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

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 8, 2018

    Quake Champions is the latest installment in the classic FPS series. This title appears to be a follow-up to the infamous Quake III: Arena as it attempts to revive the arena shooter genre that classic game helped to popularize. Bethesda is promising a pure Arena-style shooter experience with a special emphasis on interesting characters and creating an equal playing field for all levels of fraggers. 

    From the trailers released thus far, it is clear that this new Quake is focused on providing the same brand of lightning-fueled rapid chaos that made Arena one of the most popular games of its generation. While Bethesda's presentation suggests that the team will be taking cues from the open, character-driven style of Overwatch, gameplay footage showcases an arena battleground that is unmistakably worthy of the Quake name. 

    Here's everything else we know:

    Quake Champions Release Date

    Quake Champions doesn't have a release date as of yet.

    Speaking with GameSpot, studio director Tim Willits revealed that id hasn't ruled out a console release for Quake Champions, which is currently only slated for PC. Said Willits, "It's a PC game. No excuses. No limitations. We're going to focus on one platform," but he added that he "love[s] [his] console fans. "We're not totally shutting the door on consoles." 

    Willits teased the game won't officially launch until after it's gone through a long beta period. Willits clarified, "It's going to come out after a really, really long closed beta. I'm telling people now, it's going to be a long beta."

    Quake Champions Trailer

    Strogg, the main bad guy from Quake II and IV, is making his way to Quake Champions in an upcoming April update. Accompanying him will be his sentient drone, Peeker. You can check out the story intro for this dynamic duo by checking out the video below:

    Bethesda revealed at E3 2017 that Wolfenstein protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz will join the Quake Champions' roster. You can check out all the footage from the E3 presentation - including previews of some of the game's new maps - via this trailer:

    Just in case you weren't convinced that Quake Champions will provide the same essential Quake multiplayer experience you know and love, Bethesda has released what they call a raw gameplay trailer which simply shows player footage from a match in progress. The speed is intoxicating.

    Here's the first gameplay trailer:

    Bethesda uploaded a video to their YouTube page in which Studio Director Tim Willits breaks down the design process of Quake Champions and explains how the game is both a classic Quake shooter and an attempt to modernize some of the title's trademark elements by incorporating some recent advancements in the genre. Of particular note are the heroes and skills he reveals that give us a better idea of how Quake Champions' characters will differ from one another. 

    Take a look: 

    Check out the game's first trailer below:

    Quake Champions Details

    Quake Champions will be a free-to-play game. 

    Well...kind of.

    "At its core, it’s a free-to-play game,” says Willits, "with the option to buy the Champion Pack and just get in and play with all the Champions. There are a number of Quake players that just want to play their Quake, right? And they are familiar with the business model of our previous games, and they are totally fine. ‘I want to buy the game. I want to start playing. I want to have access to all the Champions.’"

    What that means is that players who purchase the game will gain access to all of Quake Champions' characters while those free-to-play players will be able to use in-game currency to gain access to new Champions for a limited period of time. It's not clear how long you will be able to access purchased Champions via the latter method, but Willits did say that he doesn't want to use the word "rent" in regards to the nature of the transaction.

    Players on both sides will have the chance to use in-game currency on other unlockables such as rune challenges and skins. Additionally, free-to-play and paid players will compete in the same brackets on the same maps using the same weapons. At this time, it appears the only potentially meaningful gameplay concept that requires currency are the characters themselves. 

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    Everything you need to know about Final Fantasy 7 Remake, including latest news, release date, trailer, and more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 8, 2018

    One of the most beloved entries in the Final Fantasy series is being remade from the ground up for a new generation of consoles and fans. Final Fantasy VII boasts all new visuals while delivering the same memorable story. 

    Here's everything we know about this highly anticipated remake:

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake Release Date

    Final Fantasy VII Remake doesn't have a release date as of yet. It is coming to the PlayStation 4.

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake Trailer

    Final Fantasy VII Remake is perhaps the most highly-anticipated video game remake of all-time, built from the ground up for the PlayStation 4. This JRPG classic gets new life with all-new graphics. Basically, it's the same game you love, but it looks better than it ever has before. 

    Here's a new trailer:

    We'd even stopped begging at this point. The fact that we even had to keep asking Square Enix to release an HD remake in this day and age is pretty ridiculous. But all our prayers were answered at E3 2015 when Final Fantasy VII Remake was officially confirmed.

    Here's the announcement trailer:

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake Screenshots

    Final Fantasy VII Remake's director, Tetsuya Nomura, revealed two new screenshots from the long-gestating project at Magic Monaco 2017. The screenshots are from an early boss fight and show the game's hud. It's also a new glimpse at Cloud and Barret in the remake. Check the pictures out below:

    Final Fantasy 7 Remake Details

    Square Enix has decided to transfer development of the Final Fantasy VII remake from developer CyberConnect2 to an in-house development team. 

    This report comes from a Square Enix livestream (translated here by Kotaku) during which Square Enix project leader Naoki Hamaguchi referred to the decision as a "sensitive subject."

    However, Hamaguchi did confirm that he has taken over development of the Final Fantasy VII remake in order to keep "production and quality in mind."

    "This company decision was made wanting to control quality as well as keeping the schedule stable," said Hamaguchi.

    At this time, it's not clear if this decision represents some kind of falling out with developer CyberConnect2 or if Square Enix simply decided to take the reigns on this major project in order to ensure it meets all production expectations. 

    An issue Famitsu Weekly (as reported here by Gematsu) featured some quotes from Tetsuya Nomura who elaborated on how Final Fantasy VII Remake's combat system will work.

    “Battles are not command-based, they’re action-based," said Nomura. "Regarding cover actions, there are places where they can be done on the map, but they are not required. Because it’s seamless, I showed that there can be actions in response to various scenes."

    Nomura goes on to specifically cite the Guard Scorpion battle as a boss encounter that has been noticeably altered from its original version. He says that particular fight will have "map destruction and a great number of attacks that weren’t in the original" which will result in a "significantly flashy battle."

    While it will be nice to see the combat system in action, this latest update does seem to place the remake's battle system closer to Final Fantasy XV's than Final Fantasy VII's.

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    What you need to know about the World War Z game, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 8, 2018

    While it's a little late to the party, there is a new game based on World War Z in the works. From what we can tell, this game seems to be based on the book or the general property rather than the World War Z film. That's probably for the best given that the film made some pretty serious departures from the original content. It also wasn't very good.

    This adaptation of World War Z will be helmed by Saber Interactive, the team behind Quake Champions and TimeShift. It's described as a four-player co-op action game (no word on whether four players will be required) that requires players to navigate a series of major locations across the globe and escape the zombie hordes. 

    Escape seems to be the word of the day here. As it stands, it seems like this game will emphasize survival and evasion through things like traps and utilizing environmental elements to your advantage. This doesn't seem to be exactly like a Left 4 Dead type experience where you just blast through hordes with your other survivors. Instead, there appears to be more of an emphasis on pure horror and strategy. 

