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    A recent gameplay preview of Red Dead Redemption 2 reveals what could be a truly special game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 3, 2018

    IGN recently got the chance to witness a 45-minute demo of Red Dead Redemption 2, and they've returned with the first real details about 2018's most anticipated game. 

    The overall impressions of the game are glowing. The demo Rockstar showcased suggests that Red Dead Redemption 2 might just end up featuring the studio's most detailed and believable open-world. Unlike the original Red Dead which was pretty sparse, there's quite a bit happening in RDR 2. The game doesn't betray the scenic and serene nature of the Western setting to fit in these extra details but rather finds ways to get more out of what is already there. 

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    For instance, the people of towns now actually live their own lives and will dynamically react to whatever may be happening around them. Raise a gun in town, and residents will scatter or even shoot at you. Even camps of people living in the wilderness- which includes the customizable camps that you'll be able to set-up for your gang - feature everyone performing some kind of role that makes sense for the situation. Complementing all of this detail is a reportedly stunning graphics engine that may look just as good as the visuals shown in the game's highly-cinematic trailers. 

    In fact, trying to compile the number of features and little things the game allows you to do just from what we know about this 45-minute demo is a daunting task. Some gameplay highlights include a much more involved hunting system (which now requires you to get clean kills for maximum value), a greater emphasis on your horse as a character (he can even carry more equipment for you), advanced animal AI, the return of gambling, a much-improved honor system that features moral complexities, the ability to perform more robberies (and be pursued for being too notorious), and so much more. 

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    However, the most impressive takeaway from this demo is the quality of the game's central plot and your ability to influence it. It seems that Arthur will have much more control over how he - and by extension, the player - chooses to handle every situation. From basic dialog options to truly complicated story choices, Red Dead's core missions will work to constantly develop both the story, the main character, and the complicated relationship between the game's band of outlaws.

    For instance, the seemingly simple bank robbing mission detailed in the preview above requires players to choose the way they approach the bank, how to best cause a distraction, how to get into the vaults, and how to survive the escape from the mission once the law catches on to their daring heist. That last part is described as an epic encounter that highlights the game's refined combat system and stunning environments. 

    Overall, we get the impression that Red Dead Redemption 2 just might find a way to live up to the considerable hype that surrounds it. We'll be sure to bring you more details on the game as they become available. 

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    God of War notches another accolade by virtue of posting some stunning sales figures.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 3, 2018

    God of War is officially the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 exclusive. 

    In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Sony stated that God of War has sold a shocking 3.1 million units during its first three days of availability. They say that they knew they had "something truly special" when they first revealed the game two years ago and are "humbled" to see how well the title has been received. Shannon Studstill, head of Santa Monica Studio, had this to say regarding the game's incredible success. 

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    “I would like to personally thank the millions of fans around the world who decided to embark on Kratos’ latest adventure with us...The belief in the game’s vision and the passion for storytelling across the team is undeniable. We look forward to hearing more about how fans are creating new memories of their favorite God of War gameplay moments that will be remembered for a long time.”

    God of War's creative director, Cory Barlog, already shared his own reaction to the game's success via a video featuring him crying upon first reading the incredible review scores God of War garnered around the time of its release. 

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    Based on those sales figures, it's just a matter of time until God of War becomes the best-selling entry in the franchise to date. That title is currently held by God of War 3 which has sold an estimated 4.81 million units to date. As for the best-selling PS4 exclusive so far, it's believed that Uncharted 4: A Thief's End currently occupies that throne by virtue of selling an estimated 8.7 million units. That total is well-within God of War's reach.

    It's impossible to not cheer for God of War's considerable achievements. It's a great game that has completely revitalized the franchise and was clearly a passion project for everyone involved in its development. Now, we'll just wait and see how high the game can climb up the all-time sales charts. 

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    Everything we know about Vampyr, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 3, 2018

    Life Is Strange developer Dontnod's latest project is an RPG called Vampyr. The game stars a vampire named Jonathan, who stalks the streets of a flu-infested London, fighting off monster hunters and feeding on the living in order to survive.

    According to Dontnod, Vampyr will include brawling, shooting, crafting, and a range of missions doled out by non-player characters. The twist, however, is that you'll have to find mortal victims to slake your thirst for blood.

    "Don’t forget: sooner or later, you will have to feed, and make a difficult choice... who will be your prey?" Dontnod's press release reads. "Absolutely all characters in the game are potential victims of your vampiric lust. Carefully study the habits of your next victim, his or her relationships with other characters, and set up your strategy to feed, unnoticed: seduce them, change their daily habits, or make sure they end up alone in a dark street..."

    It sounds like a solid concept and a clever use of its early 20th-century setting. If Dontnod can couple the world building of Remember Me with a more compelling combat system, we could be in for a claret-spattered treat.

    Here's everything else you need to know about the game:

    Vampyr Trailer

    This new trailer teases the gruesome vampire action in Vampyr. It's pretty dark. You've been warned...

    A dev diary from DontNod fleshes out Jonathan Reid, Vampyr's protagonist, and what the deal is with monster-infested London. Check it out below:

    The E3 2017 trailer gives us a look at the highly cinematic - and very dark - London setting that those who choose to take a chance on the game will inhabit. 

    This next gameplay trailer promises vampiric combat, RPG elements, and, most interestingly, the ability to choose who Jonathan feeds on. Jonathan's ability to take control of a victim, escort them to a dark place, and drink their blood is by far Vampyr's most intriguing gameplay element thus far. 

    Check out the gameplay trailer below:

    You can see the first teaser trailer below:

    Vampyr Release Date

    Vampyr arrives on June 5. It is coming to XBO, PS4, and PC. 

    Vampyr DLC

    Cédric Lagarrigue, president of publisher Focus Home Interactive, told MCVUK that Vampyr will not feature any DLC. 

    "This is a purely solo experience; we did not plan DLC. We would prefer, if the reception of the game justifies it, to think about a sequel," Lagarrigue said. "We and Dontnod already have some ideas, as there are so many incredible things to offer in such a universe." 

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    Everything we know about the Atari VCS, including latest news, release date, price, games, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 3, 2018

    It's possible that younger generations of gamers have completely forgotten the name "Atari," but in the '70s and early '80s, it was the company to beat. A true pioneer of gaming, Atari was at the forefront of the arcade cabinet scene and produced some of the earliest home consoles on the market. The company is also responsible for hits such as PongCentipedeMissile CommandBreakoutAsteroids, and Gauntlet. Needless to say, Atari's output as both a hardware and software manufacturer remains very influential. 

    Well, it seems like Atari CEO Fred Chesnais wants to make the former gaming giant a big part of the conversation again. Speaking with GamesBeat, he confirmed that the company is developing a brand new console. It's called the Atari VCS (formerly called "Ataribox"), the company's first console in more than 20 years. Atari's last home console release was the 64-bit Atari Jaguar, which launched in 1993.

    According to an Atari newsletter, the VCS will be a "full PC experience for the TV, bringing you streaming, applications, social, browsing, music, and more." Atari VCS will come pre-loaded with retro titles as well as "current titles from a range of studios." Atari has not named the studios it has partnered with for this new console.

    Here's everything we know about the new console:

    Atari VCS Release Date

    The Atari VCS will arrive in Spring 2019.

    Atari VCS Price

    Pre-sales for the Atari VCS will be made available exclusively through Indiegogo beginning May 30th. If you pre-order the console, you also get a time-limited Collector's Edition featuring a classically-inspired wood-front.

    A sleek black Onyx version will also be available, which will start at just $199 for a limited number of early-bird adopters. Other packages include the Classic Joystick and Modern Controller.  

    Atari VCS Trailer

    Atari also dropped a trailer for the new console. It teases the return of the wood paneling that was a trademark of the old machines. Check out the trailer below:

    A logo for the new console has also been revealed. It is as retro-looking as you'd expect:

    Atari VCS Details

    According to IGN, the Atari VCS isn't the system that people have been speculating it is. The site claims that the VCS isn't like the NES Mini, isn't another take on the Android-fuelled Ouya concept, and isn't a major new console. Instead, they compare it to a living room PC similar to the Steam Machine line.

    The console apparently runs off a Linux-based system and will utilize a console-based interface in order to make it easier for casual audiences to use it. The VCS is also expected to ship for a fairly low price - $250-$300 - in comparison to other such living room PC devices. It will also include an array of classic Atari games right out of the box.

    That's the good news. The bad news is that the VCS isn't particularly powerful. Atari Connect COO Michael Arzt referred to it as a "good laptop without a keyboard." That means that it likely won't be able to handle many of the more demanding modern-day video games. While it will allow users to modify the system somewhat via a "sandbox" mode, the device likely won't support stores like Steam right out of the gate. 

    Basically, it sounds like the VCS is meant for a very casual audience. Despite Atari's laptop claims, the Atari VCS might be more closely compared to Google Chromecast with a little more hardware power and the ability to play games. It's an incredibly odd device that sounds very similar to the Nvidia Shield. We're not entirely certain that we know what Atari is trying to accomplish with it. 

    What we do know for sure is that the VCS will come with two controller options. Unsurprisingly, Atari fans will be able to use a joystick to play on the VCS. What is surprising is the second controller option: an ABXY gamepad similar to the Xbox One controller. Check out both designs below...

    In an interview with VentureBeat, Atari VCS creator Feargal Mac stated that they intend to release the console sometime in 2018 following an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign. It's expected to retail for $250-$300 and will utilize an AMD processor and a Radeon graphics card. 

    "People are used to the flexibility of a PC, but most connected TV devices have closed systems and content stores," said Mac. "We wanted to create a killer TV product where people can game, stream, and browse with as much freedom as possible, including accessing pre-owned games from other content providers."

    Atari plans on releasing two versions of the Atari VCS, one that resembles the original console's classic wood panel design, and a more modern red and black edition, but each one will function exactly the same.

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    There was a time when Star Wars games allowed fans to go on their own exciting adventures across the galaxy. That time is over.

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Former employees of Lucasfilm Games (the precursor to the LucasArts development studio) once claimed to USGamer that George Lucas started a game development studio so that he could avoid massive tax penalties associated with the success of the Star Wars franchise.

    “He's not a gamer,” said Steve Williams, former GM of Lucasfilm Games and LucasArts. “It's not that he didn't care. He wanted us to be successful. He would say, ‘I don't know your market, you guys should figure out what you're supposed to be doing.’"

    Lucas may have wanted Lucasfilm Games to succeed, but he initially denied them access to the golden goose of his empire and the right to visit the very universe whose success prompted the formation of the development studio: Star Wars.

    That may seem odd, but you have to consider a couple of things. First off, Williams was quite right when he said that Lucas wasn’t a gamer. Former Lucasfilm Games designer Chip Morningstar admitted that he always felt Lucas viewed gaming as an immature medium.

    It wasn’t just video games, though. There was a time when Lucas didn’t even have faith in the possibility that Star Wars would become a franchise. He even reportedly asked author Alan Dean Foster to write the 1978 book Splinter of the Mind's Eye on the off chance that he might be able to use the story as the basis for a low-budget Star Wars sequel.

