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Top 10 UK Games Chart: World War Z Takes No.1 In Debut Week

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 21:18

PS4, Xbox One, and PC shooter World War Z has made a strong start in the UK games chart, finishing top in its debut week. Sales monitor Chart-Track says the co-op game, which is set in the same universe as the 2013 film of the same name, sold more physical copies than any other title in the UK for the week ending April 20. That's despite the PC version not even receiving a boxed edition in the UK.

Below Saber Interactive's zombie game, FIFA 19 holds its place at No.2--a position it has now held for three consecutive weeks. The Division 2, however, falls two places to No.3 this week.

Two other new games enter the chart this week: Snooker 19 debuts at No.9, while My Time at Portia finishes at No.27. You can read more about the latter in our My Time at Portia review, in which Ginny Woo awarded the management sim a 6/10.

World War Z, meanwhile, has sold well since launching on April 16, with more than 1 million copies shifted worldwide already. Our review for the game is currently in the works; for now, check out the launch trailer above or 90 minutes of World War Z gameplay.

You can read the full top 10 sales chart for this week below, courtesy of UKIE and GfK Chart-Track. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.

  1. World War Z
  2. FIFA 19
  3. The Division 2
  4. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  5. Red Dead Redemption 2
  6. Assassin's Creed Odyssey
  7. Yoshi's Crafted World
  8. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  9. Snooker 19
  10. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Switch Outsells PS4 And Xbox One In March; Top 10 Best-Selling Games Revealed (US)

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 15:45

How did the US video game industry fare in March 2019? The NPD Group has released its report for the month, shining a light on the best-performing consoles and games in March.

Starting with games, The Division 2 was the top-selling game of the month, and it becomes the second best-selling title of 2019, only behind Kingdom Hearts III. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice came in at No. 2, and it is the second-highest launch-month sales for FromSoftware; it's only behind Dark Souls III.

Another highlight in March was MLB 19: The Show, which came in at No. 3. The PS4-exclusive set a new franchise record for first-month sales; it also set a new all-time record for first-month sales across the entire baseball category. Devil May Cry 5 also came out in March, and it enjoyed the second highest launch-month sales in series history; only Devil May Cry 4 outperformed it. One final highlight was that Kingdom Hearts III, which released back in January, is now the best-selling Kingdom Hearts game ever.

Overall, total game spending in March 2019 amounted to $547 million; that's down 11 percent year-over-year.

Moving to hardware, the Nintendo Switch was March 2019's best-selling console, and the first quarter of the year overall, across units sold and dollars spent. The Switch's strong performance wasn't enough to stabilise the entire hardware sector, as total hardware spending for March 2019 dropped 15 percent to $282 million.

Microsoft and Sony are working on new consoles, so it might be people are holding off their purchases for now. Retailer GameStop has said it expects new console to be announced soon. Just recently, a new report said Nintendo will release a cheaper Switch model in June.

With games, hardware, and accessories sales combined, total US industry video game spending reached $1.2 billion in March; that's down 11 percent year-over-year.

March 2019 US SalesTop 20 Games All Platforms
  1. The Division 2^
  2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice^
  3. MLB 19: The Show
  4. Devil May Cry 5
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  6. Red Dead Redemption II
  7. NBA 2K19
  8. GTA V
  9. Yoshi's Crafted World*
  10. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4^
  11. Anthem^
  12. Mario Kart 8*
  13. Jump Force
  14. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
  15. Far Cry New Dawn
  16. Minecraft#
  17. Battlefield V^
  18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  19. Borderlands
  20. Assassin's Creed : Odyssey
2019 Year-To-Date Top 10 Games
  1. Kingdom Hearts III
  2. The Division 2^
  3. Anthem^
  4. Resident evil 2
  5. Red Dead Redemption II
  6. Jump Force
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate8
  8. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice^
  9. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4^
  10. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
All Platforms 12 Months Ending March 2019
  1. Red Dead Redemption II
  2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4^
  3. NBA 2K19
  4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  5. Madden NFL 19^
  6. Spider-Man
  7. God of War
  8. Assassin's Creed Odyssey
  9. FIFA 19^
  10. Mario Kart 8*
March 2019 Xbox One
  1. The Division 2
  2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  3. Devil May Cry 5
  4. Anthem
  5. Red Dead Redemption II
  6. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  7. NBA 2K19
  8. Battlefield V
  9. Far Cry New Dawn
March 2019 PS4
  1. The Division 2
  2. MLB 19: The Show
  3. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  4. Devil May Cry 5
  5. Red Dead Redemption II
  6. NBA 2K19
  7. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  8. Jump Force
  9. Spider-Man
  10. GTA V
March 2019 Nintendo Switch
  1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*
  2. Yoshi's Crafted World*
  3. Mario Kart 8*
  4. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  6. Super Mario Party*
  7. Super Mario Odyssey*
  8. Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu*
  9. Pokemon: Let's Go Eevee*
  10. Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
March 2019 3DS
  1. Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn*
  2. Pokemon: Ultra Sun*
  3. Pokemon: Ultra Moon*
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Marjora's Mask 3D*
  5. Super Mario Maker*
  6. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey*
  7. Super Smash Bros.*
  8. Mario Kart 7*
  9. Super Mario 3D Land*
  10. Luigi's Mansion*

* Digital sales not included

^ PC digital sales not included

# Minecraft digital sales on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One included

Anthem Delays A Lot Of Anticipated Content

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 15:25

Anthem developer BioWare has announced some changes to the game's extra-content release schedule. Writing on Reddit, the developer announced seven planned releases have been delayed, including the major Cataclysm event.

"It's been 10 weeks since the early access release of Anthem. While we have been quiet publicly, we have been hard at work in the background and we wanted to provide an update on the state of the game," BioWare said. "We have learned a lot since the game went live. We have heard a lot of feedback from all of you, and we have been working diligently to improve as many things as we can in the short term."

BioWare has supported Anthem with bug fixes and additional changes (including the new 1.1.0 update that's out now) that help "point us in the right direction for the future." However, BioWare acknowledged that it still has "a long way to go before Anthem becomes the game we all want it to be."

Looking ahead, BioWare said it plans to prioritise fixing bugs and improving the overall stability of Anthem. "The reality is there are more things to fix and improve than we planned for. While this is the best thing to do for the game, it means some items from the calendar will be delayed," BioWare said.

The following Anthem features have been delayed:

  • Mastery System
  • Guilds
  • Legendary Missions – Phase II
  • Weekly Stronghold Challenge
  • Leaderboards
  • Some Freeplay Events
  • Cataclysm

For now, BioWare is keeping quiet on these delayed features, but new information should come in due time. "We want to make sure everything we add to the game has a purpose and fits with our long term goals. When we have information to share on the items above, we will do so," BioWare said.

The studio did, however, address some part of it. For example, the Cataclysm event is a "big focus," and BioWare said it sees it as an "important addition to the game."

"The Cataclysm will bring new challenges and rewards and pushes the story of Anthem forward. As our work continues, we will share more with you in May," it said.