    Of course, that's all a bit speculative at this early point considering that we really haven't seen actual footage from the game. However, Saber Interactive did state that the missions themselves will heavily emphasize the "unique survivor stories" of your companions and that there will be action set-pieces here and there. So while it walks like Left 4 Dead, and talks like Left 4 Dead, we're going to guess that this game will find ways to distinguish itself from that legendary franchise. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    World War Z News

    The latest World War Z trailer is titled Stories in Moscow and showcases some of the game's battles against massive hordes of zombies. Take a look:

    World War Z Release Date

    There's no word on this game's release date. However, we do know that that World War Z will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC when it does hit shelves.

    World War Z Trailer

    Here's the first trailer:

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    Everything you need to know about Pikmin 4, including latest news, release date, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 8, 2018

    Nintendo's legendary game developer Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that Pikmin 4 was in development back in 2015, but we've not yet seen much of the game or know when it's coming out.

    "I've been told not to share anything about this from PR," Miyamoto told Eurogamer at E3 2017 regarding the status of Pikmin 4, "but I can tell you it is progressing."

    Miyamoto appeased the PR gods by limiting the specifics of the game's development to his assurance that the game is "actually very close to completion" and that "Pikmin teams are always working on the next one." 

    Nintendo confirmed Miyamoto's assertions in a separate statement by claiming that "Pikmin 4 is in development but that is all we can confirm at present." 

    It's been a few years since Pikmin 3 released for Wii U in 2013. The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews for its innovative use of the Wii U tablet and general advancement of the Pikmin mechanics. By all accounts, Pikmin 3 also sold extremely well with some reports suggesting that it sold over 200,000 units before the end of 2013. 

    The lack of a Pikmin sequel in all that time seems to speak more to Nintendo's unique release strategy than it does their faith in the franchise as a whole. Now that the Nintendo Switch is selling extremely well, it seems that Nintendo is a touch more eager to bring back some of their most popular series as well as re-introduce some of the Wii U's best games to the switch audience.  

    Here's everything else we know:

    Pikmin 4 Release Date

    Pikmin 4 doesn't have a release date as of yet. The game is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

    Pikmin 4 Details

    Some suspected that Shigeru Miyamoto had finally lost his mind when he announced that he was working on a strategy game based on his gardening experiences, but it wasn't long before the quirky little title known as Pikmin became a beloved Nintendo franchise. As popular as the franchise is, though, it has remained suspiciously off the radar since Pikmin 3 released to wide acclaim in 2013. Aside from Miyamoto mentioning that Pikmin 4was nearing completion in 2015, fans have been left to speculate when, exactly, they will be able to get their hands on this anticipated sequel. 

    Sadly, Miyamoto's latest update doesn't offer much hope that they can expect that day to come anytime soon. In an interview with Game Rant, Miyamoto had this to say on the subject of Pikmin 4:

    "We're working on (Pikmin 4). So, you know, when we’re in development we have to create a list of priorities and it has been hard to kind of fit that into that list, but we’re hopefully starting to see that on the list now.”

    While Miyamoto does not explicitly say so during the course of the interview, given that he had previously suggested that the game was nearing completion around this time last year, it certainly does sound like Pikmin 4 has been delayed. Though this may be due to the usual complications that can arise during the development process, the popular theory at the moment is that Pikmin 4 has been shuffled to the side while Nintendo focuses on the release of the Switch as well as their ever-expanding list of new ventures. 

    Given that Breath of the Wild is shaping up to be the last major Wii U release, it certainly does appear that Pikmin 4 may end up becoming a Switch title. It would be a bit of a shame if that came to pass considering how well the Pikmin games translate to the Wii U controller, but it's looking like Pikmin fans may be waiting until 2017 to experience more of this franchise's bizarre adventures.

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    Everything we know about Madden NFL 19, including latest news, release date, and more!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 8, 2018

    EA has shared the first official details about Madden NFL 19

    Madden NFL 19 is set to release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Aug. 10. Madden fans will also have the option of picking up the game's Hall of Fame Edition and gaining early access to the title on Aug. 7.

    Along with early access, Hall of Fame Edition players will get a special cover for the game starring former NFL receiver, Terrell Owens, 12 gold team fantasy packs, immediate access to an elite legend player for their Ultimate Team, two custom uniforms for Ultimate Team, and more. 

    Regardless of which edition of Madden 19 you purchase, you'll be able to enjoy what EA is referring to as Real Player Motion Technology. This new animation system is supposed to offer the most authentic digital football experience yet by greatly improving the quality of Madden's player animations. This new system apparently "unlocks next level responsiveness and player personality, players will experience more precision as they run, cut, catch and celebrate on the gridiron this season."

    Madden 19's Franchise Mode will differ slightly from previous versions by offering expanded training tools, a custom draft class creator, and the ability to designate offensive and defensive schemes for your team based on your play preferences. We're waiting to hear more about the full functionality of these additions, as well as more information on the Ultimate Team's "Solo Battles" that allow you to compete for a spot on an online leaderboard by completing solo challenges. 

    While none of these alterations and additions are what we'd consider being sweeping changes, that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise considering that former Maddencreative director Rex Dickson still worked on Madden 19 and that the potential new direction for the franchise that he alluded to in his farewell statement likely won't go into effect until a new creative director takes control (if those changes come at all).

    We'll bring you more information about Madden NFL 19 as it becomes available. 

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    What you need to know about Ori and the Will of the Wisps, including latest news, release date, trailer, and much more!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 8, 2018

    It was widely rumored that indie hit Ori and the Blind Forest's sequel would be revealed at E3 2017. Well, this is one rumor that we're happy to report was absolutely true. 

    Ori's debut kicked off when the game's composer took the stage and played a beautiful track that is seemingly from the sequel's soundtrack. The trailer itself was an atmospheric and wordless affair that showcased the game's beautiful art style.

    As for gameplay details, we're still waiting to hear what Will of the Wisps will actually offer. However, unless developer Moon Studios is making a huge departure from the original title, you can likely expect this game to carry on the original's Metroidvania style. That means large levels that you'll have to explore multiple times while taking advantage of newfound abilities that allow you to access previously blocked areas. 

    One thing that did seem clear in the trailer is that the story will once again play off of the power of relationships. We see a lonely owl who is presumably one of the game's protagonists mourning next to a statue of two older birds while Ori comforts him. That, combined with the wild storm going on in the background, certainly invokes memories of the way the original title toyed with gamer's emotions via the exploration of friendship in a dying world. 

    We can't wait to share more about this game with you as more information becomes available. Here's everything else know:

    Ori and the Will of the Wisps Trailer

    Here is the first trailer for Ori and the Will of the Wisps:

    Ori and the Will of the Wisps Release Date

    At the moment, however, Ori and the Will of the Wisps does not have a release date.

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    Sonic takes the wheel in this promising upcoming racing title. Here's what we know about the game...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 8, 2018

    Sega has confirmed the development of Team Sonic Racing after users on ResetEra spotted a WalMart leak of the game just hours ago. 

