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    Hearthstone's Ben Brode explains why certain cards didn't get cut and how some old cards may eventually return to the game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 27, 2018

    At the start of Hearthstone's Year of the Raven, three more cards will join the game's Hall of Fame collection. 

    The first is undoubtedly one of the most requested Hall of Fame candidates. Yes, Ice Block is finally being rotated out of standard play. This three mana Mage secret essentially bought mage players an extra turn or two to win the game. While it was made popular by specialty decks like Freeze Mage which tried to stall games as long as possible, it was soon worked into just about every mage list because it was so powerful. Blizzard noted that it was the fact that Ice Block became "the centerpiece of Standard decks for many years" which inspired them to move the secret to the Hall of Fame. 

    As welcome as this change is, Hearthstone Game Director Ben Brode informed us during a recent group interview that it does leave Mage a bit short on classic cards when you consider that multiple Mage cards have now been moved to the Hall of Fame. He says that the team is considering bringing back some old cards into standard play just to balance the numbers.

    "I would like there to be the same number of Mage cards as in other classes," said Brode. "The cards that we might decide to rotate back in will ideally not be meta defining...an example of this would be that we considered rotating Shatter back into standard. I don't think players are itching to see Shatter, but it does help define that Mage is about freezing effects."

    Coldlight Oracle will join Ice Block in the Hall of Fame, which is somewhat of a surprise. This three mana Murloc allows you to draw two cards when you play it (a tremendous value) but it also draws two cards for your opponent. In the past, the card's drawback kept it from seeing play outside of specialty decks. However, Blizzard ultimately found that Coldlight Oracle's drawback could too easily be used to burn an opponent's entire deck by forcing them to overdraw. On top of that, they didn't want all classes to have such easy access to cheap card draw. All told, the team just felt that the card's versatility created problems for them moving forward. 

    "[Coldlight] is a beloved card and it doesn't currently feel like it has the same level of impact as a card like Ice Block," said Brode. "However, it has been preventing us from making certain card designs that we've been excited to try for awhile now."

    The final card to enter the Hall of Fame during this next rotation is Molten Giant. At first, veteran Hearthstone players probably won't understand why Molten Giant is being added to the Hall of Fame given that it hasn't been played much since it's been nerfed. However, Blizzard has actually decided to restore the card to its original state and move it into the Hall of Fame. Their reason for doing this is simple. 

    "It's purely a thing that players have been asking for," said Brode. "Molten Giant was nerfed when Whispers of the Old Gods went into rotation. We didn't have the concept of the Hall of Fame in place at that time. We actually created it [Hall of Fame] specifically because players reacted negatively to the Molten Giant nerf. They wanted to be able to play [Molten Giant] decks in Wild. This keeps the dream of Wild alive and it keeps standard healthy."

    Brode noted that the team's decision to only move three cards into the Hall of Fame this year as opposed to the six that received the same treatment last year is simply based on the fact that they felt like they hit many of the most problematic cards with the last Hall of Fame set.

    He also stated that despite requests from pro and casual players, the team did not seriously consider moving Wild Growth to the Hall of Fame. The biggest reason why is that Wild Growth is a basic card that all players can unlock through the course of regular play and that the team is not interested in moving basic cards to the Hall of Fame due to the logistical problems that move creates for new players. However, Brode did mention Fiery War Axe and Innervate as two examples of basic cards the team have changed if they feel they need to do so. 

    For those who don't know, Hall of Fame cards are cards included in Hearthstone's classic set that the team is rotating out of standard play. Otherwise, these cards would remain in standard play forever. Just as before, players who own Hall of Fame cards will receive a dust refund for them when they are rotated into the Hall of Fame, but they will be able to keep the cards in their collection. 


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    This is one of the absolute saddest ports we've ever seen...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 27, 2018

    Chrono Trigger has shockingly just been quietly released on PC. While Chrono Trigger has been made available for several platforms since its SNES debut, PC gamers have had to make do with...err...less than official ways of playing the classic JRPG.

    As of today, you can play Chrono Triggervia Steam for the low price of $14.99. This version of the game does come with two of the additional dungeons featured in the 2008 DS port of the game and doesn't suffer from some of the re-imagined graphics that plagued recent PC editions of classic Final Fantasygames. 

    However, and this is a big warning that you should consider, it does appear that the PC version of the game is a fairly straight port of Chrono Trigger's mobile version. Not only does that mean that it hasn't necessarily been cleaned up and polished as much as it could have been, but it seems that this build of the game might feature some problems unique to the mobile port. Some users on Steam are even reporting that if you drag your mouse across the screen, you can see the virtual joystick from the mobile version of the game.

    That's...a bit disturbing. While Chrono Trigger isn't a technologically demanding game, there are certain design concessions that had to be made for the mobile port of the game. Those concessions - such as blurry textures and questionable font - are supposedly also present in the PC version of the title. We're waiting to try this game out for ourselves, though, so for the moment, we can't formally confirm the extent of these issues.

    Still, the amount of negative reviews the game is receiving seems to indicate that there are serious issues present in this port. Fans on Twitter are already collecting some of the most baffling screenshots from the game. This one is especially troubling:

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    Considering that Chrono Trigger is one of the greatest and most beloved JRPG games of all-time, a port such as this in the year 2018 is honestly unacceptable. Fans probably weren't expecting a complete reimagining of the game, but these kinds of issues are impossible to justify when you're talking about a major company like Square Enix porting a 23-year-old game to PC. 

    At the moment, we'd advise you to stay away from this game. 


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    Jurassic Park writer Michael Crichton wrote a game? Based on his own novel Congo? Yep, it's true...

    Feature Ryan Lambie
    Feb 28, 2018

    For many, Michael Crichton will always be remembered as the author behind one of the biggest film franchises of all time: Jurassic Park. But as well as writing popular novels and non-fiction books, directing his own hit movies (such as the classic Westworld), Crichton also dabbled in the realm of video games.

    It was in the late 1970s, when Crichton replaced his old Olivetti word processor with an Apple II, that his fascination with computers began, and he started to learn how to program in BASIC. His enthusiasm was such that he regularly contributed to Creative Computing magazine, and even wrote a non-fiction book, Electronic Life, which aimed to introduce technophobic readers to the brave new world of computers.

    All of this led to one of Crichton's lesser-known creative forays: in 1984, he co-wrote an adventure game called Amazon

    Amazon is a graphic adventure that is fairly typical of its era. It tells a story through a mixture of text and images, and the player forges a path through the narrative by typing in simple commands like "go north,""examine cupboard," and "open door." Crichton originally wanted to base the game on Congo, the sci-fi adventure novel he'd written four years earlier. But when it emerged that Crichton had unwittingly sold the rights to a Hollywood studio, he was left in the unfortunate position of being unable to create a game based on his own book.

    As a result, Crichton set about changing some of the story elements in Congo- its location, as you've probably guessed, was switched from Zaire to the Amazon, and talking ape became a voluble parrot - while keeping the same basic plot. The game sees an expedition to the Amazon go unexpectedly awry, with all members of the party killed in mysterious circumstances. The player, cast as an intrepid explorer, is dispatched to find out what happened and encounters "vicious Huni warriors," machine gun-toting soldiers, and a place called The Lost City of Chak.

    Crichton teamed up with programmer Stephen Warady and artist David Durand to make Amazon, but Crichton actually programmed certain sections of the game himself. According to a 1985 issue of Creative Computing, Crichton wrote "the graphics routines for the main titles, modules that deal with turning the computer (in the game) on, and all the sound effects." That's pretty impressive for someone who said of his programming ability, "I don't do that very well."

    Crichton's interest in making his own game was borne partly out of his desire to improve on the text adventures he'd already played. As Crichton pointed out in another interview from the mid-80s, uncovered by writer Jimmy Maher, that many game designers at the time were more adept at programming than telling a satisfying story:

    "If I play a game for a half-hour and it doesn’t make any sense to me, I’ll just quit and never go back," Crichton said. "Say I’m locked in this house and I don’t know what the point of the house is and why I can’t get out and there’s no sort of hint to me about the mentality that would assist me in getting out - I don’t know. I could say 'Shazam!' or I could burn the house down or - give me a break. I just stop."

    Looking back at Amazon, it's easy to see how Crichton applied his talent as a writer and filmmaker to a relatively new medium. An opening sequence, in which the static on a monitor clears to reveal a devastated camp in the Amazon, strewn with dead bodies, has a cinematic quality that was still quite rare among graphic adventures of the time. And while the player's choice of paths through the game is limited at times, Amazon does a good job of placing you in the middle of a rip-roaring thriller. There are villains and mysteries and an exploding volcano, and true to form, Crichton even throws in a high-tech gadget or two. 

    While Amazon's a relatively obscure game these days, it was a decent hit at the time of its release. Programmed first for the Apple II and then ported to the Commodore 64 and other computers of the day, it reportedly sold around 100,000 copies - a healthy number for the time. Amazon was also the first game from Trillium (quickly renamed Telarium), a company which specialized in making adventure games in collaboration with popular authors. Some of its most significant titles included Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, both adapted from their novels and made with the writers' input.

    Amazon wasn't Crichton's only foray into the world of video games, either. In 1999, he set up a company called Timeline Computer Entertainment. Its first game was Timeline, a 3D adventure based on Crichton's novel of the same name. Regrettably, Timeline wasn't as well received as Amazon, and the company behind it folded shortly after the game's release.

    While his novels were often cautionary tales about future technology and meddling with nature, Crichton clearly had an affection for computers. Among the authors of his generation, Crichton was one of the first to truly understand the storytelling possibilities of games. At a time when many writers and filmmakers were still getting to grips with how a computer worked, he recognized that this new medium could be as valid a means of storytelling as a movie or a novel. As Crichton once put it, "My interest is trying to tell a story in a new way."


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    H1Z1 is officially launching on Steam with a new vehicular battle royale mode!

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Feb 28, 2018

    Daybreak Games has announced that H1Z1 is leaving Early Access today with an official launch that includes a new mode called Auto Royale, a vehicular twist on the game's popular battle royale mode. (And to completely break objectivity for a second: it sounds awesome - like an online version of Twisted Metal.) H1Z1 is now available for $19.99 through Steam for Windows PC.

    Inspired by H1Z1’s vehicle play, Auto Royale features up to 30 teams of four in a battle to be the last vehicle standing. Teams speed around the massive map looking for power-ups, weapons, ammo, fuel, and health as they try to out-shoot, out-drive, and outlast the competition.

    The mode introduces two new vehicles to H1Z1, a sedan, and an armored recon vehicle (ARV), and a variety of features to cause vehicular havoc, including ramps, land mines, oil slicks, turbo boosts, vehicle jumps, corrosive smoke, and much more.

    Daybreak has plans for further updates to the game after the official launch, including Z1 Remastered, a revamped version of the fan-favorite map from H1Z1’s early days. 

    According to the press release, here's all the stuff you can expect from Auto Royale and the game's official launch on Steam...

    AUTO ROYALE GAME MODE HIGHLIGHTS:

    Two New Vehicles: Players can choose from two vehicles in Auto Royale – Sedan or ARV – both new to the game and only available in Auto Royale.

    - Sedan: Nimble car with faster acceleration and higher jump clearance, allowing skilled drivers to quickly evade enemies.

    - Armored Recon Vehicle (ARV): Offers more stability, making it easier to drive for new players, but has less turbo fuel efficiency.

    New Weapons: The Light Machine Gun (LMG), available only in Auto Royale, deals the most sustained damage of any gun in the game.

    New Power Ups: Players pick up evasive, defensive and combat drops to throw opponents off their trail, heal themselves, or deal damage to enemy vehicles.

    - Defensive drops include vehicle repair kits, environmental buffs, fire extinguishers, and vehicle armor.

    - Evasive power ups include smoke screens, high-octane fuel, turbo boosts, and oil slicks.

    - Combative pick-ups include land mines and corrosive smoke.

    Auto Royale is currently in Beta and will continue to develop with feedback from the community. Along with the new vehicular battle royale game mode, H1Z1 launches with a plethora of new features designed to enhance the game’s competitive nature and fast-paced combat.

    ADDITIONAL H1Z1 LAUNCH FEATURES:

    Tactical Deployment: Players can choose which area to parachute into at the start of a match using a heat map that shows locations of where other players spawn.

    Airdrop Revamp: The airdrop system has been refined to add more points of contention, increasing the drop frequency and item value.

    Season 1: The official first in-game Season for H1Z1 starts with an all-new scoring algorithm designed to reward consistency and aggression, not just a player’s 10 best placements.

    Mini Map: Players now have the option to turn on a mini map to help them navigate the world.

    Founder’s Item: All players who bought H1Z1 during Early Access will receive a special in-game shirt.


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    Mega Man bosses are key to the identity of the entire franchise. Some, however, work better than others.

    The ListsLuke McKinney
    Feb 28, 2018

    The Blue Bomber is one of the most iconic characters in all of gaming, and with good reason. Year after year, he's taken on the dastardly challenges put in front of him, always coming out on top. Not even his creator, mad scientist Dr. Wily ever stood a chance against everyone's favorite robot boy hero. 