BioWare also said it's aware of the concerns some have about end-game loot. "We agree that our loot and progression systems need to be improved and we are working towards this. When we have more information to share, we will," BioWare said.

Also in the post, BioWare admitted that it hasn't done the best job at communicating with fans. Going forward, BioWare said it plans to stay quiet for longer.

"A lesson we have learned is we have been talking about things too early. There are so many factors that can cause us to pivot on our plans--whether it’s bugs & stability issues, player feedback, or complications with a feature that require us to take more time to deliver it," it said. "Our goal is to tell you about new content and features once the work is closer to being done."

While that is true, BioWare is also hoping to communicate better with players earlier, too, through a test server on PC. BioWare will launch a Player Feedback Environment (PFE) where players can check out new content before it's released publicly to share feedback with BioWare.

In closing, BioWare said Anthem faces an long, uphill battle to get where it needs to be.

"We believe in Anthem. We believe the game will be great, but we recognize getting there will take a lot of hard work," the developer said. "We want to do that work and we want you all to join us on the journey to get there."

Anthem launched in February behind mixed reviews. Despite that, it had a strong first month of sales, in the United States at least.

Cheaper Nintendo Switch Model Coming In June, Report Says

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 15:09

A new, cheaper version of the Nintendo Switch will launch "by the end of June," according to a source speaking to Bloomberg. This is at least the second time this year that we've heard reports about a less expensive Switch model, as The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Nintendo would release a pared-down, less expensive Switch system in 2019.

That report also mentioned a second new Switch model, one that has "enhanced" features that is targeted at "avid" gamers. However, the specs won't match PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, the report said. Bloomberg's sources, meanwhile, suggest that the current Switch model will get a "modest upgrade" in 2019. However, it's unclear what the upgrade will entail. Whatever the case, Bloomberg reported that the more powerful Switch system "is not in the works."

The Wall Street Journal's report suggested that the new, less expensive Switch would cut features like controller vibration to save on costs. Bloomberg's story had no details on that.

It could be a big week for Nintendo news, as the company is holding its next earnings report on April 25. It could be here that Nintendo confirms it's working on new consoles. That also might not happen. We'll have to wait a few days to find out for sure.

Another big news story surrounding Nintendo currently are the rumors and reports about the company launching the Switch in China with the help of Tencent. Nintendo might share more details about this during its earnings report this week.

The new Switch consoles are rumoured to be announced at E3 and then released relatively soon thereafter. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

It would be no surprise at all to see the Switch get a hardware revision. Historically, Nintendo--along with Microsoft and Sony--have released hardware revisions over time.

Tolkien's Estate Says It Wasn't Involved With And Doesn't Approve Of New Movie About Lord Of The Rings Author

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:44

The Tolkien Estate, which manages the Lord of the Rings author's works, has come out with a statement that seeks to distance itself from Fox's new movie starring Nicholas Hoult. The estate released a statement this week where it said it does not "endorse it or its content in any way," according to The Guardian.

The estate further noted that it "wish[es] to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise, or participate in the making of this film," adding that "they do not endorse it or its content in any way."

A representative for the estate told The Guardian that issuing this statement is not the first step in pursuing legal action, but instead to let viewers know what the estate's position is.

The new movie, which is called Tolkien, tells the story of the author's upbringing, including his time at school, his bond with Edith Bratt, and his time serving in World War I as a backdrop to how these experiences shaped his acclaimed fantasy novels.

Here is the full statement, as obtained by io9.

"The family of JRR Tolkien and the Tolkien Estate are aware of the Fox Searchlight motion picture entitled Tolkien that is due for release in May 2019. The family and the Estate wish to make clear that they did not approve of, authorise, or participate in the making of this film. They do not endorse it or its content in any way."

Tolkien's son, Christopher Tolkien, told French newspaper Le Monde in 2012 that "the commercialisation [of Tolkien's work] has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing."

The estate has been involved in various lawsuits over the years related to Lord of the Rings properties, leading some to believe no more officially endorsed films or shows based on Tolkien or his creations would happen. But in 2018, Amazon and the Tolkien estate announced an agreement to make a Lord of the Rings TV show. Amazon reportedly paid $250 million for the rights alone to do so.

Tolkien hits theatres on May 10. It's directed by Dome Karukoski (Heart of Finland), based on script from David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford.

Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men series) plays the adult Tolkien, while Lily Collins (To The Bone, Stuck In Love) plays Tolkien's wife, Edith Bratt.

Middle-earth Enterprises, which is the rights-owner of Tolkien's work, continues to reach new deals. Just this year, it was announced that Daedalic Entertainment is making a Lord of the Rings game about Gollum. Additionally, Electronic Arts remains a Lord of the Rings licensee, as does WB Games and Lord of the Rings Online developer Standing Stone Games.

Avengers: Endgame Review Roundup -- Here's What The Critics Are Saying

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:16

Marvel's hugely anticipated superhero film Avengers: Endgame is finally in theaters (at least in some parts of the world), and as such, reviews have started to show up online.

You can see a rundown of Avengers: Endgame review excerpts below, while more information on the film's critical reception can be found on GameSpot sister site Metacritic. In addition to GameSpot, the excerpts include those from our sister sites CNET and ComicBook.

Endgame is a direct sequel to last year's Infinity War, which ended in dramatic fashion with the evil Thanos wiping out half of the galaxy's population with the snap of his fingers. Among the dead are a number of Avengers, so fans have been eagerly waiting to see what happens next.

The movie is expected to make a lot of money during its opening weekend. In fact, some projections are saying the film will enjoy the best start in the history of cinema.

Avengers: Endgame
  • Directed By: Joe and Anthony Russo
  • Written By: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Brie Larson, Scarlett Johansson, Karen Gillan, Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Olsen,, Dave Bautista, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Chadwick Boseman, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle.
  • Runtime: 181 minutes
  • Release Date: April 26 (United States)
GameSpot

"Holy hell is it an emotional, fulfilling ride. I have no doubt we're going to spend the coming weeks picking and pulling it apart until we've over-analyzed every single aspect imaginable. But right now, in the aftermath, Avengers Endgame feels like a win. -- Michael Rougeau [Full review]

CNET

"Every single action sequence here deserves to be seen on the largest screen possible. In Infinity War, the Russos demonstrated their ability to take action from Earth to space and back, and each of Endgame's locations provides plenty of epic clashes and gorgeous vistas to relish. Even the more basic settings, like the Avengers' headquarters somewhere in upstate New York, get made over into expansive settings." -- Mike Sorrentino [Full review]

ComicBook

"The final movie in Marvel's Infinity Saga is a masterpiece. It's an absolute spectacle which needs to be watched on the biggest screen possible. It's a love letter to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, I'd argue that Avengers: Endgame is the film event of our lifetime and lives up to every bit of global hype it has garnered. It is setting a new standard and raising the bar for event films and likely will not be matched in this generation of filmmaking." -- Brandon Davis [Full review]

Slant Magazine

"Every serious narrative beat is ultimately undercut by pro-forma storytelling (the emotional beats never linger, as the characters are always race-race-racing to the next big plot point), or by faux-improvised humor, with ringmaster Tony 'Iron Man' Stark (Robert Downey Jr., so clearly ready to be done with this universe) leading the sardonic-tongued charge." -- Keith Uhlich [Full review]