    Perhaps that’s why he sold the rights to produce Star Wars video games years before he ever formed a game studio. At that time, he probably viewed video games and Star Wars as roughly the same thing: two irons best struck while they were hot. Even if Lucas had known with all certainty that Star Wars was going to be a success, there was no way that he could have known what video games were going to become and what they would contribute to his prized property.

    Granted, that wasn't always the case. Lucasfilm may not have been making Star Wars games, but other companies certainly were. The first electronic Star Wars game, 1977’s Star Wars Electronic Battle Command Game, was little more than a beep and boop producing machine that so happened to bear the franchise's name.

    The first proper Star Wars video game, 1982’s The Empire Strikes Back for Atari 2600, wasn’t much better. It put players in the pilot seat of a snowspeeder and tasked them with taking out a series of AT-AT Walkers. Doing so required a Jedi-like level of patience for monotonous gameplay, but that’s about as close as it got to replicating the Star Wars experience.

    Many of the video games that followed also focused on very specific aspect of the films. Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle saw you assault the Death Star in the Millenium Falcon. Jedi Arenawas basically Pong with lightsabers.

    Crude as they may have been, these early games offered fans the chance to engage in a bit of wish fulfillment. The same can be said of the novels and toys, but only the Star Wars games utilized a similar kind of mind-blowing technology that helped make the films such runaway hits. That’s especially true of the 1983 Star Wars arcade game, with its revolutionary vector graphics, sound design, and structure.

    However, if the history of Star Wars video games had ended in the early ‘80s - a feat the great video game crash of 1983 threatened to accomplish - then it’s highly unlikely that anyone would remember them as more than a diversion. Had that come to pass, an entire generation of fans might never have discovered that the true joy of the Star Wars universe comes from the thrill of experiencing new adventures within it.

    The developers of early Star Wars games could have used Lucas’ indifference as an excuse to craft their own stories, but few actually did. You can blame the lack of creativity on a number of factors, but the biggest problem may have been that many of the people who worked on those games didn't have the chance to fully explore gaming as a creative medium.

    That was not the case for the LucasArts development team.

    "The fact that we couldn't use Star Wars was a constraint," said Morningstar. "It generated a lot of creativity."

    By the time the team at LucasArts finally got the chance to work on its first in-house Star Wars game in 1992, the studio had already helped pioneer the point-and-click adventure genre and proven that it was one of gaming’s most reliable sources for quality writing and visual design.

    Fueled by its success in creating original properties such as Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island, the team at LucasArts realized that it wasn’t content developing a game that reminded people of the films. LucasArts instead chose to develop a title that provided an experience no Star Wars film ever really had. An experience only gaming could offer.

    That game, X-Wing, was a sci-fi flight simulator developed by the legendary Lawrence Holland. Fans attracted to the game because of its incredible soundtrack, revolutionary visual design, and familiar trappings soon discovered that X-Wing demanded incredible levels of skill and intelligence from the player. Success in X-Wing meant mastering a series of complicated mechanics.

    X-Wing was not a wish fulfillment game designed to offer simple entertainment to the masses. It was a game created for a more mature crowd of hardcore fans.

    That’s a demographic that most pieces of Star Wars-related entertainment had not catered to until that point (the Thrawn novels notwithstanding). Many of the people who flocked to X-Wing were older fans who had seen the movies countless times and younger fans who first saw the movies on VHS and never had the chance to experience the thrill of a new Star Wars movie release. Those are two groups of fans who may have fallen out of love with the saga had creators not found ways to rekindle the spark of the universe.

    Holland and the X-Wing development team continued to cater to that fanbase with the release of 1993’s TIE Fighter. This game continued X-Wing’s basic gameplay design, but cast players as an Imperial pilot rather than a Rebel. Mind you, this was much more than a change of scenery. TIE Fighter presented the Empire as the heroic body trying desperately to prevent the terrorist Rebels from undoing its noble efforts. It was the kind of daring and dark Star Wars story that never would have made it to theaters and had rarely been explored in books. 

    That’s just the way that many of the people who worked on these games liked it. For instance, the developers of 1995’s Dark Forces, a first-person shooter designed to capitalize on the success of Star Wars-themedDoom mods, originally intended to make Luke Skywalker the game’s protagonist. When LucasArts realized how much that would limit the game's creative potential, the studio decided to create a new hero, Kyle Katarn.

    Much like the 1991 Timothy Zahn novel Heir to the Empire, Dark Forces showed fans - who associated non-Lucasfilm contributions to the series’ mythology with the often dreadful world of fan fiction - that freedom from the shackles of canonical entertainment can unlock something new and exciting. Katarn's five-game journey from Imperial spy to Jedi master is the kind of grand arc fans had only dreamed of through table-top RPGs and action figure role-playing. It's also the kind of heartfelt and patient story that is tough for a blockbuster motion picture to properly convey.

    Katarn was the first great hero spawned by Star Wars games. He would not be the last.

    LucasArts again abandoned the strict confines of the Star Wars canon when it decided to develop a Star Wars interquel called Shadows of the Empire, which arrived in 1996. For this project, the studio used major Star Wars characters as the game’s protagonists to tell a new story in the galaxy far, far away, one that took place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

    While the game was part of a larger multimedia project that also included a novel, soundtrack, and action figures, the game was the most direct way to experience this new story at its most cinematic. Its biggest draw was undoubtedly the ability to play as the franchise's newest hero, Dash Rendar, a Han Solo stand-in with his very own ship.

    Most importantly, Shadows of the Empire was the first Star Wars game to be truly recognized by Lucasfilm as part of a larger whole, and it received a huge chunk of real estate in the canon timeline. For years, Shadows of the Empire was the official story of what Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Lando were up to just before Return of the Jedi. Giving this much importance to Shadows of the Empirecould only bode well for Star Wars gaming going forward. 

    In fact, the push for originality and expanding the franchise's universe beyond the movies is what led to what could arguably be called the golden age of Star Warsgames. 

    In 2000, famed developer BioWare declined LucasArts’ offer to create a game based on Attack of the Clones in favor of telling a story that took place almost 4,000 years before Episode I. BioWare's game, Knights of the Old Republic, is considered by many - including director Rian Johnson - to be one of the greatest Star Warsstories ever told and perhaps the greatest Star Wars game ever made.

    While it wasn't the first tale set thousands of years before the film saga - Dark Horse's Tales of the Jedi comic book series took place even earlier in the timeline, and inspired some of the events in Knights of the Old Republic - it was the first time a game had taken this many liberties. Expanding on both Jedi and Sith lore - the latter by far the most interesting - Knights of the Old Republic and its sequels gave the Star Wars universe real history that fans could experience on the screen. From ancient Sith lords and never-before-seen Force powers to unexplored conflicts and planets, Knights of the Old Republic added a whole other universe of things to Star Wars. It's hard to imagine the Disney era taking such liberties and giving a huge part of canon to a video game. 

    Dark Forces, Shadows of the Empire, and Knights of the Old Republicall arrived at a time when Star Wars fans needed them most. Between the edited re-releases of the original films that some say butchered those classic movies and the highly controversial prequels, fans could no longer trust theaters to provide the greatest Star Wars experiences. Instead, a growing generation of gamers discovered that the best Star Wars stories of that era were being told by people who were just as likely to hold an actual lightsaber as they were to hold the camera that filmed the next Star Wars movie.

    Even the games that sought to recreate some aspect of the films did so in creative ways. 1999's Star Wars Episode I: Racer turned the most exciting scene from Episode I into a brilliant racing title that raised the standards of speed. 2001's Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader finally translated the brilliant space battles from the Original Trilogy into a fulfilling arcade-style shooter experience, while also adding quite a few new battles of its own. 2004's Battlefront turned the overlooked land-based battles of the film into an essential online shooter experience. 2005's Republic Commando fashioned a brilliant squad-based shooter out of the much-maligned clone storyline from Episode II

    With hit after hit, this was a time when those who had been shortchanged by the money machine that the Star Wars films had become could collect their compensation, courtesy of a collection of creators who understood why people loved the saga to begin with.

    Unfortunately, the golden age didn’t last.

    There had always been bad Star Wars games, but LucasArts and its partners began churning them out at an alarming rate in the early 2000s. Titles like Star Wars: Obi-Wan, Demolition, and the despicable Bombad Racing were barely playable titles that would have never seen the light of day were they not built on the foundation that the truly great stories established.

    These were the kind of Star Wars games that left people with the sinking feeling that their love for this franchise was an exploitable weakness that they needed to shed. Those who demanded more from the brand than laser swords, blasters, and familiar faces were suddenly made to feel like fools by those who insisted that the series was made up of simple pieces of entertainment best enjoyed with lowered expectations.

    The sins of this era are best summarized by a statement Nancy MacIntyre, former VP of marketing at LucasArts, gave to The New York Times after fans of the MMO Star Wars Galaxies protested against changes made to the game which significantly watered down the core experience in order to cater to a more general audience:

    “We wanted more instant gratification: kill, get treasure, repeat. We needed to give people more of an opportunity to be a part of what they have seen in the movies rather than something they had created themselves."

    That philosophy hindered even the noblest of efforts at LucasArts. 2008's The Force Unleashed was supposed to be the title that finally revived the golden age of Star Warsgames. It was conceived by a small group of designers at LucasArts who truly believed they could craft a Star Wars experience that would change everything. The brief presentation they finally put together impressed Lucas so much that he personally became involved with the development of the title. He wanted to ensure that the game felt like an extension of the films.

    As detractors know, Lucas' involvement isn't always a blessing. A member of the The Force Unleashed development team told Game Informerthat the team wanted to be able to use the "Darth" title for the game's main character. Lucas agreed and offered them two Darth naming options that he felt would fit into the canon: Darth Icky and Darth Insanius.

    "There was a pregnant pause in the room after that," said the team member. "People waiting for George to say ‘just kidding,’ but it never comes, and he just moved on to another point.”

    At it's best, The Force Unleashed did deliver a fundamental Star Wars experience. It featured lightsabers, Jedi, Sith, and a sweeping score that contains some of the single best tracks in the franchise. Even its story showcased moments of brilliance. The tale of Darth Vader's secret plan to use an apprentice to overthrow the Emperor touched upon some of the most appealing aspects of the mythos. There was also something undeniably appealing about controlling Darth Vader as he tossed Wookiees aside with the Force. And like the great games that had come before it, The Force Unleashed also established some very important Star Wars lore, particularly the birth of the Rebellion. Before the days of the Rebels animated series and canon reset, this game was the official Rebellion origin story.

    Unfortunately, the game was crippled by what one team member described as "curveballs thrown by people not directly tied to the development process." The small team that saw The Force Unleashed as a true new hope was compromised by a managerial agenda which severely limited its ability to forge a new path. What the team ended up delivering was indeed that "kill and repeat" experience that some at LucasArts felt was all that Star Wars games ever needed to be. The development team's apathy towards such a directive is best showcased in the various glaring technical issues and half-baked gameplay that plague the final product. 

    As the video game show X-Play once noted, it felt as if the developers "just stopped working on the game and went home."

    In 2014, we spoke to Matt Boland, a former designer at LucasArts, about this time at the studio. He described a disconnect between the Sales and Marketing department, which had become a much bigger focus of LucasArts' business towards the end of the developer's life, and the game development team itself. 

