will include a feature that allows players to buy a boost up to level 110 should they wish to do so. 

    Here's everything else we know about the expansion:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth News

    Starting today, anyone who pre-orders Battle for Azeroth will be able to access the Allied Races; tweaked version of existing races within World of Warcraft. Following a bit of a grind with these new variants, you'll be able to properly start a new character at level 20. 

    Pre-ordering Battle for Azeroth ($50) will also allow you to access a level 110 boost so you can enjoy all of Legion's late game content. Those that opt for the Deluxe Edition ($70) of the expansion will also be able to access some free goodies in other Blizzard games like Overwatch

    The full list of pre-order incentives can be found here

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Trailer

    Blizzard has revealed the next expansion for World of Warcraft. Here is the debut cinematic trailer for Battle for Azeroth:

    While that trailer lives up to Blizzard's legacy of creating cinematics worthy of the big screen, it unfortunately doesn't tell us much about the game itself. Fortuantely, Blizzard has released another preview for the expansion that elaborates on its features a bit more:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Release Date

    Blizzard has promised that Battle for Azeroth will be released on or before September 21, 2018. 

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth PvP

    The World of Warcraft team hopes to emphasize the game's player vs. player elements once more by changing the way that PvP works. 

    Game director Ion Hazzikostas told Kotaku that the team plans on turning every one of the game's servers into PvP servers. However, everyone will need to opt-in to PvP combat if they wish to participate in battle. The catch is that players will only be able to turn PvP on or off inside of major cities. Out in the wild, you'll live with the decision you've made. 

    “Doing this gives us a foundation upon which to build,” said Hazzikostas. “I think in the past when we talked about ideas for PVP content in the world, we often ran into the question of ‘Well, what does this mean for people on PVE servers?’ Are there just millions of people who don’t get to experience this content at all, even if they want to?”

    Hazzikostas also admitted that the WoW team has fallen behind somewhat in terms of expanding the game's PvP battles. While he admits you can't make those battles perfectly balanced, he states that the team is hoping to implement some kind of level-scaling system that might help battles feel a little fairer. 

    Hazzikostas previously noted that Battle for Azeroth will incorporate elements of the Warcraft RTS games. Specifically, the expansion's Waterfront battles will play out like a WoW take on the classic strategy titles. 

    “In searching for inspiration for how that might unfold, classic RTS roots felt like the perfect place to turn,” said Hazzikostas. He later explained that your first job will be to get your team's base fully-functional which will require you to gather resources such as "lumber or gold" to upgrade town halls. You'll also need to clear supply lines of foes in order to allow "peons to do their thing."

    The next phase of battle requires teams of players to decide how existing resources will be spent on the battles ahead. This includes the building of certain weapons and other combat resources. Finally, you will actually do battles against other teams with the resources you have accumulated. 

    We're curious if the resource gathering elements will grow tedious over time and how deep the base building is, but this certainly sounds like a significant addition to the game that wonderfully touches upon Warcraft's oft-forgotten RTS roots. 


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    EA blames the controversy surrounding the game's loot box system on the slumping sales.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 31, 2018

    After much speculation that the microtransaction fiasco surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II might lead to a significant sales drop for the sequel, The Wall Street Journal is confirming that does seem to be the case. 

    In a recent article, the publication states that Battlefront II has sold 9 million copies thus far which is one million less than EA expected to sell by this point. EA expects to sell up to an extra 3 million units of the game before the end of the fiscal year, but Battlefront II will likely not outsell its predecessor in the near future. 

    Despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, EA's financial chief, Blake Jorgensen, says that microtransactions are being added back to the game within the next few months. Jorgensen says that they'll do it when they believe the time is right and also admitted that the initial lower sales of Battlefront II likely have something to do with the game's loot box controversies. The game also prompted several governing bodies to pursue legislation based on loot boxes in video games. 

    EA hasn't confirmed whether or not they will make any sweeping changes to Battlefront II's loot box system beyond the price reductions they implemented prior to taking microtransactions offline. 

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    If you're just catching wind of this controversy, then you're missing out on one of the great gaming dramas of recent memory. When Battlefront II launched to the public, it featured a loot box/microtransaction system that heavily encouraged players to spend quite a bit of money on the game in order to unlock perks and certain legendary Star Wars characters. Many considered it to be a clear example of pay-to-win. 

    Following a public outcry and what we're sure was a tense call from Disney's CEO, EA decided to remove microtransactions from the game. However, the loot boxes remained. 