    But Mega Man isn't the only star of his self-titled adventures. There are plenty of memorable villains along for the ride, all ready to end the Blue Bomber's journey at the end of each diabolical level. Of course, they're not always memorable for the right reasons. While some of these bosses are fun to fight and are cool designs, there are some bad guys that don't quite reach that level of creativity. 

    So, we're taking a look at the best, worst, and weirdest Mega Man bosses of all time. Make sure to bring some power-ups along...

    WORST

    Top Man

    Mega Man 3 (1990)

    Imagine your childhood dream coming true! You've got a job designing badass robot villains for your favorite video game. How many games would it take before you based one on a spinning top? For most humans, or even gorillas trained to recognize mechanical objects, this number has at least seven digits (or "ook ook OOOK >throws bananas<").

    For Capcom it was 3. Top Man is a robotic killer revolving around a toy that isn't just less powerful than robots, it's less powerful than the Nintendo console the game was being played on. Even R.O.B., the worst robot Nintendo ever built, could spin tops. And Top Man seems to know this, making sure you can kill him so that he doesn't have to live with the shame. He fires three homing tops but they move together with all the speed and ferocity of second-class postage. He could only deliver an ass-kicking if you'd been called away from your controller.

    Or maybe he's just distracted by the way his stage features huge bolts flying across the screen to screw into nuts, meaning he lives in a vast collection of robot pornography.

    Bubble Man 

    Mega Man 2 (1988)

    Bubble Man combines all the fun of a video game water stage with the lethality of water balloons. The water level makes you jump higher than normal, and spikes on the level's ceiling will kill you when you do. Even his own stage is too ashamed of its boss, trying to prevent you from seeing the tragedy of Bubble Man.

    He's a robotic death-dealer with less combat ability than a caveperson and a rock. The Bubble Lead weapon is the goofiest gun in the game, and the Metal Blade will saw it off him in less time than it takes to say, "Submarine? Squid?" or any other more effective aquatic attacker. But the bubble blower is the best weapon against Dr Wily's final form. Thereby completing the tragedy: the only thing this robot can do is destroy its own master.

    Pump Man

    Mega Man 10 (2010)

    Pump Man is the shittiest possible boss, living in a sewer complete with torrents of brown flowing water. No wonder he turned evil and tried to destroy humanity: he's constantly drenched in the worst biological products, and if he looks up he only sees our worst side.

    We think water genuinely shorts out Capcom's circuitry for bosses. Nothing else can explain Pump Man. When you break into his room he vigorously pumps himself to emit fluid and fires it at you. His first appearance shows him leaping up, vigorously working his own handle. We're not saying he's a wanker, but he uses his own introduction to demonstrate the fact.

    WEIRDEST

    Strike Man

    Mega Man 10 (2010)

    Rendering American culture through Japanese game development is a clash of cultures Mega Man was never programmed to handle. Capcom made the most fundamental error possible. If you're designing a robot to kick ass and represent baseball, and use the ball instead of the bat, you need to file an error report on yourself.

    Mega Man's default setting is firing slow spheres that hurt people. A robot based on baseball could have returned every one of those buster shots and become effectively invincible. But of course he'd be invincible, as he'd technically be Bat Man.

    Strike Man's combination of hurling himself and another rebounding projectile can confuse beginners, but his habit of holding perfectly still after that first throw tells them "don't worry, I'm one of the easy ones." In the real world, players aren't allowed to just run up and blast the pitcher in the face. But that's Mega Man's only setting.

    Oil Man

    Mega Man Powered Up (2006)

    Oil Man, because Racism Man didn't pass initial censors. Or anyone with basic human senses. Or so you'd think, but they released it in Japan, with only a hasty palette-swap from black with big pink lips to blue with yellow, adding the thinnest possible layer of deniability to the fact that holy shit, someone released this in 2006.

    Oil Man was extraordinarily out of place in the kid-friendly Powered Up art style. Though aiming this stain on character design at children may be the only way to find an audience that doesn’t immediately start swearing at this bullshit. On the upside, if Dr. Wily really was trying to upset humanity with his Robot Masters, this would show he'd found the way to do it. Luckily, Mega Man smashed him before he could could continue with Sexism Man and Homophobic Man.

    Slash Man

    Mega Man 7 (1995)

    Slash Man is a wild animalist loner with three large metal slashing claws protruding from each wrist, and quite clearly comes from a fan-fiction called of Mega Man vs. X-Men. He's even vulnerable to the Freeze Cracker, so you've got ice powers being blasted at a leaping slash-claw lunatic, making his fight look like an argument in the X-Men academy. Which only confuses things, since X is an entirely different Mega Man. If he were any more Wolverine-ish, he'd be called Mustelid Man and retire to Canada.

    The weirdest thing about Not Quite Copyright Infringing Man is that they had a much better idea in the same level and didn't bother to use it. Halfway through Slash Man's stage, you're forced to flee from a screen-filling Tyrannosaurus Rexbot.

    BEST

    Metal Man

    Mega Man 2 (1988)

    Where most of the other Robot Masters were hijacked utility droids, meaning they're basically reprogrammed Roombas, Metal Man was the first robot Dr. Wily built specifically to kick ass. And it shows. His level is made entirely out of conveyor belts and lethal chunks of metal. Everything about him is moving faster or destroying things. He's not just an enemy but an icon of ass-kicking.

    Metal Man has one of the best weapons in the game, one of the best songs in any game, and the fact he's easy doesn’t leave you feeling disappointed—it makes you feel awesome! And very, very well armed.

    Splash Woman

    Mega Man 9 (2008)

    In 2009, we got the first and only female Robot Master of the classic series. The random chance of getting through more than sixty opponents without ever facing a woman are quintillions to one. Splash Woman learned from the mistakes of past water-themed bosses, too. Her water level isn't nearly as annoying as Bubble Man's, while she kicks enough ass to exterminate every other Robot Master one at a time or all together.

    She's one of the few bosses to remember that she commands an entire army of small robots, and calls them to attack you when you arrive. Your guns mostly fire forward so she flies above your head. Her laser trident is one of the most powerful weapons in any Mega Man game. And she can be easily, almost casually be defeated if you have the right counter-weapon, because that's what it truly means to be a Robot Master.

    Cut Man

    Mega Man (1987)

    Cut Man! The robot based on a random object in the very first game when there was no excuse for having run out of cool ideas. But Capcom was so dedicated to violent danger that it made a man whose only function was "running with scissors." Either that or the development team only had six bosses to build, and they still clearly sat stuck, looking around the office for something they could use. We're lucky we didn't get Wonky Chair Man or Coffee Stain Master.

    Cut Man isn't a threat but an action-packed exemplar of how games used to teach you things. No unskippable tutorial. No invisible walls preventing you from using a double-turbo wall-bounce to get to the first objective because you were meant to practice pressing the A button. 

    This Robot Master is one of the weakest enemies in any game. He took the most damage from the standard buster, but he blew apart in two hits from Guts Man's rock-thrower and that was a revelation. It also gave you the right bit of metal to short-circuit Elec Man's otherwise ass-kicking powers. He was the exemplar of the game's Rock(man)-Paper-Scissors mechanic.

    Cut Man is the hero who sacrificed himself to teach Mega Man the true lesson of success, just like so many small goofy-looking warriors before him. Cut Man was Mega Man's Mr. Miyagi and Yoda. With scissors welded to his head.

    Luke McKinney is a freelance contributor. 


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    Spyro and Warcraft III are the top candidates.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 28, 2018

    Activision is planning on remastering some of their classic properties. 

    The company's most recently released investor's report references some of the games and content add-ons the studio is planning on releasing for the rest of the year. Included amongst the Call of Duty games and Hearthstone expansions is a reference to "releases of remastered versions of titles from our library of IP." The report does not elaborate on which titles might be remastered. 

    However, all signs point to a remaster of the Spyro the Dragon trilogy. It's been rumored for some time now that Activision has been working on remasters of Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. As is typically the case with such remasters, they will likely feature updated visuals, updated soundtracks, and a host of modern features. 

    It seems that the success of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy may have inspired to Activision to reconsider the modern-day merits of Spyro the Dragon. While the two are not entirely similar - Spyro is more of a "traditional" 3D platformer - there are certainly quite a few PlayStation gamers out there who fondly remember Spyro as one of the few 3D platformers for the console that could challenge the mighty 3D platformer library of the N64.  

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    While Spyrois the most likely remaster candidate, that doesn't mean that there aren't other options or that Activision isn't working on multiple remasters. For instance, the recent updates to Warcraft III have some fans speculating that Blizzard might be preparing to release a remaster of that classic RTS title. Needless to say, that would be quite amazing. 

    If you really want to put your speculation pants on, you could go so far as to say that the success of the Crash Bandicoot remasters might have Activision considering the release of several classic PlayStation titles and games from other eras. However, we're sticking with Spyro and Warcraft III as the most likely candidates. 


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    Perhaps the best way yet to watch Batman punch Superman.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 28, 2018

    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have confirmed that they are releasing a special edition of Injustice 2

    Injustice 2 - Legendary Edition contains all of the base Injustice 2 content along with all of the downloadable playable characters released for the title thus far. That includes Darkseid, Red Hood, Starfire, Sub-Zero, Black Manta, Raiden, Hellboy, Atom, Enchantress and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (that last one will never stop being amusing). On top of that, you'll be able to access Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition's premiere skins. 

    But wait, there's more! Legendary Edition contains a new learning hub that expands the offerings of the base game's tutorial mode, new gear items for all existing characters, a new level cap (30), and an additional augment slot that opens at the new level cap. If you pre-order the Day 1 edition of the game, you'll also receive a collectible coin, a steel card, 11,000 source crystals, and a steel case.

    The Legendary Edition of Injustice 2 will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 27th. There is no word yet regarding the price of this edition of the game.

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    Assuming that the asking price for Legendary Edition is reasonable, it's hard not to recommend this edition of the game to anyone who is interested in playing Injustice 2 and hasn't done so yet. There's enough additional content here to consider the Legendary Edition the "definitive" version of the game. 

    Truth be told, though, we'd recommend any version of Injustice 2 to just about anyone. While the game flew under the radar a bit last year due to the sheer number of high-profile, high-quality releases that we were treated to in 2017, Injustice 2 was a truly great fighting title. It lacked some of the depth of the most hardcore fighting games, but its character design, sound design, visuals, depth of customization, and surprisingly great story makes it the type of fighting game that nearly everyone can enjoy regardless of their genre experience. 


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    No time to get your own chicken dinner? Watch some of Twitch's best streamers play PUBG instead.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 28, 2018

    Since it hit early access in 2017, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has become one of the most popular video games to stream. While previous battle royale games have achieved moderate success via streaming services, the refined - well, comparatively refined - gameplay of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds combined with the way it generates so many in-game stories makes it the perfect streaming title. 

    The success of the game raises a bit of a dilemma. How do you possibly navigate the hundreds of PUBG streamers in order to find the ones that are worth your time? You could just click on every stream until you find one you like, but we're relatively certain that kind of madness is what led to PUBG's apocalyptic world where everyone is battling for supremacy. 

    Alternatively, you can just take our word on the matter. While there are many, many great PUBG streamers out there, a few have risen above the pack and distinguished themselves as some of the absolute best. They don't always stream PUBG- there are too many excellent games out there - but when they do, you simply can't miss their playthroughs of one of the most popular games in the world. 

    Summit1g - real name Jaryd Lazar - was once one of the best Counter-Strike players in the world. Well...he might still be, but he's mostly retired from competitive play in favor of a streaming career. 

    While you can sometimes find Summit playing Counter-Strike, he prefers to stream PUBG these days. Yet, it's Summit's skills from his Counter-Strike days that make him such a great PUBG streamer. While PUBG isn't quite as skill intensive as professional Counter-Strike matches, the battle royale's gunplay does cater to those able to execute perfect shots with a variety of weapons while constantly accounting for enemy position. Summit excels at both of those attributes.

    Still, Summit is more of an entertainment streamer than an educational streamer. Watch him if you want to see an exceptional talent, but be aware that he likes to inject quite a bit of his personality into the stream. 

    BreaK

    Considering how hectic and - dare we say? - random PUBGcan be, it's hard to identify the absolute best player in the world. However, BreaK may just have a legitimate claim to that title. 

    BreaK is certainly an excellent marksman - he has hit calculated 1000m sniper shots in the past - but his skills go well beyond that. BreaK has been playing battle royale games since around the time they were introduced and truly understands how the average player thinks. This gives him the remarkable ability to anticipate enemy presence, movement, and positioning. 

    If you want to learn what it takes to play at PUBG's highest levels - without resorting to cheating - watch BreaK do his thing on Twitch. 

    Shroud

    Speaking of players who can lay claim to the title "best in the world," we come to Shroud.

    Like many of the best PUBGplayers, Shroud can trace his career back to a successful run through the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive scene. There, he learned to manage the presence of several targets in a given area. Shroud's ability to identify the movement of his targets and quickly dispatch them borders on inhuman. You know how some PUBG players just hide in the bushes and wait to get those last few kills? That's not Shroud. This guy loves to drop into the thick of it. 

    Shroud's aggressive nature and incredible skills make him one of the most dominant and impressive PUBGstreamers out there. 