    For no-brainers like a potential Battlefront 3, things became infinitely more complicated as the focus shifted within the company.

    "Battlefront 3 was always on the radar, though the notion was always deeply rooted in a struggle between the goals of Sales and Marketing to carry on the franchise, and that of the design team to craft a completely unique shooter."

    And then there's the uphill battle LucasArts faced against the higher echelons of Lucas' empire.

    "A great number of times what the public might have seen as shitty work or laziness from LucasArts were actually the results of decisions from much higher in the LucasFilm food chain," Boland told us. "In the end, Lucasfilm is a film company, not a game company, and I think that knowledge gap lead to LucasArts taking hits for a lot of products that everyone (teams included) knew weren't ready for release."

    This miserable period for LucasArts culminated in the release of Kinect Star Wars, a motion-controlled travesty that allowed players to vaguely maneuver Han Solo as he danced on the grave of the proud legacy of Star Wars games. In just a few years, LucasArts went from a studio that didn’t want to be restricted by the boundaries of the films to a company that greenlit "Hologram Girl," a Star Wars-themed song sung to the tune of "Hollaback Girl."

    Kinect Star Wars was the last LucasArts Star Wars game, but the pain didn't stopped there. When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, the company wasted no time killing off any chance the future of Star Wars gaming might have had. On April 3, 2013, Disney announced that it had laid off most of LucasArts' staff. In the process, the House of Mouse effectively ended the development of Star Wars 1313.

    Boland told us that 1313 was still the best looking game he had ever seen up until that point.

    As far as cry worthy details, towards the end there was some awesome stuff developed using Boba's jetpack. We were just starting to prototype how the jetpack could integrate into a cover-based shooter without us cheaping out and committing the sin of arbitrarily taking away the jetpack at certain points.

    We also had an assortment of wrist-mounted gadgets players could use to gain advantages in combat, an epic story involving the Coruscant underworld, and a world class art team who created next-gen visuals when the PS4 and XBONE were mere twinkles in first-party executives' eyes.

    1313 was supposed to be a gritty and mature Star Wars title that shifted the focus away from lightsabers and the Force and to the early years of Boba Fett's mercenary career in the Coruscant underground. It was supposed to be the game that restored glory to the concept of interactive Star Wars experiences.

    The optimism required to believe that sentiment is similar to the drive the compelled Darth Vader to rule the galaxy. Both are dependent on your ability to press forward despite a history of severe burns.

    Even after LucasArts had been obliterated (it still exists as a licensor), Disney wasn't done doing damage to the proud history of great Star Wars games. In 2013, the company granted Electronic Arts the exclusive rights to make Star Warsgames. EA recently rewarded that trust by releasing Star Wars Battlefront II, a game so exploitative that the CEO of Disney reportedly stepped in to ask the publisher to dial back on the greed.

    However, Battlefront II’s greatest sin against the history of Star Wars games isn’t its loot box fiasco. It's not even the fact that it is almost solely based on nostalgia and what we've seen in the movies, forgoing even the tiniest hint of innovation (the single-player story campaign is paint-by-the-numbers and bad). No, the most depressing thing about Battlefront II is that it was the only new Star Wars game released in 2017. There's no new Star Wars game on the 2018 slate as of this writing.

    EA recently killed off developer Visceral Games and its narrative-based action-adventure project known simply as "Ragtag." The full story of that game's cancellation is a complicated and fascinating tale of what happens when ambition meets economic constrictions and big egos. Some at Visceral have even stated that the game was likely never going to be good. 

    Fans didn't see it that way, though. Due largely to an ill-advised press release that explained EA's decision to close Visceral Games, fans walked away with the impression that EA simply didn't feel a narrative-based, original Star Wars experience was viable in the modern age. 

    Even if that isn't the absolute truth, it's impossible to blame fans for believing it. After all, they have endured over a decade of executives telling them what they should want in a Star Wars game and how anything else simply isn't reasonable. 

    The fact that Battlefront IIrepresents the foreseeable future of new Star Wars video games is a disturbance that has left many fans with the feeling that a million creative voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Or, as former LucasArts' programmer David Fox put it to USGamer, “I think [Disney] bought Lucasfilm for Star Wars, not old games."

    Perhaps there will come a day when Star Wars video games aren’t crafted solely by a studio petrified to abandon the doctrine of the films in favor of creating the kind of bold experiences that developers of the past preferred over the familiar. On that day, gamers everywhere will be reminded that the true joy of Star Warsvideo games doesn’t just come from the way they allow us to live out our fantasies, but in the way they give fans a viable outlet for the stories they envisioned as kids.

    Until then, don’t hesitate to revisit the greatest Star Wars games or play them for the first time. Here's a quick list: Knights of the Old Republic, the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series, the Rogue Squadron games, the original Battlefront games, and Republic Commando. These games are still the best way to keep your Star Wars fandom alive at a time when it's beginning to feel like new Star Wars projects are destined to divide. 

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    Everything we know about E3 2018, including dates, times, confirmed games, and how to watch!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 4, 2018

    E3 2018 is almost here. The Electronic Entertainment Expo may have started as an industry trade show, but it is has ballooned into a full-on spectacle. Gaming companies from across the world converge on Los Angeles in June for a week full of exclusive announcements, incredible updates, and celebrations regarding the gaming industry in general. There's nothing else like it in the video game world, and this year's event figures to be one of the best yet. 

    This year's conferences will begin on Sunday, June 10 and run through Tuesday, June 12. The expo floor will be open from Tuesday, June 12, and will run until Thursday, June 14. As always, the event will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the immediate surrounding area. Some studios, like Sony, have also elected to hold their conferences away from the show's main stage.

    Between Microsoft making aggressive moves to get back into the console race, Sony loading up on exclusive titles, and Nintendo continuing to shock the world with its success and innovations, this year's major game studios will likely roll into E3 - or, in the case of Nintendo, an E3-themed Direct video - looking to steal the show. Competing with them are a host of major publishers - Bethesda, Ubisoft, and Electronics - that have recently been stealing the show from E3's biggest presenters. 

    You can expect more and more information about E3 2018 to be leaked out in the days and weeks to come, but for now, here's everything we know about the biggest gaming show of the year:

    E3 2018 Conference Dates and Times

    *All times listed are ET

    Bethesda: Sunday, June 10 - 9:30 p.m

    Microsoft: Sunday, June 10 - 4:00 p.m (moved to the Microsoft Theater)

    EA: Saturday, June 9 - 2:00 p.m 

    Ubisoft: Monday, June 11 - 4 p.m. 

    Nintendo: Tuesday, June 12 - 12 p.m 

    More dates and times as they are confirmed...

    E3 2018 Games

    These are the games that have been confirmed for the convention. Click on the titles to read more about them:

    The Last of Us Part II


    Battlefield 2018

    The Division 2


    Super Smash Bros.

    Beyond Good and Evil 2

    Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass

    RollerCoaster Tycoon Switch

    Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion

    E3 2018: How to Watch

    While E3 2018 will be open to the public, it appears that tickets to the show have once again sold out rather quickly. Unless you qualify for a media pass - which you can double check here - you'll have to settle for watching the show from home. 

    So far as that goes, you can expect that there will be plenty of ways to keep up with all the action. Every major conference from E3 should be streamed via Twitch and other popular streaming platforms. As for Nintendo, they will be publishing a special E3 Nintendo Direct video as they have done in recent years. 

    We'll be sure to provide you with all the links you need to watch E3 2018's biggest conferences as more information about them becomes available.

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    Middle-earth: Shadow of War's final expansion is an epic tale of two brother reclaiming their home.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released the first trailer for Shadow of War's Desolation of Mordor expansion. 

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    Desolation of Mordor sees you play as the former Captain of Minas Ithil, Baranor. Now that his city has fallen, Baranor must form an alliance with his long-lost brother and raise an army of humans strong enough to take down the fortress of Shindrâm. Desolation of Mordor is set to release on May 8th. If you don't own the Shadow of War season pass, you can purchase the expansion individually for $19.99.

    If you haven't been following Shadow of War's post-release content schedule, you've missed quite a lot. First up are the free DLC releases. These are available to everyone that owns the game regardless of whether they purchased the season pass. They include: 

    Endless Siege: This release adds something of a horde mode to the base game. Endless Siege forces you to see how long you can defend your fortress against endless waves of Sauron's army. 

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    Rebellion: The Ologs and Uruks descend upon the Bright Lord, and it's your job to stop them in this new mission. 

    Enhanced Photo Mode: You'll be able to access a wide array of new filters, effects, frames, and textures courtesy of this enhanced photo mode. 

    Online Fight Pits: This fascinating new online mode pits you against another player's top orc follower in gladiatorial combat. The winner will be rewarded with upgrades and items.

    Brutal Difficulty: Brutal Difficulty gives you access to a new, even more challenging difficulty mode. It seems that making it through this new mode will require you to forgo the last chances made available to you in lesser difficulties. 

    Meanwhile, the DLC season pass for Shadow of War will give you access to four full expansion releases. The first expansion is called Slaughter Tribe Nemesis and focuses on the previously seen Slaughter tribe of orcs. This expansion sees that tribe invade Mordor. As part of that invasion, players will be treated to new missions, new Epic and Legendary orcs to collect, new showdowns, and enhanced Nemesis System Interactions. You'll also be able to hunt legendary Slaughter Tribe orcs for Legendary gear. That expansion is available for $14.99

    Next up is the Outlaw Tribe Nemesisexpansion. This expansion is similar to the previous one as it focuses on a group known as the Outlaw tribe that rise and rebel within Mordor. It too will allow players to hunt down new orcs and acquire new gear, but the outlaw nature of this new tribe means that players will have a hard time actually winning any members over. That's going to make the assault on the Outlaw's fortress that much more challenging. Of course, the rewards for overtaking it promises to be quite good. That expansion can be purchased for $14.99

    Shadow of War's first story expansion is the Blade of Galadriel add-on. This expansion allows players to play as Eltariel, an assassin tasked with taking out the leading members of the Nazgûl. This expansion will take advantage of Eltariel's unique abilities - notably her dual-blades - and will include the usual suite of new gear and skills. This expansion will also expand upon the current Nemesis system with the introduction of special orcs. Blade of Galadriel is available for $14.99.

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    Avengers: Infinity War is only one of the many different takes on Thanos' epic story, from video games to alternate history.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    May 4, 2018

    It's here! The culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has arrived with Avengers: Infinity War, where the greatest Marvel superheroes tangle with Thanos the Mad Titan. Since showing up at the end of the first Avengersmovie, it’s been pretty apparent that Thanos would be scouring the cosmos for the Infinity Gems/Stones so as to do an adaptation of the hit early 90s miniseries Infinity Gauntlet.

    The comic has become rather iconic in Marvel history and it makes sense that they’d spend the better part of a decade building towards it. Although, don't expect it to resemble the original comic too closely. Not only are there plenty of liberties to be had, but it also seems to take a lot from the more recent comic event Infinity. Not that that's a bad thing. Infinity Gauntlet is a storyline that’s been retold, adapted, and twisted in all sorts of ways since first appearing 27 years ago.

    Here are all the different variations of Thanos and Adam's Excellent Adventure.


