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    Metro Exodus will expand the scope of this incredible franchise.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 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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    The world needs better vampire games, and Vampyr looks like one of the best we've seen yet.

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 14, 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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    Octopath Traveler is one of the most exciting Square Enix projects in years.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    The developers of the hit 3DS JRPG Bravely Default are teaming up once more to create a new JRPG for the Nintendo Switch called Octopath Traveler.

    First off, that...unique name is a reference to the game's eight main characters and eight explorable worlds. For the moment, though, it is being referred to as a working title. Given that Nintendo showcased the game via a four-minute trailer, however, we're guessing that this game is fairly far along in development. 

    In terms of narrative and certain gameplay conventions, Octopath Traveler is very much a classic Square Enix-style JRPG. There are colorful characters, grand evils, and turn-based combat as far as the eye can see. This is a game with nostalgia in its heart. 

    That said, it wouldn't be fair to call this project a throwback. For instance, Octopath Traveler will allow players to utilize characters special abilities outside of combat. This means that your warrior will be able to challenge most NPCs to a duel which may allow him to complete sidequests or access previously inaccessible areas. A dancer hero, meanwhile, can allure friendly and enemy characters. That last example is particularly hilarious as it means you'll be able to lead certain foes to cleverly placed traps and avoid combat altogether.

    Elsewhere, Octopath Traveler's visuals benefit from a style the developers are referring to as "HD 2D." The benefits of this new approach are immediately apparent. Octopath Traveler brilliantly maintains the basic visual style of classic JRPGs but greatly benefits from a noticeable increase in environmental details and lighting effects. It's a stunning visual design approach that we already want to see more of. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Octopath Traveler Release Date

    Octopath Traveler is coming on July 13. It will arrive exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

    Octopath Traveler Trailer

    Here's the first trailer for Octopath Traveler:

    And here's almost an hour of gameplay:

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    Skull and Bones proves there's more than one pirate game on the high seas.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Were you one of many gamers who played Assassin's Creed: Black Flag's ship sections and thought, "Why doesn't Ubisoft just turn this into a game?" Well, it appears that Ubisoft heard that very valid question. 

    Skull and Bones can't exactly be described as a continuation of Black Flag. While the two share many pirate aspects (we'll never tire of hearing our crew sing a shanty) Skull and Bones seems to place a far greater emphasis on multiplayer gameplay, but it's still not clear what the extent of the game's single-player offerings is. 

    The game will allow you to assemble an online crew and participate in 5 v 5 battles with rival pirates in ship-to-ship combat sections. While sinking the enemy is certainly a plus, the true goal here seems to be to collect as much sweet, sweet loot as you can while also vanquishing your foes. It's not entirely clear at this time whether or not you and other players will be able to assume multiple roles on the ship or how that system of role management will work, but it does appear that much of the action will take place on the open waters. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Skull and Bones Release Date

    Skull and Bones is expected to release sometime in the fall of 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 

    Skull and Bones Trailer

    Here is the first trailer for Skull and Bones:

    And here's a gameplay trailer:

    This interview video posted by Ubisoft also hints at the game's RPG mechanics and the way that you'll be able to upgrade your ship and crew as you gain gold and infamy. 

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    Darksiders 3 wants to revolutionize the cult classic franchise.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Darksiders 3  will cast players into the role of a mage named Fury who uses a whip and magical abilities to fight various forms of evil. Fury is a member of the franchise's Four Horsemen and is described as "unpredictable and enigmatic." The first two Darksiders games featured two other members of the mythical Four Horsemen (War and Death), so this character description does seem to fit the design of the series. 

    The sequel is an "open-ended, living, free-form game" that will require players to use Fury's skills in order to defeat the seven deadly sins. The product description and various screenshots also make note of the game's retention of the franchise's signature art style. 

    The history of the Darksiders franchise has always been fascinating from a development perspective. It was originally conceived by THQ as a hack-and-slash action/adventure title with gothic horror elements. The second game expanded upon many of the elements the first title established but mostly served to give players more of the same. 

    Both Darksiders games received a good deal of acclaim from those who played them but were always seen as fundamentally flawed experiences that exhibited more potential than they realized. When THQ shut down, Darksiders was still seen as one of their most valuable former properties. That's hardly a surprise given just how much the franchise's fans love these games. 

    With the franchise now in the hands of THQ Nordic, it will be interesting to see if they are able to fully realize the potential of the game's formula. 

    Here's everything else we know about Darksiders 3:

    Darksiders 3 Release Date

    Darksiders 3 is being developed by Gunfire Games and will be released for PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One. The game will arrive sometime in 2018.

    Darksiders 3 Trailer

    Darksiders 3 is officially coming! Here's the first trailer for the game:

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    Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Switch, but who will join the game's roster?

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Since its N64 debut, the Super Smash Bros. series has been one of Nintendo's most beloved properties. What began as a simple amusement that pitted some of Nintendo's best characters against each other in a brawler fighting game has become an institution. Everyone from casual Nintendo console owners to hardcore fighting fans has fond memories of waging war across Smash Bros. many levels. 

    Now, Smash Bros. is preparing to make its debut on the Nintendo Switch. Following the success of Super Smash Bros. Wii U - a game that grew to include one of the most incredible rosters in fighting game history - expectations are high for the next entry in the long-running franchise. If Nintendo's history with highly-anticipated Switch titles is any indication, though, then we fully expect this will be a special title that will boast a truly impressive collection of playable characters. 

    Here is everything we know about Super Smash Bros. for Switch:

    Super Smash Bros. Switch News

    Nintendo has confirmed that Super Smash Bros. for Switch will be playable on the E3 show floor. While we can guarantee that the lines for the game will be daunting, those in attendance will be among the first to actually play the highly-anticipated title. 

    As for what those attendees can expect, recent evidence suggests that the Smash Bros. for Switch will be an entirely new game and not a port of the Wii U version. 

    For instance, a recent tweet from series creator Masahiro Sakurai states that he has been "working on this game in silence day after day." It's highly doubtful that Sakurai would personally be putting so much effort into a port of Smash Bros. Wii U, which has led many to believe that his work has been going towards a new title. 

    The biggest piece of evidence, though, was snuck into the reveal of Smash Bros. for Switch. The end of that footage credits Hal Laboratory as the game's developer. However, Bandai Namco created Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U. Even if Hal were responsible for just porting the previous game, Bandai Namco would have likely been credited in some way for their creation if this was indeed a port. 

    All things considered, it looks like we are getting a proper new Smash Bros. game in 2018. 

    Super Smash Bros. Switch Release Date

    Super Smash Bros. for Switch is being released in 2018. It's currently believed that the title will be released sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018. 

    Super Smash Bros. Switch Trailer

    During the latest Nintendo Direct, Nintendo seemed to tease the first Super Smash Bros. game for the Nintendo Switch. 

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    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth wants to be the best World of Warcraft expansion yet.

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 14, 2018

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

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

    Battle for Azeroth also includes a new legendary neck piece called the Heart of Azeroth. This neck piece will allow players to unlock new abilities that are directly tied to their armor. This system sounds very similar to the one that Blizzard implemented in Legion that allowed players to build upon existing weapons via in-game artifacts. Finally, Battle for Azeroth will raise the current level cap to 120 and will include a feature that allows players to buy a boost up to level 110 should they wish to do so. We can't wait to see who hits the new cap first. 

    Here's everything else we know about the expansion:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Preview

    We recently had the chance to play Battle for Azeroth's Island Expedition mode. Find out what we think of the expansion here!

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Release Date

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth arrives on Aug. 14. 

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

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

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

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Trailer

    Check the new trailer for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth below!

    Here is the debut cinematic trailer for Battle for Azeroth:

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

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth PvP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Artifact combines the best of Dota 2 and CCG titles for a completely different experience.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Few people expected Valve's next game to be a collectible card title based on the Dota 2 universe, but that's exactly what we have in Artifact

    Before you roll your eyes, though, you might want to use them to take a closer look at this game. Artifact isn't like any other CCG out there. Actually, it's kind of like a version of Dota 2 that you play with cards instead of with heroes and teammates. Artifact's implementation of Dota 2staples like lanes of battle, heroes, and in-game markets is made all the more fascinating by the fact that the title also boasts some traditional - albeit hardcore - CCG elements. Of course, that last part shouldn't be a surprise given that the game was at least partially designed by Magic: The Gathering creator, Richard Garfield. It will be fascinating to see what that creative team comes up with. 

