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

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    Netflix's Castlevania returns for a second season just in time for Halloween!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 6, 2018

    Those who have already learned to love Netflix's Castlevania will be thrilled to learn that the streaming service has greenlit the show's second season. 

    Showrunner Adi Shankar had previously hinted that the show's second season was a done deal in a now-deleted Facebook post, but Netflix officially confirmed the show's renewal in a brief statement that included the very welcome news that Castlevania's second season will be eight episodes long. While that's hardly the length of a network program - or even an HBO show - it's a nice upgrade from the first season's meager four episode offering. 

    In case you haven't yet read our review of the show, we thought quite highly of Castlevania's first season and look forward to seeing what the show's incredibly talented team can do when they have a full-length season to work with. 

    Here's everything else we know about the show:

    Castlevania Season 2 Release Date

    Castlevania season 2 arrives on Oct. 26, 2018. It will air exclusively on Netflix. The network also dropped some screenshots from the new season:

    Castlevania Season 2 Cast and Crew

    All the principle participants of the show's first season appear to be onboard for Castlevania season two, which means that showrunner Adi Shankar, writer Warren Ellis, and voice actors Graham McTavish, Richard Armitage, James Callis, and Alejandra Reynoso will all reprise their respective voice roles. 

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    A microwave oven prevented Nintendo from officially using the name Famicom on its consoles in the 80s, a new video reveals...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Jul 6, 2018

    In the west, we know it as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES - the 8-bit console that turned its makers into an industry giant. 

    But before the NES was released in America in 1985, it was released in Japan as the Family Computer in 1983, and much like everywhere else, it quickly became a phenomenon. Such games as Super Mario,Metroid, and Zelda defined a generation, and are still widely discussed and played today - just look at the success of the NES Classic Mini.

    Because "Family Computer" is a bit of a mouthful, Japanese gamers soon began calling it the Famicom for short - a much friendlier, concise name. You may have wondered why Nintendo didn't simply call the system by this name in first place, or at least start rebranding later editions of the console with the Famicom contraction when the name started appearing in magazines and fanzines. After all, Nintendo started using the contraction in the 16-bit era, with the SNES carrying the name Super Famicom in Japan.

    As it turns out, there was a very good reason for this: electronics company Sharp got there first, with the name "Famicon" appearing on a line of microwave ovens in the late 1970s.

    It's actually a bit more complicated than that, and a really fascinating story if you're interested in your gaming history. So make a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and take a look at Gaijillionaire's latest video, which explains all...

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    As Pokemon Go celebrates its second birthday, Niantic adds extra Pikachus and teases an appearance from Celebi...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Jul 6, 2018

    It's the mobile game that put Pikachu out on the streets where he belongs. And it put Bulbasaur in a woodland clearing. And generally scattered Pokemon all over the globe, really.

    Yes, Pokemon Go has been a roaring success for Niantic, and while it's had its ups and downs over its two year history - including some rather chaotic fan events - the mobile app's still drawing a healthy following. Indeed, recent reports have suggested that, after a bit of a lull, Pokemon Go's user base has climbed back to roughly where it was at launch in 2016.

    To celebrate Pokemon Go's second birthday, Niantic's adding extra Pikachu and Pichu critters for players to catch in the wild. And to ring the changes, they'll be wearing shades and sun hats - just to differentiate them from all the other hatted electric rodents we've caught on previous occasions. (Our bags are already bulging with an assortment of Pikachus in santa hats, Pikachus in party hats, and so on.)

    Niantic's adding a few other trinkets to the game, too, including special clothing items available exclusively to players with gold Pikachu badges (earned by catching 300 or more rodents).

    The real news, though, was slipped in at the end of Niantic's recent release; the mythical Pokemon, Celebi, is finally going to be added to the game in "the near future."

    Like the elusive Mew before him, Celebi will only be available by completing Special Research tasks - so that'll likely involve catching a set number of one Pokemon type, throwing curve balls, and so on. To capture Mew, the tallest task in the previous research mission tasked players with evolving a Magikarp - a process that required a whopping 400 candies to complete.

    This was all fine if you happened to have all those candies already, but more daunting if, say, you'd only just evolved a Magikarp a few days before the Special Research mission was announced - which is precisely what happened to us.

    Our advice? If you haven't already, don't evolve your Swablu, Wailmer or Feebas just yet. Those rascals at Niantic will probably pick one of those high-candy creatures as one of the evolve tasks in the Celebi research. 

    More on Pokemon Go as it comes in.

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    Free-to-play adventure game Pokemon Quest has reached a huge download milestone, and made quite a pile of money at the same time...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Jul 9, 2018

    It's just over a month since the launch of Pokemon Quest, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company's free-to-play adventure title - a kind of fighting-and-evolving affair with a touch of Minecraft's cooking and boxy visual style.

    Despite competition from other free-to-play games like Fortnite, Pokemon Quest has enjoyed a successful few weeks so far. Not long after it appeared on the Nintendo Switch on May 30, its number of downloads quickly reached one million. 

    On June 27, the Android and iOS editions launched, and The Pokemon Company has announced that it's racked up 7.5 million downloads across all platforms. That's quite a result, particularly when you add it to a recent report that the iOS and Android ports have made about $3 million from microtransactions. 

    If you're wondering why all this should matter to the average punter reading about games on the internet, then it's worth bearing in mind that Nintendo approached the whole free-to-play arena quite tentatively at first. Miitomo, the company's first collaboration with Japanese mobile firm DeNA, was more of an interesting app than a proper game, and while it was eagerly downloaded at first, interest also appeared to drop off just as quickly - its servers were shut down in May 2018, a little over two years after its launch.

    It was a cautious first step, but an important one: it paved the way for the likes of Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and the forthcoming Mario Kart Tour.Pokemon Go, licensed by Nintendo subsidiary The Pokemon Company and developed by Niantic, Nintendo have a full-on hit: it's estimated that $2 million per day is spent on the game, and that its total revenue has passed $1.8 billion.

    All of this is proof that, far from tarnishing a major brand like Pokemon, a solidly-produced free-to-play game like Pokemon Go can be as popular and profitable as a more traditional, single-purchase game like Pokemon Sun And Moon on the 3DS. While Nintendo won't be abandoning its old way of making games any time soon - there's a Pokemon "core RPG" due out next year - the continued success of Pokemon Questand Pokemon Go will almost certainly convince it to branch out further into the free-to-play (or free-to-start, as it insists on calling it) arena in the near future.

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    Nathan Drake doesn't take bullet hits in the Uncharted games. He's just lucky enough to avoid them, a designer confirms...

    News Ryan Lambie
    Jul 9, 2018

    Entire books could probably be written about the suffering of Nathan Drake. During his globe-wandering adventures in the Unchartedseries, Drake has fallen from high places and landed on punishingly hard surfaces; he's been in plane, train, and car crashes; he's been in an incalculable number of fist-fights. All this, and we haven't talked about all those screaming gun-battles he's been through.

    Over the course of the decade since Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was released on the PlayStation 3, Nathan's been shot at an incalculable number of times - and yet, according to one of the developers at Naughty Dog, Drake isn't quite the hole-riddled bullet magnet you might have thought he was. 

    On Twitter, animator Jonathan Cooper provided a brief insight into what the "red UI" in the Uncharted series actually means:

    "Drake doesn't ever take bullet damage," Cooper reveals. "The red UI that shows 'hits' is to represent his 'luck' running out. Eventually, enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses."

    Director and Uncharted creator Amy Hennig chimed in to confirm all this:

    "True!" Hennig wrote. "That was the original intention - to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging."

    Assuming you're a skillful enough player, it's theoretically possible to guide Drake through an entire Uncharted adventure without him taking a single bullet - they'll all whiz past his head, like an episode of The A-Team.

    Drake may suffer a lot in the Uncharted franchise, but if and when he eventually gets gunned down, that's basically all the player's fault. Sorry, Nathan - we'll try harder next time, we promise.

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    2K has stated that WWE 2K19 on Switch doesn't meet their desire to make the "best possible experience."

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 9, 2018

    2K has confirmed that WWE 2K19 is not coming to Nintendo Switch. 

    WWE 2K19 will not be available on Nintendo Switch," said 2K in a recent statement. "2K is focused on making the best possible experience for WWE 2K fans and will continue evaluating all opportunities to deliver the franchise across additional platforms.”

    While that statement doesn't address the elephant in the room, many WWE 2K fans have already surmised that WWE 2K19 isn't coming to Switch due to just how bad the Switch version of WWE 2K18 was. In case you missed that piece of drama from last year (which is quite understandable given the drama that is heaped on our already too small plates), the Switch version of 2K18 was an utter disaster in every possible way. Just take a look at the game's Metacritic page

    Still, this decision does raise some much larger questions regarding the Nintendo Switch and the WWE 2K team. 

    We get that the Nintendo Switch is not nearly as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One. However, Bethesda and their partner studios have done a tremendous job of porting Wolfenstein 2 and Doomto the Nintendo Switch with only minor concessions in terms of technological output. If they can do it, why can't the 2K team?

    The answer seems to be based more on how willing the 2K team is to invest extra time in creating a version of WWE 2K specifically for the Nintendo Switch. Due respect to the WWE 2K team, but it's been quite a long time since they've reinvented the wheel when designing an in-game engine. It's possible - even likely - that the potential sales of a Switch version of the game just don't justify the work it would take to modify the game for that platform (if it is possible to properly do so in the first place).

    In the words of Macho Man Randy Savage, WWE 2K's Switch run might have just been a "Cup of coffee in the big time." 

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    Does Battlefield 5 do enough to build off of Battlefield 1's fresh start? Our hands-on impressions of the alpha...

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Jul 9, 2018

    Sometimes, our perception of what feels true can be more impactful than what’s actually true. For instance, The Big Bang Theory was the most popular show on television for years, but I’ve never met a person who's watched it. Vanilla is supposedly the most popular - or at least best selling - ice cream flavor in America, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen someone buy plain vanilla ice cream at a shop. In case you’re wondering, it’s not a coincidence that The Big Bang Theory was compared to vanilla ice cream.

    There’s something similar at play when it comes to the recent Battlefield Valpha. When DICE says that this Battlefield game adds enough new features to the series to make it a worthy sequel to Battlefield 1, I know the team is telling the truth because I've seen the number of things in Battlefield V that are new or different. However, the real question is: “Does Battlefield V feel like a worthy sequel to Battlefield 1?”

    The biggest difference between Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V is the speed of the game. Battlefield 1 was intentionally a much slower game designed to capture the more trench-based engagements of WWI. Things got crazy in that game, but the heart of the action was a more methodical experience.

    Battlefield V says nuts to all that. Actually, the biggest change in Battlefield V that you won’t see on the back of the box is the visibility of enemies. It’s extremely difficult to spot enemy soldiers from even a moderate distance on the map. You can no longer just tag them from an extreme distance, and the incredible number of particle effects on each map (more on that later) can make it difficult to identify squads through the chaos.

    The idea behind this seemingly bizarre change is rather simple. DICE wants to cut down on the number of lone wolf players who scope foes from a vantage point halfway across the map. Instead, the studio wants you to stick with your squad, communicate with your teammates, and get into the thick of it when capturing and defending points. In theory, this approach capitalizes on the elements of Battlefield that make it special. Squad-based play, a variety of playstyles, tense battles over key objectives, and the feeling of being part of a larger conflict have always been the things that Battlefieldexcels at when the series is at its best.

    In practice, this approach is a bit of a mixed bag. While the reduced visibility cuts down on the effectiveness of snipers from a certain distance - i.e. halfway across the map - and encourages squad play, it also leads to an awkward adjustment period. There are many times when the killers and the killed are determined by who happened to be focused on the right part of the map at the right time. That, combined with tweaks like reduced weapon recoil, means that getting the drop on an enemy is more important than it has ever been. It’s a blind leading the blind situation (or, in this case, fighting the blind) that is only really “fixed” when you and your team (better yet, your squad) learn the ideal paths to each point on the map, learn where the enemy will likely be, and learn to counter the most likely approaches.

    At least that’s how the game will ideally work. Again, there’s a bit of an awkward adjustment period to this modified approach that sees some players abandon the optimal Battlefield V gameplay in favor of going at it alone. Whether it’s a member of your team that isn’t quite capable of going solo or a member of the enemy team that is a little too capable as a lone wolf, there’s just enough wiggle room left over to ensure that the optimal approach is abandoned and that you’re soon left playing a much faster, more chaotic shooter that doesn’t always feel like the Battlefield you might think you signed up for.

    This is especially true of the new ammo system. Simply put, bullets are far more precious than they’ve ever been in a Battlefield game. Most of the time, you’ll only be scrounging for ammo or relying on your secondary weapon after firing off just a few clips. This change will be controversial, but it adds a degree of desperation that ensures that those who are able to survive multiple conflicts have a tougher time “going off” over the course of an entire game.

    This new approach is supposed to be complemented by the new fortification mechanic that lets you set down sandbags, metal blockades, and other defensive structures. While you’re supposed to use these structures to fortify your position or assist your team during an assault, the chaos of combat hot spots makes it hard to rely on fortification before getting shot with far more reliable bullets and bombs.

    However, fortifications do enhance Battlefield V’s amplified destruction system quite well. Bombs and bullets can absolutely wreck a house and other, less sturdy structures. You’ll need to rely on fortifications if you’re going to have any hope of staying behind any kind of cover once the battles get really heated.

    Even without fortifications, the new destruction physics really add an extra element of flair to Battlefield V’s conflicts that make you feel like you’re part of a bigger battle. They’re aided in that respect by new animations for things like reviving your teammates that make you really consider the value and timing of performing certain actions when things get hairy. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Battlefield V’s visuals and sound design are some of the best you’ll see and hear in any game.

    More than the new destructions and animations, though, it’s the Grand Operation mode that truly makes you feel like you’re part of an actual war. Much like the Operations mode in the previous Battlefield game, Grand Operations strings together multiple scenarios as part of a larger battle. Unlike Operations, the larger battles in this mode can take place over the course of several real-life days.

    For instance, you might parachute into a fortified town on one day and be expected to chase the enemies into the mountains the next day (if you won the initial conflict). In-between, you might get the chance to play a kind of “buffer round” that sees the losing team spawn into an area with few resources and little chance to win. The variety of modes that Grand Operations will hopefully include (this alpha preview only featured one large battle and the associated conflicts that make up that battle) should help Battlefield stay fresh once the allure of the traditional Conquest mode wears thin and the novelty of the new disappears entirely.

    The longevity of the game will also depend on what shape the game ships in. As it stands, Battlefield V is technically somewhat rough. The PC version of the game drops frames like they’re as hot as your GPU while running this title. I’ve read reports from gamers who are running the alpha on top of the line gaming supercomputers who have also encountered this issue. It’s possible that this problem - and smaller bugs like incredibly slow respawns and bullets going through obstacles - will be fixed by the time the game is ready for retail prime time, but these bugs should serve as another reason to maybe not pre-order the title until you’re certain that the performance is up to par.

    Technical issues aside, we come back to whether or not Battlefield V really feels like the worthy successor to the surprisingly great Battlefield 1. The answer to that question won’t be found in a list of features or, as tough as it is to say at the end of this article, impressions of the game in its early state. It’s going to come down to whether or not DICE and the game’s community can bring it all together and ensure that Battlefield V operates at its ideal best for extended periods of play. For now, though, there are times when things aren’t working in Battlefield V that it begins to feel like sitting down with a bowl of vanilla ice cream to watch The Big Bang Theory.

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    An ugly incident between members of the Guild Wars 2 team and its fans has triggered a greater debate about online interaction.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 9, 2018

    A recent Twitter debate resulted in two Guild Wars 2 developers being fired and people everywhere starting a fresh debate on the ethics of social media communication. 

    It started when Jessica Price, a former Guild Wars2developer, followed-up on a recent Reddit AMA by tweeting out some thoughts about how difficult it is to create a full range of compelling characters in an MMO due to the way that such games are typically interacted with and the technical constraints of the concept. The full thread is worth reading if you're interested in the process of game development or game writing. 

    Among the many people who replied to Price was a Guild Wars 2 fan, streamer, and YouTube content creator named Deroir. Deroir suggested that a possible fix to the problem of deep characters in MMOs would be a branching dialog system that allows players to have more control over how they express themselves in this world. Price responded to the fan's posts by stating"thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9."

    This is when things got ugly. Fans on Reddit and other social sites began crying out for Price to be fired over her response. Around this time, one of Price's colleagues, Peter Fries, spoke out in her defense by stating that Price never asked for the fan's feedback. ArenaNet, the developers of Guild Wars 2, eventually decided to fire both Price and Fries over their comments as they "failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players." They also noted that the pair's "attacks on the community were unacceptable."

    Price followed up with Kotaku after the incident and noted that she had been dealing with fan backlash for quite some time and that she was "so tired of having random people explain my job to me in company spaces where I had to just smile and nod that it was like, ‘No. Not here. Not in my space.'"

    Needless to say, there's quite a lot to unpack about this story. Some defenders of Price and Fries state that the fan was out of line by going to Price's profile to offer a contradictory statement. There's also the matter of the previous abuse that Price has suffered that has to be considered. However, others believe that Deroir responded in a respectful and interesting way that may have warranted more than a curt reply. They also state that Twitter is traditionally a pretty open platform for contributing to other people's conversations, especially when that conversation is a follow-up to an "Ask Me Anything" thread. 

    The one thing that the reasonably minded people on both sides of the debate (i.e. not the hateful trolls) tend to pause on is whether or not this matter should have resulted in two developers losing their jobs. It's an ongoing debate that is unfortunately not getting any more civil. 

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    This missing piece of Battletoads history was completed before it was cancelled.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 9, 2018

    It turns out that the long gap in-between Battletoadsgames was almost filled by a Game Boy port of the Battletoads Arcade game. 

    For those who don't know, Battletoads Arcade was a 1994 arcade entry into the Battletoadsfranchise. Most people felt that the game was quite good, but it ultimately performed poorly in terms of revenue. While the developers realized they did a great job with the actual content, its financial failure put an end to the idea of any future Battletoads arcade games and the planned SNES port of the arcade game.

    All of that is part of the established history of the Battletoads franchise. However, Rare developer Paul Machacek recently revealed to the fan website RareFanDaBase that the studio had also planned on releasing a Game Boy adaptation of the Battletoads Arcade game that has never really been talked about until now. 

    “It was the fourth one I’d written[,] was a spinoff from the arcade game of the same name, and was 100% finished and signed off [on] by Test,” said Machacek. "Then it got canceled shortly after I moved onto Donkey Kong Land because the arcade game had underperformed in [the] market and Tradewest pulled the plug on the whole franchise.”

    Incredibly, Machacek says that even some long-time Rare developers didn't know that the game existed. It wasn't until the team was working on the Rare Replay collection that Machacek mentioned the work that went into the Game Boy adaptation. He found an old disc that contained the game's code and used an emulator to show it off to the team. Machacek even rigged an infinite lives cheat for the game that let the team play through the title. 

    Given that the game was completed and that the version of the title that Machacek has on a disc is reportedly free of any bugs, we'd love it if this adaptation somehow found its way into the wild. Unfortunately, it's highly doubtful that will happen given that there's probably not a great way to release the game in a format that is license friendly. 

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    Famed video game designer David Brevik looks back on his days making Diablo.

    FeatureBernard Boo
    Jul 9, 2018

    Few games have had as big an impact on the video game industry as Diablo, and to a larger extent, its eminently popular and influential sequel, Diablo II. When speaking to Den of Geek about the legacy of the series, its creator, David Brevik, cited a small gameplay tweak partway through Diablo’s development as a pivotal moment that many would argue altered the course of gaming from that point on.

    “That’s the story of Diablo,” Brevik explains. “It started out as a turn-based game, and it was a complicated kind of turn-based [system]. Every single thing that you did took units of time, like a tenth of a second, let’s say. So you could have a move that would take 1.4 seconds, one that took .8 seconds, one that took one had kind of a queue. It was micro turn-based. It wasn’t just, my turn, their turn, my turn, their turn.”

    “Sometimes, that one little change, that one little idea, can sprout something big,” Brevik says. “Changing that to make it real-time, the flip of that switch, changed the entire experience. It changed my career...changed everything about that product and made it this new kind of gaming experience. That one little change. And it really wasn’t that hard--I coded it in one day.”

    This switch from a turn-based combat system to the real-time, hack and slash action the franchise is now known for sparked a particular style of top-down, loot-based, action RPG that continues to thrive, with dozens of titles riffing on the Diablo formula. From Deathspank, to Borderlands, to Bastion, to Divinity: Original Sin, Brevik and his team’s work over twenty years ago has left a lasting mark on the industry, and many still consider Diablo I and II to be benchmarks for the genre. The series is cherished by millions of fans across the world, and it’s impossible to count just how many hours of entertainment Brevik has gifted the world via his work.

    “I hear stories about it all the time,” Brevik says of his fans sharing their love of Diablo with him. “It’s super gratifying to hear all of these things. But it’s also really weird because video game developers aren’t famous like movie stars or something like that, right? So it’s really rare that I’ll get recognized for it. I do, but it’s extremely rare. Famous musicians give all of these people entertainment, and everybody knows who they are and what they look like. It’s kind of a strange thing that people find out what I did and they’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ It’s nice to have all of that [recognition] and still be able to walk around and not be famous. To have that pleasure of giving so many people entertainment and be anonymous for the most part is great.”

    It’s not a stretch to say that most gamers would say that the creator of Diablo deserves to stand alongside industry greats like Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, John Carmack, and Gabe Newell, though Brevik insists on sharing his pedestal with the team that helped him bring the iconic games into the world.

    “It wasn’t just me--there were a lot of people who worked on Diablo and Diablo II,” Brevik presses. “There were a lot of people who made suggestions that made the game better. I didn’t have all of the ideas, and I didn’t do everything by myself. There were a lot of people who were involved that helped. I was captain of the ship, but I can’t take full credit. [Praise for those games] is always humbling for me because I believe that I worked with some of the best talent in the world, and together, we made something amazing.”