    We’re going full spoiler on this.

    As a follow-up to the two-part story Thanos Quest, the Mad Titan Thanos has control of all six Infinity Gems and is essentially God. Mephisto hangs around to feed his ego, while naturally plotting to overthrow him. Thanos also has his granddaughter Nebula hanging around, stuck in a catatonic zombie state because Thanos is a jerk. Since Thanos wants to win the love of Death herself, he uses the Gauntlet to wipe out half of the universe. 50% of all living things simply vanish, including a big chunk of the superheroes. Adam Warlock is reborn and goes to the remaining heroes, coming up with this awesome plan of going to Thanos’ space home and punching him in his stupid scrotum face. This is really a swerve because he plans to have them all killed off as a distraction so Silver Surfer can sneak by and steal the Gauntlet off Thanos’ hand.

    Meanwhile, Thanos’ whims have caused Earth to drift away from the sun, making it colder and colder by the hour. Odin and all the other heavyweight god types on Earth are blocked off from interfering. As a way of making Death jealous, Thanos uses the Gauntlet to create a mate in Terraxia.

    Mephisto suggests that Thanos hold back against the heroes to impress Death, so he scales it back a lot, which gives the heroes a 1% chance. As hard as they try, they still lose horribly and are killed one-by-one by Thanos and Terraxia. After Captain America goes full-on badass and stares down Thanos despite everything, Silver Surfer flies in and misses his mark completely. About then, all the galactic heavy hitters – the tapestry of the universe itself – show up. Thanos goes back to full power and makes mincemeat of them all. He transforms himself into a form that’s one with the universe, which leaves his physical Gauntlet out in the open. Nebula takes it and steals the power, reverting everything to how it once was...except for the part where she still has all the power.

    Thanos teams up with Warlock and a couple of the more powerful heroes, ultimately defeating Nebula when Warlock takes control of the Soul Gem and shorts it out a bit, causing Nebula to drop the Gauntlet. A fight breaks out and Warlock comes out wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, swearing to use it wisely. Thanos fakes his own death, but is later seen living a quiet life as a farmer.

    So that’s Infinity Gauntlet Prime. Let’s see how other writers and mediums have messed around with the formula.

    Read Infinity Gauntlet on Amazon


    What If #34 was a humor-based issue of the series and while most of it is painfully unfunny, the opening seven-page short story is humorous and even a little bit uplifting in its own weird way. No joke, this is actually my all-time favorite comic book story.

    As Thanos fights the cosmic entities, he decides to get creative when dispatching Galactus. He transforms him into a human being and sends him down to Earth. Galactus awakens naked in a trailer park, forgetting who he is while being a 100% facsimile of Elvis Presley! A single mother named Gertrude takes him in and thinks he’s the real deal with amnesia. She explains everything about Elvis to him and while he still has no memory, he trusts her and decides that he is indeed the King. He swears to do good with this second chance by not getting involved with the pitfalls of fame, such as drugs.

    Also, the comic features the million dollar line, “Ma’am, the hunger gnaws.”

    Galactus gets back into music, trying to stay on the down low, but soon people take notice and we’re about to get the second coming of Elvismania. Right as he’s about to see to the public, Galactus is confronted by Adam Warlock, now in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet. He wills Galactus his memory, but the Eater of Worlds doesn’t want to return. He’s found a better identity as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and chooses to stay with Gertrude and her son, giving both Galactus and Elvis Presley’s legacy a second chance.

    WHAT THE--?! #24 (1992)

    Marvel’s lesser-known humor book from the early 90s once featured a Mad Magazine-style spoof of Infinity Gauntlet called “The Infinity Mitten.” Thermos and his advisor McFisto go on a double-date with Death and Taxes, but Thermos is disappointed that Death has no interest in him. Using the Mitten, he removes half of life in the universe...except on the first try he accidentally just removes everyone’s lower half. Earth’s heroes go after him, but brute force isn’t enough. After talking over various ideas to remove the Infinity Mitten, they go with challenging Thermos to strip poker. They all lose and die of embarrassment.

    The cosmic beings show up to throwdown, but Thermos points out that he’s an atheist and they all vanish. Silver Surfer (or whatever his parody name is) starts whining about all the death he’s seen, causing Adam Warlox to finally snap at him for being such a downer. Warlox shoots him with a revolver, which Thermos steals and uses on Warlox and McFisto.

    Thinking that killing off an entire universe of heroes and villains is enough, Thermos is shocked to see that Death is now dating Nintendo's Mario. Death explains that her new boyfriend is killing off the entire comics industry by himself!


    I absolutely love this issue and would have liked a variation of this as the actual ending of Infinity Gauntletinstead of what we got. Surfer succeeds in snatching the Gauntlet from Thanos’ hands. First thing he does is set everything back to normal. Then he sends everyone back home except Warlock and Thanos, who he keeps as advisors...but really as witnesses as he makes the universe a better place. He starts off with the well-meaning moves you’d expect. He eliminates disease, hunger, soothes hatred (a Kree and a Skrull are shown greeting each other happily), and even makes Death into a more alluring figure instead of something to be feared. Then he goes to Hell to see if Mephisto would be cool being remade into something a bit more pleasant, but Mephisto instead starts a fight. Surfer vaporizes him and goes back to his home to think about stuff.

    Warlock and Thanos go to Dr. Strange because, boy howdy, Surfer’s going nuts with all that power. Strange figures the best way about this is to summon Surfer’s old flame Shalla-Bal to talk some sense into him, especially since Surfer’s thinking of removing randomness completely and giving the universe complete order. Arguments and fighting happen, but seeing Shalla-Bal so hurt brings Surfer back to sanity. He uses the Infinity Gauntlet’s power to destroy itself – and seemingly he and Shalla-Bal with it – but we discover that the two of them are secretly alone on a paradise planet of their creation to live the rest of their lives in secret.

    As everything returns to normal, Thanos stands alone, holding up the scrapped remains of the Gauntlet. With a smirk, he says, “So close. Oh, yes... So very close.”


    In a follow-up to X-Men: Children of the Atom, Capcom released a one-on-one fighting game called Marvel Super Heroes, which is loosely based on Infinity Gauntlet. In it, you control a hero or villain as you gather the Infinity Gems from your opponents, working your way to fighting Dr. Doom and then Thanos. Upon meeting him, Thanos will steal your Gems and complete the Infinity Gauntlet before the final battle. While there isn’t much story in the game, it definitely stays loyal to the comic in ways. For instance, Thanos’ battleground is his base from Infinity Gauntlet, where you can see the likes of Thor, Nova, Drax, Scarlet Witch, and She-Hulk frozen in stone as Mephisto and Death idle in the background.

    The game is kicking rad if you haven’t played it, letting you unleash the power of the various Gems in battle, each giving you a different ability. The console version includes playable versions of the bosses, as well as Anita, the emotionless little girl from Capcom’s Darkstalkersseries.

    Here are the various endings based on the different characters defeating Thanos:

    Anita: Simply uses the Gems to free the heroes from their statue forms. Nothing else.

    Blackheart: Is asked to hand it over from his father Mephisto, but Blackheart turns on him and chooses to rule reality.

    Captain America: Reverts the heroes to normal. Then pals around with Thor and throws the Infinity Gems into a black hole so nobody can use them.

    Dr. Doom: Bitches out Thanos and rules the Earth with the Infinity Gauntlet. Yeah, they don’t get very fancy with this one.

    Hulk: Reverts the heroes to normal. Thanos wants to die, but Hulk leaves him begging. Hulk goes on a second honeymoon to Vegas with Betty, but he chooses to get there by leaping with Betty holding on for dear life.

    Iron Man: Reverts the heroes to normal. Considers using the Gauntlet, but then refuses. Later, he’s bummed to discover that his nervous system problems are gone. He selfishly used the power after all. Cap tells him not to worry about it.

    Juggernaut: Is ready to grab the Infinity Gauntlet and get his vengeance on Xavier. Suddenly, Adam Warlock pops in to take it away, thanking Juggernaut for saving reality and then sending him back to Earth. I hate Adam Warlock.

    Magneto: Creates a second moon around Earth and makes it a permanent home for mutants, finally separating himself from the humans. He is the eternal ruler of New Avalon.

    Psylocke: Reverts the heroes to normal. She returns to the mansion, thinking about how she has experienced being molded to the will of others before and would never, ever do that to another person.

    Shuma-Gorath: Absorbs the power of the Infinity Gems and grows in size, allowing it to feast upon reality itself.

    Spider-Man: Reverts the heroes to normal. Goes home to Mary Jane to find out that he’s going to be a father. This is a lot less uplifting when you remember that this game was released during Clone Saga. Ugh.

    Thanos: Has two separate endings. Either he chooses to become one with the cosmos as the true ruler of the universe, or he gives up the power and lives on as a farmer.

    Wolverine: Reverts the heroes to normal. He realizes that he could use the power to find out about his past, but refuses. Instead, he leaves the X-Men to find the answers himself.

    Thanos would return in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, still with the Infinity Gauntlet, but the game lacks anything resembling a coherent storyline. Then in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the Gauntlet is treated as a red herring as Thanos is more interested in fashioning Ryu's dark energies into a Satsui No Hado Gauntlet so he can kill (or at least hurt) Death.


    You would think that this would just be a lesser incarnation of the one-on-one fighter I just talked about, but no. This Capcom release is more of a sequel to the side-scroller beat ‘em up X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse. In it, you play through with your choice of Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man. Coincidentally, Iron Man’s select portrait is just a picture of his sprite from the arcade game. Go figure.

    The game is one big mishmash of both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War, which makes sense, considering Infinity Gauntlet wasn’t really filled to the brim with villains to fight. Here, you get to fight evil doppelganger clones of various heroes, like Hawkeye, Vision, Sasquatch, Iron Man, etc. At first you search for the various Infinity Gems, trying to stop the likes of Magus and Dr. Doom from getting their hands on them, but Thanos gets the last one. After going through Nebula, you face Thanos and...well, it doesn’t really have the same dire sense of danger when he isn’t at full godhood. At least in the arcade game, he’s got all six Gems. Here, he has one against your five. That’s hardly impressive.

    I guess Thanos has the Reality Gem because literally all he does is cause fire to burst from the ground and summon a closing stone wall. That’s it. He’s slow as molasses and his death throes feel like they take an hour.

    Afterwards, Adam Warlock takes all the Gems for himself and sends everyone home. Feeling the need to give this epilogue some filler, they ask if Earth will ever truly be safe. When all your enemies move like snails, Earth isn't in that much danger, I suppose.


    So you know that part where Silver Surfer tries to swipe Thanos’ Gauntlet? It almost works in the sense that he removes the glove, but he fumbles and drops it. It’s then grabbed by none other than the annoying shape-shifter of the cosmos, the Impossible Man! Although Thanos is no threat to him, he does basically pee himself once all the cosmic beings show up. He escapes with Surfer and points out that he’s totally capable of handling the burden of wielding the Infinity Gauntlet. To prove his point, he brings Surfer to Zenn-La, his lost home planet. He’s reunited with Shalla-Bal and all should be good, but Surfer can’t help but feel that things aren’t quite right.