    Here's everything that we know about Artifact

    Artifact Release Date

    Valve plans on releasing Artifact for Steam sometime before the end of 2018. They're also planning to release a version of the game for mobile devices sometime in 2019. 

    Artifact News

    PC Gamer has released a full breakdown of how Valve's Artifactcard game will work. It's a lot of information to take in, but here's what you need to know:

    Artifact has you build a deck of 40 cards that contains five heroes. The base game will include 280+ cards and 44 heroes. You can't have more than three of any type of non-hero card in your deck. 

    Gameplay sees you essentially play across three different boards designed to strategically resemble Dota 2's lanes. Each lane has its own mana pool, heroes, and a tower. Lose that tower, and a much stronger Ancient appears. If you manage to either kill an Ancient or if your opponent loses two towers, you win the game. 

    Complicating all of this is the presence of creeps in all lanes that heroes must battle as well as some truly in-depth mechanics that require you to manage the resources of all lanes using the same deck of cards. Fortunately, your resources are bolstered by the ability to earn gold whenever you destroy an opponent's cards and use that gold to buy items from the store that your heroes can equip. Heroes can never be permanently killed, but they can be taken out of action for a round. 

    Valve seems to be aware that this multi-lane style of CCG play creates a lot of complications, but they are embracing those complications. It seems like Artifact is mostly going to appeal to veteran CCG players or those that are willing to learn an entirely different style of game. Hearthstone this is not. 

    Speaking of Hearthstone, Valve is already planning on separating Artifact from that game by reducing the amount of randomness in matches and by allowing players to trade cards via Steam's marketplace. That last one is a huge deal as it could drastically impact both gameplay and the costs of Artifact in the long run. Indeed, Valve has stated they do not want Artifact to be a pay-to-win experience. 

    It all sounds fascinating, and Artifact might end up being extremely appealing to those who demand more complexity from CCG titles. 

    Artifact Trailer

    Here's the teaser trailer that formally introduced Artifact to the world. 

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    Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon looks like the retro Castlevania title we've wanted for years.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Inti Creates is developing an 8-bit spinoff of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night called Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon.

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    Some of you might be familiar with Inti Creates from their work on Blaster Master Zero, Mighty Gunvolt, and other retro-inspired action titles. Well, they're back with an official - and pleasantly surprising - spinoff for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night; the "totally not Castlevania" game from legendary Castlevania producer, Koji Igarashi. 

    Unlike Ritual of the Night which aims to capture the Metroidvania era of the Castlevaniafranchise, Curse of the Moon is a throwback to the 8-bit era of the franchise (particularly Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse). It's a decidedly old-school Castlevania title that-like game that features multiple playable characters, linear levels that are complemented by alternative advancement paths that will allow you to select some levels, and a protagonist that's described as a "demon slayer bearing a deep grudge." We assume that grudge is against demons. There also seems to be a character who wields a whip just in case you were worried. 

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    The Curse of the Moon trailer makes it clear that you should expect a traditionally challenging Castlevania-like experience from Curse of the Moon. For those who aren't familiar with the original Castlevania games, that means precision jumps, lots of enemies, and more than a few annoying bosses. 

    While certainly inspired by classic Castlevania titles, Curse of the Moon will feature some modern conveniences and clever pieces of design not necessarily seen in some of the games that inspired it.

    For instance, there's actually a casual mode in the game that offers unlimited lives and other features designed to ease the pain. Those who prefer something more challenging can opt for the Veteran mode which features limited lives and frustrating mechanics like being knocked back upon receiving damage from an enemy. Of special note is the way the game will seemingly utilize its multiple characters. If your controlled character dies, you seemingly lose them from your party. This could affect the way the game's story and level design play out. 

    Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is set to release for Switch, 3DS, PS4, Vita, Xbox One, and PC on May 24, for $9.99.

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    What we know about SoulCalibur 6, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 14, 2018

    Considering how the fighting game genre has been able to make a comeback these last few years, one question that’s been brought up quite a bit is, “Where’s SoulCalibur?” Bandai Namco’s second fighting game cash cow used to be a huge deal, but it’s been years since the last installment kind of crapped the bed. Luckily, The 2017 Game Awards announced the return of the franchise!

    The Soul series began back in 1995 with the exceptional Soul Edge, renamed Soul Blade on consoles. The game’s story takes place in 1584 and centers around armed warriors from around the world fighting over the rights to a cursed sword known as Soul Edge, then wielded by a possessed pirate. This would lead to the sequel SoulCalibur, which would hold onto the branding for all the later installments. The series has continued to focus on the quest for the evil sword ever since.

    The last real installment was SoulCalibur V in 2012, which didn’t exactly set the world on fire due to how little the game had to offer, especially compared to its predecessors. Hopefully, SoulCalibur VI will return to the glory days of the Dreamcast era.

    Get your blind gimp cosplay ready because SoulCalibur VI is a go. Here's everything we know about the game:

    SoulCalibur 6 Release Date

    SoulCalibur VI will arrive in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Coincidentally, the series will celebrate its 20th-anniversary next year.

    SoulCalibur 6 Trailer

    The latest character reveal as of May 2 is Taki, the demon-hunting ninja lady with the overly-tight outfit who has been in every Soulgame except SoulCalibur V.

    SoulCalibur VI will feature a guest appearance from the Witcher himself, Geralt of Rivia.

    Other familiar fighters have joined the SoulCalibur VI roster. There's Zasalamel, the undying magician who debuted in SoulCalibur 3. Fans of the fighter will be happy to know that her scythe and spells look as brutal as ever. 

    Next up is series staple combatant, Ivy. She's still wearing questionably effective armor - it's certainly distracting - but looks to remain a fan favorite 

    Here's the extended trailer that played at PSX 2017:

    SoulCalibur IV ended with Sophitia dying and SoulCalibur V jumped ahead about 15 years to focus on her children. Not only is Sophitia alive and well here, but amidst all the random visions shown, the narrator mentions how “history hides away more than one truth.” In other words, there might be an in-story retcon of SoulCalibur V in the works, setting up VI as the beginning of a new timeline.

    Hey, it worked like gangbusters for Mortal Kombat.

    The big gameplay addition is Reversal Edge, which is a counterpart to the Combo Breaker from Killer Instinct. Though that trailer shows Sophitia and Mitsurugi doing some kind of glowing buff thing as they attack one last time, so maybe that's something too.

    Then this trailer hit on January 26, revealing even more characters.

    With this, we get more classic characters. Kilik and Xianghua are the main heroes of the original SoulCalibur, while Nightmare is the game's badass villain. Seriously, look at how badass that horse of evil energy super is. The big twist, as shown at the end of the trailer, is that pure-hearted Kilik is now being corrupted by Soul Edge's demonic influences.

    Hey, it worked like gangbusters for Street Fighter... Okay, I'm done with that now.

    Also interesting is our first new character, Groh, who is some kind of medieval secret agent? He definitely seems fun and kind of has a low-tech Darth Maul quality to his swordplay. Can't wait to see more from him.

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    What you need to know about Code Vein, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 14, 2018

    Now that the Dark Souls series is officially done, Bandai Namco has a hole in their lineup that was previously occupied by a hardcore RPG series with a moody atmosphere and strong action elements. 

    While it's going to be hard for any game to ever completely fill that void, we must say that Bandai Namco's upcoming action RPG Code Vein looks like it has a chance to fulfill the desires of Dark Souls fans everywhere. 

    Here's everything we know about Code Vein:

    Code Vein Release Date

    Code Vein is set to release in 2018. The game is coming to PS4, XBO, and PC. 

    Code Vein Trailer

    Code Vein's third trailer finally gives us a little better look at the game's world and the characters who call it home. What it really does, though, is double-down on the game's anime style. Vampires battling each other with blood-based superpowers while rock music blares in the background? Yeah, we're kind of ready to play this one. 