    TSM_Viss

    Part of the problem with learning PUBG is that there isn't really a great way to do it without suffering through quite a few failures. While some people like that style of gameplay, others just want some indication of what works and what doesn't. 

    Viss is one of the best streams to tune into if you're looking to learn advanced PUBGplay. While he doesn't constantly explain his moves, he is excellent at talking through his decision making and how he interprets the actions of his opponents. He also prefers to focus on the game while streaming - generally speaking - meaning that you don't have to put up with quite as much "personality" while watching him play. 

    Viss isn't quite on the same level as some of the other players on this list in terms of overall skillset, but the guy truly is an incredible player and may be able to teach you a thing or two about the game. 

    Dr. DisRespect

    Dr. DisRespect - real name Guy Beahm - is best described as a WWE heel who decided to stream video games for a living. Beahm once described the DisRespect character as someone who believes they are "the most dominating gaming specimen." He's essentially a parody of the popular perception of hyper-masculine competitive multiplayer gamers. From bragging about his back-to-back Blockbuster Games World Championship wins ("Two time!") to welcoming followers to "The Slick Daddy Club," the doctor really is one of the most brilliant creations in the history of video game streaming.

    We highly recommend you watch his stream if you want to watch one of the most inventive and entertaining personalities on Twitch. If you've been trying to get into the streaming scene but find it hard to latch onto a streamer, this is the place to start.


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    A group of kids band together to solve a supernatural mystery? We've seen stranger things...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 28, 2018

    Well, this is interesting. 

    Question, a new studio comprised of veteran talent who worked on games like BioShock and Dishonored, have revealed that they are working on a new horror game called The Blackout Club. This game tells the story of a group of small-town teens who discover that they've all been losing consciousness without explanation. When one of their friends disappear and all of the adults in town refuse to tell them what is going on, the teens decide to band together and solve these mysteries themselves. 

    Based on the information the developers have revealed thus far, it seems like The Blackout Club will combine elements of stealth and horror games. That makes sense given then the experience of the game's development team. While it looks like you will be able to participate in basic combat sequences and utilize the character's special abilities to solve gameplay hurdles, it definitely feels like environmental exploration and storytelling are more important than direct conflict. That being said, it looks like there are a few enemy types that will require you to utilize various techniques to either defeat or subvert. 

    Players will be required to participate in what the developers refer to as "surveillance missions" which require you to research what the adults are up to and whether or not there is a conspiracy going on. For instance, you might have to record an adult proceeding to a mysterious location. That requires one of the players to be captured so the others can gather information on where they are taken. 

    Get a Free Trial of GameFly on Us!

    What really gets us excited about this game, though, is the premise. Even though the "kids battle against evil" genre has been popular for decades now, we really haven't seen many modern video games that aim to recreate that style. There's definitely a Stephen King vibe to this story's premise, especially once you dive into the plot details concerning an underground world of mysterious adults. 

    It feels like this game will work best in its reported four-player co-op mode so you can recreate those It and Monster Squad childhood dreams, but it's easy to imagine how this game can invoke the group dynamic if it eventually offers a single-player option. So long as each character in the game has a role to play and you're able to switch between them as needed, players should be provided with the necessary strategic options it takes to make a game such as this work. The developers warn that some of those powers will be limited to "once per night" use in order to inspire more communication and strategic options. 

    The Blackout Club should be released on Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 sometime in early 2019. 


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    If it's a popular video game series, there's probably a movie in the works. Here are 42 video game movies in development...

    The Lists Den of Geek Staff
    Feb 28, 2018

    In the years since Den of Geek first sprung into existence, we’ve consistently kept an eye on the video games that have been touted for the big screen treatment. We’ve tried to list them all in a big article a few times before, and it feels like the time has come to pull a new version together.

    Out of the hundreds of thousands of films in the world currently in development, a large number of them serve as adaptations for (mostly) successful video games and video game franchises. Some have been seen on our screens before either via a previous adaptation or television series, while some are just getting their first shot on the big screen.

    Whichever category they fall into, they still have to navigate their way through the difficult world of filmmaking, with many of them inevitably forever damned to development hell. The following are just a few of these adaptations hoping to someday become a success.

    Altered Beast - TBA

    Back in 2016, Stories International (Sega’s production arm) and studio Circle of Confusion announced that they would collaboratively adapt the fantasy arcade action game Altered Beast.

    Angry Birds 2 - September 20, 2019

    Despite the fact that it's an Angry Birdsmovie, the first movie made back its $73 million production budget and then some, with a $346.9 million take globally. Which means that Roxio Entertainment has greenlit a sequel. God help us.


    Borderlands - TBA

    A movie based on Gearbox and Take-Two’s immensely popular sci-fi game went into development back in 2015. Lionsgate will be the studio taking us to the abandoned-by-the-big-wigs frontier planet of Pandora.

    They’ve recruited producers Avi Arad and his son Ari Arad, both of whom were involved in initially bringing Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the X-Men to the big screen. We’ve got high hopes.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops II

    Call of Duty Movie - TBA

    Yes, the Call of Duty movie is happening! Stefano Sollima, director of Sicario 2: Solado, is in talks to direct the planned film adaptation of the Call of Duty franchise. 

    Activision Blizzard Studios - the film and television division of Activision Blizzard - is currently negotiating with Sollima in the hopes that he will sign-on to the project. However, no representative from Activision Blizzard Studios will confirm that the studio is in negotiations with the director at this time. 

    Details regarding the film itself are unfortunately few and far between at the moment. Vague reports indicate that Activision Blizzard has an interest in potentially developing a film universe designed around the Call of Duty franchise. Much like how the Call of Duty franchise explores various eras of combat and occasionally uses familiar faces, it seems that some within the company hope that films based on the franchise can lead to a similar expanded universe.

    Centipede - TBA

    That’s right, Centipede and Missile Command, the Atari ‘80s arcade shooter games, are getting adapted into feature films. Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films has made a deal with Atari to produce and finance the adaptations.

    In a statement about the projects, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said he was “thrilled to partner with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films to develop feature films based on two of our most beloved titles. Centipede and Missile Command are part of Atari’s unparalleled and rich library of popular games and we cannot wait to see the movies come to life.”

    The movies will be produced by Randall Emmett and George Furla (Lone Survivor). Emmett described the properties as “immensely popular titles have been enjoyed by generations of gamers worldwide. We look forward to a very successful partnership Command and to bringing Centipede and Missile Command to the big screen.”

    Atari, Stephen Belafonte, Wayne Marc Godfrey and Robert Jones will executive produce the films, but there is currently no word on directors or writers for the projects.

    Contra - TBA

    Thirty years after its initial release, Konami's classic is set to stage a comeback from an unexpected angle: a Chinese production company has announced that it's making a movie adaptation. Aside from a slight change in location, the plot sounds broadly the same as the original game's back-story. Here's the official synopsis:

    "In 1988, a huge meteorite lands on an uninhabited island in the South China Sea. Chen Qiang and Li Zhiyong investigate but come up empty handed. 29 years later, Chen sends commandos Bill and Lance into a combat mission there to neutralize the villainous Red Falcon Organization, but end up facing a different enemy altogether."

    We love that the movie retains the names of the characters from the Contra arcade machine. Like the rest of the game, Contra's steeped in 80s history and pop culture. Bill and Lance's full names are Bill Rizer and Lance Bean - a mash-up of actors' names from James Cameron's Aliens (Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, and Michael Biehn) - while their likenesses are evidently based on Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

    No release date, cast, or director announced as of yet.

    Dante's Inferno - TBA

    Way back in 2013, it was announced that Fede Alvarez (director of the Evil Dead remake) would be helping to bring EA's 2010 action adventure game Dante's Inferno to the big screen. Since then, news about the project has stopped almost completely leaving many to speculate that it may have been quietly canceled. 

    According to Alvarez, however, that is not the case. 

    Alvarez confirmed in 2016 that the Dante's Inferno film adaptation is still in development. He also noted that rather than having the film be based solely off of the game, he intends to draw more inspiration for the original epic poem.

    Detective Pikachu - May 10, 2019

    The Detective Pikachu movie will not only see the most famous fictional rodent since Mickey Mouse star in his own feature film (voiced by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds), but will also serve as a live-action debut for the Pokémon franchise overall!

    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.

    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.

    The Division - TBA

    Ubisoft Motion Pictures (a film division of the game development company) confirmed that they will be turning the controversial 2016 online shooter into a major motion picture. 

    Syriana director Stephen Gaghan has signed on to helm the high-profile movie about a post-apocalyptic New York quarantined after the spread of a deadly virus and now controlled by gangs. In the game, a small group of elite military operatives must fight back against these gangs and find a cure for the virus. We really loved the game when it first released last year.

    Gaghan will take on his first video game adaptation, although it's not his first experience with the industry. The director also wrote the script for the tepidly received first-person shooter Call of Duty: Ghosts.

    Jake Gyllenhaal has signed up to star in the adaptation and will also produce, which makes it the actor's second game-to-film project to date -- he previously starred in Disney's tepid Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time in 2010. Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) has also been cast to star alongside Gyllenhaal.  

    The game's premise is a solid basis for an action thriller: set in a wintry Manhattan beset by a deadly pandemic, it's about a small group of agents whose job is to restore order and seek out the cause of the outbreak. The dark and violent concept could be really effective in the hands of the right filmmakers.

    Duke Nukem - TBA

    It’s taken a long time, but there may be solid progress on bringing the video game character Duke Nukem to the big screen. Former wrestler John Cena - who was recently seen in Daddy's Home 2 and lent his voice to the recent animated movie Ferdinand - is in talks to take on the role. 

    It’s early stages for the project, with neither a writer nor a director in place yet. But the plan is to make this is a starring vehicle for Cena, presumably with a view toward a franchise. There’s no way that this won’t get an R rating, either.

    Firewatch - TBA

    Firewatch, 2016's biggest entry into the "Walking Simulator" genre, is now set to be adapted into a major motion picture

    This project is part of a deal between film production company Good Universe and Firewatch's developer Campo Santo who are joining forces in order to create a subsidiary intended to connect filmmakers and game developers. The full extent of this collaboration is unknown, but Campo Santo founder Sean Vanaman did have this to say regarding the agreement. 

    The first thing the two parties plan to make is an adaptation of 2016's Firewatch which has, thus far, been one of the most surprising video game hits of 2016. Firewatch follows a man named Henry who has decided to work as a fire lookout in Wyoming. When a mysterious occurrence attracts Henry's attention and compels him to wander into the wilderness, he is soon drawn into an intriguing web of moral conflicts that must be navigated with the help of a supervisor he retains contact with through the use of a handheld radio. 

    Five Nights at Freddy's - TBA

    Five Nights at Freddy's movie plans are moving forward with revitalized momentum. The popular point-and-click horror-adventure video game series, which has become a staple on iOS and Android devices, had film adaptation plans gestating for about three years; plans that are now strapped to a proverbial rocket pack, with the selection of a proven visionary in Chris Columbus, and a genre-appropriate studio in Blumhouse.

    Chris Columbus will write and directFive Nights at Freddy’s film for Blumhouse Productions. The latest movement on the project came about after it was put into turnaround by Warner Bros./New Line back in March 2017, which landed it at Blumhouse, the upstart horror-film-friendly studio of Jason Blum, built by the likes of film franchises such as Paranormal ActivityInsidiousSinister and The Purge.

    Five Nights at Freddy’s has yet to signal any production or release dates, but we will keep you apprised of the project’s major developments as they occur.

    Fruit Ninja - TBA

    Fruit Ninja is coming to the big screen. Now you can watch as someone wildly makes a fruit salad out of miles of digital celluloid. In anticipation of the all popcorn crumbsAngry Birds will be leaving in the aisles, Tripp Vinson announced it will produce a feature film treatment of the mobile app Fruit Ninja.

    The addictive game already spawned a live action version from a YouTuber named ScottDW but this one will drop from Vinson Films. The screenplay is being typed right now by JP Lavin and Chad Damiani, who adapted the book How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack.

    Fruit Ninja is the second top-selling iOS game ever. It has had over one billion downloads since it was introduced in 2010 and is now ready to be made as a live-action comedy the whole family can enjoy. Oh, they’re keeping details on the plot very secret. There are so many things you can do with apples and oranges, swords and bombs.

    The movie will be executive produced by Sam White and Tara Farney.


    Gears of War - TBA

    A feature film adaptation of the video game Gears of War, long in development but recently on the back burner, is being actively developed by producers Dylan Clark (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Scott Stuber (Central Intelligence), the latter of whom has been working on the project for three years.

    The news was announced by Microsoft during a live stream for the upcoming release of Gears of War 4, with the company revealing that the project has found a home at Universal Pictures (who apparently did not feel sufficiently burned by the box office flameout of its Warcraft adaptation).

    Screenwriter Shane Salerno has been hired to pen the movie.

    Salerno has busied himself recently by working on the four upcoming Avatar sequels with James Cameron, as well as an adaptation of Don Winslow’s book The Cartel that Ridley Scott intends to direct. And speaking of directors, Gears Of War needs one too.

    Gears of War is a third person shooter game that follows the members of Delta Squad, a team of soldiers tasked with saving the human inhabitants of a planet called Sera from an alien force known as the Locust Horde (among other creatures). 