    He’s summoned by Galactus because although Impossible Man’s claimed to be about using the Gauntlet justly, he’s in the middle of exacting revenge on Galactus for eating his home world of Poppup way back when. Surfer fights him and loses, but convinces him to do the right thing by pointing out that he can just rebuild Poppup and return all its people. Galactus agrees to help, but due to plot device BS, Poppup can only be created at the expense of the fake Zenn-La. Surfer ultimately goes along with it because while he can never accept his fake world as real, Impossible Man is too oblivious and simple-minded to really question his.

    Poppup is reborn, the Poppupian race is reborn, and Impossible Man gives up his power to the Elders of the Universe. Everything seems fine, but then Surfer realizes that the Poppupians are all purple and green versions of heroes and villains, fighting it out like a bunch of goofs. He looks on in horror while a purple and green Forbush Man waves at the reader from behind his back.


    A little backstory on this one. Jeff Parker and Mike Wieringo were working on a What If issue about the New Fantastic Four (Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider) remaining as a team. Unfortunately, Wieringo passed away during the making of it, so they had various artists finish the book in his place as a tribute. Even if it wasn’t such a heartwarming sentiment, What If This was the Fantastic Four? is an excellent comic to read.

    This is the sequel, which asks what would happen if Infinity Gauntlet happened in a timeline with the New Fantastic Four, except that Ghost Rider is wiped out of existence from Thanos’ power and is replaced by Iron Man. Their first meeting with Thanos doesn’t go so well, since Hulk’s attempt to intimidate him with how strong he is in relation to his anger causes Thanos to wipe out a chunk of the Milky Way and state, “And I’m not even angry.” The omnipotent Thanos also separates Hulk and Banner out of curiosity and his desire to show off. During all of this, Wolverine notices how Mephisto is able to steer Thanos around with his words.

    Like in regular continuity, Adam Warlock brings up his awesome plan of, “Do what I say and don’t ask questions so you don't know that I’m using your horrible deaths as a diversion,” but this time it doesn’t fly. As Stark puts it, “I don’t [know what I’m doing], but I don’t think he does either.” When they go at Thanos, Wolverine is the only one with a plan. He chooses not to fight Thanos and instead badmouths his partners while talking Thanos into thinking that Mephisto is trying to horn in on Death. Thanos buys this lie and vaporizes Mephisto. Wolverine worms his way into position as Thanos’ new right-hand man and explains to the other Fantastic Four members that he hopes that Thanos will reward his loyalty by forcing Jean Grey to love him.

    Thanos continues to effortlessly defeat all challengers, even when Iron Man creates a suit of armor out of a fallen Celestial. Wolverine talks up how Thanos hasn’t even physically touched Death and that love is all about contact. Thanos gets all flustered because it isn’t proper, but Wolverine eggs him on to just touch her face. As the nervous Thanos reaches out to do so, Wolverine chops his arm off with a smiling, “Sucker!” and has successfully cut off his source of power.

    Hulk punches Thanos out, Spider-Man uses the Gauntlet to put everything back the way it was, the Gauntlet is given to the Watchers to guard, and Bruce Banner becomes an honorary Watcher. Free from being one with the Hulk, he lives in the Watchers' citadel for the rest of his life, practically bathing in the vast knowledge available to him.

    Too bad they didn’t keep going with What If: New Fantastic Four stories. They were only two issues, but they were a lot of fun.


    This one only sort of counts. Thanos only gets one mention, but the story is more of an alternate history companion piece that makes a couple parallel references to the original story. In Secret Wars, Dr. Doom was able to siphon off the powers of Galactus and the Beyonder, making him nigh-omnipotent. In this reality, he keeps the power and fully defeats the heroes. He easily conquers Earth, all while leaving all the heroes alive and using his power to make sure Sue Storm’s pregnancy (which resulted in a miscarriage in regular continuity) is a healthy one. He leaves the world a utopia and flies into space. The thing to take away from this story is that at his heart, Dr. Doom is not a ruler, but a conqueror. That’s why he’s ruled the world no less than three times in regular continuity and always left it behind for the sake of struggle.

    His attempt to take over various alien empires is met with resistance, so he wipes out all who oppose him. Then he seeks out even more power by slaying the Elders of the Universe and stealing the Infinity Gems. With the Soul Gem, he enters Hell, frees his mother, and kills Mephisto (which he says would only be temporary, since he’s the Devil and all). Next on the agenda is taking out the only beings higher than him on the food chain: the Celestials. The fight lasts 407 years (!) and in the end, Doom is supreme, albeit with the Infinity Gems destroyed.

    During the battle, a shockwave knocked Earth out of orbit, much like in Infinity Gauntlet. Doom sees that life will eventually come to an end. Without a second thought, he uses the remainder of his cosmic power to set the Earth back in place and save the planet. The final scene shows, fittingly enough, that he’s become a farmer, freely appearing with no faceplate. He no longer feels ashamed of his scars and plans to rebuild his rule from the ground up, fully understanding the true potential of mankind.

    Personally one of my favorite Dr. Doom stories.


    The wacky cartoon series based on the toys with the creepy smiles is a fun enough diversion. The second season of the show is all about the Infinity Gauntlet with the first half of it being based on Thanos’ quest to get all the Gems. Thanos is voiced by Jim Cummings, meaning he sounds like pretty much every Jim Cummings voice you’ve ever heard. Interesting thing here is that Thanos has Nebula captive and he refers to her as his sister. So if you’re keeping score, she’s his granddaughter in the comics, daughter in the movies, and sister in the cartoon.

    The whole Death concept is forgotten about here and Thanos is purely out for galactic power for the sake of being an evil overlord with galactic power. In the episode “Fate of Destiny,” he gets the full set of Gems and the Super Hero Squad goes on the attack. They are soundly defeated (mostly thanks to Thanos’ reality-warping catchphrase, “DO OVER!”), as are Dr. Doom and his underlings. Thanos is then challenged by the Silver Surfer, who is wielding the Infinity Sword, the ultimate weapon of the first season’s finale. Thanos challenges him to a winner-take-all fight, which Surfer accepts. When they shake on it, Surfer pulls off Thanos’ glove.

    Unfortunately, the Infinity Sword has been slowly corrupting Surfer over time, so having the Infinity Sword AND the Infinity Gauntlet drives him over the edge. He sends his former teammates spiraling through the multiverse, giving us children’s cartoon adaptations of 1602and Planet Hulk. Also, he knocks Earth out of orbit, making it increasingly cold. For the remainder of the series, he’s the main villain.

    In the finale, “The Final Battle! (‘Nuff Said!)” The Dark Surfer is challenged by the team of Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Hulk, Wolverine, Falcon, and Thor. Surfer chooses to split himself into six beings for his own amusement. Each Surfer is powered by a separate Gem, but the heroes have figured that each one is capable of countering a specific Surfer based on their own abilities/personalities. For instance, the Mind Gem has little effect on Hulk and Wolverine’s surliness is able to overpower the Soul Gem. With the help of Ronan the Accuser, they defeat Silver Surfer and get all the Gems together.

    It’s not over until they find where he hid the Infinity Sword, leading to a final battle between Iron Man and Dr. Doom, where they accidentally destroy both the Sword and the Gems. The resulting explosion fixes the universe, including Earth, and all is well. Surfer’s back to his senses and willingly accepts his Kree imprisonment. No longer able to get his revenge on the Surfer, Thanos decides to go hang out at a chicken farm instead. Cute.


    Around the time of the second season’s debut, they released a video game tie-in where you go around fighting enemies with two heroes at a time. In the story, Iron Man and Hulk are picking up some new boots for Thor’s birthday. The boots get mixed up with Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and wackiness ensues. Eventually, Thanos gets all the Gems. The duo of Iron Man and Scarlet Witch are able to defeat him, but then Silver Surfer swoops in to steal the Infinity Gauntlet. Corrupted by its power immediately, he does away with Galactus and, like in the cartoon, splits into six versions of himself. While Spider-Man sits this one out, the other twelve heroes pair up and fight the various Surfers one-by-one.

    Once defeated, Surfer comes to his senses. He and Iron Man throw the Infinity Gems and Infinity Sword into a rift in reality, taking care of that problem. Meanwhile, all the villains are busy fighting each other. Iron Man figures to just let that sort itself out. The heroes celebrate Thor’s birthday, but it turns out his boots have been enchanted by Loki to make Thor dance for an eternity. Iron Man and Hulk search for the receipt so they can return it.


    This out-of-continuity story is a reimagining of Infinity Gauntlet as an all-ages comedy book. With the ultimate power of the Gauntlet, Thanos wipes out half of life in the universe for the sake of seeing chaos reign and the survivors destroy each other. The remaining heroes only know the where of the threat’s source and not the who or what. Sue Storm puts together a team of Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Dr. Doom bursts into the room and after a fight where he takes down everyone on his own, Doom offers to join the team. Their transport is US-Ace, the star of the forgotten 80s comic US-1.

    The real treasure of this miniseries is watching Dr. Doom interact with the uncouth US-Ace. Especially when they visit the space trucker’s parents, who run a space diner. Ace’s mother bullies Doom into making everyone sandwiches, which is amazing.

    Once they come across Thanos near the end of the third issue, they all get thrashed. He’s only stopped thanks to US-Ace driving his space truck into him thanks to his truckopathic link (Doom grumbles, “Oh Lord, he has a name for it...”). The act knocks off the Gauntlet and while Doom eventually gets his hands on it, it doesn’t work. Turns out he’s a perfect Doombot created by Doom to be released into the world if he were to ever go missing for whatever reason, such as, say, half of the universe's population magically vanishing into thin air. Spider-Man stops Thanos from getting the Gauntlet back on his hand and then uses its power to wish for a universe where Thanos never had the Gems in the first place.

    Spider-Man ends up back on Earth where he’s the only one who remembers the entire adventure. He isn’t too broken up about it, but he wishes someone else out there would remember what he did. Elsewhere, Thanos plots his eventual revenge by sketching Spider-Man’s head into the ground, then adding an X over it.

    I’m just bummed that despite having a million characters in Avengers: Infinity War, we don’t get to hear Dr. Doom sarcastically respond to US-Ace with, “What a colorful turn of phrase. Perhaps you will regale us with more of them over a ‘mess of biscuits’ later.”

    Read Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet on Amazon


    Ugh. So, once upon a time, there was this badass Avengers cartoon that people really liked. Then they canceled it and replaced it with Avengers Assemble, which I guess is still a thing. Anyway, much like Super Hero Squad Show, the second season is about Thanos and his quest to acquire the Infinity Gauntlet. By the halfway point, he has it and he loses in an incredibly embarrassing way.

    Iron Man has Arsenal, a robot built by his father that can absorb energies and is programmed to protect Tony at all costs. After Thanos imprisons the Avengers with magic rock hands from the ground, Arsenal just walks towards him. Thanos -- with control over time and space and so on -- shoots lasers at him. Iron Man explains that Arsenal is able to absorb such a thing. Knowing this, Thanos' strategy is to SHOOT LASERS HARDER because holy shit. Arsenal yoinks the Gauntlet off Thanos' hand, freeing up the Avengers to beat Thanos into mush.

    Then Arsenal becomes Ultron because reasons.