    As was rumored earlier this year, Team Sonic Racing will be developed by Sumo Digital who also worked on Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed. What we didn't know based on the rumors that emerged earlier this year is that Team Sonic Racing will allow for both online multiplayer (in which up to 12 players can compete) and offline multiplayer which will support up to four players via split-screen. Regardless of which multiplayer option you choose, you'll be able to participate in a variety of modes that include Grand Prix, Exhibition, Time-Trial, and Team Adventure. 

    Yes, Team Adventure. It seems that Team Sonic Racingwill lean heavily on the team aspect of the title by allowing players to form in-game teams. These teams will be much more than just some matching uniforms as teammates will actually be able to pull off unique moves and assists that includes a "Team Ultimate" ability. Those that would rather go it alone will be happy to know that there's also an Adventure Mode in the game that comes complete with an actual racing game story (fancy that). 

    This racer will also feature 14 "wisps" (in-game items), options to customize your characters and cars with both cosmetics and performance-enhancing upgrades, and 15 playable characters that are divided into three class types; speed, technique, and power. 

    Team Sonic Racing is expected to be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC sometime this winter. The console versions of the game will be available in both digital and physical formats, while the PC version will be a digital-only release. You can pre-order the physical editions via this website

    While hardly an unexpected announcement given the strength of the rumors leading up to the reveal of this game, it's nice to know that Sumo Digital is working on a new Sonic racing title. Of course, Team Sonic Racing might have a little more competition on the Nintendo Switch if those rumors regarding Retro Studios'Star Foxracing game prove to be true. 

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

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    Battlefield V is the next game in the hit first-person shooter series from DICE. The game will be set during World War II as previously suggested. It's not entirely clear which theater of war the game's campaign will be set in, but some of the language the developers used suggested that it will span the globe and include quite a few stories of war. 

    Here is what we know about Battlefield V:

    Battlefield 5 Trailer

    Here's the new multiplayer trailer:

    And here's the reveal trailer:

    Battlefield 5 Release Date

    Battlefield V will be released on October 19, for Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PC.

    Battlefield 5 Multiplayer

    Multiplayer wise, Battlefield V doesn't change the series formula too much. The big new addition is a 64-player Grand Operations mode that utilizes several different play modes in order to tell a multiplayer narrative. It's essentially an expansion of the Operations mode seen in Battlefield 1. There's also a Combined Arms 4-player co-op mode that allows players to participate in procedurally generated missions. Generally speaking, Battlefield V places a much greater emphasis on squad play and encourages players to join squads. 

    Minor multiplayer changes include the ability to revive your teammates regardless of what class you're playing (and drag them to cover), the ability to tow stationary guns with vehicles, and a new prone option that lets you lay on your back. 

    It's also been confirmed that there will be no Premium Pass in the game. While that doesn't seem to discount the possibility that there might be loot boxes in the game, the Battlefield V developers did indicate that player progress will largely be earned by playing the game. Said progress includes new abilities that allow you to fortify the area of play with sandbags, walls, and other structures. Ammo conservation and weapon selection will also reportedly play a larger role in the game. Those weapons will be affected by new bullet penetration physics and the elimination of randomized bullet deviation.

    The Battlefield V Twitter account has also revealed a new mode called Airborne. The premise of this mode is that players will need to parachute onto the battlefield when they respawn. It seems that there will be an attacking team who need to take down anti-aircraft measures when they're on the ground and a defending team who are trying to keep the guns operational in order to fend off the airborne invaders. 

    Battlefield 5 Tides of War

    DICE has expanded upon how The Tides of War will work. In a new blog post, the developer describes Tides of War as a "catch-all" term used to describe Battlefield V's "true journey" through World War II. Based on their description of the idea, it seems that Tides of War will function as kind of an on-going content experience that will change every few months. For instance, the first batch of Tides of War content is titled Fall of Europe and will include special events such as multi-week grand operations and special assignments. 

    Despite the changes introduced by these events, players will be able to keep the same company (essentially a faction or guild) and complete all associated events with them throughout the entire Tides of War run.

    DICE reiterated that soldiers are fully-customizable this time around and noted that XP can be earned in multiplayer and co-op modes and then used to unlock new class specialization archetypes. It seems that new archetypes will be added to the game via Tides of War updates. 

    We'll bring you more information on this mode as it becomes available. 

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    Battlefield 5's Royale mode already has us thinking of Pulp Fiction jokes.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    Battlefield V is getting a battle royale mode (try to be shocked). 

    As confirmed at E3 2018, this battle royale mode will be called Royale and...well, that's basically all that we know about it for sure. We assume that the mode will work pretty much like every other battle royale title out there. That means a ton of players dropping into a map in order to scrounge supplies and be the last man standing. 

    What remains to be seen is whether or not Battlefield's battle royale mode will take advantage of any of the unique Battlefield features. For instance, will it feature full vehicle support? Are there going to be a variety of objectives? Is there a team-based element that will make this feel more like a proper war, or will it exist somewhere outside of the rest of the Battlefield experience in a kind of alternate history? 

    We'd be a little shocked if Royale was just another 100 player kill 'em all battle royale game given that there are a ton of battle royale games about to hit the market and all of them feature something more than the standard battle royale concept. Most likely, there will be some kind of objective-based incentive or team option that will help Royale stand out from the pack. 

    The other question is "How many players will Royale support?" If we had to guess, we'd say that the current Battlefield engine should be able to support 100 players as part of a special mode, but that's also going to depend on whether or not Royale takes place on a special map that is able to properly support that many players or if it will allow players to use existing maps from other modes. 

    With any luck, EA will reveal more about this mode as Battlefield V nears its October 19th release date. 

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    Unravel 2 is a surprising co-op sequel that has been the highlight of EA's E3 2018 conference so far.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    EA's first surprise of E3 was the reveal, and immediate release, of Unravel 2

    Yes, you'll be able to download the sequel to EA's indie hit Unravel starting sometime today. We're still waiting for confirmation of when, exactly, the game will be released (and for what price) but you can expect it to be available on all major platforms. 

    So what is Unravel 2? Well, this sequel to Unravel - which you might remember as that game about the yarn kid wandering platforming environments - is really all about co-op. While you can play the game by yourself, it's clear from the trailer that you won't get the full Unravel 2 experience unless you bring a friend in on the action. So far as that goes, it actually looks like Unravel 2 features some pretty clever co-op puzzles that require you to use the abilities of each participant in order to clear some clever hurdles. 

    It should also be noted that Unravel 2is stunningly beautiful. The original Unravel had a very interesting art style that wasn't fully-explored within the simple confines of its basic platforming gameplay. This time, though, the idea of a yarn creature amongst nature is clearly being explored further than it was before. In the trailer alone, we see dangerous animals chasing after loose strings of yarn, a friendly pelican ushering you across the water, and some fantastic lighting effects all-around. 

    Even though the original Unraveldidn't quite live up to the potential of its style, we genuinely think that this new co-op emphasis looks like the direction the series should have pursued all along. Unravel 2 could actually prove to be a genuine sleeper hit given its unconventional release and lack of pre-release hype. Keep an eye out for this one when it hits digital markets sometime later today. 