    The idea is to not base the movie directly on any particular Gears of War game, but to create a new story set in the Gears of War universe.

    Half-Life - TBA

    While promoting, 10 Cloverfield Lane back in 2016, J.J. Abrams gave an update about Bad Robot's upcoming Half-Life movie. It's not much to go on and even Abrams says so.

    "We've got writers, and we're working on both those stories. But nothing that would be an exciting update," says Abrams, who's set to produce both films. He didn't reveal who the writers were, though.  

    Meanwhile, the Half-Life movie, which was first announced by Valve head Gabe Newell at DICE 2013, has proven to be as elusive as the games themselves. Since the film's announcement, there hadn't been any additional information until now. We assumed it was burning in development hell. Glad to see that's not the case. 

    Just Cause - TBA

    In 2017, it was reported that Jason Momoa - he of Game of Thrones and Aquaman fame - has signed on to star in the Just Cause film project. Momoa is set to play series protagonist Rico Rodriguez; a highly-skilled operative who completes various assignments for the mysterious organization known simply as the Agency. Presumably, said assignments will be completed within the confines of some exotic tropical locale, but that particular detail - along with many other aspects of the plot - is unconfirmed at this time. 

    Meanwhile, Brad Peyton (San Andreas) has been confirmed as the film's director. Interestingly, Peyton is also working on a film version of the popular arcade game Rampage which stars none other than San Andreas lead, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. We'll let you decide whether the producers that apparently looked at San Andreas and thought, "Now that's what a video game movie should look like," are in the right or not. 

    Speaking of producers, Peyton and Jeff Fierson will be handling the production of the Just Cause film via their ASAP Entertainment production company. Additional producers include Roy Lee (Vertigo Entertainment), Adrian Askarieh (Prime Universe Films), Eva Cao (Supernova Entertainment), as well as Mason Xu and Fan Dong of DNA Co. Ltd. It's worth noting that the China-based studio DNA is handling the film's financing. It seems that the China's fascination with funding blockbuster action films continues to grow stronger and stronger.  

    There's no word yet on when Just Cause will start shooting or if it will include scenes featuring Rodriguez tying cows to the blades of helicopters and then tying civilians to the cows. If it's attempting to replicate the best parts of the Just Cause games, however, it most certainly should. 

    The Last Of Us

    The Last of Us - TBA

    Although some would argue that the game is cinematic enough in of itself, Sony subsidiary Screen Gems (the company behind the Resident Evil film franchise) are currently working hard on bringing Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us to the big screen.

    Sam Raimi is on board as a producer, while the game’s writer, Neil Druckmann, is working on the screenplay. (Druckmann also penned the Uncharted series). Druckmann gave an update in January 2015, insisting that his screenplay would be "pretty faithful" to his original game script, despite a few "big changes."

    In March 2016, Druckmann admitted that the film is in development hell until further notice. Raimi also confirmed as much recently, citing creative differences between Druckmann and Sony in terms of the direction of the film. 

    Maisie Williams has apparently had meetings about playing the lead character, Ellie, but for now the movie doesn't seem to be moving anywhere fast. 

    Mega Man - TBA

    Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are set to write and direct a movie based on the Mega Man franchise.

    Twentieth Century Fox's adaptation of Capcom's Mega Man is moving forward and will be helmed by the duo responsible for the documentary Catfish as well as found footage horror films Paranormal Activity 3 & 4. At this time, it's not clear whether the two will share writing and directing duties or splitting creative roles. 

    Twentieth Century Fox has reportedly tried to acquire the rights to the Mega Man franchise for years now and finally secured them earlier this year. Reports suggest that the studio has brought in Peter Chernin, Mike Ireland, and Ryan Harrigan to produce the movie.


    Metal Gear Solid - TBA

    Jordan Vogt-Roberts is continuing to develop his planned movie take on the video game Metal Gear Solid, that Sony Pictures is backing. The film has been in gestation for some time, but it’s now getting a further helping hand from Derek Connolly.

    Connolly has been hired to work on the latest draft of the screenplay, having worked with Vogt-Roberts on the recent Kong: Skull Island. He’s also co-written Jurassic World and the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

    There’s still no known timeframe for Metal Gear Solid on the big screen just yet, but we suspect over the next year or so, we’ll see Sony trying to push the proverbial accelerator down on the project a little. As we hear more, we’ll let you know…

    Metro 2033 - TBA

    The first-person shooter Metro 2033—itself based on a novel of the same name by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky—is heading to the movies. The filmmakers will apparently use Mad Max and The Hunger Games as inspirations while adapting the Metro 2033 story (all about a Russian post-apocalyptic underground wasteland, and the chap who dares to wander through it). Michael De Luca, Eugene Efuni, and Stephen L’Heureux are producing.

    Minecraft - May 24, 2019

    A movie adaptation of Mojang’s massive building game Minecraft has been touted for some time. Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy was linked for a while, with unconfirmed talk suggesting that the movie might be a live action adventure, rather than an animation.

    It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s co-creator Rob McElhenney took Levy’s place in 2015, and he’s now working with producers Roy Lee (The LEGO Movie) and Jill Messick (Mean Girls) to get the film off the ground.

    Steve Carell is in talks to star in the Minecraft movie.

    Missile Command - TBA

    That’s right, Centipede and Missile Command, the Atari ‘80s arcade shooter games, are getting adapted into feature films. Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films has made a deal with Atari to produce and finance the adaptations.

    In a statement about the projects, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said he was “thrilled to partner with Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films to develop feature films based on two of our most beloved titles. Centipede and Missile Command are part of Atari’s unparalleled and rich library of popular games and we cannot wait to see the movies come to life.”

    The movies will be produced by Randall Emmett and George Furla (Lone Survivor). Emmett described the properties as “immensely popular titles have been enjoyed by generations of gamers worldwide. We look forward to a very successful partnership Command and to bringing Centipede and Missile Command to the big screen.”

    Atari, Stephen Belafonte, Wayne Marc Godfrey and Robert Jones will executive produce the films, but there is currently no word on directors or writers for the projects.

    Monster Hunter - TBA

    The Monster Hunter franchise has never been quite as popular in the U.S. as it is in Japan, but that apparently hasn't prevented Capcom from finalizing a deal to help turnMonster Hunter into a major motion picture. 

    During Capcom's Tokyo Game Show presentation, Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimoto informed franchise fans everywhere that a full-length Monster Hunter movie is being developed in Hollywood right this very moment. 

    In 2016, it was reported that Paul W.S. Anderson, the man behind the Resident Evil movies, was pitching a film adaptation of the series.


    Mortal Kombat - TBA

    The Mortal Kombat reboot is one step closer to reality, with Simon McQuoid signing on as director. Greg Russo recently completed a draft of the screenplay, and it's not clear if anything remains of the work done by Oren Uziel (who wrote the well-received Mortal Kombat: Legacyweb series) and Dave Callahan (The Expendables). 

    Christopher Lambert (Raiden) is set to be back for this one. He’s not giving too much away at this stage, but he revealed to Loaded that “They have a great idea for the third one,” adding that “it will be very different.”

    In fact, it looks as if the new movie will have a time travel element. “We are going to be traveling through time, but in a very special way. So imagine characters having a battle in the middle of London and then whoosh, you smash through a window and find yourself on the hood of a New York cab,” Lambert teased.

    Portal - TBA

    At the Westworld red carpet back in September 2016, director/producer J.J. Abrams gave an update on the upcoming Portal and Half-Life movies. While Abrams didn't go into too much detail, he did reveal that he had a meeting coming up the following week with Valve, the studio that created both games in question. And it seems like both Bad Robot and Valve are focusing on the Portal movie first. 

    "We have a meeting coming up next week with Valve, we’re very active, I’m hoping that there will be a Portal announcement fairly soon," said Abrams.

    The announcement could involve a reveal of who is writing the script for the film, as Abrams teased that he's had talked with writers about both games:

    "We are having some really interesting discussions with writers, many of whom...once you said you’re doing a movie or show about a specific thing that is a known quantity you start to find people who are rabid about these things. As someone who loves playing Half-Life and Portal, what’s the movie of this, it’s incredible when you talk to someone who just ‘gets’ it, it’s like, oh my god, it’s really the seed for this incredible tree you’re growing."

    Abrams was careful not to talk about Portal's story, and didn't say if the film would follow the game's storyline, which involves a facility full of platforming puzzles, inter-spatial portals, and a mad AI who loves cake. Not too much to chew on exactly, but perhaps we should prepare ourselves for a Portal announcement.

    Rainbow Six - TBA

    Rainbow Six may have become a series of best-selling and popular video games, thanks to UbiSoft, but its core still lies in a novel by the late Tom Clancy. The sizeable book focuses on the character of John Clark, who was introduced in Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels (and we saw played on screen by Willem Dafoe in Clear And Present Danger and Liev Schreiber in The Sum Of All Fears).

    A movie adaptation of Rainbow Six is now in the works, and it’s being overseen by Akiva Goldsman. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec have been hired to try and fit the book into a two hours-or-so movie, and Paramount – which is backing the project – would subsequently look for more John Clark movies.

    Ryan Reynolds was approached to star as Clark in Rainbow Six, although there’s nothing formal that we know of yet. Nor is there word of a director.

    We will, of course, keep you posted…

    Rampage - April 20, 2018

    Rampage was one of the primo quarter eaters of its day. The classic video game allowed you to take control of your typical monster movie standards, a giant lizard (not Godzilla), a giant ape (not royalty), and...a giant werewolf. Your mission? To destroy as many buildings as possible while the army tries to kill you.

    There have been other Rampage games, but none matched the charm of the original. The thought of a Rampage movie might seem a little redundant because, well...that's what Godzilla, King Kong, and assorted other kaiju flicks are for. 

    But a Rampage movie there shall be...starring none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, although not as one of the giant monsters. Brad Peyton, who directed Johnson in the similarly destructive San Andreas, is directed this monster movie as well.


    Raving Rabbids - TBA

    Rayman spin-off Raving Rabbids has carved out quite a name for itself. So much so, in fact, that Ubisoft has teamed up with Sony to bring the troublemaking rabbits to the big screen.

    This one will be a for a live-action/stop-motion animation hybrid. Robot Chicken writers Matthew Senreich, Tom Sheppard, and Zeb Wells are working on the script as we speak.

    Rent a Hero - TBA

    Gamers and otaku rejoice: Japanese action RPG video game Rent A Hero is making a heroic leap from your computer screen to the big screen. 

    Tokyo video game powerhouse Sega has already rented the superpowers of Tomoya Suzuki, president and CEO of its production arm Stories International. Stories International’s Even J. Cholfin will be executive producing with Suzuki and Hakuhodo DY Group co-producing, and will level up with filmmakers Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time MachineHigh FidelityGrosse Pointe Blank) and Jeff Morris (The True Memoirs of an International Assassin) to upgrade the futuristic game to larger-than-life proportions.

    While cast and release details didn't arrive with the superpowered suit, we now really, really wish the hero-for-rent service was a thing. 

    Resident Evil Reboot - TBA

    If you actually thought the last Resident Evil film was going to be the last Resident Evil film, then you may want to brace yourself. Yes, the Resident Evil film franchise is going to be rebooted

    James Wan (SawThe Conjuring 2) has signed on to produce the reboot and Greg Russo (Mortal Kombat) will be handling screenplay duties. According to this same report, this reboot will feature an entirely new cast. At present, Russo and Wan are only expected to helm the first of six planned new Resident Evil films. 

    Shinobi - TBA

    Sega’s once-popular, currently dormant series Shinobi is another classic cartridge-centric video game franchise that will be getting the movie treatment. Marc Platt Productions, a company involved with hits like Wanted (and its planned sequel), Bridge of Spies, Drive, and the Legally Blonde films will reportedly develop a Shinobifilm adaptation in a co-production with Sega’s company Stories International Inc. According to Platt in a statement:

    “We love the Shinobi games and believe that the world of ninjas has never been properly explored onscreen. We now have the opportunity to do just that. With Shinobi, we hope to make a film that honors the essence of the games and brings this fascinating world to life for moviegoing audiences."

    It’s still too early know when Shinobi plans to sneak its way to theaters, but we will certainly keep you apprised of updates.

    Sleeping Dogs - TBA

    The chances of getting a sequel to the 2012 cult classic open-world crime game Sleeping Dogs just get slimmer with each passing year. While that realization is usually enough to send us running to the bottle...umm...of Yoo-hoo or something, the pain got a little more manageable today with the announcement that Donnie Yen is going to be starring in a film adaptation of Sleeping Dogs.

    Producer Neal Moritz (of the Fast and the Furious franchise and 21 Jump Street fame) is putting together a film adaptation of Square Enix's beloved game. Donnie Yen, of course, is the movie martial arts master you will most recently remember from his work in Rogue One

    Yen's cinematic martial arts skills are sure to come into play at some point in the Sleeping Dogs film. While there are no concrete details concerning the movie's plot, including whether or not it will be a strict adaptation or a spiritual follow-up, you can rest assured that the game will borrow certain elements from the games. That means plenty of Yakuza, lots of car chases, a few gunfights, and some martial arts sequences that further the - admittedly awesome - stereotype that Japan is really just a collection of martial arts fights that see lots of fruit stands get demolished. 