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    This next teaser does a nice job of emphasizing the game's anime inspirations and generally cool vibe. It certainly offers more than enough reasons to keep your eyes on this game in the future. 

    Code Vein's E3 2017 trailer showcases that blend of familiar Dark Souls gameplay and anime visuals that previous previews had hinted at. We look forward to seeing more from this promising adventure title. 

    While the teaser for Code Vein suggested that it might be a hand-drawn, Dark Souls-esque action RPG starring vampires, the official reveal trailer for Code Veinshows off a slightly different experience. Code Vein still borrows aspects of Dark Souls' combat system and RPG elements, but the game's art style borrows more from the God Hand series with its anime flourishes. 

    Code Vein Story

    Here's the official synopsis for the game:

    "In the not too distant future, a mysterious disaster has brought collapse to the world as we know it. Towering skyscrapers, once symbols of prosperity, are now lifeless graves of humanity’s past pierced by the Thorns of Judgment. At the center of the destruction lies a hidden society of Revenants called Vein. This final stronghold is where the remaining few fight to survive, blessed with Gifts of power in exchange for their memories and a thirst for blood. Give into the bloodlust fully and risk becoming one of the Lost, fiendish ghouls devoid of any remaining humanity."

    Code Vein follows the adventures of vampiric entities collectively referred to as The Revenant who have formed an underground post-apocalyptic society. These creatures rely on blood in order to avoid becoming absolute monsters.  

    Code Vein Details

    According to an interview in the Japanese magazine Famitsu (translated here by Gematsu), Code Vein is being developed by the same team behind the cult classic God Eater series. Despite the game's pedigree, producer Keita Iizuka claims that Code Vein is not related to the God Eater series in any direct fashion. 

    Instead, Code Vein is described as a "dramatic exploration action RPG." What that means is that it's a dungeon crawler action RPG that will emphasize the exploration of connected environments. 

    If that sounds like Dark Souls to you, then you'll be happy to know you're not being paranoid. The game's trailer even playfully uses "Prepare to Dine" as a tagline and seemingly respectful nod to that legendary franchise. 

    However, Code Vein does distinguish itself in several interesting ways. Namely, Code Veinwill emphasize a "Buddy" system that allows you to take a companion into new areas and develop them alongside your main hero. It also sounds like the game will primarily focus on melee combat, though we will be surprised if there isn't some magic and ranged combat to be found.

    There's still much we don't know about Code Vein- including whether it will resemble the style shown in that teaser trailer and which systems it will be released on - but everything revealed thus far suggests it could Bandai Namco's next great hardcore RPG.

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    Get your first look at the new Dark Horse Zelda book dedicated to Breath of the Wild in this exclusive preview!

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Dark Horse has announced a new art book that serves as the ultimate companion piece to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Creating a Champion, this massive hardcover art book is loaded with information and artwork related to the creation of Breath of the Wild's main adventure and its DLC expansions.

    Along with a stunning 296 pages of design artwork and commentary straight from the game's development team, this book includes 50 pages of sketches and official illustrations from Takumi Wada (the Zelda franchise's main illustrator since Skyward Sword) and 55 pages of history that dives into the in-game mythology of Hyrule and the rest of the series stunning world. 

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    On top of all that, Creating a Champion features interviews with key members of the Breath of the Wild development team, such as art director Satoru Takizawa, producer Eiji Aonuma, and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi. Takumi Wada is also responsible for the book's lovely cover art. 

    Creating a Champion is set to release on Nov. 20. This 424-page collection is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TFAW, and local comic book stores and will retail for $39.99. 

    This certainly isn't the first time that Dark Horse and Nintendo have teamed up to publish a massive volume of art and interviews dedicated to the Zeldafranchise. Previous volumes such as The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts, and The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia have been widely praised for their stunning designs and wealth of content. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Creating a Champion certainly looks like it's ready to achieve similar acclaim. 

    To help tide you over until the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Creating a Champion, we've got a few exclusive pages from the upcoming book to share with you. Be sure to check those out in the gallery above!

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    From confronting Darth Traya to the iconic Death Star trench run, here are the 25 most memorable moments in Star Wars games!

    FeatureChris Freiberg
    May 15, 2018

    Over the past four decades, the Star Wars saga has produced some of the most iconic moments in cinema, from the assault on the Death Star in A New Hope to Luke Skywalker’s final fate in The Last Jedi. It’s these scenes that have made the series such an enduring part of pop culture.

    But as any hardcore Star Wars fan knows, these great moments aren’t just limited to the movies. The dozens of Star Wars video games released over the decades have provided their own memorable moments. And some of them even top the best scenes in the movies.

    Here are the 25 most memorable scenes in Star Wars video games:

    25. NES Star Wars - Vader the Scorpion

    How can we ever forget the classic moment in A New Hopewhen Luke, after murdering dozens of Jawas, makes his way through one of their giant sandcrawlers to finally confront Darth Vader? After an epic lightsaber duel, Vader turns into a giant scorpion creature for some reason.

    Yeah, the NES Star Wars games took some…interesting liberties with the source material. Officially, scorpion Vader was a shapeshifting creature that took the form so that Luke could confront his fears. In reality, it was just an excuse for the developers to put some vaguely interesting gameplay into an otherwise slow part of the original movie. It’s certainly a battle you won’t forget, even if it’s just because you’re extremely confused.

    24. Kinect Star Wars - Galactic Dance Off

    Star Wars fans had high hopes when Microsoft announced the Kinect. Maybe LucasArts would craft a sprawling epic where a young Jedi learns the way of the Force. Just imagine using actual hand gestures to swing a lightsaber and Force push enemies. Yeah, things didn’t quite pan out that way.

    Instead, we got a collection of shoddy mini-games. The most functional yet baffling is “Galactic Dance Off,” which is basically Just Dance with Star Warscharacters moving around to themed parody songs like “I’m Han Solo” and “Hologram Girl.” It’s basically the Star Wars Holiday Special of video games. You’ll never forget watching Boba Fett dancing to an Empire-themed take on “YMCA,” but probably not for the right reasons.

    23. Knights of the Old Republic - The Final Battle with Darth Malak

    Raiding Jedi academies and destroying entire planets, Darth Malak is just as vicious of a Sith Lord as any of those whom are still considered canon. Plus, his voice modulator, the result of a lightsaber injury that severed his jaw, makes him one of the most visually stunning villains in all of Star Wars.

    Knights of the Old Republicbuilds Malak up as the ultimate bad guy in the course of its 40-hour adventure, and thankfully, the final battle delivers, with a lengthy lightsaber duel on the Star Forge that ultimately sees Malak fall and sets up your final decision to embrace the Light or the Dark.

    22. Episode I: Racer - Podracing with Two Controllers

    In the pre-prequel world, fans spent decades theorizing what the noble Jedi Anakin Skywalker was like before becoming the villainous Darth Vader. Maybe his piloting skills single-handedly saved the Republic. Or he could defeat dozens of dark Jedi with ease. It turned out he started off as a slave kid with a bunch of midi-chlorians that helped him win a race supposedly no human could. Yeah, it still seems kind of dumb.

    The Phantom Menace's podracing scene was pretty cool though and the game based on it stands out as one of the very best Star Wars titles. Usually, it controls like your standard Wipeout clone, but if you input a special cheat code in the N64 version, you can control your podracer with two N64 controllers, which is actually kind of like what Anakin does in the movie. Now, this is podracing.

    21. Bounty Hunter - Stealing the Slave I

    Despite only having a few minutes of screen time in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Star Wars fans instantly fell in love with Boba Fett (although technically he first debuted in The Star Wars Holiday Special, which is really best forgotten). But for all of their obsession with him, we really didn’t learn much about him until Attack of the Clones.

    And it turned out he’s actually a clone himself. The original badass bounty hunter he’s cloned from (and also kind of his father) is Jango Fett. And while Bounty Hunter wasn’t the most innovative game, it is memorable for finally letting fans live out their Fett fantasies and for showing how Jango first found the Slave I on Oovo IV.

