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(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)
(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)

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    Raiden, Shao Kahn, and TWO Scorpions?! Here's everything we know about Mortal Kombat 11 so far...

    Mortal Kombat 11 Release Date, Trailer, and News
    News Gavin Jasper
    Jan 11, 2019

    Things got a bit crazy the last time we visited the world of Mortal Kombat. Raiden traveled back in time to prevent Shao Kahn from ruling the multiverse. Next thing you know, Raiden’s an asshole, Liu Kang and Kitana rule Hell, Scorpion’s a human again, Johnny Cage is immortal, and there are movie aliens and slasher villains running amok. It’s been about three years since Mortal Kombat X, which means it's about time for a sequel. 

    At The Game Awards 2018, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon took the stage to announce Mortal Kombat 11 with a brutal trailer that is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, it's about as NSFW as it gets. You've been warned. The trailer is all cutscene and no actual gameplay, but it’s still very interesting.

    Check it out below:

    Okay. So. We have Raiden in his corrupt fascist state. More eagle-eyed fans might even notice that he’s wearing the magical amulet of Shinnok, the last game's final boss. He gets in a violent battle with Scorpion, who is still in his human form. Even if he’s the face of the series, Scorpion doesn’t do so well and gets horribly murdered.

    Except...here comes UltimateMortal Kombat 3 Scorpion?! What?! The official description for the YouTube video claims, “The all-new Custom Character Variations give you unprecedented control to customize the fighters,” so I guess that’s what that’s all about. Perhaps this is an evolution of last game’s variations engine mixed with Injustice 2’s armor system.

    Further Reading: Mortal Kombat Character Ranked

    The new/old Scorpion proceeds to get the best of Raiden and we get a very cryptic shot of a bald woman covered in a glowing, cloudy effect standing near a giant hourglass. What does it all mean? Did Raiden’s actions in Mortal Kombat 9 cause some excessive damage to the space-time continuum? It certainly is a good way to sidestep major character deaths.

    Well, we’ll find out soon enough because here are the important dates:

    - You can pre-order on December 7, 2018. Doing so will get you Shao Kahn DLC and beta access.

    - The Community Reveal Event will be on January 17, 2019. This is when NetherRealms will show actual gameplay footage and give us an idea of what kind of crazy shit we'll be able to do in the game.

    - Sometime in March 2019, beta access will be available, but only for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

    - The Global Launch is April 23, 2019. Prepare yourself.

    Additionally, you can check out the very cool cover art for the game above. Unsurprisingly, it's all about Scorpion.

    Mortal Kombat 11 will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. We’ll have more news as it happens!

    Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and has his fingers crossed for Mokap’s return. Read his other articles here and follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L


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    New Super Mario Bros. U has been revived on the Nintendo Switch and we're pretty happy about it. Our review...

    Release Date: January 11, 2019
    Platform: Switch
    Developer: Nintendo
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Platformer

    The latest Wii U game to get a second chance on the Switch is New Super Mario Bros. U, a well-regarded 2012 launch title that far too few people had the opportunity to play on Nintendo’s ill-fated tablet console. Luckily, the Switch has given the game a new lease on life and it's to our delight.

    New Super Mario Bros. U doesn’t stray far from the classic Mario formula. Levels, enemies, and even music are liberally borrowed from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, but with a fresh coat of HD paint and the addition of simultaneous four-player co-op. That so much of what’s here is based on previous Mario games isn’t a bad thing. Spitting out shells while riding Yoshi and making your way through a tricky lava-filled castle to face a Koopaling never get old, but the level design and power-ups here never quite reach the same heights as the old 2D Mario games.

    Further Reading: The Brilliance of 1983's Mario Bros. Arcade Game

    The original New Super Mario Bros. U and its expansion, New Super Luigi U, are here largely intact with two big additions: playable characters Toadette and Nabbit. Toadette is the game’s “easier” mode. She stops and turns on a dime, controls better on ice, and naturally swims like she’s wearing a penguin suit. She can also grab the game’s new Super Crown item, which turns her into Peachette, basically the super floaty version of Peach we all know and love from Super Mario Bros. 2.

    Nabbit was previously playable in New Super Luigi U, but here he’s available throughout the entire game as the ridiculously easy mode. Nabbit can’t pick up power-ups, but he’s completely invincible to everything but pits. If you just want to breeze through the game in a couple hours (or play co-op with an extremely young child), Nabbit is the way to go.

    While New Super Mario Bros. U does have some challenging levels, it’s not exactly Dark Souls when it comes to difficulty. It’s a game that’s easily beaten in a weekend with a little perseverance. Outside of letting inexperienced players join in with Toadette and Nabbit or grabbing a particularly difficult star coin, there’s little reason to spend much time with them. The real difficulty spike comes from New Super Luigi U, with its redesigned levels, 100-second time limits, and looser controls. It’s an expansion best saved for after the main game and more experienced players.

    Further Reading: 10 Remarkable Facts About the Super Mario Bros. Movie

    Still, New Super Luigi never quite lives up to its source material, filling an odd niche where it’s too similar to the base game to please those looking for a new experience, yet just different enough to turn off those who want more Mario. I wasn’t a huge fan of the expansion when it came out, and this port hasn’t really changed my mind.

    Probably the best thing about New Super Mario Bros. U on the Switch is that at long last it’s finally playable anywhere, thanks to the console's handheld capabilities. The Wii U always felt like it was on the cusp of portable greatness until you tried to take its tablet controller to the other room and realized just how limited it was. Now, I can finally play New Super Mario Bros. U on the train or while staying overnight at a hotel, and with its short levels and pick-up and play nature, this feels like the version of the game we should have had to begin with.

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

    4/5
    ReviewChris Freiberg
    New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Review
    Jan 15, 2019

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    Recent charts show Valve's Artifact has suffered almost a 100% decline in popularity.

    Artifact Valve Players
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 15, 2019

    Valve's Artifact has seemingly lost almost all of its players just months after its release.

    The latest graph from Steam Charts (a website that shows how many people are playing Steam games at a certain time and other information), reveals that Artifact's daily active player count has been in steady deline for weeks now. How bad is it? Well, according to the site, Artifact's peak player count was recorded as 60,740 concurrent players. As of this writing, that number sits at just over 2,580.

    While the 24-hour peak for the game was recorded at over 3,000 concurent players, some sites report that it dropped as low as just over 1,600 concurrent players as of recently. Put it all together, and you're talking about roughly a 97% drop-off in active players.

    It's not uncommon for many games to suffer a dip in active players after the launch hype has died down, but this dip is unusual for a few reasons. First off, this is a Valve game we're talking about. Valve might not have the same name power they used to during the Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, CS:GO glory days, but they're still Valve, and Artifact is a Valve game on the company's own platform. The idea of a Valve game on Steam not catching on and staying hot is hard to comprehend. Even Team Fortress 2, a game that isn't nearly as popular as it used to be, recently registered over 50,000 concurrent players.

    While we don't know the current concurrent player count of Hearthstone, which is presumably still the genre king in terms of popularity, a quick look at other CCG titles on Steam reveals just how bad of shape Artifact is in. Shadowverse, a much smaller CCG title, recently hosted almost twice as many active players as Artifact. Slay the Spire, a CCG rougelike that doesn't even offer competitive multiplayer, has about 7,000 more active players than Valve's Artifact at this moment.

    It's not too late for Valve to turn things around, but for a company that says they want to make more video games again and who seem to be in the process of re-hiring major pieces of talent, this has to be disheartening. If Artifact continues to fail, they might just fall back on their Steam profits.

    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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    From the makers of Detention comes an intriguing slice of East Asian folklore called Devotion.

    Devotion horror game trailer
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 15, 2019

    Red Candle Games, the developers of the brilliant indie horror game, Detention, have revealed their next project.

    Titled Devotion, this project is both thankfully reminiscent of Detention and a surprisingly ambitious departure from what came before. Batting for the familiar is the game's use of an East Asian settting and foklore. This particular title takes place in Taiwan sometime during the '80s and tells the story of a deeply religious family that was burdened - perhaps even cursed - by their beliefs. You play a family member who must explore the family apartemnt and discover somedark truths.

    The big change this time around is that Devotion plays out from a first-person perspective whereas Detention was a largely 2D minimalistic title. While the change in perspective may be attributed to an increase in resources and experience, you get the feeling that the developers are going for more of an overtly horrifying Gone Homekind of vibe with this title. The debut trailer alone shows some pretty disturbing images made all the more unnerving by the fact you must face them head-on.

    It really does seem like Red Candle Games is leaning heavier on the idea of visual scares with this title. Detention wasn't necessairly lacking in that department, but that game's horror was rooted more in psycology. Some people have even gone so far as to say it was more of a tradgedy than a bonafide horror game. It feels like Devotion will envoke those same themes of tradgedy, but there certainly seems to be more of an emphasis this time around on outright scaring the player.

    Of course, some of this is speculative given that we really don't have much concrete information on this game at this time. We're going to assume that this title won't feature the kind of action seen in first-person horror titles like Resident Evil 7 and will instead be more about solving mysteries (puzzles) and advancing the story. That being said, Detention threw some gameplay curveballs at the player, so you can't really rule anything out.

    Devotion is certainly coming at a welcome time. Not only is its February 19th release date on PC far removed from the October time period that usually offers us all the horror games we're going to get in a year, but Red Candle Games is one of the few horror studios out there who embody the principles that the greatest horror game designers of all-time have relied on.

    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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    What you need to know about Team Sonic Racing, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    Team Sonic Racing
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 15, 2019

    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). 

    Further Reading: Team Sonic Racing Hands-on Preview

    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. 

    Here's everything else we know about the game:

    Team Sonic Racing News

    The latest update for Team Sonic Racing confirms that Eggman, Metal Sonic, and Zavok will team up to wreck havoc on the racetrack. You can get your first look at the squad of high-speed villains in the photo below:

    Team Sonic Racing Release Date

    Team Sonic Racing is coming on May 21, 2019. It will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

    Further Reading: Sonic Almost Looked Like Eggman

    Team Sonic Racing Trailer

    A trailer premiered at E3 2018:

    Here is the announcement trailer:

    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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    Two classic Hitman titles are being remastered in this just announced HD collection.

    Hitman HD Collection Absolution Blood Money
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 15, 2019

    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and IO Interactive have announced the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection.

    The name might be a little confusing given the recent soft reboot of the Hitman franchise, but this Enhanced Collection actually isn't related to the 2016 Hitman title or 2018's Hitman 2. Instead, it features HD remasters of Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Absolution. Both of these titles will feature enhanced 60 FPS gameplay as well as optional 4K resolution. 

    “We’re very happy with this collection and how we were able to update and remaster two of our classic Hitman titles for modern consoles,” said Hakan Abrak, CEO, IO Interactive. “Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Absolution have helped us on our journey to where we are today, and we’re looking forward to players enjoying them in 4K and 60 fps.”

    Despite the promised enhanced visuals, it's important to remember this is a remaster and not a remake. That means that you shouldn't expect this game to be on the level of the recent Hitman games in terms of raw visuals. Instead, each of these titles will likely feature some smoothed rough edges and other such touch-ups. 

    What really matters, though, is that this collection will give new fans and old fans the chance to experience two of the more interesting games in the Hitman franchise. Hitman: Blood Money is regularly cited as the best in the series by fans who fondly remember the game's spectacular (and weirder) mission/level design which has since become a staple of the franchise. Hitman: Absolution, meanwhile, is a much more controversial title that clearly paved the way for the excellent modern Hitman games, but was plagued by technical issues and questionable design decisions. 

    The Hitman HD Enhanced Collection will launch digitally on January 11 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There's no word regarding a PC release or versions for any other consoles at this time. 

    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 next Batman game could see the Dark Knight face off against the Court of Owls!

    Batman: Court of Owls Game Rumors
    News John Saavedra
    Jan 15, 2019

    It's been the talk of the town for quite a while that WB Montreal, the studio behind Batman: Arkham Origins, is working on a new game starring the Dark Knight. According to a series of rumors over the past few weeks, including one sparked by an employee at the studio, it seems that the new game will see Batman face off against the Court of Owls, a criminal organization made up of the wealthiest citizens in Gotham City. 

    The Court of Owls rumors began when production coordinator Valerie Valdez posted a picture of a t-shirt with an owl-themed logo that's similar to the one used by the villains in the comics:

    WB Montreal did not comment on the game at the time, but the rumor mill is back at it today thanks to new images revealed by digital artist Eddie Mendoza, who uploaded three pieces depicting Batman fighting Talons, the Court of Owls' elite assassins, to his ArtStation portfolio. According to Games Radar, Mendoza took down the images, which he claimed he'd done just for fun, a short time later, causing the internet to only grow more suspicious. Were Mendoza's pieces actually concept art for an upcoming Batman game?

    In a statement to Games Radar, Mendoza clarified that "the images are just fanart [and] I am not affiliated with WB or WB Montreal." The artist explained that he took down the paintings to "adjust the lighting." The images have not been re-uploaded as of this writing. We're not going to post the art here, but you can find them elsewhere if you look hard enough.

    Further Reading: 25 Essential Batman: The Animated Series Episodes

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the Court of Owls, the criminal organization (although you could probably call it an owl cult?) made its debut in 2011 in the early days of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's fantastic run on Batman. The Caped Crusader faced off against the Court in a battle that almost cost him both mind and body. Along the way, Bruce discovered that he had a bigger connection to the Court than he could have ever imagined, a shocking twist that still leaves me breathless just thinking about it so many years later. Needless to say, the story is worth a read, especially since the Court still shows up in current DC books and has even made an appearance on Gotham. It's a group worth knowing.

    WB's upcoming superhero projects have long been the subject of scrutiny from anxious fans. WB Montreal is said to be working on two separate DC games. If one of them is this Court of Owls game, then the other might be a Damian Wayne game first uncovered by Kotaku. The studio was previously working on a Suicide Squad game, but that was canceled in 2016.

    Recently, Rocksteady co-founder Sefton Hill shut down rumors that the Batman Arkham studio is working on a Superman game. There are also reports that the team is working on a Justice League game, but take that with a grain of salt. 

    We'll keep you updated as we learn more about the next Batman game! In the meantime, here's a guide to every upcoming superhero 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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    Another Star Wars game has been canceled by EA. This time, it's the open-world game being developed by EA Vancouver...

    Star Wars Game Canceled
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Jan 16, 2019

    Electronic Arts has canceled another Star Wars game, this time an open-world title in development at EA Vancouver, according to Kotaku. Codenamed Orca, the game was still in the early phases of development. The outlet reports that EA decided to cancel the project because the publisher feared the game would not be ready for a 2020 release date. EA Vancouver will instead begin work on another, "smaller-scale"Star Warsgame.

    Little is known about Orca except that it was to feature open-world gameplay. Job listings in early 2018 suggested that the game would have had an online component as well, including matchmaking and live services. According to Kotaku, Orca would have allowed players to "explore various open-world planets and work with different factions" with either a "scoundrel or bounty hunter" character. 

    Orca was actually born out of the ashes of another canceled game being designed by the now-shuttered Visceral Games. That project was called Ragtag and it would have starred a band of rogues led by a scoundrel named Dodger, as they went on heists across the galaxy. Ragtag was described as "Star Wars meets Ocean's Eleven" and would have been set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, tackling story beats such as the aftermath of the destruction of Alderaan.

    Originally envisioned as an action-adventure game, EA decided to cancel Ragtag after months of troubled production at Visceral that saw a multiplayer component tacked on to the more linear single-player campaign per the publisher's orders. Tensions were also growing at the studio over a lack of resources and creative differences. Visceral was closed down in October 2017. 

    At the time, EA explained that it had canceled Visceral's Star Wars game because players don't enjoy linear experiences as much anymore. The publisher described the pivot to a more open-ended game as a necessary one. 

    "It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design," former EA chief design officer Patrick Soderlund said in a blog post announcing the game's cancelation. "Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore."

    Unlike Visceral, EA Vancouver will get another shot at a Star Wars game. Details on the new project are very scarce at the moment, but we'll keep you updated as we learn more. In the meantime, read more about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the upcoming game from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment. Hopefully, both of these games will actually see the light of day.

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


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    Dragons are finally coming to Elder Scrolls Online along with the Elsweyr update.

    Elder Scrolls Online Elsweyr Dragons
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 16, 2019

    Elder Scrolls Online will soon receive a massive influx of new content that might change the game in some drastic ways.

    It seems that 2019 is being branded the "Year of the Dragon" for Elder Scrolls Online. For the first time, all four quarterly content releases that come out this year will be part of one epic tale. Each content release will tell a new chapter of this story. Details regarding this story are a bit thin at this time, but we do know that it will start with the massive Elsweyr content release. 

    Elsweyr will take players to the homeworld of the Khajit (which is also one of the areas that fans have speculated could be featured in The Elder Scrolls VI). This area is described as being roughly the same size as the previous ESO zone addition (Summerset), which is really just another way of saying that it is going to be really, really big. That area will support all of the usual content updates (new dungeons, delves, trials, etc.). 

    On top of that, players will be able to explore the area as the game's newest class, the Necromancer. These necromancers are described as one of the most requested additions to the game and will apparently be able to control dark magic that includes the ability to “command the dead and cast powerful elemental spells.”

    Of course, a Year of the Dragon wouldn't be much without any actual dragons. That's why dragons are finally joining the game after years of requests for the Skyrim icons to patrol the game's skies. These dragons will be added to the game in February and will largely star as part of global events that see them attack various areas of the world. Their full purpose and the extent of their involvement in the upcoming year of content remains to be seen.

    The Elsweyr content add-on will be released in June. Until then, you can take advantage of a pre-order deal which will grant you immediate access to the base game along with the Summersetand Morrowind expansions

    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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    Not long after being left for dead, Hitman developer IO Interactive is apparently back on its feet.

    HItman 2 IO Interactive New Studio
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 16, 2019

    IO Interactive has opened a new studio in Malmö, Sweeden. 

    "We are super excited and proud to announce IOI Malmö," reads an update on the developer's website from Hakan Abrak, CEO, IO Interactive. "We will expand IOI to join a buzzling game developer community and bring our own unique IOI culture to this amazing town."

    The update seems to indicate that this new studio is already fully-operation and will join the studio's Copenhagen office as "one family." It also seems that IO is using this expansion as an opportunity to expand their staff. They've already posted some new positions on their career page. 

    As for what this new studio will do, that's a little vague at the moment. The studio's update on the opening indicates that this opening will "expand our muscles for creating brand-new and exciting endeavours, new universes, new franchises." That would seem to indicate that the new studio is going to either be focusing on some new projects or will at least be assisting the other offices in such projects sometime in the near future. However, it was also stated in the announcement that the new studio will "strengthen IO Interactive’s commitment to deliver exceptional content to the HITMAN franchise." 

    That last line would seem to indicate that the "one family" approach means that both studios will work on developing DLC for Hitman 2 and perhaps even a new Hitman game. While we imagine that there will be some kind of division of labor at some point (especially if they start working on an entirely new Hitman game), it seems that this is really just an effort to expand the studio's workforce rather than create a new branch for a specific purpose. 

    In any case, it's nice to see that IO is seemingly doing quite well considering that they're not that far removed from being let go by Square Enix. We suppose that Hitman 2 must have done quite well despite largely being a re-tread of the previous game's ideas

    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 mysterious Dragon Ball Action RPG is in development from Bandai Namco.

    Dragon Ball Action RPG Bandai Namco
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 16, 2019

    Bandai Namco is working on a new Dragon Ball Z Action-RPG title. 

    The game was revealed via an admittedly vague tweet from Bandai Namco in which the company revealed they are working on a project called Dragon Ball Game Project Z. We highly doubt that's the final name of the game, but it's not impossible that Project Z could be worked into the final title considering that Dragon Ball FighterZ performed well and had a very simple title. 

    The studio has promised to reveal more information about the game next month at the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals. In fact, the same tweet reveals that the "Warrior from Universe 11" is joining the fighting game's roster. We assume that we'll also be hearing more about that during the World Tour Finals event. 

    As for the Dragon Ball Action-RPG, the translation of the tweet doesn't make it clear whether or not the development of the title will begin this year or whether we can expect to see the game sometime during 2019. We would guess the latter given that this would be an odd time to announce a game so far ahead in advance, but it's not like the former is beyond the realm of possibility. 

    While the success of FighterZ may give many fans hope regarding the possible success of this upcoming title, it might be important to consider the fact that game was made by a developer that is well-known for their experience with the fighting game genre. We don't yet know who is going to be developing this upcoming Action-RPG, but our excitement for it may depend heavily on who is actually handling the development. 

    We're also curious to see whether this is an Ultimate Alliance-style game that allows you to assemble a group of famous characters, or if walks down the Dark Souls path of the genre.

    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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    We spent a day with Metro Exodus and found it to be a winning combination of open-world exploration and frightening corridors…

    Metro Exodus Preview
    FeatureRob Leane
    Jan 16, 2019

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    In January, Den of Geek was lucky enough to spend a day with Metro Exodus. A massive nightclub was converted into a digital playground for the day, with over a hundred journalists spread across PC setups and Xbox One consoles. 4A Games prepared three levels for us from its hotly anticipated threequel, which will take this Russia-set apocalyptic survival series out from its traditional subterranean setting and thrust players into a dangerous new world.  

    “After two games based in the tunnels, [4A Games] decided to embark on an ambitious new vision for the series”, explained Huw Beynon, head of global brand management at publisher Deep Silver, in his official intro. “We’ve gone out of the tunnels and now we’re going to join Artyom and his band of Spartan Rangers as they board the Aurora [train] and embark on this epic, transcontinental journey across Russia. It will take place over a calendar year through all four seasons.” 

