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    Everything you need to know about Gears 5, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News John SaavedraMatthew Byrd
    Nov 9, 2018

    Gears 5 is coming to Xbox One with its most intense story yet. The game centers on Kait Diaz, a supporting character in the last installment. She takes center stage as she embarks on a new adventure deep into Swarm territory. At her side is Del as well as series mainstay Marcus Fenix. 

    The last game ended on a cliffhanger, leaving plenty of room for a sequel to continue to explore the adventures of J.D., Kait, Del, and Marcus. Interestingly enough, J.D. is doesn't seem to have much of a role in the debut trailer. Perhaps he'll have a side story with his dad? 

    If you're wondering why we're not calling the game Gears of War 5, it's because the "of War" has been officially dropped by The Coalition for this installment. It was confirmed by The Coalition head Rob Fergusson in a tweet, explaining that it made sense to shorten the title now that the Gears of War franchise has multiple products on the way, including the Gears Pop mobile game and Gears Tactics for PC

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Gears 5 Trailer

    The first trailer for Gears 5 has arrived. Check out the trailer below:

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Xbox 360 Games

    Gears 5 Release Date

    Gears of War 5 is coming in 2019. It's coming to Xbox One and PC.

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors.

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    What you need to know about Square Enix's Avengers Project, including latest news, trailer, and more

    The Avengers Project
    News John Saavedra
    Nov 9, 2018

    Marvel announced in January 2017 that it has signed a multi-year, multi-game deal with publisher Square Enix to develop titles based on the popular superhero universe. The first title in the works is an Avengers game. 

    According to Marvel, the game will feature a completely new and original story, and will introduce a universe gamers can play in for years to come. The project will be jam-packed with characters, environments, and iconic moments that will thrill Marvelites.

    Check out the trailer below:

    We can gather a few story details from the trailer. The game seems to take place at a time when superheroes are persecuted by the public and the Avengers are all but broken. The setting looks very bleak, indeed. From the looks of it, Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor will appear in the game in some form. It's unclear who is narrating, though. 

    It also looks like Marvel will continue the trend of hiring top-notch talent for games based on their most popular characters. "The Avengers project," as it's being referred to at the moment by Marvel, is being developed by Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider), with help from Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex). Shaun Escayg, former Naughty Dog creative director, and Stephen Barry, a 27-year games vet from EA and Visceral Games, have also joined the project in leadership roles at Crystal Dynamics.

    That's one hell of a team-up. It's too early to call, but based on the teams working on this game, this could be an action-adventure superhero game with a nice helping of RPG elements.

    More details on the Avengers project and other games will be announced in 2018. No release date has been set.

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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  • 11/09/18--19:51: Xbox X018 Live Stream
  • Watch all of the big Xbox announcements from X018 live right here!

    Xbox X018 - Halo Infinite
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Nov 9, 2018

    Microsoft is shaking things up a bit this year with a special gaming event in Mexico City called X018. It's a celebration of all things Xbox, including the Xbox One and its lineup of upcoming games. The event takes place on Nov. 10-11 and part of it will be streamed for all audiences. 

    The two-hour X018 live stream begins at 4 pm ET and will be full of updates on recent Xbox releases, such as State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves, Minecraft, and Forza Horizon 4. Fans should also expect to hear some news about Crackdown 3, which has suffered quite a few delays since it was first revealed at E3 2014. Perhaps we'll finally get a solid release date for this big Xbox exclusive, which is currently slated for "February 2019."

    Expect to also hear some news about Shadow of the Tomb Raider's upcoming expansion as well as something about the Xbox version of PUBG, which could use a bit of love considering it's not been quite as big a hit as Fortnite is on consoles. Maybe PUBG Corp. will announce fixes and some new exclusive content for the game?

    Microsoft is also teasing some new titles for Xbox Game Pass, which was recently confirmed for PC. We may hear a bit more about how this excellent on-demand games service will make the transition. It wouldn't be surprising if Microsoft announced some PC exclusives for the service. 

    Of course, the three things Xbox fans really want to know about are Halo Infinite, Gears 5, and Project Scarlett, which is rumored to be the codename of Microsoft's next, streaming-only Xbox console. As far as that goes, Microsoft isn't saying much ahead of the show, although the company has promised a "few surprises." We'll just have to wait and see. 

    You can watch the stream below:

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    Microsoft has acquired Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment and Wasteland studio inXile Entertainment.

    News Matthew ByrdJohn Saavedra
    Nov 10, 2018

    Microsoft announced at its X018 event that it has added two hardcore RPG developers to its lineup of first-party studios: Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth) and inXile Entertainment (Wasteland). Obsidian and inXile join 11 other studios, including Hellblade developer Ninja Theory, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year. 

    Along with Microsoft's flagship developers -- Rare, 343, The Coalition, and Mojang -- these latest acquisitions are part of a push by the company to diversify its first-party development branch and offer more games for Xbox consoles as well as Xbox Game Pass.

    Microsoft Studios vice-president Matt Booty said in a statement: "The 13 distinct and diverse game development teams that form Microsoft Studios are focused on implementing new Microsoft technologies, delivering content for new platforms and services like Xbox Game Pass, and creating exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans. We are committed to expanding the Microsoft Studios franchises players already love, and investing in new, exclusive content for every type of gamer."

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Xbox 360 Games

    Obsidian is an especially huge acquisition for Microsoft. The studio is responsible for some of the greatest RPGs of all time. On its list are titles like Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (a game that we think quite a lot of), Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Pillars of Eternity. Obsidian is a tremendous RPG studio that has spent many recent years making old-school isometric RPGs. While that style affords Obsidian many creative benefits, its move away from bigger budget 3D titles is also believed to be due to the high cost of such projects. 

    Obviously, a deal with Microsoft puts such projects back into play again. Dare we dream of a big-budget RPG that features the depth, subtle storytelling, and incredible character development of an Obsidian title as well as the best of modern graphics and sound? This deal means that we may soon find out.

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    The developing Detective Pikachu movie will see the venerable Pokemon franchise finally make its live-action debut.

    News John Saavedra
    Nov 13, 2018

    After 19 animated Pokémon films, the iconic franchise is finally getting a live-action adapation. The Detective Pikachu movie will see the most famous fictional rodent since Mickey Mouse star in his own feature film (voiced by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds). Pikachu will be joined by various other Pokémon in the film, which is based on a 2016 video game of the same name. 

    Here's everything we know about this intriguing adaptation!

    Detective Pikachu Movie Trailer

    Pikachu speaks! The first trailer for the Pokémon live-action film is finally here. Watch it below!

    Detective Pikachu Movie Release Date

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

    Detective Pikachu Movie Cast

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

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

    Rita Ora is the latest acquisition to the Detective Pikachu movie cast, set to play an unspecified role, according to THR.

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

    Bill Nighy (Love Actually) and Chris Geere (You're the Worst) were announced for the cast of the Detective Pikachu movie for undisclosed role.

    Detective Pikachu Movie Details

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

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


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    Agent 47 is back, but does Hitman 2 lead the franchise into the future? Here is our review...

    Release Date: November 13, 2018
    Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
    Developer: IO Interactive
    Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    Genre: Stealth Action

    There came a moment in Hitman 2 when I was (It: Chapter Two spoilers ahead) dressed as a clown and standing beside a doorframe waiting to chop up bodyguards with a samurai sword when I realized that my favorite games are the ones that allow you...no, not allow...demand that you fail. From Dark Souls substituting tutorials for countless deaths to the way Fallout 3 lets you walk straight into the mouth of danger while exploring, many of the best games realize that success is just a power fantasy if it's not coupled with the possibility that something might go horribly wrong. 