    Brevik and his team famously split from Blizzard Entertainment prior to the development of Diablo III, and while the threequel found major success (it is the fastest-selling PC game of all time and has sold over 30 million units to date), it hasn’t earned the same iconic status as its predecessors. When asked about how it felt to play Diablo III for the first time, Brevik recalls a bittersweet affair.

    “Yes, there were mixed emotions,” Brevik remembers. “It was strange seeing a Diablo game come to life and I didn’t work on it. Diablo was not only something that was such a huge part of my life, but something that holds a very personal and special place in my heart. It took so long for it to happen, that the years did help a bit. Having been away from Blizzard and Diablo for as long as I had been eased the pain, but it was there even after twelve years. That said, I was super happy that the franchise could continue and still entertain the long-time and faithful fans of the series.”

    Since launching the Diablo-esque Marvel Heroesin 2013, a game which saw a jump in its Metacritic score from 56 to 82 following extensive back-and-forth interactions with the game’s community, Brevik has cultivated an intimate, thriving, productive relationship with his fans and followers. He’s now founded Graybeard Games, a one-man studio whose core principle is to create “unique, fun, high-quality products” and use his community’s feedback to make his games better. His first game with his new studio is It Lurks Below, a 2D action-survival RPG. 

    But just as Brevik has garnered a strong fanbase over the years, he’s also received his fair share of harsh criticism, especially for titles not called Diablo. Marvel Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Hellgate: London were all games that had their virtues and amassed respectable followings but never approached Diablo and Diablo II’s level of success and critical acclaim.

    “I think that we’re all susceptible to negative criticism,” Brevik admits. “You work really hard on something and you want to please as many people as possible. You learn that not everybody is going to like what you do. That’s just life. And it’s okay for them not to like it.”

    Internet trolls have been wreaking havoc on message boards and comment sections about Brevik and his work for decades, and while he has become accustomed to the verbal abuse, he still finds it perplexing that trolls exist in such great numbers and find it a worthwhile pastime to spread hatred for no apparent reason.

    “It doesn’t make much sense to me,” Brevik ruminates. “People go online and make these personal attacks. It’s like, what is wrong with your life that you have to go on the internet and be mean to people? What’s wrong with you as a person that [trolling] is desirable? Where are you broken? Because, you’re definitely broken. How do I help them become a better person and realize that this is not a great path for them in their life? It doesn’t make sense for anybody.”

    “It’s so funny to me,” Brevik continues. “I’ll go on forums of projects I’ve worked on, and people will be on the forums, complaining about the games for hours on end. I’m like, what are you doing? You obviously like [the game], because you’re [on the forum]. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s okay to give constructive feedback--I love constructive feedback. But when it becomes a personal attack, that’s when it becomes silly.”

    Despite some of his projects not being as well-received as he would have liked, Brevik maintains that he has no regrets. Quite the contrary: he has a clear sense of pride when recalling his extensive oeuvre.

    “I’m quite proud of every game I’ve worked on, even if it didn’t have the success that Diablo or Diablo II had,” says Brevik. “I don’t know if there is one I’m prouder of than the others. Each had things I liked and things I didn’t care for afterwards. I guess it’s like saying which one of your kids is your favorite. I love all my games for different reasons and they have given me unique, valuable, and fulfilling experiences each time.”

    When asked if he’s an artist who puts great value in his legacy, Brevik’s answer is firm. “No,” he says, though he will admit that his status as an industry heavyweight has its advantages. “I care about [my legacy] in that it’s afforded me a lot of notoriety and success and things like that, and things can be built off of that. And in some ways, I care that I’m trying to make great experiences and unique experiences. But when I’m designing a game, I’m not like, ‘How is this going to have an impact on my legacy.’ It’s more about, am I making something that I’m passionate about and am going to have fun making. Those are more important questions for me than whether or not I’m making the right game for people who have enjoyed my games in the past.”

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

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    Developer Obsidian cut enough content from Fallout: New Vegas to fill a separate game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 9, 2018

    New YouTube series The Cutting Room Floor dives deep into the piles of content that is cut from many games. In the first few videos of the series, host Griffin Lambert looks at the incredible amount of material that didn't make it into developer Obsidian's beloved RPG, Fallout: New Vegas.

    While New Vegas marks a great jumping off point for this series partially because of the host's love for the game, Lambert also rightfully notes that New Vegas' cut content is particularly fascinating because of just how many incredible ideas didn't make it into the final version of the title. While some of that cut content can be blamed on Obsidian's relative inexperience with the Fallout engine, Obsidian says that they would have been able to put much more into the game had it been a PC exclusive. The limited capabilities of consoles at that time forced them to make quite a few content concessions. 

    That's especially true of the "Legion" faction. Caesar's Legion, a society of slavers who model themselves after ancient Romans, were visually fascinating, but the actual content associated with them left much to be desired. That may be because the Legion-related parts of the game took the biggest hit when it was time to start cutting content. For instance, there is a Legion NPC called Alexus who has the highest charisma rating of any Legion member in the game, but he only speaks in stock dialog replies. It seems that he was originally going to play a much bigger role in the game. In fact, there are even hints that he would have been the crux of a major side-mission involving hostages. 

    It gets better. It seems that there were originally supposed to be much larger random battles between factions in the game. In fact, the very first retail build of New Vegascontains scattered dead bodies and some smaller instances of these conflicts. However, the limited memory of consoles at that time forced such things to be cut or patched out of the game. 

    Players might also have been able to participate in slave trading at one point, but it's not clear whether that was cut due to memory shortages or a creative decision. The same goes for Legion "priestesses" who would have been a key part of convincing slave soldiers to serve. 

    Of course, New Vegas wasn't the first time that Obsidian was forced to cut a great deal of content from a spin-off/sequel to a popular game. For more on that, check out our retrospective on how Knights of the Old Republic II became the studio's unfinished symphony. 

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    Warframe, one of the best free-to-play games on the market, is about to get a new home.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 9, 2018

    Popular sci-fi shooter Warframe is coming to the Nintendo Switch. 

    This news was announced at TennoCon 2018; the third annual Warframe convention. There, developer Digital Extremes revealed that Panic Button, the team responsible for the exceptional Switch ports of Doom, Rocket League, and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, will be handling this Switch port of the game. They did not reveal a release date for the port, but there are reasons to believe that information will be released soon. 

    If you haven't been following Warframe over the last few years, then you've missed out on the development of one of the most fascinating free-to-play titles on the market. In some ways, Warframe is comparable to a third-person Destiny. Players are thrown into a universe where they have the option of taking on challenges alone or as part of a group. All the while, they are acquiring new skills and increase the effectiveness of their Warframe suits via a variety of customization options. 

    Warframe's wealth of content is made all the more impressive by the fact that the game is truly free-to-play. You'll have to grind for levels at the beginning like you will in games like Destiny and Diablo, but Warframe isn't trying to squeeze extra dollars out of you with the promise that you'll get ahead faster if you pay more. 

    In fact, the game's content is about to be bolstered further by the addition of a co-op spaceship combat system. More than just an afterthought, this mode looks deep enough to justify being a standalone game. Every member of the ship's crew is assigned a combat station. Much like the revolutionary indie title FTL, crew members will need to cooperate and manage ship resources in order to survive battles. Players are even capable of leaving the larger ship and battling against smaller troops in a personal fighter craft. 

    While Digital Extremes didn't reveal much information about how this new mode will be incorporated into the current game, they do plan on ensuring that these ships offer just as many customization options as players are able to access in the rest of the game. 

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    With two games and hundreds of comic issues, the alternate universe of Injustice has given us many casualties. Here are the victims.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Jul 10, 2018

    Injustice: Gods Among Us andInjustice 2 are old news by this point. Even for the latter game, the DLC well has dried up and we're simply waiting for NetherRealm Studios' next Mortal Kombat game to pop up. Even though interest in the game has moved on, the comic prequel is still being released on a weekly basis and is still making the top ten in digital sales.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself. When the first game came out, writer Tom Taylor and a group of artists (mainly Bruno Redondo, Tom Derenick, and Mike S. Miller) launched a digital prequel comic based on the Injusticeuniverse. The comic became a surprise hit and the first volume was followed with an annual issue as well as a Year Two continuation of the series. The digital issues would eventually be released as print issues and later turned into trades. After hitting the end of Year Five, it moved on to a retelling of the game's story from Harley Quinn's perspective, and that was followed with a comic prequel for Injustice 2. There's even a He-Man crossover comic on the way.

    That’s kind of nuts.

    Sometimes comics based on trademarked properties get screwed over by sequels. For instance, there were comic follow-ups to Aliensthat were completely negated by the events of Alien 3. Considering the vast amount of deaths in the Injusticecomic, surely the sequel would screw with the timeline.

    Shockingly, that’s not the case. With one early exception, all the new characters in Injustice 2 are either ignored completely or simply not killed in the comic. It goes to show some high-quality communication between the writers and developer NetherRealm Studios. Together, the creators traversed the vast and violent landscape of the Injusticeuniverse to carve out stories for most of the popular DC roster. The characters you meet in Injustice 2 have survived the vicious comic book series and are ready to enter the ring.

    But what of those who didn’t make it out of that alternate universe alive? There are many heroes and villains who have fallen in order to make way for Superman’s Regime. Here are the victims of Superman and Batman’s great war.

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    Injustice 2 Annual #1

    Going in chronological order instead of issue order, this one supersedes the rest due to taking part in World War II. In the Injustice universe, there were more differences than the big Superman/Joker catalyst. After all, Lex Luthor was Superman’s best friend. While Superman’s downfall and behavior were well-explained, they rarely got into why Wonder Woman was constantly vindicating his actions and acted so loyal in his quest for tyranny.

    In this universe, Diana discovers Steve Trevor on her island, as expected. The situation plays out an awful lot like the Wonder Womanmovie, except for two major differences. One, it's World War II instead of World War I. Two, Steve eventually betrays her and tries to steal the Lasso of Truth to help the Nazis because, oh yeah, he was also a German spy all along. Although he admits that he has feelings for her, Steve loves his homeland more and Wonder Woman responds by decapitating him with the lasso.

    Kind of sheds some light on her behavior through the series, even down to holding a candle for an evil fascist boyfriend.


    Year One #1

    The comic series opens with pure optimism. Superman finds out that Lois is pregnant. He calls Batman over and asks him to be the godfather. Batman even musters up a smile. Then things immediately go to Hell.

    Lois and Jimmy are given an anonymous tip about a corrupt senator doing corrupt things at the docks. Jimmy’s there to take photos, but it’s all a setup. The Joker steps out and shoots him through the camera. He then takes Lois hostage.

    Buy the Injustice games and comics here!


    Year One #2

    The search for Lois becomes immediate and frantic. Batman demands all the Justice League members stop what they’re doing and find her, even though many aren’t aware of her relationship with Superman. Flash discovers the dead body of the Scarecrow at STAR Labs. With the sack removed from his head, it’s apparent that he’s been killed by Joker gas.

    Even though Batman identifies him as Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow shows up again in Year Five. Now he's in Injustice 2. Whoops! We never do get any real explanation for that.


    Year One #3

    And here’s the lynchpin of this universe.

    Superman’s search leads to a submarine. He finds Joker and Harley there, but he also finds Doomsday out of nowhere. Quick to act, Superman grabs Doomsday and sends him into space. What Superman is slow to realize is that he’s been poisoned. The Joker mixed kryptonite with Scarecrow’s fear gas and made Superman hallucinate Doomsday. Superman has, in fact, killed Lois Lane and their unborn child.

    Tom Taylor had no choice but to write this sequence because the game made it specific. The fact that he had to do it didn’t sit well with him and he tried to redeem himself when writing the comic Earth 2. In it, that world’s version of Lois Lane is resurrected by having her mind put into a robot body. He jokingly refers to introducing her via her robot body being thawed out as "unfridging."


    Year One #20

    For the sake of chronology, I’m going to skip around for the next couple entries for the sake of issues with flashbacks.

    Heh. Flashbacks.

    Joker rigged Lois’ heart to a nuclear device, so when Superman inadvertently kills her, he does the same to his home. It’s later shown that Lex Luthor (a good man in this world) survives the ordeal because he thinks ahead. He has a speedster on his payroll who is hired to throw him into his bunker in case of such a disaster. Unfortunately, the speedster tries to save others and is wiped out by the blast.

    Although she’s never identified, she mostly resembles Jesse Quick.


    Year Three Annual

    The Year Three Annual explains why all the other major Teen Titans characters are missing outside of simply saying that the explosion killed them all. When the explosion goes off, only Superboy, Beast Boy, and Kid Flash (identified as Bart Allen) are in Metropolis. Kid Flash is taken out immediately due to running into the blast’s direction. Superboy attempts to shield Beast Boy at the last second, but fails to save his life.


    Injustice 2 #21

    During the Metropolis explosion, Natasha Irons is enjoying a romantic vacation in France. She receives a panicked and scrambled call from her uncle, explaining that something terrible has happened. In response to the explosion, he is putting all of their research in a safe place, protected from the radiation. Although he succeeds on that front, the building begins to collapse and the falling wreckage crushes him.

    Years later, Natasha would be able to uncover the hidden files and take up the Steel mantle.


    Year One #4/Story Mode

    The Joker is immediately apprehended. Batman visits him in prison to demand to know why he did all this. Joker admits that he’s grown tired of messing with Batman, so he moved on to Superman, deciding he wanted to see if he could break him. Batman’s all, “You’ll never break Superman because he’s freaking Superman!” but then Superman breaks through the wall and angrily impales Joker with his arm.

    Joker’s last breath is his last laugh.

    Although the playable Joker in the Injusticegame is the Joker from the mainstream DC Universe, his appearance in Injustice 2 is explained as a fear gas hallucination.


    Year One #16

    Although a Nightwing is on Superman’s side in the game, it’s actually an older Damian Wayne. Batman is sure to point out that Damian murdered the original Nightwing, Dick Grayson.

    That puts Taylor in a tough spot because you have to sort of balance the act. He has to kill Dick but not in a way that’s too evil because even the super serious Justice League has to have boundaries at this point.

    As the story goes, Superman chooses to remove all the inmates at Arkham and place them in his own secret prison. Batman and Nightwing go to prevent this, but Robin sells them out to Superman. A gigantic brawl breaks out between Superman’s team, the Gotham heroes, and a bunch of Arkham inmates. In the midst of it, Nightwing and Robin have a bit of an argument and Robin responds by lashing out and angrily throwing his escrima stick at Nightwing’s head (something he’s apparently wont to do as he tried it earlier).

    Nightwing doesn’t see it coming because he’s busy fighting deranged murderers and gets nailed upside the head. It knocks him out, he lands neck-first onto a piece of rubble and he’s dead in a snap. Robin’s freaking out, Batman’s horrified, and everyone figures maybe it’s for the best to just back off on the fighting and not poke the bear for the time being.


    Year One #24

    Without the context of what’s been going on, Kalibak hears that Superman’s declaring a war-free Earth and figures it’s some hippy bullshit ripe for the picking. Under Darkseid’s permission, he and a bunch of Parademons invade Earth during a big Superman press conference. When Kalibak sees the anger in Superman’s eyes, he realizes that maybe he made a big mistake.

    Superman fries a bunch of Parademons and beats Kalibak enough to make him surrender. Superman won’t have it and smacks him around, demanding he fight back just as an excuse to kill him and make him pay for his crimes. Kalibak strikes against him, but gets put down.


    Year One #32

    Batman’s team of rebels is mostly made up of low-level folks. The powerless vigilantes like Huntress, Batwoman, Green Arrow, and so on. Since Batman is on the same side as the President, it makes sense that he’d also have super-duper-soldier Captain Atom on his side.

    Near the Fortress of Solitude, Captain Atom proceeds to outfight Superman and lets him know that he’s under orders of the United States government to take him down. He wants to bring him in alive, but then Wonder Woman arrives and chops open his neck. Annoyed, Captain Atom points out that he’s about to explode, taking the North Pole with him.

    While mocking Superman for no longer being selfless, Captain Atom makes sure to fly to space and drags Superman with him. Wonder Woman follows but the explosion blasts her back to Earth and puts her in a coma for over a year.

    Superman survives.


    Year One #33

    This is another bit that’s mentioned in-game and we get to see it play out in comic form.

    The whole first volume leads up to this moment. Driven by grief and frustration, Superman’s tried to do what he feels is right. The government betrays him. Batman betrays him. Wonder Woman is gravely injured. Then he discovers Green Arrow in the Fortress of Solitude, trying to pocket some of the “super pills” that Lex Luthor and Superman created (they give people Kryptonian-level strength). More importantly, Green Arrow is in the same room where Superman’s been keeping Jonathan and Martha Kent for their protection and that just comes off as a threat at first glance.

    Green Arrow shoots an arrow at Superman and it deflects. It ends up finding its way into Jonathan’s shoulder. It’s that screw-up that finally sets Superman off and he angrily beats Green Arrow to death in front of the Kents.

    Although Ollie dies, he does at least fire an arrow with a super pill tacked onto it. It reaches Batman and the others, but Black Canary knows he isn’t coming back.

    When Superman comes down from his rage, he refuses to take responsibility and blames Batman for this death as well. The AI ghost of Jor-El apologizes to the Kents for unleashing this upon their world.

    As for Green Arrow, the end of Year Two has Black Canary brought to an alternate reality where she died and Ollie survived. The two end up together and return for Injustice 2.


    Year Two #2

    Green Lantern Kyle Rayner missed out on the whole Superman situation because he was off Earth for an entire year. As he goes back to check up on everything, including his girlfriend (who may or may not be pieces of broken meat in his fridge. We’ll never know), he’s ambushed by the Sinestro Corps.

    As he’s captured, Sinestro pops in to say that he’s been paying attention to Earth and is really interested in playing a role. He can’t have Kyle around to interfere, so Sinestro pulls off his ring finger and allows him to suffocate in space. He also has Kyle’s limbs torn off because that’s scarier, I guess.

    Sinestro then goes to Earth and allows himself to be Superman’s prisoner, swearing that he’s there to warn him about the coming of the Green Lantern Corps.


    Year Two #10

    As expected, the Green Lantern Corps are sent to deal with this whole “Earth taken over by an overpowered tyrant” situation. Normally, Superman, Shazam, and Hawkgirl would be able to take on an army of those guys themselves, but the Corps has an ace in their sleeve that nobody expected.

    Ch’p the space squirrel may be tiny, but he’s also able to control light on a much tinier scale than anyone else. This includes preventing the synapses in Superman’s brain from working, meaning Superman is completely paralyzed.

    Sinestro convinces Luthor to let him free and he saves Superman by blasting a hole through Ch’p’s head. With Superman back in action, the Green Lanterns have no choice but to surrender.


    Year Two #15

    This one’s morbidly hilarious. To get in the good graces of Earth’s heroes, Sinestro has the Sinestro Corps put the boots to Despero and blast him to Earth. Disheveled and annoyed, Despero finds Sinestro loudly ranting and raving about how Despero won’t hurt the innocents of this planet. Sinestro then uses his ring to force Despero’s hands around Sinestro’s throat.

    As Hal Jordan and John Stewart come to help, Sinestro snaps Despero’s neck and sadly tells his allies that it was the only way. Naturally, they don’t question it and think about how much Sinestro’s changed.


    Year Two #20

    According to Batgirl’s in-game ending, Superman killed Commissioner Gordon at some point, inspiring Barbara to don the Batgirl cowl once again. In the comic, Superman tries to intimidate Barbara into telling him where Batman is, then regretfully gives Gordon the news that according to his x-ray vision, Gordon’s suffering from lung cancer.

    Gordon decides there’s no longer a need to lie and lets Barbara know that he’s always been keen to her double lives as Batgirl and Oracle. Using the super pills, Gordon leads Gotham’s Finest to siege the Hall of Justice, all while knowing that the super pill is actually making the cancer stronger and killing him quicker.

    Although on his last legs, Gordon is able to stop Cyborg from tracking down Oracle’s whereabouts. He tears out the metal from Cyborg’s face, knocking him out of commission. Then, from the Justice League satellite, he looks at the beauty of Earth and says his goodbyes to Barbara and Batman.


    Year Two #23

    Batman’s resistance wages war on Superman’s Regime and the Green Lantern Corps is on Batman’s side, albeit against the wishes of all the Guardians except Ganthet. Superman, on the other hand, has the Sinestro Corps at his disposal. There are many casualties on both sides.

    John Stewart is in the middle of it all. He’s on Superman’s side, but he’s also a Green Lantern. He doesn’t want anyone to fight. Sinestro tries to coax him into helping out and as John admits how torn he is, Sinestro literally tears a hole through John’s chest.

    Sinestro then flies John’s dying body to Hal (who has become a Yellow Lantern by this point), telling him to get John to safety. John dies in Hal’s arms, making Hal a little too emotional to think clearly.


    Year Two #23

    When a distraught and angry Hal demands to know who is responsible for John’s death, Sinestro says that Guy Gardner did it by accident. Since Guy is the big mouthpiece in the whole “Let’s go get some Green Lanterns to beat up Superman!” concept, Hal freaks the hell out and it doesn’t help that Sinestro’s egging him on.

    Guy is overwhelmed and begs Hal to get a hold of himself. Instead, Hal gets a hold on Guy’s arm and tears it off, causing a powerless Guy to fall to his death.

    During the Injustice 2 comic, Hal constantly sees Guy standing nearby, cracking wise, as a manifestation of Hal's guilt.


    Year Two #24

    As mentioned, Ganthet is in charge of the siege to stop Superman, and considering he’s an Oan, he’s tough enough to smack Superman around. Not only that, but he brought Mogo the Living Planet with him and he’s, you know, a living planet.

    The death of a random Sinestro Corps member causes the loose ring to find a replacement in Superman. A pissed off InjusticeSuperman and a yellow wishing ring are the makings for a pretty bad day and he proves his power by slamming Ganthet into Mogo and pushing them both into the sun.

    Yeah, that’ll do it.


    Year Three Annual

    The annual issue came out after the entirety of Year Three, but it takes place before it, filling in some of the blanks. Batman hires the two-in-one duo of Dr. Occult and Rose as his agents with the mission of neutralizing Raven and Wonder Woman. Dr. Occult finds and assaults Raven, but she is quick to burn him to death with Hellfire. Rose is separated from the charred body. John Constantine – who had been stalking the mystics – appears and helps take Raven down.