    Oh yeah, there was a digital pinball game based on Infinity Gauntlet too, but I have no idea how to even write that up. I watched footage of people playing it and couldn’t make heads or tails of what the hell is even going on.

    Gavin Jasper will never not love that Impossible Man/Roddy Piper panel. Follow him on Twitter!

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    Looking for great deals on May the 4th? Here's a gift and buyer's guide to Star Wars Day!

    News Den of Geek Commerce
    May 4, 2018

    Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th be with you! With deals on boxsets, tons of action figures, books, and much more, now is the perfect time to pick up those goodies from the galaxy far, far away you've been craving since the holidays. 

    Den of Geek has gone through the catalogs and found the essential merch you need to nab this weekend. Check out our picks below and make sure to click on the ORANGE links to go directly to the stores!

    Here we go:

    Samsung Powerbot Star Wars Limited Edition Robotic Vacuum - $450.00 ($250 off)

    What's better than cleaning your floors? Cleaning your floors with the dark side. Samsung's robotic Powerbot vacuum now comes in both Darth Vader and Stormtrooper designs that respond to your voice commands and even deliver your favorite lines from the movies. With the latest vacuum technology, this vacuum is a no-brainer for the Star Wars fan.

    May the 4th be with you! Save up to $350 on POWERbot Star Wars™ Limited Edition – Darth Vader™ with promo code ‘P5SOQD5GS’

    The Complete Saga Episodes I-VI Blu-ray Boxset - $74 ($66 off)

    You can own both the Prequel and Original Trilogies on Blu-ray for $100. All you need now is The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi!

    Buy The Complete Saga Blu-ray Boxset

    The Force Awakens Blu-ray - $25 ($15 off)

    Own the movie the started it all again, as Rey, Finn, and Poe face off against the dastardly First Order with a little help from Han and Leia!

    Buy The Force Awakens on Blu-ray

    The Last Jedi Blu-ray - $25 ($15 off)

    The latest installment in the Sequel Trilogy is a must-own addition to your Star Wars film collection. Pick it up while the Blu-ray is cheap!

    Buy The Last Jedi on Blu-ray

    Rogue One Blu-ray - $23 ($17 off)

    Relive the story of the group of heroes who stole the Death Star plans right before the start of A New Hope!

    Buy Rogue One on Blu-ray

    Black Series 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack w/ Darth Vader Action Figure - $20 ($20 off)

    If you weren't a kid in 1977, experiencing Star Wars during its original theatrical run, you probably missed the Kenner Early Bird Certificate Package, which was just a box in lieu of the toys you actually wanted. Neither George Lucas or Kenner could have predicted that Star Wars would be such a huge hit around the world, which meant that the toy company couldn't possibly meet the demand for the movie's action figures. The box came with a certificate that kids could redeem for four action figures once supplies were in.

    While you don't have to mail in a voucher, the Black Series Legacy Pack serves as the closest thing to the original Kenner box. And it even comes with a Darth Vader 6-inch action figure. The rest of the figures are sold separately. Still, this deal is great for the vintage Star Wars enthusiast.

    Buy the Black Series 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack

    Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel - $22 ($7 off)

    The latest Star Wars novel tells two stories about Han and Lando, both before the events of the Original Trilogy and after. 

    Buy Last Shot

    Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1 - $14 ($4 off)

    Marvel's Darth Vader comics have been consistently excellent. This new run by Charles Soule and Jim Cheung follows the rise of Vader from the end of Revenge of the Sith to his early missions to hunt down the remaining Jedi. It's excellent.

    Buy Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1

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    Activision is seemingly preparing the world for a game that will resemble the widely popular Fortnite.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Activision CEO Bobby Kotick took some time during a recent investor's call to praise the success of Fortnite

    "When we see people innovate in an interesting and impactful way, we are very quick to figure out how to capture inspiration from innovation," said Kotick. "When we see things that appeal to our audiences, we are very good at being inspired by those."

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    When he wasn't taking the time to prepare the world for Activision's inevitable battle royale rip-off...err...inspired original release, Kotick noted that he's impressed with the diverse group of gamers that Fortnite has attracted and suggested that he hopes Activision can create something that is able to appeal to such a wide demographic. 

    At this time, it's not quite clear whether Activision is working on an entirely new battle royale project of their own or whether they are simply thinking of adding such a mode to one of their existing properties. If it's the latter, then the smart money is on Black Ops IV which will supposedly release sometime later this year. 

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    Actually, Collister Johnson, Activision's president and COO, took some time during that same investor's call to share a few kind words about Black Ops developer Treyarch. 

    "And so that’s the third main area, is the confidence we have in Treyarch and their ability to execute on their creative vision," said Johnson. "It’s an incredible developer with a deep understanding of the community and the first-person genre, but also a real proven track record of innovation, including Zombies and multiple multi-player innovations that have really transformed the industry.”

    While that doesn't give us any indication that Black Ops IV will feature a battle royale mode, we have no doubt that Activision will release some kind of game that features that mode sometime later this year. After all, Fortnite reportedly generated over $200 million in revenue during March alone. There's no way that Activision is going to be able to resist getting a slice of that pie. 

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    Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader is Factor 5's masterpiece. Let's take a look back!

    Feature John Saavedra
    May 4, 2018

    That's No Moon

    Although ultimately viewed as a financial low-point for Nintendo, the GameCube era gave us some of the best games ever made: Luigi's Mansion,Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. One of its best, a launch title that wasn't an in-house Nintendo project at all, was Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, a game that is not only at the top of the GameCube list, but is also one of the greatest Star Wars games and space combat games ever made. This is the game that made ten-year-old John Saavedra choose Nintendo's new console over the technologically superior Microsoft Xbox in 2001. 

    It seemed like an arms race at the time, Nintendo and Microsoft releasing consoles within days of each other in the States, although it didn't turn out to be much of one. The sixth console generation was dominated by Sony's PlayStation 2, the clear winner, while the Sega Dreamcast, a console not of its time, was quickly sent to die. Still, it was the GameCube demo kiosks at my local EB Games store that sold me on the prospect of the aesthetically pleasing, cubed console.

    Buy all your Star Wars movies, books, games, comics, and merch here!

    I don't want to harp on this fateful moment for too long, but it really was destiny that a budding Star Wars fan like myself, who had only ever played the fantastic Shadows of the Empire video game for the Nintendo 64, should encounter a demo for Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II's "Death Star Attack." I found the entire offensive entrancing, as I locked S-foils in attack position for the very first time and prepared to attack the most dangerous space station in the entire galaxy. 

    This was my very first space combat game, having missed out on all of Totally Games' excellent X-Wingseries and the arcade machines that Den of Geek's Mike Cecchini can certainly tell you all about another time, and it's the perfect introduction. Although one of the most daring offensives in the films, "Death Star Attack" is actually the games introductory level, a training mission done very right. The attack takes you through all of the pillar of the games: destroying stationary targets, dogfights, squad commands, and flying through obstacles, all without making you stop to read a single prompt or watch an introductory video. Like Luke Skywalker, introduced only as Red Five in the opening sequence, you're forced into the cockpit immediately against indescribable odds.

    After taking out the pesky deflection towers, you're immediately hounded by wave after wave of TIE fighters. Using your targeting computer, which highlights enemy ships in red and yellow, you manage to take them out, at which point Red Leader orders you to prepare for your attack run. It took me a while, certainly more time than I had with that demo kiosk, to figure out how to speed my way through that chaotic Death Star trench, evade Darth Vader's superior TIE Advanced, and fire proton torpedoes into the exhaust port, but my initial defeat was enough to make me beg my parents for the console and this game. 

    Replaying Rogue Squadron II all of these years later, I'm able to beat "Death Star Attack" pretty easily and speed through most of the other 15 levels, blasting my way through Imperial forces with glee. What I gathered from this latest sit down with the game is that Rogue Squadron II is still one of my all-time favorites and arguably the best Star Warsgame ever made. It is, at the very least, absolutely a masterpiece.

    Factor 5, Standing By

    While it proved to be an ill-fated alliance in the end, developer Factor 5 was LucasArts' golden boy in 2001. The first Rogue Squadron game, which came out in 1998 for the N64, was not only critically acclaimed, but it also sold well over a million copies, taking even producer Julian Eggebrecht by surprise. Eggebrecht told GameSpot in 2003 that the game sold "about 100 times better than anybody expected." LucasArts quickly put Factor 5 to work on a second game, an Episode I tie-in game called Battle for Naboo, which reviewed even better than Rogue Squadron.

    By 2001, Factor 5 was on to its third Star Wars space combat game, this time for Nintendo's newest platform, the GameCube. For Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Factor 5 introduced the Command Cross, the game's most important feature, which allowed you to give orders to your wingmen. While flying around as Luke Skywalker, you could command Wedge (voiced by Denis Lawson himself!) and another squad member to keep TIE fighters off your tail while you hit Imperial targets or protected Rebel frigates, or you could order them to focus all fire on a single target. The Command Cross added tons of complexity to a series that was largely known for its arcade-style action. Squad commands allowed you to plan you approach. Would you charge in with your squad, guns blazing, or would you allow your wingmen to open up a pocket for you to zoom in and destroy a main objective? Factor 5, an ingenious little developer, found a way to make three games in three years that were basically the same but ultimately felt and played differently.

    Factor 5 followed its well-earned success with another sequel in 2003, Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, which introduced an all-new original story and on-foot missions, aimed at turning the Rogue Squadron into the ultimate fighting team. Several instances in the game had you switch between space and ground combat, as you shot your way past both TIE fighters and Stormtroopers to complete your objectives. Of course, the on-foot missions are very suspect of a rushed development, as they're less refined and are almost unplayable to today's standards. Just look for yourself:

    No, it's not the best shooting I've ever seen, although the speeder bike portion is much better. Rogue Squadron is best played when in some kind of vehicle or ship. The idea was cool, though.

    Rebel Strikedidn't score as well with critics as its predecessors, but it did well enough to warrant another sequel that never arrived. Factor 5 was undeserving of its eventual fate. I've written at length about LucasArts's restructuring in 2004, which left Factor 5 out of a job when the publisher's execs decided to cut out third-party developers in favor of in-house development. Factor 5 completed just one more game, 2007's very ill-received flight combat fantasy game Lair, a terrible way to go out. While developing an unreleased Superman game, Factor 5's parent company, Brash Entertainment, went out of business, forcing the developer to close its doors due to lack of funding. 

    Thus fell the video game world's very own Rogue Squadron. To this day, it is a great tragedy that we have not received a new space combat in the Star Wars universe. The upcoming Star Wars Battlefront's Fighter Squadron mode is the closest we'll get to the golden age of these space combat games for a while. Also, the Star Wars Battle Pod arcade machine is quite good. Go play it. 

    A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

    While the first Rogue Squadron was very story-based and took place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the sequel pretty much abandoned the idea of story and just recreated the big space battles of the Original Trilogy, sprinkling in new missions here and there for connective tissue between big moments. Rogue Squadron IIleaned heavily on nostalgia for the iconic battles, and although many of the game's new missions are fantastic, its the Battles of Yavin, Hoth, and Endor that act as the game's big "story beats." There's also an "Asteroid Field" hidden level that puts you in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon during the escape from Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back that's one of my personal favorites. These recreations show Rogue Squadron II at its very best. 