    Original Film will be handling the distribution of Sleeping Dogs alongside DJ2 Entertainment. Joining Moritz on the production side of things is Dmitri Johnson, and Dan Jevons, while Toby Ascher and Stephan Bugaj will be handling executive production duties.

    Unfortunately, Sleeping Dogs' developer, United Front Games, shut down in 2016, so it's not likely they'll have much creative input in the process. As to whether or not this adaptation will spur Square Enix to publish another Sleeping Dogs title, we can only hope that it will while we also hold on to some hope this movie does justice to the incredible game that inspired it. 

    Sonic the Hedgehog - Nov. 15, 2019

    What took them so long? Sonic the Hedgehog, veteran of countless video games, an animated series, and a long-running comic book series from Archie Comics is coming to the big screen.

    Tim Miller, who has a little time on his hands after leaving the director's chair on Deadpool 2, is going to serve as executive producer on the film along with Jeff Fowler. Neal H. Moritz of the Fast & Furious movies is producing with Takeshi Ito and Mie Onishi. Patrick Casey and Josh Miller (Golan the Insatiable) are writing the script.

    Splinter Cell - TBA

    Ubisoft’s film studio is working with New Regency Productions on a film version of the black ops stealth game Splinter Cell, with Tom Hardy attached to portray the games series’ protagonist Sam Fisher. For a while, Doug Liman of Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity was attached to direct.

    He departed the project in April 2015, though. Ubisoft is searching for a new director, while Frank John Hughes – of Dark Tourist and Leave – works on the script. Previous writers include X-Men: First Class’ Sheldon Turner.

    Joseph Kahn – director of countless music videos, as well as that Power/Rangers fan film – has been linked to the director’s chair.

    Splinter Cell 2 - TBA

    In March 2016, it was announced that New Regency Productions are exploring sequel options for the Tom Hardy-starring Splinter Cell movie. Before 100% taking this as fact, we'll have to wait and see how the first film gets on at the box office.

    Spy Hunter - TBA

    The classic 80s arcade game Spy Hunter has been in development as a movie since Universal bought the rights in 2003. At one stage, Dwayne Johnson was involved, but it’s unclear if he still is. Last we heard, Zombieland’s Ruben Flesicher was onboard to direct.

    In November 2015, a pair of writers were hired to resurrect the project– Nelson Greaves and Sam Chalsen, both of whom are known for their work on the Sleepy Hollow TV series. It’s unclear if Flesicher remains involved.

    Streets of Rage - TBA

    Back in 2016, Stories International (Sega’s production arm) and studio Circle of Confusion announced that they will collaboratively adapt urban-set side-scrolling beat ‘em up series Streets of Rage.

    Super Mario Bros. - TBA

    It's official! Nintendo and Universal Studios are working to create Super Mario Bros. animated movie. Illumination Entertainment - the studio behind Minions and Shrek - will handle the actual production of the Super Mario Bros. animated movie. Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri will produce.

    We're willing to bet that this animated project will likely be much closer in spirit to the Super Mario Bros. games than the live-action movie was. Super Mario Odyssey has certainly proved that Mario can survive the transition into some pretty bizarre universes. While we can't quite fathom what the film's plot will be about, we're going to bet that this movie will at least be visually pleasing. 

    Tetris - TBA

    The long-discussed prospects of Tetris movie adaptation are close to becoming reality with a new international coalition of media moguls looking to co-produce the project. China-based producer Bruno Wu will join U.S.-based producer Lawrence Kasanoff (Mortal KombatTrue Lies), which will see Wu’s Seven Star Works and Kasanoff’s Threshold Entertainment Group operate under the joint name Threshold Global Studios. 

    Tetris will be the kickoff project for this new venture with an $80 million production budget reportedly committed to line up four proverbial rows of blocks at the box-office.

    Certainly, the idea of a U.S./China coalition throwing $80 million at a thus-far shapeless Tetris movie is something that we’ll look forward to updating in the coming months.

    Thief - TBA

    Unsurprisingly, there's a Thiefmovie on the way. The pacing of the Thief games lends itself perfectly to a big screen adventure, after all. The series mixes stealth, combat, and treasure hunting in a world of magic and even horror. Zombies and other monsters are part of the fun of the first game. The 2014 Thief video game reboot was poorly received, though, so it might be a good idea to focus on one of the earlier games for the movie instead.

    Adam Mason and Simon Boyes are penning a screenplay for the Thief movie that’s being put together by Straight Up Films. Roy Lee, Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Adrian Askarieh, who produced the Hitman films, will produce this one. 

    It’s very early stages, of course, so we don’t know yet of a director or a release date. Our ear will be to the ground.

    Tomb Raider - March 16, 2018

    The first Tomb Raider adaptation starring Angelina Jolie was the highest-grossing film adaptation of a video game ever released in the U.S. Now, a complete reboot of the franchise is hitting theaters in a few weeks.

    Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) stars as Lara. Walton Goggins (Justified) has been cast as the film's villain. GK Films, MGM and Warner Bros. brought in Roar Uthaug – director of Norwegian disaster flick The Wave and horror thriller Cold Prey– to direct. 


    Uncharted - TBA

    It's been a while since anything of substance surfaced about the Uncharted movie. All we know for sure at the moment is that Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is set to star as Nathan Drake.

    However, prolific producer Charles Roven (Justice LeagueWonder WomanThe Dark Knight Trilogy), who is attached to the project, dropped some new details at a Producers Guild of America gathering at which he received a lifetime achievement award.

    Roven explains the film's chronologically ambiguous connection to the video game mythology, stating:

    “We’ve come up with a wonderful origin story but it’s still based on the Uncharted video game. It doesn’t take place during any of the time period of any of the Uncharted video games. It actually takes place when Nathan Drake (who’s the lead of that game) and Sully, I guess you’d call him his surrogate father, were much younger. It’s an origin story that evolves out of the game but is not from the game.”

    In a more substantive addendum, Roven also reveals that the Uncharted movie script – last drafted by Joe Carnahan after tenures by David Guggenheim and Eric Warren Singer – has passed into the hands of yet another screenwriter in Rafe Judkins, who is primarily known for television work in episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Hemlock GroveChuckand My Own Worst Enemy.


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    This change will not affect PlayStation Plus prices.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Feb 28, 2018

    Sony has announced that PlayStation Plus will no longer offer free monthly PlayStation3 and Vita games starting in 2019. 

    "We also have an important service update," reads an update on the PlayStation blog. "Starting next year on March 8, 2019, the PS Plus monthly games lineup will focus on PS4 titles and no longer include PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita titles. This won’t affect any games you’ve already downloaded, or will download, prior to March 8, 2019. Those games will still be part of your PS Plus games library as long as you remain a member. Your game saves and other benefits of PS Plus will also remain the same – the only change is that no new PS3 and PS Vita games will be added to the PS Plus monthly games lineup beyond March 8, 2019."

    The blog post goes on to explain that many PlayStation fans have moved on to the PS4. As such, it seems they wish to prioritize the services that PlayStation Plus offers to PlayStation 4 gamers.

    As noted in the message above, this change will not prevent you from using PlayStation Plus to access the other benefits of PlayStation Plus. However, it doesn't sound like Sony is planning on lowering the price of PlayStation Plus for those platforms. As such, they offer instructions on how gamers can cancel their auto-renew option for PlayStation Plus if they wish to do so. 

    Get a Free Trial of GameFly on Us!

    It's hard to argue against this decision. PlayStation 4 is well on its way to outselling the PlayStation 3, which we imagine has suffered quite the drop in active users in recent years. As for the Vita...well, we loved the idea of the Vita, but it's pretty clear that it never came close to selling as many units as Sony hoped it would. 

    The very good news is that PS3 and Vita owners will continue to receive new games until that date. Next month, PS3 gamers will get The Legend of Kay and Mighty No. 9while Vita owners will be treated to Claire: Extended Cutand Bombing Busters

    As for PS4 owners, they'll be treated to free copies of Bloodborne and Ratchet and Clank. Needless to say, that's a pretty strong lineup. 


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  • 03/01/18--11:47: Part Time UFO Review
  • From the makers of Kirby comes a delightfully strange mobile game and possible comment on the gig economy. Our review of Part Time UFO...

    ReviewRyan Lambie
    Mar 1, 2018

    Release Date: February 20, 2018
    Platform: Android (Reviewed), iOS
    Developer: HAL Egg
    Publisher: HAL Laboratory
    Genre: Physics Game (Mobile)

    Reader, I'm having a nightmare. The indescribably clumsy curators at the local museum have knocked over a priceless exhibit - yet again - and it's up to me to pick up the pieces. In theory, the task's simple: pick up the sections of totem pole and stack them back up in the correct order.

    The trouble is, I only have a pair of tongs on the end of an extending cable to grab the bits of totem pole, so they're constantly slipping out of my grasp, or, worse still, swinging wildly out of control and knocking over all my painstakingly stacked-up work. If I don't get these pieces put back together, I won't get paid - and if I don't get paid, how will I buy that sailor outfit I've had an eye on?

    Such is the life of a worker in Part Time UFO, the first mobile app from Kirby developer HAL Laboratory - or, more accurately, HAL Egg, the studio's new mobile-centric offshoot. In essence, Part Time UFO is a simple action puzzler that involves using a retractable claw to pick up objects and place them in a clearly-marked zone within a time limit - doing so will earn you cash and medals, which can be spent on helpful items and unlocking new areas.

    Bonus medals can also be earned by achieving certain criteria, such as stacking up the sections of a totem pole in the correct order. As you can probably imagine, some of these bonuses are far more difficult than they initially sound - sometimes infuriatingly so. The bouncy, cartoonish 2D physics (which recall Scribblenauts) will frequently leave items teetering on the brink of collapse, and as each challenge ends, there's an agonizing drum-roll as the game waits to see whether your hastily-compiled stack will remain in place or not. The wait only lasts a couple of seconds, but when you have a horse, two turtles, and a dog all piled up on top of a circus elephant (don't ask), it can often feel like an eternity.

    In terms of execution and style, Part Time UFOcouldn't be more Japanese if it tried. The central mechanic is taken straight from those UFO grabbers that are so popular in the far east: machines that reach down, gently stroke the sides of a stuffed toy but generally refuse to pick the thing up.Part Time UFO doesn't feel as cheap and annoying as those money-swallowers, though, and purchasing new outfits can make the going a little easier. 

    Ah yes, the outfits. By default, you play the role of a sentient flying saucer with wide, blinking eyes. By visiting the in-game shop, though, you can purchase a curious array of outfits that will change how the grabber mechanics operate. A hat and scarf will allow the UFO to come to a halt more quickly; a Japanese warrior outfit will lessen the swinging action of your grabbing claw, which is particularly handy when you're trying to make tall stacks of objects - like that irksome totem pole, for example. 

    Inevitably, the outfits will be a help in some stages and a hindrance in others, so it's worth experimenting with them to see which one works best for a given application. We quickly discovered that the hat and scarf might stop the UFO in mid-air more quickly, but the payoff is that the grabber beneath will swing more sharply, turning whatever it's carrying into a wrecking ball. This made us swear loudly and often.

    If all this makes Part Time UFO sound more like a chore than a bit of fun, fear not: HAL Egg has balanced the difficulty level superbly, so it's relatively simple for new players to acquire the more basic levels, leaving the trickier challenges as optional extras for when their skills are more finely honed.

    The controls are also perfectly balanced for a touch-screen device like an Android (our review platform of choice). Part Time UFO makes use of an on-screen directional pad akin to the physical one on the 3DS, with a single button on the right of the screen to open and close your grabber. Virtual controls like these can feel like a pain to use with a hectic retro shooter, but in a game as measured as Part Time UFO, it feels immediately natural. 

    The delightful presentation also takes the edge off things. The game's backstory involves the UFO hero coming down from space and helping Earth's population out with its day-to-day chores. He'll find these odd jobs in the pages of a local magazine (essentially the stage select menu), and each one is packed with little background details. As you load the boxes and baskets of fruit onto the back of a farmer's van, a dog will wag its tail excitedly in the distance. Pluck fish out of the ocean, and their expressions will change from ornery to bewildered; the curators at the museum will duck out of the way if you swing a priceless artifact too near them, or jump for joy if you piece their wretched exhibit back together. All this is coupled with some quaint country music - complete with what sounds like a choir of squirrels - that recalls the classic PSP game, Loco Roco.

    HAL Laboratory has long since made a name for itself with simple yet fun games like Part Time UFO. The Kirby franchise is similarly full of hats and cute outfits. BoxBoy, a lesser-known platform puzzler series, shares a similar chunky style as Part Time UFO - the former's hero, Qbby, even makes a cameo or two in this game.

    Part Time UFO may also serve as a comment on the 21st-century gig economy, where workers are asked to constantly shuffle from one short-term job to another. One in-game character makes a remark about young people being lazy and flings a magazine of jobs at our floating hero. Pay is dished out depending on how happy the customers are and how quickly you've delivered your service - a weird echo of how modern companies like Uber and Deliveroo work. You also have to spend your own hard-earned wages on those outfits - the equivalent of your work uniform. Is this HAL Egg's sly dig at the modern culture of "independent contractors," low pay, no pension, no holidays, and no employment rights? We'd like to think so. 