    20. X-Wing Alliance - The Battle of Endor

    The Ewoks get a lot of credit for destroying the Empire, which is just an awful idea and not even really accurate. There was a whole Rebel fleet above Endor that took out the second Death Star. The Ewoks just barely took out a couple of AT-STs and even that was luck.

    For whatever reason, most games based on Return of the Jedi usually throw in Ewoks or a speeder bike chase instead of focusing on the action in space. X-Wing Alliance finally gave this epic battle its due in glorious mid-‘90s 3D.

    19. X-Wing vs TIE Fighter - Destroying the Super Star Destroyer

    X-Wing vs. TIE Fighterwas long hailed as the very best Star Wars game around and it still stands up remarkably well as a space sim. The final mission of the Balance of Power expansion shows just how awesome space combat in the Star Wars universe can be with a massive battle involving a Star Destroyer, a Super Star Destroyer, and a whole mess of TIE fighters. The final kamikaze attack on the Super Star Destroyer is arguably even better done than a certain controversial scene near the end of The Last Jedi.

    18. The Force Unleashed II - Dropkicking Ewoks

    Back in 1983, some Star Wars fans were convinced that the Ewoks were the death of the franchise. After all, they're just a bunch of teddy bears with spears shoehorned into the franchise to sell more toys. Of course, that was long before the Gungans. And Porgs. We didn’t know how bad it could get or how good we had it.

    The Force Unleashed II is another type of disappointing Star Wars cash-in, but at least the downloadable Endor level lets you finally release your pent up Ewok frustration by punting the little buggers clear across the forest moon. There’s even an achievement for dropkicking ten of them.

    17. Dark Forces - Stealing the Death Star Plans

    Now that Disney owns Star Wars, the official story is that Jyn Erso and her crew stole the Death Star plans for the Rebel Alliance. And admittedly, Rogue One is an awesome movie --and quite possibly the best Star Wars film Disney has made so far.

    But long before anyone had heard of Jyn Erso or Scarif, there was Kyle Katarn and his secret mission to steal the Death Star plans. The graphics may not look like much now, but back in 1995, this was the pinnacle of FPS gaming and one of the coolest Star Wars moments outside of the films.

    16. Knights of the Old Republic - Falling to the Dark Side

    From the very beginning, Star Wars games put players in the role of a Jedi hero, typically Luke Skywalker, but Knights of the Old Republic let your character fully embrace the power of the Dark Side. There are so many different choices to make in KotOR that no two players fall to the Dark Side in the same way.

    Maybe you start telling off your other party members or decide to screw over someone you agreed to help. But the next thing you know, your skin is pale, you’re wielding two red lightsabers, and unleashing Force lightning on a half-dozen enemies.

    15. SoulCalibur IV - Darth Vader vs. Yoda

    On paper, a Star Wars fighting game sounds like a pretty good idea. And one actually exists. When LucasArts announced Masters of Teras Kasi for the original PlayStation back in the ‘90s, the hype for it was unreal. Unfortunately, the game that was eventually released was a sluggish, unbalanced mess. It was the type of disaster that was so bad it pretty much scared every other developer away from ever taking a stab at a Star Wars fighter.

    Bandai Namco still took a chance though and inserted Darth Vader, Yoda, and Starkiller from into Soulcalibur IV. With a much better fighting engine behind these characters, it’s awesome to finally experience the Yoda vs. Vader dream duel. But ten years later, it still hasn’t convinced anyone else to even try to make another Star Wars fighting game.

    14. Republic Commando - Goodbye, Sev

    Republic Commando took plenty of chances as Star Wars game and pretty much all of them paid off. Making a tactical FPS with a squadron of clone troopers sounds risky, but LucasArts managed to craft an innovative shooter that actually has a really solid story.

    In the final scene, the rest of the squad is ordered by Yoda to leave behind RC-1207 (Sev) to a questionable fate on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyk. With no sequel to resolve Sev’s fate, we’ll have to assume he died in battle, another expendable cog in the Republic war machine.

    13. The Force Unleashed - Taking Down a Star Destroyer

    For all of Obi-wan and Darth Vader’s talk about the Force, it’s true power actually isn’t shown that much in the Original Trilogy. Yeah, it helps Luke focus and there are also a few interesting psychic and telekinetic powers. Eventually, the Emperor even unleashes Force lightning. But, overall, the Force plays out like more of a philosophy than a source of real power.

    The promise of The Force Unleashed to, um…unleash the Force may not have been fully realized, but Starkiller using his full power to slowly pull a massive Star Destroyer down from the sky is a standout moment that would be an epic climax to any Star Wars movie.

    12. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - Meeting Darth Nihilus

    There have been many Sith Lords introduced over the years, but few are as intimidating as Darth Nihilus. Nihilius became a wound in the Force itself, basically a black hole that constantly craved Force energy. He grew so hungry that Nihilus would devour whole planets to satiate himself.

    When we first meet Nihilus in KotOR II, he's discussing a disturbance in the Force with his apprentice, Visas Marr, whom he physically and mentally tortures after wiping out her entire planet. It's a moment that establishes this villain as one of the most evil beings in the galaxy.

    11. Knights of the Old Republic - Jedi Training

    Around the same time that KotOR hit shelves, LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment teamed up for Star Wars Galaxies, the first MMO based on the franchise. In the game’s initial incarnation, you could play as a Jedi, but only by spending dozens of hours mastering random professions -- and the developers refused to tell the players this at launch. It was about five months before anyone figured out how to actually become a Jedi.

    KotoR, on the other hand, got the process of becoming a Jedi right. You start the game as an amnesiac, fighting with vibroblades and blasters (so uncivilized). It’s only after about 10 hours in that you finally meet with the Jedi Council, who reluctantly agree to teach you their ways. You go through several Jedi trials and even learn to craft your own lightsaber. This section alone makes the entire game worth it.

    10. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - “I Am Your Father”

    For the first few Lego Games, Traveller’s Tales had a hard rule that characters couldn’t talk and instead had to communicate through unintelligible mumbles. That meant getting creative near the end of The Complete Saga’s re-telling of The Empire Strikes Back.

    Luke and Vader have their epic lightsaber duel in bowels of Cloud City. Vader cuts off Luke’s arm… and then he pulls out a picture of Anakin and a pregnant Padme and repeatedly points to it. It perfectly fits the humor of the Lego Star Wars games and ends up being almost as memorable as the real scene.

    9. Shadows of the Empire - The Battle of Hoth

    Even though many other Star Wars games have featured the Battle of Hoth over the years, none have managed to eclipse this 1996 classic. Everything is pitch perfect in this section of Shadows of the Empire, from the snowspeeder taking out probe droids to using the tow cable to trip those pesky AT-ATs. The whole thing unfolds with an amazing score, one of the few great ones on the N64.

    8. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - Darth Traya’s Prophecies

    KotOR II received a lot of flak for its obvious unfinished state and with good reason. The game came out just a little over a year after the first, so developer Obsidian Entertainment had to cut a lot of content, including an entire planet, that’s only been restored in the last few years.

    But the rushed development meant the game has a rather unique finale that's designed to cut corners and give the story some closure. Once you’ve defeated the manipulative Darth Traya in combat, she offers to tell you the future of your companions, enemies, and even the galaxy itself. Especially memorable is her final dig at Boba Fett from four millennia away.

    7. Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 - Feeling the Power of the Force

    In the early days, most Star Wars games put players in the shoes of Luke Skywalker, but the '90s began introducing new protagonists. Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 wasn’t the first game to feature fan-favorite Jedi Kyle Katarn, but it was the first to hand him a lightsaber.

    Whether you choose to follow the Light path and confuse enemies or go down the Dark path and take them out with lightning and fire is up to you, but either way, it’s the first time most Star Warsfans felt like a fully powered Jedi Knight.

    6. Battlefront 2 (2005) - Finally Becoming a Hero

    The Battlefront series turned Star Wars into an enjoyable multiplayer experience. It’s easy to spend dozens of hours in matches as a Rebel soldier or Imperial stormtrooper. But what truly made the series special was the ability to play as the Heroes, the main characters from the film that can be activated in a match by fulfilling certain criteria.