    Few games exemplify that philosophy better than the Hitman series. Hitman games have long been described as "trial and error" exercises, but that's not entirely accurate. That phrase tends to suggest that you're trying to accomplish one goal. Instead, the Hitman series has always been about improvisation and allowing failure to shine a light on the game's possibilities. If you're not failing in Hitman, you're not exploring everything the games have to offer. 

    So why is it that Hitman 2's developers sometimes seem afraid to fail? 

    The (likely) answer to that question is that IO Interactive has "failed" in the past and almost suffered dearly for it. 2016's Hitman reportedly suffered through some initially horrible sales which may have been partially to blame for Square Enix's decision to drop IO Interactive. The franchise's ability to succeed in the modern world was seriously in doubt. The shame of it all was that 2016's Hitman was a brilliant game. Its open levels, brilliant scenarios, and mission-by-mission release structure encouraged players to explore the possibilities of every assignment like never before. Hitman might very well have been 2016's best game, and it was certainly the best game of that year that not nearly enough people played. 

    In a way, then, it makes sense that Hitman 2 is closer to Hitman: Redux. This sequel even features the ability to access all of Hitman's levels. Beyond such obvious comparisons, Hitman 2 features similar level design philosophy to the one employed by Hitman, similar mechanics, similar special timed missions, and generally feels about the same as the 2016 game plus or minus a few new gadgets and some really handy new features (like an enhanced picture-in-picture mode that relays enemy positioning and awareness). There is also a new "multiplayer" mode that sees you and another player compete for kills, but it doesn't quite capture the methodical feel of the base game despite being somewhat amusing in its own right.

    You know what? I honestly didn't expect anything more from this game, and I'm even okay with its familiarities in many ways. Lest we forget that the Hitman series hasn't really changed all that much in 18 years. That's rarely been a problem considering that there aren't many games worth playing that offer what Hitman offers. Instead, the value of the Hitman franchise has typically been measured by how well it executes that formula and whether or not the game has enough flavor. 

    So far as that goes, Hitman 2 is arguably the best Hitman game ever. The crux of the Hitman series has always been the quality of its mission and level design, and Hitman 2 elevates those elements to a near art form. Ever since Hitman: Blood Money, the series has embraced absurdity to the point where we often judge and remember the game's missions based on the quality of the elaborate ways it allows us to take out targets. What Hitman 2016 did was escalate the thrill of discovering those possibilities by scattering them throughout more open environments and allowing players to organically uncover them through whatever way they choose to play the game. 

    Unsurprisingly, Hitman 2 sticks to that same approach but manages to perfect it via the sheer quality of the levels and the objectives. It's easy to point to things like sabotaging a race car or giving someone the world's deadliest tattoo and say "Oh, how fun," but the reason all these elaborate and brilliant kill possibilities work is that the levels themselves are designed in such a way that the journey to these possibilities is equally - if not more - exciting than the destination. You just never feel like you're on a rail when you're playing Hitman 2. Yes, there are very specific assassination you can work towards, but the fact that your plans can fall apart at any second - and that you can always change them on the spot - means that achieving a specific assassination feels like an accomplishment and not an inevitability. 

    Most importantly, there are levels in this game that are just flat out brilliant and fun to explore even when you're not trying to kill anyone. The best example of this may be a brilliant Vermont suburbs level that feels so genuine that it makes it all the more disturbing to introduce violence to the area. In fact, the IO Interactive does a generally brilliant job of disguising these assassination playgrounds as something more genuine and real. 

    Combine all of that with the game's excellent visual design (if slightly dated raw graphics), fantastic sound quality, and incredible replay value (achieved both through the replayable nature of the levels themselves as well as the fun special challenges) and you've got a game that Hitman fans are simply going to fall in love with. 

    That's all great, but it comes back to whether or not you consider that to be enough of an accomplishment or whether or not you feel that IO Interactive needs to try to do more with the Hitman formula (if for no other reason than the fact that 2016's Hitman was an almost perfect execution of that formula and still struggled to sell). In fact, even though it is often also a great example of the virtues of that formula, there are times when Hitman 2 exhibits the limits of playing it "safe."

    The biggest example of those limits is the game's story. Hitman games have never really been about the overarching story, which hasn't necessarily been a problem until IO decided to devote more attention to the grand narrative of the last two Hitman titles. The problem with that approach is that the arching story of these games is almost always going to be less exciting than the stories players create through their actions and the mini-narratives that populate each level. IO is trying to strike this strange balance between linear storytelling in-between missions and open, action and environmental storytelling in the missions themselves. That contrast creates some very real pacing issues that make it difficult to really motivate the player. You just never really feel the stakes of what is happening. 

    It doesn't help that the story itself is just okay at the best of times. It's a fairly standard global conspiracy type of affair that lacks compelling characters, shocking moments, or a sense of urgency. Quite frankly, you could skip every cutscene in the game and still get the best of what Hitman 2 has to offer. There's also a feeling of complacency sinking in when it comes to certain environmental options and the mechanics of specific actions. Dragging bodies remains an exercise in tedium, gunplay still feels prohibitive (if intentionally so), you'll often see missions employ "disguise yourself as a server/vendor in order to poison something" (and other familiar scenarios), and the relative alertness of guards and targets often doesn't feel as organic as the ways in which you can eliminate them. 

    2016's Hitman disguised some of these franchise familiarities with a more refined and open take on the formula that emphasized replayability and creativity. Two years later, though, you may often find yourself asking "what's next" even while you are actively enjoying what the game has to offer. 

    It is not the duty of every sequel to drastically change the franchise, but at a time when games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 are pushing the limits of even the most stagnant franchises (not to mention games likeThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and God of War boldly revitalizing perfectly fine franchises), and at a time when the value of a game is just as much about the experience of it as it is the amount of content it offers, we're left to wonder whether or not Hitman 2's "$60 ambitious DLC" approach is enough for anyone who isn't already in love with the franchise. Is it enough to help ensure the future of a series that is quite frankly living and dying by the success of each release? 

    Developer IO Interactive has accomplished things with Hitman's "succeed by failing" design that I only wish more games could pull off. I just hope that the next Hitman game isn't afraid to put that philosophy to work beyond the boundaries of what we've come to expect from this franchise. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014

    3.5/5
    ReviewMatthew Byrd
    Hitman 2 Review
    Nov 13, 2018

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    Battlefield V has less to offer in the box than we hoped, but what we do get is incredibly polished and fun to play. Our review...

    Release Date: November 15, 2018
    Platform: XBO (reviewed), PS4, PC
    Developer: DICE
    Publisher: Electronic Arts
    Genre: First-person Shooter

    Battlefield Vis like your best friend showing up to a party with a couple of bottles missing from a really good six-pack. You’re glad to see him, and the six-pack isn't going to spoil an otherwise good time, it’s just kind of confusing and maybe a little rude that he came with something that was enjoyable yet clearly incomplete. The launch version of Battlefield V is a very good game that’s clearly missing a few parts.

    The last game in the series, Battlefield 1, was well-received, so EA DICE smartly decided to build on what worked, keeping many of the modes and gameplay intact, but moving the setting from World War I to World War II. Yes, World War II is well-tread ground in video games, but Battlefield V's campaign wisely focuses on lesser known parts of the war: the Special Boat Service in Northern Africa, the Norwegian resistance, and the Senegalese Tirailleurs.