    Has the controversy cooled down enough to ensure that Battlefront IIcan eventually achieve sales success? It's honestly difficult to imagine it has. 


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    Try to act surprised.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 31, 2018

    In what may just be the most inevitable milestone in video game history, Nintendo has announced that the Switch has officially outsold the Wii U

    In less than a year, Nintendo has sold 14 million Switches. A reported 7.23 million of those units were sold in the last quarter alone. By the end of last December, Nintendo had reportedly sold about 14.8 million Switches. 

    As you might imagine, the success of the Switch has translated into a ton of cash for Nintendo. The company's earnings reports indicate that Nintendo experienced a 261% revenue bump from last year. They took in about $4.44 billion in revenue during the last recorded fiscal year. However, it's important to remember that not all of that revenue comes from the Nintendo Switch.

    "For the Nintendo Switch software, Super Mario Odyssey was released in October and has been a big hit, with global sales reaching 9.07 million units," reads the report. "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, released in April, has sold 7.33 million units, and Splatoon 2, released in July, has sold 4.91 million units, bringing to 8 the total number of million-seller titles for this fiscal year including the titles of other software publishers.

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    Nintendo also stated that they saw a slight bump in 3DS sales during the holiday season. It seems the most recent Pokemon titles - Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon - may have triggered a slight spike in that system's sales. On top of all that, Nintendo reported strong earnings from the Super NES Classic Edition, their downloadable markets, their mobile gaming endeavors, and their Amiibo line. 

    What we're getting at here is that Nintendo is doing quite well. Some have speculated that the Switch's second-year success will be tied to how many major releases Nintendo can churn out in 2018, but the Switch's ability to attract so many third-party developers may make it immune to the woes suffered by other Nintendo console in-between the release of major Nintendo games. 


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    The studio claims the release of this new title is the reason that Anthem has been delayed until 2019.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 31, 2018

    EA has announced that they plan to release a new Battlefield game in 2018.

    The "announcement" actually came during EA CFO Blake Jorgensen's interview with the Wall Street Journal in which he stated that the company's decision to delay Anthem to 2019 isn't due to production delays, but rather the company's desire to release a new Battlefield game before the end of the year. 

    While that isn't exactly a ceremonious announcement, this is the first time we've received official word that Battlefieldwill be returning this year. Previously, EA suggested that the game might go on a bit of a hiatus as they focused on the development of the Battlefront series. If there were any plans in place to delay the release of Battlefieldeven further, they may have been compromised by the controversy surrounding the latest Star Wars title. 

    Until EA makes a more formal announcement regarding the release of the next Battlefield game, we're left to fill in some of the blanks that exist regarding some of the features of this next Battlefield title. The biggest question up in the air at the moment is "What era will the game be set in?" The last Battlefield title took the series to World War I and received quite a bit of acclaim from fans who welcomed the different - yet oddly familiar - setting. 

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    Given that Battlefield had a year off, it's quite possible that the team at EA Dice will decide to change up things again rather than just expand upon the World War I era they established with the last installment. However, we wouldn't completely rule out the possibility that they will develop another title that occurs during that time period given that Battlefield 1 reportedly sold quite well. 

    If the next Battlefield game isn't a World War I title, then we anticipate that it will either re-visit the Vietnam era or perhaps even just return the franchise to the more modern age of combat. The Vietnam option is a particularly exciting one simply because 2004's Battlefield Vietnam was a fascinating, yet flawed, take on that controversial war. 


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  • 01/31/18--13:37: Monster Hunter: World Review
  • Monster Hunter: World is the most polished installment in the franchise and lots of fun to play, too. Our review...

    The backbone of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series - a sweet and simple gameplay loop that sees players hunt ferocious monsters and then improve their gear and skills before questing after bigger, badder monsters - remains as sturdy and addictive as ever in Monster Hunter: World. It’s the grandest, most inclusive installment in the series yet, with lush, sprawling environments teeming with creatures that are equal parts eye-catching and terrifying. Longtime fans will feel right at home, and newcomers will find a deep but accessible action RPG to sink their teeth into.

    What’s immediately striking about World is its colorful menagerie of monsters, each more imaginatively designed than the last. There are Anjanath, which ostensibly appear to be run-of-the-mill T-Rex but boast furry, spiky tails and accentuated bird-like features. The toxic, tongue-waggling Pukei-Pukei look like frog/lizard hybrids with feathers, and the pachydermatous Barroth bulldoze through everything in their path with tumorous, rock-like crowns. Coming face to face with these fantastical creatures is one of the game’s greatest joys, but things only get better after that initial moment of awe.