    With that teaser and a few words of warning/top tips out of the way, we settled down at an Xbox and prepared to be scared. To give you an idea of how we got on, here’s a rundown of our first impressions...

    Massive and entrapping at the same time

    The first level we load up is entitled The Volga. This segment – which debuted at E3 – is set during spring. The level opens with Artyom and his chums traveling in the Aurora, a sizeable locomotive that serves as a hub for the core characters at this point in the game. Looking out from the moving train, there’s vast terrain reaching out in all directions. It’s immediately obvious that we’re dealing with a far larger play area than the previous Metro games allowed. 

    Further Reading: The Games to Play in 2019

    The train is short on fuel, which means we’re soon given a mission and sent out into the world. It doesn’t take long to learn that, although this locale is sizeable, it’s far from entirely safe. Even though you can see a long way into the distance and imagine a lot of possibilities, the slightest wrong step will bring mutants and beasties rushing to your location. No matter how lovely the new scenery seems - and, visually, it does look great - it doesn’t take long for Metro’s familiar sense of claustrophobia to set in. 

    You’ll need to do your homework

    To help you tackle its manifold threats, which can sneak up on you from any angle, Metro Exodus tasks the player with scavenging/crafting to build up a stock of ammo and health packs. If you go rushing around without doing the proper preparation, you’ll soon end up inundated with by enemies without a way to take them down. A gung-ho approach may seem fun at first, but it soon becomes an epic struggle.

    This means that, if you want to progress in this game at a reasonable rate, you’ll need to do some busy work. You’ll want to pick up any items you can and pop open your backpack at regular intervals (because, thankfully, you can craft items on the go using the trusty luggage strapped to your back).

    Further Reading: 20 Most Disappointing Games Ever Made

    Without doing this homework, and without taking a stealthy approach to traversing the wilderness, you’ll likely find yourself stuck in a loop of dying and reloading. It’s easy to die in this game, but if you’re feeling trapped, the solution is normally an easy one: step away from the action and do some more preparation.

    Sticking to a structure

    Across The Volga and the two other levels we played (the summertime sojourn dubbed The Caspian and the autumnal fun of The Tiger), the structure of the game became clear: each new chunk of the Metro Exodus story begins with Artyom traveling to a different location, a fresh area which presents its own unique challenges. It’s like a series of mini open worlds stitched together by the magic of railway travel. 

    Once you’ve managed to make your way from the parked train to the next major settlement (hopefully not dying too many times along the way), there’s always a flurry of excitement: a new character to talk to, a challenge to overcome, a bunch of nasty people to incapacitate, or perhaps an ominous-looking area to explore. The game does love to find a reason to trap you in a building, which allows plentiful opportunities for corridor-set action in the classic Metro mold.

    Further Reading: Silent Hill, BioShock, and the Art of Scary Games

    The shooting, slashing, and stealth mechanics are easy to pick up, and your handy wristwatch gadget – which points you in the right direction, reminds you to change your gas mask filter and tells you when you’re in a visible position - is very useful for navigating scenarios and avoiding unwanted encounters. 

    A whole new world

    As you explore the different open-world areas of Metro Exodus, it becomes increasingly obvious that this particular apocalyptic wasteland isn’t as barren and uninhabited as you’d previously been led to believe. The community within the Moscow Metro is far from the only settlement to survive the nuclear fallout, and some of the other survivors are a lot less sane than the characters we’ve come to know in previous games.

    In the segments of the game we played, we came across a cult that hates all technology, a lighthouse keeper that seems to be a new ally, some very angry aggressors in a tunnel, and a band of pirate-like people that use crossbows as their weapon of choice. Interestingly, a couple of these encounters ended with the opponents surrendering after our first few takedowns. 

    Further Reading: 25 Most Brutal Bosses in Video Games

    Meeting new characters and piecing together a picture of what has happened to society after the nuclear war of 2013 is a gift that keeps on giving. The more you play, the more you understand what has become of the world. We didn’t get much of a sense of the story, besides Artyom and his cohorts attempting to find some sort of government/military high command, but we still had a lot of fun sneaking around the wasteland, crafting at every opportunity, getting into scrapes and trying to put the bigger picture together.

    Autumn could steal the show

    The Vulgarand The Caspian seemed to be cut from a similar cloth, albeit with different objectives, a slightly switched-up arsenal of weapons, and different weather conditions (the sandy, sun-drenched style of The Caspianmade it frightfully hard to spot certain types of mutants, for one thing). Despite the satisfying surface-level differences between these two levels, your tasks remained the same: explore the area, complete objectives, and keep topping up your supplies. 

    The autumn-set section, The Tiger, was a completely different kettle of fish altogether. Things go sideways in a big way, very quickly, at the start of this level. Artyom ends up separated from the group – without his backpack full of weapons and supplies – in a brand new area of the map. This area has a bit more greenery than we’d seen elsewhere, but still packs its fair share of threats. 

    Further Reading: Hino Tori Is Konami's Strange Hidden Gem

    Those pirate-like crossbow-wielders show up in this segment of the game, giving you a brand new challenge to overcome that’s unlike anything else you’ve seen from Metro. With your own crossbow and none of your usual tricks, you’ve got to sneak around and take these skilled fighters out. This felt like a level from a totally different game – something a bit more Assassin’s Creed-y, maybe – and this exciting surprise was absolutely the highlight of our time with Metro Exodus.

    We may not have played the full game yet, but we definitely saw enough here to pique our interest. The game feels like a challenging, eye-opening expansion of the Metro world, with loads of new additions and plenty of those familiar claustrophobic scares. This autumn level, in particular, promises that Metro Exodus has the potential to blow this franchise wide open and flex some brand new muscles. 

    Certainly, our hype levels have grown exponentially, and the game’s Feb. 15 release date is now circled emphatically on our calendar. We’ll bring you a full review as soon as we can and hope the game can live up to our expectations.


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    Pioneer, the sci-fi game Ubisoft teased in Watch Dogs 2, seems to have been cancelled.

    Pioneer Ubisoft Sci-Fi Game Cancelled
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 16, 2019

    Ubisoft's previously teased sci-fi game is apparently no more. This news comes from former Ubisoft creative director Alex Hutchinson, who tweeted out the previously released teaser for the game along with a message that simply stated "RIP Pioneer." It was believed at the time that Pioneer was the working name for the project. This tweet was echoed by fellow former Ubisoft employee Jonathan Cooper. 

    Let's do a little historical housekeeping before diving into this further. The Pioneer conversation began in a relatively unusual way when fans discovered a well-hidden teaser for the game in Watch Dogs 2. While there were some who thought the teaser was just a clever little Easter Egg (it was even found in Ubisoft's in-game offices), it was later confirmed by sources close to the project that the teaser was related to a sci-fi game that was either actively in development at Ubisoft or was at least in development at the studio at one time. 

    All of that makes these recent tweets that much more interesting. At the time of the initial Pioneer"reveal," those who had knowledge of the game itself indicated that the project wasn't being talked about all that much (even internally). It seems that Ubisoft liked to ensure that word of such projects was kept pretty close to heart. Even other studios within the company weren't sure of the specifics. 

    So why is it that these two former Ubisoft employees sent out what appears to be confirmation of this project's cancellation within a relatively similar timeframe? Our best guess is that the Pioneerproject was floating in limbo for quite some time and was likely not being actively developed by a significant portion of the company. It was probably recently scrapped entirely and these two got word of it through the grapevine (likely because they were involved with its development at some point).

    In any case, those looking for new sci-fi experiences from major studios still have Obsidian's The Outer Worlds to look forward to as well as Bethesda's mysterious Starfield project

    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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    Electronic Arts may not be entirely happy with the Star Wars license deal it made with Disney in 2013.

    Star Wars Battlefront
    News John Saavedra
    Jan 16, 2019

    It's been a long, brutal five years for Electronic Arts when it comes to its coveted Star Wars license, which the publisher acquired back in 2013, only months after Disney's $4 billion Lucasfilm buyout. In the years since EA secured the rights to make Star Warsconsole games, the publisher has only managed to release two titles: Star Wars Battlefront and its controversial sequel. But there have been other projects in the works in that time, including the scrapped action-adventure game from the now-shuttered Visceral Games and an open-world title from EA Vancouver that was just canceled this week.

    Why has EA had so much trouble getting new Star Warsgames on shelves? According to Kotaku, EA's difficulties with the Star Wars license might have something to do with CEO Andrew Wilson, who has reportedly never been "entirely thrilled" with the 10-year licensing deal in the first place. This claim is according to Kotaku's sources inside EA as well as former employees. The publisher responded to the report, calling the rumors "pure speculation and not accurate."

    Wilson has led the company since September 2013, chosen as the CEO of EA just months after the company made the deal with Disney in April of that year. But the deal was actually spearheaded by EA Labels president Frank Gibeau and former EA CEO John Riccitiello, both of whom have since moved on from the company. Wilson inherited the Star Wars deal so to speak.

    As noted by Kotaku, the Wilson era has seen EA largely move away from third-party licenses in order to focus on its own franchises, such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Battlefield, Titanfall, and Anthem. This leaves Star Wars in a strange spot on EA's lineup. Unlike with its first-party titles, EA is forced to consult with Lucasfilm and Disney on every aspect of a Star Wars project, not to mention that it has to share the profits made by these games with the House of Mouse. If the rumors are to be believed, the Star Wars license might be more problematic for EA, a company with plenty of other franchises to do with what it will, than it's worth, at least in the eyes of its CEO.

    Wilson could be counting down the days for this Star Wars deal to be over so that his company can take the weight of arguably the biggest blockbuster franchise of all time off its shoulders. Considering the state of Star Wars games, even the fans might rejoice on that day.

    EA still has a few Star Warsprojects in the pipeline, though. Respawn Entertainment is working on a new action-adventure game called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which is set to release late this year. There are also "smaller-scale" projects in development at EA Vancouver and Motive Studios, according to Kotaku. 

    EA's Star Wars license extends to 2023, so there's still a chance the publisher will turn the ship around and release a few great adventures set in the galaxy far, far away. But so far, the deal just seems to be getting worse all the time...

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


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    Watch all of the big Mortal Kombat 11 announcements right here! New characters, features, fatalities, and much more...

    Mortal Kombat 11: Scorpion
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Jan 16, 2019

    Mortal Kombat 11 made an explosive debut at The Game Awards last month with an epic trailer that depicted how different eras of the franchise would collide in one brutal fight for survival. While we learned that Raiden, Shao Khan, and at least two versions of Scorpion will appear in the Mortal Kombat 11, there's still plenty we don't know about the year's most highly-anticipated fighting game. Luckily, we won't have to wait too long to learn all the details. 

    NetherRealm Studios is hosting a gameplay reveal event on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 1:30 pm ET. This is when the developer will unveil the full scope of the game, including the newest gameplay features, characters, and perhaps even a few new fatalities! Most importantly, we'll get to learn way more about the game's Custom Character Variations, which will give players "unprecedented control to customize the fighters,” according to NetherRealm. (We assume the customization options will be somewhat similar to those featured in Injustice 2.)

    The developer will be streaming the event on Twitch. You can watch all the big announcements along with us by tuning into the live stream below:



    The last installment in the Mortal Kombat series, Mortal Kombat X, saw several factions at war with each other over dominance of Outworld in the aftermath of Shao Khan's defeat. As expected, Earthrealm is threatened and the heroes have to stop Kotal Khan, Mileena, and a resurrected Shinnok from bringing about the annihilation of the planet. It remains to be seen how Mortal Kombat 11 will pick up the loose threads.

    Mortal Kombat 11 will arrive on April 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. You can also pre-order the game now. for access to the Shao Kahn DLC as well as a private beta that will be held in March for PS4 and XBO.

    We'll keep you updated as we learn more. In the meantime, check out our Mortal Kombat character ranking!

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    Assassin's Creed Odyssey's Jonathan Dumont admits, "It is clear that we missed the mark.”

    Assassin's Creed Odyssey DLC Controversy
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 17, 2019

    This Assassin's Creed Odyssey article contains spoilers.

    Jonathan Dumont, the creative director behind Ubisoft's hit game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, has released an apology to fans after the game's latest DLC chapter sparked controversy on the web. It was a chapter called Shadow Heritage, the second part of the DLC trilogy Legacy of the First Blade, that caused this wave of negative reactions.

    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey initially earned a lot of praise for its inclusion of various romance options that spanned different sexual preferences. However, a moment in the Shadow Heritage add-on sees the player locked into having heterosexual relations. Regardless of what gender you chose at the start of the game, or the choices you made along the way, your character ends up having a child with one of Darius' offspring: you are paired sexually with his daughter if you're a man or with his son if you're a woman. Either way, your character has a child with this new partner and secures a bloodline of future assassins.

    Dumont took to the game's official forums to make this statement:

    Reading through player responses of our new DLC for Legacy of the First Blade, Shadow Heritage, we want to extend an apology to players disappointed by a relationship your character partakes in. The intention of this story was to explain how your character’s bloodline has a lasting impact on the Assassins, but looking through your responses it is clear that we missed the mark.

    Further Reading: There's Won't Be a New Assassin's Creed Game in 2019

    He added the following statement, attempting to make the developers' intentions clear and promising that players will be able to end the relationship (although the aforementioned child has already been sired) in the next chapter:

    Our goal was to let players choose between a utilitarian view of ensuring your bloodline lived on or forming a romantic relationship. We attempted to distinguish between the two but could have done this more carefully as we were walking a narrow line between role-play choices and story, and the clarity and motivation for this decision was poorly executed. As you continue the adventure in next episode Bloodline, please know that you will not have to engage in a lasting romantic relationship if you do not desire to.

    The third and final part of this DLC, entitled Bloodline, is expected to arrive in March. It remains to be seen whether this next chapter will solve its predecessor's issues, and whether Ubisoft will be able to get fans it displeased back on board.

    We'll bring you more Assassin's Creed news as we hear it.


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    Giga Wrecker Alt will arrive on the big three consoles with 20 new puzzle stages and more fresh treats...

    Giga Wrecker Alt Release Date, Trailer, and News
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 17, 2019

    Game Freak, the world-renowned creator of the Pokémon franchise, has been cooking up another treat for gamers: there's a new version of Giga Wrecker, the studio's incredibly creative action-adventure 2D puzzle title (that originally lived on Steam), heading to consoles later this year.

    Going by the title Giga Wrecker Alt., this new version of the Metroidvania-inspired game will be released by Game Freak and Rising Star Games for download on Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch on in 2019. There will also be a physical release, handled by Limited Run Games.

    Giga Wrecker Alt. promises to be a significantly beefed up incarnation of the original game, complete with 20 additional puzzle stages in the campaign, a new companion character, and an uber-challenging "Ironman" mode where five times the damage is dished out. There will also be an overhaul of the original localization, which aims to enhance the user experience.

    Further Reading: How the World Became Obsessed with Pokemon

    The visual style of the game looks as manic and entrancing as ever, as you can see above in the official trailer for Giga Wrecker Alt.'s impending console release. The game also promises an entrancing audio experience, with composer Shinji Hosoe (Ridge Racer, Tekken) contributing to the music.

    The game centers on protagonist Reika, who uses her powerful ARCHE (Arms Creating and Handling Effect) abilities to construct weapons on the hoof and overcome increasingly difficult puzzles. This supercharged re-release seems to be a strong bid by Game Freak to reach a new audience for Giga Wrecker and we're certainly all for it.

    We'll bring you more Giga Wrecker Alt.news as it's announced.


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    The Division 2 is coming in 2019. Here's the first trailer plus everything else you need to know!

    The Division 2 Trailer Release Date News
    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jan 17, 2019

    The Division 2, the sequel to the popular military loot shooter, is coming from Ubisoft. 

    "We're thrilled to announce that we are working on Tom Clancy's The Division 2, and that development will be led by Massive Entertainment in collaboration with Ubisoft Reflections, Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft Shanghai and Ubisoft Bucharest," reads a statement on the Ubisoft website. "The Division 2 will be powered by an updated version of the Snowdrop engine that enables us to realize our ambitions for the sequel, but more importantly, we're also taking everything we learned over the past two years and applying it towards the sequel to make sure we get it right."

    Ubisoft has also stated that they are adding a new type of achievement to The Division which, when unlocked, will enable players to access special items in The Division 2

    The game takes place in Washington D.C. in the summer as opposed to the first game's NYC winter setting. Here's everything we know about the game:

    The Division 2 News

    The Division 2's private beta has been confirmed. 

    The game's private beta will run from Thursday, February 7, to Sunday, February 10. Those who have pre-ordered the game will instantly be able to access the beta automatically, but those who did not pre-order the game can still register for the beta via this website. However, only a limited number of those users will be accepted. If you have pre-ordered the game, you can find out exactly how to join the beta here

    The Division 2 Trailer

    This story trailer for The Division 2 reveals a little more about what to expect from the shooter's arching narrative and world. 

    This cinematic preview for The Division 2 that showcases a version of America that has succumbed to a biological plague. Those that remain fight to survive. 

    You can also watch the first trailer for The Division 2:

    And check out a few minutes of gameplay!

    The Division 2 Release Date

    The Division 2 will arrive on March 15, 2019. It's coming to XBO, PS4, and PC. 


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    Fallout 76 is a disaster, but its really just an extension of the failures of Fallout 4.

    Fallout 76 Problems
    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Jan 17, 2019

    The Vault Boy, the smiling blonde mascot of the Fallout universe, is not nearly as cute as he may seem. In the world of Fallout, he is the main way the Vault-Tec organization put a friendly face on a company that aimed to privatize the apocalypse, ensuring that the elite remained secure while the rest of humanity was treated as participants in an elaborate and disturbing social experiment.

    The Vault Boy’s role in that operation is certainly appropriate. After all, his original design was based on Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Pennybags, who himself was based on J.P. Morgan, a banker who allegedly used financial crises that affected the common man to bolster his own power. (They called him the "robber baron.")

    We all laugh when we see Fallout's smiling Vault Boy maintaining his optimism through the grimmest of scenarios, but the reality of the character is horrifying. He is the eternally smiling representative of a group of individuals who formed a company capable of creating great technological wonders yet opted to consolidate their power by delivering the promise of hope rather than something genuine.

    Further Reading: 20 Most Disappointing Games Ever Made

    If you’re trying to figure out when Bethesda Game Studios became Vault-Tec, you might be tempted to cite Fallout 76 as the turning point. You may be right. However, the equally disturbing truth of the matter is that Fallout 4 was the company’s very own Vault Boy, a now-troubling attempt by the studio to put a happy face on just how far it had strayed from the vision it had initially sold its fans and customers.

    With the release of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Bethesda realized a vision that seemed impossible at the time: the studio managed to make a PC RPG that worked on consoles. By PC RPG, I mean a role-playing experience that featured deep character customization options, many paths to an objective, active skill-based combat, and many of the other features that defined the great PC RPGs of that era but were not necessarily prevalent among console titles. By “worked on consoles,” I mostly mean that Bethesda was able to make such a game playable with a controller while selling console gamers on the idea that such a massive, complex, and methodical role-playing experience was worth losing dozens of hours to despite any troubles and gameplay hurdles.

    It was an impressive accomplishment, but it wasn’t a complete triumph. As good as Morrowind was, it was also tedious. Navigation was confusing, combat was slow and often unsatisfying on a visceral level, and the game’s presentation certainly wasn’t on par with the biggest console JRPGs of the era.

    Further Reading: Fallout 76 Review

    From that point, Bethesda seemingly decided to make PC RPG experiences as accessible as possible to console gamers (who, let’s be honest, represent a good portion of the video game market) while also incorporating the best of what console gaming had to offer. This is why Oblivion sacrificed some character creation depth and world building for better navigation, combat, and a more modern presentation. This is why Fallout 3altered some of the character building options, dark humor, and subtle storytelling of the original games in order to incorporate a first-person perspective, a V.A.T.S. system that retained character-based combat, and a fully-realized 3D world.

    This approach eventually led the studio to the release of Skyrim, which was both the most accessible Bethesda RPG yet and the most financially successful. Even though Skyrim wasn’t nearly as complex as Morrowind and lacked Oblivion’s ambitious mission design and faction stories, it was still a deep, beautiful, satisfying, and well-written experience. Most importantly, it was an RPG. That matters because Bethesda Game Studios had always been an RPG developer. Whatever concessions the studio has made over the years, it made them in service of testing the strength of the genre’s foundations. Most of the designers, writers, and other leading talent made a name for themselves through their work in the RPG genre. It was in their blood.

    So, why didn't Bethesda Game Studios make Fallout 4 a true RPG?

    Further Reading: Bethesda Is Unlikely to Outsource Fallout Again

    Fallout 4 is not a true RPG in the sense of what we’d come to expect from Bethesda up to that point. The game's combat is so shooter-focused that it rarely matters what character you choose to build. Its dialogue options are so limited and meaningless that they might as well not exist. There’s no morality system in Fallout 4 that ensures your actions affect how people perceive you (beyond the odd piece of dialogue), nor is there much ambiguity in the motivations and actions of characters around you. You play a role in Fallout 4, but rarely do you get to deviate from the role that is assigned to you by the game’s script.

    None of this matters because RPGs are some kind of inherently superior game genre. These shortcomings matter because the Fallout series helped introduce video gamers to true RPG experiences and, quite frankly, Bethesda's ability to make ambitious RPGs has traditionally helped disguise some of the studio's many other shortcomings. 

    In the past, it’s been easy to forgive things like the notorious number of glitches in Bethesda games, the studio’s constant (sometimes frustrating) balancing of accessibility and depth, and its tendency to take its sweet time to make a new game because in the end we knew we were going to get a Bethesda RPG. To this day, there really isn’t much like a Bethesda RPG on the market. Titles like Kingdom Come: Deliverance try (and come close), but there's really no substitute for a proper Bethesda RPG.