The Globe And Mail

"Even if I could muster the strength to defy studio marching orders on plot details, there is no point. There is little in Endgame that is worth spoiling, given how its core is spoiled rotten to begin with." -- Barry Hertz [Full review]

Empire

"A victory lap that moonwalks through the best part of the MCU back catalogue and emphasises emotion as much as action, this is an intensely satisfying piece of blockbuster filmmaking." -- Helen O'Hara [Full review]

The Associated Press

"Generous in humor, spirit, and sentimentality, Anthony and Joe Russo's Endgame is a surprisingly full feast of blockbuster-making that, through some time-traveling magic, looks back nostalgically at Marvel’s decade of world domination. This is the Marvel machine working at high gear, in full control of its myth-making powers and uncovering more emotion in its fictional cosmos than ever before." -- Jake Coyle [Full review]

The Wrap

"Yes, there are some moments when the lengthy running time makes itself known, and yes, this is a corporate product even more so than most of the stand-alone MCU movies. But if you like what that product is about, the laughs and tears here feel genuine. The Marvel movies are by no means over, but Avengers: Endgame does offer rare moments of catharsis in an ongoing serialized saga." -- Alonso Duralde [Full review]

Avengers: Endgame--When Is It Safe To Go Pee?

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:05

Avengers: Endgame brings together story threads that have been building and developing over the last 21 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. That's a whole lot of stuff for the movie to wrap up--some 11 years' worth--and it's going to take a while (you can read our spoiler-free review to get a sense of the movie's success). Endgame clocks in at three hours long, and while it's a pretty brisk movie in terms of pacing, plenty of us will still need a bathroom break in the middle.

The trouble is finding the right time to abscond to the restroom. A lot happens in Endgame, with a great deal of setup taking place as the remaining Avengers prepare for a rematch with Thanos. Luckily, we've seen the movie and have identified a few moments where you'll suffer the least story damage if you have to get up.

Now, be warned: We don't actually recommend you head to the bathroom if you can avoid it. Endgame is super dense and there's a lot of important stuff all over the place, and you're going to miss some of it. But if you have to make a sacrifice, these are the times to do it. No spoilers!

Pee Break No. 1

Your first potential wee comes during about act 2, after the team returns to the Avengers compound. Again, we're trying to stay as vague as possible here, but when you hear the phrase "Test no. 1" with the characters preparing to do a bunch of science stuff, you're pretty safe. You'll miss a couple of fun jokes, but nothing in this moment is essential to what happens afterward.

Pee Break No. 2

Sometime later in the second act, you'll get another shot if you act quickly. This one comes when the Avengers start leaving for their "missions" that have been teased in the trailers. Watch for Nebula and co. reaching their destination in space; you'll be able to slip away during some jokey discussions that don't advance the plot beyond what you already know is happening. The same is true of Thor's arrival at his destination in the same stretch.

Pee Break No. 3

If you're really desperate, you can run for the bathroom during the final act, but this is when all the big action is starting to really pop off, as one might expect. Amidst the superhero antics, you'll get a chance when things calm down for a moment. When you see a portal open followed by a...let's say recognizable line from Captain America, you'll be able to slip away during the ensuing action scene--but only if you really, really have to go. It's a desperate time for a desperate measure.

World War Z Sells 1 Million Copies In First Week

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 09:03

The new video game World War Z is inspired in part by the 2013 Brad Pitt movie of the same name. Despite the film being about six years ago, the new game is selling very well. Developer Saber Interactive and publisher Focus Home Interactive announced today that the co-op shooter has reached more than 1 million copies sold in its first week since launching on April 16 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Saber CEO Matthew Karch said the studio is "humbled and thrilled" by the game's "immense success." He specifically called out the PC edition as doing especially well. Released as an Epic Store exclusive, the game sold 250,000 copies on PC alone and that success was due in part to the "tremendous support" Epic gave Saber, Karch said.

"Moving forward, we'll continue to expand the game and its community with new improvements, stability updates, and bonus gameplay content, beginning very soon with a special new mission for the Tokyo episode," Karch said.

World War Z runs on Saber's own "Swarm Engine," which is capable of rendering "hundreds" of zombies on screen at once. In the game you play as one of six difference classes in four-player co-op missions set in places like New York, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Tokyo. In addition to fighting against zombies, World War Z features multiplayer support for team-based PvP.

World War Z is a budget-priced game, coming in at $40 USD on PS4 and Xbox One, and $35 USD on PC. It's only available digitally.

Mortal Kombat 11 Is Already $10 Cheaper And It Released Yesterday

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:05

Mortal Kombat 11 released yesterday for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, and while standard editions for a big title like this usually sit at $60 for weeks before dropping, NetherRealm's new fighting game is already discounted at Amazon (even Anthem lasted five days before dropping in price). We initially reported yesterday that the PS4 price had dropped $5, but Amazon has since increased the discount to $10 off--and that now applies to all three console versions.

Amazon's algorithm works in mysterious ways, and it's possible the site is price-matching a random deal somewhere else on the internet, but regardless of the reason, you might as well save yourself $10 if you were planning to pick up Mortal Kombat 11 this week. If you're a Prime member, you'll get free two-day shipping on this title as usual.

BUY MORTAL KOMBAT 11 AT AMAZON FOR $10 OFF »

As a heads-up, Walmart is now offering the exact same deal; you just have to add the game to your cart first, and Walmart will ask you to enter your name and email. Once you do, the price will drop to $49.94 for standard editions of the game and $89.94 for premium editions.

BUY MORTAL KOMBAT 11 AT WALMART FOR $10 OFF »

If you regularly shop at Target, an alternative deal may be of interest to you. Right now at Target, you'll get a free $10 gift card if you buy the standard or premium edition of Mortal Kombat 11 for Xbox One, Switch, or PS4. Whether you pick up the game in-store or have it shipped to you, the gift card will ship separately. So while you can't use the gift card on this order, you'll save $10 on another purchase at Target--and the site regularly has deals on games, consoles, and accessories that are worth checking out. Plus, you'll also get free two-day shipping on orders over $35.

BUY MORTAL KOMBAT 11 AT TARGET AND GET A $10 GIFT CARD »

The game received an 8/10 in GameSpot's Mortal Kombat 11 review. "MK11 isn't just a sequel for series fans and Netherrealm devotees, it's a gateway into the realm of fighting games for anyone who has a passing interest in watching ruthless warriors beat each other silly," wrote Edmond Tran. "Streamlined mechanics keep the act of fighting furiously exciting no matter what your skill level, and comprehensive tutorials encourage you to dig into the nitty-gritty. There's a diverse roster of interesting characters and playstyles, and the story mode is an entertaining romp."

Avengers Endgame Review: A Messy, Satisfying Conclusion

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:00

The release of Avengers: Endgame is now just a day away in the United States and United Kingdom. Following its premiere in Hollywood earlier this week, the movie has arrived in Australia, with the first showings elsewhere scheduled for Thursday, April 25. Marvel's new film is potentially on track for an all-time record-breaking opening in the US, despite its long runtime. But is it any good? Read on for our review, and check out our roundup of all the Endgame trailers, posters, and details. And if you're worried about making it through the whole movie without a trip to the bathroom, we have some advice on when to pee during Endgame.