    With Occult dead, Rose can’t survive. She fulfills her final mission by using magic powder to keep Wonder Woman’s coma going, but collapses. Her final words are a failed attempt to tell Batman not to trust Constantine. Immediately after, Constantine appears and robs her body of magic trinkets.


    Year Three #3

    Batman recruits a handful of magic users to help his cause. The rebels hang out in Jason Blood’s house and start planning, but dumpy detective Harvey Bullock realizes that he’s completely out of his element and tries to leave. Detective Chimp, who mentions having worked with Gordon in the past, gets through to him and convinces him to stay.

    All of a sudden, there’s some kind of horrible force trying to get in through the door. Bullock attempts to close it, but can’t. Jason Blood steps in to do the same and begins to summon Etrigan to take his place. Before he can, the Spectre’s energies blast the door back, killing both men in one go.


    Year Three #8

    Constantine briefly captures Superman with the help of Ragman. The idea is to absorb Superman into Ragman’s magical attire, meaning Superman’s soul will have to spend years helping Ragman fight evil in order to atone. As Constantine points out, Superman’s literally killed a planet, so that might take some time.

    Speaking of taking time, the absorbing process takes too long due to Superman’s strength. He’s able to get help from Shazam, who defeats Ragman. Then the Spectre – on the side of Superman in all of this – appears and tears Ragman to pieces while Constantine knows there’s nothing he can do to save him.


    Year Three #10

    Deadman possesses the body of Shazam in order to save Constantine and talk some sense into the Spectre. He’s confused and horrified when he discovers that Spectre isn’t Jim Corrigan anymore, and instead sees a creepy smile (one of several red herring hints that Spectre is actually the Joker). Spectre pulls out his giant sword and cuts through Deadman, wounding his soul.

    Deadman goes to his boss Rama Kushna, who cannot save him. Deadman chooses someone to take his place. In his final moments, Boston Brand transfers his power into the soul of Dick Grayson, who gladly takes on the Deadman mantle.


    Year Three #11

    Phantom Stranger feels that Spectre’s being a little weird and is interfering with man a bit too much, so he teleports him to space for a heart-to-heart. It doesn’t take long for Phantom Stranger to realize that something’s up with Spectre on a physical level. Spectre strikes against him, strangling Stranger while shoving him through the entirety of Saturn. Stranger sees the force within that’s making Spectre act like this and widens his eyes in horror.

    By the way, if you’re wondering, the Spectre is Mr. Mxyzptlk. Hence all the smiling and Joker-like gestures.


    Year Three #17

    A big battle breaks out between Superman and Batman’s groups, and Constantine points out that this isn’t going to end well. He calls to teammate Klarion the Witch Boy to teleport them out of there, but before anything can be done, Sinestro blasts Klarion to death with his yellow ring. Superman and Wonder Woman yell at Sinestro, which gives Batman and Constantine a moment to discuss their next contingency.

    Showing that you either go big or go home, Constantine summons Trigon to distract Superman and friends.


    Year Three #18

    As the heroes escape, Detective Chimp refuses to follow. As he tells Harley, he was conjured by Klarion in the first place. With Klarion gone, Chimp will soon cease to exist. Harley, who has become attached to the little guy, hugs him until he vanishes.

    Man, this story’s been kind of rough on Harley. Everyone she cares for dies on her.


    Year Three #21

    The rest of Year Three sort of spins its wheels until it gets to the final issue. Once again, Superman’s side fights Batman’s side, only with Trigon fighting Mr. Mxyzptlk in the background. Huntress and Batwoman – both powered up with super pills – team up on Superman until Wonder Woman steps in. During the fight, she wraps her lasso around Huntress’ neck and accidentally tugs on it hard enough to snap it.

    Normally, this would just be an instance of killing off a random character because they aren’t in the game and, well, it’s the Injustice comic. What do you expect? Instead, this kill ends up being a bizarre editorial mystery, best explained with the next entry.


    Year Four #4

    A few years ago, there was a pretty big news story regarding DC editorial. The creative team on Batwoman left in a huff because they planned to have Kate Kane, a lesbian character, get married, or at least engaged, and DC wouldn’t allow it. When it became a big thing, DC doubled down by claiming that they don’t hate GAY marriage. They just hate ALL marriage! Which is stupid for other reasons, but whatever.

    Tom Taylor, writer of Injusticeat the time, had a one-panel scene showing that in this universe, Batwoman and Renee Montoya (who at the very least were an item in main continuity) are married back as of Year Two. It was rather nice and shouldn’t have been a big enough deal to affect anything in the story.

    Brian Buccellato took over during Year Three and, as mentioned, killed off Huntress. Huntress’ death has huge ramifications in regards to Montoya, who goes completely off the deep end. She starts drinking heavily. She calls up an ex to give a tearful goodbye, and goes on a suicide run to kill the ones responsible.

    In other words, she’s acting distraught in a way you’d expect from someone who lost their spouse. Over Huntress. Not that they aren’t friends and teammates, but Montoya is far more hurt and broken than when Gordon and Bullock are taken out. She has zero interaction with Batwoman (her wife), and even when Montoya dies, Batwoman barely has any reaction.

    In other words, one of three things happened:

    1) Buccellato seriously cannot tell Batwoman and Huntress apart, and the editor didn’t catch it.

    2) DC were really mad about the insinuation of two supporting characters being (gay) married and told him to switch Batwoman and Huntress’ roles as a way to sweep it under the rug.

    3) DC let him know that Batwoman’s planned to be in an Injusticesequel in some form, so no-go on killing her.

    Regardless, it’s suspect as hell.

    Oh, right. The actual death. Renee Montoya overdoses on super pills and calls out Superman for a public fight, beating on him until her heart gives out.


    Year Four #13

    Year Four is about the Greek Gods stepping in to clown Superman and take over. This leads to a battle between the gods and Superman's regime. The heavy hitter is Hercules, who easily defeats Hal Jordan and then fights off both Wonder Woman and Superman, batting the latter into space. Shazam shows up and finally brings the demigod down. Hercules awaits his death, but Shazam refuses to commit murder.

    Instead, Superman zooms down from space and does Hercules in win one swift blow.


    Year Four #23

    Wow, an entire ten issues before the next death?! Damn.

    In the end of this volume, both sides of the Injusticeconflict join forces to fight the gods. During the battle, Hera decides she’s finally going to take out Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta. Artemis shoves her queen out of the way and takes the blast herself.

    Hera shows no regret for the kill and promptly gets taken down by Harley, Batwoman, and others.


    Year Four Annual

    The annual is a delightful prison break story starring Plastic Man as he tries to rescue his activist son, Offspring. Turns out the Justice League has placed all of the super criminals in an underwater prison with Metamorpho as the warden. Plas sneaks around and gets help from inmate Kilowog, who starts a riot by headbutting Bane.

    Superman and his heavy hitters appear outside the glass bubble protecting the prison, and it looks like all is lost. Plas reveals that he’s smuggled all the Green Lantern rings and throws them all out to their users. Outside the bubble, Sinestro freaks out and, despite the warnings of Jordan, blasts through the bubble and shoots through Kilowog before he can be a threat.

    That act works against Superman’s side and helps Plastic Man and Offspring free everyone, setting up the big Year Five story that a whole bunch of supervillains are on the loose.


    Year Five #3

    The Regime’s quest to round up all the escaped villains gets a bit more complicated when Doomsday shows up on Earth yet again. Superman’s too busy trading blows with him, while Yellow Lantern and Cyborg aren’t having any luck fighting Parasite.

    Superman gets some unlikely help from Bane, a full-nelson...? Man, I don’t get how that works either, but let’s go with it. This frees Superman up to go bail out his buddies by grabbing Parasite and flinging him into the sun. When the others ask about why Parasite isn’t locked up with the rest, Superman just says he’s a special case and he’s been taken care of.


    Year Five #10

    Two subplots in the first half of Year Five are about the Flash Rogues and Bizarro Superman. Batman recruits the Rogues (specifically Golden Glider, Heatwave, Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard) to help him because they’re honorable enough despite being bad guys. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor’s secretly trying to create a perfect Superman clone to combat the real deal, but the unfinished clone escapes and now believes himself to be the actual Superman.

    The two plotlines clash when Bizarro goes after the Rogues, because that’s what Superman would do. During the battle, he begins to realize his own lack of limits, such as initially being afraid of Heatwave’s fire, but then realizing it doesn’t hurt him.

    Things get messy when Weather Wizard offhandedly calls Bizarro “Fake Superman.” Bizarro fries Wizard and Heatwave with his vision, and the other two are only saved because Trickster (Alex Walker), who has secretly tagged along, convinces Bizarro that he’s his friend. Bizarro, not really understanding who or what he is, grabs Trickster and flies away to get answers.


    Year Five #16

    The Gotham detective starts his own anti-Regime group called the Joker Underground to rally against Superman and maybe do some terrorist stuff. Harley and Batwoman show up to tell them not to go about it this way, especially the part where he invokes the Joker’s name as a good thing. They try to talk Bard into altering the group and maybe connecting them to Batman’s Insurgency.

    As Harley and Batwoman ride off, Superman arrives, having heard about the Joker Underground. Hearing all these citizens chant the Joker’s name in defiance of Superman and his order, Superman gets downright pissed and mashes on the heat vision, taking out everyone in the building.


    Year Five #18

    The Trickster tries to help Bizarro figure things out and makes an attempt to teach him how to keep his powers in check. For instance, when Bizarro sneezes, he definitely needs to cover his face, as the alternative almost kills Trickster.

    Bizarro takes to the Trickster as his little buddy, but his Frankenstein’s Monster mentality (the movie version and not the awesome DC Comics version) causes him to kill various civilians due to a misunderstanding. Trickster is mad at first, blaming himself for not being able to convey his thoughts better to the big lug, but is able to get over it. He and Bizarro are family. They only have each other, and they’re going to have a great future working together. As Bizarro flies with Trickster in his arms, Trickster tells him that they’ll be best friends forever. 

    That's the most blatant death flag you’ll ever see, which is what makes this scene so goddamn funny. A beat later, Bizarro sneezes. This time he remembers to put his hands over his face. It just takes him a moment to realize that he dropped Trickster onto the side of a mountain. Whoops.


    Year Five #20

    Bizarro brings the Trickster’s carcass to Lex Luthor, begging him to fix his friend. Luthor’s in a tight spot because on one hand, Bizarro will likely kill him once he realizes he can’t resurrect the dead and on the other hand, Superman will figure out that he created Bizarro. Luthor gets Bizarro to enter the Fortress of Solitude, where he has Doomsday waiting. By this point, Doomsday has been mind-controlled to do the Regime’s bidding as the ultimate weapon.

    Then Superman shows up, making it a three-way battle between Superman, Bizarro, and Doomsday with Luthor in control. Luthor realizes that he can put an end to Superman right there and now, but decides that he simply can’t murder him like this.

    Which...kind of lacks any gravitas when Luthor then has Doomsday snap Bizarro’s neck as a way to cover his tracks. Superman delivers Bizarro’s corpse to Luthor and tells him to do as many tests as he needs to do to figure out just where this thing came from.


    Year Five #23

    Here’s the thing about Injustice: Gods Among Us: Alfred Pennyworth is the best. He exists to either be Bruce’s awesome paternal figure or to sass Superman. He even does both at the end of Year One, when he takes a super pill and kicks the shit out of Superman for destroying his family. By Year Five, he remains at Stately Wayne Manor, occasionally Skyping with Batman.

    Superman visits Alfred to strong-arm him into admitting where Bruce is, but Alfred claims that he doesn’t know, wouldn’t tell him regardless, and proceeds to show off his supreme inability to give a single fuck in the presence of the Man of Steel by casually insulting him and telling him to see himself out.

    Rather than just laser him on the spot, Superman gets prisoner Mr. Zsasz to escape and take care of Alfred. Zsasz kills Alfred in a knife fight, leaving Damian to discover the body. Superman figures that Alfred’s death will draw Batman out of hiding in the name of revenge.

    Luckily, Alfred's death is only temporary. In the Injustice 2 comic, Damian gets access to a Lazarus Pit and chooses to cross the other line Batman refuses.


    Year Five #28

    Flash is having a hard time figuring out his place in the world, what with Superman being a total dick, but also making the world safer. He goes to find Iris, who cut ties with Barry years earlier after his refusal to stand up to Superman. Flash then discovers that she's part of the rebellion as she and her allies are confronted by Regime soldiers Girder and King Shark. Flash has a crisis of conscience and tries to save Iris and the others, though he accidentally kills King Shark by impaling him through the mouth with a broom. Iris is disgusted by Flash's actions and the others refuse to trust him. Iris makes her own stand by surrendering to the Regime.


    Year Five #32

    Hawkman visits Earth at one point because he feels Hawkgirl isn't fulfilling her hawk alien cop duties by hanging around Superman. Hawkman is sent packing and then gets sent on a mission by Batman to pick up some kryptonite in space. Hawkman earns it by offering Mongul thirty seconds of battle. Rather than bring it to Batman so that Superman could be imprisoned, Hawkman decides to fashion a kryptonite mace, which he uses to punk out Superman until the Man of Steel is a bloody and sickly mess.

    The Justice League pops in to disarm Hawkman, but the weakened Superman tells them to back off. Despite being ill from kryptonite poisoning, Superman offers to fight Hawkman one-on-one. Hawkman never stood a chance.


    Year Five #36

    Mr. Zsasz killed Alfred and much to Damian's dismay, Batman refused to take his life out of revenge. With Zsasz incarcerated, it doesn't take long for the prince of assassins to sneak into his cell unnoticed and torture the criminal. He demands to know which of Zsasz's many scars represents Alfred. Damian finally finishes his work and we discover that Sinestro allowed this to transpire.

    For the first time, Hal Jordan starts to have second thoughts.


    Year Five #36

    I'm not 100% on this one, but I'm going to call this one out as a death. The Wikipedia page for Metamorpho at least agrees with me (I know, I know...), he never shows up ever again, and he's got two gross, red wounds sticking out the back of his head there. He's PROBABLY dead.

    Batman and Lex Luthor need some schematics on a Mother Box. Deathstroke takes the contract because he's bored out of his mind in a Superman-ruled society. After taking out dozens of drones, he gets a real main event fight out of Metamorpho. Deathstroke fires a couple metal balls at Metamorpho's head, but he turns gaseous and they fly through. When it looks like Metamorpho has things well in hand and he's about to burn Deathstroke to death, the metal balls are remote controlled to bury themselves into the back of Rex's skull.

    Deathstroke is promptly taken down by Raven and Cyborg, setting up his first appearance in the game's story mode.


    Year Five #40

    In the final issue of the original prequel story, Batman, Batgirl, and Batwoman are trying to open a portal into another world so that they can bring in some non-Regime versions of the Justice League to help out. While Batman is off dealing with Superman, the two bat ladies are dealing with faulty technology. It's the usual trope where some world-saving device isn't working the way it's supposed to and the only way it can is for someone to sacrifice themselves. Batwoman volunteers.

    By the time Superman realizes that Batman is merely distracting him, he flies over and sees the alternate reality portal working. He fires his heat vision at a screaming Batwoman and...that's all we see. After the fact, everyone involved is teleported to a different setting. Batwoman isn't stated to be outright dead, but there is some red coloring on the wall behind where she was. It's not explicitly blood, but...yeah. So much like Metamorpho, she's probably dead, but it isn't 100% certain.


    Mentioned in Injustice 2

    Although Golden Glider survives the comic prequel, she's still taken down at some point before the crumbling of the Regime. The only confirmed name, Golden Glider is one of various Flash Rogues who are publicly executed by Wonder Woman. This is never outright shown, but it's explained to be the reason why her brother, Captain Cold, goes from retirement/bartending to joining up with Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society.


    Story Mode/Ground Zero #19

    We move on to the actual game’s story and its comic adaptation, where InjusticeBatman pulls superheroes from the mainstream DC Universe to help liberate their world. They meet up with Lex Luthor, their man on the inside. As I've brought up earlier, InjusticeLex is a good man who has grown horrified at Superman’s actions. At the end of Act II, Lex enacts a plan that should stop Superman once and for all.

    Lex defeats Shazam in battle and blows up the Watchtower, which has Superman inside. Lex calls out Superman and aims his arm-mounted kryptonite gun. Right as Lex is about to make the shot, a hurt Shazam electrocutes him from behind, nixing the plan.

    Superman tears Lex from the battle armor and is furious that his own best friend betrayed him. Lex spends his final moments telling him that his “peace” is a joke. Superman crushes Lex’s neck and hears the words of onlookers all over as they whisper about seeing Superman kill his buddy Lex Luthor in front of the Hall of Justice. Superman flies off.


    Story Mode/Ground Zero #20

    The endless betrayals and ungratefulness of the public has finally taken its toll. Superman has snapped, falling farther than ever. He wants to raze Metropolis and Gotham to the ground to prove a point. Shazam – who just saved his life, mind you – calls him out on this and labels it insane, claiming the gesture spits on the memory of Lois.

    Superman blows ice over Shazam’s mouth to keep him from using his magic lightning. He then stares at him with his heat vision until two holes burn through Shazam’s hood and he collapses. As Solomon Grundy walks off to dispose of the body, the Flash finally comes to realize that the ends don't justify the means and defects.


    Injustice: Ground Zero #18, Injustice 2 Annual #1

    These guys aren’t preexisting characters, but they’re important enough that they should probably get a mention. With Ground Zero being a retelling of the first game’s events from Harley’s perspective, it shows that her Joker-based gang of freedom fighters had more going on than what the game’s story mode showed us. Harley has an inner-circle of henchmen with generic names and although she can't tell them apart very well, she's basically an inverse Joker by treating them with respect and friendship. After all, she knows what it’s like to be a flunky.

    Gary gets killed by the mainstream universe’s Joker during Ground Zero via stabbing. The others go on to shed their Joker threads and instead base their appearances on Harley. They become Harley’s Horde in honor of their boss and help fight the Regime.

    Unfortunately, Harley doesn’t keep in touch too much after the adventure. The group still trains just in case, but then get attacked by Suicide Squad members Clock King, Magpie, Killer Moth, and Polka Dot Man, who are looking for Harley. The Horde fights them off, then goes to search for Harley themselves to warn her that people are after her. Before they make it to her secret headquarters, Deadshot snipes them all dead from a nearby rooftop.

    Basically, an after-the-fact explanation for why these guys aren’t involved in the Injustice 2 prequel storyline. Boo.


    Injustice 2 #2

    With things calming down in a post-Superman landscape, Amanda Waller tries to take advantage by creating the Suicide Squad. Her crew hunts down and captures Harley Quinn before putting a bomb in her skull. Harley laughs the whole thing off because she's friends with Batman now and solving missing person mysteries is Batman's deal. When Waller points out that they're very thorough about cleaning up their clues, Harley just laughs harder because, again, Batman.

    As predicted, Batman shows up. Well, not THE Batman. A Batman. A red-eyed Batman imposter shows up to announce that he's taking over the Suicide Squad operation and opens fire on both Waller and her right-hand man Rick Flag. The silhouettes show two headshots.

    Fake Batman turns out to be Jason Todd because Jason Todd is the freaking king of obvious Batman identity mysteries. It's Arkham Knight all over again.


    Injustice 2 #3

    Fake Batman is interested in taking over the Suicide Squad and all, but unlike Waller, there are some members that he doesn't feel jibe with his unseen master's vision. Despite Calendar Man (who is treated as a pathetic running gag through the Injusticecomics) pleading for his life, Fake Batman taps the detonators on his bomb as well as the bombs for Clock King, Magpie, Killer Moth, and Polka Dot Man. Those four all suffer from immediate head explosions. To Fake Batman's disgust, Calendar Man's bomb is faulty and he survives.


    Injustice 2 #6

    With Superman imprisoned, Bruce Wayne handpicked Dan Turpin as the warden in the world’s most critical supervillain prison. Said prison also has Damian pinned down, until his mother Talia comes to save him. Talia also brings along Damian’s never-before-mentioned sister Athanasia al Ghul, an original character that Talia chose to raise herself.

    Turpin shows up during the family reunion and Damian tells him to just walk away. Instead, Turpin tries to call for Batman. Without remorse, Athanasia shoots him dead and they move on.


    Injustice 2 #10

    After a day of training with the new Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes), Ted Kord is slightly confused when Skeets, the robot from the future, tells him how much he enjoyed their time together. That night, Batman stops by Ted’s office to offer him a spot on his team of world-helping billionaires to clean up Superman’s mess.

    Once Batman is gone, Booster Gold appears, albeit slightly drunk and nervous. He makes it clear that Ted’s time is up and there is nothing either can do about it. Booster tried to stop it himself and spent several years imprisoned in some kind of time jail. Ted puts on his old tights and attempts to fight off the invading Suicide Squad, but it's no use. Katana chops his hand off and he's captured.

    Ra’s Al Ghul makes an example out of Ted, as well as some other wealthy victims, by having Orca and Killer Croc tear them apart. As promised, Booster appears before Ted in his final moments to comfort him, accept his new role as Jaime’s mentor, and share one last laugh.


    Injustice 2 #23

    Ra’s Al Ghul has quite the army of soldiers to help him save the world by destroying chunks of it. Not only the League of Assassins and the blackmailed Suicide Squad, but also nature-based characters like Poison Ivy, Vixen, and Animal Man...and a couple surprises yet to be revealed. Their secret lair is also a sanctuary for certain endangered species.

    Batman puts together a team to infiltrate the sanctuary to rescue some kidnapped children of heroes. Blue Beetle is supposed to hang back, but he just has to play cowboy and burst into the stronghold during a critical moment where Batman and Ra’s could have presumably talked out their issues. The act kills one endangered animal with a falling shard of glass, which sets off Vixen. Then a big brawl kicks into gear with Ra’s helpless to stop it.

    Blue Beetle takes on Diablo and blasts him a little too hard. Diablo can’t control his flames and explodes to the point of wiping out all the animals. Everyone else survives, but it leads to escalation as Ra’s commands the assassination of nearly every politician in Washington DC, including all living Presidents.

    Batman is NOT happy with Beetle, to say the least.