    Many of the new missions are great, though, especially the very difficult "Razor Rendezvous," which puts you in a B-Wing during the Battle of Kothlis, in which the plans to the Death Star II are stolen. You know: "Many Bothans died to bring us this information." Rogue Squadron's objective is to help Luke Skywalker's Rebel corvette escape with the plans before a Star Destroyer can intercept it. While the mission is fairly short in length and is really the first half of a two-part mission to steal those plans, it's almost impossible to complete at first glance, as both TIE fighters and the Star Destroyer's turrets are shooting at your fighter from every angle. After developing much better dodging skills and learning to shout quick commands to your wingmen, the mission is manageable enough, although you will die. A LOT.

    Another great one is "Prisoners of the Maw," the first mission where you solely play as Wedge, since Luke leaves the game during "Battle of Hoth" after being shot down. Flying the particularly slow, but powerful Y-Wing through the Maw, a cluster of black holes and asteroids near the spice mines of Kessel, Rogue Squadron's objective is two-fold: help captured Rebels escape an Imperial prison and destroy the facility's communications. The level is a perfect combination of the two most common objectives in the game: destroy targets and offer support. It's exhilarating to follow the Rebel prisoners all over the prison, as they escape on train and eventually on an Imperial Shuttle. You have to take out guard towers, satellites, and TIE fighters in the meantime. The success of your mission depends on whether the soldiers escape.

    Most of the new missions take place during The Empire Strikes Back or right after, leading up to the Battle of Endor, and revolve around preparing for the attack on Death Star II. One mission, "Imperial Academy Heist," has you steal Tydirium, the shuttle that Han, Luke, and Leia will eventually fly into the forest moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi. While it's exciting, tense, and also the only mission to involve a stealth operation, it's also my least favorite in the game. Wedge can fly through Prefsbelt IV via airspeeder or Y-Wing, and must avoid Imperial sensor outposts as he makes his approach to the Imperial Academy where the shuttle is docked. But the game's crazy pace, controls, and default flight speed doesn't quite support the stealth approach, especially when the level ends in a bit of an anti-climax. What should be a fierce chase through the mountainous canyons of the planet and into space, aided by Rogue Squadron, ends in a pretty abrupt way, even if TIE fighters are on your tail. You reach a checkpoint and the level just kind of ends, as if it were a finish line. But then again, you just got to steal the Imperial Shuttle from Return of the Jedi, so I guess you can't complain too much. 

    The third and last pre-Battle of Endor mission takes place on Bespin, where the Rebels desperately need to secure and steal the tibanna gas from the Empire in order to power their weapons and ships for the Death Star II attack. It's a daring little sequence, as you zoom in on the incredibly fast, but low-shield A-Wing and then on an odd Cloud car. The mission isn't particularly long, but the moments you spend on Bespin are some of the game's graphical best. There aren't many things better than zipping through the eternal orange sunset of Bespin, as you approach the towering Cloud City. Although kept to a particularly small sandbox for the most part, there's a sense of scale in this mission that leads quite well into the Battle of Endor. Spend just a few minutes flying over Cloud City, avoiding turret fire as you fly low and into the trenches, and you'll see what I mean. 

    Are You Sure You Can Handle This Ship?

    I can't declare this mission accomplished until I talk a little bit about the different ships themselves. Like I said above, the game culminates with the Battle of Endor, which gets two missions at the end of the game. These levels give you the option of flying any ship you want, including the default X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing, B-Wing, Millennium Falcon, Slave I, the super sleek and fast Naboo starfighter, and even a Buick. Yup. You unlock most of these ships by finishing the respective levels in which they are introduced or via the miracle of cheat codes, which also offer you unlimited missiles and lives if you need them. I certainly never used them. Ehem. 

    There are also plenty of hidden upgrades in every level of the game. By taking the time to find them, often forcing you to abandon main objectives for a minute or two, you can upgrade your shields, lasers, speed, and even acquire the precious concussion missiles, which are a godsend in the final levels of the game. Rogue Squadron II is certainly manageable without these upgrades, but they do make your life a little easier in hectic moments. They're certainly a must for those players who are spaceship nerds and want the most powerful ships possible. 

    That's something special about this game: it doesn't just focus on the missions themselves and the stories woven around them. Rogue Squadron II tells the stories of all the different ships and gives them personality. While in the hangar, you'll be treated to plenty of commentary on ships' origins and weapons classifications. Standing under the Millennium Falcon will immediately cue a voiceover about Han Solo's mythic Kessel Run. Like picking your loadout in today's first-person shooters, you'll certainly spend a lot of time picking the right ship for the job. The variety of missions and settings allow you to strategize, but also get creative. I would not suggest, for example, that you charge the Death Star II with the Buick on your first try. But after you've mastered the mission with an X-Wing, the other options create almost a Game + and add tons of replayability. You'll spend a lot of time in that hangar thinking things over or just listening to the commentary. I promise.

    Every ship maneuvers differently, which forces you to really get to know them. The Millennium Falcon, while the coolest and fastest ship in the movies, is actually pretty slow in the game when compared to the TIE fighters on its tail. It's a hulking vessel that's not the best in fast-paced situations. In "Asteroid Field," you can't really outrun enemy fighters. Instead, you have to outsmart them by making them crash into asteroids, all while using your rear cannons and dodging blaster fire and very big rocks. And if you think "Strike at the Core," the final mission of the game, is difficult with an X-Wing, try completing it with the much bigger Falcon. You'll definitely lose more than an antenna in your first few tries. 

    Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader treats you to all of the ships you loved when you were a kid, whether you owned a Slave I model or hung TIE fighters from your ceiling or spent weekends reading Michael J. Stackpole's great X-Wing novels. This game is the ultimate celebration of the most epic part of these films. While we were captivated by Luke's spiritual journey to become a Jedi, it was the battles we brought the popcorn for, and Rogue Squadron II continues that great legacy. 

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek US. Find more of his work on his website. Or just follow him on Twitter.

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    Pikachu, the most innocent of all the Pokemon, almost became a real demon in its final form.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    After noting that Pikachu's original design was based on a squirrel, former Pokemon illustrator Atsuko Nishida has now revealed that Pikachu almost had a third evolution that would have turned the cuddly Pokemon into something much more demonic. 

    "It was Pika(chu), Rai(chu), and Goro(chu)," said Nishida to Japanese publication, Yomiuri. "The Pokémon known as Gorochu bared fangs and even had a pair of horns."

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    So far as the language goes, that final form does make sense. Pika, Rai, and Goro can all be used to refer to some kind of noise (with Rai most commonly referring to thunder). Goro - as in gorogoro - can also be used to describe lightning and thunder, but comes with the association of a deep rumbling noise. So, it would seem that Pikachu's original final form would have represented a particularly vicious storm of thunder and lightning. Suddenly, the horns and fangs make a lot more sense. 

    Sadly, there is no official artwork available that showcases what Pikachu's final form would have looked like. It seems that it was just something that was being tossed around during the early days of development. However, Ken Sugimori, the artist who approved the final design of all 151 original Pokemon, states that the reason the final form was scrapped has nothing to do with how demonic it looked but rather about how that evolution created a gameplay complication. 

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    "There wasn't any problem with its appearances," said Sugimori. "[Gorochu] was omitted due to matters surrounding game balance."

    Yes, it seems that Pikachu's creepy final evolution might have been too powerful or too useful to make it into the final game. In any case, we'd actually love to see the design revisited at some point in a future Pokemon game. After all, it's not often you hear that the super innocent icon from your childhood once harbored a dark and demonic side...

    Err...never mind. Let's just forget about that last part. 

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    Mario Tennis Aces is back and looks better than ever.

    NewsMatthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    During Nintendo Direct announcement back in January 2018, the studio revealed Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch. 

    Mario Tennis Aces will be the first Mario Tennis game since the Game Boy Advance Tennis titles to incorporate a story mode. As anyone who played those games - or the brilliant Switch title Golf Story - knows, these sports story modes tend to be incredibly entertaining detours from the competitive play that are loaded with creative minigames. That seems to be what this new story mode is going for, but it also seems that this particular plot might abandon the tennis academy setting of previous Mario Tennis stories in favor of something a little wackier. 

    Thankfully, the story mode is expected to include those wonderful boss battles from previous titles.

    Regardless of the story's setting, we're just happy to see it return. We're also quite thrilled to see Nintendo return to Mario Tennis so quickly after 2015's Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash was met with an overwhelmingly negative reaction. Considering that the primary criticisms of that game revolved around its lack of content and innovations, we'd say that the quick reveal of Mario Tennis Ace's story mode suggests that Nintendo is aware of what went wrong and is willing to fix it.

    Here's what we know about the game:

    Mario Tennis Aces Release Date

    Mario Tennis Aces will release on June 22. It will be playable exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

    Mario Tennis Aces Trailer

    The March 2018 Nintendo Direct arrived with an in-depth look at the new gameplay mechanics in Mario Tennis Aces. Check out all the fun below:

    Here's the announcement trailer in case you missed it:


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    Insominac's Spider-Man game could be the web slinger's best gaming adventure yet.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Insomniac's take on Spider-Man isn't just one of the PS4's biggest upcoming exclusive, it's one of the biggest titles in Marvel's new approach to game releases. Spider-Man will not be directly associated with the MCU or a particular film, but will instead tell a unique story of the studio's design. 

    Spider-Man will focus on young Peter Parker's battles against a still unconfirmed roster of classic comic book villains. As this game seems to take place relatively early into his superhero career, Parker will need to learn how to balance being the hero that NYC needs with the daily pressures of young adult life. 

    From what we've seen of Spider-Man thus far, we're expecting a high-octane superhero experience that doesn't skimp on the cinematic but also gives us the freedom we need to truly feel like we are Spider-Man. Call it a fantasy, but Insomniac looks to deliver on the seemingly impossible by gifting the world with a Spider-Man game that captures every aspect of this incredible character. 

    Here's everything we know about Spider-Man:

    Spider-Man News

    Insomniac has confirmed that you'll be able to wear various iconic Spider-Man outfits in their upcoming game. While we don't know the full roster of outfits Spider-Man can wear, this new trailer confirms that the Iron Spider armor that Spider-Man wears in Infinity War will be in the game. Furthermore, it seems that each Spider-Man suit will be upgradeable with custom powers. 

    Spider-Man Release Date

    Spider-Man will be out on September 7, 2018. The game is coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4.

    Spider-Man Trailer

    Check out the announcement trailer!

    Game Informer had previously debuted an exclusive story about Insomniac's Spider-Man coming out and have released some new gameplay footage from the title to celebrate the occasion. 

    This footage reveals a great deal of Spider-Man's combat system and exploration mechanics. Spider-Man's combat will seemingly utilize a kind of multi-man system featured in titles like the Arkham games, but Spider-Man's gadgets and abilities will allow him to dispatch of the city's baddies with considerably more flair. Navigation is also bolstered by Spider-Man's inherent abilities. We don't get a full feel for how swinging around the city works, but it looks like players will be asked to target where their next navigational web is going. 