    Further Reading: 35 Games to Play in 2019

    On the other hand, there are many substitutes for Fallout 4. In fact, there’s not much that separates Fallout 4 from a game like Far Cry 5. Both emphasize first-person action, feature simplified skill systems, utilize companions (although Far Cry 5’s companions arguably contribute more), include light decision making, and rely on stories that are only somewhat shaped by your actions despite the player’s ability to roam freely. I liked Far Cry5, but there’s honestly nothing that really makes Far Cry 5 special in the modern gaming landscape. It feels like a game that many studios could have made. The same is roughly true of Fallout 4. There’s very little in the game itself that would lead you to believe that it was made by Bethesda.

    Perhaps that’s why those of us who felt let down by Fallout 4 saw the failures of Fallout 76 coming. After all, a multiplayer version of Fallout in the style of titles like Rust or 7 Days to Die would only emphasize the most controversial and detrimental changes featured in Fallout 4

    Fallout 4's action is slightly more twitch-based, but still treats enemies like bullet sponges that can be taken down faster by acquiring a better set of skills and crafting better weapons. Its dialogue and quests are simplified to the point of ensuring that players can’t easily go “out of bounds” and cause things to happen that the developers aren’t prepared for. Its crafting and base building ignore all elements of role-playing in favor of an ultra-simplified “checklist system” that tries so hard to simply be functional that it often sacrifices all logic (such as how a theoretically abundant material like dirty water is treated as a somewhat limited resource at a time when most of the world's water is dirty).

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated Multiplayer Games

    What stings most isn’t necessarily the ways in which Fallout 4’s biggest design shortcomings carry over to Fallout 76 but rather the implication that Fallout 4 was little more than placation from Bethesda Game Studios. Fallout 76’s generic gameplay, somewhat outdated concept (the multiplayer survival genre has fallen out of favor in recent years), and horrifically outdated engine all suggest that Bethesda actually wanted to make Fallout 76 instead of Fallout 4. At the very least, the similarities between the two games suggest that the team split its attention between the two projects in recent years and was willing to sacrifice elements of Fallout 4 in service of making a "game as a service" project like Fallout 76. It almost feels like Fallout 4 was the single-player portion Fallout 76 rather than Fallout 76 being a multiplayer take on classic Fallout games. 

    Mind you, Fallout 76 was not doomed to fail from the moment it was conceived. The idea of a multiplayer Fallout game that emphasizes survival and finding your place in a world that is trying to find its legs following a great disaster is certainly intriguing. After all, the idea of a massively multiplayer Fallout game has been touted since the franchise’s creators, Interplay, were still in control of the license. The potential has always been there.

    However, a potentially great multiplayer Fallout game would require a studio willing to make a multiplayer game that still represents the reasons people care about Fallout. That means true character building molded through gameplay, combat that allows for multiple paths to victory, and implementing true horror fostered by the fear of player failure, to name just a few things. That’s a hard thing to do. At the very least, we haven't seen many studios capable of accomplishing such a feat.

    Further Reading: Everything We Know About The Outer Worlds

    With Fallout 4, Bethesda proved that it can shy away from doing the hard thing. Actually, Fallout 4 proved that the studio it will shy away from doing the easy thing too if it means that it can theoretically increase the company’s profits by a few points. After all, it wouldn't have been difficult to make Fallout 4 an expanded and improved version of Fallout 3 (or, in a perfect world, Fallout: New Vegas). Instead, Bethesda opted to take an already successful RPG franchise and ask, “What can we do to get people who are otherwise uninterested in playing this game to actually play this game?” In its attempts to answer that question, Bethesda demonstrated its willingness to make a more generic game. 

    Fallout 76 might be satisfying in a repetitious way, and its simple multiplayer gameplay may indeed inspire some people who were otherwise uninterested in playing a Falloutgame to give the franchise a try. That’s nice and all, but Bethesda used to be a studio bold enough to try and get those gamers to play the RPGs that the developers loved. The studio accomplished that with Skyrim, a game that sold over 20 million copies while retaining much of what made its RPGs notable in the first place, yet still elected to favor those who don't play Bethesda games over those who do when designing Fallout 4 and Fallout 76.

    None of us should kid ourselves into believing a major studio won’t chase money when given the chance, but when we’ve reached a point where a studio is willing to abandon its identity, not in search of big money but slightly more money, then you’ve got to start questioning what you’re really buying. In the case of Bethesda Game Studios, it’s starting to feel like you’re buying the Vault Boy. You’re buying into an image that Bethesda is selling you. It’s an image built on the innovations that made the company successful. It’s an image designed to remind you of the good old times and suggest that any item bearing that image is capable of taking you back to that era.

    Maybe there’s a world in which Bethesda decides to turn this ship around and focus on making Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VIthe kind of massive RPG experiences that it theoretically could still excel at making. However, that’s a world that requires Fallout 76 to fail and fail spectacularly. It’s also a world that requires Bethesda to realize that Fallout 76 failed not just because of glitches or bad PR, but because it wandered so far from what the studio had previously accomplished. Sadly, that world requires you to believe that Bethesda will recognize its mistakes actually started with the best-selling, but soulless, shallow, and detrimental Fallout 4.

    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 wide wide world of Nintendo games comes to Super Mario Odyssey courtesy of these mods.

    Super Mario Odyssey Mod Nintendo
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 17, 2019

    Some new Super Mario Odyssey mods bring classic Nintendo levels to the Switch hit. 

    These levels come from a modder named ItzSka who has been posting videos of his work on YouTube. He's added levels to the game from titles like Banjo-Kazooie, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and more. So far, many of the levels added seem to retain the basic visual style and design principles of the ones they are based on.

    That style choice results in some fascinating - if slightly disorienting - new areas. All of the areas have been upgraded in ways that incorporate Odyssey's core moon hunting gameplay (even if those moons have been changed to more area appropriate items), but areas like Clanker's Cavern retain their original looks to an almost fault. Their mix of blurred textures and hi-res objects reads less like a stylistic choice and more like a by-product of the difficult process of incorporating these levels into the game. 

    Still, there's something undeniably charming and appealing about the whole idea of adding retro levels to the game. After all, Nintendo themselves did something similar with the surprise Mushroom Kingdom level from Mario 64 that can eventually be unlocked in Odyssey. While these modded levels don't showcase quite the same level of craft as that official re-visit (nor would we expect them to), they do show that there's a lot more that can be done with this concept. 

    Will Nintendo ever actually add more retro-inspired levels to the game? We doubt it, but the company has been talking more and more recently about how they would like to add more DLC to their games. While that's usually not a good sign, it's not too far fetched to imagine Nintendo actually adding worthwhile content to a game post-release. They certainly at least tried to do so with Breath of the Wild's DLC (even if the results were somewhat mixed). 

    Until Nintendo decides to give us more nostalgic levels, you can find the files and instructions for these modded levels here. Just be warned they're not the easiest things to install (compared to PC mods) and Nintendo hasn't exactly treated this kind of custom content fondly in the past. 

    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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    Kevin Hart will star in board game movie Monopoly, with Fantastic Four director Tim Story behind the camera.

    Kevin Hart in Night School
    News Joseph Baxter
    Jan 17, 2019

    Monopoly has just acquired the proverbial Marvin Gardens of a Hollywood movie treatment. While, Hasbro’s iconic board game, in which players aim to achieve financial domination one dice roll at a time, has been the focus of movie plans for quite some time, Lionsgate is finally moving forward with the project, having nabbed a headliner and director.

    Kevin Hart is set to star in the Monopoly movie, and he’ll be directed by helmer with whom he has history in Tim Story, reports Deadline. Indeed, Story was the director of signature movies for the comedy superstar, Hart, such as the two Ride Along films and the two Think Like a Man films. Moreover, genre fans will know Story’s work from the previous film franchise iteration of Marvel’s First Family with 2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Plus, he was behind the camera for the bellwether 2002 comedy, Barbershop– a franchise for which Kevin Hart made a handful of appearances on its TV version.

    The current Monopoly movie project is still in its earliest of stages, with the search for a new screenwriter in full effect before set commitments like a shoot date. Likewise, there’s no logline or story details to report. However, it will likely be a departure from the previously mooted, now-scrapped iteration – a Ben Affleck /Matt Damon-co-starring McDonald's-themed comedy vehicle, written by Deadpool 2’s Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, directed by Affleck. Moreover, Ridley Scott was circling the director’s chair for a Monopoly movie of his own way back in 2011, which was a time when the industry had several board game adaptation movies in the works, notably spearheaded by Universal’s Battleship in 2012; a box office failure that, for the most part, stemmed the tide.

    For now, the Monopoly movie crew consists of headliner Hart, who, joined by John Cheng and Carli Haney, will produce via his HartBeat Productions label. Of course, toy company Hasbro will have a piece of the production pie through in-house studio Allspark Pictures, represented by Brian Goldner, Stephen Davis and Greg Mooradian. Additionally, The Story Company’s Story and Sharla Sumpter will produce.

    Barring any initial incredulity the average moviegoer may have with the concept of a Monopoly movie, this will be an interesting starring vehicle for the evolution of Kevin Hart’s status as a movie star – Oscars-hosting controversy aside. The comedian-turned-actor is coming off one of the biggest surprise hits in recent years, the Dwayne Johnson-headlined Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, with sequel prospects gestating. Additionally, besides a third Ride Along film, he'll work with Tim Story on a comedy called My Own Worst Enemy, and will headline a remake of the comedy classic, The Great Outdoors.

    We will keep you updated here on the Monopoly movie as things develop!

    Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.


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    The Westworld mobile game is shutting down following allegations that the title uses stolen Fallout Shelter code.

    Westworld Mobile Game Bethesda
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 17, 2019

    The Westworld mobile game is shutting down following the resolution of a lawsuit filed by Bethesda. 

    "We are sorry to tell you that the park is entering a new phase and will no longer be taking applications for new employees," reads a new statement on the WestworldMobile Twitter account. "We are sorry to see the Westworld mobile game go and had an incredible time creating new content and events for players to enjoy...We are thankful for all who have supported Westworldand hope that the remaining time with the game will be entertaining."

    The game itself has already been pulled from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. It will be formally closed on April 16, and will no longer offer in-game purchases to those who still have access to the mobile title. 

    Interestingly, the statement makes no direct reference to the lawsuit filed by Bethesda over allegations that the Westworld development team had stolen code from Bethesda's Fallout Shelter. Warner Bros. previously issued an official response to IGN that claimed the allegations were false, but the two parties recently reached a settlement agreement that hasn't been fully disclosed. However, we have a hard time imagining that the settlement isn't responsible for the decision to shut the Westworld mobile game down. 

    You might think that this whole thing is just a simple matter of Bethesda being upset that someone released a pretty shameless rip-off of Fallout Shelter that features Westworld characters instead of assets from the Fallout universe. However, it seems that Behaviour Interactive (the studio that developed the Westworld mobile game) was previously contracted by Bethesda to work on Fallout Shelter. Bethesda believes that Behaviour essentially copied an pasted the code that they used for Fallout Shelter. 

    That's a serious allegation that goes well-beyond two games being relatively similar. If you're wondering why Bethesda believes that Behaviour used the same code for Westworld that they used on Fallout Shelter - besides the many, many gameplay and visual similarities between the two titles - it appears that Bethesda spotted several bugs in the Westworld game that were also present in the early code for Fallout Shelter. Anyone who has successfully copied their friend's homework in the third grade is surely shaking their head in furious curiosity over how such an obvious mistake could be made. 

    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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    There are plenty of great games coming out in 2019! Here are 35 titles you need to play this year...

    Best Video Games in 2019
    FeatureMatthew Byrd
    Jan 17, 2019

    Get ready, because 2019 is shaping up to be a special year for video games. While it's always possible for a year to take us by surprise in regards to how great it is for gaming or how bad it ends up being, you can generally tell when you're going to have a marquee year.

    In the case of the formidable 2019, we get the feeling that it might be the last full year of the current console generation. Considering that the final years of consoles are often their best, there's plenty of reason to believe that 2019 is going to be the final, victorious bow for this generation's best developers. 

    Besides, a quick look at the best video games coming out in 2019 reveals a variety of titles that rank near the top of our most-anticipated games. From beloved RPG developers branching out into online shooters to the return of one of the greatest horror games ever made, 2019 is loaded with the kind of games that make you grateful to be a gamer. 

    First, though, we must share a brief explanation of our choices. While we're just as excited as you are about games like Ghost of Tsushima, Cyberpunk 2077, Halo Infinite, and The Last of Us Part II -- and fully believe that they will rank amongst the year's best video games -- there is currently no confirmation that those games will be released in 2019. As such, we are limiting this list to games that are currently scheduled for a 2019 release date. 

    With that out of the way, let's take a look at the best video games of 2019:

    Anthem

    February 22 | BioWare | PS4, XBO, PC

    BioWare’s Anthem is the studio’s most talked about game in years, even if it’s not always being talked about for the reasons that BioWare and EA would like. Questions of microtransactions and originality still surround this title a year after it was first announced. 

    Yes,Anthem is certainly a departure for the house that RPGs built, but everything that developer BioWare has shown of this Destiny-like online experience suggests that this online multiplayer experience is exactly what they needed to get back on track. Can this online shooter learn from the mistakes of its predecessors and deliver the ultimate sci-fi shared world experience?

    Buy Anthem

    Battletoads

    TBA | Rare | XBO

    We were starting to think that we’d never get another Battletoads game given that it’s been over 20 years since we’ve last received a new installment, but Rare is returning to the franchise that most people remember as one of the hardest games on the NES. This new Battletoads might feature a slightly different art style and other modern improvements, but we fully expect it to be largely familiar to fans who have been waiting years for another co-op brawler from this beloved, and undeniably bizarre, series.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Battletoads

    Buy Battletoads

    Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

    TBA | ArtPlay & DICO | PS4, XBO, Switch, PC

    Since its Kickstarter debut, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's name has come second to that of its creator, Koji Igarashi. Many of you may remember Igarashi as the director of the revolutionary Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and his return with a game that is very much in the spirit of his classic Castlevania tiles has been anticipated by genre fans for many years. 

    While we have some concerns regarding the possibility that Ritual of the Night ends up being the next Mighty No. 9, the quality of this team's side project - the 2D action/adventure title Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - leads us to believe that these guys know what makes this genre tick and may be prepared to deliver something special. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

    Buy Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

    Crackdown 3

    February 15 | Reagent Games, Sumo Digital, Ruffian Games, Cloudgine | XBO, PC

    It's been almost eight years since we last heard from the Crackdown series. There was a time when Microsoft's hidden gem open-world title provided a breath of fresh air to the subgenre. Its outlandish, superhero-like gameplay afforded players the chance to just go wild in a metro setting. The open-world genre -- and the world at large -- has changed quite a bit, though.

    In order for Crackdown 3 to make the same impact that Crackdown protagonists make when they jump off the city's highest buildings and crash onto the streets below, it's going to have to invoke the casual gameplay of the first two games while finding a way to advance the game's style just enough to make us feel that old joy of galivanting around a superhero sandbox.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Crackdown 3

    Buy Crackdown 3

    Code Vein

    TBA | Bandai Namco | PS4, XBO

    In a world without Dark Souls and Bloodborne (at least for the foreseeable future), the time is now for an outsider to ascend the throne and rule the kingdom that FromSoftware's titles helped establish. To that end, it's entirely possible that Code Vein may just become the next big game in this genre.

    Code Vein is easily described as "anime Dark Souls." It's an over-the-top action-RPG that emphasizes an intricate combat system, character builds, and a sometimes punishing level of difficulty. It also adds a sometimes over-the-top style that is a far cry from Dark Souls' muted tones and grim atmosphere but just might be enough to help put this game over-the-top. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Code Vein

    Buy Code Vein

    Control

    TBA | Remedy Entertainment | PS4, XBO, PC

    Developer Remedy Entertainment remains one of the most exciting developers in gaming. What separates Remedy is the personality it infuses into its projects. There's never been a pedestrian Remedy game, even if some of those games missed the mark in terms of their overall execution. 

    From what we've seen of Control, we have no doubts that it will be full of Remedy's trademark personality. It's a bizarre psychological action title with supernatural elements that looks wonderfully eerie and exciting. Even better, Remedy has promised that this game will be slightly more open than its previous, very linear titles. We'll see whether or not that allows the studio to expand its creative borders. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Control

    Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

    June 21 | Beenox | PS4, XBO, Switch

    This remake of the original Crash Team Racing has a daunting task ahead of it. Somehow, it must please fans of the original surprise hit while winning over a generation that recently experienced the brilliant Mario Kart 8. We don't envy the task ahead of developer Beenox. 

    Yet, we're optimistic the studio can pull it off. CTR has retained its popularity over the years because it's a genuinely great racing game. Its fantastic modes and fascinating new mechanics help the game stand out among some considerable competition, and this remake seems to feature just enough new content to justify another lap no matter how familiar you may be with the original. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

    Buy Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

    Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

    February | Studio MDHR | XBO, PC

    We’d have a hard time arguing with anyone who calls Cuphead the Xbox One’s best exclusive title. Studio MDHR may have had to delay the game a few times, but the final product proved to be a gorgeous nod to both the era of 2D action titles and those classic animated adventures of the ‘30s and ‘40s.

    We won’t have to wait nearly as long for our next taste of Cuphead. The Delicious Last Course may end up being the only Cuphead DLC release, but this massive second helping of Cuphead action should be enough to satisfy fans of the base game. With an entirely new island to explore and more incredible bosses to fight, The Delicious Last Course should prove to be a must-have.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

    Buy Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

    Days Gone

    April 26 | SIE Bend Studio | PS4

    Days Gone remains the anomaly of what could be the PlayStation’s 4 final lineup of exclusive games. This post-apocalyptic open-world game has been shown at several Sony events in the past, but delays have pushed the game into the realm of doubt in the minds of some Sony fans.

    Despite those delays, Days Gone remains a promising experience. The star of this game seems to be its truly hostile open-world, which features all manner of monsters and men trying to end your already troubled existence. Days Gone may have slipped from the 2018 release schedule, but don’t let it fall off your radar.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Days Gone

    Buy Days Gone

    Dead or Alive 6

    February 15 | Team Ninja | PS4, XBO, PC

    The Dead or Alive series has long existed in this strange plane of popularity and respect. Dating back to the brilliant Dead or Alive 2, the franchise has been seen as an often fun, sometimes excellent, sometimes sloppy, and usually beautiful experience. Yet, it's never really received the respect that series like Street Fighter and Tekken typically garner. 

    By slightly maturing the series' gameplay and themes, Dead or Alive 6 is hoping to elevate the franchise to that level. Dead or Alive 6 is a little more grown-up and slightly more complicated, but it still retains many of the key elements that have kept fans devoted to the Dead or Alive series for all these years.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Dead or Alive 6

    Buy Dead or Alive 6

    Devil May Cry 5

    March 8 | Capcom | PS4, XBO, PC

    The Devil May Cry series is generally regarded as one of the godfathers of the 3D action genre, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve gotten a new game from the franchise. Even Ninja Theory’s brilliant re-imagining of the Devil May Cry concept wasn’t enough to satisfy the series’ hardcore fans.

    Devil May Cry 5 marks the franchise’s return to Capcom and, hopefully, a return to form for a series that was once known for its brutal difficulty and absurd cinematic set pieces. The action genre has evolved quite a bit since Capcom last delivered a proper Devil May Crygame, but we have the feeling this franchise is ready to reclaim the genre throne.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Devil May Cry 5

    Buy Devil May Cry 5

    Far Cry: New Dawn

    February 15 | Ubisoft Montreal | PS4, XBO, PC

    The Far Cryseries has taken us to exotic jungles, war-torn nations, and rural America, but Far Cry: New Dawn moves the series in a completely different direction by giving us a view of what the end of the Far Cry world looks like. In New Dawn, you must navigate what remains of Far Cry 5's world following a nuclear event.

    While all signs indicate that New Dawn will feature the familiar suite of Far Cry gameplay, the hook here is the game's fascinating premise and the way it has affected so many things in this world. New Dawn looks like a cruel and formidable Far Cry game that we're very much looking forward to. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Far Cry: New Dawn

    Buy Far Cry New Dawn

    Gears 5

    TBA | Coalition | XBO, PC

    Gears of War 4 was a fascinating turning point for the Xbox exclusive franchise. While the game retread the same pure shooter grounds that its predecessors once walked, it also planted seeds for a deeper, more personal story than we’re used to seeing from Gears of War games.

    Gears 5 looks to continue the advancements of the previous title by focusing on a much more intimate story about a band of soldiers trying to complete a mission of revenge and redemption. This game will likely be one of the Xbox One’s final major exclusives, and it could embody the same hope for the future that Microsoft and the Xbox brand have.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Gears 5

    Buy Gears 5

    Kingdom Hearts III

    January 25 | Square Enix Co., Ltd. | PS4

    It hasn't exactly been a long time since we last played a new Kingdom Hearts game -- the series is kind of infamous for its oddly named sequels, prequels spin-offs, and re-releases -- but it has been about 13 years since the release of Kingdom Hearts II. Suffice it to say, that time has only made the game's passionate fanbase even more rabid.

    Fortunately, Kingdom Hearts III is shaping up to be the Kingdom Hearts game that we've all been waiting for. This strikingly beautiful title will not only finally bring classic Disney classics like Toy Storyinto the fold, but it figures to improve the franchise's already great gameplay through the implementation of a better camera and a refined combat system. Dare we say that this game might just live up to the hype?

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Kingdom Hearts III

    Buy Kingdom Hearts III

    Luigi's Mansion 3

    TBA | Next Level Games | Switch

    Truth be told, the Luigi's Mansion franchise has never been perfect. You could argue it's never even really been truly great. Yet, as a GameCube launch title, the original Luigi's Mansion captured that whimsical spirit of fun and creativity that has always separated Nintendo games from just about everything else on the market.