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated Multiplayer Games

    The campaign is short, with all three stories clocking in at under six hours total, but that just means less filler. This may be DICE’s best campaign yet, full of huge set pieces, smart level design, and truly emotional storytelling that rivals some of Hollywood’s greatest war epics.

    The highlight of these three stories is “Nordlys,” which focuses on a young woman’s attempt to rescue another member of the Norwegian resistance and stop Germany’s fledgling nuclear weapons programs. Not only is it a great story, but it’s also filled with tense stealth, an awesome skiing mechanic, and a memorable survival mission. While the entire game looks great (especially on the Xbox One X), running through the snow-covered mountains of Norway under the aurora borealis is an especially stunning use of the Frostbite 3 engine.

    “Under No Flag,” the Special Boat Service campaign, focuses more on guerilla action and two freedom fighters destroying parts of the Axis war machine in the desert. It requires a good amount of scouting and smart strategy that feels a lot like Far Cry in a World War II setting.

    Finally, "Tirailleur,” is a more traditional Battlefield campaign set during the allied invasion of France. From a gameplay perspective, it’s probably the least interesting of the three campaigns, but the story of these oft-forgotten French-African recruits is a compelling one.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Xbox 360 Games

    That said, as strong as these stories are, it’s also here that Battlefield V’s unfinished nature becomes apparent. A fourth campaign “The Last Tiger” is locked out on the menu and labeled “coming soon.” It's a shame that DICE has given fans so little single-player content to start.

    My playthrough was largely free of technical issues, but it wasn’t uncommon to see enemies flying 50 feet in the air after I shot them. There are some more minor annoyances throughout, though. For example, while it may be authentic that all the characters in the campaign speak in their native languages, keeping up with subtitles in the midst of a gunfight isn’t optimal. It’s even worse when the bright white text is set against a white background-- like the snow covering much of the “Nordlys” campaign. This is undoubtedly nit-picky, though. Battlefield V is ultimately a very polished experience.

    As for multiplayer, it’s as fun as ever, but pretty barebones at launch, with only Conquest, Grand Operations, and other traditional match types available. “Grand Operations” is similar to the Operations mode introduced in Battlefield 1, but now culminates in a “final stand” that arms players with only their default weapon, limited ammo, and no respawns.

    At its core, the multiplayer still follows the traditional Battlefield formula. It’s the most enjoyable large-scale shooter around, one that truly rewards those who put the time into it. Online play is silky smooth and I had no trouble with matchmaking in my playtime before wide release.

    Further Reading: All the Video Game Movies in Development

    Just be aware that Battlefield V’s most innovative multiplayer modes aren’t yet available. “Tides of War,” the new evolving multiplayer narrative that replaces a paid season pass won’t be out until December. The new battle royale “Firestorm” mode doesn’t launch until 2019, and that’s likely when the four-player cooperative “Combined Arms” mode will hit as well. All of these modes will be free for early adopters, but it’s still disappointing that more of them didn’t make it into the game at launch.

    Battlefield V in its current state isn’t a revolutionary game. At this point, it’s almost everything that’s made the series great distilled into its leanest, purest essence, but between what’s available now and what’s coming down the line, there’s no reason not to check out one of the 2018’s best shooters.

    Chris Freiberg is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here.

    4/5
    ReviewChris Freiberg
    Battlefield 5 Review
    Nov 13, 2018

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    Battle Royale title PUBG is finally releasing for PS4 later this year.

    PUBG PS4 Release Date
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 13, 2018

    PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is coming to the PlayStation 4.

    The PUBG Corporation has revealed that the popular battle royale title will be released on PS4 on December 7th. You can currently pre-order three versions of the game's PS4 release. You can snag the base game for about $30, splurge on the Survivor's Edition for $50 (which comes with Survivor Pass: Vikendi, 2,300 G-Coin Pack, and 20,000 BP), or you can go for the Champion's Edition for $60 (which includes the Survivor Pass, 6,000 G-Coin Pack, and 20,000 BP). 

    "Vikendi" refers to the game's upcoming snow map. It's not clear at this time exactly what is included in that pass, but you will be able to purchase it separate from the pre-orders if you're interested in picking it up later. It doesn't seem like you'll need to buy the pass in order to access the map once it becomes available. 

    Aside from the pre-order bonuses, PlayStation 4 gamers will be able to access Nathan Drake's Uncharted outfit and Ellie's backpack from The Last of Us. Of course, PS4 gamers will also be able to access all of the base PUBGcontent (which includes all three currently available maps) as well as enhanced visual options available via the PS4 Pro. 

    The question now is whether or not PUBG for PS4 will be modified in any noticeable (and arguably necessary) ways. The Xbox One version of the game has suffered from some control issues, technical problems, and a slow influx of new content. To make matters worse for PUBG, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode and Fortnitehave already come along and carved out a nice little market for themselves in the battle between battle royale game. Both titles are arguably better optimized for consoles. 

    We'll see how the PS4 version of PUBG fares when it launches next month. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    A former Treyarch employee has shared some information about Call of Duty's Black Ops 4's upcoming DLC.

    Call of Duty DLC Zombies
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 13, 2018

    Some fascinating new information about Call of Duty: Black Ops IV has been revealed by an unusual source.

    Recently, Reddit user CallofNobodyCares posted information regarding Call of Duty's upcoming DLC, zombie mode Easter eggs, and even details regarding the game's canceled campaign mode. How did he acquire this information? The user claims that he was a quality assurance tester for Treyarch who recently lost his job. While the original poster deleted his account not long after the information went up, Eurogamer noticed that another Reddit user named CadzTrikz has reposted everything that CallofNobodyCares originally shared

    For what it's worth, the zombie Easter eggs that CallofNobodyCares shared were previously undiscovered and have since been verified as accurate by the game's community. As such, there's at least a strong possibility that some of the other information that the user shared is at least somewhat accurate. 

    With that out of the way, it seems that the first piece of Black Ops IVDLC will be a prequel to the game's Chaos storyline that sees four characters attend a party that so happens to be attended by various horror characters like zombies, werewolves, vampires. It also sounds like this DLC will feature a modified version of the classic Call of Dutyray gun. On top of that, it seems that Treyarch is planning on shipping new zombie content with every DLC release and may even release a 4-vs-4 competitive zombie mode (although it seems that last feature is still being discussed). 

    It also sounds like Treyarch originally intended to ship Black Ops IV with a 2-vs-2 campaign that would have seen both teams compete to complete missions the fastest. However, it seems that mode was canceled as Treyarch decided to devote more time to the game's multiplayer modes. 

    While CallofNobodyCares's information is pretty far from official, none of it seems to be outlandish. We're guessing that you should expect to hear at least some of the information he has shared be confirmed in the coming weeks. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    The PC Classic will make you wonder if mini consoles have gone too far.

    PC Classic DOS
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 13, 2018

    Here's a strange one for you. It seems that someone is working on a PC Classic device. 

    In the style of the NES, SNES, and PlayStation Classics, the PC Classic is a miniature device that allows you to play retro games. In this case, it lets you play DOS titles from the '80s and '90s. The device itself is designed to resemble an '80s/early '90s PC (complete with a classic chain smoker beige color scheme). 