    Insomniac and Sony also showcased a trailer for Spider-Man at the Paris Games show. This preview focuses on Peter Parker's role in the story and expands the game's little mythology twists more than previous previews have done. 

    Another arrived for Insomniac's Spider-Man game at D23 2017. Check it out below:

    These trailers were preceded by the huge E3 2017 showing of the game which gave us our first good look at what we can expect from the most high-profile Marvel game in years. 

    Finally, have a look at the debut trailer that got the world buzzing about what happens when a great developer like Insomniac works on one of the most beloved comic book characters ever. 

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    Kingdom Hearts 3 should finally release in 2018 after years of anticipation.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    The highly anticipated third installment in the main Kingdom Hearts series has been in development since at least 2012. First announced at E3 2013, it's been a long journey for this Disney-Final Fantasy mashup. There's some indication from Square Enix that Kingdom Hearts III will finally see the light of day in 2018, but only time will tell!

    Until then, Square Enix hasn't been shy about slowly revealing some of the incredible Disney inspired worlds included in the upcoming game. From Toy Story to Monsters Inc., Kingdom Hearts 3 looks to explore nearly every aspect of the Disney universe while delivering an incredibly compelling RPG in the tradition of previous Kingdom Hearts adventures. 

    Here's everything we know about the game:

    Kingdom Hearts 3 Release Date 

    Kingdom Hearts 3 will reportedly be released sometime in 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

    Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer

    The latest Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer showcases what is being referred to as Classic Kingdom. However, reports indicate that the Game and Watch footage included in the trailer doesn't pertain to an entire kingdom, but rather a collection of classic minigames featured throughout the adventure. 

    There's a new Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer and it introduces the world of Monsters Inc. to the series. Check it out below:

    Additionally, Disney showed off a trailer that confirms a world based on the Toy Story films will make an appearance sometime during Kingdom Hearts 3's campaign. Characters like Woody and Buzz will also make an appearance as party heroes during your time in this new world. 

    Here are the rest of the trailers that have been released:

    This next trailer teases Rapunzel’s tower from Tangled and what looks like the streets of New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog:

    Finally, here's the very first trailer from E3 2013:

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    Mega Man returns in a sequel that blends the old and the new.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Mega Man 11 seems to combine retro game design and slightly modern looks. It adopts a kind of cel-shaded visual style similar to what we saw in Mighty No. 9, but it's already clear that the game runs far smoother than that much-maligned project. It also does a better job of upgrading the spirit of the old Mega Man titles in terms of their aesthetics. That spirit is evident in this previously leaked concept art for Mega Man's new look. 

    So far as Mega Man 11's gameplay goes, Capcom indicated that they are aiming to recreate the classic gameplay of Mega Man titles gone by. While that certainly speaks to the basic gameplay of the series - run, jump, beat bosses, and upgrade your weapons - some fans no doubt hope that it also means the return of Mega Man's punishing style of gameplay. After all, Cuphead became a huge success in 2017 largely off the back of incredibly tough Mega Man-like gameplay (and, of course, that game's art style). 

    Here's everything we know about Mega Man 11:

    Mega Man 11 Trailer

    Capcom has confirmed that they are developing Mega Man 11 for the PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The game is expected to be released in "late 2018." Until then, feel free to gawk at the game's debut trailer.

    Mega Man 11 Art

    Here's your first look at the concept art that inspired the blue bomber's design in Mega Man 11:

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    Hunt: Showdown is shaping up to be a unique multiplayer shooter.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    We've been treated to quite a few great PvP and PvE games over the years, but Hunt: Showdown is one of the few titles we've seen that promises to offer a convincing blend of both styles. in Hunt: Showdown, players will be grouped into pairs and tasked with hunting down monters across a variety of horror-themed maps. Finding the area's main monster and defeating the various threats that roam around each level will require teams to work together. However, only one squad can claim the bounty and win the day. 

    This combination of competitive and cooperative gameplay figures to make Hunt one of the more fascinating online multiplayer experiences on the horizon. Do you wait until another team has beaten the monster and try to take the now-powerful hunters out? Do you go it alone? Do you forge alliances you intend to break? Will you be able to survive the horror's of the night at all? These are the questions the game poses. 

    Here's everything we know about Hunt: Showdown...

    Hunt: Showdown News

    The latest video for Hunt: Showdownfocuses on the improvements the studio has made to the game's performance following the beta. Take a look:

    Hunt: Showdown Release Date

    Hunt: Showdown is now in Early Access for PC. You can get in on the action for $29.99 on Steam.

    No final release date has been set for the game.

    Hunt: Showdown Review

    While we don't have a final review of the game, Den of Geek did participate in the closed alpha and we have some thoughts. Read them here.

    Hunt: Showdown Trailer

    The official Steam trailer for Hunt: Showdown explains the game's basic concept in an effective preview that also manages to capture the title's horror elements. 

    Elsewhere, we learned that Hunt: Showdown will likely be in Early Access for at least a year while Crytek tweaks it in accordance with player feedback. There's no word on when that access period will begin - only a vague promise of "soon" was made - but Crtytek did state that they intend to offer the game at a lower price when it enters early access and then raise that price in accordance with the amount of content they add to the title during its Early Access period.

    We were shocked to learn that Crytek's Hunt was still in development following a trip through development hell and even more shocked to learn that Hunt: Showdown may just have been the most promising game featured at E3 2017. Describing Hunt is a challenging process, but the game's basic concept sees three teams of two compete against each other and a level full of enemies in order to claim a bounty on a boss monster. It's a fascinating mix of competitive and cooperative gameplay that really shines in this recently released full walkthrough of the game's E3 demo:

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    Will State of Decay 2 recapture the magic of the original?

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 4, 2018

    State of Decay caught quite a few gamers by surprise back in 2013. Few people had ever heard of the title prior to its release, and those that had probably didn't expect it to be the fairly unique take on open-world zombie apocalypse action that it was.

    While almost everyone that played State of Decay was caught off-guard by its quality, the sequel will likely not enjoy such an advantage. In order to replicate State of Decay's surprising success, developer Undead Labs is going to have to pull out all the stops for State of Decay 2. Fortunately, it sounds like that's exactly what they have in mind.

    Here's everything we know about State of Decay 2:

    State of Decay 2 Trailer

    State of Decay 2 was at PAX East this year to show off a new trailer for the game. Check out all the gruesome zombie action below:

    Here's the first trailer for State of Decay 2:

    State of Decay 2 Release Date

    State of Decay 2 is coming on May 22. The game will arrive for XBO and PC.

    State of Decay 2 Details

    Despite only costing $30, State of Decay 2 will not feature any microtransactions. 

    Jeff Strain, Undead Labs' studio head, confirmed to IGN that the studio doesn't plan to implement any microtransactions into the game. The studio didn't elaborate on that message, but we assume this only applies to in-game transactions and not any potential future DLC releases. 

    In a blog post on the State of Decay 2 website, Undead Labs outlined some of the ways it hopes to improve the original experience by expanding the size of the game's maps. Yes, that's maps as in more than one. According to this latest update, State of Decay 2 will launch with three separate maps that are all "roughly the size of the original."

    So what do Undead Labs plan to do with all that new space for activities? Well, the developer wants to make players feel like they are "moving from one small town to another" in order to create a greater sense of immersion in the overall world. The studio also hopes that this expanded overall game size will eliminate some of the repetitiveness of the original's late game by removing the constant need to engage in the same series of missions. 

    Undead Labs also alludes to future expansions by stating that, "the multiple map set up makes it easy to expand the world down the line, if you know what I mean."

    The developer also suggests that you'll be able to transfer your survivors and resources between maps but seem hesitant to confirm the specifics of this set-up at present. It will be interesting to see how this new set-up affects the story and progression structure of the original game. Will you be able to explore these areas from the start? Will each map feature unique resources and survivors?

    Of course, we'll have the answer to all of these questions when State of Decay 2 launches in just a few weeks.

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    Yoshi returns in what figures to be another classic platformer.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    Th new Yoshi game is simply being referred to as Yoshi. The game is based on a fairly fascinating gimmick involving the depth of stages. Basically, Yoshi is able to move in-between and interact with background and foreground elements that would usually be considered static in many such platforming titles. There are numerous instances of this mechanic being utilized during the trailer, but some of the most fascinating examples of this dynamic mechanic involved Yoshi attacking enemies in the foreground and flipping a stage at will to reveal brand new paths that simply looked like background objects before. 

    It certainly doesn't hurt that the game's vibrant art style contributes to the storybook nature of the level design and the use of this flip mechanic. The Switch may not be a technical powerhouse, but games like this showcase why a bright color palette and creative design will sometimes best pure processing power.

    Indeed, Yoshi may very well be the game for Switch fans who still harbor a deep love for classic platformers. While Super Mario Odyssey promotes a more open-world take on the platformer genre, Yoshi looks like the kind of classic platforming experience that we might have dreamed of as kids if we could dream quite as big as game's clearly imaginative development team. 

    Here's everything we know about Yoshi for the Nintendo Switch: 

    Yoshi Switch Release Date

    Yoshi is due in 2018. The game is coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch.

    Yoshi Switch Trailer

    While not the most high-profile reveal of Nintendo's E3 2017 showcase, this trailer for an upcoming Nintendo Switch Yoshi game was certainly one of the most interesting previews of the show.

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    Metro Exodus looks to bring the underrated FPS series into the big time.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 4, 2018

    4A Games returns with Metro Exodus! Much like the previous Metro games, this one appears to contain a mix of subterranean and overworld exploration gameplay spiced up a bit by the inclusion of challenging combat. As for the timeline, this appears to be a sequel to the previous titles, but that is largely based on the degenerative nature of the universe rather than any specific plot points. 

    Otherwise, this title appears to share many of the gameplay and environmental aspects that make the Metro franchise so unique. If anything, there may be a slightly stronger emphasis on creature combat over human encounters (if the footage shown is any indication, at least) but we'll wait until more of the game is revealed before making too many assumptions. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Metro Exodus News

    The latest issue of Game Informer reveals some new information about Metro Exodus

    It seems that Exodus will start in the fabled Metro but will quickly allow players to explore a much larger outdoor setting. However, Exodus is not an open-world game. It's a series of large, objective-based levels that can be freely explored but are tied together by a narrative. The catch is that you can't return to an area after you've completed the main objectives in a given level. That means you'll want to take care of any sidequests first.

    The series' combat and stealth mechanics will receive an overhaul as part of this new emphasis on exploration. There's no word on exactly how they will be changed, but it seems the studio is aiming for general improvements. Furthermore, the traditional hub area from previous Metro games will return in the form of a train called the Aurora that will follow you between most levels. Players will also be able to access several smaller vehicles. 

    Finally, it seems that Exodus' story will take place across the course of an entire year. Previous Metro games occurred over just a few days.  

    All and all, it sounds like Exodus will make some pretty bold changes to the series' formula. We just hope it maintains some of the distinctive design elements that make the Metro franchise a special - if overlooked - gaming experience. 

    Metro Exodus Release Date

    Metro Exodus arrives in Fall 2018. It is XBO, PS4, and PC.

    Metro Exodus Trailer

    A new trailer premiered at The Game Awards 2017. Check it out below:

    And here's the reveal trailer for Metro Exodus

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