    What's most impressive about HAL Egg's debut, though, is how much effort the studio has put into a mobile game that costs $3.99. Not so long ago, Part Time UFO could have been a full-price release on the Nintendo DS.

    With so many free-to-play diversions cluttering up mobile app stores, you might question whether such a game is worth the purchase. Then again, the one-off charge is another pleasant surprise: it isn't difficult to imagine a version of Part Time UFO where all those handy outfits were sold for real-world money. Instead, HAL Egg has avoided any hint of cynical price-gouging microtransactions, which makes for a refreshingly complete experience.

    Besides, $3.99 is a small price to pay for a game made with such evident craft and affection. If the game's subtext is about receiving a fair wage for an honest day's work, then it's only right that HAL Egg get at least a small reward for making a title as charming as Part Time UFO.

    Part Time UFO is available for Android and iOS devices now.

    5/5


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    In the 1990s, Lucasfilm decided to take Star Wars in a much darker direction with Shadows of the Empire.

    Feature Stephen Harber
    Mar 1, 2018

    This Star Wars article contains spoilers.

    Star Wars in the '90s

    The ‘90s were the dark ages of Star Wars. George Lucas’ happy cinematic accident was still a beloved pop culture tentpole, and the entertainment industry was still busy learning from its business model. But it was also a time of relative quiet for the franchise. Another film with the main cast was implausible, and the excuses for new merchandising were slim to none. So Lucasfilm started brainstorming new ways to capitalize on the Star Wars brand and ensure all of its media channels were fully functional before the arrival of the Prequel Trilogy.

    Enter Shadows of the Empire—a mad scientist’s experiment in cross-promotion that would make editors at Marvel weep at the complexity of its moving parts. This multimedia initiative was designed to tell one large narrative across various mediums, with each platform contributing an important piece of the story. To get the full Shadowsexperience, fans would have to read the novel and the comic books, play the video game, listen to the soundtrack score, buy the toys, collect the trading cards, etc.

    When Shadows was conceived by Lucasfilm heads Howard Roffman and Lucy Wilson in 1994, it was intended to be set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. This era has always been a “safe zone” for expanded universe material to play around in. In fact, it’s still mined by Marvel and Disney for tie-in material to this day. Shadows would join the ranks of the classic Marvel comics with the giant talking rabbit (who was never considered canon, sadly enough) as an expanded universe story set during the actual trilogy itself.

    After the pitch was tossed around the Lucas subsidiaries, a memo from LucasArts designer Jon Knoles changed their minds. He suggested setting the Shadows project after The Empire Strikes Back instead of before it, as this was a.) fertile ground for storytelling. and b.) way more intriguing. And he wasn’t wrong. This new setting made the task of telling a huge movie-like story a way to test the boundaries of the franchise before its inevitable rebirth for Episode I.

    Post-Empire was a sweet spot for Star Wars to hit at the time. If you couldn’t already tell by its name, there was a push to make Shadows“dark”—which basically translated to “’90s as fuck.” This slick new edginess would keep Star Wars relevant in a time of geek culture dominated by the over-muscled caricatures of Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane and the low-tech barbarism of Mortal Kombat. Instead of behaving like it was still the early 1980s, it was time Star Wars hit puberty and toughened up some.

    Even in today’s climate saturated with spin-offs, webisodes, and other ancillary materials, telling one big cohesive story across different media formats is still a highly experimental undertaking. There had to be a center to all the tales that would be told under this umbrella, an axis on which all peripheral events spun around. This anchor point was the bestselling Shadows novel published by Bantam in 1996.

    Writing the Book

    For all intents and purposes, Steve Perry’s Shadows of the Empire was to be considered “the movie.” It had what everyone was craving—a new adventure with the core characters the audience loved and the promise of mature themes and content.

    Steve Perry was hand-selected to be in the Shadows talent pool by Bantam editor Tom Dupree as a payback for writing a quick and dirty novelization of The Mask for free. Perry’s background writing for Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, and Spiral Zone made him a shoo-in for the job. Designing the core narrative of an intricate brand opera would be a collaborative process best suited for a writer with a background in television. (That he’d written novelizations for Dark Horse’s Alien graphic novels might have also helped.)

    Before long, Perry found himself writing down page after page of notes during a lengthy creative meeting with all creative stakeholders at Skywalker Ranch in the fall of 1994 to keep track of the many different needs every licensee had for the story. Each medium demanded their own set pieces, action scenes, and settings to be interesting. Perry would think up ways to sew these into the pockets of his overarching story.

    Armed with his reams of notes, the author banged out a twenty-five page outline detailing all major action beats for the primary story arc with suggestions on how they could cross over. The outline was well-received, even if it came back with a ton of notes. But the cooks in the kitchen found it agreeable, and that was all that was needed to move the crazy Shadows train forward. Perry got to work at tackling the manuscript at the beginning of 1995, making his own version of a missing Star Wars movie from his home office in Oregon.

    The storyline of Perry’s Shadows book follows the adventures of Luke, Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca in their efforts to locate their carbonite encased buddy Han Solo. Their quest takes them through the galaxy’s criminal underworld, where they meet gritty new ‘90s characters that either try to kill them or help them out. In the process, Luke becomes a badass, Darth Vader gets a new nemesis, Chewie gets a haircut, the droids get to drive the Millennium Falcon, and Princess Leia gets to be sexually objectified like crazy. Okay, that may be an oversimplification, but basically, Shadows is a story about Star Wars that’s not quite told like a Star Wars story—but it is an entertaining page-turner. Yet the risks Shadows takes are really just recycled moments from the Original Trilogy, a classic symptom of being a media tie-in novel.

    However, the book did intrigue readers everywhere with certain storylines it juggled, like the attempted assassinations of Luke Skywalker, the details behind the “many Bothans” tragedy hinted at in Return of the Jedi, and the Empire’s dealings with the Black Sun crime syndicate. Reading about the hijinks of the Skywalker twins and friends during a mysterious era is always intriguing, and Perry did as much justice as he could to the voice of the characters.

    Buy all of your Star Wars movies, books, comics, boxsets, and much more here!

    Prince Xizor

    If Shadows of the Empire has a main character, it’s probably Xizor himself. After all, this villainous character was being fleshed out long before any official creative meetings had been held. The Dark Prince was the mascot for the grimdarkness of Shadows and the underworld it would explore.

    Based on the plot outline he turned in, Steve Perry received notes with very specific instructions from Bantam on how they wanted Xizor to behave, citing the Godfather films as a tonal guideline. Bantam wanted an evil clone of Aristotle Onassis, the infamous Greek tycoon that married Jackie Kennedy. They wanted a villain who was corrupt, crafty, and had enough hubris to take on the franchise’s most beloved big bad: Darth Vader himself.

    When creating this major expanded universe villain from scratch, the creative team at Lucasfilm approached the task just like they would for any creature you’d see in a Star Wars film. Xizor’s design process fell somewhere in the middle of thoughtfully crafted and painstakingly conceived. Xizor was meant to have an “exotic” flavor to his appearance, which designers translated as looking vaguely Asian. Yet Prince Xizor was more than just a vehicle for bizarre cultural appropriation. He was the powerful leader of Black Sun, a criminal syndicate functioning on the Outer Rim.

    His reptilian style inspired a new race of beings for the Star Wars universe: the Falleen, who lived on a planet called, ironically enough, Falleen. As a Falleen, Xizor could breathe underwater and secrete pheromones to manipulate the opposite sex, which were so strong that even our favorite tough cookie with the hair buns fell under his thrall. His olive skin tone also changed according to whatever mood he happened to be in. And that iconic claw pose of his? That was inspired by unused concept art of Bib Fortuna.

    Meanwhile, Xizor’s seduction of Princess Leia—or, rather, the quasi-Asian lizard dude’s date rape of Star Wars’ headlining female character—was awkward. In this sequence, Xizor uses his pheromone powers to roofie Leia into submission after forcing her to wear a revealing outfit. Shadowswent beyond the humiliation of tricking Alderaanian royalty into wearing a kinky slave outfit for a giant slug. This was technically assault. When Perry received feedback on his story outline asking for Xizor and Leia to go all the way, he refused. He didn’t want to deal with the backlash from the fans, as such an event would incite the same emotional reaction as killing off a main character. So instead, Leia gets out of the situation by kneeing the Falleen studmuffin right in his iguana dick, then dashes off (pun intended).

    Perry handled Prince Xizor’s character incredibly well considering all of the creative suggestions he received. He knew the Dark Prince wasn’t just a character, he was a test for each member of the Skywalker family. Xizor spent literally all of his time and energy obsessing over Luke, Anakin, and Leia, discovering their weak points and pressing their buttons. In this respect, Xizor is an embodiment the novel’s central theme: vulnerability. The vulnerability of the each member of the Skywalker family.

    You can buy everything you need to enjoy Shadows of the Empire here!

    Dash Rendar

    A new protagonist was also introduced—Dash Rendar, aka ‘90s Han Solo. Although Dash was conceived by Perry himself, that didn’t mean he had any more creative control over his character than he did with Xizor’s. Lucasfilm and Bantam both made it clear they didn’t want an exact carbon-copy of Kylo Ren’s dad to fill the void he left behind. They did, however, want a substitute space pirate to act as a guide through the wrong side of the interplanetary tracks.

    Dash was the macho middle ground between Kevin Costner and Tom Cruise—a smuggling mercenary that traveled around the galaxy in his Outrider (aka ‘90s Millennium Falcon) with a droid named Leebo riding shotgun. He held a lifelong vendetta against the Emperor for ruining his family after his brother crashed his freighter ship into Palpatine's private spaceport museum. Rendar helped Rogue Squadron fend off the Empire’s forces during the Battle of Hoth. He even helped the “many Bothans” that died steal the new Death Star plans! Despite all of this, Luke still thought he was kind of an asshole. Hmm. Maybe that’s because the Force told him Dash was secretly made out of cardboard, old issues of Youngblood, and testosterone.

    If Dash Rendar were to be described by one word only, it would be “functional.” He doesn’t serve a function for the Shadows narrative per se, but boy does he ever for the multimedia campaign. After all, Dash was the star of the video game component of Shadows of the Empire, which featured his participation in the Battle of Hoth. I wouldn’t say that Dash is a person, but more of a Frankenstein’s monster of pastiches culled from Star Wars and its imitators, stitched together with Harrison Ford’s casual cockiness. Basically, he was an endless library of “shit Han Solo says.”

    Guri

    The real fan favorite of Shadowsturned out to be a character that still doesn’t have a decently sized action figure to this day: Guri, Prince Xizor’s deadly fembot bodyguard. She was the only replica droid trained to be an assassin—a hybrid of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct and Sean Young in Blade Runner. Compared to Princess Leia, Guri was a lightning rod for pent-up sexual tension in the Star Wars universe. In fact, Xizor took advantage of her more built-in “intimate” functions whenever he could, which only amplified the rapey nature of the crime lord.

    Much like Han Solo’s sugar-free counterpart, Dash Rendar, Guri the sex assasin was a Steve Perry original. The femme fatale was conceived as a character who would be loyal to the paranoid Falleen leader, someone he could trust. Since Xizor could never trust another living being with his life, he bought a synthetic humanoid for nine million credits to be his lieutenant, enforcer, and information gatherer. Basically, she was like having a ninja as your personal assistant, which further reinforced the vaguely Asian motif surrounding the Dark Prince. But it was strongly suggested that he used her to run everything, and probably couldn’t handle the weight of his responsibilities on his own.

    Luke & Leia

    Core characters were subject to redesign as well, specifically their wardrobe. Lucasfilm wanted to visually convey to the audience that their heroes were in between two very distinct eras (Empire and Jedi.) While Chewie and Leia got “extreme” disguises to play dress-up in, Luke Skywalker’s wardrobe was meticulously reconceptualized.

    Lucasfilm’s Lucy Wilson would send notes to Dark Horse’s cover artist Drew Fleming on the Jedi knight’s garb, asking him to “please dress [Luke] in the same black outfit he shows up in in RotJ…the same black long-sleeved top, pants, and boots…but make his tunic a khaki color and give him a utility belt with various tools/etc. hanging off of it…”

    But playing with Luke’s fashion choices wasn’t the only way that Shadows of the Empire illustrated that Luke was in a transitionary phase. Jon Knoles wanted the the overarching narrative of the project to tie up a loose end that had been bugging him since the early ‘80s—where did Luke get his new green lightsaber?

    Thus another plotline to juggle was born, one of Shadows’ most interesting: Luke’s quest to build his fancy new weapon. Watching young Skywalker learn how to build his own based on Obi-Wan’s instructions was fascinating for aspiring Jedi everywhere to read, but there isn’t as much symbolic weight behind this act as there could have been in a film made by Lucas. At least it was treated as a pivotal step on the protagonist’s figurative journey to becoming a Jedi Knight and not just another macguffin to scratch off the list. (Or was it?)