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    NBA Live 19 lets you take a player from the streets to the courts of the NBA.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    The next NBA Live game will allow you to control a player's career from the streets to the NBA.

    As revealed at E3 2018, NBA Live 19 will emphasize a career/story mode that will allow you to control the career of a custom player as they go from an amateur to an NBA all-star. The extent of this mode isn't known yet (Will you able to play college seasons? How much of a story is there?) but this preview from EA sheds a little light on what you can expect. 

    “Create your player and rise to legend-status by playing at the most respected courts all over the world, and by building your squad to challenge for global dominance in THE LEAGUE and THE STREETS. With gameplay innovation including Real Player Motion Tech and new ways to develop your player, NBA Live 19 is the most authentic and responsive experience in franchise history.”

    We're especially intrigued by the reference to the ability to build your own squad. That seems to indicate that you'll be able to form a kind of in-game clan or faction that can compete in squad-based games online (or possibly online). A kind of group ranking system would be fascinating to see as players everywhere compete to be the best team in the game. Maybe NBA Live 19 will even offer a kind of team-based online championship mode. 

    We'll have to wait and see what the extent of the game's new features are, but those who played Madden's surprisingly excellent recent story modes know that EA is on to something in regards to how much even a simple narrative can add to the typical sports game. Now we'll just have to wait and see if the NBA Live team can tweak the series' mechanics enough to help ensure that it will be more than just another "typical sports game." 

    NBA Live 19 is currently scheduled to be released on September 7th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 

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    FIFA 19 is on the way! Here's everything we know about the latest entry in the soccer series...

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 9, 2018

    FIFA 19 is the latest edition of EA Sports' popular soccer series. This year's entry adds a few new features to the package.

    For one thing, EA has picked up the rights to the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. (Konami recently lost the Champions League license for its Pro Evolution Soccer series.) FIFA players will now be able to compete in Europe's premier club competitions. You'll be able to play in the Champions League through the competition's very own mode, career mode, or The Journey story mode. 

    Speaking of The Journey mode, this year's chapter is called Champions. It's the final part of protagonist Alex Hunter's story, as he chases after the coveted Champions League trophy and glory at the European stage. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game: 

    FIFA 19 Release Date

    FIFA 19 will arrive on Sept. 28, 2018. The game is coming to XBO, PS4, Switch, and PC. 

    FIFA 19 Trailer

    Check out the debut trailer for the next edition of the FIFAseries:

    FIFA 19 Cover 

    This year's cover star is no other than Portuguese powerhouse Cristiano Ronaldo in his signature Real Madrid kit. Check out the cover below:

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    Sea of Solitude is an emotional new indie title from EA's Originals program revealed during E3 2018.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    The next major EA Originals indie title is a lovely little game called Sea of Solitude.

    As revealed at E3 2018, Sea of Solitudeis being developed by Berlin-based developer, Jo-Mei Games. It tells the story of a world that is seemingly covered in water (a..."Waterworld," if you will). There, anyone who becomes too lonely becomes a literal monster. Players assume the role of Kay; a young woman whose loneliness is forcing her to endure the transformation process. 

    Cornelia Geppert, one of the developers of Sea of Solitude, stated that this game is a deeply personal project that reflects her own emotions and experiences as well as the emotions and experiences of others who worked on the project. Indeed, her almost tearful reveal of the title suggests that those who play Sea of Solitudeshould expect to shed a few tears of their own before the game is over. 

    Gameplay-wise, there's quite a bit we don't know about Sea of Solitude. The footage shown during the game's trailer suggests that the game will likely follow the lead of titles like Limbo and Inside by featuring basic platforming, puzzle solving, and a whole lot of environmental storytelling. However, we're still waiting to hear some more official details about what Sea of Solitude is like once you get your hands on the controller. 

    What we can tell you is that Sea of Solitude is currently scheduled to be released in 2019 for what we assume will be all major platforms. 

    EA's Originals program has certainly proven to be something of a mixed bag so far. Titles like Unravel and A Way Out have certainly been interesting in their own right, but it remains to be seen whether or not  EA will expand the program to feature more than just a handful of titles and whether Sea of Solitude will stand as the program's most intriguing release so far. 

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    The Clone Wars are coming to Star Wars Battlefront 2, as well as new heroes and villains, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Count Dooku!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 9, 2018

    EA took the stage at E3 2018 to announce what's next for Star Wars Battlefront 2. The game will be getting quite a bit of new Clone Wars era content in the coming months as well as new heroes and villains from the movies. 

    This fall, Hero characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sith Lord Count Dooku, and General Grievous will join the game, as well as a new location: Geonosis, the site of the first battle of the Clone Wars. EA did not reveal a specific release date for the new content drop.

    The company also revealed a new game mode is in development for release later this year. It will be a linear, larger-scale mode in which players battle for control of objectives around the map. Hero Starfighters, a new Hero and Villains mode with Starfighters — i.e., dogfights! — lands in July.

    Here's a bit of info on Star Wars Battlefront 2's current DLC season:

    Star Wars Battlefront 2 Han Solo Season

    Star Wars Battlefront II's current DLC season is all about Han Solo. In celebration of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Battlefront team has dropped a variety of content based on the famous smuggler.

    While the expansion officially launched on May 15, DICE has announced a few more additions to the game, including a Kessel map, the debut of Young Han as a Hero, Lando's Millennium Falcon, and the return of a popular multiplayer mode. Here's the trailer for the Kessel map:

    Here's a full breakdown of the new additions:

    New Location Kessel– The notorious coaxium mines of the planet Kessel will available in a variety of modes including Blast, Hero Showdown, Heroes vs. Villains or Extraction.

    Extraction Mode– This popular mode first seen in the Star Wars Battlefront Outer Rim expansion will make its return. In extraction, an infiltration squad must retrieve and escape with a critical payload while fending off enemy forces. Players will join as either attackers or defenders in this asymmetrical and intense mode.

    Lando’s Millennium Falcon– Take the Millennium Falcon for a spin prior to when Han Solo won it in a game of sabacc.

    New Appearances– Arrive to battle in style with new Appearances for Han Solo, Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca, all carefully modeled after their looks in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

    Jabba's Palace was also recently introduced to the rotation of maps in the Blast and Heroes vs. Villains modes. The map is designed to resemble the version of Jabba's Palace that we saw in Return of the Jedi, but it does seem that the Battlefront team has come up with a few design touches of its own. That map is also be available in Hero Showdown mode, which lets you build a dream team of two heroes and do battle against other two-player squads in a round-based elimination mode. After a team has won one round, it must choose a new duo before beginning the next.

    A variety of costumes have also been added to the game as part of this content update. Most of them are inspired by the opening scene of Return of the Jedi and include such iconic outfits as Lando's Skiff Guard disguise and Leia's bounty hunter gear. Finally, this content update adds a Custom Arcade mode to the game that will allow players to hop in starships from various eras of Star Wars and do battle in custom matches. Said starships include the Millenium Falcon and X-wings.