How do you wrap up a movie as big as Infinity War--hell, a franchise as expansive as the Marvel Cinematic Universe? How do you tie up the loose ends, close the time loops, and fulfill the character arcs of almost two dozen movies and over a decade of storytelling? According to co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo, they knew what they were getting themselves into with this whole thing--they wanted this ultimate conflict to be so complex and desperate that they'd be challenged to envision a way forward. And they definitely created that challenge.

The question now is whether that challenge paid off. And the answer, like the challenge itself, is complicated.

Avengers: Endgame absolutely works as a blockbuster movie experience. If you're at all invested in the plight the remaining Avengers face after the events leading up to and including Infinity War, you will feel satisfied with this movie. The much-discussed three-hour runtime is no joke, but almost every minute of it is used well, barring some extended gag scenes that probably could have been left for the Blu-ray. Endgame manages to tie the entire MCU up with a beautiful, emotional, gut-wrenching, hopeful conclusion, which is an undeniable achievement.

But it also frequently loses the thread, especially as the remaining Avengers break into distinct teams and embark on their own separate missions in an extremely complex series of plots and sub-plots to defeat Thanos once and for all. Part of the problem is that simply defeating him isn't enough--understandably, they want to undo what he did, as well. And their methods for doing so create infinite potential for plot holes, hand-waving, and rules that seem to get established in one scene and broken in the next. In other words, the Russos and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote themselves into a corner, and writing themselves out of it became maybe more complex than any movie--even one that's three hours long--could have possibly supported.

The clips that have been released leading up to Endgame's release take place almost entirely within the first few scenes of the movie. Eventually, the Avengers split and head off in very different directions, and the teams that form aren't the most obvious pairings. A huge chunk of the movie--most of the middle, in fact--feels itself like a bizarro take on the original Avengers formula, one where cosmic Marvel intercepted with Earth Marvel much earlier, where Don Cheadle and a daughter of Thanos team up and blast off into space together.

It's so fun. There are a ton of twists and turns, and at every stage Endgame will turn your expectations upside-down. Characters you thought would live will die, and characters you never expected to see again will reappear where and when you least anticipate it. This really is the movie where everything from the MCU comes together all at once--Infinity War felt stuffed to the brim at times, but it has absolutely nothing on the bursting mess that is Endgame. Even diehard MCU fans will struggle to recognize every random side character who makes a cameo, every one-liner that's actually a callback to a callback from a movie from years ago, and every other reference that seems familiar but you just can't quite place it because, come on, there are more than 20 of these movies and it's been a decade.

Infinity War was the cliffhanger of the MCU, and Endgame is its cathartic climax. There's a battle that rivals Infinity War's final clash, but with even more characters. It feels less personal as a result--there are fewer epic hero moments like Thor's grand, crackling entrance into the Wakanda battle in Infinity War, and there are characters who have led their own movies who get one or two lines in this entire thing--or none at all. It was impressive how Infinity War felt like every character got some time in the spotlight, but Endgame doesn't try to replicate that. This movie is about the core Avengers, and the background characters and supporting cast around them are just that.

Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark kicked the MCU off with the original Iron Man, and in many ways he's the main character of this movie as well. The actor has come to completely embody Iron Man, and Endgame totally does him justice. Chris Evans' Captain America is arguably just as important, and he has quite an arc in this film. I won't spoil anything about Bruce Banner except to say his situation has changed a lot since the last time we saw him, and Mark Ruffalo's performance in this movie isn't marred by any distracting floating head CG like in Infinity War's final fight. Scarlett Johansson has always brought a lot of warmth to the role of Natasha, a character who should by rights be a stone cold killer, and Black Widow is arguably the team's beating heart. And as anyone who saw the trailers anticipated, Clint undergoes a significant transformation, although honestly the movie could have spent even more time on that.

Even with all the ground Endgame has to cover, it also has time for plenty of smaller, emotional moments--arguably too many, as it's easy to view the movie with a clinical eye and imagine all the scenes here and there that could have been surgically cut to make it leaner. The events of Infinity War truly screwed the world up, and scenes like seeing Captain America leading a survivors' support group emphasize the trauma. Some of these characters have changed a lot by the time we catch up with them--you'll be surprised by Thor's arc here.

But most of all Endgame is a love letter to the entire MCU--the whole thing. It's messy and confusing, and there's going to be a lot of discussion about whether the ending even makes sense--it basically breaks the rules set up throughout the entire movie leading up to it. But holy hell is it an emotional, fulfilling ride. I have no doubt we're going to spend the coming weeks picking and pulling it apart until we've over-analyzed every single aspect imaginable. But right now, in the aftermath, Avengers Endgame feels like a win.

The GoodThe BadThe chemistry among all these charactersBreaks its own rules several timesCreative team-ups feel freshPlot winds up feeling messyMultiple genuinely surprising twistsDubious logic at multiple points, including the endingClever gags and great overall sense of humor Doesn't shy away from story's darker aspects Feels like both a love letter to and an ending for the MCU

Latest Cuphead Update Adds Secret Bosses; Here's How To Find All Three

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:59

The latest patch for Cuphead, Update 1.2, is live--adding several quality-of-life improvements to the game, such as the choice to play as either Cuphead or Mugman in the solo campaign. However, the update added something far more interesting: secret boss battles.

An exact number of secret bosses hasn't been confirmed, but YouTuber ProsafiaGaming has already found three. The first can be found in Isle One's The Root Pack, the second in Isle Two's Djimmi the Great, and the third in Isle Three's Sally Stageplay. To access each secret boss, you'll need to perform certain actions during specific moments in the aforementioned boss battles.

In The Root Pack, play as normal until the giant onion appears. Don't attack him at all and eventually he'll disappear. During the final phase of the fight with the giant carrot, an angry radish will pop up instead.

For Djimmi the Great, just battle your way through the boss any way you please until you reach the third phase (where he scans you). Transform into the smallest airplane form at the end of the third phase and instead of a normal-sized Cuppet joining the fray in the next round, a mini version will show up to do battle instead.

Sally Stageplay hides a rather morbid secret boss. During her boss battle, ignore Sally and parry the floating hearts she kisses at you. Then jump on the angel platform on your left and remain there until you hear a cracking sound. Now do the same thing but on the angel platform to the right. You'll know you've got it when the ceiling comes crashing down and kills Sally's husband to be. Continue as normal and Sally's dead husband will rise from the grave to join his beloved in battle during the second-to-last phase.

Peter Brown updated our Cuphead review to reflect the new Switch version of the game, writing, "[Cuphead is] beautiful to look at, and with a pitch-perfect soundtrack, it flawlessly captures the era its developers so clearly revere. It's also an intense action game that pulls no punches. It could benefit from a few tweaks, and two-player co-op doesn't feel like the valuable addition you might imagine, but Cuphead remains a rare, unique game that truly stands out."