    The game’s easy to pick up, hard to master gameplay is unique in that there’s almost a music to it. Each monster has its own patterns, tells, and style of movement, and it’s your job as a hunter to harmonize your movements with your target’s, constantly scrambling for the most advantageous position, finding openings to deal damage, and choosing the right moments to disengage. It’s all about rhythm and fancy fingerwork, and once you get a feel for it and find the style that works for you, you’ll feel like a rockstar shredding through a badass guitar solo as you dip and dodge around your fangy foes and cut them down without breaking a sweat.

    Combat is further elevated by the diverse selection of weapon types - 14 in all. If you’re comfortable wielding the traditional sword and shield combo for the entirety of your playthrough, World supports that, and you’re sure to have a rich experience. But give one of the more exotic instruments of death a try and you’ll find an entirely different way to play. Dual Blades turn you into a veritable slice ‘n’ dice tornado, the Gunlance gives you the option of taking both a long and short-distance approach to offense, and the Hunting Horn offers the delightfully bizarre opportunity to play melodies to manipulate battlefield stats, which comes especially useful when teaming up with other players online.

    As in previous titles, you’re able to tackle quests with up to three other players online, which adds even more layers of complexity to the already deep gameplay. Whether you’re desperate for assistance on a particularly tough mission, or you want to set up a hunting party with your real-life friends, running in packs is always a fun option, though the game perfectly supports solo play for those of us who prefer to use games as a way to escape the needling anxiety of human interaction. Online functionality isn’t as smooth as one would hope - dropping into matches with friends is a convoluted chore - but once your party is off and running in the game world, it’s gravy.

    Chances are, there are going to be more people playing Monster Hunter online than ever before, thanks to Capcom making Worldthe most streamlined installment in the franchise yet. The painstaking, repetitive collection quests that infamously dragged down previous titles have mercifully been mitigated this time around, though they’re still available for embracers of the grind. Inventory management has seen improvements as well, like the ability to set certain items to craft automatically when you gather the required components. These refinements may not change the core feel of what a Monster Hunter game is, and new players will likely take them for granted, but anyone who’s sunk serious hours into these games in the past will surely be doing cartwheels when they realize they no longer have to suffer through watching their character hunker down and massage the ground every time they gather the most basic of items.

    There’s always lots of gathering and scavenging to be done, which is the drug-like ingredient in the Monster Huntergameplay formula that keeps players hooked for dozens and dozens of hours. Gathering materials allows you to craft things to help you take down big, bad monsters, whose carcasses yield more materials which you can use to craft new gear to slay bigger, badder monsters. Games with the scope of Worldare carefully designed to feed into players’ natural compulsions. Almost everything you encounter - from salvageable bone piles, to gigantic footprints leading into a narrow canyon, to a stretch of beautiful, cascading waterfalls - is put in place to compel you to trudge forward and see what awaits around the corner. It’s dangerously addictive stuff, and after almost a decade and a half of refinement, Capcom have got it down to a science.

    Buy Monster Hunter World

    It’d be near-impossible to delve into every aspect of gameplay World has to offer, though there are some highlights that colored my experience more than others. The various environments are breathtaking, lush, and detailed, and each location - from the lush Ancient Forest to the suffocating Rotten Vale - feels lived in and organic. While exploring each location, you’ll likely be driven forward by monster detective work, which sees you inspecting the tracks, feathers, and mucus trails the monsters leave behind, collecting samples as you slowly build up your knowledge base about each creature, which in turn makes them easier to capture or kill. The monsters themselves are magnificently animated digital creations, with even their slightest movements giving away hints about how to get the best of them.

    When it comes to the meat and potatoes of its core gameplay, World is hard to fault. Its visual presentation, however, is more of a mixed bag. While at a glance the game is clearly a looker, with slick animations and vibrant art design, some of its technical shortcomings become more evident the longer you play. Low-resolution textures can be found everywhere, and at their worst, they wouldn’t look out of place in earlier entries of the series. Also, while the monsters are downright amazing to look at most of the time, they lack the sense of weight and inertia seen in creatures from other current gen games (Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Last Guardian come to mind).