    It's been a rocky road to recovery for Battlefront II. The game was plagued by a truly awful microtransaction system at launch that has since been reworked but arguably remains the game's most identifiable trait. However, the Battlefront II team is working to alter that association by releasing content updates that expand Battlefront II's actual content offerings by revisiting and re-imagining various aspects of the Star Wars universe. 

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    This new premium tier of EA Origin is launching this summer.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    EA is adding a new tier to their Origin program called Origin Access Premier. 

    The major benefit of Premier is the ability to access brand-new EA games ahead of their actual release date. So far as games on the horizon goes, that means that you'll be able to play Anthem on February 15, 2019; Madden NFL 19 on August 2; Battlefield V on October 11; and FIFA 19on September 20. Based on those dates, we can assume that the plan moving forward will be to give Premier subscribers access to these games about a week ahead of schedule. 

    That brings us to the cost of this feature. At present, you pay $5 a month (or $30 a year) to access the basic EA Origin program. If you want to get bumped up to the premium tier, you'll need to pay $15 a month (or $100 a year). As a Premium subscriber, you are able to access all of the benefits of the basic Origin package. That means that you'll also be able to dive into a vault of 100 EA games as well as receive a 10% discount on your Origin purchases. 

    Those curious can access a seven-day free trial of the basic Origin subscription model. It doesn't seem that there are any plans to offer a trial for the Premium package, which we suppose wouldn't currently yield any real benefits.

    If you're looking for a hot take on this deal that you've probably already figured out, this subscription model is clearly only for those who really, really like EA games, intend to play every major new EA game on the radar, and want to be able to play them ahead of everyone else. If that describes you, then turn your cap around, call in your "brahs," and send your subscription check to EA made out to "Cash." 

    Origin Access Premier will be made available to everyone later this summer. 

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

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jun 9, 2018

    Anthem is the new game from BioWare, the studio behind Mass Effect and Dragon Age. The new IP is a departure from the developer's past work in the RPG genre. In fact, Anthem isn't an RPG at all. It's described as an action-adventure game running on a "live service," similar to Destiny

    In Anthem, you play as a freelancer in a city protected by a wall from the dangers of the wild. Freelancers use special exo-suits called Javelins. There are two types of suits: Ranger, a balanced suit, and Colossus, which is basically your tank version. 

    Here's everything we know so far:

    Anthem Release Date

    Anthem will be released on February 22, 2019 for XBO, PS4, and PC. 

    Anthem Trailer

    Here's the E3 2018 cinematic trailer for Anthem

    And here's a bit of gameplay:

    Here's the first gameplay trailer for Anthem:

    Enemies showcased in the trailer include a mixture of wildlife and robots. The game will take place in an open-world environment and will feature cinematic dialogue sections, which isn't a surprise from BioWare.

    Also be sure to check out the first teaser trailer for the studio's next game:

    Anthem Details

    When EA executive vice president Patrick Söderlund hinted during an investor’s call that BioWare was working on a new IP, many fans assumed that they were working on a new PRG. However, that's not the case.

    During a recent investor meeting, EA CEO Andrew Wilson referenced BioWare’s next IP by confirming that: “At the end of the fiscal year, our BioWare studio will be delivering an all-new IP.” Interestingly, he had this to say regarding the game itself:

    "A clean-sheet design with new concepts, new gameplay mechanics, and new stories set in a unique new universe. This game has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the way people think about an action title, bringing friends together to play in exhilarating new ways. We’re very excited about the future of this new franchise and its ability to attract a large global audience."

    The one term that Wilson did not use when describing the game was “RPG.” Given that BioWare and RPG go together like Nintendo and sequels to 30-year-old properties, this comes as quite the shock. BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn later took to the studio’s blog to expand on Wilson’s comments by stating that the project is designed to “bring players together in exciting new ways” and that their ambition is to "draw upon 20+ years of development knowledge and lessons to create something fun and new for you to enjoy with your friends.”

    A non-RPG is certainly a departure from BioWare’s usual development territory, but given that they’ve been evolving their combat systems over the years to be more action-oriented, perhaps this is a natural evolution of the company’s design style.

    Wilson also stated that he is able to describe the game as more of an action-adventure title with RPG elements that will operate off of some kind of live service. This seems to indicate some kind of online multiplayer experience. Indeed, it seems that this delay is at least partially due to EA's desire to develop that service a little while longer.

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    Respawn's upcoming Star Wars game is called Jedi: Fallen Order. It takes place during the Jedi Purge.

    News John Saavedra
    Jun 9, 2018

    During the EA Play press conference at E3 2018, Respawn founder Vince Zampella revealed that the studio is working on a new Star Wars game called Jedi: Fallen Order. The game will take place during the era between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, a time when the remaining Jedi in the galaxy are being hunted down by the Empire. 

    Zampella teased that players will step into the shoes of a Jedi on the run. Unsurprisingly, players will be able to wield lightsabers in the game. The game will be a single-player action-adventure game. Stig Asmussen, former God of War III creative director, is leading development on Jedi: Fallen Order. No footage or screenshots were shown of the title. Zampella did reveal that the game is scheduled for release in Holiday 2019. 

    Said EA Executive VP Patrick Soderlund in a 2016 blog post, "Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with [Respawn founder] Vince Zampella and his group. Their obsession with making games that feel amazing has helped make Titanfall one of the most successful new game launches of this generation. And now, with a new team led by Stig Asmussen, we get to see what they can do when you combine that great attention to gameplay with the power of Star Wars."

    Asmussen wrote in an announcement on the official Respawn website that, "We promise to pay respect to the Star Wars legacy at all times, a fact that will be constantly reinforced and honored as a central game design tenet. Fans should expect the exemplary level of quality first established at Respawn with Titanfall, a game that epitomizes our studio’s dedication to slick, larger-than-life action and fun, groundbreaking mechanics."

    We'll keep you updated as we learn more about Jedi: Fallen Order!

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    Like the monster in your childhood closet, Fallout 3's horrors are just waiting for you to forget they exist...

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Jun 9, 2018

    As you get older, the idea of being scared - truly scared - by a piece of entertainment is one of those nostalgic recollections you mentally file alongside catching fireflies, playground adventures, and the way you blushed after your first kiss. Being scared by a movie, TV show, game, or book is a symptom of innocence. You might watch a horror film or read a scary novel and flinch when a cat jumps in from off-frame or feel a momentary sense of dread when the heroine opens that door you begged her not to open, but most people will never again experience that feeling of all-encompassing dread after they've witnessed their first truly terrifying piece of horror entertainment.

    There is one exception to that tragic consequence of emotional evolution. It’s possible to feel that old sense of pure horror from a piece of entertainment if said entertainment is able to convince you that it will not scare you. If it is able to invite you into its world and then pull the rug out from under you by slowly revealing itself as a harbinger of terror, then you just might find yourself being scared once again. 

    Fallout 3 is one of gaming’s greatest examples of such surprising horror. Nobody goes into this RPG classic from Bethesda expecting a world of sunshine and roses. Any game that bills itself as a post-apocalyptic journey through a nuclear wasteland is letting you know that you’re going to experience all manner of unpleasantness as you progress.