    What’s frustrating about this sidequest is that it takes the place of a solid character arc for Luke, which is a shame. Dealing with the fallout from Vader’s reveal at the end of Empire would make Anakin Jr. the most captivating character in the dramatis personae. But no, learning his father’s secret doesn’t seem to affect Luke’s inner world much at all. Why wouldn’t we want to know what our hero’s state of mind was during this mysterious stretch of time?

    If Shadows didn’t give us insight into its most pivotal character, it did give us a glimpse at Leia’s emotional landscape following the loss of Han. The first loss of Han, rather. If anyone was at their “most vulnerable” here, it would be the Princess—someone who fears showing weakness. SotE’s journey into the seedy Star Wars underworld caused all of her issues to rise to the surface, making Leia the heart of Perry’s book.

    Despite the third-person take on her inner-monologue, Leia was treated as a character best handled from a distance. When she’s not being objectified, harassed, or protected from objectification and harassment by Chewie and Lando, she’s busy pulling up her sleeves and getting to the nitty gritty of propelling the novel’s major plotlines. As such, Princess Leia comes across as the Skywalker that’s the real hero here.

    The only real worthy piece of continuity from her storyline was how she got the Boushh disguise she wears in Jedi, a detail that most fans probably never wondered or cared about.

    The Story

    The attempted Han Solo rescue, which is the driving force early on in the story, obviously turns out to be the MacGuffin that leads the Skywalkers and their friends on other adventures. The video game tackles the earliest part of this mission, when Dash tracks down the bounty hunters who were originally tasked with capturing Han. Fighting his way through the planets Ord Mantell and Gall, Dash finally locates Fett and his prized slab of carbonite. Leia, Lando, Luke, and the Rebellion launch a rescue mission that sparks the Battle of Gall. It fails and Fett gets away again.

    Fett’s struggle to get the frozen Han Solo to Jabba the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine is the major subject of the Shadows comic. On his way to the desert planet he is attacked both by the Rebels and rival bounty hunters Bossk and Zuckuss. Ironically, he even has to hide out in an asteroid field at one point to fight off his assailants. Ultimately, Fett proves why he’s the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, outsmarting his pursuers and getting the payday.

    Things get more intricate from here. Prince Xizor, who vows to avenge his family after they’re killed by Darth Vader before the events of the book, plans to destroy Vader by killing his son and replacing him as the Emperor’s right hand. Xizor tries to have Luke assassinated several times in Shadows, only to be thwarted at the last minute every time by Rebels or Vader’s own bounty hunters. Vader, on the other hand, is still trying to find Luke and turn him to the Dark Side, which brings him in direct contact with the leader of Black Sun. The only reason Vader can’t Force choke Xizor out of an exhaust port is because the Emperor needs the crime lord to finish the construction of the second Death Star.

    Which brings us to the mission to steal the Death Star plans. Dash and Luke are informed by Bothan spies that the plans are being transported in a fertilizer freighter called the Suprosa. The Rebels launch an intercept mission. You can actually play through this mission as Dash in the Shadows video game.

    After some maneuvering, Xizor has Luke captured on the planet Kothlis, where the plans are being decoded by the Bothans. Luke manages to escape Kothlis with a little help from the Force, Lando, and Dash. Vader, who arrives on Kothlis too late to pick up Luke, is informed by his bounty hunters that there’s a rival group of bounty hunters trying to kill young Skywalker.

    Meanwhile, Leia is kidnapped by Xizor, who tries to seduce the Princess in his palace on Coruscant. Shadows of the Empire is in fact bookended by rescue missions, as Luke and his friends infiltrate the Imperial capital to save Leia from the evil crime lord. The story climaxes in spectacular fashion in a space battle above the city planet between the Rebels and the Empire, as Xizor attempts to escape but is stopped by Vader, who shows absolutely no mercy.

    Shadows of the Empire ends right before Return of the Jedi begins: Luke, Leia, and friends prepare to go on a daring rescue mission to save Han Solo from the clutches of the dastardly Jabba the Hutt, their latest adventure ultimately only a detour. 

    The Sequel

    Dark Horse gave Steve Perry a shot at telling a follow-up story in 1998 with the Shadows of the Empire: Evolution miniseries. Without so many requirements and stipulations from different Lucasfilm branches, Perry was given the freedom to tell a snappy, focused, personal story about Guri. The underappreciated badass got her time to shine in the Star Warslimelight, and although there may be too many panels (and pages) devoted to her posing around suggestively, the story did give her character a sense of resolution. As far as Perry was concerned, Guri was the only loose end from Shadows that needed to be dealt with (or the only one he felt the most inspired to tackle, anyway.)

    What’s interesting about Evolutionsis that much like Shadows itself, it’s built around the absence of a pivotal character. It’s Prince Xizor, this time. His spirit still permeates throughout Ron Randall’s gorgeous panel art, much like Han Solo’s did in the Shadows adaptation. In fact, Evolutions is loaded with so many references to Xizor that you expect him to show up during its final moments. But no, in the true spirit of Shadows of the Empire, this turns out to be one big tease.

    Instead, we get a highly convenient Dash Rendar cameo at the very end. Guri runs into him at a bar after she gets reprogrammed and loses her memories. Diet-Han looks alive and well to me, so the end of the N64 game was definitely canon (Rendar fakes his death during the space battle above Coruscant). But the romantic overtones of their chance encounter suggest that the two run off into the sunset together, which is a patronizing fate to give a character whose indepence you just spent five issues celebrating, is it not?

    The Legacy

    Because Episodes I-III tainted Star Wars for a good long while, Shadows of the Empire became an instant obscurity. After all, it was an outdated snapshot of a dormant brand waking up after a long nap to get back to work. Maybe bored gamers may have dusted off their N64 cartridges on lonely Saturday afternoons to play through the Battle of Hoth again in the early 2000s. But that was the only way anyone interacted with this brand experiment again.

    Filling a movie-sized hole in the public’s imagination without a movie was a great opportunity to begin the process of redefining Star Wars. Yet even after taking in all Shadows related materials (not including the Sourcebook, sorry folks), I don’t feel as satisfied as I do when I actually see a Star Wars film—even when it’s a bad one. There’s an aura of incompleteness that haunts Shadows, that attitude of “hey kids, you need to read x to understand y” that I found so distracting. Even Perry’s novel, the supposed focal point, suffers from the inclusion of characters like Dash who are obviously shoehorned in for other purposes that are counterproductive to telling an already crowded story.

    For a book that was advertised as being so dark, Perry’s Shadows shied away from going too deep into Luke’s psychological scars from the events at the end of Empire. That’s it’s biggest problem: for a “personal” story, Shadows is impersonal, prioritizing shallow action over emotional complexity. In fact, there’s more “darkness” in Empire’s surreal Dagobah cave scene than there is in 300 pages of Shadow’s novel and ten hours of its video game combined.

    What Shadows most prepared fans for in terms of Star Wars’ future was the business side of the galaxy far, far away, introduced through Black Sun’s shady dealings with the Empire. While I was reading these scenes, I couldn’t help but flashback to countless scenes of council meetings to discuss tariffs or something. Granted, Shadows’ meetings between Xizor, Vader, and the Emperor were far more engaging, but the signs were there.

    The Shadows initiative garnered enough success that it later served as real time inspiration for the Clone Wars marketing campaign in the early oughts. The concept of telling a movie-sized story in the negative space between film installments was ahead of its time, and couldn’t be pulled off in a pre-gaming era. Which is why the mid-90s (a literal negative space for Star Wars) was the perfect time to pull off a crazy stunt like this.

    As a whole, the Shadowsexperiment may have added an extra slimy texture to Star Warsthat hadn’t been there before. Exploring the darker corners of its universe through various media formats defined its nebulous gray area in ways the older films couldn’t. This was the most important lesson Lucasfilm learned from Shadows of the Empire, as it helped change Star Wars from a lost movie franchise into the rich multimedia brand experience it is today.

    SOURCES:

    Secrets of Shadows of the Empire by Mark Cotta Vaz

    StarWarz.com

    Star Wars Interviews

    Bombad Radio

    Believe it or not, Stephen Harber is actually Supreme Leader Snoke. Follow him on Twitter at @onlywriterever or visit his website for updates on more Ewoks movies that will never happen.


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    What we know about Detroit: Become Human, including latest news, release date, trailers, and more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Mar 1, 2018

    Quantic Dream's new game is Detroit: Become Human. The developer behind Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain returns with a tale about artifical intelligence, as three androids living very different lives struggle to survive in a world that doesn't really want them. 

    Here's everything we know about the game:

    Detroit: Become Human Release Date

    Detroit: Become Human will be released on May 25th. It is currently a PlayStation 4 exclusive. 

    Detroit: Become Human Trailer

    A new trailer for Detroit: Become Human premiered at the Paris Game Show 2017. Check it out below:

    Detroit: Become Human's E3 2017 trailer was an extended cinematic preview of the game's story that bordered on a short film. Despite the massive influx of footage it contained, we still really don't know what the gameplay will be like. What we do know is that the game's story will focus on a Blade Runner-type universe where androids are used for servitude and a few decide to rebel against the system. The concept certainly looks interesting, but we're eager to see more of how these concepts will actually be tied together by gameplay. 

    The game's E3 2016 trailer showcased a cinematic experience loaded with the type of decision-based narrative moments that Quantic Dreams is famous for:

    Detroit is based on a 2012 tech demo called "Kara," which is a personal favorite of ours. It's the story of an android who wants to live as a human. 

    Here's the original tech demo: 

    Right?

    Well, Detroitis the continuation of this story. What happens when Kara leaves the factory and enters the real world? You'll soon find out. Interestingly enough, Detroit is described as an "Android City" in the first trailer for the game. Check it out:

    The game will tackle themes of artificial intelligence, including the rights of machines and whether they should be treated as servants to mankind. I think someone has been reading Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics again...


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    This reboot wants to change the way you think of interactive entertainment.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 1, 2018

    Her Story creator Sam Barlow has written a six-part interactive WarGamesreboot. 

    While technically considered a reboot of the 1983 film, this WarGames bears few similarities to that film (at least so far as we can tell based on the information available). It tells the story of an "ex-military brat" named Kelly who uses her hacking skills to do some good in the world. At some point, things go wrong for her, but it's clear that the team isn't quite ready to dive into details regarding what exactly happens to Kelly and her team of hackers. 

    WarGames requires players to switch between multiple video feeds in order to solve a series of problems and advance the plot. According to the description of the game, WarGames will "learn" from your choices and alter the sequence of events that occur based on what you do. The game is based on technology created by a company named Eko who have been trying to advance the concept of interactive scripted entertainment.

    The WarGames reboot is expected to release on March 14th for iOS and Steam. An Xbox One version of the game will be released at an unspecified date. 

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    It's pretty clear that the WarGames team is keeping the details of this reboot under wraps. To be honest, we're not even entirely certain what you can expect from WarGames once you open it and actually begin to play. 

    However, we have high hopes for this reboot simply because Sam Barlow has proven that he's one of the few writers who is able to use the odd medium of interactive videos to tell compelling stories that don't skimp on player choices. Her Story is one of the most brilliant examples of using interactivity to tell a story, and we're excited to see what he comes up with for this series. 

    Speaking of Her Story, Sam Barlow is working on a sequel to that game, but there are relatively few details regarding the game available at this time. 


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    It's the closest you can get to the '90s without having to wear JNCO jeans.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 1, 2018

    3D Realms have created a new FPS game that appears to be built on the same engine as Duke Nukem 3D.

    Ion Maiden is an Early Access game that tells the story of Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison's battle against a cybernetic army trying to destroy a futuristic version of DC. Naturally, she must utilize a variety of incredible weapons to slow down their advances and ultimately win the day. Said weapons include Shelly's revolver, Loverboy, and a host of realistic and futuristic death dealers that feature primary and alternate modes of fire. 

    From top-to-bottom, Ion Maiden is an old-school FPS game. It's got lots of action, module music, and levels that are not procedurally generated and feature multiple paths. It's described as the true successor to games like Shadow Warrior and Duke Nukem

    That much is evident by just looking at the game, but what's truly impressive about Ion Maiden is that it's not a sleek throwback to an era gone by but rather a game developed within the exact same engine used to create some classic '90s shooters. Granted, time and experience have allowed the developers to push the engine further than it ever would have been able to go back in the day, but this is a proper throwback FPS experience. 

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    If you're wondering why the game is in Early Access, it seems to be based on 3D Realms' desire to expand and improve the game's offerings. Said expansions and improvement include some performance fixes and the addition of a possible multiplayer mode. For now, you are able to access a preview campaign designed to give you a taste of what is coming when 3D Realms develops the final version of this game. 

    There's no word on when the final version of the game will be released, but if you're itching to try this out now, it seems that this current build of the game certainly captures the spirit of old-school shooters even it is incomplete. 


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    Our best look yet at this Harry Potter title.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 1, 2018

    The latest trailer for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery gives us a much better idea of what the game actually is. 

    While previous previews seemed to indicate that you'll be able to create your own own character in Hogwarts Mystery, that doesn't appear to be the case. Instead, it looks like you play a young girl who just got her Hogwarts invitation. However, you will be able to pick which house you join thanks to the famous Sorting Hat loophole. From there, you'll attend classes, meet friends, battle rivals, and live a pretty normal Hogwarts lifestyle. 