    Unit-e, the group designing this device, have stated that they intend to start crowdfunding the PC classic before the end of the year. As such, we don't have much concrete information available regarding its price, release date, or which games it will ship with. However, it seems that the plan is to ship it with at least 30 pre-installed games. The trailer for the PC Classic suggests that games such as Doom may be included among the initial list of titles. It also sounds like the currently planned price point for the PC Classic is $99. However, that is subject to change. 

    Now that we've got some of the facts out of the way, let's take a moment to look at why this is a pretty awful idea. 

    First off, unlike the consoles the SNES, NES, and PlayStation Classic are based on, there's a very good chance that you actually own a PC. As such, we're not entirely sure why you would want a very limited retro PC device that can only play games on top of your PC that can quite easily run nearly every game that will likely be included in as part of this device. We're also willing to be that you'll be able to get the games included with the PC Classic for much cheaper if you buy them individually. 

    We suppose that there might be some people out there who are interested in hooking this device up to their living room TV, but it's really not that difficult to use a modern PC on a TV (especially if you're willing to spend $99). All things considered, this device appears to be targeting a very niche market. We're certainly not opposed to the idea of more gaming platforms receiving the Classic treatment, but this particular idea seems to be pushing the acceptable limits of the concept. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Five Nights at Freddy's creator Scott Cawthorn is rewriting the screenplay for the planned movie adaptation.

    Five Nights at Freddys Movie
    News Joseph BaxterMatthew Byrd
    Nov 13, 2018

    Five Nights at Freddy's creator Scott Cawthon has apparently pulled his original screenplay for the film adaptation of his horror game series that was previously approved by director Christopher Columbus and Blumhouse Studios.

    "It’s been a real challenge for everyone, including myself, to come up with a good screenplay for this," said Cawthon via a Steam blog post. "But I’m determined to find the right story. I’m sticking to what I’ve always said, either the right movie gets made or no movie gets made. I hate delaying a project that’s already seen so many delays, but I have to go with my instincts on what I think will be exciting and interesting, and what I think the fanbase will really want to see. If that means that I have to start over ten more times, then that’s what I'm going to do. The good thing is that each attempt gets better and better, in my opinion. So, despite the delays, it's going in the right direction."

    Cawthon also revealed that he intends for the script to take place around the events of the first three FNAF games. Furthermore, it seems that Cawthorn is working on a new FNAF book, a VR game, and AR game, and even a AAA version of the game series. 

    Still, it's the film adaptation that remains the real story here. Based on what Cawthon is saying, it doesn't sound like this is a case of traditional production problems. Instead, it seems that Cawthon simply felt he could do better. Until we hear otherwise, we're going to assume that Columbus and Blumhouse are on-board with this. However, the adaptation is going to have to start shooting at some point. 

    Created by Scott Cawthon, the game series puts players in the shoes of an unlucky security guard who gets stuck in the quasi-Chuck E. Cheese establishment, “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza,” which is actually haunted by a creepy band of murderous robotic animals, led by the horrifying titular mascot manifestation himself. The franchise already has six games released and is the subject of two novel adaptations, as well as a plethora of merchandise. Plus, its popularity has been magnified by the adopted pastime in which fans share spine-tingling experiences with the game on YouTube. Hopefully, those fans won’t have to worry too much about the film straying from the spirit of the game, since Cawthon himself will be onboard the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie as a producer, joined by Blumhouse head Jason Blum.

    The project's momentum yields potential to reach new levels of the pop culture stratosphere for Five Nights at Freddy's, and potentially Blumhouse, since the studio's horror-centric success has yet to reach beyond the established demographic who enjoys the genre, and Freddy’s fans tend to skew younger; something that might make one speculate that the project could become a PG-13 affair. As creator Cawthon told THR, during the project’s initial manifestation three years back, "The story really lends itself to being a movie and it taps into a largely unexplored niche of horror that a lot of people will be able to relate to.”

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    A rumor suggests Valve is developing their own VR hardware and a killer app in Half-Life VR.

    Half Life Valve VR
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 13, 2018

    A new rumor suggests that Valve might be working on a new VR headset as well as a VR version of Half-Life

    This information comes from UploadVR whose sources have shared photos of what they claim is a prototype version of Valve's new VR headset. Previously, Valve had leaned heavily on their support of the HTC Vive, but this information suggests that this will be a Valve-branded headset created by the studio. It's not clear at this time what the potential release of this headset means for Valve's relationship with HTC, but it's worth noting that HTC and Valve teamed up to release a Vive Pro headset device earlier this year. It would be interesting to see Valve move to native hardware so quickly after the release of a high-end HTC headset. 

    What's even more interesting is how similar this rumored headset is to the Vive Pro. The headset's field of view and resolution are fairly similar to existing HTC models, and it's even being reported that Valve might ship the headset with their currently available "Knuckle" VR controllers. Put it all together, and it sounds like this initial model may be something of a baby step towards unique Valve headset hardware to come. 

    In lieu of any major technological innovations, this headset may instead get by on the appeal of its software. In fact, that same insider report suggests that Valve is already working on a VR version of Half-Life

    It's not clear at this time what that VR game looks like, but it's believed that Half-Life VR will either be a prequel, a spin-off, or a VR version of some existing Half-Life project. At the moment, it seems that the popular theory is that this game will serve as a kind of prequel to Half-Life 2. Even though all reports suggest that Valve is not interested in developing Half-Life 3 (the series' former writer even leaked his version of that game's story), we've heard rumors for months now that Valve would be interested in a VR project related to the Half-Life series. 

    The question now is whether or not that game will come out for the Vive, this Valve headset, both, or neither. We should know more in the coming months as more information on this headset becomes available. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    A judge has ruled against the owners of two of the biggest Nintendo ROM sites.

    Nintendo ROM Lawsuit
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 13, 2018

    Nintendo's lawsuit against two major ROM sites has resulted in a $12,230,000 settlement

    An Arizona judge has ruled that Jacob and Cristian Mathias, a couple that runs ROM sites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.com, must pay Nintendo the agreed upon amount as a result of their violation of copyright laws. Furthermore, the couple has been ordered to shut down both websites and are also subject to a permanent injunction as it concerns the use of Nintendo copyrights. 

    If that amount seems like more than this couple could ever reasonably be expected to pay, that's because it is. It's believed that this ruling is meant to be a deterrent aimed at every other ROM site that hosts Nintendo games. In fact, some are speculating that further negotiations will greatly reduce the amount of money that the owners will actually pay. However, the details of such negotiations will likely be kept private. 

    The original court documents reveal why Nintendo decided to go ahead with this possibly monumental lawsuit. 

    “The LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites are among the most open and notorious online hubs for pirated video games,” says Nintendo. "Through the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites, Defendants reproduce, distribute, publicly perform and display a staggering number of unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s video games, all without Nintendo’s permission.”

    These two sites are not only being attacked for featuring Nintendo ROMs - and other copyright infringement material - but because Nintendo sees them as a for-profit operation. That state that the "Defendants are not casual gamers but are instead sophisticated parties with extensive knowledge of Nintendo’s intellectual property and the video game industry more generally." Their original suit asked for $150,000 per every illegal Nintendo ROM and up to $2,000,000 for any confirmed trademark infringements. TorrentFreak estimates that these sites could be facing up to $100 million in damages. 