    As much fun as it is to snipe a bunch of stormtroopers from a distance, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as spawning on the map as Darth Vader and easily taking out a half-dozen Rebels with the dark side.

    5. Battle Pod

    A few years ago, Bandai Namco released Battle Pod, one of the best Star Wars space combat games to ever hit arcades. The insides of this cabinet resemble a TIE Fighter, and there’s a massive curved screen that lets you immerse yourself in battles on Hoth, Endor, and through the trenches of the Death Star. It’s about as close as you can get to living out a Star Warsfantasy without traveling to a galaxy far, far away.

    If you haven’t checked out the Star Wars Battle Pod yet, odds are your local Dave & Buster’s has one. It’s well worth making the trip and plunking down the cash to experience this arcade game at least once.

    4. The Force Unleashed - Birth of the Rebellion

    The Force Unleashedconcludes with a pair of pretty awesome boss fights featuring Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Ultimately, Starkiller sacrifices himself while fighting the Emperor to save the fledgling Rebellion. In the game’s Light side ending, it’s revealed that the other heroes chose to honor Starkiller by making his family crest the symbol of the Rebellion.

    It’s a cool little touch that ties The Force Unleashed to the larger saga and gives the storyline a little bit more weight. But since Disney bought all things Star Wars, this development is no longer considered canon.

    3. Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader - Death Star Trench Run

    The final assault on the Death Star is arguably the most iconic scene in A New Hope (and possibly even the entire Original Trilogy). While the trench run has been included in several games, no game has nailed the look and sound of that scene as perfectly as Rogue Squadron II.

    So many years later, Rogue Squadron II's Death Star trench run still looks amazing. If you’ve never experienced the game’s first level before, it’s never been cheaper to pick up a copy of the game for the GameCube.

    2. Battlefront (2015) - The VR Mission

    Battlefront’s VR mission, exclusive to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, doesn’t break much new ground in terms of Star Wars gaming. You pilot an X-wing, shoot some asteroids and TIE fighters, and eventually take out a Star Destroyer. This is stuff we’ve been doing for decades now.

    But the ability to do all of this in VR really is a game changer. The sights and sounds perfectly simulate the feeling of sitting in the cockpit of an X-wing, as you zoom through space, zapping your enemies. Unfortunately, it’s a short ride at only 20 minutes long, but a sweet one, and hopefully a taste of things to come for Star Wars VR games.

    1. Knights of the Old Republic - You Are Revan

    For the first couple dozen hours of Knights of the Old Republic, your character, a Force-sensitive human suffering amnesia, will hear quite a bit about Darth Revan. While Darth Malak is the main antagonist in the game, it turns out that his original master, Revan, was the real brains behind the resurgent Sith Empire. It’s only because Malak turned on him that Revan is no longer a threat.

    But most of the game’s characters are vague about Revan’s exact fate. Right around the time you’re starting to wonder what exactly happened to Revan and consider that maybe he’s still out there, the game hits you with a big reveal: you are actually Revan, the former Dark Lord of the Sith. The Jedi Council erased your memory of your past life and now it’s up to you to decide whether to embrace the Light or return to your old ways.

    The Revan reveal was just built up so perfectly over the course of the game that it’s hard to imagine any Star Wars game (or movie) ever being able to top it. Hell, it’s arguable the best moment in all Star Wars history.

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    This Star Fox racing game is supposedly seen as a spiritual successor to titles like F-Zero.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 15, 2018

    Reports suggest that Retro Studios is working on a racing title based on the Star Fox series. 

    Over the weekend, Reddit user DasVergeben claimed that he had information related to the project. According to the user, the game is titled Star Fox Grand Prix, which is described as a spiritual successor of sorts to Diddy Kong Racing and F-Zero. The user also claims that the racer may feature gameplay elements such as boss fights and a hub world, but it seems that the project's full features are not finalized at this time.

    Since that report was published, a 4Chan user has posted what appears to be two logo designs for Star Fox Grand Prix. While that's pretty shady, it's worth noting that outlets like Eurogamer confirm that many of the details that have emerged since the initial Reddit report do match some of the information they've heard regarding Retro Studios' next project.

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    As with all rumors of this nature, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up for this project quite yet. However, while all the details are very much up for debate, there does seem to be quite a bit of information out there that suggests that Retro is likely working on a racing title that is likely tied to the Star Foxuniverse in some way. 

    If that is the case...well, it would make quite a bit of sense. Retro Studios has already been trusted with some pretty big names in the Nintendo library - Metroid and Donkey Kong - and has done incredible work with those cherished franchises. Nintendo handing Retro the keys to a Star Foxracer is hardly outlandish, especially when you consider how well Mario Kart 8sold on the Nintendo Switch and how well the Switch version of Retro Studios'Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is reportedly selling.

    Nevertheless, we'll be sure to bring you more information about this project as soon as we learn more. 

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    Cliff Bleszinski's studiom Boss Key Productions, has closed its doors following the failures of Radical Heights and LawBreakers.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 15, 2018

    Boss Key Productions, the Cliff Bleszinski-led studio responsible for Radical Heights and LawBreakers, is shutting down.

    "As of today, Boss Key Productions is no more,"said Bleszinski on Twitter. "Four years ago today, I set out to make a world-class video game studio, and I hired some of the best talent in the video game industry. They worked tirelessly to produce quality products and, while we had our ups and downs, I'd like to think we had fun doing it."

    Bleszinski goes on to note that he feels LawBreakers was a great game that just failed to gain traction. He also describes Boss Key's Battle Royale shooter Radical Heightsas a "last-ditch attempt" to try to get in on the battle royale genre and produce a hit. Unfortunately, it was "too little, too late."

    Blezinski states that he's going to take some time off and reflect. In the short term, he's noted that he's going to focus on his family. While Bleszinski says that "videogames will forever be a part of who I am," he makes no mention of when he may return to the industry or what he may choose to work on next. He also thanks those who supported himself and Bosskey Productions as well as everyone who worked with him in recent years.

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    The plan is for Radical Heights to remain available in the near future - it's not entirely clear how that will work as of yet - but this announcement confirms the effective end of Boss Key Productions. The studio was founded in 2014 by Cliff Bleszinski and Arjan Brussee. Right from the start, the studio's pet project was the arena shooter, LawBreakers. While LawBreakerswas praised by many who played it for its mechanics and take on the genre, it ultimately failed to gain even a portion of the traction that titles like Overwatch enjoy. 

    LawBreakers publisher Nexon suggested that the popularity of PUBGcontributed to the death of LawBreakers, but that didn't stop Boss Key from developing Radical Heights. However, it was clear that the game wasn't nearly as much of a passion project as LawBreakers was. The battle royale title was riddled with technical issues and incomplete design concepts that seemed to squander the reasonable amount of hype it garnered upon its release. 

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    Why should Microsoft fight a console war when it could shape the future of gaming with Xbox Game Pass?

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    May 15, 2018

    The Xbox One is failing. That’s not an opinion but a fact reflected by the cold hard numbers.

    Microsoft may have stopped sharing Xbox One sales figures some time ago, but a recent report released by EA CFO Blake Jorgensen estimates that Microsoft has sold roughly 30 million Xbox Ones so far. By comparison, Sony has reportedly sold more than 73 million PlayStation 4s while Nintendo expects to sell about 37 million Switches by April 2019. Go beyond the numbers and you still have Microsoft’s self-admitted shortage of compelling exclusive games.

    It’s not that Microsoft can’t change the Xbox’s fortunes. It can. Microsoft is worth almost 700 billion dollars and the Xbox brand generated $12.2 billion in revenue during the last fiscal year. If Microsoft really wants to, it theoretically has the resources needed to turn the next Xbox into the definitive console of its generation. But why bother with all that when the company could just devote those same resources to creating the fabled "Netflix of gaming" by expanding its Game Pass platform?

    If you cringe when you hear the term “Netflix of gaming,” that’s only because you’ve been paying attention. It’s a phrase used to open eyes and help define the level of success that such a service is hoping to achieve, but it is basically meaningless. Actually, the phrase itself is somewhat harmful to the realistic chances of receiving such a service.