    Injustice 2 #37

    During the prequel run for the first game, it was explained that while some Teen Titans were killed, the others were written off in a different way. Superboy, Wonder Girl, Red Robin, and Starfire attacked Superman early on in his madness. Superman won by puncturing Superboy’s heart in such a way that it was fatal, but not immediately. His ultimatum was to send Superboy and the others to the Phantom Zone, where Superboy wouldn’t succumb to his injuries.

    Six years later, Catwoman tells Batman about the incident, so Batman and his crew go to the Fortress of Solitude to release them. Plastic Man ventures in and brings out Red Robin, Wonder Girl, and Starfire, but has to leave Superboy. As Batman and Red Robin are reunited and discuss the need for a new Batman and Robin team, something keeps Plastic Man from leaving the Phantom Zone.

    It turns out to be General Zod, who makes himself known by eye-lasering a hole through Red Robin’s chest. Tim dies in Batman’s arms.


    Injustice 2 #39

    So. Batman is PISSED. Dressed in special mech armor, Batman hunts down Zod and sprays him with the same kryptonite fear gas that started this whole mess.

    “I could never use it on Clark. Not after...what it made him do. But you… You killed one of my boys. You should be afraid of me. BECAUSE I’M GOING TO **** YOU UP.”

    Batman lays into him for a bit while Zod imagines being beaten up by a judgmental Superman. When he starts to clear his head, the android Amazo appears, under the control of Ra’s Al Ghul. Ra’s knows the threat of a loose Zod and takes care of it by having Amazo catch his fist and then snap his neck so hard that Zod’s head tears off. Amazo flies off with Zod’s head in hand while Batman is left in wonder.

    It isn’t all death and dread, at least. Using Zod’s headless body, Batman gets Dr. Midnight to perform heart surgery and give Superboy a replacement.


    Injustice 2 #48

    Ra’s uses Amazo as a way to wipe out towns and cities worth of people while leaving the animals and plants mostly untouched. Amazo is unleashed on Delhi, which leads to a big team-up where Batman and his allies are joined by Wonder Woman and Black Adam (with Flash secretly running around saving people, going against his probation). Of Ra’s Al Ghul’s faction, the group of Damian, Jason Todd, Vixen, and Animal Man decide that Amazo’s rampage was going too far. They find Professor Ivo and demand he stop his unbeatable robot.

    Ivo desperately tells them to leave him be, as Ra’s has his family captive and will kill them if he steps out of line. Jason explains the rough truth that his family had already been killed in a failed escape attempt. Horrified, Ivo agrees to help exploit a bug in Amazo’s system that will slow him down.

    Athanasia gets wind of what is going on and threatens to shoot Ivo if he complies with the rebels. Ivo remarks that he has nothing left to live for and presses enter to finish his hacking. Athanasia shoots him dead in response.


    Injustice 2 #48

    During the great battle, Damian calls in Supergirl for help, even though her existence is only known to few. Supergirl grabs Amazo and brings him to the moon. Amazo overpowers her at first, but between Ivo’s tampering, a surprise assist from Blue Beetle, and Damian broadcasting directions, Supergirl is able to turn the tide. She pours on intense heat-vision followed by intense ice-breath to weaken him before punching his head into scrap.

    She asks Blue Beetle to keep her actions a secret and allows him to take credit.


    Injustice 2 #49

    Anthanasia is not very happy about the betrayal, so she calls upon the Suicide Squad to catch the traitors before they can escape. Jason and Vixen get out of there and Damian gets captured. As for Animal Man, his eagle form struggles against Man-Bat, gets tangled in a Poison Ivy vine, and then a Deadshot bullet to the head finishes him off.

    Tom Taylor really should have personally told him that that was going to happen.


    Injustice 2 #53

    Ah, Tomar-Re. The most plug-and-play throwaway Lantern there ever was. I’m sure he’s done something important at some point in his existence, but all I’ve ever seen is him being used as a stock Green Lantern when you want to use an alien but you don’t want it to be someone too major.

    Anyway, he's investigating some kind of disturbance on the Green Lanterns’ prison planet and comes across Red Lantern kitty cat Dex-Star, who quickly slices his throat open.


    Injustice 2 #61

    Not only do the Red Lanterns wreck shit, but Atrocitus adds Starro the Conqueror to their ranks. The cosmic starfish then goes on to infect various Green Lanterns with rage starfish that puts them under its spell. This includes the Guardian Sayd, making a bad situation much worse.

    Despite the pleas of Green Lantern B’dg, Sayd does not give in to the “remember who you are” trope and straight up vaporizes B’dg and Vandor.


    Injustice 2 #64

    After the events of the first Injusticegame, Sinestro isn’t doing so great. Hal Jordan hates his guts and not only are they in space prison, but his warden is his own daughter Soranik. At one point, Soranik wants to discuss her mother’s death, but Sinestro chooses not to delve into it other than expressing that he didn’t kill her. Soranik figures that her mother chose suicide over a life with Sinestro and Sinestro responds with silence.

    When the Red Lanterns attack, Soranik is taken over by Starro. Sinestro insists on getting a green ring and is granted one due to how desperate the situation is. He shows his worth by saving Hal’s life and inspiring him to unite the Corps against their foes. He also tears the starfish off Soranik’s the cost of taking an impaling through the torso.

    Dying in front of his daughter, Sinestro admits that he was the reason her mother killed herself and wished he could have been a better man. As he dies, his ring goes to go find a replacement, finds its way into Soranik’s hand, and repeatedly announces that the replacement is already active.


    Injustice 2 #64

    Don’t know who Veon is? Don’t worry about it. Throwaway Red Lantern, basically. Here, he blasts Starfire, which leads to Superboy and Wonder Girl giving chase. Before the fight can happen, Brainiac and his gross muscular system skull borg goons show up out of nowhere. Veon ignores his Teen Titan foes and instead picks a fight with Brainiac’s crew. He immediately pays for it with a fist through the side of the head.


    Injustice 2 Story Mode

    Getting into the actual game’s storyline, Grodd leads the Secret Society of Supervillains, though he is secretly working under Brainiac. Late into the story, he takes on fellow kings Aquaman and Black Adam. While the player gets to choose which one beats him down, the aftermath is always the same. Aquaman jams his trident right into Grodd’s gut. Grodd weakly warns them about Brainiac’s power and merely receives another trident stab for his troubles.


    Injustice 2 Story Mode

    Dr. Fate doesn’t have much to do with story mode for Injustice 2. He warns Black Canary and Green Arrow that shit is going to go down, but then he vanishes until Act III. There, with Superman and Batman teaming up and searching through Brainiac’s ship, Dr. Fate appeares before them and warns them that their war has brought chaos across the universe. The Lords of Order are in support of Brainiac, as he’ll bring order across reality.

    After losing a fight to Superman or Batman, Fate’s helmet falls off. Superman crushes it, cutting off Kent Nelson’s connection to the Lords of Order. He starts rambling about how the reunited World’s Finest could bring order to the world, but then Brainiac has him impaled with a giant metal wire. The wire retracts into the wall and Fate’s body melts into it.

    So with all that carnage going on, what can we take away from this? Simply, put: there’s nothing stopping NetherRealm Studios from bringing in Larfleeze.


    Gavin Jasper still thinks the lack of Booster Gold as a playable character is a travesty. Follow Gavin on Twitter!

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    You've played Fortnite, Halo, and Call of Duty, but you might have missed these underrated multiplayer games!

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Jul 10, 2018

    When a multiplayer game is successful, it tends to be incredibly successful. From Counter-Strike and Call of Duty to Halo and Fortnite, some of the biggest gaming phenomena of all-time have involved playing with other people in some capacity. Indeed, it’s often that communal experience that elevates multiplayer games and turns them into a sensation.

    The overwhelming success of some multiplayer games can lead to some animosity from gamers who just aren’t that into them or feel that they hinder a developer’s enthusiasm to pursue other types of projects. However, we bet that many people’s best video game memories are tied to the joy of playing a game with someone else, whether it be together on a couch or online.

    For some of those gamers, the multiplayer experience they so fondly remember wasn’t one that turned out to be a global phenomenon. There are so many multiplayer games out there that sometimes it’s a simple matter of probability that some of them will not make it. Other times, a multiplayer game was just too ahead of its time, too weird, too niche, or otherwise attached to a single-player campaign that just didn’t make it.

    There are many reasons why a cooperative or competitive multiplayer experience might fly under the radar, but the one thing that the most underappreciated multiplayer games have in common is the passion they inspire among those who actually had the chance to experience them.

    These are 50 of the most underrated multiplayer games ever made:

    50. Batman: Arkham Origins

    Batman: Arkham Origins may be an unrefined spin-off of the Arkham series, but this game’s negative legacy isn’t entirely justified. Origins is just a solid entry into an otherwise exceptional franchise. Besides, this is the only game that has ever come close to justifying the idea of competitive Batman multiplayer.

    Origins multiplayer mode sees two teams of thugs (representing The Joker and Bane) compete in a shooter-style battle for supremacy. All the while, a player controlling Batman (or players controlling Batman and Robin) prowl the map and try to intimidate and take out the thugs via traditional Arkham gameplay.

    This mode does a brilliant job of incorporating Batman into a competitive gaming experience without making you feel like you need to play as Batman to have a good time. Unfortunately, few people ever actually played this game’s multiplayer and Origin’s online functionality was formally shut down some time ago.

    49. Doom (2016)

    Doom’s multiplayer beta is infamous for all the wrong reasons. In fact, some people believe that the developers released the game’s “bad” multiplayer first in order to lower our expectations just enough to ensure that Doom’s brilliant campaign would blow everyone away.

    This multiplayer mode’s awful debut ensured that most Doom owners never touched it again, but those who braved month’s of mediocrity were eventually rewarded with something rather interesting. A series of updates eventually turned Doom’s multiplayer mode into a more than competent deathmatch experience that falls somewhere between Quake III and Halo 5.

    Yes, Doom’s multiplayer probably just should have been a quality arena shooter from the start, but we can't help but feel a little disappointed that this game’s multiplayer community pretty much died just when things were getting good.

    48. Monday Night Combat

    At first glance, Monday Night Combat looks like a flash game quality rip-off of team-based shooters like Overwatch and Team Fortress 2. Get past the meme marketing materials, though, and you’ll find a competitive shooter with an identity of its own.

    Monday Night Combat’s blend of third-person deathmatch action and MOBA-esque strategies is satisfying, but the true star of this experience is its almost Running Man-like game show atmosphere. It’s rare that you find such a rich competitive game that is wrapped in a fundamentally fun atmosphere.

    Sadly, as is the case with most of the games on this list, Monday Night Combat’s community isn’t nearly as large as it should be. It’s incredibly hard to find people to play with unless you do your own matchmaking.

    47. Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition

    We’re a little torn about whether or not this mode is underrated or rightfully overlooked. On the one hand, there are many reasons why you’ve never heard of Deus Ex’s multiplayer mode. It’s clunky, it was only included in the title’s game of the year edition, and it features some bizarre arena deathmatch elements that border on parody.

    However, Deus Ex’s multiplayer is nothing if not fascinating. The game’s best competitive modes utilized single-player elements like augments and hacking to add just enough role-playing to the deathmatch fray.

    For a concept that was likely only ever developed so that someone could add another feature to the Deus Ex GOTY box, this game’s multiplayer came surprisingly close to getting it right.

    46. LawBreakers

    We are well-aware that LawBreakers is one of the most infamous commercial failures in recent video game history. However, commercial success isn’t always a good indication of artistic merit. There’s a reason why the Academy Awards aren’t based on CinemaScore ratings.

    Not many people played LawBreakers, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a fun game. It flew a little too close to the sun by trying to blend the best of class-based multiplayer with arena shooters, but the average LawBreakersmatch is surprisingly chaotic and, at worst, showcases the potential of this concept.

    If LawBreakers had been released a little earlier and were a little more refined, it might just have found the audience it needed to survive.

    45. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

    Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is arguably the franchise’s finest hour. Along with perfecting the refined Assassin’s Creed gameplay that made Assassin’s Creed II such a hit, Brotherhood introduced a multiplayer mode that remains one of the most inventive and enjoyable competitive experiences in modern video game history.

    Brotherhood’s multiplayer sees each player assume the role of an assassin who is tasked with killing another player’s assassin. The catch is that nobody ever knows which player is currently trying to kill them. That element of mystery and the game’s various evasion options result in a multiplayer experience that successfully emulates the spirit of the single-player game.

    While Brotherhood’s multiplayer mode was replicated - and improved - in Revelations, Assassin’s Creed III, and Black Flag, it seems that Ubisoft has since elected to abandon this concept entirely. Here’s hoping the studio finds a way to resurrect this incredible experience.

    44. Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

    While Transformers never really got a video game adaptation worth remembering when the original show was at its popularity peak in the ‘80s, recent years have featured a shocking amount of quality Transformers game. While we personally prefer developer PlatinumGames’ take on the series, there is no Transformers game that bests Fall of Cybertron’s multiplayer.

    Not only does Fall of Cybertron’s multiplayer let you create your own Transformer - which is the kind of thing we nerd out about more than we’re comfortable admitting - but the game’s third-person shooting and transform-based vehicular combat offers the kind of simplistic joys you don’t always get from serious competitive games.

    We could only dream of a good multiplayer Transformers game when we were kids, and it’s a shame that Fall of Cybertrondidn’t get enough credit for offering that experience.

    43. Dead Space 2

    While we’re always intrigued by the idea of multiplayer in a horror game (more on that later) the fact of the matter is that it rarely works. How can you possibly replicate the isolation of a horror adventure when you’re surrounded by other players?

    Dead Space 2 offers a fascinating solution to that problem. While this is hardly the first multiplayer game to have some players play as humans and other players control monsters, it’s hard to think of many games that utilize that concept better than Dead Space 2.

    This multiplayer mode’s various objectives and surprisingly deep strategic options result in nearly every multiplayer match feeling different than any match you’ve played in the past. Indeed, there are few moments in the Dead Space series more terrifying than facing off against a team of coordinated Necromorphs.

    42. Star Wars Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy

    Jedi Academy’s campaign was ultimately somewhat disappointing. It just lacked the heart of Jedi Outcast’s compelling narrative. However, Jedi Academy did feature what may be the best multiplayer that's ever been featured in a Star Wars game.

    Jedi Academy’s lightsaber multiplayer battles aren’t unique - Jedi Outcast featured a similar system - but the game’s refined controls result in the absolute best Jedi vs. Jedi multiplayer that the gaming world had seen up to that point.

    In fact, Jedi Academy’s brilliant multiplayer lightsaber duels may never be bested. The tragedy of it all is that Jedi Academy’s multiplayer is only accessible through heavily modified custom servers, and we doubt anyone is going to remaster this game any time soon.

    41. BioShock 2

    The collective groan that gamers bellowed when it was first announced that BioShock 2would feature multiplayer can be heard to this day. It’s impossible to blame the cynics in this instance. The idea of adding multiplayer to a game infamous for its atmosphere and social statements is the kind of evil corporate plan typically reserved for Captain Planet villains.

    However, much like the campaign itself, BioShock 2’s multiplayer featured enough new concepts to more than justify its existence. BioShock’s plasmid and shooter gameplay translated surprisingly well to the multiplayer arena, and the ability to become a Big Daddy in certain modes added an entertaining - and necessary - wrinkle to the proceedings.

    Everyone thought BioShock 2 multiplayer was going to be a tacked-on experience that nobody would play. It turned out to be a surprisingly solid multiplayer experience that nobody played.

    40. Battlefield Vietnam

    Battlefield Vietnam doesn’t have as sterling a reputation as some of the other Battlefield games of its era. While that is partially due to the game’s somewhat controversial setting, it has more to do with the title's various glitches that were lazily carried over from previous installments.

    Still, there are some who consider Vietnam’s multiplayer to be the series’ finest hour. The Vietnam time period is modern enough to encourage a variety of tactics, but not so modern that it demands the incorporation of powerful tools and weapons. The game’s use of licensed music in multiplayer vehicles is also a feature that should have never gone away.

    Maybe we’ll finally get the Vietnam sequel fans have been clamoring for, but we don’t know if a modern title can replicate the magic of the original.

    39. Resident Evil Outbreak

    Resident Evil Outbreak remains a black sheep in a franchise that is no stranger to games that fans choose not to remember. Outbreaktried to offer a cooperative online Resident Evil experience at a time when online console gaming was barely functional. It certainly didn’t help that the game was released in the United States and Europe the same year as Resident Evil 4.

    Years later, though, it’s hard not to appreciate how brilliant this game was. Its controls are the best of the “tank” era of Resident Evil, its various character types forced players to carefully consider their strategies, and the stories of the various scenarios actually fill in some canonical gaps in the series.

    If you were lucky enough to overcome Outbreak’s various technical issues and actually play the game, you likely harbor some strangely fond memories of this inventive concept.

    38. James Bond 007: Nightfire

    If you’re a Bond multiplayer game that isn’t GoldenEye 007, you’re always going to be the other brother, the strange cousin, or even the child that gets locked in the attic and fed a steady diet of fish heads. The shame of it is that there are some multiplayer Bond games that are functionally far superior to that N64 classic.

    Near the top of that list is Nightfire. James Bond 007: Nightfire took the best of GoldenEye multiplayer - the familiar characters, the split-screen options, the accessibility - and added a control scheme that is actually functional.

    The result is a game that often plays fairly close to how you’d like to remember GoldenEye 007 played. If that’s not good enough, we can also recommend GoldenEye: Source, a brilliant modern re-imagining of that infamous shooter.

    37. Tomb Raider (2013)

    The reveal of Tomb Raider’s multiplayer was met with so much indifference that the game’s developers conducted interviews designed to justify the competitive option’s existence. Nobody felt they needed a Tomb Raider multiplayer game.

    We really do wish that more people gave this mode a shot, though, because it was downright clever. Tomb Raider pitted two groups of players with slightly different skills (survivors and Solari) against each other across a variety of gameplay modes. While most games task you with killing other players, Tomb Raider placed a unique emphasis on traversal. Often times, the best players were also the most evasive ones. The game’s brilliant traps - one of which could call down a bolt of lightning to kill players - added an additional layer of danger to every level.

    Uncharted’s multiplayer mode might get all the love for being surprisingly fun, but Tomb Raider featured a much more interesting and well-rounded competitive experience.

    36. Fable III

    Even those who remember Fable fondly will tell you that the series never fully-realized its own potential. So many of the series’ concepts just never worked as well as they should have.

    We suppose you could say the same of Fable 3’s co-op mode, but there is something endearing about that multiplayer experience that goes beyond nostalgia. Fable 3allowed for a surprising degree of co-op freedom for such a large game, and the title’s more generic elements - mostly its combat - were certainly enhanced by the presence of a friend.

    Few other RPGs of this size have ever even tried to incorporate a co-op mode, which makes it that much more impressive that Fable 3 came so close to truly letting you experience an epic adventure with a friend.

    35. Super Monkey Ball 2

    First off, all gamers in the world owe it to themselves to play a Super Monkey Ball game at some point. There’s no other series that offers Super Monkey Ball’s blend of speed, puzzles, and strangely addictive mechanical precision.

    Despite the series’ standing as a cult classic, nobody really ever talks about Super Monkey Ball 2’s brilliant multiplayer options. From Monkey Bowling to Monkey Dogfight, this sequel re-imagines several popular multiplayer modes within the context of Super Monkey Ball’s strange level manipulation gameplay.

    The variety of options featured in this game’s multiplayer is impressive enough, but what’s truly amazing is how well many of the modes work.

    34. Tron 2.0

    The brilliance of Tron 2.0 has sadly been lost to time. This Monolith developed shooter revisited the Tron universe at a time when the original Tron film was still a bizarre cult classic. To be honest, it’s still a better sequel to the original film than 2010’s Tron: Legacy.

    Its multiplayer is also surprisingly good. Granted, the game’s deathmatch mode didn’t have people abandoning the most popular shooters of its time, but Tron 2.0’s fun array of weapons and stunning visual design kept matches feeling fresh.

    Besides, Tron 2.0’s multiplayer was all about those epic light cycle battles that finally let film fans recreate the 1982 movie’s most iconic moment. It’s a shame that the only thing that comes close to replicating the thrill of those battles is an unlicensed homage in GTA Online.

    33. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

    The original TimeSplitters was not only one for the best games of the PS2’s early days, but considering that it was made by many of the people who worked on GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, many thought of it as the true successor to the revolutionary multiplayer featured in those N64 games.

    However, it’s Future Perfect that...err...perfected TimeSplitters multiplayer. While it’s not as historically noteworthy as the original or quite as beloved as TimeSplitters 2, Future Perfect’s expanded mapmaker mode and online multiplayer options meant that you had more ways than ever to enjoy this generally underrated series. Of course, there’s almost no good way to play the game today unless you get the gang together for a split-screen party.

    32. Capsule Force

    Capsule Force is likely the most obscure game on this list. Released in 2015, this indie title flew under just about everyone’s radar. Even worse, the game’s lack of online multiplayer options and CPU opponents meant that even those who bought it barely got to play it.

    However, if you manage to get four people to sit down with this game, you will experience something magical. Capsule Force requires you to move a platform to your side of the level by standing on it. Of course, your opponents are trying to do the same while everyone is shooting at each other to knock their enemies off their respective positions.

    This simple setup works because it almost always results in nail-biting matches. Very few Capsule Force games don’t come down to the wire. If you can find the people to play this game with, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

    31. Shadowrun (2007)

    It’s hard to think of another big budget game that was destined to fail quite like Shadowrun for Xbox 360. As the multiplayer-only follow-up to one of the most beloved cyberpunk RPGs ever made, Shadowrun was released in 2007 to an openly hostile market.

    Those that took a chance on the game, though, discovered a title that was so much more than an affront to the Shadowrun name. By combining the team-based tactics of Counter-Strike with light RPG elements and more traditional deathmatch modes, Shadowrun 2007 offered a compelling genre cocktail that clearly could have become something that stood tall on its own.

    Sadly, developer FASA Interactive went out of business just months after the game’s release and whatever chance Shadowrun had to find an audience simply vanished soon thereafter.