    Also in development is Niantic's upcoming Harry Potter AR game. Unfortunately, we know very little about that particular title at this time. In lieu of that, check out the first trailer for Jam City's Hogwarts mystery

    Specifically, it will ask you to step into the shoes of a young witch, embark upon a journey that spans several years at Hogwarts, and "participate in all of the magical classes and activities they have come to love like Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Duelling Club, and more." The game will also reportedly feature many of the professors from the books, but there's no word on whether Harry and the gang are going to make an appearance at this time. 

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    It seems this game will also serve as a bit of a prequel to the Harry Potter books. It takes place "in the time between Harry Potter’s birth and his enrollment at Hogwarts, when Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley were students." That means the professors will be familiar, but you shouldn't expect to see Ron, Hermione, or Harry. 

    There's also a bit of mystery surrounding how the game will actually play. We fill safe in saying that isn't going to be an incredibly deep RPG experience, but it does seem that Hogwarts Mystery will offer various story arcs, character relationships, and choices which will affect the overall narrative. 

    If we had to guess, we'd say that this game is going to be a simplified experience designed to appeal to the various age brackets that make up Harry Potter's global fanbase. However, there is always hope this might be...well, that it might an actual game. 

    There's no release date for this mobile app available at this time, but it should be out before the end of 2018. 

    We'd be lying if we said that there's been a definitive Harry Potter game released to date. The closest that we've come is Quidditch World Cup and the Lego Harry Potter series. The EA games based on the series have ranged from "pretty good" (Chamber of Secrets) to "burn it with fire" (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1). 


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    Catch up on everything that's going on with the first season of Overwatch League! Here are the results...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 1, 2018

    The Overwatch League starts on January 10, 2018. From there, matches between the league's 12 teams are expected to occur four times a week, Wednesday through Saturday. This inaugural season will divide teams into two divisions.

    Overwatch's playoff season will run from July 11 to July 28. It's not clear what the playoff structure will be, but it will likely adopt a best of five formats for the initial games before moving to a possible best of seven for the Championship.

    Overwatch League Stage One Playoff Results

    The London Spitfire won the Overwatch League stage one playoffs after defeating the Houston Outlaws 3-1 and the New York Excelsior 3-2. They took home $100,000 for their win while New York snagged $25,000 for their second-place finish. 

    Overwatch League Stage Two Schedule

    The full Overwatch League stage two schedule can be found here. Play begins on February 21st. Like stage one, it will conclude with a three-team playoff that rewards prize money, but will not affect the league standings. 

    Overwatch League Overall Standings

    1. New York Excelsior: 10-2

    2. Seoul Dynasty: 10-3 

    3. Houston Outlaws: 9-3 

    4. Los Angeles Valiant: 9-4 

    5. London Spitfire: 8-4 

    6. Philadelphia Fusion: 8-4

    7. Boston Uprising: 6-6

    8. Los Angeles Gladiators: 6-7 

    9. Dallas Fuel: 5-8

    10. San Francisco Shock: 3-10

    11. Florida Mayhem: 1-11

    12. Shanghai Dragons: 0-13

    A full breakdown of map win scores and overall map differential can be found here

    Overwatch League Stage Two Changes

    Overwatch League stage two will feature the recent changes Mercy and Junkrat. While the Junkrat nerfs should have a minimal impact, the changes to Mercy figure to completely alter the way that professional Overwatch teams approach strategy. It could drastically shake-up the standings. 

    Overwatch League Teams

    The Atlantic Division includes the Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Philadelphia Fusion.

    The Pacific Division includes the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, and Shanghai Dragons. 

    Overwatch League Format

    The current plan is for each team to play 20 division matches per season and 20 non-division matches. The highest-ranked team in each division at the end of the season will receive an automatic playoff berth and a first-round playoff bye.

    The remaining four playoff teams will be determined by who has the best overall record. That's in contrast to leagues like the NBA and NFL that require a certain amount of representatives from each division. 

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    In order to ensure that teams remain competitive, the OverwatchLeague will also feature mini-tournaments throughout the season featuring the best performing teams from the past five weeks. This way, teams with overall bad records can still theoretically win five-week bonuses. 

    Overwatch League Prize Money

    The winners of the Overwatch League will earn a $1,000,000 team bonus and the Overwatch League championship trophy. The runner-ups will receive $400,000, third and fourth place teams will take home $100,000, and fifth and sixth place squads will walk away with $50,000. 

    There are also bonuses for regular season records which tops out with a $300,000 bonus to the team with the best overall record. All told, $3 million in bonuses will be awarded throughout the year. On top of that, players will receive a salary and benefits. 


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    One of the world's largest eSports tournaments has begun. Here's what you need to know:

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 1, 2018

    There's nothing quite like League of Legends eSports scene. The fact that League is one of the most popular games on the planet is never more evident than when you're watching the best players in the world utilize a combination of perfect teamwork and inhuman individual skills in front of a rowdy audience. This MOBA has become a bonafide phenomenon with a professional competition that attracts millions of viewers. 

    Now, League's 2018 competitive season has begun.

    What begins as a world's worth of top teams vying for the top spots of the Spring and Summer Split seasons will soon transition into the tense tournament known as the League of Legends World Championship. League's Championship finals are famous for being some of the most unpredictable and compelling series of games in the world. It's a spectacle you do not want to miss. 

    Whether you've been following LoL since the beginning or you're looking to understand why this game has captured the world's imagination, we're here to keep you updated on the comings and goings of the 2018 competitive season. 

    Here's a guide to League of LegendseSports in 2018:

    League of Legends eSports Live Stream

    You can watch every League of Legends eSports match across every region by checking out our live stream!

    League of Legends World Championship Format

    It's a long road to the League of Legends World Championship, but here's a rough breakdown of how you get there. 

    The first thing you need to know is that there are actually several competitive LoL leagues spread throughout the world. However, the biggest leagues are the NA LCS, EU LCS, League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), League of Legends Pro League (LPL, China), and League of LegendsMaster Series (LMS, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau). These leagues are complemented by several smaller organizations in other regions. 

    Each competitive season is divided into the Spring and Summer splits. Teams from major regions are competing for championship points throughout the season in order to improve their standings and perhaps earn a playoff berth. However, the best way for teams to earn a World Championship playoff berth is to win the Summer split playoffs. Regardless of what region a team plays in, that will automatically secure its spot. Teams from larger regions can also make it to the World Championship playoffs via their play in regional qualifiers or by having the most championship points at the end of Summer playoffs. 

    The format of the World Championship and preceding playoffs may change slightly every year, but in 2017, 24 teams across all regions made it to the League of LegendsWorld Championship. They competed in a Round Robin series that eventually ended with the Main Event (Championship matches). The team that wins that final series of best of one matches is named the League of Legends World Champion.

    League of Legends World Championship Prize Pool

    The exact prize pool for the League of Legends 2018 World Championship has not yet been determined. However, the 2017 World Championship featured a prize pool of $4,946,969.00. It's believed that this year's Championship will feature a similarly high prize pool. 

    League of Legends Permanent Spring Split 2018 Format 

    The current Spring Split season will be contested under a best of one format. This is a change from recent years, which featured a best of three format. This year will also see the NA LCS abandon Friday games in favor of games that only take place on Saturday and Sunday. 

    League of Legends Spring Split 2018 Schedule

    Want to know the match schedule for a specific region of League of Legends eSports? You can find each schedule at the links below:

    NA LCS Spring Split 2018 Schedule

    EU LCS Spring Split Schedule 

    LCK Spring Split Schedule

    LPL Spring Split Schedule

    LMS Spring Split Schedule

    League of Legends Spring Split Standings

    NA LCS

    1 Echo Fox 10W-2L
    2 Cloud9 9W-3L
    3 Clutch Gaming 7W-5L
    3 100 Thieves 7W-5L
    3 Team Liquid 7W-5L
    6 TSM 6W-6L
    7 OpTic Gaming 4W-8L
    7 FlyQuest 4W-8L
    9 Counter Logic Gaming 3W-9L
    9 Golden Guardians 3W-9L

    EU LCS

    1 Fnatic 9W-3L
    2 G2 Esports 8W-4L
    3 Team Vitality 7W-5L
    4 Giants 6W-6L
    4 Splyce 6W-6L
    4 Misfits Gaming 6W-6L
    7 FC Schalke 04 5W-7L
    7 ROCCAT 5W-7L
    9 H2K 4W-8L
    9 Unicorns of Love 4W-8L

    LCK

    1 kt Rolster 9W-3L
    1 KING-ZONE DragonX 9W-2L
    3 Afreeca Freecs 8W-4L
    4 KSV 6W-5L
    4 ROX Tigers 6W-5L
    6 SK telecom T1 5W-6L
    7 Jin Air GreenWings 4W-7L
    7 bbq OLIVERS 4W-7L
    9 MVP 3W-8L
    10 KONGDOO MONSTER 2W-9L

    LPL

    GROUP A

    GROUP A
    1 Edward Gaming 6W-2L
    1 Snake Esports 6W-2L
    3 Bilibili Gaming 6W-4L
    4 FunPlus Phoenix 4W-5L
    4 Team WE 4W-5L
    6 Oh My God 2W-5L
    7 Vici Gaming 0W-9L

    GROUP B

    1 Invictus Gaming 8W-1L
    2 Rogue Warriors 7W-2L
    3 Royal Never Give Up 5W-4L
    4 JD Gaming 4W-4L
    4 Suning Gaming 4W-4L
    6 LGD Gaming 3W-5L
    7 Topsports Gaming 1W-8L

    LMS

    1 Flash Wolves 7W-0L
    2 G-Rex 5W-2L
    3 J Team 4W-3L
    4 MAD Team 3W-4L
    4 Team Afro 3W-4L
    4 Machi Esports 3W-4L
    7 ahq e-Sports Club 2W-5L
    8 Hong Kong Attitude 1W-6L


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    The world's richest eSports competition has begun. Here's your guide to the action.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Mar 1, 2018

    Dota 2 has long been one of competitive gaming's most fascinating scenes. In some ways, its success in the realm of competitive gaming felt like the game's birthright. As the successor to the popular Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients, Dota 2 launched with a fanbase eager to get in on the competitive action. In order to satiate their desires, Valve invited some of the best Defense of the Ancients teams in the world to compete in a 2011 Dota 2 tournament that offered a $1 million prize pool. 

    From there, the Dota 2 competitive scene has only continued to grow. What began as an invite-only tournament has blossomed into a competitive season that demands the best from some truly talented teams across the world. They're competing for glory, honor, and the right to be called the best, but they're also competing for a silly amount of money. Dota 2's 2017 International tournament boasted a prize pool of $24,687,919 - the largest of its kind in eSports history. 

    Look beyond the cash prizes and the sold-out stadiums of fans that the game's biggest matches attract and you'll find that Dota 2 is ultimately a great MOBA that demands perfect teamwork, a flawless strategy, and incredible individual play. There's a reason this game was launched with a legacy of top-tier competitive gaming to live up to. 

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    Here's what you need to know about Dota 2's 2018 competitive scene:

    Dota 2 International 8 Format

    The major change to Dota 2's 2018 competitive season is Valve's decision to abandon the single-tournament format in favor of several tournaments throughout the year that will award competitive points. Those points will then be used to determine who is invited to the championship tournament, The International 8. 

    The way this works is quite simple. Throughout the course of the 2017-2018 competitive season, there will be 16 Minors tournaments and 10 Majors tournaments. Minors will award 300 competitive points across the top four teams. Majors will reward an astounding 1,500 points across the same size of winners. First place teams get 50% of the points, second place gets 30%, and third and fourth place walk away with 10%. Tournaments that differentiate between third and fourth place will see the third-place team get 15% and the fourth place team gets 5%.

    The eight teams invited to The International 8 will be determined by which teams have the most points among their top three players. Other teams can then make it to the big tournament via regional qualifier competitions. 

    Dota 2 International 8 Prize Pool

    Considering that Dota 2's International prize pool is determined by community contributions and official donations from Valve and other organizers, we don't currently know just how rich this year's prize will be. However, The International's final prize pool has only grown since 2014. That mean's this year's total earnings could very well exceed $25 million. 

    Dota 2 International 8 Tournament Schedule

    Here are the remaining tournaments for the 2017-2018 competitive season:

    Minors Tournaments

    GESC E-Series - Jakarta: March 16-18

    DreamLeague Season 9: March 20-25

    StarLadder: April 11-15

    Perfect World: April 17-24

    GESC E-Series: Bangkok: May 11-13

    Majors Tournaments

    The Bucharest Major: March 8-11

    Dota 2 Asia Championships: March 30-April 7

    EPICENTER: April 27-May 7

    Mars Media; name TBD: May 14-20

    ESL; name TBD: May 25-27

    PGL; name TBD: June 4-10

    Dota 2 International 8 Standings

    1 Virtus.pro - 4947 
    2 Team Secret - 4260 
    3 Team Liquid - 4185 
    4 Vici Gaming - 2160 
    5 Newbee - 1725 
    6 Natus Vincere- 1109 
    7 Mineski - 900 
    8 Evil Geniuses - 885 


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