    Bruce Grove, former general manager for a failed game streaming service called OnLive, once said that nearly everyone who has tried to create the Netflix of gaming has found that the revenue doesn’t scale with the operating costs. Simply put, games are not movies and TV shows. The amount of money it takes to run enough servers to support a full library of games for streaming is absurd.

    The problem is that streaming is becoming the dominant way that many young Americans - and more and more people across the world - enjoy entertainment. 6 out of 10 Americans between 18 and 29 say they mostly use streaming to watch television. Spotify is credited with saving the modern music industry, even as music labels eat up most of the service’s profits. Major players in the film industry are still trying to figure out how to combat the popularity of streaming services and get people to go to theaters.

    The rise of streaming is attributed to the value that consumers place on cost, choice, and convenience. Streaming services are cheap, offer plenty of entertainment options, are available on most devices you own, and simply do not work for games the same way that they work for other forms of media. That’s a problem that haunts those in the gaming industry who recognize the value of a true video game streaming service but don’t quite know how to translate the technology for this specific medium. 

    Game Pass offers one of the most elegant solutions to the video game streaming problem that we’ve seen yet. Rather than try to find a way to make video game streaming work, Microsoft made Game Pass a games-on-demand service. Anyone who pays the $9.99 a month Game Pass subscription fee can access a library of over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Instead of requiring players to stream them and potentially encounter the connection problems that have plagued services like PlayStation Now in the past, Game Pass requires users to download the games to their consoles or external storage devices.

    It’s an inconvenience compared to being able to instantly access a large collection of media via streaming, but focusing on that issue is a lot like going back to Middle Ages and complaining about the lack of cars. If the technology for reliable game streaming just isn’t there - and you aren’t able to create it - then what good does it do to lament the best available alternative?

    Besides, the value of Game Pass has little to do with its current form and has much more to do with how Microsoft can use it to further its vision of a cloud-based gaming future.

    It’s no secret that Microsoft is eager to move beyond video game physical media and the traditions of the industry. Remember that the original version of Xbox One would have allowed players to potentially resell digital titles as well as share them with up to 10 people. However, the controversy that surrounded Microsoft’s policies regarding online “check-ins” and the limited use of disc-based content meant that Microsoft eventually had to back away from those policies. That shaky start is often credited as the source of the Xbox One’s struggling sales figures.

    That doesn’t mean that Microsoft has given up on its vision, though. Earlier this year, Microsoft Vice President Kareem Choudhry revealed that Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, has the entire team focused on cloud gaming. As Choudhry put it, “We believe there [are] going to be two billion gamers in the world, and our goal is to reach every one of them.”

    Microsoft could be talking about gamers using cloud-based services like Azure or porting Microsoft Studios titles like Mark of the Ninja to other platforms, but when you hear people like Spencer and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talk about their goals, you get the feeling that they’re being cute. They really want every gamer using Microsoft technology.

    If that's the goal, then Microsoft cannot tie itself to the Xbox. Quite frankly, it’s become clear this last generation that Microsoft has lost interest in making the Xbox platform the traditional king of consoles. How else do you explain decisions like the Xbox One parity clause, which stated that games had to launch at the same time on Xbox One as other platforms or not at all? (This is no longer in effect.) Why else would Microsoft have been so slow in pursuing exclusives (and even canceling exclusives) while the competition built their empires around them? Why would Microsoft emphasize something like backward compatibility when other company’s metrics cast serious doubt about the popularity of such programs? Why is Microsoft so bullish about cross-platform play when it offers the company few tangible benefits?

    Decisions like those don’t make sense if you’re trying to have the top console on the market, but they do make sense if you’re laying the groundwork for a service like Game Pass to become a multi-platform leader in digital delivery.

    Those same developers that Microsoft chased away with its parity program would likely be more than happy to flock to Game Pass and enjoy the exposure it offers. That backward compatibility library becomes even more valuable when a section of it is offered as part of a low monthly subscription fee. The same goes for the few exclusives that Microsoft does lay claim to. While some consumers treat titles like Sea of Thieves as questionable $60 purchases, these same games are tremendous incentives to subscribe to Game Pass, especially when they're available on the service at launch. (Would you rather pay $60 for a new game or $10?)

    That last part is the key to understanding what Microsoft is building towards. Forget about becoming the Netflix of gaming. Hell, Netflix doesn’t want to be the Netflix of film and television. The service wants to be HBO. It wants to be Disney. Netflix wants to offer the great content that other providers of the past have offered, but it wants to do it in a format that its competition cannot match.

    Microsoft cannot achieve that with Xbox, but it can achieve it with Game Pass. Already, we see Game Pass upsetting the dying physical retail gaming industry with the value it offers. We see Japan warming up to the idea of PC gaming - something Microsoft could cater to if it were to launch Game Pass on Windows - even as the country grows colder towards the Xbox. We see Microsoft’s “weakest exclusives” generating buzz for Game Pass while being scoffed at as system sellers -- much like how some of Netflix’s worst-received projects have become some of its biggest hits.

    Microsoft doesn’t want to win a console war and it doesn’t want Game Pass to be the Netflix of gaming. The company has entered a new battlefield where top-tier publishers offer their own digital services, such as Valve's Steam and EA's Origin platforms, in lieu of exclusives and where the current driving financial force of free-to-play titles no longer propels the gaming industry’s overall revenue. Microsoft wants to be the Steam of on-demand gaming before its competition even dreams of abandoning the comfort of its current success in favor of such a leap.

    Microsoft can achieve all of that, but it cannot achieve it with the Xbox alone. No, the future of Microsoft truly is Game Pass.

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    Once sports gambling becomes leagal in the United States, esports and gaming gambling could become a big industry.

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 15, 2018

    The United States Supreme Court has struck down a law that prohibited legalized gambling on sports events in most of the United States. While the full implications of this decision are still unfolding, this ruling does open up the door for legalized eSports gambling

    Over on Twitter, Bryce Blum - the attorney who founded Electronic Sports and Gaming Law - noted that this ruling will likely have a notable impact on the eSports gambling industry which garnered $5 billion in 2017. The belief is that eSports gambling revenue will rise significantly in the coming years as this law goes into effect. 

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    While revenue will almost certainly go up, it's the other implications of this act that has the industry buzzing. Legal betting on eSports is one thing, but the fact that there is about to be a much larger eSports gambling industry means that there is much more incentive for professional eSports players to throw games in order to make money. We're already seeing more and more eSports professionals treat eSports as a vehicle for much more lucrative streaming and content creation careers. It can also be difficult to regulate "throwing" in eSports unless someone finds proof of gambling. 

    There are other elephants in the room. While industries such as skin gambling - which primarily target younger audiences and have gotten some content creators into serious trouble - may not necessarily be covered by the effects of this ruling, it's not a stretch to imagine that this decision could ease some of the legal burdens that skin gamblers currently face

    Get a Free Trial of GameFly on Us!

    Do you not care about eSports or competitive gaming and don't believe that this could possibly affect you? Maybe you're right, but there's also the issue of loot boxes. As nations across the world argue over the legal merits of loot boxes and other microtransactions that could be qualified as gambling, there's a strong possibility that this ruling could open up the potential for more instances of loot boxes implemented into games in a way that complies with the legality of this decision. 

    Of course, it's also entirely possible that this ruling will have no major negative impact on gaming or eSports and that it will simply lead to some people walking away with more - or more likely, less - money in their pockets. Either way, it's going to be fascinating to see how this plays out. 

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    If you want to do some gaming on the go, these are the handheld consoles to consider...

    Feature Rob Leane
    May 15, 2018

    Handheld gaming has been a core pillar of the industry for decades, a grand old nerdy tradition which harks back to the grainy greatness of the Sega Game Gear and incredible addictiveness of Pokemon Blue/Red on Game Boy. A lot has changed since those halcyon days when screens weren’t backlit and nighttime car journeys – with no sunlight to illuminate the display – felt like the cruelest form of torture.