    What's going to be interesting to see in the case of Luigi's Mansion 3 is whether or not Nintendo has found a way to filter that creativity and fun through a series of equally clever and much-improved gameplay mechanics that allow this title to exist as something more than a generally beloved curiosity. Considering Nintendo's recent success, we're going to guess it'll hit that mark. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Luigi's Mansion 3


    Man of Medan

    TBA | Supermassive Games | PS4, XBO, PC

    The PS4 has no shortage of incredible exclusives, but Until Dawn might just be among the console's very best. As a highly-cinematic horror title, Until Dawn took the gameplay and presentation we saw from titles like Heavy Rain and used them to tell a horror story that felt like both a tribute to the genre's '80s glory days and a declaration of how games are capable of scaring us. 

    With The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, the Until Dawn team returns to tell another (likely very frightening) horror story. This time, though, the story will be presented in an anthology format. We certainly love a good horror anthology film or television show, and we're interested in seeing whether that format helps alleviate some of the final act plot problems that dragged Until Dawn down just slightly. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

    Buy Man of Medan

    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

    TBA | Team Ninja | Switch

    Well, this is certainly a surprise. The original Marvel Ultimate Alliancegames were a dream come true for Marvel fans. They were action-RPG titles that allowed gamers to build superhero dream teams and beat up just about every villain imaginable. As fun as they were, the state of the Marvel property made it unlikely we'd see another game of its kind. 

    Yet, here we are. Not only are we getting a third Ultimate Alliance game, but it's being developed by the legendary Team Ninja and will be a Nintendo Switch exclusive. Outside of those curveballs, this looks like the same old great Ultimate Alliance experience that we know and love. At a time when the world needs more good Marvel games, this looks like a potentially great one. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

    Buy Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

    Metro Exodus

    February 22 | 4A Games | PS4, XBO, PC

    Those who have played the Metroseries know that it is one of the most atmospheric and clever first-person shooter franchises of the modern era. The problem is that it always feels like not enough people have actually played these incredible games.

    Metro Exodus wants to expand the notoriety of these cult classic games by expanding the Metro world itself. While Metro Exodus isn’t exactly an open-world game, this upcoming shooter will expand the scope of the Metro concept by delivering the largest and most intriguing take on the series' fascinating look at the end of the world.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Metro Exodus

    Buy Metro Exodus

    Mortal Kombat 11

    April 23 | NetherRealm Studios | PS4, XBO, PC, Switch

    While there have been many rumors of a new Mortal Kombat project in recent months, we weren't expecting the game to make its gory debut at the 2018 Game Awards. Yet, there are few who deny that Mortal Kombat effectively stole that show. 

    What intrigues us most about Mortal Kombat is how little it appears to have changed over the years. This is still a hyper-violent, over-the-top, hard-hitting fighting game franchise featuring a roster full of familiar faces. There's something comforting about what Mortal Kombat 11 looks to offer, and it might just live up to the standards of recent great fighting games. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Mortal Kombat 11

    Buy Mortal Kombat 11

    New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

    January 11 | Nintendo | Switch

    We don't blame you if you call the Nintendo Switch the Nintendo Wii 2.0, but don't assume that is a bad thing. Indeed, one of the Switch's best features is the way in which it has resurrected some of those incredible Wii U titles that were burdened with the problems of the console itself. 

    While Super Mario 3D World might be the Wii U's best Mario title, it's hard to deny that New Super Mario Bros. U is a definitive franchise experience. This deluxe version of the game will take everything that made the original great, add in a few new features, and bundle it all together in a new package designed for the incredible Nintendo Switch. It's hard to see how this game is anything less than great. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

    Buy New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

    Nioh 2

    TBA | Team Ninja | PS4

    Nioh proved to be one of the most surprising games of 2017. Many worried that the beleaguered Team Ninja was foolishly trying to capitalize on the popularity of Dark Souls and would end up delivering a copycat that took years to make. What we got instead was a confident action-adventure RPG that stood tall on its own merits.

    While we doubt that Nioh 2 will try to reinvent the original, we’ll gladly settle for more of the game’s compelling mythical world, fluid action, and fascinating weapons system. Nioh 2 may not surprise as many people as the original, but it should be just as great as the 2017 sleeper hit.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Nioh 2

    Buy Nioh 2

    Rage 2

    June | Avalanche Studios, id Software | PS4, XBO, PC

    We’d be lying if we told you that we spent sleepless hours hoping for the announcement of a new Rage game. The original Rage was a largely forgettable game that capitalized on a largely forgettable era of shooters. It wasn’t the kind of game that people build fan conventions around.

    Rage 2, though, is shaping up to be one of the most surprising sequels in recent memory. Granted, that’s because its mere existence is somewhat surprising, but everything we’ve seen of the game thus far suggests that Rage 2 will combine the best of several popular action games to produce something that’s ultimately kind of special.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Rage 2

    Buy Rage 2

    Resident Evil 2

    January 25 | Capcom | PS4, XBO, PC

    Rumors of a remake of Resident Evil 2 date back to the release of the Resident Evil remake for GameCube. In fact, we’ve heard about this game for so long without actually seeing it that we forgive anyone who started to feel like there was no chance this remake would ever actually be released.

    Against all odds, though, Resident Evil 2’s official debut at E3 2018 managed to meet just about every expectation that we’ve assigned to the project over the years. This 2019 title is a true love letter to the horror classic.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Resident Evil 2

    Buy Resident 2 Remake

    Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

    March 22 | FromSoftware | PS4, XBO, PC

    When FromSoftware suggested that Sekiro would not be like Dark Souls, many fans were skeptical. It looked like Dark Souls, it appeared to be as challenging as Dark Souls, and it was even presented in a very Dark Souls-like way. 

    Yet, there are times when something may walk and quack like a duck but isn't a duck. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice borrows some elements from Dark Souls, but is an entirely new samurai adventure that features a brilliant weapon system as well as an increased emphasis on giving the player a second chance to recover after they have died. Keep an eye on this one if you loved Dark Souls, but don't discount it if you didn't. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

    Buy Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

    Session

    TBA | Crea-ture Studios | XBO, PC

    Fans of skateboarding games -- or extreme sports games in general -- haven’t exactly had a lot to be thankful for in recent years. The decline of the mainstream appeal of extreme sports has also led to a decline in the amount of quality extreme sports games on the market.

    That’s a big part of the reason why Session has captured the imagination of many. This modern-day skateboarding game seeks to revive the dual-analog controls of the Skate series while introducing an expanded video capture system that encourages you to raise your notoriety by sharing your best moves with the world.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Session

    Shenmue III

    August 27 | YS Net, Neilo | PS4, PC

    When we first heard that Shenmue was finally receiving the third installment that most gamers thought would never happen...well, there may have been some entirely unprofessional giddy cheers. In the years that have followed that reveal, we've unfortunately not been treated to many updates regarding the game's story, gameplay features, or final visual style.

    Still, we're talking about a sequel to a franchise that was not only revolutionary but has remained in the hearts of many gamers. With any luck, Shenmue III will be the epic tale of kung-fu revenge and bizarre minigames that we've been waiting for.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Shenmue III

    Skull and Bones

    TBA | Blue Byte, Ubisoft Chengdu, Ubisoft Singapore | PS4, XBO, PC

    Sea of Thieves gave us a taste of sharing the pirate life with our friends, but it ultimately left us feeling like there were better adventures somewhere out on the high seas. Ubisoft’s Skull and Bones offers an interesting alternative to Rare’s playful pirate adventure.

    If you blend the online elements of Destiny with the pirate lifestyle seen in Black Flag, you’ll get a taste of what Skull and Bones aims to offer. Can it live up to the promise of its pedigree or will this be another pirate video game that walks the plank after just a few weeks?

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Skull and Bones

    Buy Skull and Bones

    Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

    TBA | Respawn | PS4, XBO, PC

    Here’s what we know about Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s being developed by Respawn (the fine folks responsible for the Titanfallseries), it will take place between Star Wars Episode III and IV, and it is currently set to be released in 2019.

    You might say that’s not enough information to form any kind of opinion on this project, but in a world that is maddeningly devoid of quality Star Wars games, Jedi: Fallen Order has enough going for it to give us hope that this game might actually deliver the kind of Star Wars experience we so desperately crave.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

    Buy Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

    Team Sonic Racing

    May 21 | Sumo Digital | PS4, XBO, PC

    We get it: Sonic Racing games aren't Mario Kart. There are few times when you're playing them as a Mario substitute that you feel like you're getting something that is just as great. However, recent Sonic Racing titles have been closing that gap a bit, not by replicating Mario Kart but by emphasizing elements that may not be present in the Mario Kart series. 

    Team Sonic Racing looks to build on all the ways in which this series has evolved. This titles new mechanics, multiplayer modes, team ultimate abilities, and rival feature might just help turn it into something more than the other racing game on the block. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Team Sonic Racing

    Buy Team Sonic Racing

    The Division 2

    March 15 | Massive Entertainment, Red Storm Entertainment, MORE | PS4, XBO, PC

    The original Divisionwas a fascinating game that briefly captured online shooter fans before being buried under some bad design choices and a frustrating lack of updates. The team behind The Division 2 is well-aware of the original game’s shortcomings. As such, the developers have set out to ensure that this sequel will be bigger, more story-driven, and more accommodating to groups of players. Will those changes be enough for The Division 2 to fulfill the original's full potential?

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About The Division 2

    Buy Tom Clancy's The Division 2

    The Outer Worlds

    TBA | Obsidian Entertainment | PS4, XBO, PC

    2019 may be one of the most promising years in recent memory, but in the minds of many, The Outer Worlds may be the only game they really need. The Outer Worlds is basically the Obsidian-developed Fallout sequel that fans have been waiting for since New Vegas. This open-world RPG features all of the clever writing, the variety of choices, and true role-playing options that we've come to expect from one of the best RPG studios in the world. One part Fallout, one part Mass Effect, and more than a few dashes of new concepts, The Outer Worlds may just prove to be the best game of 2019.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About The Outer Worlds


    The Sinking City

    March 21 | Frogwares | PS4, XBO, PC

    While we love a good Lovecraftian story as much as the next person, the fact of the matter is that there are too many Lovecraftian stories in gaming that either miss the mark, feel generic, or are burdened with gameplay that doesn't quite equal the brilliance of the game's atmosphere and plot.

    The Sinking City feels like it could be different. Best described as a version of L.A. Noire that takes place in a Lovecraftian world, The Sinking City sees you play as a private investigator in the flooded city of Oakmont who is tasked with discovering the truth behind mysteries great and small. That emphasis on investigation gameplay (combined with the game's fascinating premise and setting) leads us to believe this could be a Lovecraftian game that gets it right. 

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About The Sinking City

    Trials Rising

    February 12 | Ubisoft, RedLynx | PS4, XBO, PC, Switch

    The Trials franchise is one of those strange series that either leaves no impression on those who play it or instantly converts them into diehard fans. There’s very little middle-ground for this trial-and-error franchise.

    Trials Rising is shaping up to be the first Trials game that openly recognizes that divide. For those who did not fall in love with previous Trials games, Rising offers a tutorial system designed to help you understand how this intentionally frustrating game works. Meanwhile, long-time fans will benefit from the input that some of Trials’ most diehard players shared with the developers when they were designing the game’s courses.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Trials Rising

    Buy Trials Rising

    Wolfenstein: Youngblood

    TBA | MachineGames | PS4, XBO, PC

    Wolfenstein II was one of those games that we couldn’t help but fall in love with. Despite its flaws, the game’s story, characters, and outlandish scenarios elevated it to a level of quality that many FPS games can only hope to reach.

    While Youngblood isn’t the direct sequel to Wolfenstein II that we were waiting for, it is an interesting spin-off that adds co-op action to the incredible alternate history universe of the rebooted Wolfenstein series. We’ll gladly bring a friend along for another trip through developer MachineGames’ epic series.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Wolfenstein: Youngblood

    Buy Wolfenstein: Youngblood

    Yoshi's Crafted World

    March 29 | Good-Feel | Switch

    The list of things we don’t know about Yoshi's Crafted World is slightly longer than what we do know about the game. What we can tell you, though, is that Yoshi’s Woolly World was one of the Wii U’s most underrated titles and one of Yoshi’s greatest adventures. The reason that matters is that this upcoming Yoshi title intends to replicate many of the qualities that made Woolly World as great as it was.

    This time around, however, the Woolly World formula is bolstered by the introduction of a new mechanic that allows players to “flip” a stage and open up new paths. It sounds simple, but if the game’s first trailer is any indication, this mechanic will force players to completely reconsider the way that they view the typical 2D platformer level. For those who lament how far Mario has walked away from his platformer roots, Yoshi's Crafted World may just be the classic Nintendo experience you’re looking for.

    Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Yoshi's Crafted World

    Buy Yoshi's Crafted World

    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 Anthem, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    Anthem Release Date, Trailer, and News
    News John SaavedraMatthew Byrd
    Jan 17, 2019

    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 Trailer

    The first video in the new "This is Anthem" series focuses on the game's story, progression system, and customization options. It's our clearest look yet at a game that sure looks a lot like Warframe

    BioWare is partnering once again with Nvidia and unleashed a beautiful new Anthem trailer at CES to showcase just how spectacular the game looks at the highest specs:

    Another trailer debuted at The Game Awards. Check it out:

    At Paris Games Week, the first mission of the game was revealed. Watch the footage below:

    Further Reading: Dragon Age 4 - Everything We Know

    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:

    Further Reading: Mass Effect - The First Trilogy's Ending and the Futility of a Hero

    Anthem Release Date

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

    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.”

    Further Reading: Why Quarians Are the Toughest Species in Mass Effect

    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.

    John Saavedra is an associate 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. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    A complete explanation of the ever-evolving Mortal Kombat timeline, featuring ninjas, gods, monks, monsters, and other martial arts weirdos.

    Mortal Kombat Timeline: Story Explained
    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Jan 17, 2019

    A fighting game kind of needs to have a storyline for the sake of identity. Not just for the characters, but for the world itself. Who are these characters and why are they fighting? Why are they fighting again? And again?

    Usually, these lead to fun B-movie plots that can carry a game or two. Sometimes the sequels just retread the same plot over and over (ie. the Soul Caliburgames and King of Fighters), but Mortal Kombat has been able to hold its own for over 20 years due to embracing its own wacky mythology and finding ways to be fresh. Even when they're literally redoing an earlier story!

    There’s a reason why the Mortal Kombat story has been told in different forms. There have been nine fighting games plus upgrades that are part of its canon and two side games (Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and the wonderful Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks are non-canon). As video games have advanced, so has the storytelling. It used to be that we’d just get some profile text, ending text, and a couple of neat images. Now we get full-on cinematic story modes.

    So here’s a look at the canon storyline of Mortal Kombat. Before I really get into it, let’s just talk about the makeup of this reality:

    THE KOMBAT MULTIVERSE

    In the Mortal Kombat multiverse, there are different dimensions (or realms). They’re kind of like alternate Earths, but without the parallel universe gimmick. They’re basically different planets completely. You have Earthrealm, which is us, or a world similar enough to ours.

    Edenia is kind of a happy fairytale world made of magic and beauty. Outworld is a barbarian world where violence and monsters run rampant. Netherrealm is Hell itself. Seido is the realm of order, though to an extreme, fascist degree. On the other side of the coin is Chaosrealm, where anarchy is a way of life. Then you got a bunch of random world like the world of reptile people, the world of vampires, the world of bug people, and so on.

    These realms are looked over by gods for the most part. You have your regular gods, who tend to meddle in man’s affairs in a limited sense, and Elder Gods, who are higher on the power scale and ultimately don’t do much. They rarely ever interfere, even when they really should.

    Further Reading: Mortal Kombat Characters Ranked

    Realms are able to conquer and actually absorb each other, becoming kind of a jumbled landscape in the process. To keep things civil, the Elder Gods put together a rulebook. Conquering and merging can only be done by invoking Mortal Kombat. Every generation, there will be a fighting tournament held. Whoever wins loses the ability to age until the next one is held. If the invading realm can win ten tournaments in a row, they have the right to take over.

    Speaking of lack of aging, people in most of the other realms have incredibly long lifespans and live for thousands and thousands of years.

    MANY, MANY, MANY YEARS AGO...

    On Earthrealm, the Elder God Shinnok went mad with power. He opposed his brethren and decided that he wanted the inhabitants of Earthrealm to worship him and only him. Although lower on the godly totem pole, Raiden was able to defeat him and had him sealed away in the Netherrealm. Shinnok buddied up with the mysterious, wandering sorcerer Quan Chi and the two overthrew the damned realm and took over. Shinnok spent endless years biding his time so that he could return and get his revenge.

    Also, the battle of the gods was so severe that it tore apart the planet and caused rifts in reality. The Saurians, a race of people evolved from dinosaurs (ie. Reptile), escaped through portals to find a safer home in the world of Zaterra. You could probably figure that Shinnok’s tantrum is what killed the dinosaurs.

    In Edenia, the god and protector Argus got visions of a huge battle that would one day cause Armageddon throughout all of reality. He and his sorceress wife Delia came up with a cockamamie plan to put their sons Taven and Daegon in hibernation so that they could one day awaken, take part in a race to gather special weapons, kill a fire elemental named Blaze, and this would somehow magically nullify the abilities of all the warriors in said gigantic battle. The winning son would take Argus’ place as protector of Edenia.

    Further Reading: Why Mortal Kombat Is Still the Definitive Video Game Movie

    For quite a while, Outworld was ruled by a being known as Onaga the Dragon King. Not only was his power unmatched, but he commanded an unstoppable army of warriors. His trusted advisor Shao Kahn betrayed him via poisoning and took over. Onaga’s army had themselves mummified so that they could reunite with Onaga after his eventual resurrection.

    Shao Kahn went on a tear, conquering as many realms as he could (including Zaterra). Again and again, his champions won Mortal Kombat and countless realities were merged with his. This included Edenia. Kahn murdered its ruler King Jerrod and took his queen and infant daughter as his own. The queen Sindel took her own life rather than be with Kahn. Kahn decided to raise the child Kitana and trained her to be the ultimate assassin.

    MANY (BUT NOT AS MANY) YEARS AGO...

    Shao Kahn’s reign of terror saw him conquer the warrior people known as the Osh-Tekk. Although their king Kotal K’etz surrendered to Shao Kahn, he secretly sent his young son to do a walkabout through Earthrealm. It was there that Kotal’s son stumbled upon the Mayan civilization and became a god to them. They worshipped him as “Buluc” the god of war and sacrifice. Eventually, his people died out and he returned to Outworld.

    To help prevent Outworld from taking over Earthrealm, Raiden started a sect of Shaolin monks called the White Lotus Society, based specifically on training warriors to fight for Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat. The greatest warrior was the Great Kung Lao, who defeated Shao Kahn’s sorcerer underling Shang Tsung. His days as champion eventually came to an end at the hands of Goro, the four-armed half-dragon.

    Further Reading: A Guide to the Secret Characters of Mortal Kombat

    Goro dominated the tournament for centuries. There was one warrior in the 1800s that Shang Tsung saw as a threat, so prior to the tournament, he hired Wild West gunslinger mercenary Erron Black to assassinate him. As payment, Black was given the secret to long life, making him virtually immortal.

    At some point over the years, Daegon awoke from his slumber prematurely. Between being in the wrong state of mind from the rude awakening as well as the trickery of Shinnok, Daegon attacked and killed his parents. He then started the criminal organization known as the Red Dragon. The Red Dragon later split into a rival offshoot called the Black Dragon.

    SHUJINKO’S QUEST (Konquest from Mortal Kombat: Deception)

    Shujinko was a young man who dreamed of protecting Earthrealm from the invaders. He was visited by a glowing ball of energy named Damashi, who put him on a quest in the name of the Elder Gods. He had to spend many decades of his life wandering from realm to realm, getting into adventures, learning more fighting abilities, and gathering the Kamidogu, a series of powerful artifacts. To aid him, Damashi gave Shujinko the power to absorb the abilities of other warriors and make them part of his repertoire.

    Further Reading: The History of Mortal Kombat Comics

    Shujinko never questioned his mission, which was foolish as “Damashi” was really just the spirit of Onaga, tricking Shujinko into causing his resurrection.

    JAX VS. THE BLACK DRAGON (Mortal Kombat: Special Forces)

    Black Dragon leader Kano freed his subordinates from prison and went off to steal an artifact called the Eye of Chitian. Special Forces soldier Jackson “Jax” Briggs went after them. Jax brought them all back to justice in an adventure that ended with him briefly stepping into Outworld.

    SUB-ZERO’S REDEMPTION (Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero)

    Quan Chi had a plot to release Shinnok from the Netherrealm by tracking down his magical amulet. He hired two ninja assassin groups – the Lin Kuei and the Shirai Ryu – to hunt down a map. Representatives Sub-Zero (real name Bi-Han) and Scorpion (Hanzo Hasashi) ended up fighting over the map and Sub-Zero both won the fight and chose to unnecessarily kill his rival. Quan Chi repaid the Lin Kuei by having Scorpion’s family and clan killed. Sub-Zero was then tasked with tracking down the amulet. He did so and Quan Chi took it to the Netherrealm.

    Raiden appeared to him and warned him what was going to happen. With Earthrealm’s fate in the balance, Sub-Zero entered the Netherrealm and fought through Shinnok’s forces. This included various monsters, a demonic reincarnation of Scorpion, Quan Chi’s trio of female assassins (one of which, Sareena, sided with Sub-Zero), and Quan Chi himself. Sub-Zero stole the amulet back from Shinnok and escaped back into Earthrealm before Shinnok could take his revenge.