    What’s more is that Fallout 3 is the third main Fallout title. Anyone who happens to be familiar with the series knows that the franchise has always utilized elements of horror. The very first Fallout game even ended with a showdown against a grotesque mutant/machine hybrid that made a convincing argument for his existence over yours. Between things like that and the wandering army of super mutants that occupy nearly every corner of the wasteland, you start to understand that the Fallout series is built on elements of horror.

    The point is that nobody familiar with Fallout in even a basic way could possibly go into the game without expecting some traditional horror. However, that’s not exactly how Fallout 3managed to exploit the expectations of even it's most experienced players.

    Fallout 3 was released at the height of what you might call the cinematic corridor era of game design. As developers explored the capabilities of advanced consoles, they began releasing more contained experiences like BioShock, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Heavenly Sword that exemplified more cinematic design. In other words, developers designed games to take you on a ride.

    It was an exciting time for those who dreamed of games one day playing and looking as good as they did in those old PlayStation One cutscenes, but it came at a cost. What games gained in presentation, they lost in their willingness to let the player do wrong. Because more and more games aimed to offer a specific experience, developers became less willing to allow players to step off the beaten path and do things that might interrupt the intended pace or structure of a title. There was little to fear from a game in terms of it presenting you with something you weren’t prepared for.

    Many Fallout fans thought Fallout 3 was going to be just like one of those titles. After years of waiting for a new Fallout game, some fans were dismayed to learn that Bethesda Game Studios (as opposed to Interplay) was handling the development of the long-awaited sequel. They worried that Bethesda would develop a kinder, gentler Fallout designed to please those who weren’t thrilled by the prospect of being intimidated.

    In its opening moments, Fallout 3 looks like it might be that kind of game. You wake up in a vault, go through the character creator, and engage in a series of mini-missions that feel surprisingly contained. It’s a purely cinematic opening that seemed to set a tone for what was to come. However, it’s not long before you leave the game’s opening vault area and step into the wasteland. While you are given a general direction to head in - a shanty town called Megaton - you also have the option to wander in whatever direction pleases you.

    Those that chose to do so likely had the great misfortune of discovering just what kind of game Fallout 3 really is. As it turns out, Fallout 3 is more than willing to let you get into trouble. The entire wasteland is open to you the moment that you step into it, which is nice, but it also means that the game’s greatest horrors can be encountered before you are even close to being ready for them. If you’re very lucky, that horror that alerts you to the dangers of this world will be a Radscorpion, a band of well-equipped raiders, or perhaps even a ghoul. If you’re not-so-lucky (as in my case), then you’ll encounter a Deathclaw.

    There is no purer declaration of Fallout 3’s desire to make you shit your pants than the Deathclaw. Shell-shocked Fallout 3 fans will gladly tell you of the time they wandered off the beaten path too early and encountered their first Deathclaw. If they managed to enable the game’s V.A.T.S. mode, then they were were able to slow down time just long enough to see that a Deathclaw is a nine foot tall hunchbacked humanoid reptile with body-length arms topped off with bloody claws.

    Even if these unfortunate players managed to squeeze a shot off, they would have been left with nothing more than the chance to see a Deathclaw’s smile. Not only are Deathclaws significantly stronger than you, but they are so fast that some players swear they are able to chase you down long after you’ve exited the game. What’s worse is that it’s going to take quite a while before you’re well-equipped enough to take down a Deathclaw. Their mere presence makes you truly terrified of heading into the unknown.

    While the Deathclaws are perhaps Fallout 3’s most effective and famous use of horror in an open-world title, they’re far from the only thing you have to fear in the wasteland. In fact, some of Fallout 3’s best uses of horror are the ones that -- much like the Deathclaw -- don’t strictly have to be encountered in order to beat the game. For instance, some players may run across a teddy bear locked in a cage. Decide to pick it up and you will soon witness a Super Mutant Behemoth (a 20-foot-tall instrument of destruction) sprinting towards you from just beyond a nearby hill. That incident alone will make you hesitant to pick up any item in the game again.

    That’s part of the brilliance of Fallout 3’s take on open-world horror. It’s a lot like the scene in Mulholland Drive when Dan tells Herb about the nightmare he is having and how he is convinced that the monster in his dream is waiting to jump at him from around the corner. There’s a monster around many of the corners in Fallout 3 and you’re never quite sure whether you’re just being paranoid about its presence or whether that decision to turn the corner is the last you’ll ever make.

    That fear is only enhanced by the rare occasions when Fallout dives deep into the world of traditional horror. Enter the now-infamous Dunwich Building and you’ll find an oddly ancient structure populated by Feral Ghouls who seem to be worshiping a Lovecraftian entity whose presence becomes strangely more tangible as you descend further into the Dunwich’s dangerous depths. It’s a voyage into the heart of terror that is as overwhelming as it is unprecedented. There’s nothing in the game that suggests you’re about to enter the mouth of madness when you enter the Dunwich Building. (Well, perhaps only the name, which is almost certainly a reference to the H.P. Lovecraft story, "The Dunwich Horror.")

    In fact, Fallout 3 uses traditional moments of pure horror so rarely and so cleverly that you’re never truly prepared for them. For instance, there’s the McClellan Family Townhome, an unmarked location that houses the remains of a mysteriously dead family and the robot servant that still tends to them by reading poems to the skeleton of a child and trying to walk a dead dog. Maybe instead you’ll find the town of Andale where two families are able to maintain their ‘50s lifestyle by killing and eating those who come near them. Of course, there’s always Vault 108, a vault filled with murderous clones who are only capable of saying “hahaha...Gary” as they pursue you.

    So why is it that Fallout 3 is so rarely referred to as a horror game? Well...because it isn’t. At least it isn’t a horror game in the way we typically classify such horror games. You go into horror games -- or any piece of horror entertainment -- expecting to be scared. They are designed for that purpose and you welcome their efforts. Of course, the older you get, the less you walk away from that experience feeling as if you’ve just witnessed something that will scar you forever and more like you got exactly what you expected.

    Ironically, it is the fact that Fallout 3 is so rarely classified as a traditional horror experience that makes it an incredible horror experience. It’s not that the game is significantly scarier than every other work of horror out there, but rather that it uses horror in such a way that makes it easy to fall back into an age of innocence when you were never certain whether the shapes you saw in the shadows were simply the by-product of an overactive imagination or something more. 

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    The good, bad, and ugly moments that make E3 the best gaming event of the year.

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Jun 10, 2018

    It’s easy enough to describe E3 to someone who doesn’t usually follow the gaming industry. You say, “It’s kind of like a summer blockbuster film premiere, keynote convention, and the Oscars all rolled up into one.” If that doesn’t do it, you say, “It’s something I really like watching, and I don’t judge you for the stupid things you watch even though you own Supernatural season eleven on DVD and no other season of Supernatural.” That usually does the trick.