    Nintendo has always been stricter than most when it comes to cracking down on ROMs, torrents, and other ways for people to download illegal copies of some of their classic games. The subject of such ROM downloading platforms has always been a source of contention amongst gamers, but the topic has reached a fever pitch in recent months. After all, Nintendo still hasn't launched a virtual console for Nintendo Switch and have been hesitant to outline ways that players might be able to download classic Nintendo games legally through an à la carte method. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War lead The Game Awards in nominations this year. Here are all the nominees...

    The Game Awards 2018 - Red Dead Redemption 2
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Nov 13, 2018

    The Game Awards returns in 2018 to celebrate the year in video games, recognizing the biggest achievements in both AAA and indie gaming. This year's show features huge titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Indie hits such as The Missing, Celeste, and Return of the Obra Dinn are among the titles that represent the impressive list of smaller-budget games.

    In terms of nominations, God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 are this year's most nominated games, with eight nominations each. It's not surprising considering these are two of our favorite games of the year. Marvel's Spider-Man, Spidey's excellent return to consoles and PC, follows with seven nominations, including Game of the Year. Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Celeste, and Fortnite have four nominations, while Monster Hunter: World, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Destiny 2: Forsaken, and Detroit: Become Human each have three.

    The Game Awards will air on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 9 pm ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. You'll be able to watch a live stream right here at Den of Geek!

    Here are the nominees:

    GAME OF THE YEAR

    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

    Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

    God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

    Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

    Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated PS2 Games

    BEST ONGOING GAME

    Destiny 2 (Bungie / Activision)

    Fortnite (Epic Games)

    No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

    Overwatch (Blizzard)

    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

    BEST GAME DIRECTION

    A Way Out (Hazelight Studios / EA)

    Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)

    God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

    Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Video Game Soundtracks

    BEST NARRATIVE

    Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream / SIE)

    God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

    Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

    Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

    BEST ART DIRECTION

    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

    God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

    Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

    Return of Obra Din (3909 LLC)

    Further Reading: 20 Underrated Nintendo 3DS Games

    BEST SCORE

    Celeste (Lena Raine)

    God of War (Bear McCreary)

    Marvel’s Spider-Man (John Paesano)

    Ni No Kuni II (Joe Hisaishi)

    Octopath Traveler (Yasunori Nishiki)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Woody Jackson)

    BEST AUDIO DESIGN 

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch Studios / Activision)

    Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

    God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

    Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated PSP Games

    BEST PERFORMANCE

    Bryan Dechart as Connor, Detroit: Become Human

    Christopher Judge as Kratos, God of War

    Melissanthi Mahut as Kassandra, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

    Roger Clark as Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2

    Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker, Marvel’s Spider-Man

    GAMES FOR IMPACT

    11-11 Memories Retold (Digixart / Aardman Animations / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

    Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

    Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

    Life Is Strange 2: Episode 1 (Dontnod Entertainment / Square Enix)

    The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories (White Owls / Arc System Works)

    Further Reading: 25 Best Game Boy Advance Games

    BEST INDEPENDENT GAME

    Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

    Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

    Into the Breach (Subset Games)

    Return of the Obra Dinn (3909 LLC)

    The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)

    BEST MOBILE

    Donut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)

    Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

    Fortnite (Epic Games)

    PUBG MOBILE (Lightspeed & Quantum / Tencent Games)

    Reigns: Game of Thrones (Nerial / Developer Digital)

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Game Boy Games

    BEST VR/AR Game

    ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission (SIE Japan Studio / SIE)

    Beat Saber (Beat Games)

    Firewall Zero Hour (First Contact Entertainment / SIE)

    Moss (Polyarc Games)

    Tetris Effect (Resonair / Enhance, Inc)

    BEST ACTION GAME

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)

    Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

    Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)

    Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)

    Mega Man 11 (Capcom)

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated Sega Genesis Games

    BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE GAME

    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (Ubisoft Quebec / Ubisoft)

    God of War (Sony Santa Monica / SIE)

    Marvel’s Spider-Man (Insomniac Games / SIE)

    Red Dead Redemption 2 (Rockstar Games)

    Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Eidos Montreal / Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix)

    BEST ROLE PLAYING GAME

    Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Square Enix / Square Enix)

    Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

    Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Level 5 / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

    Octopath Traveler (Square Enix / Acquire / Nintendo)

    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (Obsidian Entertainment / Versus Evil)

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Xbox 360 Games

    BEST FIGHTING

    BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle (Arc System Works)

    Dragon Ball FighterZ (Arc System Works / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

    Soul Calibur VI (Bandai Namco Studios / BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment)

    Street Fighter V Arcade (Dimps / Capcom)

    BEST FAMILY GAME

    Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)

    Nintendo Labo (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

    Overcooked 2 (Ghost Town Games / Team 17)

    Starlink: Battle for Atlas (Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft)

    Super Mario Party (NDCube / Nintendo)

    Further Reading: 20 Super Mario Platforming Games Ranked

    BEST STRATEGY GAME

    BATTLETECH (Harebrained Schemes / Paradox Interactive

    Frostpunk (11 bit studios)

    Into the Breach (Subset Games)

    The Banner Saga 3 (Stoic Studio / Versus Evil)

    Valkyria Chronicles 4 (Sega CS3 / Sega)

    BEST SPORTS/RACING

    FIFA 19 (EA Vancouver / EA Sports)

    Forza Horizon 4 (Playground Games / Turn 10 Studios / Microsoft Studios)

    Mario Tennis Aces (Camelot Software Planning / Nintendo)

    NBA 2K19 (Visual Concepts / 2K Sports)

    Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 (PES Productions / Konami)

    Further Reading: 25 Best Mobile Sports Games

    BEST MULTIPLAYER GAME

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Treyarch / Activision)

    Destiny 2: Forsaken (Bungie / Activision)

    Fortnite (Epic Games)

    Monster Hunter: World (Capcom)

    Sea of Thieves (Rare / Microsoft Studios)

    BEST STUDENT GAME

    Combat 2018 (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences – Norway)

    Dash Quasar (UC Santa Cruz)

    JERA(Digipen Bilbao, Spain)

    LIFF (ISTART Digital – France)

    RE: Charge (MIT)

    Further Reading: The Games You Need to Play in 2019

    BEST DEBUT INDIE GAME

    Donut County (Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive)

    Florence (Mountains / Annapurna Interactive)

    Moss (Polyarc Games)

    The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)

    Yoku’s Island Express (Villa Gorilla)

    BEST ESPORTS GAME

    CSGO

    DOTA 2

    Fortnite

    League of Legends

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    Classic NES game Gradius gets the special edition treatment on Nintendo Switch Online.

    Gradius Nintendo Switch
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 14, 2018

    Nintendo has added to Switch Online's collection of NES games by releasing a few expected new titles and one rather surprising one.

    Starting today, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be able to access previously announced NES titles Metroid, Mighty Bomb Jack, and Twinbee. Metroid is the clear headline title of the three. This classic NES game changed the way that we looked at the design of action/adventure games and pretty much created the idea of atmospheric gaming in the process. Sure, Super Metroid is superior in just about every way, but Metroid holds up shockingly well. 

    Mighty Bomb Jack and Twinbeeare a bit more obscure. Actually, Mighty Bomb Jack received some fairly negative reviews upon its release, and it hasn't exactly aged gracefully in the years since its debut. Twinbee, a vertical shooter made by Konami, is about as well-remembered/worth playing. 