    These days, gamers are spoiled for choice with regards to handheld gaming. To keep one step ahead of the smartphone gaming market, handheld consoles have had to evolve. HD displays, powerful processors, and big name games are competing for our attention across numerous handheld consoles, and all of them boast brilliantly bright backlit screens that our younger selves could only dream about.

    If you’re trying to pick the best handheld console to suit your gaming needs, you should read on to check out our top tips. And while you’re at it, if you fancy any of these handhelds, you can buy them with the links provided below... 

    Nintendo Switch: Definitely the Best Handheld Console

    Price the last time we looked: $299 on Amazon

    Combining the graphics-processing power of a home console with the portability of a handheld device, the Nintendo Switch provides the perfect proof of what game companies are capable of these days. You can play stunning games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go or on your TV at home and you can connect with your friends’ consoles – either physically or online – to play party classics likeMario Kart 8 wherever the heck you like. The icing on the cake is the fact that a brand new Pokemon game, bound to the be the most visually stunning one yet,is currently being developed for the Switch.

    Handy stuff to know -

    Display: 6.2in 1,280 x 720-pixel touchscreen (outputs to 1080p when docked)

    Storage: 32GB built-in, expandable via microSD 

    Connectivity:802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, headphone jack, USB Type-C, USB 3 (on dock), USB 2 (on dock) 

    Battery: 4,310mAh (~3.5 to 7 hours)

    PlayStation Vita: A Bit Old, but Still Brilliant

    Price the last time we looked: $239.99 on Amazon

    It may be long in the tooth, but the PS Vita still has a lot going for it (and it’s region-free, so you can still buy new games from other countries). Through cartridges and downloads, you can access a huge library of games: from PSOne classics such as Final Fantasy VII to more modern favorites like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, as well as loads of Japanese titles and piles of games that originated on PSP. If both devices are connected to WiFi, you can even use your PS Vita to remotely play your PS4 games regardless of your distance from the main console.

    Handy stuff to know -

    Display: 5in 960 x 544-pixel touchscreen 

    Storage: 1GB built-in, expandable up to 64GB with proprietary memory 

    Connectivity: 802.11bgn, 3G (optional) Bluetooth 2.1, headphone jack, micro-USB 

    Battery: 2,210mAh (~4-6 hours for games, 7 for video, 12 for music)

    Nintendo 3DS XL: The Most Compact Handheld Console

    Price the last time we looked: $177 on Amazon

    The Switch may have overtaken it as the new big Nintendo handheld, but the 3DS is still a wonderful little handheld gaming option. The dual screen setup opens up lots of fun gameplay ideas and toggling the top screen into 3D is a very cool function to use. The 3DS XL can play all 3DS and 2DS games, which includes four generations of mainline Pokemon titles (X/Y and Sun/Moon are particularly worthy of your time) and countless Mario games (Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a personal favorite for this writer).

    Handy stuff to know -

    Display: 4.88in (top), 4.18in touchscreen (lower), 800 x 240 pixels

    Storage: microSD (4GB card included)

    Connectivity: 802.11b/g, NFC, headphone jack, proprietary charger

    Battery: 1,400mAh (~3.5 to 7 hours)

    Nvidia Shield K1: A Treat for Retro Gamers

    Price the last time we looked: $199.99 on Amazon (used)

    Technically, this is a tablet rather than a console, but it’s still one of the best handheld gaming devices on the market today. The Nvidia Shield K1 runs on the Android operating system (giving you access to heaps of mobile games) but also allows you to run powerful emulators, enabling access to heaps of PlayStation, PC, N64, Dreamcast, and even older classics. Its graphics card is ready for Ultra-HD 4K visuals, meaning that lots of your retro gaming favorites will look better on here than they did the first time you played them back in the day.

    Handy things to know -

    Display: 8in 1,920 x 1,200-pixel touchscreen

    Storage: 16GB, expandable microSD to 256GB 

    Connectivity: 802.11abgn, Bluetooth 4, GPS, micro-USB 2

    Battery: 5,200mAh (~8.5 hours)

    Nintendo 2DS XL: A Perfect First Console for Kids

    Price the last time we looked:$160 on Amazon

    The 2DS XL is essentially a 3DS but without the 3D functionality. Opting not to have this feature makes the 2DS a fair chunk cheaper than its predecessor, while still being able to play all of the same games. This low price point and the vast library of titles there are so many Pokemon, Mario, and Zelda options) makes the 2DS XL a brilliant console to buy for a child in your life, but there are a plethora of titles for all ages. The 2DS is also fairly sturdy, so you don’t have to worry too much about little ones breaking it. What’s not to love?

    Handy things to know -

    Display: 4.88in (top), 4.18in touchscreen (lower), 800 x 240 pixels

    Storage: microSD (4GB card included)

    Connectivity: 802.11bg, NFC, headphone jack, proprietary charger

    Battery: 1,300mAh (~3.5 to 7 hours)

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    Diablo creator David Brevik opens up about his one-man indie hit, It Lurks Below. Here's what we learned about this action-survival RPG!

    Feature Bernard Boo
    May 15, 2018

    “It certainly wasn’t just me,” says David Brevik, creator of Diablo and Diablo II, when asked about the success of that legendary series, which changed the DNA of video games in the late ‘90s and into the early ‘00s.

    A trailblazer and veteran of the video game industry with a sterling catalog of titles under his belt, Brevik has been a leader for most of his career. He was president of Blizzard North for ten years, founded Flagship Studios (Hellgate: London), and oversaw Gazillion Entertainment (Marvel Heroes), working with and managing dozens of the industry’s best over the past 25 years.

    “I didn’t have all of the ideas, I didn’t do everything,” Brevik says. “I still don’t believe that it was just me.”

    But in 2018, Brevik now finds’s just him. He’s founded a new indie studio, Graybeard Games, a one-man operation whose upcoming game, It Lurks Below, is available to play on Steam Early Access now. A 2D action-survival RPG with retro, pixel-art graphics, the game has been built from the ground up by Brevik himself.

    We sat down with Brevik in the city he calls home, San Francisco, to discuss his latest, gargantuan endeavor.

    When asked why he decided to found Graybeard Games and develop an entire game by himself, he cited his active relationship with his audience as the spark that eventually inspired him to fly solo in the games industry for the first time.

    “I kind of came up with the idea [for Graybeard] from the interaction we had [with our fans] when we released Marvel Heroes,” explains Brevik. “The game wasn’t in very good shape, and we started streaming it and interacting with the community. I became fond of that kind of environment and the way we changed that game from a Metacritic rating of 56 to 82. Working on that game and making it better, and that process of involving the community and working with the community -- I wanted that again. That was so much fun. It really feels like the same kind of experience right now. It’s a bit more overwhelming because I’m by myself, but it’s super fun.”

    Also factoring into Brevik’s decision to create a game by himself was the story of another solo developer, Eric Barone, who worked alone on farm simulator Stardew Valley for over four years before it was released in 2016 and became a runaway hit, selling over 3.5 million copies.

    “Part of the reason I feel confident in doing the things that I’m doing is because of [Barone’s] story,” says Brevik. “He made this game by himself in a few years, and there are more and more examples of this, of small teams -- one or two people -- making games. I thought I’d make a micro team for this game, but when I started working on it, I realized I could do it myself. I kind of enjoy the challenge.”

    Though he’s now something of a video game auteur, Brevik insists that there are many people who have had a hand in the creation of It Lurks Below. “My wife is helping,” he stresses. “And there are key people in the community who are volunteering their time and helping out. Moderators are spending their time answering questions for the community, answering questions on the Steam forums. Those people that are volunteering their’s super flattering and amazing that the community wants to support this game so much. I simply couldn’t do this without them.”

    Cultivating an open interaction with fans and peers alike naturally invites a deluge of feedback and criticism that would be overwhelming even for a large game studio to filter through. But after years of heading teams big and small, Brevik feels he’s well equipped to be discerning when it comes to considering others’ opinions on his work.

    “I think it comes from heading these different games in the past,” Brevik says. “When you’re in charge, you get a whole lot of feedback from your team. Sometimes you’re going to use the team’s feedback, and sometimes not. When I started out, I was really poor at it. I would say, ‘Hey, your idea is shit,’ and make them go cry. I was really bad, and I was really mean. Trying to become more educated and a better person and accepting feedback better has really made it a lot easier for me to [read fans’ comments].”