    You could say World is lacking in the story department, too (it involves you aiding the Research Commission in learning more about the flora and fauna of an uncharted landmass called “The New World” while pursuing a giant magma monster called Zorah Magdaros), but the narrative is a means to an end. In these games, gameplay is king, and Capcom has managed to strike the perfect balance between complexity and approachability by accentuating the series’ strengths and sanding down its rougher edges. This is the most polished Monster Hunter has ever been, and with luck, this Japan-centric, arguably niche franchise just might find the worldwide audience it’s always deserved.

    4.5/5
    ReviewBernard Boo
    Jan 31, 2018

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    The announcement of this show may end up being as entertaining as this show gets.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 31, 2018

    If you've been wondering what that blood moon is about, it might have something to do with the fact that Atari is working on a game show based on Pong

    Yes, Variety is reporting that producer Scott Sternberg (Catch 21, Rock and Roll Jeopardy, The Gong Show) has teamed up with Atari to develop a television game show based on the classic video game. The show, currently titled Million Dollar Pong, will presumably allow contestants to participate in some form of Pong for the chance to earn some money. In lieu of any actual details, though, we're left with plenty of spin from the show's producer. 

    Pong is a cultural touchpoint for generations of people,” says Sternberg. "It’s not often we get the chance to develop a game show concept around such an iconic brand. I can’t wait to give people the chance to see, experience and play a brand new Pong.”

    Atari's CEO, Frédéric Chesnais, also weighed in on the new deal by stating that "Our brand and our portfolio of games are known to many people around the world so it is a natural fit to bring them to television. We are proud to team-up with Scott and have him join our brand because his expertise will help create a truly remarkable television show for everyone to enjoy.”

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    There's no network attached to the project at present, but Atari's statement does seem to suggest they may be open to pitching other shows based on their properties if this one happens to succeed. 

    Will it succeed? Well, it's too early to say for sure. We've certainly seen stranger concepts attract a wide audience.  In recent years, we've even seen adaptations that seemed like the worst idea on paper (Hannibal comes to mind) but ended up becoming must-watch programs. 

    That disclaimer aside, we're also having a tough time imagining just how a game show version of Pong will play out in a way that attracts millions of viewers week after week. 


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    The app will start rolling out in February.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 31, 2018

    Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe has announced the release date for the first mobile game in the Tekken franchise.  

    On February 1st, iOS and Android users in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, South East Asia will be able to access the game. Users in UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Benelux, Singapore can download it starting on February 15th. Finally, Tekken fans in United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong will be able to download it starting on March 1st. That's also the day that players will be able to access Rodeo; a mobile exclusive character that was unlocked after enough people pre-registered for the game. 

    Here's his debut trailer:

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    Additional rewards are also available for those who pre-register for the game prior to its release Those range from in-game coins to random characters. The full list of available rewards can be found here

    Tekken Mobile takes the basic design of the classic fighting franchise and translates it to a touch-screen experience. That means a somewhat simplified button layout and an emphasis on designing a fighter's style rather than executing every movie, but this version of the game figures to feature the same kind of intense battles that we've come to associate with the series. Alongside a competitive mode, Tekken Mobile will feature a story mode that requires you to form a team of three fighters as you take on a new enemy called Revenant. 

    The game will also allow you to customize each of its 20 characters and participate in special themed events that will be added to the game post-launch. Some of these special events may even allow you to unlock rare characters to add to your collection. 


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    Legendary game studio Rare returns with Sea of Thieves and we've spent some time with the beta. Here's what we thought...

    Feature Chris Freiberg
    Jan 31, 2018

    There was a time in the late ‘90s and early 2000s when a new release from Rare was met with the same level of excitement as a game from Rockstar or Bethesda. But after more than a decade of ownership by Microsoft and only sporadic and uneven releases in recent years, it can be hard to feign even a passing interest in a new Rare game.

    Sea of Thievesis the once legendary developer’s latest attempt at recapturing its former glory, a game that’s supposed to mix the old innovative spirit of Rare with modern graphics and gameplay. And while there are flashes of brilliance (and what the company once was) in Sea of Thieves, the closed beta ultimately left me wanting much more than what I suspect will be in the final product.

    The game makes one hell of a first impression. You’re immediately thrown into its beautifully stylized Caribbean world with a crew of three other players to explore as you see fit on your very own pirate ship. It feels like a Saturday Morning cartoon version of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Unfortunately, two of my fellow crew members quickly disappeared for parts unknown, leaving only me and another player to man the ship.