    30. Starhawk

    To be honest, both Starhawk and its spiritual predecessor Warhawk are worthy of entries on this list. However, the nod goes to this 2012 sci-fi title that improved many of the aspects that made Warhawk one of the PS3’s most notable multiplayer exclusives.

    Starhawk’s chaotic 32-player battles did a remarkable job of making you feel like you had just been dropped into the middle of a copyright-friendly major sci-fi battle. There are few other games that do a better job of balancing vehicle and on-foot combat in an objective-based setting.

    While Starhawk’s legacy is tied to the memories of a pretty specific group of gamers, it deserves to be remembered as one of the most exciting multiplayer games of its generation.

    29. Max Payne 3

    As you’ll discover by the time that you finish reading this list, Rockstar is a generally underrated maker of fine multiplayer experiences. Their multiplayer modes may not always steal the show, but they’re almost always worth the price of admission.

    For instance, Max Payne 3’s controversial single-player mode may have left players debating whether it lived up to the first two games, but those who played the Max Payne 3’s multiplayer simply enjoyed themselves. The mode’s brilliant use of a proximity-based bullet-time system was much more polished than such an ambitious concept should have been, and the game’s already fantastic shooting mechanics were tailor-made for a third-person competitive shooter.

    Max Payne 3’s multiplayer could have just been a way to justify charging $60 for an 8-hour single-player game. Instead, it proved to be an experience that is worthy of a follow-up.

    28. Brink

    Otherwise known as “Oh yeah, that game,” Brink was a multiplayer shooter developed by Splash Damage (more on this studio later) that was hyped up quite a bit before its 2011 release and then just kind of disappeared from the public consciousness.

    Brink wasn’t quite ready for prime time, but it was loaded with good ideas. The game placed a somewhat surprising emphasis on teamwork, featured some fun modes, and utilized a fascinating parkour system that really opened up some interesting strategies.

    Ultimately, Brink was one of those games that probably could have become something much greater had it been given enough time to receive some fixes as player feedback rolled in. Unfortunately, it wasn’t afforded the chance that many modern games enjoy.

    27. Sportsfriends

    Upon its 2013 release, Sportsfriends drew the most attention from those who were fascinated by the Johann Sebastion Joust minigame and the way it used the otherwise largely useless PlayStation Move accessory. Beyond that, the game fizzled out rather quickly.

    However, it’s the other games included in the Sportsfriends package that make it easy to recommend buying this game to this day. Super Pole Riders, BaraBariBall, and Hokra may feature super simple graphics and mechanics, but they are among the most addictive and compelling party games released in recent memory. Truth be told, BaraBariBalldeserved to be expanded upon in a separate, standalone release.

    If you still get your friends together to enjoy the occasional competitive couch game, Sportsfriends is a must-have.

    26. Earth Defense Force

    Without diving into the well of Earth Defense Force sequels in order to come away with a specific entry to recommend above them all, we’re going to give you a general recommendation to play just one of the games in this series at some point.

    Earth Defense Force is an indescribably over-the-top shooter that supports co-op play. Each game in the series requires you - and friends - to defeat waves of ‘50s sci-fi and anime-inspired enemies using a variety of absurd weapons.

    It’s hard to think of another cooperative action game that embraces insanity quite like the EDF series. We guarantee you will never forget experiencing this franchise with your friends.

    25. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

    Mercenaries is another series that is generally underrated, but in the interest of staying on topic, let’s talk about the co-op mode in Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

    Imagine a slightly smaller and less open version of the Just Cause series that you can play in co-op, and you’ll understand what made this multiplayer mode so special. There’s nothing quite like bouncing around the game’s sizeable world and utilizing a series of incredible weapons and vehicles to destroy encampments and take out high-priority targets.

    The idea of true co-op in an open-world game was pretty ambitious at the time of Mercenaries 2’s release, and we still can’t think of many games that utilize that concept as well as Mercenaries 2.

    24. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

    Metal Gear Solid 4 wasn’t the first Metal Gear game to utilize an online mode, but its take on multiplayer is the best that we’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

    First off, MGS4 combat worked surprisingly well even in basic deathmatch modes. However, what truly sets MGS4 apart is the way that it allowed players to customize their characters. Not only could you outfit yourself with clothes that could genuinely provide organic camouflage in certain areas of the map, but you could even unlock unique skills like “Instructor” that let you oversee the training of new players.

    Unfortunately, MGS4’s online play was eventually ruined by hackers. Given the current state of the MGS franchise, we also doubt that we’ll ever see a mode like this ever again.

    23. Natural Selection 2

    Natural Selection 2 was one of those games that occasionally came up in conversations around the time of its release, but it’s not a game that many people seem to have actually played. If you are one of those gamers who has heard of this title and hasn’t tried it, we recommend you do so as soon as possible.

    If you’re not familiar with Natural Selection 2, the first thing you need to know is that the game allows you to play one of three roles. You can be a human soldier, an agile alien, or a commander who views the multiplayer map from above and helps his or her team win by issuing orders, researching technology, and deploying resources.

    That makes Natural Selection 2 one of the few games to successfully combine the RTS and FPS genres. Even better, the developers have historically been quite active in terms of updates.

    22. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

    Crystal Chronicles is perhaps best remembered as the game that required players to use multiple Game Boy Advances and link cables in order to properly utilize this GameCube title’s multiplayer mode.

    While many people rightfully criticize Crystal Chronicles' absurd hardware requirements, the game itself has been widely praised by those who were fortunate enough to play its multiplayer mode in the intended way. Crystal Chronicles applies many familiar Final Fantasy mechanics and design elements to a slightly more action-oriented RPG experience.

    It’s tough to imagine the modern gamer who would be able to assemble all the hardware pieces required to play this game in its optimal format, but we would love to see another title explore Crystal Chronicles' gameplay in a slightly more traditional way.

    21. Windjammers

    Windjammers has actually drawn some more attention in recent years due to the game’s re-release on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, but there are still too few gamers who know about this true gem.

    The game has players compete in a fictional, arcade-style sport that most closely resembles air hockey. By utilizing a deep, but simple to learn, series of shots and defensive strategies, Windjammers nails that “easy to learn, tough to master” style of gameplay that we rarely see in sports titles. Nearly every Windjammers match is a nail-biting rush of adrenaline.

    This game was tragically overlooked when it was released in 1994, but we remain hopeful it will one day attract the following it deserves.

    20. War of the Monsters

    War of the Monsters proved to be a surprise hit when it was released in 2003, but it seems that many people have either forgotten about this game or just haven’t found a reason to mention it that often in recent years.

    While War of the Monsters’ single-player tribute to the monster films of the ‘50s was the star of this show, the game’s multiplayer mode proved to be a shockingly good time. It allowed players to pick their favorite monsters and duke it out across destructible environments. One of the mode's best features was a dynamic split-screen camera that split the screen when players were divided and then combined their halves of the TV when they were close enough to battle.

    This game deserves a remake, but the original is still a good time if you can get your hands on it.

    19. Crimson Skies

    Yet another game on this list that is perpetually underrated, Crimson Skies for the Xbox was an Indiana Jones-style adventure featuring an alternate history in which society has taken to the skies. It’s quite simply one of the best games ever made in the eyes of many of its fans.

    The game’s multiplayer was also quite good. Plane-based multiplayer battles can sometimes devolve into everyone circling around each other, but Crimson Skies' arcade-like movement system meant that dogfights felt appropriately tense. It certainly didn’t hurt that the game’s respectable selection of planes accommodated a variety of playstyles.

    Crimson Skies’ incredibly poor sales mean that we’ll probably never get a sequel or remake to this game. If we do, though, then its multiplayer mode must return.

    18. Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force

    The geniuses at Raven Software are responsible for some of the best games ever made, but in terms of multiplayer, Elite Force might be their best work.

    Elite Force launched with a stunning 32-player multiplayer mode to compliment the game’s exceptional single-player campaign. The shooting is spectacular, but what really sells the multiplayer is the additional variants introduced in the game’s first expansion pack. From a mode that sees one player control a Borg who is trying to assimilate everyone else to a disintegration mode that arms players with a slow-firing (but devastating) weapon, Elite Force offered so many creative options.

    The bad news is that Elite Force is not currently available through any digital retail platforms due to apparent licensing issues. 

    17. Crash Team Racing

    There’s some room for debate regarding whether or not Crash Team Racing is really underrated. The game sold quite well, is generally well-remembered, and is part of a very popular franchise.

    Still, we can’t help but feel that not enough people really got to experience this game’s brilliant multiplayer races. While CTR certainly borrowed quite liberally from the Mario Kart series, it also featured the kind of complex maps and innovative weapons that we wouldn’t see from the Mario Kart series for quite some time.

    Truth be told, if you told us that you genuinely preferred CTR to the beloved Mario Kart 64, we’d be pretty tempted to agree with you.

    16. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$!

    This is another tricky entry to justify simply because WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$! was actually well-received at the time of its release. However, the game has all but vanished from memory except for those who played it.

    While most of Mega Party’s multiplayer brilliance stems from the fun of those classic WarioWare minigames, this title also features a few special modes designed to take advantage of a party atmosphere. For instance, Wario’s Outta My Way saw one player try to complete a minigame while the other players performed on-screen actions designed to distract them. Orbulon All For One forced players to complete minigames in the dark while another player shone a light on the important areas.

    While not the last WarioWare game to feature multiplayer, no other game in the series did it as well as this one.

    15. ChuChu Rocket!

    Part of the reason why the Dreamcast is such a beloved system is that it played host to quite a few unique games. Sega used the Dreamcast to see whether a series of bold concepts were viable or just pipe dreams. Few games exemplify that philosophy better than ChuChu Rocket!

    ChuChu Rocket! was developed, in part, to test the online functionality of the Dreamcast so that Sega could get Phantasy Star Online working properly and because the Sonic Team wanted to see if they could get 100 character sprites to move on-screen at once. While largely a technological test tube, ChuChu Rocket’s incredibly simple concept - you and other players lay down arrows to guide mice into color-matched homes - is addictive.

    ChuChu Rocket! was briefly released on iOS and Android, but now that those ports are no longer available, it’s hard to find a good non-Dreamcast copy of this game.

    14. Typing of the Dead: Overkill

    Typing of the Dead features one of the most bizarre premises we’ve ever seen in a video game. It essentially plays just like the old light gun House of the Dead games, but instead of shooting at zombies, you’re required to type out the words that appear under the undead in order to kill them. It’s basically the world’s most violent typing tutor. Typing of the Dead: Overkill retains that bizarre concept but paints a thick coat of grindhouse aesthetics on top of the whole affair.

    Regardless, that sweep typing gameplay remains largely unaltered. It’s oddly entertaining to bring a partner along and duel to see who is the best typist of them all. It might sound like an odd cooperative/competitive experience, but you’d be amazed at how fierce the competition for best typist becomes.

    13. Sega Soccer Slam

    If there’s one thing we love, it’s wacky sports games. Titles like NBA Jam and Mutant League Football capture all of the fun of sports simulators but are largely free of the sometimes crippling realism.

    While such titles have a tendency to be underrated, Sega Soccer Slam has managed to go almost entirely unnoticed over the years despite being one of the most entertaining arcade-style sports games ever made. This 3v3 take on soccer features wacky characters and ridiculous special power shots, but what really makes it special are the surprisingly solid mechanics that can hook any player in minutes regardless of whether or not they are a sports fan.

    We highly doubt that this game will ever get a sequel or reboot, so try to find a copy for Xbox, GameCube, or PS2.

    12. Red Dead Redemption

    Red Dead Redemption is another game that might be too popular to be considered underrated. However, the game gets a nod here just because we get the impression that not nearly enough people played this title’s many excellent multiplayer modes.

    RDR worked surprisingly well as a standard deathmatch game, but it really shone in specialty modes like Race, Stronghold, or even the cooperative horde mode added to the game by the brilliant Undead Nightmare expansion. The game’s free roam options may have been bare bones, but the pre-set multiplayer modes were almost universally entertaining.

    We’re not entirely sure why more people didn’t give this game’s multiplayer a chance, but it certainly stands the test of time.

    11. Pikmin 3

    Some of the best cooperative add-on modes are able to play off of a core aspect of the “main game” in order to offer an experience that is both familiar but impossible to achieve without the presence of multiplayer players. It’s a tricky concept, but if you ever want to experience the virtues of that approach, play Pikmin 3’s co-op modes.

    Pikmin 3’s main cooperative modes retain the fundamental goals of Pikmin campaigns but are designed in such a way as to ensure that only players who are able to truly work together will ever be able to beat them. Of course, you could also just play the incredibly fun Bingo Battle mode that requires you to find items to place on a randomly generated board so that you’re the first to score four in a row. It’s much more fun than it sounds.

    10. Mass Effect 3

    There’s a very good reason why Mass Effect 3 is remembered by most people for its controversial ending. Some go so far as to say that Mass Effect 3’s finale has forever tainted the legacy of the franchise. We also can’t help but feel that all the noise the game’s conclusion generated prevented many Mass Effect 3 owners from realizing they had a pretty great multiplayer game in their collection.

    While Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer was little more than a horde mode, it altered the horde mode formula just enough to incorporate elements unique to the Mass Effect franchise. For instance, players had to complete a randomized objective at the start of certain waves that required all party members to prove they were truly able to work together and not just kill the most enemies.

    Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer honestly does a better job of exemplifying the series' best gameplay attributes more than many of the story missions do.

    9. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist

    Spies vs. Mercs. Either you know it, love it, and lost many hours of your life to it, or you haven’t a clue what we’re talking about. Even if you belong to the former group, though, you might not know that Spies vs. Mercs made its triumphant return in the stellar Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

    Spies vs. Mercs sees one team assume the role of spies and the other play mercenaries. For spies, the game plays out much like a traditional game of Splinter Cell. Mercs, however, play the game via a first-person view that limits their range of sight. The trade-off is that mercs are heavily armed while spies must rely largely on gadgets and guile to complete objectives.

    It’s an astonishingly realized gimmick that is way more balanced than it conceptually has any right to be. The fact that Splinter Cell: Blacklist also features excellent co-op modes is just the icing on the cake.

    8. Star Fox Assault

    Star Fox: Assault was a largely disappointing attempt to freshen up the Star Fox formula that ultimately failed to recapture the fun of the original titles. However, it also happened to feature a multiplayer mode that tragically got dragged down with the rest of the game.

    While not much more than a simple competitive shooter-style battle, Star Fox Assault brilliantly combined on-foot shooting with vehicular action - featuring multiple types of vehicles - to offer a competitive experience that was chaotic, to say the least. Games often saw players bounce between vehicle and battle on foot as they desperately tried to get those last few kills.

    Supposedly, Star Fox Assaultbegan its life as a multiplayer-only title. We kind of wish that the developers had stuck with that concept and abandoned the game’s forgettable single-player offerings.

    7. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

    Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory boasts the strangest origin story of any game on this list. Originally designed to be an expansion pack to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, it was later determined that it was good enough to warrant a standalone release. However, when developer Splash Damage (the folks responsible for Brink) encountered problems with the single-player campaign, the studio decided to just release the multiplayer as a freeware game.

    We’re glad Splash Damage did what was necessary to get this game out into the world because it is a brilliant piece of multiplayer game design. In fact, Enemy Territory's use of class-based teamwork is still one of the best examples of that concept we’ve ever seen. While Enemy Territory still feels like a deathmatch game of its era (2003), the ways in which it weaves together the abilities of various classes is just beautiful. This game isn’t talked about as much as classic titles like Unreal Tournament, Quake III, and Halo, but it’s one of the best.

    6. Power Stone 2

    “What are you talking about?” says someone who doesn’t understand just how obscure Power Stone 2 is. “Everyone loves Power Stone 2!”

    Everyone who played Power Stone 2 may love it, but not many people got to play the game in the first place. This 2000 Dreamcast title featured Smash Bros.-esque battles across dynamic levels that would change as the battle waged on. While that Smash Bros. comparison gives you a good idea of the kind of fun that Power Stoneoffers, it doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s because Power Stone 2’s included certain features that have never really been replicated. For instance, some levels in the game featured bosses that required players to temporarily cooperate - or not - in order to defeat the looming shared foe.

    Aside from an arcade release in Japan and a PlayStation Portable port, the only way to play Power Stone 2 is on the Dreamcast. What we’re trying to tell you here is that you should really own a Dreamcast.

    5. The Warriors

    We would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when someone at Rockstar Games suggested that the company should develop a game based on a largely obscure ‘70s cult classic movie. It’s not the kind of project that would get pitched - or greenlit - at most major studios today.

    While The Warriors sold reasonably well, its multiplayer options were tragically underrated. That’s especially true of the game’s co-op mode, which let two players battle their way through the game’s surprisingly lengthy and varied campaign.

    The truth of the matter is that such co-op brawler titles just aren’t nearly as common as they used to be (or should be). If you love games like the old Ninja Turtles SNES titles, Final Fight, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Warriorsneeds to be on your must-play list.

    4. Grand Theft Auto IV

    The final Rockstar game on this list is another title that is somewhat difficult to classify as underrated. After all, GTA IV sold just under 4 million copies in under 24 hours and many of the people who eventually bought the game did try out the multiplayer at some point.

    In terms of legacy, though, the success of GTA V’s multiplayer has undermined the quality of GTA IV’s multiplayer. We respect what Rockstar has done with GTA V, but the truth is that there are some GTA IV multiplayer modes that we’d choose to play over GTA Onlineon most days. That’s especially true of the brilliant Cops and Crooks mode, in which a team of cops pursued a team of crooks across GTA IV’s incredibly designed city as the crooks tried to reach an escape point.

    GTA IV’s pre-set gameplay modes and its smaller - but customizable - lobbies may appear technically inferior to what GTA V offers, but we believe that both games multiplayer offerings are different enough to be worthy of co-existence.

    3. Driver: San Francisco

    At this point, there is a nearly 0% chance that Driver: San Francisco’s multiplayer will ever receive the mass love that it deserves. Within the reasonable relativity of any discussion concerning video games, we’d have to classify that realization as a tragedy.

    Driver: San Francisco featured some of the most creative multiplayer modes ever seen in a driving game - few boil down to simple racing. Tag, for instance, was a high-speed version of the playground classic across an open-world city. Blitz was a driving game take on traditional base defense modes that required you to infiltrate an opponents scoring zone. Even the game’s single-player challenge mode - in which you had to avoid vehicles randomly tossed at you while pursuing a target - could be turned into a competition.

    Given the rather stale state of the driving game genre, we don’t know if we’re ever going to get another multiplayer driving game quite as inventive as this one.

    2. Conker’s Bad Fur Day

    Let’s just skip past trying to explain how this brilliant South Park-like parody of mascot platformers came to be and get right into why you missed out if you never played Conker’s multiplayer.

    None of Conker’s seven multiplayer modes were the same. Raptor was a surprisingly deep caveman vs. dinosaurs game that required players to master two very different playstyles. War was a team deathmatch game with several twists involving chemical weapons. Heist had everyone compete for a bag of money at the center of the map.

    You just never see modern games that boast such a variety of multiplayer options out of the box, and we haven’t even taken a dive into the various ways that the game allowed you to customize every mode. Tragically, someone decided to turn Bad Fur Day’s brilliant multiplayer modes into a more generic online shooter by the time that the game was ported over to Xbox. As such, you need to dig out your N64 if you want to play this game’s classic multiplayer.

    1. The Last of Us

    To this day, we don’t understand how The Last of Us didn’t accidentally become a multiplayer sensation. Over 17 million copies of The Last of Us have been sold across PlayStation 3 and 4, but we’re willing to bet that only a fraction of those players have ever taken the game’s multiplayer for a spin despite the fact that you can beat the single-player game in about 10 hours.

    The Last of Us’ brilliant multiplayer modes inject single-player elements like crafting and survival gameplay into various competitive modes. Because health is limited and death often comes quickly, a competitive Last of Us match often feels spiritually closer to Rainbow Six than an Uncharted game. Victory in this game is awarded to those who truly learn to work as a team as well as players who have mastered the various in-game items and perk combinations.

    There’s never been a multiplayer mode in a single-player-oriented game that has done a better job of recreating every gameplay element that makes the single-player game so notable. The Last of Us offers some of the best competitive matches you’ll ever experience in a video game. Considering that there’s a very good chance this it's sitting on your shelf right now, we highly recommend you give this game’s multiplayer a shot.

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    The incredible success of Skyrim has given Bethesda no reason to stop releasing the game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 10, 2018

    In an interview with Geoff Keighley, which was reported on by, Todd Howard (director and executive producer at Bethesda Game Studios) offered a simple explanation for why Bethesda has re-released Skyrim so many times.

    "Even now, the amount of people who play Skyrimseven years later; millions of people every month are playing that game," said Howard. "That's why we keep releasing it. If you want us to stop releasing it, stop buying it."

    Indeed, the long-term success of Skyrim is staggering. While previous Elder Scrolls games were no slouch in the sales department (Oblivion sold especially well thanks to the studio's increased focus on making it a console-friendly game) Skyrim is a different kind of beast altogether. The game has sold over 30 million copies since its release in 2011, and Skyrim still attracted over 50,000 simultaneous players on Steam in 2018. It's staying power is astonishing. 

    While the commercial success of Skyrim and other major Bethesda games is of course financially appealing for the studio, Howard says the longevity of titles like Skyrimmeans more to him than just some extra digits on an earnings report. 

    "I'd say I want it to be sustainable. Eventually, there will come a day where I'm not making games at Bethesda," said Howard. "Hopefully that's a long time away. But I want to make sure that who we are, what the worlds are, what the company is, that's sustainable far beyond me."

    While some may take that to mean that Bethesda Game Studios plans on developing more games like Fallout 76 that can be stretched out over the course of multiple years, that doesn't seem to be what Howard is saying. He even recently noted that Fallout 76doesn't represent the kind of game that the studio intends to solely make from now on. Instead, it seems that Howard is simply interested in ensuring that the team makes more games like Skyrimthat live on well-beyond their release date. 

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    Bongs, dildos, and drunk food are all fair game in Broad City: High Score.

    News Daniella Bondar
    Jul 10, 2018

    This article is sponsored by Broad City: High Score. 