    Further Reading: The Forgotten Fighting Games of the 1990s

    Sub-Zero came to realize that he was allowed to enter the Netherrealm because he was evil. Raiden told him that he could still change his ways and save his soul, but Sub-Zero chose loyalty above all else. In his very next mission, Sub-Zero was sent to go take part in Mortal Kombat...

    SHANG TSUNG’S ISLAND TOURNAMENT (Mortal Kombat)

    Earthrealm’s last chance was held on Shang Tsung’s mysterious island. Fighters came from all over. Liu Kang from the White Lotus Society. Johnny Cage, the actor who wanted to prove to the world that his skills were not just special effects and good editing. Sonya Blade, a Special Forces member searching for Kano. Sub-Zero, sent on a mission to assassinate Shang Tsung. Scorpion, back from the grave, under the guidance of Quan Chi, out to get revenge on Sub-Zero. The 2011 reboot retconned the events a bunch and added characters who weren’t in the game itself, like Nightwolf, Sektor, Cyrax, Baraka, and so on.

    Raiden was more of a guide to the Earthrealm defenders and was not allowed to compete.

    During the tournament, Scorpion got his revenge on Sub-Zero and killed him. Sub-Zero was reborn in the Netherrealm as a being much like Scorpion, only more sinister, named Noob Saibot. He became Quan Chi’s soldier without Scorpion knowing.

    Further Reading: Tattoo Assassins Is the Strangest Mortal Kombat Ripoff Ever

    Cyrax decided that the Lin Kuei was no longer for him, mainly because of their plans to turn all the ninjas into cyborgs. He fought off Sektor and escaped. His freedom would be short-lived as the Lin Kuei would track him down and force him to go under the transformation.

    Liu Kang was attacked by Kitana, but rather effortlessly fought her off. Taking a shine to her, he promised not to tell anyone about her failure. As far as he was concerned, she never tracked him down to begin with.

    Meanwhile, Kung Lao, the descendant of the former Mortal Kombat champion, tried to sneak into the tournament under the guise of a guard. He believed that he was the one meant to save the world.

    Regardless, Liu Kang rose through the ranks and defeated both Goro and Shang Tsung. Outworld’s forces were sent packing and the good guys won.

    THE OUTWORLD TOURNAMENT (Mortal Kombat II)

    Shao Kahn was pretty pissed at Shang Tsung for failing him on such a monumental level, but Shang had an ace up his sleeve. He suggested that maybe they just invade Earthrealm, cause some devastation, and offer them a double-or-nothing deal. They’ll have a mulligan tournament in Outworld. If Outworld wins, it counts as the tenth win in a row. If Earthrealm wins, Outworld won’t do anymore tournaments against them. Pleased with this idea, Kahn made Shang more powerful and gifted him with a more youthful body.

    Baraka led his army into slaughtering much of the Shaolin to rile up Earthrealm's defenders. The heroes accepted the challenge.

    Sub-Zero’s younger brother Kuai Lang took up the Sub-Zero name and, alongside his Lin Kuei BFF Smoke, investigated the death of his brother. On one hand, Smoke got captured by the Lin Kuei and was turned into a robot. On the other hand, Scorpion realized that this new Sub-Zero wasn’t the one he was angry at and chose to become his protector out of honor.

    Further Reading: Revisiting the Forgotten Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter Crossover

    Jax ran afoul of Ermac (a telekinetic warrior made out of thousands of souls) and got his arms blown off. They were later replaced with cybernetic attachments.

    Kitana discovered the truth about her identity and that her “sister” Mileena was some kind of grotesque hybrid clone created by Shang Tsung. She ended up siding with the heroes.

    Once again, Liu Kang won the tournament for Earthrealm by defeating Shang Tsung, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn. He ended it by punching a hole through Shao Kahn’s chest.

    THE OUTWORLD INVASION (Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat Trilogy)

    Through some kind of magic loophole, Quan Chi was able to help Shao Kahn invade Earthrealm by resurrecting Queen Sindel on Earthrealm and brainwashing her for good measure. Kahn’s forces began rampaging through Earthrealm with Raiden finding a select collection of heroes to help him. This included police officer Kurtis Stryker and his partner Kabal. Kabal was a former Black Dragon member who went straight. During the chaos, Kintaro mutilated Kabal and he just barely survived, able to live on thanks to some respirators.

    Another victim of the invasion was Johnny Cage, murdered by the centaur Motaro. The unpredictable magic of the realms merging allowed Johnny to return to life, though only temporarily.

    Sub-Zero discarded his ninja appearance out of his disgust with the Lin Kuei’s practices. While helping the other heroes, he was pursued by robotic versions of Sektor, Cyrax, and Smoke. Sub-Zero was able to get through to Smoke, who helped him fight off the other cyborgs.

    Further Reading: The Pearl Clutching Hilarity of Mortal Kombat News Reports

    Speaking of getting through to their friends, Kitana was able to bring Sindel back to her senses and onto her side. Similarly, Kitana’s longtime friend and fellow assassin Jade was tasked with tracking down and killing Kitana alongside Reptile, but chose to defend her instead.

    Although Kung Lao was able to cut Baraka in half (Baraka survived by being stapled together somehow), he was seemingly killed by Shao Kahn. This gave Liu Kang the extra edge needed to defeat Kahn and send him back where he came from. Earthrealm was saved once again.

    THE NETHERREALM INVASION (Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold)

    Thanks to the help of the Edenian traitor Tanya, Shinnok was able to finagle his way out of the Netherrealm. He attacked the Heavens and Earthrealm with Quan Chi, Tanya, Reiko, Reptile, Baraka, Noob Saibot, Mileena, and Scorpion in his thrall. Unbeknownst to him, Quan Chi secretly held onto the real version of Shinnok’s powerful amulet while Shinnok held a fake. Quan Chi was really the one in control.

    Ultimately, Shinnok’s plan involved the Jinsei, which is like Earthrealm’s life force. Shinnok wanted to poison it with his own evil magic, corrupting the entire planet and making it his domain. Or something.

    Raiden put together a group to stop him, which included his fellow god Fujin, Liu Kang, a resurrected Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Jax, Kung Lao (who had faked his death for reasons), Kitana, and White Lotus member Kai. Because of Shinnok’s threat, even Cyrax, Goro, and Black Dragon member Jarek joined their cause out of necessity.

    Further Reading: 25 Best Fighting Game Guest Characters

    Once again, Liu Kang came out the winner and Shinnok was sent back to the Netherrealm. Kitana offered him a spot at her side as ruler of Edenia, but he decided against it. His place was Earthrealm. On the upside, Kitana became close allies with Goro and Kung Lao appeared before him to end their family beef.

    Also, the adventure helped Cyrax get back in touch with his humanity. Jax and Sonya helped him break out of his programming and used some machinery to put his mind back to its original form. He was still a cyborg, but he had the mind of the man he used to be.

    Quan Chi convinced Scorpion that the younger Sub-Zero was bad news and was behind the death of his family. Scorpion beat down Sub-Zero. With everything wrapped up, Quan Chi appeared and admitted the truth. Now Sub-Zero was his for the killing and Scorpion was no longer of use. He began a spell to banish Scorpion to the Netherrealm, but at the last moment, Scorpion lunged over and grabbed Quan Chi. If he was going to Hell, Quan Chi was going with him.

    THE DEADLY ALLIANCE (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition)

    Quan Chi finally escaped his endless beatings via the help of two oni creatures named Moloch and Drahmin. During his escape, he found out about Onaga’s unbeatable, mummified army and hatched a plan. He went off to Outworld and sought out fellow sorcerer Shang Tsung. Together, they could find worthy warriors, steal their souls, shove the souls into the mummified army, and then conquer all of reality. But first, they would need to take out the two biggest threats.

    First, they visited Shao Kahn and went after him as one. The numbers game was too much and Kahn was killed. Afterwards, they went to Earthrealm to team up on Liu Kang. Shang Tsung snapped his neck and killed him on the spot.

    Elsewhere, in a war between Edenian and Outworld forces, Goro was slain in battle. Secretly, he was stolen away and revived by Shao Kahn. It turns out that the guy Shang and Quan took out was a double. Kahn and Goro decided to sit on the sidelines and see how it played out.

    Sub-Zero wanted to set things right and take over the Lin Kuei. He defeated Sektor and took over as the new Grandmaster. As leader, he obtained an enchanted medallion that increased his power. He restarted the clan, which included taking a protégé in Frost, an egotistical young woman with similar ice powers.

    Scorpion went after Quan Chi on his own. He broke into his stronghold, only to be attacked by Moloch and Drahmin. They overwhelmed him and threw his body into Shang Tsung’s Soulnado (a tornado of souls that reaches into the Heavens). Scorpion’s body was torn apart and he vanished, presumably destroyed for good.

    Further Reading: Mortal Kombat Movie Reboot Put on Hold

    Cyrax was sent on a mission to Outworld, but was stranded. Nitara, a vampire lady, was able to trick both Cyrax and Reptile into helping her liberate her realm from being merged with Outworld. In the end, this subplot caused Reptile to find his way into an incubation chamber where a cult worshipped a big dragon egg. It hatched and a beam of energy blasted out of it and into Reptile, mutating him and making him a host to the reborn Onaga.

    Kenshi, a telekinetic, blind swordsman with a serious hate-on for Shang Tsung, was sent by the Special Forces to rescue Cyrax. During his excavation, he came across Ermac and was able to break him away from Shao Kahn’s control, turning them into psychic buddies. Instead of finding Cyrax, Kenshi was ambushed by Mavado, a high-ranking member of the Red Dragon. Coincidentally, Mavado was sporting a couple hook swords that he got from Kabal after tracking him down and beating him within an inch of his life.

    But back to the main plot...

    Raiden put together a team to fight the sorcerers, save the world, and get revenge for Liu Kang’s death: Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Jax, Kitana, Sub-Zero, and Frost. Sub-Zero and Frost got separated from all of this. Frost stole Sub-Zero’s medallion for herself, couldn’t control it, and became frozen in a block of ice. Whoops. On his own, Sub-Zero ended up stumbling upon a half-dead Kenshi and aided him.

    As for the other heroes? Well, they died. Sucks to be them.

    THE RISE OF THE DRAGON KING (Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Unchained)

    Even though it was six-on-two, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi wiped the floor with the heroes and killed all five mortals, leaving only Raiden. They kicked his ass and once he was down for the count, they turned on each other. Quan Chi won the battle of the sorcerers, only for Onaga to show up to reclaim his kingdom. Raiden, Shang, and Quan put their differences aside and triple-teamed Onaga to little-to-no effect. Raiden went desperate and blew himself up. It took out all three of them and the mummified army, but Onaga still stood tall. Onaga had the Kamidogu relics and he resurrected the slain heroes to be his brainwashed goons. He intended to merge everything together and bring order like nobody had ever seen before.

    Raiden respawned elsewhere, but something went wrong and he came back red-eyed and vicious. He still wanted to protect Earthrealm, but now at any cost, no matter how merciless. He started by resurrecting Liu Kang’s soulless corpse into a shambling zombie. Meanwhile, Liu Kang’s actual soul got in contact with Ermac and convinced him to help save his mind-controlled buddies.

    Speaking of resurrection, the Elder Gods saved Scorpion from the Soulnado and gave him a new mission: save reality from Onaga as the Champion of the Elder Gods and in return they would resurrect his clan.

    Further Reading: Original Mortal Kombat Reboot Script Compared to R-Rated Avengers

    Seido and Chaosrealm also got involved in the plot. Most importantly, Hotaru of Seido joined forces with Onaga due to Onaga’s vision of bringing a dark sense of order to all the realms. Hotaru was sent to eliminate Sub-Zero and Kenshi, which he failed to do. From Chaosrealm, the Cleric of Chaos Havik found a near-dead Kabal and nursed him back to health. He convinced Kabal to go back to his evil ways and rebuild the Black Dragon. Kabal did so, finding new members in Kobra and Kira.

    Ermac and the ghost of Liu Kang were able to bring the brainwashed heroes back to their senses. As for Onaga, his downfall didn’t come from the hands of Scorpion, but a guilt-ridden Shujinko. The gullible warrior used his power to absorb fighting abilities and summoned the skills of all the fighters involved in the story. He shattered every Kamidogu piece and then killed the hell out of Onaga.

    Afterwards, the fire elemental Blaze appeared before Kitana and told her that she needed to gather every hero together to take on the banded forces of evil. Kitana collapsed in frustration over how she’ll never see an end to war, but Blaze promised that if her side won, it could very well bring everlasting peace.

    THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON (Mortal Kombat: Armageddon)

    One way or another, every hero and villain of the series had returned. The villains, from Onaga to Shao Kahn to the Deadly Alliance, agreed on a temporary team-up to wipe out the do-gooders of the realms. Scorpion rejoined their ranks after the Elder Gods paid him back by resurrecting the Shirai Ryu as mindless ghouls.

    Man, the Elder Gods are dicks.

    Taven finally awoke from his slumber, only to discover that his intended contest against Daegon had gone completely wrong and that Daegon was a megalomaniac mass-murderer. He traveled around to various locations, getting into fights with various characters until getting a front row seat in the Battle of Armageddon.

    Further Reading: Are Fighting Games Too Difficult?

    As the forces of good and evil fought it out in a desert wasteland, a massive pyramid appeared before them with Blaze standing on top. Everyone was entranced with his energies and then started fighting each other as they raced to the top. It was a massive battle royal between every existing Mortal Kombat character and it was Taven’s to win. After all, he was the hero of the story.

    But Taven failed. Instead, the last man standing was Shao Kahn. After the smoke cleared, bodies littered the scene and Kahn stood over Blaze’s slain body, more powerful than ever. Before him was Raiden, defeated and moments from death. As Kahn laughed about how worthless and cowardly the Elder Gods were, Raiden reached for a special amulet he always carried with him. It was shattered into pieces, but he held it together in his hands, spoke an enchantment, and yelled out, “HE MUST WIN!”

    THE WOULD-BE FOLLOW-UP (as shown in Mortal Kombat X)

    Victorious and overflowing with power, Shao Kahn went insane from having nothing left to conquer. He ended up destroying Earthrealm completely. Unbeknownst to him, Kitana survived the Battle of Armageddon, recovered, and worked on a counterattack. She created an alliance between all the surviving realms and together they were able to defeat Kahn. Kitana chopped him in half and killed him for good.

    Further Reading: The Strange History of Kung Lao

    Kitana then became the Queen of Edenia and brought everlasting peace, just like Blaze told her. But this outcome was undone by Raiden’s meddling with the timestream...

    SHANG TSUNG’S ISLAND TOURNAMENT REDUX (Mortal Kombat 9)

    Back to the events of Mortal Kombat 1, the younger Raiden suddenly became overwhelmed with random visions of the future and the directions that, “HE MUST WIN!” He saw various events, such as his acts as a corrupted god, Sub-Zero being reborn as Noob Saibot, Motaro killing Johnny Cage, Smoke being turned into a cyborg, etc.

    He figured that, “HE MUST WIN!” meant Liu Kang beating Shang Tsung. Therefore, the events mostly transpired exactly as before.

    Further Reading: Quan Chi's Story Explained

    Raiden did try to convince Scorpion not to kill Sub-Zero, as that would bring forth an even greater evil. If Scorpion showed mercy, Raiden suggested that he could maybe convince the Elder Gods to bring back to the Shirai Ryu (um...baaaad idea, Raiden), and Scorpion agreed to his terms. Yet in the end, Quan Chi egged him on too much and Scorpion murdered Sub-Zero regardless. Scorpion lost his only hope of reconnecting with his past.

    Liu Kang defeated Shang Tsung, but Raiden was disturbed to see that his own amulet was beginning to crack on its own. It seems that he didn’t prevent the terrible future after all.

    THE OUTWORLD TOURNAMENT REDUX (Mortal Kombat 9)

    Shao Kahn’s tournament started to show more differences this second go-through. First, Raiden prevented the Lin Kuei from capturing Smoke. That proceeded to bite him in the ass, as they instead got their hands on the younger Sub-Zero. In this scenario, the Lin Kuei offered their services to Shao Kahn rather than see him as an enemy.

    Raiden figured that perhaps, “HE MUST WIN!” meant Kung Lao, who was just as skilled as Liu Kang. The suggestion rubbed Liu the wrong way, but he didn’t question it. Kung Lao took down Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, and Kintaro, but then Shao Kahn cheaply attacked him from behind and snapped his neck.

    Further Reading: Who Is Ermac?

    Furious over his friend’s death, Liu Kang fought Kahn and, as it was before, took him down with a fist impaling his chest. Even then, Raiden’s amulet continued to crack. This wasn’t the right way either.

    THE OUTWORLD INVASION REDUX (Mortal Kombat 9)

    As Kahn’s forces invaded Earthrealm, Raiden intervened before Johnny Cage could die and killed Motaro. Kabal fought Cyber Sub-Zero and defeated him. The Earthrealm heroes removed Sub-Zero’s programming, bringing back his free will. He was haunted by all the innocent lives he took and agreed to their plan to act as a spy against Kahn.

    Quan Chi opened up a Soulnado in a city cemetery to enhance Shao Kahn’s power. Cyber Sub-Zero fought his brother Noob Saibot while Nightwolf defeated Quan Chi. Noob’s body was thrown into the Soulnado, destroying Noob and causing the Soulnado to dissipate. Raiden was pleased, but upon seeing that his amulet was still cracking, he second-guessed what the next action should be. Liu Kang continued to lose his patience.

    He and Liu Kang went off to talk to the Elder Gods, who didn’t do jack shit other than say that technically, Kahn hadn’t done anything wrong...yet. While that was going on, the Earthrealm warriors fought off the Lin Kuei. That was easy enough, but prior to the attack, Kahn decided to kill Shang Tsung and use his energies to enhance Sindel. Singlehandedly, this stronger version of Sindel killed Jade, Stryker, Sub-Zero, Kabal, Jax, Smoke, and Kitana. Nightwolf sacrificed himself to finally stop her. Raiden and Liu returned to find Kitana dying. Liu had finally had enough of Raiden’s dumbass decisions and called him out on it.

    Desperate, Raiden went to the Netherrealm to suggest a deal with Quan Chi. Quan Chi had no need as he already had a deal going with Shao Kahn: in exchange for his services, he got to keep the souls of the warriors who fell during the war between Earthrealm and Outworld. He then had the undead versions of everyone from Sindel to Kung Lao attack Raiden. Raiden left empty-handed, but Quan Chi did make sure to give him some inspiration to figure out how to stop Kahn.

    Further Reading: Kitana's Story Explained

    “HE MUST WIN!” meant Shao Kahn. If Liu Kang fought him, Kahn would be warded off, but he’d survive to fight another day and eventually kill them all. If Kahn simply merged the realms like the egomaniac he was, the Elder Gods would finally have reason to act on it. Liu thought the plan was nonsense and went after Kahn anyway. Raiden got in Liu's way and accidentally killed him. Begging for forgiveness, Raiden was horrified when Liu cursed his name before dying from the wounds.

    Kahn merged the realms and became stronger. The Elder Gods powered up Raiden and helped him defeat Kahn. They then tore his soul to pieces. Shao Kahn was dead. Finally. In response, Raiden’s amulet fixed itself.

    It came at a terrible cost. Of the good guys, only Raiden, Johnny, and Sonya survived. As they left, Quan Chi appeared to admire Kahn’s destroyed helmet. Everything was going according to plan. Shinnok would escape the Netherrealm soon and there would be barely anyone to oppose them this time.

    THE NETHERREALM INVASION REDUX (Mortal Kombat X)

    The odds were worse than the original timeline’s war against Shinnok. Not only were the good guys reduced to just Raiden, Fujin, Johnny, Sonya, and Kenshi, but the bad guys had a bunch of resurrected and corrupted heroes on their side. Despite all that, Johnny Cage still defeated Shinnok. It turned out that Johnny was part of a special bloodline of forgotten warriors bred by the gods to be awesome fighters. When Sonya was in peril, Johnny’s genetic powers kicked in and he was able to overpower Shinnok and imprison him into his own magical amulet.

    Quan Chi mortally wounded Johnny and tried to recreate him as one of his revenant soldiers. Raiden used his own magic to combat it and not only did it save Johnny’s life, but it returned all the other revenant warriors in the room to regular human form. This included Jax, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero (Kuai Lang, as a human being). Raiden finally had a way of saving their fallen friends from damnation. Unfortunately, Quan Chi escaped, so nuts to that.

    After the war, Johnny and Sonya got married and had a daughter. The union was short-lived and they got divorced, mainly due to Sonya’s Special Forces duties. Jax was too haunted by his memories as a demon soldier and settled down with a civilian. They also had a daughter. Sub-Zero killed Sektor and rebuilt the Lin Kuei from the ground up.

    Further Reading: 20 Best Altered Fighting Game Characters

    Scorpion didn’t know what to do with himself, but Kenshi reached out to him and helped him reconnect with his humanity. A man once again, Scorpion decided to rebuild the Shirai Ryu, recruiting those who also lost loved ones.

    Raiden hid Shinnok’s amulet away from reality by use of the Kamidogu pieces, now in the form of daggers. He gave them to different people to protect against evil.

    Elsewhere, with Shao Kahn gone, his daughter-of-sorts Mileena took the throne in Outworld. Kotal (Buluc), who had worked as Shao Kahn’s underling over the years, convinced others to follow him and forced Mileena into hiding through a sudden uprising. Baraka was one of the victims of this little episode, killed by D’Vorah, a creepy bug lady. Now named Kotal Kahn, the new emperor’s inner circle included D’Vorah, the mercenary Erron Black, Ermac, Reptile, and the bloodthirsty savage duo of Ferra and Torr.