You Can Get Kingdom Hearts 3 For $37 At Amazon Right Now

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 07:15

If you still haven't picked up Kingdom Hearts III, today's a good day to make the purchase, as the game is currently on sale for $37 on PS4 and just under $40 on Xbox One at Amazon. New copies of the game are still selling for $60 elsewhere, so this is a good chance to pick it up for more than $20 off. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you'll also get free two-day shipping on this one.

Buy Kingdom Hearts III for PS4 -- $36.98 »

Buy Kingdom Hearts III for Xbox One -- $39.85 »

It's been nearly three months since Kingdom Hearts III released back in January, and the game is finally getting a huge update--a series of two patches that include a higher difficulty setting known as Critical Mode. Based on previous games, we can assume the new mode will increase damage dealt and taken by enemies, among other things, but not many details have been shared. The update was announced Monday via Twitter, and the first patch containing Critical Mode was released Tuesday night.

In addition to the higher difficulty mode, the update brings quality-of-life improvements to the game, such as bumping up the number of photo slots from 100 to 200 and introducing item carryover to New Game+, among other fixes. Another improvement: When at the Moogle Shop, you'll now be able to identify which Synthesis items you've already synthesized, as they'll have a checkmark beside them. Some enemy behaviors have also been changed, but details are slim in that regard.

With the game cheaper than ever, there's no better time to hop in and see all the changes to Kingdom Hearts III. On Amazon, there's no knowing how long the game will be marked down, so act fast if you're interested in this deal.

Avengers: Endgame Has No After-Credits Scene, But There Is Something At The End

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:53

If there is one thing all Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have in common, it's that you can enjoy a little something extra after the main story is done. Every movie has a mid-credit or post-credit sequence, and many times, the films feature both of them. That all changes with Avengers: Endgame.

Don't worry, there are no Endgame spoilers here. For more on the movie, check out our Avengers: Endgame review.

Avengers: Endgame marks the 22nd movie in the MCU and the first time in the shared film universe that will not have a visual sequence tacked on to the end, teasing what's next for Marvel. However, there may be a reason to stick around as there is an audio stinger at the end, when the Marvel logo appears. The metal hitting metal sound is open to interpretation, but it's been suggested it sounds like Tony Stark forging his first Iron Man armor. So as soon as the credits begin to roll, the choice is yours. You can leave the theater or stay through the credits to hear a noise.

Endgame is the end of Phase 3 of the MCU, and as we learned last month, those 22 films will be known as The Infinity Saga. As far as recent mid-credits and post-credit sequences go, Infinity War ended with Nick Fury contacting Captain Marvel on a pager, Ant-Man and the Wasp left Scott Lang trapped in the Quantum Realm with his friends snapped to dust, and Captain Marvel showed us Carol Danvers answering the pager's call in the present, meeting the Avengers. Additionally, there were a couple of comedic post-credit moments as well.

These sequences always give the audience a hint as to what's coming next. But with Endgame being the end of the 22-film journey, there's nothing left to tease before Phase 4 begins. Check out our review of Endgame, which GameSpot's Mike Rougeau said, "Endgame is truly a love letter to the entire MCU--the whole thing." Additionally, enjoy our predictions of who will die in the video above, the latest teaser for the film, and the best ways to avoid spoilers for Endgame, which hits theaters on April 26.

Over 200 PS4 Games And DLC Are On Sale For PS Plus Members (US)

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:25

The PlayStation Store adds new PS4 game deals on a weekly basis, but this week, the best discounts are limited to PlayStation Plus members, who can get some game titles for up to 80% off until Tuesday, April 30 at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET.

The PS Plus Specials include quite a few sports titles for just $18, such as FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, NHL 19, and WWE 2K19. Madden NFL 19 is marked down even lower, to just $12. Other notable deals include Assassin's Creed Origins for $15, A Way Out for $18, Dragon Age: Inquisition's Game of the Year edition for $10, Titanfall 2's Ultimate edition for $7.49, and Warhammer: Vermintide 2 for $21. There's also a worthwhile bundle containing Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and bonus content for only $30.

PS Plus is Sony's premium subscription that grants access to online multiplayer, greater discounts, and free monthly games (check out April's free offerings here). You can pick up a one-month membership for $10, three-month for $25, and 12-month for $60, and with new deals popping up all the time, it's a worthwhile investment for PS4 owners.

Shop this week's PS Plus Specials »

See some of our picks below. The price reflected is for PS Plus members only -- you must be logged into your account to claim the discount.

For Honor's New Hero, Sakura, Looks And Sounds Like A Sekiro Boss

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:24

Ubisoft has announced a new Hero for For Honor, who is scheduled to release at the start of the game's Year 3, Season 2. For Honor's Year 3, Season 2 starts May 2 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Each season for Year 3 brings a new Hero to For Honor. Season 1 added the new Knight Hero, Vortiger. A new Samurai Hero, named Hitokiri, is coming in Season 2, with a Viking Hero scheduled for Season 3 and Wu Lin for Season 4. Hitokiri is a fearsome warrior who possesses both a male and female version. The female version, Sakura, has a new trailer, which can be watched below. She's very creepy and sounds like she'd fit a lot more as a boss in From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

"The Hitokiri are ghostly warriors who have lost all faith in humanity," Ubisoft wrote in a press release. "They wander the land clutching their Masakari, the mighty axes they used to sentence criminals, their presence on the battlefield spreading a black cloud that can terrify all enemies." Both versions of Hitokiri will be automatically unlocked for Year 3 pass owners on May 2. On May 9, Hitokiri will become available for everyone else, but you'll need to purchase them for 15,000 Steel--For Honor's in-game currency.

Like Year 3's first season, Season 2 also adds a special limited-time event to For Honor. A first look at what that event might be, as well as a few more details for Year 3, Season 2, will be announced during a For Honor Twitch livestream on April 25. The new season also contains balancing changes for Lawbringer and Raider, and adds a new map, Canopy.

In our For Honor review, Matt Espineli wrote, "After slaying countless foes, it’s clear the impact For Honor's combat has had; its fundamental tenets of discipline and restraint are bestowed upon you permanently, forever changing the way you perceive a melee-combat encounter in a game. In its highest moments, For Honor is difficult to put down. Its slow combat pace and narrative shortcomings might turn off those unwilling to take the time to dive deep into what it has to offer. However, make no mistake--those who do will be rewarded with some of the most satisfying multiplayer melee fighting conceived in recent years."

Dragon's Dogma Switch Is The Most Immersive Version Of Capcom's Cult Classic

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:08

When Dragon's Dogma first came out, many people treated it as an amalgamation of all kinds of games, ranging from Shadow of the Colossus to Dark Souls, with hints of Monster Hunter and hues of The Elder Scrolls. Despite seeming to be a mish-mash of gameplay ideas and fantasy tropes, Dragon's Dogma asserted an unwaveringly confident sense of self that people became enamored with. At the same time, some of its most ambitious efforts only proved successful at the expense of more standard details; characters were considered flat and it was plagued with technical issues.