    In a lot of co-op games, losing members of your party to other activities is no big deal, but in Sea of Thieves, it seriously handicaps the fun. The game really requires all four members of the party to communicate and operate the sails on the ship, steer it, and drop the anchor as needed. Being dropped into a session with random players really isn't the best way to play Sea of Thieves. You'll definitely want to gather three other buddies for this one. 

    Slightly hobbled, what was left of our crew headed north, soon encountering a sand bar. I jumped out of the ship and used my scabbard to take out a couple skeletons and then looted some bananas and cannonballs. As I headed back to the ship, I was met by a shark who took a big chunk of my health, but my scabbard made short work of it as well. 

    So you might be thinking, “Cannon balls? Skeletons? Sharks? This sounds like the best thing ever!”

    Well, the problem is that there are a lot of cannon balls, skeletons, and sharks in Sea of Thieves. In fact, in the hours I spent with the game, that was all I encountered in the game's beautiful yet empty islands. I certainly hope that there will be more enemies and things to discover in the main game, because right now, Sea of Thieves gets boring quick. Again, part of that does depend on who you play with, though. 

    After returning to the ship, my remaining teammate logged off, but was promptly replaced by three other players with mics who had some experience with the beta and the game’s systems. One even had a quest, a riddle that led us to an island to the southwest. Working together, we figured out where exactly the riddle was leading us and the location of buried treasure. Finally, something worth doing in Sea of Thieves!

    We turned treasure island into an outpost and got a map to another island to find more treasure. Presumably, we could have kept doing that indefinitely. And not much else. So far, the beta experience seems to indicate that the core of the game is that loop of sailing to treasure, finding it, and going off again for more treasure. This gave me a decidedly mixed impression of Sea of Thieves.

    That said, I love the game’s style and atmosphere. Rare has done a really great job of simplifying the controls to the point that anyone can jump in and understand them. Even communication through emotes is handled pretty well if you don’t want to use a mic.

    But completely ignoring players who want to explore on their own feels like a huge step backwards in 2018. It's virtually impossible to have a successful adventure in Sea of Thieves' world without a full crew. I had fun with other players who knew what they were doing, but as pretty much every multiplayer game ever has shown, that’s usually a minority of users. If you don't have friends willing to join your crew, you will probably have a hard time finding the game's sweet spot.

    Even when you encounter crew members who know what they’re doing, it’s unclear what exactly the point of the game is. Just collecting treasure chests and getting some cosmetic loot isn’t going to keep many players entertained for long. Where’s the progression? New items and enemies? Where’s any sort of story? Sea of Thieves is a big playground without much to do.

    To be fair, we don’t yet know how these things will work in the full game. Rare could be holding a lot of content back, but in beta, Sea of Thieves struck me more as a really interesting tech demo than the system selling exclusive the Xbox One so badly needs.

    Sea of Thieves arrives on March 20, 2018 for Xbox One and PC.


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    New role being created for Ken Watanabe in the Detective Pikachu Pokemon movie

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jan 31, 2018

    The most famous rodent since Mickey Mouse is set for its own feature film. Detective Pikachu is being helmed by Rob Letterman, who is best known for adapting R.L. Stine's '90s kid nostalgia pic, Goosebumps, for Sony. Turning that into an all-ages comedy did wonders for the studio, and a sequel is expected to be on the way. Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman penned the script for Detective Pikachu.

    Legendary bought the international Pokémon movie rights in summer 2016 and has slowly been putting this movie together. It will also be produced through Universal Pictures, who will distribute the film in the U.S. and most international markets. Toho Co, Ltd., the movie studio behind all the animated Pokémon movies, will maintain the Japanese rights to the brand.

    Here's everything else we know:

    Detective Pikachu News

    Bill Nighy (Love Actually) and Chris Geere (You're the Worst) have joined the cast of Detective Pikachu in undisclosed roles. This Pokemon adventure is assembling quite the cast for Pikachu's first live action outing!

    Detective Pikachu Release Date

    The live-action Detective Pikachu movie, based on the 2016 Pokémon video game Great Detective Pikachu, will hit theaters on May 10th, 2019.

    Detective Pikachu Cast

    Detective Pikachu will star Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) in the motion capture role of Pikachu. It's unclear if Reynolds will also lend his voice to the character, which could prove to be a bit controversial considering how fans reacted to the first time Pikachu spoke in a movie.

    Justice Smith (Get Down) co-stars as a kid who needs to find his missing father, and Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies), who is described as a "sassy journalist" who helps Smith's character and Detective Pikachu on the case.

    Ken Watanabe has joined in an unspecified role being written specifically for the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 


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