    THE REIKO ACCORDS (Mortal Kombat X comic series)

    Kenshi was undercover as a member of the Red Dragon, but his cover was blown. The Red Dragon knew more about him than he did, including how he had an illegitimate son with an old flame named Suchin. Kenshi was too late to save Suchin, but was able to protect their son Takeda. Kenshi handed Takeda to Scorpion to protect and raise while Kenshi went off to destroy the Red Dragon himself.

    Havik orchestrated a plot that cursed the Kamidogu daggers and possessed certain warriors. Using Reiko and others as pawns, Havik worked to summon Shinnok’s amulet and use it for himself as a way to spread chaos through the realms. His machinations caused the deaths of Mavado, Kintaro, Reiko, Goro’s father, Kotal Kahn’s father, and the entire Shirai Ryu (barring Scorpion and Takeda).

    Further Reading: Who Is Reptile?

    While Havik’s threat was great enough that even Kotal Kahn and Mileena decided to work together against him, he was done in by Takeda and Scorpion. Scorpion decapitated Havik – who remained alive – teleported into the Netherrealm, and handed the head over to Moloch and Drahmin for the sake of torture.

    After the adventure, Kotal Kahn and Sonya agreed on a pact known as the Reiko Accords that made them uneasy allies.

    THE NEW GENERATION (Mortal Kombat X)

    20 years had passed since the Netherrealm War. During that time, Sub-Zero made amends with Scorpion and proved to him that their entire rivalry was based on the manipulations of Quan Chi. To atone, Scorpion dedicated himself to making Quan Chi suffer.

    Johnny Cage put together a task force of youngsters to train so that they could take over for the old guard. This included Takeda, Johnny and Sonya’s daughter Cassie Cage, Jax’s daughter Jacqui Briggs, and Kung Lao’s cousin Kung Jin. At some point, Kano had gotten his hands on Shinnok’s amulet and sold it to Mileena to help her regain her spot as empress of Outworld.

    Cassie’s team went to Outworld to get aid from Kotal Kahn. Kotal got the wrong idea and tried to have them killed, but cooler heads prevailed and the two parties worked together to apprehend Mileena. D’Vorah executed her. Afterwards, Kotal Kahn refused to return Shinnok’s amulet as Raiden had failed to keep it safe twice over. Little did Kotal realize that D’Vorah had been working for Quan Chi and Shinnok all along and this was part of her plan.

    Thanks to Jax coming back from retirement, the Special Forces were able to apprehend Quan Chi. Scorpion then appeared and forced everyone to watch him beat and torture the sorcerer, not caring about the fate of others. D’Vorah appeared and handed Quan Chi the amulet. His final words were a spell that would resurrect Shinnok...just before Scorpion chopped Quan Chi’s head off. Not only was Shinnok back, but the fallen heroes could never be turned human again. Only then did Scorpion realize his folly.

    Shinnok took over the Jinsei Chamber and poisoned the energies with his evil, all while keeping Johnny Cage for the sake of torture. Cassie’s crew, alongside the Lin Kuei, fought through Kotal Kahn’s forces and Shinnok’s revenant warriors. Jacqui even avenged her father by defeating Ermac.

    Cassie faced Shinnok’s true form. Seeing her father in peril caused her powers to kick in and she was able to win just like Johnny did 20 years earlier. To purify the Jinsei, Raiden had himself placed within its energies. Shinnok was defeated, the world was saved, and Johnny and Sonya reconnected.

    But it wasn’t all a happy ending. Raiden’s sacrifice caused him to become corrupted. He became like his darker self from the original timeline, ready to wipe out anything he considered a possible threat to Earthrealm. To show he meant business, he appeared in the Netherrealm and warned the new rulers – the revenant versions of Liu Kang and Kitana – by throwing the living and suffering head of Shinnok at their feet.

    THE POSSIBLE FUTURE (Mortal Kombat X)

    Several of the endings of Mortal Kombat X hint at where the series goes from here. These aren’t 100% confirmed, but appear to be the direction so far.

    As mentioned, Liu Kang took over the Netherrealm with Kitana at his side. Kitana started to see visions of what reality would’ve been like had Raiden not gone back in time after the Battle of Armageddon. This only caused her hatred for Raiden to grow. As for Kung Lao, his cousin Kung Jin sought him out and helped him regain himself. Still a revenant, Kung Lao had at least reclaimed his humanity and dedicated himself to fighting evil.

    Johnny Cage was prepared to retire, but a journey to Shang Tsung’s old island led him to discover the mystical secrets to living for thousands of years. Jax took over as the commander of the next generation Secret Forces team temporarily but was mortally wounded when protecting his daughter and her friends from Erron Black. Kano found his never-before-mentioned son and brutally trained him to one day take his place.

    Kenshi and Takeda’s war against the Red Dragon would cause them to team up with Taven. Together, they found Daegon and made him pay for his crimes.

    The Elder Gods, not happy with Raiden’s new attitude, resurrected Quan Chi. They removed his free will and made him their agent dedicated to killing Raiden. Similarly, Shang Tsung would also make his return, feeding on Ermac’s multiple souls to bring himself back to full strength.

    Feeling guilty for his actions in almost destroying the world, Scorpion became loyal to Raiden. Scorpion was powered by the Jinsei and became immortal with his Shirai Ryu serving Raiden’s will. This included invading and conquering Outworld. Desperate, Kotal Kahn went the classic route to protect his realm.

    As agreed upon by the Elder Gods, if Raiden wants to truly conquer Outworld, he’ll have to do it the old fashioned way: Mortal Kombat.

    Gavin Jasper doesn’t even know how to pump his own gas, yet he knows all this crap. Oh well. Follow him on Twitter.


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    Will you be playing Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid? The cross-platform fighter comes to consoles in April.

    Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Fighting Game
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 18, 2019

    The Power Rangers franchise is heading back to consoles with a fighting game by the name of Power Rangers: Battle for the GridLaunching on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in April (with a PC version to follow), Battle for the Grid comes to us from Hasbro, Lionsgate, and nWay. The developers at nWay previously worked on the mobile title Power Rangers Legacy Wars, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the leap onto consoles.

    Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has been described as an "easy to learn but hard to master fighting game." It's apparently "a modern take on the 25-year franchise," which promises "stunning graphics with vivid details."

    Further Reading: All Seasons of Power Rangers Ranked

    You'll be able to battle between "current and classic Rangers and villains like never before in team battles" with plenty of opportunities to test your skills online. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can check out the official announcement trailer right here...

    Power Rangersfans have been asking for a high fidelity fighting game on console and PC that matches up iconic Rangers and villains across the expansive Power Rangers multiverse for quite some time now,” noted nWay's CEO Taehoon Kim in a press release.

    Further Reading: Power Rangers Halloween Episodes Ranked

    Kim also revealed that cross-platform multiplayer is a big part of the game: "We wanted to deliver this to the fans and make sure it has cross-play and cross-progression capabilities as we believe playing with friends across multiple platforms at the same time is where the future of gaming is headed.”

    We don't have an exact date yet, but we know that Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid is aiming for an April 2019 release. The game will be available as a digital download for $19.99. Those who pre-order the game will be rewarded with a special Green Ranger V2 Skin.


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    A recent letter reveals that Netflix is more worried about Fortnite than other subscription streaming services.

    Fortnite Netflix Competition
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 18, 2019

    According to Netflix, the biggest threat to their entertainment empire isn't HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or even the upcoming Disney+. No, the company seems to think their biggest competition is Epic's Fortnite

    "We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO," says Netflix in a recent letter to shareholders. "When YouTube went down globally for a few minutes in October, our viewing and signups spiked for that time...There are thousands of competitors in this highly-fragmented market vying to entertain consumers and low barriers to entry for those with great experiences."

    Netflix goes on to state that they're not particularly concerned about any single competitor and instead choose to focus on improving the Netflix experience for their subscribers. We're not sure how that recent price hike helps improve the Netflix experience, but we suppose they have a lot of faith in the value of their original content. 

    Still, it's hard to argue with Netflix's assessment of the situation. We hear many companies look within their own borders of the entertainment world when identifying their competition. However, Netflix has realized that what that they're competing for is screen time. As the company points out in their report, YouTube seemingly monopolizes more screen time than any of the major video streaming services. 

    As for Fortnite, Netflix seems less worried about Fortnite directly "stealing" customers their service, and more worried about how the game seems to be engaging people (especially young users) and causing them to devote more of their screen time to the game rather than watching Netflix. They might retain their subscription money while they play Fortnite and watch YouTube, but they're right to worry that people might eventually realize they don't use Netflix as their primary source of entertainment and cancel their subscriptions. 

    In any case, it's interesting to hear one of the largest entertainment providers in the world directly reference YouTube and Fortnite as serious competition in an ever-changing digital landscape. 

    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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    Bungie remains committed to Destiny 2 moving forward.

    Destiny 2 Bungie
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 18, 2019

    In case there was any doubt, Bungie wants you to know that developing Destiny 2 is the company's top priority moving forward. 

    "Long-term, Bungie is committed to Destiny," says Destiny director Luke Smith via a letter posted on the Bungie website. "We created the universe and we hold its future entirely in our hands. The vast majority of the team is hard at work envisioning future experiences, enemies, and ways to play the Guardian you've been building since 2014. We're going to keep doing that...we're thinking about what it means to be truly independent, what it means to self-publish, and crucially, what Destiny's future can now look like for our players."

    That last line might read as a shot at Activision, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Smith takes the time to thank Activision just as others at Bungie have in the past. Granted, that's most likely a piece of PR obligation, but it doesn't seem that Bungie is placing all of Destiny's problems at the feet of Activision. 

    Instead, the letter reads more like an admission of sorts in which Bungie confesses that they're not entirely sure where Destiny goes from here, but that the majority of their team is committed to answering that question. There's a welcome bit of honesty hidden in the "Ra Ra" nature of the letter. Bungie admitting that they have to figure out what Destiny looks like now that they are independent seemingly doubles as confirmation that they didn't leave Activision with a firm plan in place regarding what they intend to do with the game. 

    That might sound like a bad thing, but it does shed a little light on the split from Activision. It really does feel like Bungie's general feeling was that they were being constrained by Activision's requirements and felt the need to break free in order to have the chance to discover what Destiny can be. 

    As we've previously mentioned, those fans who still believe in Bungie and the Destiny concept may see that as the best thing to happen to the game. Whether or not that proves to be the case remains to be seen. 

    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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    Bonnie Ross, who's bossed Halo since 343 took control of the franchise, says it's been "a very humbling experience"

    Halo Developer Admits Mistakes
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 18, 2019

    It's been an interesting few years for the Halofranchise, which has seen a lot of change in the last decade, including a new studio and the release of two major installments that take the series in a different direction. It has also seen its fair share of criticism, especially with Halo 5: Guardians, a game that put Master Chief in the backseat and got rid of split-screen multiplayer, a beloved feature among fans. Then there's The Master Chief Collection, which has been marred by online technical issues since its release in 2014. Now, the person at the top of the series' behind-the-scenes food chain has admitted that developer 343 Industries "made some mistakes.".

    343 has been handling theHalo series since 2007, when Bungie split from Microsoft, with Bonnie Ross as head of the studio. In an interview with Venture Beat, Ross was candid about where 343 dropped the ball.

    "Honestly, we have made mistakes along the way. The community has helped us in creating good learning experiences for us."

    Ross went on to state that "the universe is the most important character" in Halo and reflected that, "if we’re going to keep the universe alive and healthy, I think that we have to ensure that we are doing right by Halo."

    "I do look at it as a very humbling experience," she added. "The whole team looks at this as not just our universe. It’s the fans’ universe. How are we doing right by the fans? How are we doing right by the franchise? It is a part of our culture, this precious, precious world, and we’re responsible for taking care of it. And we want to do it right."

    Ross, elsewhere in the interview, enthused that she is "super excited about Halo Infinite and about the Showtime [TV] series. There’s a lot more Halo stories to tell. It’s such an amazing universe."

    Here's hoping that there are fewer mistakes and more fan-pleasing slamdunks as this universe continues to expand. Certainly, Ross seems to be saying all the right things. 

    We'll keep you updated as we hear more.


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    After spending our first few hours with Ace Combat 7, here are some initial thoughts...

    Ace Combat 7 Preview
    ReviewRob Leane
    Jan 18, 2019

    This Ace Combat 7 review in progress is based on our early impressions of the game. We will update this review when we feel that we've experienced all the game has to offer. This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Release Date: January 18, 2019
    Platform: PS4 (reviewed), XBO, PC
    Developer: Bandai Namco
    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Genre: Combat Flight Simulator

    Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is out today, marking the first installment of Bandai Namco's popular flying simulation series to appear on the current generation of consoles. It's also the first title in the franchise to support Virtual Reality headsets, which is a significant leap forward for a property where immersion and eye-catching visuals always play a significant part.

    We've spent a couple of hours with the game in single-player mode on PS4, albeit without the assistance of a PSVR headset, and we're pleased to report that a good time has been had for the most part. Read on to discover our first impressions on Ace Combat 7...

    Further Reading: 35 Video Games You Need to Play in 2019

    A tantalizing opening

    Before you've even taken control of an aircraft yourself, Ace Combat 7 sets its stall out in no uncertain terms: this game is pitching for visual excellence, and we've seen nothing thus far to suggest that this game won't be revered as the most realistic flight simulator to date.

    The game kicks off by introducing a new character named Avril Mead and showing her first flight in a snazzy new plane. You can't control this character at this point, but her foray skyward gives the developers a chance to show off the increased graphical abilities allowed by this generation of consoles as well as the Unreal Engine.

    Further Reading: 25 Best Japanese Games Not Available in the U.S.

    Even if you're not historically a huge lover of flight games, you'll be keen to jump straight into a cockpit yourself after witnessing this exhilarating opening cutscene. Thankfully, once you've sat through a generic mission briefing (picture blue and white pseudo-holographic visualizations, backed up by some scene-setting voiceover), that's exactly what you get to do.

    Spectacular soaring, whatever your skill level

    This first flight showcases exactly what we were hoping for: the chance to soar about in a nice big map, which renders everything in sight in an uber-realistic level of detail. If you swoop close to the ground, you'll see tiny details in trucks and towers. If you get too close to a blast, you'll see the sparks sizzling over your windscreen. Fly through some trees and you'll see the leaves. You get the idea.

    The experience is also elevated by Keiki Kobayashi's uplifting score (both weak aviation puns very much intended), which makes it feel like you're flying through an epic-but-heartwarming feature film. It combines with the visuals to create a game that is so pleasing to the senses that it almost distracts you from the task at hand. There was more than one occasion when an enemy locked us into their sights before we realized they were nearby, for instance, because we were far too busy checking out the scenery and enjoying the music.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Video Game Soundtracks

    It's lucky, then, that the controls are pretty easy to pick up: you start the game with two powerful missile-type attacks at your disposal, which are simple to cycle through and deploy. And it must be said, there's something very satisfying about seeing your enemy blow up as you spin away and seek out your next target (or the next bit of lovely foliage you want to check out).

    The game comes with three difficulty levels to choose from: one for newbies to the series, one for regulars, and one for hardcore players that fancy a challenge. So, whether you're looking to try out a flying simulator for the first time or hoping to show off some well-honed skills, you should find something to enjoy here. Certainly, if the 4K-friendly visuals are tempting you to make this your first ever flight sim, don't let the fear of an OTT difficulty level put you off.

    A muddled mythos, but not without intrigue

    The more we play of Ace Combat 7, though, the more the game's convoluted mythos begins to become a distraction from the unincumbered thrills of the flying itself. The temptation to skip the cutscenes, news reports, and samey mission briefings does grow as you progress, with only the fear of missing something important standing in your thumb's way.

    The backdrop to the game's narrative is a war across a fictional continent, which involves such uninspiring objectives as gaining control of a "space elevator." If you don't have much of a history with this franchise, there isn't a great deal in the overarching story here to immediately grab your attention, nor much proof of why one side in the conflict is any better than the other.

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated Multiplayer Games

    Thankfully, there is intrigue in the not-particularly-engaging fictional politics at play. The path of the player character (Trigger) and how he relates to Avril from the opening cutscene is a story that we're looking forward to unraveling after the initial handful of character-driven scenes that we've seen, even if the background details of this world have failed to amaze thus far.

    The main appeal, of course, is always going to be the flying missions. In this, it seems like Ace Combat 7 really succeeds. Whatever else is going on in the game, we're always itching to get back in the cockpit and see what the next level has in store, be it a new set of weather conditions to contend with or some new toys to try out. As first impressions go, we're certainly keen to load this up again and take to the skies some more.


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    BioWare has supposedly asked EA multiple times for permission to make a new KOTOR game.

    KOTOR EA Star Wars BioWare
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 18, 2019

    Over the years, we've heard a lot of talk about BioWare working on a new KOTOR game. It was even reported that their Austin studio was secretly hard at work on a new entry in the series. However, a recent update to the EA/Star Wars fiasco seems to indicate that isn't the case. 

    "They've tried to make it happen, more than once from what I've heard," says Kotaku's Jason Schreier on Twitter in response to a question about BioWare making another KOTOR game. "No luck."

    On its own, there's not much information there, but there is more to this story. First off, Jason Schreier has been a reliable source for years when it comes to reporting on what's happening at various video game studios. He's also responsible for that recent report that sheds some light on why the EA era of Star Wars games has been disastrous thus far

    He's also one of the people who previously stated that those reports which suggested BioWare is actively working on a new KOTOR game are mostly false. It seems that there was a point when BioWare had pitched the idea of a new KOTOR to the higher-ups at EA (and possibly worked on some kind of pitch for the game that might have included tech demos), but they never actually began work on such a project in earnest. 

    The question now is: "Why has EA seemingly denied them the right to do so?" For our best guess on that, we'd direct you to that previously mentioned report in which it was seemingly determined that EA isn't really all that enthusiastic about the idea of having so many Star Wars games in development at once. That report (which EA officially disputes) indicated that EA's CEO was never really that excited about the idea of a long exclusive Star Wars agreement. If true, that would explain why EA has done the bare minimum (sometimes worse) with the license. 

    What's really heartbreaking is the implications this news has regarding BioWare's true intentions. They've repeatedly stated that Anthem is the kind of game they want to make (despite evidence to the contrary), but now we hear that they have seemingly made multiple attempts to revisit one of their most beloved franchises beyond adding new content to the Old RepublicMMO. 

    The shame of it all is that the second KOTORgame left us dreaming of the possibilities of that franchise and that the recent history of Star Wars games has left us fondly remembering the days in which Star Wars games were arguably superior to the movies they are based on

    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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    Telling Lies will try to build upon the brilliant Her Story with help from this cast.

    Telling Lies Her Story Voice Cast
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 18, 2019

    Writer/designer Sam Barlow and Annapurna Interactive are teaming up to bring us a spiritual successor to the revolutionary indie game, Her Story

    Called Telling Lies, this title is described as a "spiritual successor to Her Story." That seemingly indicates that it is not directly tied to Her Story in regards to the two games' characters, universes, and any potential shared plot points. 

    However, it seems that the game will utilize a set-up similar to the one featured in Her Story. That is to say that it will require players to interpret the information given to them via live-action sequences in order to reach the end of a narrative (or at least draw conclusions regarding its meaning). Whereas Her Story forced you to make sense of various interviews with a murder suspect in order to determine what happened, though, it seems that Telling Lies will be a little grander in scope. The plot details aren't fully known at this time, but Barlow previously mentioned that the game would draw influences from the Steve McQueen sexual thriller Shame as well as the Francis Ford Coppola film, The Conversation. He also describes it as being "in the vein of a political thriller."

    Selling the increased scope of the game is a rather impressive cast of recently revealed actors who will portray the game's four main characters. David will be played by Logan Marshall-Green (Upgrade, The Invitation), Ava will be played by Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse, Straight Outta Compton), Emma will be played by Kerry Bishé (Halt and Catch Fire, Scrubs), and Angela Sarafyan (Westworld) rounds out the main cast as Max. Vivien Lyra Blair of Bird Box also has an unidentified speaking role in the game. 

    We're quite excited for this title as Her Story is not only a unique narrative experience that must be experienced by anyone who wants to see what video game storytelling is capable of, but because Barlow also worked on one of the most underrated horror games of all time, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. We even got to speak to Barlow about his work on that game and his philosophy behind making scary games. 

    There's no word yet regarding Telling Lies' release date, but the principal shooting of the live-action sequences is expected to wrap soon. 

    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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    Capcom's Resident Evil 2 remake is a love letter to the survival horror classic. Here are our hands-on impressions!

    Resident Evil 2 Preview
    Feature John Saavedra
    Jan 20, 2019

    This Resident Evil 2 hands-on preview is based on a demo from E3 2018.

    In 1998, Resident Evil 2 had the unenviable position of following up one of the most important survival horror games ever made and delivered an experience every bit as scary and cinematic as the original. It introduced beloved franchise mainstays Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, the duplicitous rogue Ada Wong, and a gruesome city play area beyond what fans of the zombie genre could have imagined at the turn of the century. With Resident Evil 2, the series reached its true potential.

    Once again, Leon and Claire must explore the depths of a zombified Raccoon City as the T-virus spreads from a secret Umbrella laboratory to a police station under siege. But this new version of Resident Evil 2 is much more than a simple remaster of the game. It's more of a reimagining with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a current-gen title. I stumbled through the zombie-infested Raccoon City Police Department during my E3 2018 demo and discovered a horror title that might very well be 2019's best. 

    Further Reading: 35 Games to Play in 2019

    Despite how some fans might feel about Resident Evil 2 remaining faithful to the original, Capcom has made a few big updates that help the game not ultimately feel like such a dinosaur, something the Resident Evil Remastered and Resident Evil Zero Remastered editions can't quite avoid. The studio has done away with the fixed camera, for example. Now the game plays with the over-the-shoulder camera first popularized by another Leon S. Kennedy adventure, Resident Evil 4.