    This measured interaction between Brevik and his audience is the core principle of Graybeard Games, but ultimately, every decision in the development of It Lurks Below comes down to him alone. From programming to environmental design to composing the game’s music, Brevik is handling every aspect of the game’s development himself, a tall task for anyone of any experience level. But one thing in particular terrified Brevik when he decided to develop the game alone: designing the moody, throwback art style.

    “That was my biggest fear, being the artist for the first time and creating that atmosphere,” Brevik recalls. “I had to design within my limits. The sprites are the size that they are and at the level of detail that they are because it’s something that I could do. If they had more detail, I don’t think I could keep up. Maybe now I could do it, but I certainly couldn’t do it a year and a half ago when I started the project. I didn’t have enough experience. As I’ve gotten better and better, I’ve made more interesting monsters and [have produced] better and better graphics in general.”

    It Lurks Below’s shadowy aesthetic echoes Brevik’s most beloved creations, Diablo and Diablo II, with splashes of grotesque, nightmarish visions punctuating an otherwise gloomy and desolate other-world. One moment, you’ll be trekking across a long stretch of grass, quietly collecting resources like wood and iron; the next, the ground beneath your feet is inexplicably lined with crooked teeth and unblinking eyeballs that follow your every move, and a red-eyed zombie will be sneaking up on you from behind.

    “It’s all about darkness, actually,” says Brevik of the game’s visual style. “There’s nothing scarier than the dark, and having darkness on the screen creates this kind of dark atmosphere and makes it scarier. There’s this built-in, almost tribal knowledge within us that things coming out of the dark are bad. Having that as a part of the overall atmosphere is very important to me.”

    Fear -- whether that of starvation or of gun-toting skeletons -- is the driving force of It Lurks Below. And to create that sense of terror, Brevik found inspiration outside of gaming. “I'm a big horror novel and movie fan,” he says. “The atmosphere and vibe that the old movies had was something that I wanted in this game. The title evokes similar feelings from the font to the actual words that are used. The game is dark, and you have to creep downwards, just like you are going into a basement. The music is somber, and the background noise is eerie. It all comes together to create a retro-horror experience.”

    It Lurks Below does indeed call to mind movies like Night of the Living Deadand Evil Dead and the work of Stephen King, creating an intoxicating sense of isolation and paranoia that harkens back to the classics of the genre. The old-school horror inspirations actually pair quite nicely with the old-school art design, and the game has a style all its own. But Brevik’s initial conceptualizations were a bit too ambitious for him to handle alone, to the point where the game almost didn’t come into existence at all.

    Minecraft and Hellgate mixed,” Brevik recalls of his initial idea for the game. “It was going to be this first-person, Minecraft-ish, shooter RPG. I started working on it and it became too big of a project for just myself, so I put it to the side.”

    Taking a six-month detour to focus on creating an unrelated mobile game, Brevik ultimately shelved that project as well, realizing he probably wouldn’t make any money on the mobile market after talking to friends in the industry.

    “I decided, I’m going to go back to that original idea, but I’m going to simplify it and make it 2D. I like a lot of 2D, pixel art games, so it seemed like a no-brainer. Within a week, I had a prototype running and I thought, ‘This is definitely something.’”

    Now that It Lurks Below is in Early Access, thousands of players have been getting their first taste of the game, giving Brevik feedback on Steam forums (which he checks daily), Reddit, and Discord. It’s his first game to launch on Early Access, and the overwhelmingly positive response he’s gotten from early adopters has been heartening for the 25-year veteran, who, despite his experience, wasn’t sure what kind of reaction the game would get.

    “You just never know,” says Brevik of the game’s reception so far. “I’d heard all sorts of horror stories about the video game industry and being an indie developer, so I was scared.”

    It Lurks Below is a deeper experience than your run-of-the-mill roguelike, boasting a robust leveling and class system, with oodles of common to ultra-rare loot to uncover, a la Diablo. But these precious items don’t behave quite the way you’d expect them to. Loot bounces when dropped, a gameplay wrinkle that can lead to some sticky situations. According to Brevik, not all players appreciate the unpredictability of the jumping jewels.

    “Someone told me in the AMA that they thought [the bouncing loot] was troll-y and done on purpose,” says Brevik. “It was done on purpose [laughs]. But I love the mechanic that came out of it, which is that you’ve got to try to catch the loot before it falls down into the pit of monsters below you. I love that.”

    While most players may find that the “bouncy-loot” mechanic makes It Lurks Below a richer, more engaging experience, some will surely find the mechanic a source of frustration. The game is filled with little twists like this, and while Brevik seems to stay true to his instincts as a game designer, he still has a keen ear to his early audience’s opinions on the feel of the gameplay so far.

    “‘Oh my god, the food situation at the beginning of the game is too brutal. You have got to remove it from the game! I won’t buy this game because of this.’ But it’s funny because, as people play and get through it, food becomes this trivial thing. As you die to it four or five times, you say, ‘I’m going to start working on my farm this time,’ and suddenly it’s not an issue anymore. They enjoy that part of the game after that. They don’t even worry about it anymore. But at first, it’s this daunting thing.”

    While Brevik expresses that he’s wholly appreciative of any critical feedback he receives, he’s also not willing to compromise on design elements he believes in. “I don’t think I’m going to remove the food mechanic from the game,” Brevik says. “Even though I’ll get the most hate from it and lose the most customers in that first hour of the experience, I think people who stick with it are really rewarded.”

    Another mechanic that Brevik worries might stress out players is It Lurks Below’s death penalty. When you die, you lose all of your items and must return to where you met your demise to retrieve your treasures before they’re lost forever.

    “It’s really, really, really hard to design a good death penalty because it’s a punishment. It’s got to be punishing in such a way that the gamer doesn’t say, ‘Alright, that’s it. I’m out. I’ve got a zillion games that I can play. I’m done.’”

    “There’s a careful balance there,” Brevik says of the death penalty, although he may as well be talking about the long process of developing the game itself. This man has seen it all in the video game industry, and when it comes to designing games, he knows what he’s doing. But just as importantly, he founded Graybeard because he wants to take in his audience’s feedback in hopes of making his games better. Like the man said, there’s a careful balance.

    “I may have made the death penalty too punishing in It Lurks Below,” Brevik says. “We’ll see if there are people who get stuck in terrible death loops [laughs].”

    You can try It Lurks Below for yourself right now on Steam Early Access.

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    What we know about Crackdown 3, including latest news, release date, trailers, and more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    May 15, 2018

    Crackdown 3 is one of the Xbox One's big upcoming flagship titles. It's a game many fans of the original didn't think would happen after the tepid response and sales of Crackdown 2. But Microsoft Studios surprised everyone at E3 2014 by announcing that a third game was in development. 

    It's been a long time since that announcement. Several delays later, we're still waiting to hear about a solid release date for this action-adventure game that boasts fully destructible environments and tons of explosions. 

    Here's everything else we know:

    Crackdown 3 Release Date

    Crackdown 3 has been delayed and will arrive sometime in 2018. 

    The game is coming to XBO and PC, and will be part of the Play Anywhere program, which allows players to buy one copy of the game for both Xbox One and Windows 10 play. 

    Crackdown 3 Trailer

    Here's the E3 2017 trailer for Crackdown 3:

    At Gamescom 2015, Microsoft unveiled the first gameplay footage of the game, showing us that the franchise hasn't changed too much. The same arcade-y feel of the original is still very much a part of this installment. 

    Of note is the destructible environments. Crackdown 3 is boasting more chaos and destruction than we've ever seen in a game. Perhaps only Battlefield can't top the explosions we just saw on the Gamescom stage. 

    Check out the trailer:

    IGN also posted 17 minutes of gameplay onto their YouTube channel. The footage has some commentary from Crackdown creator Dave Jones. Here it is:

    Crackdown 3 was first unveiled at E3 2014. It was just known as Crackdown then. Here's the reveal trailer:

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