    If you’re not getting virtually high with Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana, then you should really be evaluating your life choices. 

    Pick up your phone and download Broad City: High Score, the game that takes you on a deep-dive through Abbi and Ilana’s colorful universe. Hit the bong, pee in public, pick up groceries, help Ilana take a midday nap, it’s all there for you with 20 mini-games. The more you play, the more fun you unlock. And while all 20 have their charm, I have my tops and bottoms. So I ranked them. 

    Here we go: 

    20. Quick Cuts

    This mini game is all about helping Abbi cut her Bed Bath & Beyond coupons for those sweet discounts she loves so much. Unfortunately, I can’t crack the code here, so it’s at the bottom. Needed information: I can’t cut a straight line in real life either, so there was no hope.

    19. Insert Tooth Here 

    No one can be Lincoln. Only Lincoln can be Lincoln. This game of putting Ilana’s tooth back in place never works out well for me, so she ends up getting punched in the kisser.

    18. Snack Time 

    Bevers needs to quickly devour Abbi’s chocolate cake before she notices, so you help him by tapping as fast as you can. Personally, I feel like he’d be quicker without me.

    17. Delicious Spins

    Grind up some weed for the Broad City gals to make their joints 100 emoji.

    16. Balance Buds

    You have to keep Abbi and Ilana balanced on the bike through the streets of NYC. I always lose, which means I end up crashing into one of those tiny dollhouse cop mobiles.

    15.  Tap Slow 

    Tap at just the right moment to make sure that Ilana doesn’t break a tooth biting through a jawbreaker. This one skeeves me out, because I don’t like to think about people biting through rocks, especially not my fake BFF.

    14. Dial Quick 

    Ilana is drunk AF and needs pizze fast, it’s up to you to dial for her. No one calls anyone anymore, so my fingers aren’t as nimble as they once were, but I always get Ilana her za. 

    13. Puppy Love 

    Ilana’s dog-nephew is getting married and you need to help him kiss his bride. This is just so adorable i don’t even care that I’m making dogs kiss. 

    12. Swipe the Doll 

    Ilana’s very valuable JonBenét Ramsey Beanie Baby is in danger of being eaten by a dog, and you have to save the doll by using all your Tinder practice to swipe it away. 

    11. A Quick Break

    Deals, Deals, Deals is hard work, and sometimes Ilana needs a little bathroom stall nap, but balancing on a toilet can be difficult (first-hand experience with that one), so you have to help her stay comfortable and rested! 

    10. This’ll Work 

    If you’re going to wear a dog sweatshirt to work, it’s important to have a marker handy to make it crafty-chic and work appropriate. 

    9. Get Some

    Abbi is strong as as hell and can whoop some ass in tug-of-war, if you help. 

    8. We Need Supplies

    Pack some groceries for Abbi and Ilana, and do it right or else you’ll end up on the “Shitty People” wall. 

    7. Smash 

    Abbi’s high in Whole Food with Bingo Bronson and only you can help her smash though an obscene amount of jars. It’s god’s work. 

    6. Chew It Off

    Best friends are always there for you, even if it means chewing off a security tag from your top so you can go to a fancy gallery opening. 

    5. Hold’n Tap Tap 

    Be a dear and help Abbi use the bong for maximum-highness. This game is near the top because it’s fun to tap, tap tap. 

    4. Light it, Smoke it

    Be the same dear for Ilana, and help her light up. Virtual lighters are fun. 

    3. Swipe to Jump 

    Ilana can’t get caught jumping the subway turnstile, so make sure to swipe when the cop isn’t looking. 

    2. Gotta Pee 

    This game has some actual skill involved, you need to make sure to pee when the cop isn’t looking. Sometimes that means stopping midstream between taxis to pretend like you’re just hangin’. It’s hard work. 

    1.What To Do (Mind the Jewels)

    Abbi found a use for her knockoff dildo: hang jewelry from it. You help her redecorate by hanging a pearl necklace (that’s on purpose) from the “Shinjo.” Why is this my favorite game of the bunch? Because, duh. I’ll also have you know that I reached “Dildo Master.” Wax on, wax off, bros. 

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    Upcoming Hearthstone expansion The Boomsday Project explores the depths of Dr. Boom's mad mind.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 10, 2018

    The next Hearthstone expansion is called The Boomsday Project

    As the name implies, this new expansion will focus on the scientific works of Dr. Boom. It seems that the good doctor has built some hidden labs in the Netherstorm and has been busy churning out a variety of experiments. Naturally, those experiments come in the form of 135 new Hearthstonecards. 

    What can you expect from those cards? First off, there's a new mechanic called "Magnetic" that lets you combine Mech-type minions or play them on their own. For instance, there's a 2/2 Spider Bomb card that destroys a random enemy minion when it dies. You can play that by itself, or you can give its stats and deathrattle to another friendly minion that is already on the board. Joining Magnetic are Projects; an old mechanic with a new name. Projects are spells that affect both players in some way but may yield certain advantages based on how you choose to strategically use them.

    Boomsday Project will also be the first Hearthstone expansion to properly feature legendary spells (aside from the legendary quest cards featured in Journey to Un'Goro). Like other legendary cards in the game, you can only run one copy of a legendary spell in your deck. That means that you can expect these spells to utilize unique - or simply devastating - effects. The first legendary spell card that Blizzard has revealed, a Rogue spell that lets you draw your entire deck for just five mana, should give you an indication of what kind of madness these legendary spell cards will introduce to the game. 

    Speaking of madness, this expansion will also introduce Omega cards. Omega cards are cards of various mana costs that do things that are pretty standard for that mana cost. However, if you play that Omega card when you have 10 mana crystals, it gains some incredible enhancement that is usually worth waiting for. Rounding out the Boomsday package is a mysterious new adventure called The Puzzle Lab. We don't know much about this single-player experience at the moment, but you can expect to hear more about it in the coming weeks. 

    The Boomsday Project is set to release on August 7 for all devices that run Hearthstone. Those who choose to pre-order will be able to choose between a 50-pack bundle that includes a golden class legendary card and the Mecha-Jaraxxus card back ($49.99) or a new 80-pack Mega Bundle that gives you the 50-pack bonuses plus a new Warlock hero; Mecha-Jaraxxus. 

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    Everything you need to know about Darksiders 3, including latest news, release date, trailer, and much more!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

    Here's everything else we know about Darksiders 3:

    Darksiders 3 Release Date

    Darksiders 3 will be released on Nov. 27, 2018. The game is coming to XBO, PS4, and PC. 

    Darksiders 3 Trailer

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

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    When there is no more room in development hell, the Dead Island sequel will walk the Earth.

    News Matthew ByrdJohn Saavedra
    Jul 10, 2018

    Even though the game was first announced at E3 2014 and was originally slated for a 2015 release, we're still waiting for Dead Island 2. Although the game's behind-the-scenes drama has been well documented in the past few years, publisher Deep Silver continues to assure fans that this highly anticipated zombie sequel is still on the way.

    Just this week, Dead Island's official Twitter handle answered pleas from fans asking for more information on the game:

    "What's going on is that it's in development and we won't be showing more until we're ready," wrote the official Twitter account. "Appreciate the wait is painful, but Dead Island 2 is still coming."

    Two years after the game was first delayed, there's still no solid release date for Dead Island 2.

    This latest effort to appease zombie fans comes in the wake of a new mobile game, Dead Island: Survivors, which reignited the conversation about Dead Island 2's existence. The latest update echoes publisher Deep Silver's statement from 2017 to Eurogamer, confirming that Dead Island 2 was still in development and in the hands of Sumo Digital, the studio that's also working on Crackdown 3.

    "Dead Island 2 is in development at Sumo Digital, and we are excited by the progress the team are making with Deep Silver's most successful IP," Deep Silver said in that statement. "When we are ready to share more information, we will."

    This is the extent of the information we've received regarding the existence of the sequel. The original Dead Island was released in 2011 by developer Techland. After the studio moved on to new projects - including Dead Island spiritual successor, Dying Light - publisher Deep Silver handed the property off to Yager Development, the developer behind Spec Ops: The Line

    Everything seemed to be coming along nicely until it was revealed in July 2015 that Deep Silver had fired Yager due to creative differences: "The team worked with enthusiasm to take Dead Island 2 to a new level of quality," Yager CEO Timo Ullman said in a statement. "However, YAGER and Deep Silver's respective visions of the project fell out of alignment, which led to the decision that has been made."

    Shortly thereafter, it was announced that developer Sumo Digital would be handling the game's development. However, neither Sumo Digital or Deep Silver have really had much to say about the project's progress since the developer officially took on the project. Given that Sumo Digital has gone on to release Forza Horizon 3, Snake Pass, and is currently working on Crackdown3, it may be some time yet before we see anything related to the revamped Dead Island 2.

    We'll keep you updated as we hear more about the game.

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    You'll have to wait a little longer for Code Vein, which has been pushed back from its 2018 release date to 2019.

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jul 11, 2018

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

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

    Here's everything we know about Code Vein:

    Code Vein Release Date

    Code Vein has been delayed to 2019 from its original Sept. 28, 2018 release date. The game is coming to PS4, XBO, and PC. 

    Code Vein Trailer

    Here's a new, six-minute trailer:

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

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

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

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

    Code Vein Story

    Here's the official synopsis for the game:

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

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

    Code Vein Details

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NewsDen of Geek Staff
    Jul 11, 2018

    At E3 2018, Bethesda revealed Doom Eternal. Based on what was revealed at the show, it sounds like this is going to be a new Doom game rather than a remaster or a remake. The Doom team talked about how they listened to what fans asked for and added more demons, a more powerful Doom guy, and a vision of what Hell on Earth looks like to this game. 

    To be fair, that doesn't mean that this is guaranteed to be a brand-new Doom game - it's not called Doom II after all - and there is a possibility that this could retread some familiar ground. At the very least, though, we feel that this has to be some kind of expansion or some piece of previously unseen content related to Doom.

    Here's everything we know about the game thus far:

    Doom Eternal News

    Bethesda has dated the gameplay reveal for Doom Eternal. We'll finally get to see what the game is all about and what the "Eternal" means. The reveal is set for Aug. 10 during QuakeCon 2018. The reveal will be part of a special live stream about the game. 

    Doom Eternal Trailer

    Check out the announcement trailer:

    Doom Eternal Release Date

    No release date has been set for Doom Eternal. The game is expected to arrive for XBO, PS4, and PC. 

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    Mafia 3 was going to begin with a sequence that has since been "burned" from the developer's servers.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 11, 2018

    Mafia III wasn't the best game in the franchise, but it did feature enough style and fascinating characters to elevate it above the level of "just another open-world game." However, it seems that the original version of Mafia III featured some pretty daring content that you'll never, ever see. 

    At a conference hosted by (as reported on by Eurogamer), Andrew Wilson, executive producer of Mafia III, revealed that the game originally featured a cold open sequence that was set to play before the game's current opening montage sequence. However, the sequence proved to be so controversial that the studio decided to do everything in their power to eliminate its existence. That's not an exaggeration. 

    "That whole cold-open has been burned from our servers," said Andrew Wilson. "It literally does not exist. Because if ever that had come out without any context in any form it would have looked terrible, because disconnected from the game it's obviously even more shocking."

    While the sequence no longer exists, Mafia III director Haden Blackman did shed a little light on what it was about. According to Blackman, the opening was going to explain why the gam's main character, Lincoln Clay, chose to fight in Vietnam. The sequence in question was described as a "violent prologue" that involved Clay and his friends being ambushed by the mob. The ambush leads to Clay killing a police officer and choosing to flee to Vietnam to escape. The sequence was shocking from a social standpoint, but Blackman says that there were other reasons why the team decided to cut it. 

    "Lincoln never really talks about it," said Blackman. "I think we added one scene where he has a conversation with this Priest, Father James, and they talk about it a little bit, but we never really paid off on it...It felt exploitative instead of something that really grabbed you and put you in Lincoln's shoes and made you afraid for him and want to help him, so we ended up cutting it because of the feedback, which was super-painful for me personally because it was something I'd pushed forward and championed..." 

    Despite his initial protests, Blackman agrees that the decision to cut the content was "absolutely the right thing to do in hindsight."

    Blackman also spoke about how it was important to him and the rest of the team to create a game that tackled social issues but in a way that felt genuine. He said that it was "really important to me we tell the truth in our games" and that part of that process ensured making sure that Clay wasn't "the idealized African American lead character." He said that if the team had gone that route, it wouldn't have felt "true, or honest, and we wouldn't have enough to relate to with him while working on the story." 

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    There will be a new game in The Witcher series, but it won't be The Witcher 4

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 11, 2018

    Developer CD Projekt Red has confirmed that they intend to develop more games in The Witcherseries. However, the next title will not follow the protagonist of the first three Witcher games, Geralt of Rivia.

    "The first three Witchers were by definition a trilogy, so we simply could not name the next game 'The Witcher 4'," said CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński in an interview with Bankier (translation via US Gamer and Google Translate). "This does not mean, of course, that we will leave the world of The Witcher. The Witcher is one of two franchises on which to build the future activities of the company. Today, unfortunately, I can not reveal anything more."

    This isn't the first time that CD Projekt Red has floated the idea of a follow-up to The Witcher series. During a 2017 investor's call, CD Projekt Red co-founder, Marcin Iwinski, stated that the team always has The Witcher on their minds. 

    The Witcher was designed as a trilogy and a trilogy cannot have a fourth part, can it?" said Iwinski. "We like this world a lot. We invested 15 years of our lives in it and a lot of money. So, we’ll think about [making a new Witcher game] at some point. But please consider us as rational people, we sometimes have weird ideas but overall our thinking is very rational. We have full rights to The Witcher games. They are ours. We have invested enormous funds into promoting it, and it’s a very strong brand.”

    Iwinski and Kiciński are both talking around the details of the next Witcher game, but they are saying the same basic things. The game won't be a Geralt of Rivia story, it won't be called The Witcher 4, but it will take place in The Witcher universe established by the first three games and - presumably - the books the game series is based on. 

    Timeline-wise, you might think that CD Projekt Red will want to reveal/release this game around the same time as The Witcher Netflix series. However, as that series is reportedly set to debut in 2020, and it's heavily rumored that Cyberpunk 2077 will be released at that time, we think that you'll have to wait just a bit longer for the next game in The Witcher franchise. 

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    Blizzard and Disney are bringing Overwatch League to the ESPN family of networks.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 11, 2018

    The OverwatchLeague is coming to ESPN. 

    Disney and Blizzard have struck a new deal that will bring OWL to the world's most popular sports network. It begins tonight at 8 p.m EST when the Overwatch League season one playoffs get underway. If you tune into Disney XD or ESPN 3 at that time, you'll be able to watch the Philadelphia Fusion take on the Boston Uprising. That match will be followed by a 10:00 p.m live broadcast of the London Spitfire and Los Angeles Gladiators match. 

    However, that's just the start of the ESPN/Overwatch League partnership. Not only will ESPN broadcast the rest of the season one playoffs (including a live broadcast of the first day of the Overwatch League finals on ESPN) but this multi-year deal will include the broadcasting rights to the second season of Overwatch League play. The details of that arrangement haven't been revealed at this time, but if this initial announcement is any indication, then it's possible that ESPN will broadcast the entirety of the Overwatch's League's second season in some form or fashion. 

    There has been no indication that this deal will in any way affect your ability to watch Overwatch League games via any of the current online platforms that host it. 

    Generally speaking, this is a big win for Blizzard and the Overwatch League. There aren't many eSports that are broadcast on a major network, and breaking the television barrier is one thing that the competitive gaming scene is still trying to find a way to achieve. 

    Will OWL be able to succeed in that respect? It's tough to say. The league's more traditional city-based teams will certainly make it easier for fans of traditional sports to relate to what is going on, but Overwatchcan be a daunting game to watch on a professional level if you're not familiar with the mechanics of the title. Still, Blizzard's excellent production values and League structure leaves us with plenty of reasons to believe that all parties involved with this deal can find a way to make it work. 

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    This impressive GTA V creation re-imagines the trailer for one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 11, 2018

    A GTA V fan has created a pretty convincing trailer for John Carpenter's The Thing using assets from Rockstar's popular game and a series of mods. 

    The video, uploaded by YouTuber gigerbrick (real name David Vann), is impressive for several reasons. First off, many of the shots in the trailer (most notably the shots of a helicopter chasing a dog through the frozen wild) really do resemble the shots used in John Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece. It's clear that much more went into this project than the efforts of some GTA fans messing around in GTA Online

    What's even more impressive than the movie's cinematic faithfulness, though, is the suite of tools used to make this trailer happen. We know that GTA V boasts an impressive mod scene that offers creators a variety of tools, but the clever mix of customized tools and traditional in-game assets featured in this trailer. Indeed, it seems like gigerbrick elected to use certain in-game assets rather than mods just to show off how varied the content in GTA V truly is. 

    Of course, it's the custom Thing assets that really sell this recreation. Your biggest takeaway from this video might just be how awesome a Rockstar-developed adaptation of The Thing might be. So far as that goes, we can only recommend you hunt down a copy of the surprisingly excellent 2002 video game adaptation of the film that was released for Xbox, PS2, and PC. 

    This isn't the first time that GTA V fans have recreated a film trailer in the game, but in terms of recreating a movie that has almost nothing to do with GTA V's core content, this is one of the most ambitious projects we've ever seen. We just wonder what John Carpenter would think about it (he is a big video game fan, in case you didn't know). 

    You can also consider this your reminder to watch The Thing if it's been awhile since you've last seen it, or if you've (*gasp*) never seen the movie in the first place. It's one of the greatest horror films of the '80s, one of the best uses of practical effects in movie history, and an unbelievably tense story of a group of men trapped with a shapeshifting parasitic alien. 

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    This high-concept Stardew Valley mod will leave you rolling in green.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 11, 2018

    If you've been looking for a new cash crop in Stardew Valley that will finally allow you to buy the home extension of your dreams, then you might want to download this new mod that lets you grow marijuana in the popular farm RPG. 

    Yes, Smellyhippie_'s Cannabis Mod lets you become the weed tycoon that you probably considered becoming in college when the bills started to pile up. While the thought of such a mod might make you giggle, it's clear from reading the list of features included in this mod that Smellyhippie has done a lot more than just put some new plants in the game. 

    Actually, this mod adds 40 new items, six new crops, and 37 new crafting recipes to the game. It all starts when you visit town fisherman "Willy" (hmm...) who will provide you with the necessary recipes for your new venture once you've formed a relationship with him via giving him enough gifts. From there, you can start growing marijuana, but the process isn't as easy as planting and watering seeds. For instance, you'll actually need to account for the effects and attributes of male and female plants when you're trying to create a bountiful harvest. 

    Once you've grown some weed, that's where the real fun begins. Not only are you able to use new tools to separate the resin from the mature buds and press your resin into profitable hash bricks, but you can craft a variety of joints and blunts using your new product. There's even an option to grow tobacco and incorporate it into your joints for all you spliff fans out there (we know who you are). 

    Unfortunately, there's no way to actually use your new product in the game for recreational purposes. This is a pure profit venture. However, there's some hope that feature might be added down the line as the mod's creator has already expressed his desire to somehow allow the player to make their own edibles. 

    This mod is an impressively nuanced take on what could have been a juvenile concept. As marijuana is legalized in more and more states and nations, it's nice to see the Stardew Valley community find a way to maturely implement marijuana growing into the game. 

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    EA sheds a little light on how they view Star Wars fans and how they approach game development.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 11, 2018

    A fascinating new interview with EA game designer Jade Raymond sheds a little light on how EA views Star Wars fans and how they decide which Star Wars projects to work on. 

    "Actually, interestingly enough, the number one motivator for either fans of playing Star Wars games or looking to participate in the Star Wars universe in any way is to become the number one fan," said Raymond at the Develop conference in Brighton. "So, basically, to beat their friends at Star Warstrivia."

    Raymond's comments are based on extensive research that the company has done regarding what motivates Star Wars fans to engage in projects related to the Star Warsuniverse. While the company found that Star Wars fans care deeply about "authenticity," they also discovered that many of them want to "learn a new little tidbit... about the universe that I can then lord over my friends." Raymond is the first to admit that it sounds like an odd finding, but she's comfortable referring to it as the "number one motivator" amongst fans. 

    As for how that information fits into how EA decides which Star Wars projects to work on, Raymonds spoke a bit about how EA likes to encourage its various developers to come up with ideas that explore various aspects of the Star Wars universe. 

    "Each studio can put together a pitch of a game they'd like to make within the Star Wars brand," says Raymond. "Each studio pitches what game they want to make. My role is looking across those pitches, how can we line them up? Obviously, we don't want to be releasing four Star Wars games in one year. We don't want to have all our games be Jedi games. It would be good to have some that are focusing on different types of gameplay and different player fantasies."

    Sadly, Raymond did not confirm which corner of the Star Wars universe the studio was looking to explore when they aggressively implemented a loot box system into Star Wars Battlefront 2

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  • 07/12/18--09:45: 25 Underrated Sony PSP Games
  • From action games to RPGs, there are plenty of great, underrated games on the Sony PSP. Games like these...

    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Jul 12, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Launched in 2004, Sony's PlayStation Portable attempted to upstage its competitors through sheer firepower: with its 32-bit processor and crisp display, it was capable of running games closer to a home console than a typical handheld. And while the Nintendo DS wound up selling more units, the PSP was also a great success, with about 80 million systems sold between its launch and its demise in 2014.

    Over that time, the PSP garnered an impressive library of over 1300 games. According to VGChartz's data, many of these were ports or spin-offs from franchises on the PSP's big sister, the PlayStation 3. If you own a PSP, you've more than likely played such titles as Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (which sold 7.6 million copies, fact fans), Gran Turismo (3.2 million copies) or God of War: Chains of Olympus (3.1 million). Not all games can create such a dent in the market, though, and of those hundreds of games in the PSP's history, there are dozens that slipped by largely unnoticed.

    The following list is devoted to highlighting some of our favorite underrated games. Some are ports of great games from other systems; others are stand-alone titles that you won't find anywhere else. But whether you're into racing, action, or RPGs, we're pretty sure you'll find something of interest on this list of hidden classics...