    Speaking of Konami, Nintendo decided to include a surprise game in this Nintendo Switch Online update; a special edition of the classic NES shooter, Gradius

    Much like the previously released special edition of Zelda, this version of Gradius is seemingly designed for less experienced players. It not only allows you to skip to the game's final level but grants you a series of handy power-ups that make that final level significantly easier (if not still a bit challenging). Nintendo hasn't commented regarding their motivation behind releasing these "easier" games, and they also haven't indicated whether or not more NES games will receive this treatment as they add titles to Nintendo Switch Online's library. For what its worth, though, Japanese Nintendo Switch Online subscribers did recently receive a special edition of Mario Open Golf.

    Regardless, Nintendo has updated the Switch's online NES library fairly regularly since the service launched in September which gives us hope that it will grow to be quite robust over the next year or so. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a new mobile game from the developers of Pokemon Go.

    Harry Potter Wizards Unite
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 14, 2018

    Niantic Labs has shared some new information about their upcoming Harry Potter mobile game, Wizards Unite

    "The Ministry is looking for witches and wizards willing to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to save the wizarding world from the Calamity," reads a description on the newly launched website for the mobile title. "As a member of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force (a new task force formed in partnership between the Ministry of Magic and the International Confederation of Wizards) you will hone lightning fast wand reflexes, an ability to sniff out the faintest whiff of magical disorder from afar, and proficiency in advanced casting of multiple spells."

    A new trailer for the game showcases a player capturing a golden snitch in "real-life," which seems to confirm that this game will utilize a Pokemon Go style of AR. The game's description suggests that Pokemon will be replaced with instances of magic that players must "capture" or dispose of. 

    That's all rather neat, but the bad news is that Harry Potter: Wizards Unitehas been delayed until 2019. There's no word on when, exactly, it will launch, but barring any major setbacks, we imagine it should be available fairly early in the new year.

    While the specifics of the game will determine the long-term health of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, you have to believe that the app's short-term prospects are quite good. Pokemon Go was a tremendous success right from the start largely because of the value of the Pokemon license. While it fell in popularity just a bit when Niantic failed to introduce significant content updates in a timely manner, the app still boasts a rather large user base and is reportedly still quite lucrative. 

    The Harry Potter franchise is almost certainly more recognizable on a global scale. Actually, the two properties became global sensations around the same time. We have no doubt that fans will jump at the opportunity to play a Harry Potter AR game - a similarly designed concept has been utilized quite well at The Wizarding World of Harry Pottertheme park - but it remains to be seen whether or not this app will learn from Pokemon Go's mistakes. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    One lucky winner will receive a complete set of Summoners War Funko Pop! Figures!

    Summoners War Funko Pop Giveaway
    The Rest Spencer Mullen
    Nov 14, 2018

    Love the Summoners War franchise? Love Funko pop figures? You're in luck! We're pleased to announce that we are giving away a set of Funko figures inspired by the Summoners War universe. The set includes fan-favorites such as Orion Water Brownie Magician, Jeanne Light Paladin, Camilla Water Valkyrie, and Mav Penguin Knight. For geeks, a teamup between the massively popular world of Summoners War and Funko is a dream come true. 

    According to the press release:

    Summoners War is a mobile turn-based strategy game that allows players to assume the role of a summoner, utilizing over 1000 monsters to fight in turn-based battles. Since its launch in 2014, the game has amassed more than 80 million downloads worldwide, defying industry means by continuing to grow in popularity worldwide.

    Since the partnership was announced in January, Funko has reconceptualized the Summoners War universe and its endearing characters by integrating the design aesthetics of its best-selling Pop! lineup of collectible figures. The new collectible characters include: Orion Water Brownie Magician, Jeanne Light Paladin, Camilla Water Valkyrie, and Mav Penguin Knight. This agreement also includes the design and manufacturing of apparel and accessories as well as, Pop! Yourself— Funko’s 2D/3D custom avatar offering.

    In order to be considered, follow us on Twitter and comment on this Twitter thread about your favorite character from the Summoners War universe. Entries will be accepted until November 28th. One (1) winner will be drawn randomly and then notified via Twitter DM (leave your DMs open!). The winner will have forty-eight (48) hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Good luck!

    Follow and comment here to enter our giveaway!


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    Games based on existing properties are hard to master, but here are 13 that managed it brilliantly...

    Batman: Arkham Asylum
    FeatureJohn SaavedraAaron Potter
    Nov 14, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Despite mesmerizing us with their characters, worlds, and lore in their own respective mediums, video games based on pre-existing franchises have had a rocky history. Yes, by this point there have almost certainly been more bad licensed games than there are good ones, but the tide is slowly turning, with developers nowadays given more time to channel our favorite fiction into enjoyable interactive experiences that perfectly encapsulate the source material. We explore some of the best of them…

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    2015 | CD Projekt Red

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may be the greatest video game adaptation of a book ever made. Based on the book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, the game continues the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher (monster hunter) who must find his adopted daughter, Ciri, a long lost witcher who is being hunted by supernatural beings from a parallel dimension. Geralt also encounters past lovers, old friends, and new allies, as well as plenty of monsters to slay on his way to the game’s explosive finale.

    The game is perfect in almost every way, but most notable is the living, breathing game world these characters inhabit. It’s almost impossible to be bored by The Witcher 3, which is jam-packed with tons of quests and other activities to occupy your time with. One could even say there’s too much to do in the game. While you should come for the epic main storyline, you will undoubtedly revel in the shorter stories told throughout the game. This is a true classic you need to play, especially if you're looking forward to the Netflix TV series

    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

    2003 | BioWare

    While this BioWare RPG masterpiece bears more than a little inspiration from the Star Wars movies, Knights of the Old Republic is actually based on a Dark Horse comic book called Tales of the Jedi, a series that ran from 1993 to 1998 penned by Tom Veitch and Kevin J. Anderson. Unlike most of the Expanded Universe of its time, Tales of the Jedi covered an era set thousands of years before the film saga when Jedi and Sith had huge numbers and waged wars against each other.

    Knights of the Old Republic takes place after the events of the comic but has numerous references to the stories and characters from the series. But even if you haven’t read Tales of the Jedi, Knights of the Old Republic is a must-play for all Star Wars fans (and RPG lovers). Its riveting story, epic original score, memorable characters, and fun turn-based combat make this one of the best Star Wars games ever made. You won’t forget Revan, Darth Malak, Bastila Shan, or the rest of these characters any time soon.

    Telltale's The Walking Dead

    2012 | Telltale Games

    Like the comics by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard and the AMC series before it, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead packs an emotional punch that will leave you lost for words by the time the credits roll. True to its source material, the series tells a story about family and the lengths to which people will go to survive when there’s no longer an incentive to be a good, law-abiding person.

    At the heart of this moral conundrum is Clementine, whom we first meet as a little girl searching for her parents. Throughout the four seasons of this zombie drama, we get to watch Clem evolve from a defenseless kid to a hardened survivor with her own people to protect. The first (and arguably best) season chronicles her time with Lee Everett, the man who becomes her guardian in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak. The two meet other survivors (both good and bad) along the way and have to make decisions for the good of the group, choices that may ultimately doom them.

    This truly affecting story is a must for fans of the show and comics as well as those who simply love point-and-click adventures with great characters!

    Call of Cthulhu

    2018 | Cyanide

    Cyanide’s Call of Cthulhu is an excellent distillation of the mythos that make H.P. Lovecraft such a pivotal part of the history of horror fiction to this day. While it’s technically based on the pen-and-paper role-playing game of the same name from the ‘80s, it's Lovecraft’s writing, especially the short story “The Call of Cthulhu,” that provides the backbone for this journey into madness. With careful attention to every detail of Lovecraft’s horrific fictional version of New England, Cyanide recreates the mythos and turns them into a modern nightmare.