    You might be worried that this change compromises some of the scares in the game. After all, the early Resident Evil games thrived when it forced the player into a long hallway, directing the camera so he/she couldn't see what was waiting ahead ready to claw at the player from a corner or crash through a window. But I have to say it's almost more unnerving to see a zombie banging on a window ahead of you, drooling for your flesh as you walk towards it. Where the blind spot encouraged you to approach, the knowledge of the terror ahead makes you want to turn around and run. 

    I don't have to tell you how much better shooting is from the shoulder. It's a necessary improvement made for a more modern audience and cracking the necessary headshot still feels great. The zombies don't go down easy, of course. It'll take three shots to the head to kill them, but that doesn't guarantee that they won't rise from the dead once again. In fact, when you re-enter an area where you fought a stalking corpse, there's a good chance it'll get up for one last scare (or a few more). 

    Further Reading: The George Romero Resident Evil Movie You Never Saw

    Unsurprisingly, the visuals are much improved. I dare say that Resident Evil 2 might actually feature the scariest zombies I've ever seen, from bloodied police officers to hungry pedestrians pushing their way into the building. The dynamic facial expressions add so much to these night stalkers, as they growl or shout with rage.

    The game is also gory as hell, which isn't exactly awe-inspiring when it comes to Resident Evil but is worth mentioning due to the execution. My brief time inside the police station was a showcase of gruesome violence. Blasting a zombie in the face with a shotgun will leave nothing but a stub for a head -- it looks like a few meaty bits hanging onto what's left of the monster's spinal cord. At one point, a zombie fell from the ceiling and its rotting head split in half, opening up like two flaps to reveal red, oozing muck. Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero fans will be absolutely delighted. 

    By far, the remake's most impressive technical update is the sound design, which becomes the most vital complement to the gameplay, as you slowly make your way through the empty corridors, hearing every footstep, scream, bang on a door, and shattering of glass -- which indicates that more zombies have gotten in and are coming for you. There's a speeding of the heart when you hear these sounds and sometimes even Leon will comment on the noises, which really is quite fun. The game knows how to masterfully manipulate noises to scare the player, even if there's nothing waiting to jump out at you. It becomes a mind game of sound that is reminiscent of other horror classics like Silent Hill 2 and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.  

    Further Reading: The Lost Version of Resident Evil 4

    I played Resident Evil 2 for about an hour and there's honestly not much I can criticize about it. If anything stood out, it was perhaps the repetitiveness of some of the scares. I could predict when certain zombies were going to show up behind me or when one was going to come through a window. But I think that has more to do with the length of the demo as well as the tried and true trademarks of the franchise. The technical updates are more than enough to make Resident Evil 2 feel like a fresh experience. 

    Resident Evil 2 is out on Jan. 25, 2019.  


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  • 01/20/19--22:30: 25 Underrated NES Games
  • You've heard of Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, but have you played these underrated NES classics?

    Underrated NES Games: Batman
    FeatureChris Freiberg
    Jan 20, 2019

    More than three decades after its release, the NES is still considered by many to be the greatest console of all time, even without modern bells and whistles like online play or 4K resolution. And with good reason: it’s home to tons of timeless classics like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.

    But the greatness of the NES goes far beyond those classics. Nearly 700 licensed games were released for the console in North America, and even today some of those greats are often overlooked

    These are the 25 most underrated NES games that are still worth checking out:

    25. Wario’s Woods

    1994 | Nintendo

    Wario’s Woods is an anomaly for plenty of reasons. It was the first Nintendo console game to star Mario’s nemesis and it’s also completely unlike any of the other games in what loosely constitutes the Wario series. The match-3 gameplay bears more than a passing familiarity to Dr. Mario, but instead of controlling pills dropped from the top of the screen, players control a Toad at the bottom that moves monsters and bombs. It was also the last NES game officially released in North America, so with almost a decade of experience programming games for the console at this point, it’s easily one of the best looking titles on the system.

    Despite some odd design choices and complex controls, those that dive into Wario’s Woods often find a tough but satisfying puzzler. And while Nintendo has made the game available through the Virtual Console, the Big N left Wario’s Woods off of the NES Classic and seems to have zero interest in revisiting this type of gameplay.

    24. Déjà Vu

    1990 | ICOM Simulations, Inc.

    The NES isn’t the first platform that comes to mind when thinking about point-and-click games, but it actually did have a few solid adventure titles. Even with the system’s limitations, Déjà Vu nailed the 1940s film noir vibe well. It’s enthralling figuring out the mystery of PI/retired boxer Ace Harding, as he explores the deep underbelly of Chicago.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated SNES Games

    As great as the game’s atmosphere is, its puzzles can be quite confusing. This was long before the days of Telltale when scenes could be completed by just checking everything in a room. Expect to use a walkthrough if you dive into Déjà Vu now.

    23. Captain America and the Avengers

    1991 | Data East

    There were a lot of very bad Marvel games released for the NES. Anything with a Spider-Man or a member of the X-Men on it is best avoided. There's one exception, though. Captain America and the Avengers may not be the best side-scroller on the console, but it’s better than any other Marvel title from the era. The developers even kind of nailed down the feel of Cap’s shield, which you can throw or use to deflect bullets and defend yourself from hazards. You can also play as Hawkeye, but he’s not nearly as much fun.

    Sadly, while this is based off a beloved arcade game, some cuts had to be made. You can’t play as the Vision or Iron Man like in the arcade game, even though the title still references “The Avengers.” That means four-player co-op is out of the question, too. Still, this was a solid port for the times.

    22. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    1990 | Sunsoft

    The ‘90s were an era where pretty much every movie and TV show received a video game adaptation. Usually, these games were nonsensical and not very good, but every now and then, a great team of developers put something together that was surprisingly good. Gremlins 2 is one of those hidden gems from the era.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated N64 Games

    You play as Gizmo from a top-down perspective as he travels through a vast building to eliminate the gremlins using a variety of weapons, including a crossbow. This is a game that looks, sounds, and plays far better than it has any right to.

    21. Krusty’s Fun House

    1992 | Fox Williams 

    Acclaim released a whopping four Simpsons games during the lifespan of the NES. This is the only one not to star Bart and it’s also the best of the bunch. By a lot. Rather than focusing on traditional side-scrolling gameplay like the other games, you play as Krusty the Klown. His titular funhouse has become infested with mice and only he can get rid of them.

    Gameplay is a lot like Lemmings, with Krusty moving around blocks and other objects to guide the mice to their extermination. And while other characters from the franchise are sparse, they do show up as bosses at the end of each level.

    20. Ring King

    1987 | Data East 

    Punch-Out!! may be the undisputed champion of NES boxing games, but Ring King is a solid contender. Rather than focus the camera behind your boxer, the fighters square off in third-person, like a wrestling game. Even though all of the boxers are palette swaps, there’s a lot of depth here and the graphics are surprisingly good for an early NES game.

    Further Reading: 25 Best GameCube Games

    While the gameplay is fun, Ring Kinghas also become somewhat infamous online in recent years for another reason. Between rounds, your trainer comes to the ring, gets on his knees, and well… it can only be described as “servicing” the boxer.

    19. Batman

    1990 | Sunsoft

    There was a time, long ago, when Batman movies got video game adaptations - even great video game adaptations. Based on the 1989 Tim Burton movie, Batman actually does a decent job of following the film’s basic plot and spicing in gameplay liberally borrowed from Ninja Gaiden, like the wall jump and Batarangs. It also boasts a killer soundtrack and some primitive, but entertaining cutscenes.

    Just be warned that this is one difficult game to complete. You might not even make it through the first level, let alone live to see the final showdown with the Joker, but it sure is fun to try.

    18. Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight

    1990 | Capcom

    Despite the title, Street Fighter 2010 is only sort of related to the legendary fighting game franchise. Capcom had a solid side-scrolling shooter on its hands but didn’t think anyone would pay attention to it in the U.S. So the main character was renamed from Kevin Striker in the Japanese version to Ken, a martial arts master, implying he was the same character from Street Fighter.

    Further Reading: Street Fighter Characters Ranked

    The game actually came out a few months before Street Fighter II hit arcades, so the series wasn’t nearly the phenomenon that it would be later in the ‘90s, making the localization decision even more bizarre. Still, there’s fun to be had here, with tight controls and a strong soundtrack if you just ignore all the unnecessary Street Fighter silliness.

    17. Willow

    1989 | Capcom

    Based on an idea by George Lucas, Willow was one of those movies that was a big deal when it was released, but that has fallen into obscurity over the years. It seems rather unavoidable then that the game based on the movie would suffer the same fate. But Willow is actually good!

    The game obviously takes a lot of inspiration from The Legend of Zelda, but with Capcom (which would later go on to make some Zelda games) at the helm, that’s not such a bad thing. Some might even prefer the required grinding.

    16. Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics 2

    1994 | Nintendo

    The first StarTropics was a top-down adventure game that showed a lot of promise but had some control issues. For the sequel, Nintendo fixed that issue with a much smoother system that allowed movement in eight different directions, then added in some of the best graphics on the console and an awesome story that saw main character Mike Jones travel through time.

    Further Reading: 25 Best Wii U Games

    Like Wario’s Woods, this is one of those games that was pretty good but still seemingly sent out to die long after most gamers had moved on to the SNES. And for whatever reasons, Nintendo has completely ignored the series ever since.

    15. The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout

    1990 | Kemco

    It’s Bugs Bunny’s 50th birthday, so of course, he has to fight a bunch of his friends to get to his party. I guess? Is that something anyone has ever had to do for a birthday party? It doesn’t really matter as that’s mostly just an excuse to give Bugs a hammer to take down enemies in a variety of side-scrolling levels, each culminating in a boss fight with a fellow Looney Toon.

    It’s an odd game, but still one of the better ones to feature the Looney Tunes. And unlike a lot of NES games, the sprites actually look like the characters they’re meant to portray.

    14. Adventure Island

    1988 | Hudson Soft

    Far too many NES side-scrollers ripped off Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man, usually with awful results. Adventure Island was one of the few platformers on the console that oozed originality. It took real skill to learn how control to Master Higgins and his stone ax, fireballs, and of course, skateboard. This side-scroller is the rare 8-bit game that’s tough because it’s meant to be, not because of poor design choices or the limitations of the hardware.

    Further Reading: Revisiting Wonder Boy, the Forgotten Answer to Super Mario Bros.

    Adventure Island actually started off as a port of Sega’s Wonder Boy arcade game, but the decision was made to create an original character during development. Meanwhile, the Wonder Boy sequels would add more RPG features and go in an entirely different direction. Unfortunately, while Wonder Boy has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years, the Adventure Island series hasn’t appeared since an obscure 2009 WiiWare game.

    13. Magic of Scheherazade

    1989 | Culture Brain

    Scheherazade was a game ahead of its time in many ways. While at first glance it's a Zelda clone, the ability to travel between five different time periods actually preceded A Link to the Past by two years. The innovative combat system also mixed real-time and turn-based combat, a feature PC RPGs wouldn’t adopt until years later. It’s also one of the few NES games with a Middle Eastern theme, which helps it stand out from the pack.

    At one point, a sequel was planned for the SNES, which could have really been something special given the groundwork laid by the NES game, but it was canceled with no further information announced.

    12. River City Ransom

    1989 | Technos Japan

    Initially ignored in North America, River City Ransom’s reputation has improved over the years. While the NES had no shortage of beat ‘em ups, River City Ransom was the first to let you explore an open world. Your character could further customize his stats with food items or by reading magazines, something that was unheard of in the genre at the time.

    Further Reading: 60 Underrated PlayStation Games

    Unlike many of the third-party games from the era, the River City Ransom franchise is still alive and kicking with the most recent game in the series, River City: Rival Showdown, hitting the 3DS last year. For better or worse, aside from sharper looking graphics, the games haven’t changed much over the last three decades.

    11. Tiny Toon Adventures

    1991 | Konami

    Tiny Toon Adventures was an early ‘90s cartoon featuring younger characters based on the classic Looney Toons. For example, there was Buster Bunny, a blue rabbit similar in personality to Bugs, and Plucky Duck, a green duck not unlike Daffy. It was a pretty good show that was ultimately overshadowed by the even better Animaniacs, which debuted around the same time.

    The Animaniacs never starred in a game this good, though. The graphics are bright and colorful, among some of the best NES could produce, and you can switch between four different characters, including Buster, Plucky, Furrball the cat, and Dizzy Devil, a Tasmanian devil. It’s a short game with some surprisingly difficult sections, but still worth a play today.

    10. Gun-Nac

    1991 | Compile

    On the surface, Gun-Nac appears to be a by the numbers vertical shooter. There’s a galactic federation doing typical galactic stuff (as federations do) when suddenly… the toys take over? That’s when the giant rabbits and space octopi attack. Then there’s the cat boss that throws coins at you. Gun-Nac’s atmosphere is completely bonkers.

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated PS2 Games

    Thankfully, that’s not the only reason to check this title out. The shooting is solid, and you can upgrade your ship in-between levels. You’ll likely find yourself humming its catchy soundtrack long after you’ve finished the game.

    9. Clash at Demonhead

    1990 | Vic Tokai

    Clash at Demonhead was a Metroidvania game before that term existed. Featuring a character who could collect numerous different abilities, like teleportation, shrinking, and a boomerang gun, the game featured more than 40 different routes to the end, with stages that you could go back and visit at any time.

    Further Reading: 25 Best Mega Man Games

    Like the original Mega Man, Clash at Demonhead featured painful budget sci-fi cover art that had little relation to the actual gameplay. Unlike Mega Man though, Clash at Demonhead didn’t go on to inspire dozens of sequels, which is kind of a shame.

    8. Ikari Warriors

    1987 | Micronics

    Contrais fondly remembered for its tough as nails co-op shoot ‘em up gameplay, but it hardly had a monopoly on the genre on the NES. Released around the same time as Contra, Ikari Warriors also featured two shirtless commandos shooting infinite waves of enemies, but from an overhead angle. While that means you can see more of the screen, it didn’t make the game any easier.

    Another difference from Contra was the addition of vehicles, tanks, and helicopters. Ikari Warriorsdoes admittedly look primitive given that it came out early in the lifespan of the NES, but it’s still an absolute blast with a co-op partner.

    7. Little Samson

    1992 | Takeru 

    Little Samsonwas Taito’s attempt at crafting a quality platformer that rivaled the sales and popularity of Mega Man. In terms of gameplay, Taito arguably succeeded. Little Samson is an absolute joy to play, with four characters you can switch between at any time. The graphics stand out among the best on the console.

    Further Reading: 25 Best Mega Man Bosses

    Unfortunately, while the quality was there, the sales weren’t. Gamers had mostly moved on to the SNES by 1992 and weren’t going back to its 8-bit predecessor no matter how good the games were. If you can find a legitimate copy of Little Samsonnow, expect to pay somewhere around $1,000 for just the cartridge.

    6. DuckTales 2

    1993 | Capcom

    While the first DuckTales game is fondly remembered, for a long time many NES gamers didn’t even know this sequel existed. It came out late in the console’s lifecycle and its print run was incredibly small. In terms of gameplay, it’s a lot like the first DuckTales game, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Like its predecessor, it’s a little on the short and easy side, though.

    The title finally got its due with an appearance in Capcom’s The Disney Afternoon Collection in 2017, but it seems unlikely that it will ever see a complete remake like the first game.

    5. StarTropics

    1990 | Nintendo

    Take The Legend of Zelda, move it to a modern setting with a bunch of aliens, and tweak the gameplay to focus on a yo-yo. In a lot of ways, the original StarTropics feels even more like a proper Zelda sequel than The Adventures of Link, the weird, side-scrolling sequel we got on the NES. It’s certainly aged much better than that game.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated PS3 Games

    Oddly enough, while StarTropics was made by a group of Japanese developers living in the U.S., Nintendo has never released the game in Japan. Maybe that’s why the Big N has shown so little interest in resurrecting the series over the years.

    4. Adventures of Lolo

    1989 | Nintendo

    HAL Laboratory took the typical story of a hero saving the princess and turned it into something truly special with Lolo’s sliding puzzle block gameplay. It takes some real strategy to get through all 50 of Lolo’s stages, knowing just where to move blocks and when to shoot enemies.

    Two more sequels followed on the NES, and all three of the games are worth playing, though they don’t differ much in terms of gameplay. While Nintendo hasn’t revisited the franchise in years (which is a real shame), Lolo and Princess Lala do regularly show up in Kirby’s adventures.

    3. Little Nemo: The Dream Master

    1990 | Capcom

    One of the cool things about the NES era was how developers were willing to find inspiration from all sorts of odd places. Though Little Nemowas based on an animated Japanese film, that film was based on an early 1900s comic strip about a young boy’s adventures in dreams. The result is a fantastical platformer wherein Nemo collects keys to open the next level while occasionally feeding candy to a frog, gorilla, or mole for rides.

    Further Reading: 50 Underrated Xbox Games

    The game was developed by Capcom during a period when the company just didn’t make bad games. Unfortunately, the title was a one-off, and since the Little Nemo movie didn’t exactly set the world on fire, it forever remains trapped in time as an example of the more unique games that came out of the era.

    2. The Guardian Legend

    1989 | Compile 

    Picture a game that’s part Zelda and part 1942, with an awesome chiptune soundtrack. Sounds amazing, right? It was. It still is. But the initial reception for The Guardian Legend was somewhere between ambivalence and straight up hostility. Maybe the world just wasn’t ready for something so different at the time.

    As the titular Guardian, your mission is to destroy the alien planet Naju. Half the time, you're on foot in top-down Zelda-style areas. The other part of the game, set inside Naju, is a straight shoot ‘em up.

    A lot of the game’s early criticism was directed at the complicated password system, but since that’s not really an issue with modern emulation, the game has found a much more favorable reception in the twenty-first century.

    1. Crystalis

    1990 | SNK 

    It’s been 100 years since a nuclear war destroyed civilization. An evil new empire reigns. As an amnesiac warrior just out of cryogenic sleep, it’s now your duty to save the world. The story of Crystalis was surprisingly dark, which was a rarity for the era.

    While the top-down action RPG gameplay wasn’t unique for the period, it just felt better than pretty much anything else around, and the story made sure the quest to obtain four elemental swords never got boring.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated Xbox 360 Games

    Unlike the other games on this list, the positive reception Crystalis received years after release did motivate Nintendo to release a remake for the Game Boy Color in 2000, but with poorer graphics and sound, the NES is still the best place to check out this underrated gem.

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


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    Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has arrived! We celebrate by looking back at the key moments in the franchise's history.

    Super Smash Bros. History
    Feature Jason M. Gallagher
    Jan 21, 2019

    A Smash Ball appeared on the screen and the entire internet lost its collective mind. sneaky Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's sneaky debut at the end of a Nintendo Direct in 2018 loaded the entire Smash Bros.community onto a hype train that wouldn’t stop until the game’s release the following December. Twitch chat freaked out, grown men wept and many, many memes were crafted.

    But this sort of passion for Smash Bros. is nothing new. Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 was an immediate success upon its release on Jan. 21, 1999, and the franchise's popularity would explode further with the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Nintendo GameCube. You can even make the argument in 2019 that Smash gave Nintendo one of the first immensely successful eSports followings long before eSports was a word.

    What is truly remarkable is how Smash Bros. got its start. The developer who created what is arguably Nintendo's most popular franchise next to Pokemon didn't originally have Nintendo's approval for what he wanted to do with the game.

    This is the story of how Nintendo's legendary fighting franchise was born:

    Super Smash Bros.

    Masahiro Sakurai was not impressed.

    As the creator and director of Nintendo's Kirby franchise looked around at the gaming landscape in 1998, he was puzzled. The success of games like Mortal Kombatin the early '90s had caused a fighting game boom. But Sakurai, then at a studio with close ties to Nintendo called HAL Laboratory, thought that the fighting game titles flooding the market were of low-quality and obviously trying to cash in on the genre's popularity.

    Sakurai loved fighting games, but he wanted something new. With the help of a HAL Laboratory coder named Satoru Iwata, Sakurai came up with an idea to turn the standard fighting game format on its head. His game, "Dragon King: The Fighting Game," would not focus on depleting your opponent's health bar, but rather "ringing them out" by sending them off the stage entirely. They also came up with the concept of four-player matches instead of just two to further differentiate the game from Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.

    Then, late in development, Sakurai decided to feature Nintendo characters in the game because he felt that would provide a better "atmosphere" for the title. But would Nintendo go for it? After all, this was a company that closely guarded its famous icons. The concept of Mario stomping all over Link was definitely not canon. Sakurai rolled the dice and placed the characters in the game, without Nintendo's authorization, ahead of showing the publisher his demo. Better to beg forgiveness than ask for permission, I guess.

    As luck would have it, the suits at Nintendo were looking for another opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of the Nintendo 64's controller compared to the competition. Super Mario 64 had made the launch of the console in 1996 a success, but the company was still having difficulty fending off Sony's PlayStation, which had a two-year head start on Nintendo during that console generation. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was still in development at the time, ahead of its November 1998 launch. Needless to say, when Nintendo saw Sakurai's project, the publisher was enthused.

    "The Dragon King" was pushed aside and Super Smash Bros. was born. Nintendo was cautious though, giving the game a smaller budget than its other top titles. The game released in 1999, surpassing all expectations to become one of the best-selling titles on the N64.

    Sakurai's gamble on making a new kind of fighting game paid off. While games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter required players to learn complex combos if they wanted to be the best, Smash Bros. was much friendlier to newcomers.

    While you could certainly chain multiple hits together, the concept of combos didn't really exist, at least not in the traditional sense. Players felt like they had much more freedom to move around. Games like Tekken required players to learn a different set of button combinations for each character, but with Smash Bros., all button combinations were universalized across all fighters. If you knew how to play one character, you immediately knew how to play all of them.... or at least had a general idea down.