Despite this, back in 2012, Dragon's Dogma was a game that received a great deal of praise. GameSpot gave it an 8/10 score almost seven years ago. You can read our original review here.

The Switch port for Dragon's Dogma is derived from the Dark Arisen version of the game, which has since become the standard form, and it performs spectacularly. It's a magnificent world filled with goblins and griffins, prairies and palaces. Sometimes the road dissipates into forests and over precipices, out of foliage and under edifices. At all times, it's alive, its beating heart pulsating in every creek and creeper dotted across its boundless landscape.

The controls are clean and intuitive, with combat wheels mapped to the bumpers. The left set of buttons commands ally pawns, whereas the right set triggers abilities. The game wonderfully juxtaposes real-time combat with tactical squad play, and runs smoothly throughout the entire experience. Perhaps the only issues that date the game are how stiff the characters are in certain cutscenes, and how lifeless some of the secondary voice acting is. It's a world where everything seems awry, largely thanks to its diverse well of influences, so the voice acting does have a curious way of making things seem even more obscure. However, on occasion it uproots your sense of immersion. One second you'll be traversing the wilds of the Witchwood, utterly encapsulated by the game's charm; the next, you'll remember that you're not really in Gransys, but sitting on your sofa, listening to deadpan voice acting.

Dragon's Dogma's iconic and idiosyncratic opening sequence looks better than ever on Switch. The gargantuan dragon that plucks your heart from your chest does so in vivid color, and the sharp visuals make this extraordinary episode even more enchanting. In a way, this asserts the Switch port's relevance to the contemporary circuit, as if it's immediately attempting to make a case for why it deserves another look in 2019.

Another common critique of Dragon's Dogma in the past was to do with its grey, earthy palette. Cassardis--the first town you come across on your adventures across the land of Gransys--was always considered the worst offender, its stone buildings standing amid a wish-wash of brown and green. However, as I walked the winding paths around the town's outskirts in handheld mode, I became lost in a world of wonder.

On one occasion, I was playing before bed with the lights off. As the moon rose in the game and visibility was swallowed by the encroaching night, I drew my lantern, illuminating both my room in real life and the path ahead in Dragon's Dogma. This begot a peculiar phenomenon that couldn't ever be experienced on anything other than a handheld console. There's a strange solemnity endowed in playing handheld, huddled up with the Switch close to your face, the sound turned down to conjure a quietness seamlessly locking with the surrounding atmosphere. In a way, it almost summons a sense of borrowed nostalgia for the handheld consoles of the 90s, playing with the lights out and sound off, lest you wake up your parents three hours after you feigned sleep to continue playing.

Dragon's Dogma performs brilliantly in docked mode too. Technically, it's a vast improvement from the original versions of the game, being closer to the performance of the newer, Dark Arisen re-releases. The aesthetic disparity between this version and older ones was immediately striking when it launched six years ago, and the Switch port follows suit spectacularly.

However, there's something experiential about making the most of the Switch's portable capabilities. Maybe it's because Dragon's Dogma is a slow-burner that prioritizes exploration over gratification, or maybe it's due to the intimacy created by its vivid soundscapes and arresting visuals, but it's easier to get lost in the small screen than a bigger one. When I played handheld, Dragon's Dogma received my undivided attention--in fact, it demanded it. This is the first time Capcom's iconic RPG has ever been condensed to a small screen, but it seems as if even the 2012 game was made for this exact purpose.

However, there's more to it than that. When you consider Dragon's Dogma's vast array of influences, it becomes abundantly clear that several of them haven't had the Switch treatment either. I named my main pawn Geralt, gave him white hair and yellow eyes, one of which was scarred, and had him specialize in sword fighting. However, it wasn't until I saw him tangoing around the thrusts of a cyclops that I truly noticed how well-suited this kind of immersive RPG is to a handheld console. Switch porting is a phenomenon that's still working out its own kinks, but large-scale open worlds previously considered incompatible with handheld consoles have found a welcome home on Switch, unfurling beautifully on the small screen. Games like Breath of the Wild and Skyrim already tested the Switch's mettle, and now the ability to undertake odysseys across the worlds of Gransys and The Continent whilst sat on a train is another compelling option for those looking to immerse themselves in fantasy worlds. The Switch's capacity to persuade you into utter immersion goes hand-in-hand with what fantasy is all about.

As for its mechanics, Dragon's Dogma's control mapping is refined and intuitive on the Switch. The Joy-Con layout allows for clean combinations and instinctive reactions, to the extent that action can be spontaneously taken instead of being the result of a measured calculation. You're never pulled out to consider your next move--you just know what to do. Whether you're a majestic mage or a belligerent brawler, even the most boisterous battles are uncluttered in makeup and meticulous in execution.

Dragon's Dogma's iconic pawn system functions in much the same way as it always did, which is a bit of a missed opportunity. Despite their intuitive AI in combat and world traversal, their occasionally endearing chatter is often overbearing. It's intriguing hearing your main pawn describe a nearby encampment as a "bulwark against the forces of evil" early on, but when they mention it for the tenth time in 10 minutes, Dragon's Dogma's age betrays its appearance.

Unfortunately, the weakest aspects of Dragon's Dogma are the same as they were seven years ago: its dialogue and voice acting. At times the cutscenes are at odds with how fresh the rest of the game looks, as characters make unnatural gestures that rarely match the tone of their words, and the secondary voice cast sounds dull and lifeless. It's as if someone mapped voice lines to a control pad and simply pressed the relevant buttons in sequence, without respect for intonation, emotion, or expression. Luckily, this is only the case for the minor cutscenes--the major ones look phenomenal, and the writing is at its best in these short, sporadic bursts of tension.

In 2012, Dragon's Dogma was considered an excellent game that made some questionable decisions. The Dark Arisen re-release rectified the majority of the issues the original game faced, mostly in terms of technical performance, but the Switch port continues to build on the game's legacy because of how well-suited it is to handheld experience. However, even with its revamped graphics, updated mechanics, and improved functionality, it's somehow managed to retain that same sense of weirdness that both complements it and stunts it, depending on the occasion. In the Witchwood, for instance, the sparse, disconcerting conversations affect the atmosphere in a wonderful way, playing upon the mysterious enchantments at work in this curious forest. However, in scenes with more urgency, it's difficult to take characters seriously because of the deadpan delivery of the voice acting, and even with subtitles enabled it's easy to miss what's going on. The gameplay is fantastic, but the narrative is lackluster at crucial points in the story. Despite this, Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen on Switch is a drastically improved version of a game already recognized as great, mostly thanks to the fact that you can hold the game's wonderful world right in the palms of your hands.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Patch Notes Feature Critical Mode, More Photo Slots

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:43

As reported yesterday, a new update introduces a new difficulty mode to Kingdom Hearts III. The update, a set of two patches, will also implement a host of quality-of-life additions to enhance the game's playability. They will be available later today.

Patch 1.04 will see Critical Mode--a new, higher difficulty setting--make its way to the game. In a tweet, director Tetsuya Nomura teased adjustments to the mode, saying, "We've changed things up from the previous games, so I hope you enjoy."