    You play as Edward Pierce, a disheveled private investigator with a drinking problem and a dark past. Tasked with solving the mysterious death of a family in 1920s Massachusetts, Pierce must travel to the unsettling Darkwater Island to search for clues. What he discovers is much more terrifying than he could have possibly imagined. Pierce’s adventure soon turns into a surreal run-in with an evil cult and monsters from beyond this earthly realm. With a mixture of exploration, detective work, branching dialogue and skills trees, and an excellent sanity mechanic, Call of Cthulhu does right by the stories that continue to influence horror fiction today.

    We have to also give an honorable mention to 2005's Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, another excellent game based on Lovecraft’s work, primarily the novella “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” Another great story about a detective’s rendezvous with true terror.

    Marvel's Spider-Man 

    2018 | Insomniac

    We were very tempted to give the nod to the excellent Spider-Man 2 video game adaptation or the underrated Spider-Man (2000) from Neversoft, but it’s hard to argue against Marvel’s Spider-Man, one of the best games based on comics ever made. From the webslinging to fast-paced combat to the modern takes on some of Spidey’s most beloved bad guys, there’s so much to love in this open-world adventure that pits Marvel’s greatest hero against the Sinister Six, a band of villains bent on destroying the spider-themed nuisance once and for all.

    Marvel’s Spider-Man often feels like a celebration of all of the Spidey stories that have come before, from the classic work of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko to more modern stuff by Brian Michael Bendis and Dan Slott, and fans will revel in the sheer amount of content that pays homage to that world. There are even quite a few Spidey suits to choose from! If there’s one modern superhero video game you should be playing, it’s this one.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum

    2009 | Rocksteady

    Superhero games had always struggled to live up to the first part of that moniker until the release of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum. A fully 3D Metroidvania which allowed players to don the famed cape and cowl and effectively “Become the Batman” as it were, the game is a great example of what happens when a licensed game is handled by a team that genuinely cares and pays close attention to what it’s based on. Thumbing through 70 years’ worth of Batman comics is a tough job, but someone had to do it!

    In addition to the great characterization of the Dark Knight himself, his respective rogues gallery is what makes this rendition of Gotham’s infamous prison a joy to explore, investigate, and fight through. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill deliver outstanding performances as Batman and the Joker respectively – picking up where they both left off in the beloved Batman: The Animated Series. And all this is layered on top of a counter-heavy combat system which has since gone on to influence most combat-driven AAA games today. Fighting thugs in Arkham Asylum is brutal, as it should be when playing as Batman, but this doesn’t come at the expense of depth thanks to a suite of Bat-gadgets. Sadly, no shark repellent, though.

    Mad Max

    2015 | Avalanche Studios

    Mad Max is not only an excellent adaptation of George Miller’s cruel post-apocalyptic world, it’s a brilliant open-world game for those who want something a bit different from today’s more grindy video game worlds. While there are a fair number of fetch quests, enemy strongholds to invade, and other minutiae that have become the standard of the genre, Mad Max’s focus on vehicular combat really helps it stand out from the competition. From the very beginning, you’re introduced to the Magnum Opus, a customizable muscle car death machine that will become your most powerful tool for surviving the wasteland.

    So integral is the Magnum Opus that much of the story revolves around building up the vehicle in order to challenge Scabrous Scrotus, the psychotic tyrant of a refinery known as Gas Town and son of the grotesque Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road. (Oh yeah, this game is a prequel to Miller’s award-winning third Maxfilm.) There are plenty of weapons and modifications for the Magnum Opus, including a flamethrower and a grapple that lets you pull bandits right out of their cars, sending them flying to a rocky death. Along the way, you’ll meet plenty of colorful characters, including the hunchbacked mechanic, Chumbucket, who accompanies you on your journey through the end of the world.

    The Thing

    2002 | Computer Artworks

    This forgotten third-person shooter developed by Computer Artworks happens to be one of the finest horror titles released in the early 2000s. With The Thing, John Carpenter fans are treated to a worthy sequel to the cult monster movie, which itself is a remake of an adaptation of a novella called “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, the father of modern science-fiction. What makes this game special isn’t that it’s an adaptation of any one version of the story but is instead a sequel to it.

    The Thing takes place after the events of the Carpenter film, as two Special Forces teams arrive in Antarctica to investigate what happened to both the American and Norwegian outposts. You play as Captain Blake, the man in charge of the operation on the ground, and the guy who will become the evil alien’s newest prey. Blake commands a squad of up to four NPCs, soldiers with their own specific roles in the field, and you can control them using basic squad commands.

    Most impressive is the game’s Fear/Trust system, which measures paranoia within your team -- a clever nod to the psychological aspects of the movie. If your teammates suspect that the alien has infected you, they will stop following your orders and even attempt to exterminate you. Fear can also make squad members kill themselves or attack others. To make matters worse, players can become infected after coming into contact with other alien creatures, which means that you’ll have to constantly watch your back around the other humans…

    This is a game that really understands what made its source material so great.

    Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

    2001 | Factor 5

    If you want a Star Wars game that perfectly captures moments from the Original Trilogy, look no further than Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, a space combat game that puts you in the cockpits of Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. The game opens with the daring Death Star attack, a three-part mission that includes the iconic trench run as well as your first encounter with Darth Vader. Pull off this last-ditch effort to thwart the Empire before it obliterates the Rebellion and you’ll be treated to quite a few original missions as well the Battle of Hoth, Battle of Endor, and the Millennium Falcon’s death-defying escape through an asteroid field from The Empire Strikes Back.

    Rogue Squadron II also features plenty of ships from the movies as well as a...1969 Buick Electra! Want to fly Boba Fett’s Slave I? Check. How about the sleek Naboo starfighter from The Phantom Menace? Sure. You can even fly Vader’s TIE Advanced to crush the Rebellion on Yavin. This game is just pure fun.

    Alien: Isolation

    2014 | Creative Assembly

    After the utter disappointment fans of 20th Century Fox’s Alien movies had experienced with 2013’s Colonial Marines, you’d be forgiven for thinking that any chance of a decent (let alone good) game based on the franchise was next to zero. That changed just a year later, however, with the release of Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation, a game that would deliberately shy away from the more action-orientated aspects of the succeeding films to instead successfully replicate the sense of horror and dread first evoked in Ridley Scott’s original "Jaws in Space" masterwork. Stepping into the shoes of Ripley’s estranged daughter, Amanda,Isolation went back to basics and put you on the defensive against just one Xenomorph.

    Taking place on a large spaceport known as Sevastopol Station, the setting absolutely nails the retro-futuristic aesthetic presented in the first Alien movie, fully aligning with the whole "truckers in space" idea which makes the location not just dank and unsettling, but also believable to explore. All these original sensibilities are reinforced by the fact that you’re unable to harm the iconic creature stalking you, instead having to rely on your extremely ineffective flamethrower to catch a moment of breath or simply make a mad dash to the next save point. Alien: Isolation is a first-person horror that forces you to be calm, calculating, and patient. Marvelous!