    25. Mega Man Powered Up

    Although the lion's share of Mega Man titles came out on Nintendo systems, the Blue Bomber also made a notable appearance on the PSP. In essence, Powered Up is a remake of the original Mega Man from 1987, but the completely reworked polygon graphics, cutscenes, and full voice-acting give this release its own look and feel. The 2D action is fast and smooth, and all the original Robot Masters are present and correct. The remake's joined by the original NES version, plus the welcome addition of a level editor - meaning that Mega Man beat Mario Maker to the punch by about a decade. At one stage, Capcom was planning to make an entire series of Mega Man remakes. Sadly, the commercial disappointment of this first outing nipped all that in the bud.

    24. Gradius Collection

    Collecting together five of Konami's classic 2D shooters on one tiny disc, the Gradius Collection's fairly self-explanatory. Here you'll find the first four arcade games, all emulated pretty much perfectly on the PSP's pin-sharp screen - and we have to say, if you love space ship shooters, the Gradius games work on the handheld extremely well. What makes the Gradius Collection a must-have, though, is its inclusion of Gradius Gaiden - Konami's PlayStation-exclusive spin-off that appeared in 1997. Released solely in Japan, Gradius Gaiden's an overlooked classic all by itself - a superb mix of traditional shooting action, great 2D sprites and 3D graphics, and a firm-but fair difficulty curve.

    23. Patapon 3

    Released relatively late in the PSP's life, Patapon 3 isn't quite as well known as the previous entries, but it's another delightfully odd rhythm-action game. Lead your army of creatures to victory through a mix of expertly timed button presses and canny strategic decisions - and prepare to have the infuriatingly catchy music trapped in your head for days.

    22. Loco Roco 2

    Although it offers more of the same world-tilting, rolling action as its predecessor, Loco Roco 2offers a wealth of new abilities (including the ability to venture underwater), catchy tunes, and adorable moments of cartoon whimsy. If you've had a long day at work, the Loco Roco games are a great way to unwind. Relaxing and funny, they never fail to lift the spirits.

    21. Lemmings

    It's a relic from the Amiga era, but Lemmings feels right at home on the PSP. Its bite-sized levels and fast-paced problem-solving remain as charming in handheld form as they ever were. The PSP version of Lemmings contains updated graphics and new levels to solve, while the ability to zoom in and out of the action makes the task of selecting icons and applying them to individual lemmings a simple enough task. The basic gameplay remains the same as always: guide those mindless critters from entrance to exit without letting too many of them die. With over a 150 new stages and a level editor, though, this is arguably one of the most polished and complete versions of Lemmings made so far.

    20. Hammerin' Hero

    Although it dates back to the '80s, this action franchise has always been a bit obscure, perhaps because its design feels so distinctly Japanese. Like earlier entries, Hammerin' Hero is simple stuff: you play a little guy with a big temper and an even bigger hammer. Dashing through a range of 2D stages, Harry (or Gen as he's known in Japan) specializes in bashing everyone and everything into oblivion. He's a bit like Thor, but without the mullet and grandiose vocabulary.

    A simple yet hugely entertaining game, Hammerin' Hero's enlivened further by its very odd sense of humor: one boss is essentially a huge inflatable dinosaur, while the plot involves Harry rushing around Japan and solving people's problems with his hammer. Assuming you don't expect too much in the way of depth, you'll probably have a lot of fun with Hammerin' Hero.

    19. Parodius Portable

    As a venue for handheld versions of old arcade classics, the PSP was pretty much unmatched until the Nintendo Switch came along. Like the Gradius Collection before it, this release gathers together five of Konami's '80s and '90s shooters, which serve as a kind of demented spin-off from the main Gradius series. And while the games on here were ported to other consoles in the past, most of them were Japan-only releases, so Parodius Portable is a relatively affordable way of getting them all on one disc.

    The collection also contains a bonus you won't find anywhere else: a remastered version of the original MSXParodius from 1988, which cleans up the 8-bit edition's jerky scrolling. If you're a fan of the series, Parodius Portable's pretty much unmissable - as are Konami's other collections for the PSP, which focus on the Twinbee,Castlevania, and Salamander franchises. Bear in mind, though, that they're getting quite rare and expensive to pick up these days.

    18. OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

    OutRun 2and OutRun 2006 received glowing reviews on home consoles, but the handheld port may have been overlooked in the rush of other titles released at the time. Certainly, copies of the PSP edition can be picked up cheaply and readily these days, which makes it one of the system's best bargains - particularly when you consider the wealth of modes on the disc. As well as Coast 2 Coast, there's also a conversion of the arcade hit, OutRun 2 SP. Both are polished and superb-looking arcade racers that contain a wealth of unlockable cars and plenty of challenge.

    17. Bust-A-Move Deluxe

    If you've played one Bust-A-Move game, you've pretty much played them all, but the series' combination of good timing and careful aim makes it a perennially fun experience, especially on a handheld. Besides, Bust-A-Move Deluxe has some really good additional ideas that, to the best of our knowledge, weren't used before this release - our favorites are the levels where, if you don't burst the bubbles evenly on each side of the screen, the whole play area wobbles, lists to one side, and falls over. Couple this with Taito's typically loveable presentation, and you have another puzzler that's perfect for the PSP. We still don't know why it didn't keep its proper name in the west, though - for us, it'll always be called Puzzle Bobble.

    16. R-Type Tactics

    Irem ended its 2D shooting series with R-Type Final in 2003, but the property's true swansong was this curio, released five years later. R-Type Tactics (also known as R-Type Command) is a turn-based strategy game that sees you moving your earthly fighter ships into position against the Bydo Empire's army of bio-mechanical monsters. The challenge is pretty steep, making this a title for a seasoned strategy enthusiast rather than a new-comer, but the presence of all those cool ship and creature designs from the older R-Type games makes R-Type Tactics well worth getting to grips with.

    15. Ultimate Ghosts N Goblins

    Capcom's Ghosts N Goblins series reached the peak of its fame in the early '90s, so you'd be forgiven for missing out on this PSP exclusive, which is as much a sequel to the earlier games as a remake. Once again, you play the brave knight Arthur, who runs and blasts his way through a moonlit landscape of supernatural creatures. Although its action is firmly in the 2D retro mold of its predecessors, Ultimate Ghouls N Ghosts mixes 2D sprites with 3D polygon graphics, turning into a really colorful and fresh-looking run-and-gunner with some huge and imaginative area bosses. Aside from a couple of mobile titles on iOS, Ultimate Ghosts N Goblins was Capcom's last release in the long-running series, which suggests that sales had been on a downward trajectory for a while. But with the project directed by Tokuro Fujiwara, who made the original Ghosts N Goblins, at least Ultimate saw the series go out on a real high.

    14. Taito Legends Power-Up

    Yes, it's another retro collection, but it's a great one: a selection of aging hits from Taito's '70s and '80s back catalog. Admittedly, you can skip at least a couple of them (Crazy Balloon and Balloon Bomber are about as scintillating as the titles imply), but there are still some real gems on here. The NewZealand Story's an adorable run-and-gunner from Taito's silver age; Rastan Saga's one of the best unofficial Conan the Barbarian video game adaptations of its day (and there were a lot back then), while Phoenix is an addictive spin on the old Space Invaders theme. Oh, and the additional remake of Legend of Kage - a kind of proto Shinobi - is well worth a look.

    13. Metal Slug XX

    The Metal Slug series has far outlasted the original Neo Geo hardware on which it first appeared, and Metal Slug XX - a reworking of the seventh game in the series - fits nicely on the PSP. Like the previous entries, this is a military run-and-gun game with explosive action and generous helpings of black humor. In many respects, Metal Slug XX is business as usual, but visually, it arguably represents the pinnacle of what can be done with hand-drawn sprites. It's a superb-looking game and positively sparkles on the PSP's screen.

    12. Taiko no Tatsujin Portable

    This rhythm-action game, based on traditional Japanese drumming, is a national institution in the land of the rising sun, and it deserves far more attention in the west. Inevitably, this portable version does away with the drum peripherals, and so you don't get the full percussive effect of the arcade and console versions, but there's still something hugely appealing about Taiko no Tatsujin Portable; maybe it's the sense of celebration you get when you chain enough perfectly-timed button presses together and trigger a fireworks display of color and smiling cartoon characters. Or maybe it's the appeal of the soundtracks, which range from J-pop to classical etudes to anime theme tunes. Put all that together, and you have an irresistible combination.

    11. Umihara Kawase Portable

    Here's a 2D platform game with a difference. A new edition of a relatively obscure title for the Japanese Super Nintendo, Umihara Kawase has platforms, ladders, lots of hopping about - and a fishing rod. The young heroine uses her handy hook and line to move between platforms and catch the fish floating about on each level. It's a surreal yet surprisingly absorbing game, with the process of swinging and climbing between platforms and collecting fish proving oddly addictive - and the fiendish level designs add an incredibly challenging puzzle element.

    10. Lumines: Puzzle Fusion

    At first glance, Lumines might look like any other match-three puzzle game. But the difference here is its use of sound and hypnotic visuals, which turn this into a game that's as much about timing as it is about clearing blocks to score points. There's a good reason for Lumines' trippy music and visuals: it's designed by Testuya Mizuguchi, the creator of similarly ethereal classics like Rezand Child of Eden. Both this and its sequel are among the very best puzzle games available for the PSP, and best of all, they can be picked up for very little money online.

    9. Space Invaders Extreme

    You may have played this spin-off from the old arcade classic on Xbox Live Arcade or something like that, but Space Invaders Extreme arguably makes more sense on a console like the PSP. Not only does the system have the technical grunt to handle its wild dervish of graphics and techno music, but its quick-fix action also feels perfect for the handheld. Turning the old coin-op into something akin to a rhythm action game like Rez, Space Invaders Extreme is, for our money, one of the most addictive blasters ever made.

    8. Macross: Ace Frontier

    If you love Robotechor Macross, you'll feel immediately at home with this sci-fi action game. You take control of your transforming Veritech fighter and take to the skies in a pitched battle against alien invaders. The mix of aerial ship combat and ground-based hand-to-hand and shooting encounters is fairly simple, arcade-style stuff, but the ability to unlock mods for your ship adds to the replay value. It's a superb-looking game, too, with the mecha and characters from the original anime recreated in glorious 3D.

    7. Me & My Katamari

    That the PSP's lack of twin sticks might make the attempt to port Katamari to the handheld sound like a fool's errand. But while Me & My Katamari inevitably feels different from its console brethren, it still works surprisingly well, and the central premise - rolling a sticky ball around a level to collect as many objects as you can - still feels as fun as ever. Full of color and catchy music, Me & My Katamari's a quirky, addictive delight.

    6. Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?

    A spin-off from the Disgaea series, Prinny gives the brave blue penguin an adventure of his own. In essence, it's a side-scrolling platform game, but it also contains light RPG elements - making it feel like a combination of Disgaea's distinctive art style and something like Wonder Boy in Monster Land. Your mileage may vary with the English translation - namely its repetitive use of the word "dood" - but the rest of the game's packed with charm. If you like this one, the sequel, which adds the rather iffy-sounding subtitle Dawn of Operation Panties, is also worth a look.

    5. Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower

    It's a one-on-one fighting game from Capcom, which is really all you need to know about Darkstalkers Chroniclein terms of its sheer quality. Compared to some of Capcom's other games in the genre, though, DarkstalkersChronicle's a bit of an unknown quantity in the west - which is a real shame, because there are plenty of things that make this fighter stand out from the pack. For one thing, its anime-style character designs and backgrounds are imaginative and fluidly animated, while the fighting mechanics allow for plenty of strategies and winning combos. The Chaos Toweralso adds all the characters and moves from previous games in the series (known as Vampire Chronicle in Japan), making the PSP version pretty much definitive.

    4. Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure

    Yes, it's a port of a PC title, but this 3D action RPG feels right at home on the PSP. Gurumin is a cute-looking adventure about a little girl who runs and bashes her way through a fantasy world full of stumpy, adorable-looking monsters. The RPG elements - collecting new abilities, loot, and so forth - add a welcome splash of depth. Don't let the whimsical aesthetic fool you - Gurumin's from Ys developers Nihon Falcom, so there's far more breadth and challenge here than first appears.

    3. Split/Second

    Released in 2010, Split/Secondwas something of a commercial disappointment, in part because it was released at the same time as at least two other, similar arcade racers. Dig out a copy of Split/Second, though, and you'll find one of the most exhilarating and balanced racers on any console. The tracks are varied and full of thrilling set-pieces (one of the game's main mechanics involves triggering and avoiding massive explosions and other calamities), and the handling feels perfectly tuned to the PSP's controls. Like OutRun 2006, this is another one of those games you can pick up on the cheap, making it not only an underrated classic but also a real bargain to boot.

    2. Half-Minute Hero

    There are plenty of RPGs on the PSP that are perfectly suited to the hardcore fan, including some cracking Final FantasyDisgaea, and Ysentries. But what if you want an epic adventure that still feels right for short journeys? Half Minute Hero’s the perfect answer - a top-down, 16-bit RPG where, as the title implies, you have precisely 30 seconds to save the world. The missions are bite-sized, and remarkably,Half-Minute Hero manages to pack all the meat of your typical multi-hour epic into a tiny, approachable package. Even if RPGs aren’t typically your thing, this is one indie title worth tracking down.

    1. Jeanne D'Arc

    We first learned of this JRPG thanks to YouTuber Metal Jesus, so we have him to thank for bringing such an underrated game to wider attention. It’s from developer Level 5, who made, among other things, the superb Ni No Kuni and its sequel - and in many ways, this feels like a handheld dry run for those games. The fantasy story and its accompanying world are richly drawn and immersive, while the animated cutscenes give Jeanne D’Arc a big-budget, epic feel. All in all, this is a must-have edition for any PSP fan's library.

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    Fortnite's fifth season is underway, and there's plenty of new content for fans to enjoy.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 12, 2018

    Fortnite's fifth season is officially underway, and it's primed to be the game's biggest season yet. 

    Once again, Epic has made some notable changes to Fortnite's map. There's a new desert biome called Paradise Palms (which replaces Moisty Mire) that adds a little visual variety to the average match, but it's the new Lazy Links area that is capturing the most attention. As you might have guessed from the name, Lazy Links is a golf course. Actually, it's a mostly-functional golf course that can be used to play a few quick holes while you're waiting for the storm to settle. You just need to acquire the new golf ball emote, either look up to make a deep shot or look down to put when you're emoting, and you're suddenly golfing in Fortnite

    The golf-theme continues with the introduction of a new golf cart vehicle that is the game's most significant attempt at incorporating actual team vehicles yet. Four players can ride in the golf cart, and you can even use the top of the cart as a small launch pad. So far, the cart doesn't seem to be drastically altering the game's most popular strategies, but it's a fun addition to this increasingly silly game. 

    As for those strange rifts in time and space that have been appearing on Fortnite's map as of late, you can now interact with them in order to be shot high into the air. It's actually a pretty effective way to escape some tight spots and cover ground in a hurry. There's also a smattering of odd items located in strange corners of the Fortnite map that seem to have traveled to the region via these rifts. 

    Adamant Fortnite fans will be happy to hear that this update includes a variety of quality of life fixes, weapon balances, and UI improvements. For instance, you're now able to see just how many shotgun pellets have hit you and shotgun spread patterns have been tweaked to eliminate random variation. You can check out the extensive list of improvements introduced by this season five patch by taking a look at Epic's website

    Of course, this new season also means the introduction of a new battle pass that includes fresh challenges and a variety of cosmetics to chase down so that you're not the only kid on the playground wearing last season's clothes. 

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    The Culling 2 isn't shaping up to be the next battle royale hit.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 12, 2018

    The Culling 2 (the sequel to the 2016 battle royale game of the same name) is shaping up to be a stunning failure.

    Two days after the game's launch, the peak player count via Steam was a mere 13 players (it takes 50 players to fill a full match). At one point, just two people in the world were playing The Culling 2 at the same time. Mind you, the game's highest consecutive player count - which occurred just an hour after the game's release - was only 249.

    That's bad, but the real story of The Culling 2 lies in the game's Steam reviews. At present, The Culling 2 has a "Very Negative" rating on Steam with 137 of the game's 159 reviews being categorized as negative. While some players certainly cite the embarrassingly low player count as an issue, their complaints go far beyond the game's struggles to find an audience right out the gate. 

    Indeed, the majority of complaints seem to be coming from players who fondly remember The Cullingas a more melee-focused take on the battle royale genre that forced players to truly make the best of what they found on the battlefield. Rather than improve the things that made the original title unique amongst its genre, developer Xaviant has seemingly seen fit to turn the title into what is being charitably described as a poor man's PUBG. There's no shortage of players referring to the title as a cash grab. 

    While some of the game's defenders are saying that the negative reviews are coming from players who came into this sequel angry about changes made to the original Culling, footage from the title suggests that The Culling 2 suffers from some serious technical problems that are only amplified by the popular perception that PUBG is strictly better at everything this sequel is trying to accomplish. 

    To summarize, many people aren't finding good reasons to abandon the free-to-play Fortnite (which just received another major content update) for a $19.99 game that doesn't run well, has no player base to speak of, and is seemingly only liked by the "Hey, leave it alone!" crowd. 

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    The former creative director of Dead Space reveals what the team would have done with another Dead Space game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 13, 2018

    Dead Space developer Visceral was infamously shuttered by EA last year, but the people that made that studio such a notable part of modern game history are still hard at work at other studios. One of those people, former creative director of Dead Space and current creative director at Crystal Dynamics, Ben Wanat, recently spoke to Eurogamer about what the Visceral team had in mind for Dead Space 4.

    "The notion was you were trying to survive day to day against infested ships, searching for a glimmer of life, scavenging supplies to keep your own little ship going, trying to find survivors," said Wanat of the planned sequel's core concept. "The flotilla section in Dead Space 3hinted at what non-linear gameplay could be, and I would have loved to go a lot deeper into that."

    It's interesting to hear Wanat reference the flotilla section of Dead Space 3 as that area felt stylistically and narratively detached from the rest of the game. While that survival-heavy aspect of the game would have apparently hinted at the team's intentions for the planned sequel, Wanat suggests that the scope of Dead Space 4 would have been much greater than anything that Dead Space 3 featured.

    "I figured you'd start in a section of space, maybe following a trail of ship carcasses to an orbital station you think might have the parts and fuel needed to get your ship Shock-capable," said Wanat. "You'd start to form a picture of what happened in that region while fighting through scores of Necromorphs from ship to ship. And you'd learn a new, critical bit of plot info along with the means to Shock to a couple of nearby sectors."

    While Dead Space 4 would have focused more on Issac's background as a mechanic and engineer, the team also planned to incorporate more instances of having to fight Necromorphs in zero-g environments. Their belief was that the loss of gravity would have prevented players from relying on the same combat tactics.

    So why didn't this incredible idea for a sequel ever come to fruition? Apparently, the answer to that question is exactly what you think it is. 

    "As much as everyone wanted to keep making Dead Space games, the cost of development was just too high compared to how much they sold," said Wanat. "Nobody ever officially came out and said, 'there will be no more Dead Space'. But for the first time in a while, it no longer appeared on any SKU plans."

    That said, Wanat stopped short of spoiling the team's intended ending for Dead Space4 just in case EA decides to resurrect the franchise in some form. 

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    The lead designer of some of BioWare's greatest games is moving on.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 13, 2018

    James Ohlen, lead designer of Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old RepublicNeverwinter Nights, and Dragon Age: Origins, has announced his shocking departure from BioWare after 22 years with the company. 

    "After 22 years I have retired from BioWare,"said Ohlen via a post on Twitter. "I've loved my time with Anthem, Star Wars, Dragon Age and Dungeons and Dragons. But I need to take a break from the industry and work on something a little smaller and more personal."

    It turns out that Ohlen's next project is a Dungeons and Dragons sourcebook called Odyssey of the Dragonlords. According to Ohlen, this kind of project harkens back to his fondest memories at BioWare and the games he loved working on the most. 

    "The most fun I've ever had at BioWare was as the lead designer on Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 and Neverwinter Nights," said Ohlen. "I've been a D&D fanatic since I was 10 years old and I want to be a part of it again."

    As Eurogamer points out, Ohlen had previously stated that he was thrilled to be working on Anthem as the project involved him and BioWare veterans Casey Hudson, Preston Watamaniuk, Derek Watts, and Drew Karpyshyn working together again. Since then, Karpyshyn, Mike Laidlaw, and now Ohlen himself have left the company. Some will undoubtedly interpret these departures as a sign that Anthem - a game that is very different from what BioWare has worked on in the past - is perhaps less of a passion project and more of a corporate directive. 

    However, the biggest takeaway from Ohlen's statements is that he, like many BioWare fans, miss the days when the company took the D&D ruleset and crafted some of the most amazing RPG experiences that any of us will ever play. Here's hoping that Ohlen finds a way to reignite his passion once more and that he shares that work with the world. 

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    A study has found that parents just don't understand - or care - about video game ratings.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 13, 2018

    A new report from found that most parents in the UK let their kids play games meant for "mature" players

    In a survey sent out to 2,000 parents in the UK, "more than half" said that they will let their kids play a game meant for gamers 18 years or older without having played the game themselves first or without supervising their playtime. On top of that, 86% of people surveyed said they don't really pay attention to age restrictions on video games. That's compared to a reported 23% of respondents who say they don't follow film ratings and 18% of respondents who say they'd let a 10-14-year-old child watch a movie intended for 18+ audiences. 

    Here's where things get really interesting/controversial. 43% of people who participated in the survey believe that they noticed a negative change in their child's behavior after that child played a mature video game. 62% of parents have tried to take the game back because of a problem they noticed in their child that they believed was caused by the video game (with many of them reportedly failing to do so due to the child protesting) and 48% of those surveyed fear that their child is addicted to video games. 

    That last statistic will no doubt cause some of you to remember the recent controversy that followed the World Health Organization's latest attempt to define gaming addiction as a disorder

    That stat aside, there's quite a lot of interesting data to take away from this survey. Previous reports have indicated that parents don't pay attention to/know about video game ratings, so it's not too surprising to see that hasn't really changed.  What's a little more interesting to see is that these same parents seemingly pay quite a bit of attention to film ratings. The obvious takeaway here is that these parents grew up with films and ratings but not with various ratings for video games. 