The second patch, 1.05, will add 100 more photo slots--upping the total to 200--and introduce item carryover (such as Keyblades) to New Game+. Both patches will implement various fixes, but there are no specific details about what these fixes are.

Additionally, certain enemies have had changes made to their behavior, but again, no specifics were mentioned. Additionally, when at the Moogle Shop, you'll be able to see which Synthesis items you've already synthesized; these will be designated by a checkmark.

The full patch notes were published by Square Enix in Japanese. You can see a translation courtesy of Kingdom Hearts Insider.

According to the official Kingdom Hearts Twitter account, at least one of the patches will be released today at 7 PM PT / 10 PM ET (3 AM BST on April 24).

New Anthem Update Allows You To Change Javelin Gear Loadout During Missions

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:19

BioWare has launched a new update for Anthem--introducing several balancing changes and features. Called Patch 1.1.0, the update adds The Sunken Cell stronghold, which becomes available once you've completed Anthem's main campaign. Many of the new features introduced in the update add long-requested features to the game, such as the ability to change Javelin gear loadout during a mission.

Patch 1.1.0 allows you to select contracts from the start of any expedition, as opposed to needing to pick contracts from their corresponding boards in Fort Tarsis. You can also now immediately launch new missions after completing an expedition instead of having to return to Fort Tarsis and climb back into your Javelin. Patch 1.1.0 allows you to access the Forge during missions, strongholds, and freeplay too, so you can experiment with new gear loadouts without needing to return to Fort Tarsis first.

Several general changes have been made to Anthem as well. A new cortex entry has been added to the game that explains exactly how combo, detonator, and primer abilities work. Three new Masterwork components have been added to the game as well--an extended sniper rifle magazine, rapid hollow point ammo for machine pistols and autocannons, and extended special arms magazines for heavy pistols and grenade launchers.

The remaining changes are bug fixes and minor changes. For example, the bug causing the Arcanist Loyalty 3 trophy to remain locked on PS4 has been resolved, as has the issue causing challenge notifications to not appear correctly. New primer and detonator icons have been added in the cortex next to gear entries as well.

The full patch notes for Anthem's latest update can be found on the game's main website. Below, we've outlined the major gameplay balance adjustments now live in Anthem. Anthem is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Anthem Patch 1.1.0 Gameplay Balancing ChangesMasterwork Weapons
  • Retaliation of Garretus - Trajector Machine Pistol
    • Increased bonus from 200% to 400%
  • Rolling Carnage - Vengeance Shotgun
    • Increased bonus from 50% stacking 3 times, to 83.33% stacking 3 times.
  • The Last Stand - Mauler Autocannon
    • Increased bonus from 200% to 225%
  • Fist of Stral - Cloudburst Autocannon
    • Increased bonus from 10% stacking 10 times, to 16% stacking 10 times.
  • Unending Battle - Fulcrum Machine Pistol
    • Increased bonus from 110% to 135%
  • Death From Above - Guardian Marksman Rifle
    • Increased bonus from 65% to 235%
  • Wyvern Blitz - Deadeye Sniper Rifle
    • Increased bonus from 40% to 185%
Masterwork Gear
  • Colossus
    • Final Judgment - HE Mortar
      • Increased bonus from 35% to 55%
    • Fist of the Crucible - Flamethrower
      • Increased bonus from 12% *10 to 24% *10
  • Interceptor
    • Serpent's Veil - Venom Bomb
      • Increased bonus from 100% to 202.5%
    • Ruthless Stalker - Searching Glaive
      • Increased bonus from 60% to 110%
    • Bitter Harvest - Cluster Mine
      • Increased bonus from 60% to 110%
  • Ranger
    • Cold Blooded - Frost Grenade
      • Increased bonus from 235% to 270%
    • Avenger's Boon - Pulse Blast
      • Increased bonus from 210 % to 220%
  • Storm
    • Ponder Infinity - Lightning Strike
      • Increased bonus from 60% to 165%
    • Chaotic Rime - Frost Shards
      • Increased bonus from 125% to 250%
Gear
  • Friendly player projectiles should now be able to pass through Javelins in your squad.
  • Colossus' Firewall Mortar should now more reliably spawn the Firewall effect when directly hitting enemies, sloped surfaces, or next to walls.
Status Effects / Combos
  • Delay between when players and creatures are frozen and when the visual effect is applied has been reduced to improve readability of the status effect.
  • If a player applies a status effect that already exists on a target, but the new status effect has a higher damage than the existing one, the damage will now scale to that higher value.
  • Players who prime targets for combos will now also see the "Combo" text when detonated by another player.
  • Increased the damage of the Electric status effect when applied to creatures.

Fortnite's Breakout Success Resulted In Heavy Dev Crunch - Report

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:04

The games industry has been grappling with crunch as companies rush to complete projects by their release date, but staff at Epic Games have reportedly complained of similar conditions due to the explosive success of Fortnite.

Polygon reports that several current and former staff members spoke under the condition of anonymity about the crunch culture at the studio. While Epic had always needed to pull long hours at some points, developers felt they knew when the periods were coming and could prepare themselves. Fortnite was different because the wild popularity of its battle royale mode was so sudden and unexpected.

The result was reportedly long work weeks, some as much as 70-100 hours, with employees complaining of stress and unhealthy behaviors. While it wasn't strictly required, they said, some employees were fired for missing deadlines after choosing not to work weekends. That helped create a culture of expectation for the long hours.

The studio was said to be impacted in other ways as well. One was a sudden influx of contract workers, who needed training to catch up with the rest of the work force. One source in customer service said the support requests went from 20-40 per day to 3,000, and so the company added 50 more contractors. The other was turnover, as some employees would quit. This period was punctuated with large bonuses, roughly three times their salary, and so some employees would stay to earn a few bonus checks before leaving.

A representative for Epic conceded many of the major points of the story to Polygon.

"People are working very hard on Fortnite and other Epic efforts," a spokesperson said. "Extreme situations such as 100-hour work weeks are incredibly rare, and in those instances, we seek to immediately remedy them to avoid recurrence."

The spokesperson also said that Fortnite "achieved a far higher level of success than we had ever anticipated" and that the team "rapidly expanded the game to grow the audience."

Epic has taken some steps to remedy the situation, including mandatory break periods twice per year. One source said younger employees are still especially vulnerable to working long weeks, as the competition for promotions is fierce. The spike in long hours was a natural outcome of Epic shifting its infrastructure to support a live global service, but now that it has gotten there the workload is still heavy. The game's seasonal nature requires Epic to put out substantial updates on a fixed schedule. One source described the current workload as "just endless."

GameSpot contacted Epic Games, which declined further comment.

Fallout 76 Update Out Now; Patch Notes Add Repair Kits, New Photo Mode

Wed, 04/24/2019 - 03:44

While Fallout 76 has gotten off to a rough start, Bethesda continues to implement bug fixes and patch updates to get the game into a more playable state. The game's latest patch update, Wild Appalachia Patch 8.5, intends to address growing pains, adds the controversial repair kits, introduces a new photo mode, and more. Here's a rundown on the highlights and the full patch notes.