    GoldenEye 007

    1997 | Rare

    Despite arriving on Nintendo 64 nearly two years after the James Bond movie it was based on, even this wouldn’t stop the lives of '90s players being shaken and stirred forever with the release of GoldenEye 007. While the game’s campaign does a decent job of recreating the film’s sequence of events (even if Pierce Brosnan’s likeness hasn’t aged particularly well), it’s without a doubt in its multiplayer that GoldenEye 007 impressed and made its mark on the first-person shooter landscape forever.

    This was the game that popularized the concept of split-screen local multiplayer on home consoles, taking a genre previously thought best suited to PC and bringing such high-stakes competition into the living room. GoldenEye 007 featured a good mix of game modes all inspired by other Bond movies – You Only Live Twice, Licence to Kill, The Man with the Golden Gun– in addition to an extensive character roster that’s not so much GoldenEye-exclusive as it is a celebration of the franchise’s then 30-year history. Of course, you’d know you were playing with true friends when no one selected the much shorter and harder to hit Oddjob.

    Dragon Ball FighterZ

    2018 | Arc System Works

    Years of fighting games based on the Dragon Ball universe were leading to this: Dragon Ball FighterZ, a pitch-perfect adaptation of the combat featured in the shows, movies, and manga. Ths 2D fighting game pits all of Dragon Ball’s most famous heroes and villains against each other in a whole new story featuring the titular Dragon Balls and the mystical Shenron, the Androids, the Red Ribbon Army, and even Beerus, the God of Destruction.

    Dragon Ball FighterZ also features an all-new character designed by series creator Akira Toriyama, Android 21, whom you’ll fall in love with by the end of the story. There’s plenty to love in this fighting game, especially if you’re a fan of the more over-the-top aspects of Dragon Ball (e.g. Goku’s Super Saiyan Blue transformation).

    South Park: The Stick of Truth

    2014 | Obsidian Entertainment

    A licensed game plagued with numerous delays and an extremely problematic development cycle, imagine our surprise to find that South Park: The Stick of Truth was actually quite brilliant when it released back in March 2014. Primarily a turn-based RPG which sees you constantly swap-in and swap-out a familiar cast of characters, The Stick of Truth perfectly encapsulates the TV show’s intentionally offensive humor, whether it’s in how you attack (farting is a genuine method), the various makeshift weapons, or a story which sees you stumble across everything including an alien conspiracy, Paris Hilton, and Nazi zombies.

    What makes The Stick of Truth truly shine is that, due to its paper-like art style, while playing you eventually get the feeling you’re interacting within an actual South Park episode. As your own player-created character, simply referred to by others as “the new kid,” you’ll join the gang on an adventure that suitably gets so outlandish by the end you’ll forget how you got there. The game was developed under the guise of the show’s creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone who, despite a fairly basic battle system, did an excellent job of translating the South Park tone and feel to a video game.

    John Saavedra is Games Editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    The creator of Diablo has suggested that Blizzard's greed is slowly destroying the studio.

    Diablo Creator Blizzard
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 15, 2018

    David Brevik, the creator of Diablo and the upcoming indie title It Lurks Below, recently went on a bit of a rant regarding the state of Blizzard in which he accused the company of prioritizing profits over its employees.

    "The people above Blizzard, who are profit happy, [are saying] 'Oh my God, Fortnite is making a fucking shit ton,'" Brevik said on a stream that featured Twitch streamer thejunglequeen playing the Diablo-like Path of Exile. "'Overwatch isn't Fortnite...Why have you wronged us?...We're going to get rid of the profit sharing program. We don't like this. We don't like the fact that low-level employees make decent money at Blizzard. We're going to get rid of this program because we need more profits to increase our stock price and improve our shareholders and the elite 1% of the company.'"

    Brevik continued to bash Blizzard by suggesting that some of the recent corporate decisions made by the company (or for the company) may have been responsible for Blizzard co-founder Michael Morhaime shockingly leaving the company in October. 

    "'You don't like this very much, Mike Morhaime? Well too fucking bad, you're gone,'" Brevik said regarding Morhaime's departure. "'Now we pass it and we get more profits...more money in my pocket, motherfucker, for your work that you're doing.'"

    Remarkably, Brevik doesn't stop there. He also talks about how he knows about "some of the things [Blizzard] has planned" and wonders whether "Blizzard even be close to the same" if these projects don't go well. He also laments how many people have left the company and seems to question whether or not Blizzard is really even Blizzard anymore. You can watch the stream in full in the video below (skip to about 3:38:10 for the aforementioned comments):

    Let's get a few things out of the way before we dive into this a bit. First off, Brevik admitted that he was inebriated during this stream. Second, he states that he is speculating a bit regarding the specifics of Morhaime's departure as well as some of the other things he mentioned. 

    However, it's 100-percent true that Blizzard has altered its employee bonus program (which the company has said it's compensated for by altering employee salaries). Brevik also claims that Blizzard has ditched its profit sharing program. It's unclear at this time if this is, in fact, the case. It's also true that Morhaime's departure from the company was abrupt and came around the same time that Blizzard allegedly cut the employee profit share program and changed the employee bonus program.

    In case you're out of the loop, this discussion regarding the state of Blizzard is rather timely as Blizzard recently revealed a very controversial mobile adaptation of Diablo and also announced that it plans on making mobile versions of more of its games. These moves have thrust some of the other controversial business decisions that Blizzard has recently made into a far larger spotlight. 

    We're reaching out to Blizzard for comment and will keep you updated as we learn more. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    EA is resurrecting some beloved games in the Command and Conquer franchise.

    Command and Conquer EA Remaster
    News Matthew Byrd
    Nov 15, 2018

    EA has confirmed that they will remaster Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and associated expansion packs for these games. 

    This news comes from EA producer Jim Vessella who took to the Command & Conquer subreddit to share the good news. Knowing that fans might be hesitant to celebrate considering that this is still EA that we're talking about, Vessella also revealed that Petroglyph Games (which employs several of the people who worked on the original versions of these Command & Conquer games) will be developing the remasters. 

    "How are we possibly going to remaster these titles while maintaining the authenticity of the original experiences?," said Vessella. "Bottom line, there is no better way to achieve this than to partner with some of the talented developers who brought these original games to life."

    Members of Petroglyph games spoke about some of their plans for these remasters by revealing that they will receive 4K upgrades as well as a variety of technical and gameplay improvements. They say that their goal is to "turn back the clock" and add what they would have wanted to see in these Command & Conquertitles. Sadly, it sounds like they're only getting started on the development of these titles. That means that we likely won't see these remasters for quite some time. 

    The discussion regarding these remasters started when EA producer Jim Vessella dropped in on the Command & Conquer subreddit to talk about the upcoming Command & Conquer mobile game. He was very...diplomatic concerning the franchise fanbase's reaction to the game and the call for a proper Command & Conquer title on PC. 

    "As most of you may know, we recently announced Command & Conquer: Rivals, a mobile game set in the Command & Conqueruniverse," said Vassella. "Following the reveal of Rivals, we heard you loud and clear: the... community also wants to see the franchise return to PC. And as a fan of C&C for over 20 years, I couldn’t agree more. With that in mind we’ve been exploring some exciting ideas regarding remastering the classic PC games, and already have the ball rolling on our first effort to celebrate the upcoming 25th Year Anniversary."

    Following its lukewarm E3 2018 reception, Command & Conquer: Rivals was thoroughly bashed by just about every fan of the series and gamers in general. It's a decent enough looking mobile game so far as that goes, but it bears no real resemblance to the Command & Conquerfranchise as it was in its prime. It's certainly not enough to compete with the best modern RTS games out there

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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