    Besides, the truth is that the best thing about E3 can’t be conveniently summarized with comparisons. No, the best thing about E3 are those individual moments. A big game reveal, a shockingly bad celebrity appearance, a bombshell console announcement... These are the things that ensure we will all be glued to our computers waiting for the latest E3 updates.

    So what are the definitive moments in E3 history? Which occurrences, both good and bad, summarize everything that is E3? 

    Here's our list of 15 definitive moments:

    15. Microsoft’s Painfully Long Kinect Reveal (E3 2010)

    You can’t talk defining E3 moments without including at least one botched peripheral reveal, but which botched peripheral reveal to choose? Joe McHale awkwardly suffering through a game of Ubisoft’s Battle Tag? Sony almost sinking their brand with the infamous Wonderbook? Wii Music...Wii Music?

    In the end, this honor goes to the Kinect reveal for the simple fact that Microsoft chose to devote so much of their 2010 E3 stage time to showing off a device which clearly wasn’t ready for primetime. It’s one thing that the Kinect often didn’t work properly during the presentation - that’s fairly standard for E3 failures - but the moment that a parade of unenthusiastic participants bombarded the stage to participate in awkward white water rafting, fake popcorn eating, and extended yoga sessions, Microsoft ensured that everyone in attendance was not going to buy a Kinect out of sheer spite.

    14. Gabe Newell Appears During Sony’s E3 Conference (E3 2010)

    The word “surreal” has joined the likes of “epic” in the category of “Words that the people of the internet have collectively watered down.” Whereas surreal used to be used to describe a situation so out of the ordinary that it’s almost dreamlike, now surreal can be used to describe seeing someone eating a Whopper at McDonald's.

    So far as truly surreal E3 moments go, however, Gabe Newell’s 2010 appearance has to be near the top of the list. At a time when Valve was considered to be one of the most clandestine game studios in the world, the god of the PC master race himself took the stage at a Sony press conference of all things to announce that Portal 2 was coming to the PlayStation 3. While the sight of Gabe at E3 on a competitor’s stage was odd enough, this moment has only become even more surreal as time wears on and Valve slowly shuffles away from the whole game development thing.

    13. Bethesda Hosts the Perfect Press Conference (E3 2015)

    While non-console manufacturers getting their own E3 conference wasn’t entirely unheard of by the time that Bethesda took the stage at E3 2015, it was a bit unusual for all but the industry’s most powerful corporations to get their own stage time at the biggest event of the year. Sure, Bethesda was a fairly beloved game developer, but an entire E3 press conference devoted to the studio? How was that going to work?

    Bethesda showed everyone exactly how it was going to work by pulling off what could arguably be described as the perfect E3 press conference. It began with shockingly good footage of Doom, continued with the much-anticipated debut of Dishonored 2, and concluded with a Fallout 4 reveal that was made all the more shocking by the announcement that the game would be available in a matter of mere months. Bethesda’s 2015 presentation set a new gold standard for game-focused conferences and proved that the right studio could steal the show from anyone.

    12. Reggie Fils-Aime Introduces Himself to the Gaming World (E3 2004)

    It’s not that there hadn’t been memorable Nintendo E3 moments before 2004, but rather that many of the studio’s most memorable E3 moments earned that distinction for all the wrong reasons. Nintendo had long struggled to properly present themselves within the constraints of the E3 format while Sony and Microsoft were well on their way to mastering the subtle art of the E3 press conference.

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    That all changed the very moment that Reggie Fils-Aime kicked off Nintendo’s E3 2004 press conference by saying, “My name is Reggie. I’m about kicking ass, I’m about taking names, and we’re about making games.” Fils-Aime gave Nintendo an undeniably charismatic on-stage presence that none of their previous E3 conferences had benefited from. While many of Reggie’s quips would go on to become internet memes (most notably, “My body is ready”) there is no denying that he became the centerpiece for one of the greatest E3 presentations any major studio has ever given.

    11. Kevin Butler Delivers the Only Funny Presentation in E3 History (E3 2010)

    For a brief period of time, the world got to enjoy the genius that was the Kevin Butler marketing campaign. For those who don’t remember, Kevin Butler was a fictional PlayStation executive who starred in a series of commercials that featured him answering various questions from PlayStation fans. They were genuinely funny and clever adverts that broke the mold of awkward video game commercials in a big way.

    While actor Jerry Lambert’s appearance at E3 2010 as the one and only Kevin Butler could have been an utter disaster, it instead turned out to be one of the few attempts at a funny E3 presentation that was actually funny. Actually, it might be the only comedic E3 presentation to not completely bomb. Butler quips that “Gaming is having a ridiculously huge TV in a tiny one bedroom apartment” and is “Staying up until 3 am to earn a trophy that isn’t real...but is” still live in infamy.

    10. Jamie Kennedy Seals His Fate As the Worst E3 Celebrity Presenter Ever (E3 2007)

    On the complete opposite end of the Kevin Butler presentation, we have Mr. Jamie Kennedy. Now, some of you fortunate souls may have never heard of Kennedy. If that is the case, just know that Kennedy was a self-stylized comedian who specialized in mocking other people. For instance, if he noticed you were a larger individual, he may remark about your excess fat and proceed to make a 50-year-old observation about how this may affect your daily life. He presumably made millions of dollars doing this.

    Kennedy’s arguable career low point may be the moment that he drunkenly took the stage at Activision’s E3 2007 conference and proceeded to put on a miniature comedy spectacle that only those with an abnormal tolerance for awkward comedy will ever be able to watch in full. It was bad enough that Kennedy wasn’t funny (“Neversoft...wasn’t that the first name for Viagra?”), but when he resorted to insulting the audience and industry, he ensured that he would become the gold standard for awkward E3 celebrity presenters.

    9. The Final Fantasy VII Remake Genuinely Surprises Millions (E3 2015)

    At a certain point, video game wishes turn into inside jokes. The most obvious example of this phenomenon is certainly Half-Life 3, but there are many games which fans dream of and talk about for so long that they eventually become memes. For years, Final Fantasy VII remake was such a game. Square Enix had used footage of such a title as part of a tech demo, but fans long stopped believing the studio would actually make it.

    That is until E3 2015 when Final Fantasy fans across the world were suddenly looking at a very real remake of Final Fantasy VII. This is a deceivingly simple moment in the history of E3 that is amplified by just how rare it is for a game like Final Fantasy VII to actually appear at E3. While the remake still isn’t out yet - which is rarely a great sign - the moment of the reveal itself really summarizes why E3 is sometimes a very special event

    8. Half-Life 2 Exceeds Impossible Expectations (E3 2003)

    In 2003, Half-Life 2 was about as mythical to the average gamer as Half-Life 3is now. Most people knew that Valve was going to release a new Half-Life, but few felt that there was any chance of the sequel surpassing the standard the original had set. Half-Life was one of the most revolutionary games ever made. To convince everyone that Half-Life 2 was going to be just as special, Valve would have needed to put together quite the presentation.