    We're willing to bet that many of the people reading this article have played a game intended for a much older audience. That being the case, do you feel that such experiences can negatively impact a child's development or perception? 

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    The infamously clumsy xenomorphs in Aliens: Colonial Marines may have been caused by a coding typo.

    News Ryan Lambie
    Jul 16, 2018

    When Aliens: Colonial Marines came out in 2013 after a hideously long production, it generally provoked shudders of laughter rather than fear. Intended as a direct sequel to James Cameron's classic Aliens, Colonial Marinesat least looked the part in still photographs - but as critics and players quickly noted, the shooting action was full of glitches and bugs.

    Memes and gifs featuring the xenomorphs' less-than-threatening behavior quickly circulated, and Colonial Marines was left to shuffle off awkwardly into the mists of history.

    More recently, however, there have been attempts to overhaul Colonial Marines, with modders improving its character movements and refining its graphics. In 2016, for example, we covered the work of TemplarGFX, who was working on an extensive mod that fixed the game's particle effects, lighting, and AI. 

    Taking up the baton, another Moddb user, JamesDickinson963, started combing through the original code that shipped with the game five years ago. In one config file, he found the following: 

    ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

    As you can see, the second line has a spelling error in it: "Teather" should be spelled "Tether" as in the line above. 

    Intrigued, Dickinson963 fixed the typo and fired up the game to see whether it had any effect. One lonely typo couldn't derail an entire game - could it?

    As it turns out, the answer's yes: according to him, the AttachPawnToTether bit of the code is pretty key to how the xenomorphs behave: when it's spelled correctly, they'll hunt and attack the player more aggressively. In the original game, they were more prone to walking in circles, bumping into things, or running away from players completely.

    This discovery was made several months ago, but wasn't brought to wider attention until it was spotted by a user on Resetera. Since then, PC Gamer has gone back to its Windows edition of Colonial Marines to run its own tests.

    Sure enough, the "Teather" typo's in there, and fixing it really does appear to make the aliens more smart and aggressive. So there we have it: Colonial Marines may have been a disappointment when it came out, but as many of us suspected, there was a far better game in there somewhere, struggling to emerge.

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    This deep Fallout 4 mod forces you to navigate the frozen wasteland.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 16, 2018

    The most ambitious Fallout 4 mod yet will allow you to explore a frozen corner of the apocalypse. Here's a new preview video for Northern Springs:

    Created by Jshrapnelc, and available now on Nexus Mods, Northern Springs adds a new area to Fallout 4 that described as being larger than the areas added by Fallout 4's Far Harbor and Nuka World DLC releases. You can't access the new area until you've accepted a quest in the game's Commonwealth area, but once you're there, you can expect to encounter a variety of new content. 

    Said content includes more than 50 new map marker locations to discover, new weapons and armor, four new followers, and a variety of full quest lines and mini-missions to complete as part of the mod's story. If you happened to enjoy the settlement building from Fallout 4, you'll be happy to know that you can build settlements in this mode across three different locations. You can also just choose to complete one of four jobs (Cage Fighter, Deathclaw Hunter, Book Collector, or Bounty Hunter) if you're looking to earn some extra caps. 

    Just be warned that this mod is only intended for veteran players. In fact, the mod's creator doesn't really recommend that you attempt to play it until you've reached level 40 in the base game. It seems that Northern Springs plays host to some vicious new creatures as well as amplified takes on previous enemies. 

    The mod's creator notes that it took over two years to make this mod, which really isn't a surprise when you consider the scope of the new world as well as the fact that it features an original soundtrack and full voice acting. To be honest, it's the kind of add-on that many Fallout 4 fans were hoping to see Bethesda add to the game after its release. With the possible exception of Far Harbor, though, Bethesda opted for more specialized pieces of DLC content. 

    Just be warned that this mod is in beta. In other words, you might encounter an unusual number of bugs (even in terms of Fallout games). The mod's creator has also promised to fix issues with the game, as well as add new content, in the coming weeks and months. 

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    The ultimate case of Uncharted dream casting has been fulfilled in this short film

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 16, 2018

    If you've ever doubted that Nathan Fillion was born to play Nathan Drake, then just take a look at this short film that Fillion starred in that sees him play the legendary Uncharted protagonist. 

    First off... we have to thank Allan Ungar for putting this film together. It's not every day that a bonafide piece of dream casting comes to life in such a professional-looking manner. Indeed, this Uncharted short film is remarkably well-produced and creatively fully-realized for a project that is pretty far removed from the studio system. 

    However, the real star of this show is Nathan Fillion. Many have long speculated that Fillion would be the perfect person to play one of gaming's greatest adventurers. One member of the said many includes Fillion himself who once started a grassroots online campaign intended to alert studios to the fact that he was born to play this part. Some have even speculated that Drake might have been partially based on some of Fillion's performances (most notably in Firefly/Serenity). 

    While we completely understand why Tom Holland was chosen to play a young drake in the "official" upcoming Uncharted film, Fillion's performance in this short really tells you all you need to know about why so many Uncharted fans have been championing him for so long. Fillion's quips, build, and general mannerisms represent everything that makes the Drake character so much fun. Remarkably, though, his performance feels genuine even though he is playing an intentionally over-the-top character. 

    All that being said, we'd be perfectly happy to see Fillion and Ungar team-up again to turn this short film into a full-length feature. Granted, a snapshot isn't a motion picture, but there's enough promise in this preview to suggest that the two could pull of some real movie magic if given the opportunity to do so. 

    Will that ever happen? It certainly wouldn't be the first time that a director of an "online video" has gone on to work on a bigger project using the same subject matter, but the question is whether or not there will ever be another Uncharted movie featuring an older Nathan Drake. If so, then it's blindingly obvious who should play Drake. 

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    Yet another attempt to remake PT has been shut down by Konami.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 16, 2018

    Konami has shut down a 17-year-old fan's attempt to remake the classic horror experiment, P.T. 

    A young developer named Qimsar has been trying to remake P.T. in the Unreal Engine as his first development project. In a Reddit post made in January, he noted that "Many others have begun trying to make their own ports, but as far as I can tell, I'm the only person who is still working on it, and I'm the only one who will finish."

    While Qimsar has made some amazing progress on the game since then (he even released a playable early build of the concept just a few days ago) his progress and enthusiasm hit a major wall when Qimsar received a message from a Konami representative who informed him that the project was going to have to be taken down. 

    "He essentially told me that he was very sorry for being the bearer of bad news, but I would have to take down my remake," said Qimsar in a blog post. "I was told that he and many other people at Konami saw and really liked my remake, but legit due to legal issues that were out of his or anybody else's control really, he had to ask me to take down my remake."

    Qimsar seemingly holds no ill-will towards Konami over their decision to remove the project (he even talked about maybe participating in an internship at the studio), but he does state that he may still finish the project privately "just to show it to my dad to make him extra proud."

    For those who are unfamiliar with P.T., we recommend you check out our retrospective of the horror phenomenon. However, the short story is that Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro collaborated on P.T. and released it as a barely-announced demo on the PlayStation Store. As word of the game's incredible frights began to spread, players also discovered that the demo was meant as a preview to a Silent Hillsgame that Kojima was reportedly working on at the time. Konami removed the demo around the time that Kojima departed the studio. 

    However, information such as this story suggests that the legal rights for P.T. are more complicated than Konami just letting it exist. What complications may exist that prevent them from doing so have been a source of great debate. 

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    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 beta dates have been announced! Here's when you get your hands on the multiplayer and Blackout battle royale mode.

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jul 16, 2018

    Activision has confirmed that the next Call of Duty game will be Black Ops 4. The publisher has promised to reveal more information about the game on May 17 during a live stream event. What we do know is that veteran CoD studio Treyarch is developing the game.

    Some reports suggest that Treyarch is even working on a Switch version of Black Ops 4. Whether or not that version of the game will launch alongside the other versions of Black Ops 4 has not been confirmed at this time. There are also reports that Black Ops 4 might be available via 

    It makes sense that the next Call of Duty title would be Black Ops 4 considering the previous release schedule of recent Call of Duty games. Recently, Black Ops games have arrived on a three-year release schedule and it has been three years since the last Black Ops title. Furthermore, the Black Ops games have historically sold quite well in comparison to even the "main" games in the Call of Duty franchise.

    What is somewhat surprising is the rumored notion that Black Ops 4's setting may be impacted by the negative reception to recent Call of Duty titles. Historically, the Black Ops games have kind of marched to their own beat. As such, it's admittedly odd to consider that the next installment in the franchise may adopt a more crowd-pleasing setting and tone. Of course, we have no doubt that some of the trademark weirdness of Black Ops series will live on regardless of the era this game happens to take place in. 

    Here's what else we know about the game:

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Beta

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is on the way, but before the full game arrives in October, Treyarch is going to host a few beta sessions to test out the PvP multiplayer as well as the new battle royale mode, Blackout. Here are the dates:

    If you pre-order the PS4 version of the game, you'll be able to jump into the PvP multiplayer beta on Aug. 3 at 1 pm ET. This is a timed PS4 exclusive beta. Xbox One and PC owners can play the beta on Aug. 10 at 1 pm ET. Six maps will be playable in Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, and Control modes.

    The Blackout beta will take place sometime in September. This beta will be available to those who pre-ordered the PS4 version of the game first. 

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Trailer

    The first multiplayer trailer has arrived and it showcases all the explosive online combat action you should expect in this new installment. Check it out below:

    You can watch the very first teaser trailer below:

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Release Date

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will arrive on Oct. 12, 2018. It's coming to PS4, XBO, and PC.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Campaign

    During the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reveal stream, the developers confirmed that Black Ops 4 will not feature a traditional campaign. However, it will feature extensive zombie mode options - including the ability to play zombie mode with bots - and there were hints that the multiplayer mode's various operatives will be playable in short single-player modes that will allow you to learn their abilities.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Battle Royale

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will feature a battle royale mode called Blackout. You can read much more about this new mode here.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombie Mode

    Black Ops 4's zombie mode is shaping up to be the series' largest and most impressive take on the concept yet. From time travel to custom match options, you can read about all of the mode's features here

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    Its story was billed as a true sequel to James Cameron's Aliens. Five years on, we look at where Aliens: Colonial Marines went awry...

    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Jul 17, 2018

    Back in 2011, there was every reason to look forward to Aliens: Colonial Marines. Sure, it was a licensed game, and games adapted from movies and TV shows were seldom classics, but Colonial Marines promised to be something rather different.

    First, it wasn't some hurriedly-made cash-in on a hot summer blockbuster; Colonial Marines was billed by Sega and 20th Century Fox as a belated sequel to James Cameron's 1986 film, Aliens, and its story would be regarded as official canon by Fox. Second, its development was being handled by Gearbox Software, whose Borderlandsand Brothers In Arms shooters were generally praised by critics.

    Then there was the live presentation of Aliens: Colonial Marines at 2011's E3. Presented by Gearbox head Randy Pitchford himself, his voice trembling with a note of pride, it gave the world its first glimpse of what the studio had in mind for its much-anticipated shooter set in the Alien universe.

    And what a universe it looked like. The sights, sounds and atmosphere all looked authentically like Aliens: the assault weapons wielded by the futuristic soldiers in the title. The setting, the planet LV-426, which looked just like it did in Aliens. Even before the skittering, screeching aliens leapt into view, and the shooting action finally commenced, it was enough to get the goosebumps rising on an Alien fan's skin.

    Pitchford certainly seemed to think he was on to something special.

    "I'm freaking out," Pitchford said gleefully, as the words 20th Century Fox appeared on screen, "because we're making an Aliens game [...] We're gonna become one of those Colonial Marines and go back to LV-426, investigate Hadley's Hope, board the Sulaco... we're really excited about it. We're big Aliens nerds. It's a big, exciting thing that we're really committed to, and proud to be a part of."

    To say that Aliens: Colonial Marines fell short of expectations would be an understatement. When it launched in February 2013, reviews were not only scathing, but also laced with a measure of bafflement. The game certainly looked the part at first, but there were bugs and glitches all over the place; human characters would scream things like, "They're coming outta the ceiling!" even when nothing was happening. The programming of the xenomorphs was even worse; the creatures would frequently run around in circles, get stuck in the scenery, or just run away from the player entirely.

    More strangely still, long sections of the game did away with the aliens completely, and had the player facing off against an army of identical human enemies billed as Weyland Yutani's private army. Other sections felt half-formed or incomplete; the Loader, the yellow lifting suit that Sigourney Weaver so memorably wielded in Aliens' third act, felt unpleasant to use and was abandoned almost as soon as it was introduced.

    As gifs of xenomorphs glitching through walls and comically waving their arms about began to filter around the web, it became increasingly clear that something had gone wrong behind the scenes. Not only did Colonial Marines look unfinished, but it also looked notably worse than the demo (billed as in-game footage) shown off about 18 months earlier. It certainly didn't look and feel like a game developed over the course of almost six years. So what exactly went wrong? 

    Although Sega announced Colonial Marines in late 2006, the ink was still drying on the contract between the publisher and Gearbox Software. Back then, Gearbox was in the process of making Borderlands, which came out in 2009; partly as a result of this early production on Colonial Marines appeared to be quite tentative - in 2012, Pitchford told Gamasutra  that it "began building prototypes" in 2007.

    Indeed, the entire project was almost cancelled before it had even properly begun; when Sega was hit by a financial slump in 2008, it axed a proposed Aliens RPG then in the works at developer Obsidian, and there were rumours that Colonial Marineswould also be cancelled.

    Sega soon refuted those rumours - the game was instead postponed from its original 2009 release but behind the scenes, it appears that something else was happening. According to Kotaku's sources, Gearbox made a major decision in 2009: it outsourced work on Colonial Marines to an external developer, TimeGate. This way, the sources claimed, Gearbox could concentrate on making a sequel to its then-new hit, Borderlands.

    TimeGate had form in the first-person shooter genre, having worked on expansions for the F.E.A.R. franchise and striking out with its own, original FPS, Section 8, in 2009. Gearbox had, it seemed, developed assets for Colonial Marines by the time TimeGate got to work on it in late 2010 or early 2011; there was clearly a commitment to making the game design match the 1986 movie, since Gearbox had hired futurist designer Syd Mead to help develop additional set designs for the game. 

    When TimeGate started working on what was then codenamed Pecan, however, it seems that Gearbox hadn't expended a great deal of time on the engine itself. This was somewhat worrying, given that Gearbox had announced a release date of spring 2012. TimeGate had approximately one year to get the shooter into a playable state.

    So while TimeGate worked on the single-player campaign, Bearbox was working on the multiplayer element, while another external studio, Demiurge, was given the task of working on both DLC and a port for the then-popular Nintendo Wii (the Wii edition would later be axed). According to more than one outlet with inside knowledge of the situation, though, the production of Colonial Marines remained rocky - Pitchford later admitted, in an interview with IGN, that making the Aliens game was "a slog." 

    According to Kotaku's sources, the script was still being written and rewritten even as levels were being coded and designed. As a result, a number of missions were planned out, constructed and then promptly scrapped - including an escort mission with a scientist who turns out to be a mole working for Weyland Yutani.

    On Reddit, a poster claiming to have worked on Colonial Marines during this period backed up this story. Writing in 2013, the anonymous poster described a game in a "pretty horrid state." 

    "[The] campaign didn't make much sense, the boss fights weren't implemented, PS3 was way over memory [...] campaign maps were completely redesigned from scratch."

    To add to the pressure, the relations between Sega and Gearbox appeared to be fraying. Sega had become frustrated by the game's repeated delays, and were also making changes to the story  - including the addition of a female Colonial Marine character akin to Vasquez from Aliens. (Sega reportedly also insisted on adding the armies of white-clad human soldiers.) 

    With a further delay pushing Colonial Marines' release from the spring of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013, the game's makers were beginning to run out of time. Gearbox reportedly took Colonial Marines back in-house in 2012, and while it wasn't happy with what had been made up to that point, it was committed to getting the game completed by the following year.

    As one Kotaku source put it, "The game feels like it was made in nine months and that's because it was."

    Gearbox then reportedly doing the best it could to get Colonial Marines up to scratch.

    "Considering that Sega was pretty close to taking legal action against [Gearbox], asking for an extension wasn't an option, and so Pecan crash-landed through certification and shipping," the Reddit poster continued. "Features that were planned were oversimplified, or shoved in (a good example of this are challenges, which are in an incredibly illogical order). Issues that didn't cause 100% blockers were generally ignored, with the exception of absolutely horrible problems. This isn't because GBX didn't care, mind you. At a certain point, they couldn't risk changing anything that might cause them to fail certification or break some other system. And so, the product you see is what you get." 

    Evidence of Colonial Marines' rushed path to release can still be found in its code. As was verified in July 2018, a single typo in the xenomorphs' coding was at least partly responsible for some of their glitchy, comical movements. In this line of code, the word "Tether" is misspelled:

    ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

    Correcting the spelling mistake results in a marked improvement in the aliens' movements. It's a lasting sign of how fraught those final months before release might have been.

    As for the way Colonial Marines looked - well, the E3 demo was created to run on a top-end PC. And with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 unable to display the same fire and particle effects with the fidelity of a cutting-edge gaming PC, it was inevitable that the console editions had to receive something of a visual downgrade. All the same, the glaring disparity between all versions and the demo was pretty marked, and was, it seems, another symptom of a project in crisis - there simply wasn't time to refine everything before launch. 

    When Colonial Marines appeared in 2013, the game quickly became infamous. Stories of the game's development soon emerged, though Pickford resolutely stuck by what his studio had handed over. According to Pickford, TimeGate had worked on "probably about 20 or 25 percent of the total time", but at least admitted that "if you take [Gearbox's] preproduction out of it, their effort's probably equivalent to ours."

    Whatever the percentages were, the fact remained that Colonial Marines' launch was an ugly one. Aggregate scores were low (Pickford maintains that it's still a "seven out of 10"). An ultimately fruitless class action lawsuit was filed against Sega and Gearbox for false advertising, claiming that the demos shown off by the two companies didn't match up to the finished game.

    Worse still, the fractious relationship between Sega and Gearbox burst out into public view. In response to that lawsuit, Gearbox claimed that it had just served as a contractor, and hadn't been involved in Colonial Marines' marketing; Sega fired back that it was a joint effort, and that Pitchford had a tendency to reveal things he wasn't supposed to; a thread of emails, made public as part of the legal case, repeatedly talk about "persistent panel leaking" and information coming out when Sega wasn't expecting it to, from the involvement of actor Michael Biehn to the game's budget (circa $40 million). 

    Not long after Colonial Marines' launch, TimeGate sadly closed down. For his part, Pitchford claimed in 2015 that he lost "somewhere between $10-15 million" on Colonial Marines, though he still maintains that the game is nowhere near as bad as critics said it was. When Eurogamer asked whether Gearbox might apologize for Colonial Marines, as 343 Studios had with Halo 5 and Master Chief's absence, Pickford's response was unequivocal.

    "Apologize for what?" Pickford said. "Earlier in the conversation I said I'm sorry if you didn't like it. I want you to like it, and I failed if you didn't."

    For all the anger and recrimination buzzing around Aliens: Colonial Marines, there remains the underlying sense of a missed opportunity. The game may have been bug-ridden and messy, but there were slivers of something better struggling to emerge;  the background designs, music and sound effects all looked and sounded the part. Colonial Marines, for all its faults, clearly isn't just another terrible game.

    Had Colonial Marines been handled differently, it's just possible that the game could have emerged not as a jerky disappointment, but as the love-letter to Cameron's classic film that fans were roundly hoping for.

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    Nathan Fillion's Cayde-6 will not return to Destiny 2.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 17, 2018

    In case it was heartbreaking enough that Nathan Fillion's Cayde-6 is going to die in Destiny 2's Forsaken DLC, it seems that Fillion will not reprise his role for the character's final appearance. 

    Fillion informed Kotaku that he was unavailable to voice the character at the time that Bungie needed to record Cayde-6's final lines. Instead, Cayde-6 will be voiced by Nolan North (who also voices Destiny's Ghost). Ironically, the world just saw a short film featuring Fillion as Nathan Drake; a character voiced by Nolan North in the Uncharted games. 

    "Unfortunately these things don't work out and it's a little bit heartbreaking but if it has to go to someone else, then thank god it goes to someone I absolutely love and the fans love," said Fillion. "The character was in good hands."

    Fillion also revealed that he was surprised Cayde-6 really is going to die in the next expansion. This makes him one of many Destiny 2 fans who hoped that Cayde-6's seeming demise in the Forsaken DLC trailer was but a flesh wound. Unfortunately, that's not the case. 

    "He's dead. His ghost is dead," said Bungie Principal Producer Scott Taylor (and confirmed heartless being) in an interview with GamesRadar. "We wanted to establish the tone of the game and show that we're serious about it. We also want people to process it. You'll play a mission with him, and you're not really sure when this is going to happen, or how, so the emotional experience of that would be very different if you just turned on the game, you saw it and it was all just a shock. It's actually a little more rich and interesting if you have time to sit with it and reflect."

    Prior to Taylor's statements, many Destiny 2 players felt that there was a good chance Cade-6's death was simply a marketing ploy. After all, the Nathan Fillion-voiced characters is one of the most beloved members of the Destiny universe. In fact, he offered a great deal of humor, personality, and character at a time when Destiny was largely devoid of such things. 

    Of course, that's precisely the reason that Bungie decided to kill him off. They feel that they needed players to truly hate the lead villains in the upcoming Forsaken DLC and that the best way to accomplish that would be to have said villains brutally murder one of Destiny's most beloved characters. It's a lot like how nobody really hated Game of Thrones' Ramsay Bolton until he killed the most beloved member of the Stark family, Rickon Stark. 

    "We built out from those early ideas about loss and revenge and a western atmosphere, lawless frontier and this horrible thing happening," said Taylor to Eurogamer. "It was always Cayde and it was always that idea."

    Bungie has also stated that they have plans for what to do about Cayde 6's missions now that he is dead, but they are not ready to reveal the details of those plans at this time.