The update is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. On consoles, it's approximately 2GB in size, while the PC version is a little under 1GB. The headlining feature is the addition of repair kits. These single-use items, which restore an item to 100% (Basic) or 150% (Improved) condition, have been added to the Atomic Shop and can be purchased using Atoms unlocked with either microtransactions or by completing in-game challenges.

In response to criticism, Bethesda has explained why these new items have made their way into Fallout 76. "While Repair Kits do offer a way to fix an item in the field, we feel you will find that they are a convenient option you can utilize during your adventures," the patch update reads. "If we find that Repair Kits do offer any sort of competitive advantage once they are available, we will make any changes necessary to ensure that advantage is removed."

Alongside that, the patch adds a new photo mode (along with accompanying challenges) and includes numerous bug fixes to C.A.M.P., items, quests, and more. Issues like infinite loading screens and incorrect Survival scoreboards have also been addressed. Additionally, balance tweaks have been made to what you receive when scrapping certain items, including aluminum oil cans, aluminum trays, and empty cans.

You can read the full patch notes below.

Fallout 76 Update 8.5 Patch NotesNEW FEATURE - PROSNAP DELUXE CAMERA
  • The ProSnap Deluxe is a functional in-game camera you can use to fill your Photomode Gallery with snapshots of your adventures.
  • The ProSnap Deluxe can be equipped and favorited like a weapon.
    • Use the “Aim” button to look through the Camera’s lens, and then press the “Attack” button to snap a photo.
    • You can use a Tinker’s Workbench to build a ProSnap Deluxe and apply mods, like lenses.
    • The Camera uses Film to take photos, and you can use the Tinker’s Workbench to craft additional Film.
    • When you take aim with the ProSnap Deluxe, it will also display the names of nearby locations and creatures it recognizes in the viewfinder.
  • Learn to craft a ProSnap Deluxe Camera by finding a broken one on the corpse of a tourist who met their end in the Wasteland.
    • Once you’ve acquired a Camera, you’ll begin the new “Bucket List” quest, which allows you to finish the tourist’s photography collection, if you so desire.
  • Many new Camera-related Challenges have been added to Fallout 76 that you can complete using your ProSnap Deluxe.
GeneralNEW CONSUMABLE UTILITY ITEM – REPAIR KITS

Repair Kits are new, single-use consumable items that immediately restore the Condition of an item in your inventory. They come in two forms: Basic Repair Kits and Improved Repair Kits.

BASIC REPAIR KITS
  • Each Basic Repair Kit you own can be used to restore one item in your inventory or Stash to 100% Condition.
    • Basic Repair Kits do not consume any of your crafting materials when repairing an item.
    • Additionally, they cannot be crafted, dropped, sold to vendors, or traded with other players.
  • After acquiring a Repair Kit, use it by opening your Pip-Boy, finding an item that you’d like to repair, selecting the “Inspect/Repair” option, and then choosing “Repair Kit"
    • The number of Repair Kits you own will be displayed to you on the “Repair Kit” button in the “Inspect/Repair” menu.
  • Basic Repair Kits are unlockable in the Atomic Shop using Atoms you’ve purchased or those you’ve earned by completing in-game challenges.
    • Please note: If you purchase Basic Repair Kits by entering the Atomic Shop from the game’s Main Menu, they will be added to your most recently played Character’s inventory. Prior to purchasing Repair Kits, please ensure you’ve logged into a world with the character that you’d like to receive them.
IMPROVED REPAIR KITS
  • Each Improved Repair Kit you own can be used to buff one of the items in your inventory or Stash to 150% Condition.
    • Like Basic Repair Kits, Improved Kits cannot be dropped, crafted, traded, or sold, and do not use any of your crafting materials when consumed.
  • Improved Repair Kits are not available in the Atomic Shop. They are rare items you can earn by completing in-game content.
    • They are currently dropped as loot by the Scorchbeast Queen and may be added as rewards for other types of in-game content in the future.
  • If you own both Basic and Improved Kits, you will be prompted to select which type you’d like to use when repairing an item.
Design and Balance
  • Junk: Aluminum Oil Cans now each grant 1 Aluminum when scrapped, rather than 1 Steel, and the can’s base value has been increased from 9 to 13 Caps.
  • Junk: Aluminum Trays and Empty Cans now each grant 2 Aluminum when scrapped, rather than 2 Steel, and their base values have each been increased from 1 to 10 Caps.
Sound
  • News Screen: Sound effects have been added and will play when interacting with the News Screen.
Bug FixesC.A.M.P., CRAFTING, AND WORKSHOPS
  • Blueprints: Attempting to add an object that was built on top of another object to a Blueprint, such as a chair on a foundation, no longer sometimes prevents the Blueprint from including those objects.
  • Bulb Lettering: The letter “W” now correctly lights up when powered and activated.
  • Wall Décor: The Nuke Mobile is now correctly located in the Wall Décor build menu rather than Lights.
CHALLENGES
  • General: A number of Challenges and Subchallenges have received updated descriptions to improve clarity.
  • Rad Storm Challenges: Nuke zones now count toward Rad Storm-related Challenges, such as the “Kill a Glowing Creature in a Rad Storm” Daily Challenge.
ITEMS
  • Apparel: All Fasnacht masks are now immune to Condition damage.
  • Headwear: The Baaad News Billy mask is now correctly located in the Headwear crafting menu rather than Outfits.
  • Mods: Found Mods can now be correctly applied to Power Armor and weapons.
  • Weapons: The Salvaged Assaultron Head’s crafting requirements now correctly include the Science Expert Perk rather than the Gunsmith Perk.
PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY
  • Loading: Fixed an issue that could cause players to encounter an infinite loading screen.
  • Performance: Implemented an improvement to reduce hitching while running the game client.
  • Stability: Fixed an issue that could cause the PC game client to crash after exiting to the desktop from the Main Menu.
  • Stability: Addressed an issue that could cause the game client to crash when entering the Atom purchase screen from the Atomic Shop.
QUESTS AND EVENTS
  • Encryptid: Individual Pylons during the Encryptid Event will only register one interaction at a time and only count as one of the three required Pylons.
USER INTERFACE
  • Photomode: Players who have unlocked the Looking to the Future Pose can once again select and use it in Photomode.
  • Pip-Boy: Item stats now correctly remain visible when inspecting an item in the Pip-Boy.
  • Power Armor: The Bone Raider Excavator paint preview image no longer incorrectly appears when inspecting unpainted Excavator Power Armor.
  • Repair: Item stats now remain visible after entering and exiting the Inspect/Repair menu.
  • Scoreboards: Survival Beta Scoreboard icons on the Map now correctly update to reflect new rankings after a player disconnects from a world.
  • Scoreboards: The first score type listed on the Survival Beta Scoreboard now correctly matches the Top 3 for the week.
  • Shop: Addressed an issue that could cause controls to become unresponsive upon returning to the Main Menu after exiting the Atom purchase screen.
  • Social: The Friends List once again sorts friends based on their current status: Online, Online Different World, Main Menu, Offline, Ignored, and Blocked.
  • Workshops: The Corvega Small Water Purifier variant is now correctly marked as a premium item in the Workshop build menu.

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