    So, that’s what they did. The first Half-Life 2 footage showcased things that gamers simply had never seen before. True physics based combat, the innovative gravity gun, A.I. that felt dynamic, and seamless cinematic storytelling all highlighted a roughly 20-minute video that left gamers feeling like they’d just seen the exciting future of the industry play out before their eyes. It’s everything you hope a major game reveal will be.

    7. A Single Battle Nearly Determines the Xbox One/PlayStation 4 Console War (E3 2013)

    At E3 2013, Microsoft and Sony were scheduled to reveal their respective next gen consoles. Microsoft, who was coming off the wildly successful Xbox 360, kicked off the festivities with an Xbox One presentation that many have since described as the company’s biggest failure. The initial Xbox One design was not only expensive and reliant on the controversial Kinect but required users to always be online, wasn’t backward compatible, and may or may not have allowed people to play used games. It was a spectacular PR disaster.

    Sony followed that up with a PS4 reveal that was simply sublime. Not only was the PlayStation 4 cheaper than the Xbox One, but Sony even modified its planned conference in ways that allowed them to take plenty of shots at Microsoft’s failed Xbox One reveal. It was a presentation designed to please the masses and it succeeded in every way possible. While many E3s feature console war battles, few battles have ever ended up dictating the success of individual consoles quite the way that this one did.

    6. For Better and Worse, the Halo 2 Reveal Sets a New Standard (E3 2003)

    You had to be around for Haloto truly appreciate what Halo meant. Halo not only gave millions a reason to buy the Xbox, it showed those same gamers that consoles could offer up a first-person shooter experience largely free from compromise. It was a unique title that became a true phenomenon in a matter of weeks. Needless to say, the hype surrounding an eventual sequel was at a fevered pitch by the time E3 2003 rolled around.

    The Halo 2 reveal represents the good and bad of E3 game reveals. The good is obviously the moment of the reveal itself. The first footage of Halo 2 received an audible “pop” of applause typically reserved for major moments during championship games. It was a wave of relief and anticipation just gushing out at full force. On the bad side of things is what happened after the incredible footage aired. Bungie later admitted that they could not replicate the footage that they showed at E3 and had to basically rebuild Halo 2 from scratch. The success of the Halo 2 reveal and the unreasonable hype it generated has come to be all too typical.

    5. The Zelda: Twilight Princess Trailer Caps off Nintendo’s Greatest E3 Presentation (E3 2004)

    It’s easy to make fun of Nintendo. Fun, too. For instance, one could say something like, “Why did Nintendo cross the road? Because it was the least efficient way possible of getting to where they were going.” For as many, many mistakes as Nintendo has made at E3 over the years, the company’s 2004 presentation stands as the company’s one perfect presentation. Not only did it feature the aforementioned Reggie Fils-Aime introduction, but it introduced gamers to the Nintendo DS (arguably the greatest handheld gaming device ever made) and even offered up the first public reference to the console that would become the Nintendo Wii.

    However, the best was certainly saved for last. At a time when many Zelda fans were still upset that Nintendo had abandoned a more mature style of Zelda game in favor of Wind Waker’s Saturday morning cartoon visuals, Nintendo came along and debuted the decidedly mature and dark first trailer for Twilight Princess. The reveal was topped off by Shigeru Miyamoto gracing the stage with shield and sword gleefully in hand. It was the kind of moment that only Nintendo could deliver.

    4. Killzone 2’s First Footage Kicks Off 12+ Years of Trailer Controversy (E3 2005)

    In many ways, E3 is about hope. Those that watch it are certainly hoping they will see great games revealed for the first time, but they also hope that E3 will show them something entirely unexpected. Not a game or a console necessarily, but rather a brief glimpse into an unimaginable future. In 2005, Sony offered that window into the future when they revealed the first trailer for Killzone 2. To say that Killzone 2 looked better than any other game on the market at that time would be a drastic understatement. Killzone 2 looked like it was hand delivered from 10 years into the future.

    Actually, that’s not too far off. Right after the Killzone 2 footage stopped rolling, speculation concerning the authenticity of the footage began. The conversation that followed included phrases like “in-engine footage” that have now become all too commonplace in a world where doctored trailers are perfectly normal. For better or worse, the Killzone 2 footage was a true innovator.

    3. Sony Almost Kills the PlayStation Brand with One Awful Presentation (E3 2006)

    We’ve picked on Microsoft’s bad E3 presentations a couple of times throughout this list - with good reason, mind you - but in the interest of complete fairness, let’s talk about why no company’s E3 presentation will ever be quite as disastrous as Sony’s E3 2006 spectacular. Sony’s 2006 E3 conference revolved around the formal reveal of the PlayStation 3. Given that the PlayStation 2 was far and away the world’s most popular console, the reveal of the PlayStation 3 should have been a simple way for Sony to retain their market dominance.

    Instead, they seemingly went out of their way to sink the PlayStation name. It began humbly enough with the reveal of the PlayStation 3’s gaudy $599 price point (for the top tier model) and continued when the Genji development team promised to show us a game based on authentic Japanese history before revealing footage of players attacking a giant enemy crab’s glowing weak point for massive damage. This is also the conference that gave us the “Riiiiiiddddgggee Racer!” meme, the world’s dullest tech footage, and the promise of a gimmick-free console that was immediately undone by the introduction of three or four major console gimmicks.

    2. Metal Gear Solid 2 Makes Games the Star of E3 (E3 2000)

    In its early days, E3 was much more of a traditional trade show. While early E3 conventions featured occasional surprises, big announcements, and all the usual spectacle, the first E3 shows didn’t really emphasize the excitement of individual game reveals. Generally speaking, technology and industry ruled the day.

    In many ways, Metal Gear Solid 2 changed that dynamic. The Metal Gear Solid 2 trailer shown at E3 2000 was long (over 19 minutes), traditionally cinematic, and entirely devoid of developer voiceover. It wasn’t quite the kind of trailer you’d expect to precede the release of a major film, but it was certainly different from any game trailer released before it. Even people who didn’t care about Metal Gear Solid walked away from the event talking about this footage. From that point on, developers knew that a single game could dominate E3 headlines.

    1. Sony Establishes Two Dynasties with a Single Number (E3 1995)

    In some ways, it’s appropriate that the very first E3 would contain the definitive E3 moment. Then again, given how much E3 has evolved over the years, it’s somewhat surprising that no event has ever topped the showstopping occurrence that highlighted 1995’s E3.

    It began with the Sega Saturn. Sega took to the humble E3 1995 stage and debuted a sizzle reel of all the great things the Sega Saturn could do and how it would change the world forever. It was your standard E3 highlight reel complete with awkward live action segments. Shortly thereafter, a Sega exec informed those in attendance that they could purchase the Sega Saturn right now for the low price of $399. He then confidently exited the stage at which point the gentleman from Sony took to the platform, said “$299,” and exited. By undercutting the Sega Saturn by $100, Sony sealed the fate of the Sega Saturn in North America. In the process, they kicked off an entirely new era of gaming and established E3 as the one must-watch show every year.

    Matt Byrd is a staff writer.

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

    FeatureMatthew Byrd
    Jun 10, 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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