    The ring out concept made it impossible to pin an inexperienced player on the edge of the stage, a common strategy in many two-player titles. The game's power-ups and weapons helped even the odds and made matches unpredictable. The sight of four players tossing out mayhem across a stage was decidedly a fresh but frantic experience.

    The original game featured eight characters at the start with another four unlockables, now a series staple. Players could battle across stages inspired by popular Nintendo games, such as the Mushroom Kingdom stage. The game did feature a single-player mode where players could battle against CPU opponents, but the heart of the game was the four-player Versus mode, a trend that would soon continue.

    Super Smash Bros. Melee

    When Super Smash Bros. blew up, Nintendo wasted little time getting to work on the sequel. Sakurai was tapped again to lead development out of HAL Laboratory for what would become Super Smash Bros. Melee.

    Nintendo aimed to use the popularity of its new franchise to help launch its next console, the GameCube. Sakurai's first task was to create an FMV (full motion video) that would demonstrate the leap in graphics from the N64. HAL worked with three different graphics studios in Tokyo to come up with the iconic opening.

    Sakurai stated in interviews after the game's release that he felt a great deal of pressure to succeed. The original Smash Bros.was just a side project he did for fun, but all of a sudden he was in the driver's seat for one of Nintendo's biggest franchises.

    That stress was likely increased by the fact that Sakurai now had to negotiate with other company executives as well as industry figures outside of Nintendo who wanted to get their own favorite characters into the next version of Nintendo's new hit franchise. Hideo Kojima notably requested Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid to be included, but the game was already too far along in development. The process of creating a Smash Bros. roster was time-consuming and many revisions took place.

    The game would eventually include 25 characters, more than double the roster of the N64 game. 14 were available at the start with the others unlockable as players progressed.

    Many of the game modes from the original returned. A popular new addition was "trophies," an update of Super Smash Bros. plush dolls. Players could collect a wide variety of trophies, including action hero figures of their characters as well as accessories and other items. Most trophies included some background information on the lore of the item within the history of Nintendo.

    Nintendo promoted the game heavily, including a tournament for players ahead of the game's release, a sure sign of things to come. The game released to even better reviews and sales than Super Smash Bros. It sold more than 358,000 copies during its first week in Japan, making it the fastest selling GameCube game at the time. It would go on to become the first GameCube title to hit 1 million copies just two months after release. Today, Melee has sold 7 million copies, making it the best-selling game on the GameCube.

    While many players had fun battling their friends with the N64 version of Melee opened up an entirely different realm for the franchise. Melee tournaments started popping up all over the country, some of them featuring prize money. The IVGF NorthWest Regional Gaming Festival became the first major Meleetournament in March 2003. IVGF gave out a total of $12,500 to the top 3 finishers. By 2004, Major League Gaming had added Melee, solidifying Super Smash Bros.'s place on the eSports circuit.

    Gamers have often cited Melee as one of the titles that helped eSports and the fighting game community expand its reach in the last decade. Just like the original, Meleewas much easier to learn than many other fighting games, opening the tournaments to a much greater number of players.

    Professional gamers also took to Melee thanks to the extremely precise controls. Even Sakurai has said that the GameCube controller still offers the most precise control out of all the titles in the series. No surprise, then, that Nintendo has continued to manufacture GameCube controllers for its latest consoles.

    Super Smash Bros. Brawl

    At Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference in 2005, Iwata, now Nintendo's president, announced that the next version of Super Smash Bros. would be in development soon for the Nintendo Wii. This came as a bit of a shock to Sakurai, who had left HAL in 2003 to start his own company. He had been told by Iwata when he left HAL that if there was ever another Smash Bros. game, he would have an opportunity to be a part of it. Yet, Sakurai received no prior warning about the E3 announcement.

    Fortunately, Sakurai did end up participating in the development of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, leading a team assembled from a variety of studios, including Monolith Soft, Paon, Game Arts, and Sakurai's own Sora.

    The big new feature for Brawlseems silly in retrospect, but it was a very big deal at the time. Nintendo has always lagged behind when it comes to taking advantage of online functionality in its consoles, so when Iwata announced that the next Super Smash Bros. would be playable online over the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, it created a lot of excitement. You would no longer have to go to a Smash Bros. tournament to play with people from all around the world.

    Brawlonce again expanded the roster of characters, this time to 39. Sakurai agonized over all of the choices and listened to feedback from fans online. Kojima succeeded in getting Solid Snakeincluded in the game this time around. Sega also lent Nintendo Sonic the Hedgehog for the game. Snake and Sonic were the first ever third-party characters to be playable in Smash Bros.

    This sequel also attempted to flesh out the franchise's weak single-player element, with the addition of a campaign called The Subspace Emissary. This new Adventure mode featured unique storylines with numerous levels and bosses to battle. The mode has its own exclusive enemies called the Subspace Army that are not found elsewhere in the game. It could also be played cooperatively with friends. Sakurai had always wanted an impressive single-player campaign to match the franchise's exciting multiplayer, and Brawl delivered, with the single-player campaign getting decent reviews. To this day, many fans continue to clamor for a true sequel to The Subspace Emissary with every new installment in the series.

    At the time,Brawlbecame the fastest-selling Nintendo video game in Nintendo of America's history, moving 1.4 million units in its first week upon release in 2008. Brawl has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide September 2018.

    While Brawl was a major success for Nintendo, some gamers felt that the overall Smash Bros.experience had taken a step back. Gameplay felt slower, physics didn't feel as fluid as Melee's, and some characters were not properly balanced. Some professional Melee players thought that Nintendo had reworked Brawl to be even friendlier to casual players, adding in more randomization and unpredictability, instead of focusing on skill-based play. Most notorious was a "tripping" mechanism where fighters would sometimes stumble and fall when trying to quickly change directions.

    Thankfully, there was a way to fix this. Gamers discovered a way to mod the game, using an exploit within the game's stage builder. Fan-made patches could be loaded into the game with an SD card and inserted on top of the original data, adding fun things like alternate costumes for the fighters.

    In 2011, a team calling themselves the Project M Back Room set out to make Brawl play more like Melee. Project M also brought back the characters Mewtwo and Roy, who were in Melee, but did not make the roster in Brawl. Characters were re-balanced across the board. This mod received multiple updates and generally garnered great reviews. Project M had more than 3 million downloads and had an active player base of more than 500,000 at its height. It was featured in professional tournaments and streamed to tens of thousands of viewers on Twitch. Not bad for a mod.

    Development on Project M stopped on Dec. 1, 2015. There were rumors at the time that Nintendo had sent a cease and desist letter to the development team, but the developers’ official response was that this was not true. Still, one member of the team did eventually admit that, while the project was not under immediate threat, Project M was shut down to avoid future legal issues.

    Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

    Nintendo announced Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DSin 2011, but development did not begin until Sakurai was done with Kid Icarus: Uprising for the 3DS in March 2012. Both versions of the game were developed by Sakurai's Sora Ltd. in conjunction with Bandai Namco Games. Development proved to be a massive undertaking, with Sakurai attempting to get gameplay to feel as similar as possible between the console and handheld versions. Notably, this iteration of Smash is the first time Sakurai asked other developers for help with balancing the characters. 

    Notable third-party additions included Capcom's Mega Man and Bandai Namco's Pac-Man. Sonic the Hedgehog also returned and gamers even were able to battle as themselves by playing as their Mii avatars. 

    One huge new feature in this iteration of the franchise was official support for Nintendo's Amiibo toys. Every fighter in the game had their own Amiibo that could be loaded in through into the game through the system’s NFC chip. While Amiibo battles never really became more than a sideshow to the main game, the concept certainly helped push Nintendo’s new toys-to-life product line towards long-term success.

    As of September 2018, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has sold over 9 million copies while the Wii U version moved 5.35 million units. Oh, and if you're wondering, these versions got rid of that annoying "tripping" mechanic.

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

    As the name implies, Nintendo and Sakurai really pulled out all the stops for the latest version of Smash, which released for the Nintendo Switch on Dec. 7, 2018. The title’s roster features every single Smash Bros. fighter that has ever appeared in the series as well as some notable newcomers.

    The full roster includes 74 playable characters (or 76, if you count Pokémon Trainer’s three Pokémon individually). The game also boasts 103 stages and more than 700 music tracks from throughout the franchise's history. Sakurai’s Sora and Bandai Namco returned for the development, making the transition from the Wii U game quite a bit easier.

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also features a single-player mode called World of Light, which is much more robust than the single-player offering on the Wii U and has drawn some comparisons to Brawl’s beloved Subspace Emissary as far as the overall quality. Various arcade-like modes are also available.

    Players are also tasked with collecting various “spirits,” which replace the trophies from previous games. This time around players start with just the eight original characters from the 1999 N64 game and must unlock everyone else through gameplay.

    The long-term verdict on Ultimate likely won’t be rendered for a while. There will always be some in the Smash community who will continue to light a candle for Melee, but there are also those fans who have declared Ultimate the best Smash Bros. game Nintendo and Sakurai have ever made. At the very least, Ultimate has toppled Brawl as the fastest-selling game in the series, with 3 million copies sold in just the first 11 days.

    Do you know what would have made it even better, though? Playable Waluigi. But I digress. Wah.

    It's really quite remarkable what Sakurai has accomplished over the last 20 years. What was once just a side project is now a worldwide phenomenon that has only grown bigger with each release. The Smash community remains as passionate as ever and Sakurai has earned an almost cult-like following among the franchise faithful, thanks to his willingness to lean in when it comes to fan service. (Hello, Ridley.)

    What are your favorite Super Smash Bros. moments? Let us know in the comments.

    Jason Gallagher is a freelance contributor. Read more of his work here


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    When it comes to these binned Star Wars games, we find LucasArts and EA's lack of faith disturbing...

    Canceled Star Wars Games: 1313
    FeatureRob Leane
    Jan 21, 2019

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    The galaxy far, far away that George Lucas created and Disney now owns is a fertile ground for gaming greatness. Although it was the cinematic experience that originally earned this franchise its fan base, and no matter how excited we are for The Mandalorian on TV, there's something uniquely brilliant about crafting your own individual Star Wars saga by exploring that vast galaxy in gaming form.

    Sadly, though, as is the case with many licensed video game franchises, the Star Wars gaming back-catalog has its fair share of projects that never made it through development. These seven titles became one with the Force before they got a chance to shine, but we're still itching to play them against all the odds...

    Knights of the Old Republic 3

    BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic remains one of the finest games in Star Wars history. Its wide array of explorable worlds, a masterful plot, and heaps of fun characters create that sensation that you're playing through a personalized Star Wars movie. Even its more controversial sequel, Obsidian's The Sith Lords, was very much an enjoyable ride.

    A third game was in development at LucasArts, with designer John Strafford later revealing in the book Rogue Leaders that the assembled team "wrote a story, designed most of the environments/world, and many of the quests, characters, and items" before their funding was removed during a wave of cuts. Think of all those new planets we'll never get to explore. Sob.

    1313

    Star Wars: 1313 was set to be a gritty bounty-hunting title that plunged a young Boba Fett into the dark underbelly of the city-planet of Coruscant. 1313 was a cool idea that garnered a lot of attention and excitement during its initial announcement at E3 2012 (you can still find that demo on YouTube, by the way).

    However, this project was officially shut down when Disney laid off the LucasArts development team and changed the company's purpose from developing games to licensing them. Disney later let the 1313 trademark lapse but there has been some talk of fans finishing and releasing a version of the game without the Star Wars branding.  

    Project Ragtag

    One of the more recent cancelations in the Star Wars gaming galaxy was a linear action-adventure game being designed by Dead Space developer Visceral Games under the leadership of Amy Hennig, who previously worked on the Uncharted franchise at Naughty Dog. Under the working title Ragtagthe story followed a band of smugglers and thieves led by a scoundrel named Dodger. The crew would have flown to different planets across the galaxy on heist missions while evading the evil Empire.

    The game was set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and would have dealt with the aftermath of the destruction of Alderaan. The concept art and tiny glimpses of gameplay looked great, but EA opted to close Visceral instead of pressing ahead with the project. The publisher later explained that Ragtag had been scrapped because players no longer wanted to play linear games. Other rumors also suggest that development was fraught with problems behind the scenes.

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    Rogue Squadron: Rogue Leaders

    Rogue Squadron: Rogue Leaders was a compilation game made by Factor 5 for the Wii, and it would have featured remastered levels from Rogue Leader and Rebel Strike. Making the most of the Wii's motion capabilities, the game would've let you swing lightsabers and swoop X-wings using your controller.

    Frustratingly for fans and the developers that worked on the game, Factor 5's financial and legal issues at the time impeded the release of the game - despite being completed and having a finished trailer. We'd love to see this game dusted off and plonked on the Nintendo Switch and so would Factor 5's former staff, but that seems unlikely now that EA holds the keys to the ship hangar.

    Imperial Commandos

    As the sequel to 2005's clone-centric first-person shooter Republic Commando, LucasArts' Imperial Commando would've made players change perspective and join the Empire's army. Of course, this wouldn't be the first or last time that gamers swapped sides in the galactic conflict at the heart of Star Wars, but it would've been a brave move to paint these baddies as the protagonists.

    Early development began on Imperial Commando before Republic Commando had hit shelves but sadly didn't last very long. Some design work was done, including concept paintings, but ultimately LucasArts decided not to produce a sequel to Republic CommandoIf you do fancy playing on the side of the Empire, though, do check out the early campaign levels on EA's Star Wars Battlefront II.

    Maul

    Red Fly Studio was working on a Darth Maul title for LucasArts in 2010 under the working title Maul and the codename Damage. The studio made enough progress on the project to create a decent amount of gameplay footage, which featured some impressive combat with lots of spinning and slashing that we'd still really like to try out. 

    Story-wise, it sounded like Darth Maul would end up in a conflict with old Expanded Universe characters like Darth Talon and Darth Krayt. Bring characters like that into a mainstream video game would have seriously altered audience expectations and blown this galaxy wide open, but the project was canceled around the same time as Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm. It resurfaced in 2015, with the original developers expressing an interest in working with EA, but we haven't heard anything else since.

    Orca

    After ditching Project Ragtag and shuttering Visceral, EA tasked its Vancouver team with creating an open-world Star Wars game. This was an intriguing proposition for fans, especially since open-world games in other franchises have come on leaps and bounds in recent years while Star Wars lovers have only had Battlefront games to play on consoles.

    The game - made under the codename Orca - was rumored to have something of a scoundrel-y, bounty-hunting vibe, allowing players to visit a variety of planets and team up with different factions of characters. Disappointingly, though, it sounds like we won't be getting any of that. EA Vancouver is still working on Star Wars stuff, but its new project is a "smaller-scale" title to release in 2020.

    With all of these potentially brilliant titles fallen by the wayside, Respawn's upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order adventure game really is our only hope. Fingers remain crossed that it can make it to market and give Star Wars gaming a new lease on life.


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    Layers of Fear 2 dives into the horror of cinema history with this new trailer.

    Layers of Fear 2 Trailer
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 21, 2019

    New footage of the next Layers of Fear game suggests it will be as creepy and memorable as its predecessor. 

    At PAX South, developer Bloober Team shared some new footage of the highly anticipated Layers of Fear 2. This sequel's trailer is narrated by the legendary Tony Todd (Candyman) and is somewhat light on details but heavy on absolutely creepy atmosphere. 

    However, some previously released information about the game does shed some light on the finer points. First off, it seems that the majority of the game will take place on a large ship that seems to be eerily similar to the doomed Titanic. Whether or not there is any firm connection between the two doesn't appear to have been established. This being a Layers of Fear game, though, we're guessing that trivial matters such as the borders of reality won't hold for long in any case.

    This sequel will deviate from the classic art motifs and plot points of the original game by instead focusing on the history of film. You play an actor who is preparing for a major role but struggles to maintain his sanity under the pressure of the situation. That plot echoes the basic structure of the original, but we're willing to bet that this new game will feature a few twists on that formula. 

    While the original Layers of Fear drew much of its initial attention due to its similarities to the ill-fated P.T., the game eventually made a name for itself based on the strength of its incredible plot, beautiful atmosphere, and shocking moments. We have no reason to suspect the developers won't be able to replicate that experience with this sequel. 

    What remains to be seen is when you'll be able to experience this sequel and on what platforms. Layers of Fear 2 is expected to arrive sometime in 2019, but there's no confirmed release date or confirmed platforms available at this time. 

    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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    Skyrim gets an unofficial multiplayer mode in the Skyrim Together mod.

    Skyrim Together Mod Multiplayer
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 21, 2019

    If Elder Scrolls Online didn't satisfy your urge to play Skryim with friends, this ambitious new PC mod might just be what you're looking for. 

    The appropriately named Skyrim Together mod affords players the chance to explore the world of Skyrim together. Specifically, it lets up to eight players join a single Skyrim game and (mostly) enjoy the same sights and sounds featured in the basic game but with others. 

    How is such a thing possible? The technical details don't seem to be readily available at this time, so we're going to guess the answer is "magic." in any case, some of the things that the team has done with this mod is certainly bordering on magic. Not only does this mod turn Skryim into a multiplayer experience, but it even incorporates UI improvements that allow you to monitor the health of your fellow adventurers. That's especially handy when you consider that you can heal your teammates and interact with them in just about all the logical ways you would expect. 

    Sadly, there are a few catches. It seems that the team hasn't quite figured out how to make dragon events work without a hitch. There's also the not insignificant problem of the original game's quests. While there are quite a few quests you can embark upon with your friends, there are many quests that were simply not designed in a way that would make it feasible to incorporate multiple players. Those quests are currently not accessible. As you might imagine, this mod is also currently only designed to work on PC (where it can be used with other Creation Kit mods). 

    Limitations aside, this is an impressive mod from both a concept and execution standpoint. We've seen how horribly the "Bethesda game, but with more people" concept can go (Fallout 76) which makes it that much more amazing that this team of fans was able to create a mostly stable multiplayer mod for Skyrim that is just a few tweaks away from working about like you'd hope such a concept would work. 

    The Skyrim Together mod is entering a closed beta period for those who supported the project on Patreon, but everyone else can get in on the action when the mod's open beta period begins at a currently unconfirmed time.

    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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    Everything we know about the System Shock remake, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    System Shock Remake Trailer Release Date
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 21, 2019

    When System Shock first released in 1994, it was something of a revelation for the first-person shooter genre. While many gamers and developers were still trying to wrap their heads around the innovations of Doom, developer Looking Glass delivered an atmospheric sci-fi masterpiece that was in many ways a precursor to titles like Half-Life and Deus Ex. What's arguably most impressive about the game, however, is just how well it's concept has aged all these years later. 

    The fact was not lost on Nightdive Studios, the developer in charge of remaking this sci-fi horror classic for a new generation. If you've never heard of Nightdive, don't feel too bad. The developer's first major move in the game industry was recovering the rights to the System Shock franchise and using them to put the series back into digital distribution stores. In fact, despite a wealth of veteran development talent on staff, the studio has primarily focused on reviving classic PC experiences since their formation in 2012.

    Fortunately, you don't just have to take their word on the matter of restoring System Shock to glory as Nightdive has also seen fit to release a short demo of the upcoming remake available on SteamGOG, and the Humble Store.

    Here's everything else we know about the System Shock remake:

    System Shock Remake Trailer

    Nightdive Studios has released a new trailer for System Shock designed to showcase the game's art style. This latest preview reveals quite a few areas from the game that exhibit the remakes' shadowy industrial areas and sci-fi horror vibes. 

    Here's a first look at the Pre-Alpha version of the game running on PS4:

    Here's the first promo for the game:

    System Shock Remake Release Date

    System Shock was originally set to come out in 2017, but a series of delays has pushed it back all the way to 2020. The game is coming to XBO, PS4, and PC.

    The studio believes that it will be able to deliver a mostly full version of the game, the Adventure Alpha, to the highest backers by September 2018. That version of the game will be missing visual assets and enemies, but the studio says it will be playable from start to finish. Additionally, the developer has promised to remain more "transparent" regarding the development process via a series of Twitch streams and consistent updates. 

    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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    There's a version of Grand Theft Auto 3 you've never played that a new mod recreates.

    Grand Theft Auto 3 Mod
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 21, 2019

    A group of modders are trying to recreate a version of Grand Theft Auto III that never quite was

    When Grand Theft Auto III was first showcased, the game looked a little different. It wasn't necessarily a huge difference, but the overall game looked a little more cartoonish with its brighter colors and more exaggerated characters. Many say that it was spiritually closer to the original Grand Theft Auto games from a visual perspective. These changes extended to the look of certain areas on the game's first island. There were also a few things (noticeably the branding of the game's police cars) that were altered following the 9/11 attacks. 

    There were other changes that were either removed because of developer choice or other limitations (such as a radio that cuts out in certain ranges and the ability to pay to heal your character), but the point is that the Grand Theft Auto III we first saw was different from the GTA III we eventually got. 

    This new mod aims to restore many of those changes. Currently referred to as GTA 3D, the idea behind this mod is to alter Grand Theft Auto III's PC version so that it looks and plays like the GTA III that many refer to as the game's beta. This isn't necessarily the first time that someone has tried this, but the 12-person team helming this particular mod have gone further than most in terms of implementing alterations that are even just hinted at by the game's code. This extends to changes such as modified vehicle handling. 

    There's quite a bit of work present even in the early version of this mod, which is especially impressive when you consider that the original version of GTA III wasn't really all that different from the version of the game we eventually got. With the possible exception of the changes made due to 9/11, there isn't even much indication that the things removed from the game were things that the developers desired to put into the game in the first place. 

    There's no word on when this project will be finished, but it will certainly be interesting to play this original version of the game and see just how different it really is

    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