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New Fortnite Update Out Now To Launch Season 3; Here Are The Patch Notes

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 05:50

A major new update for Fortnite has been released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The 3.0.0 patch kicks off Season 3 for Battle Royale--which includes the release of a Battle Pass with a slate of new rewards--and makes a variety of improvements and additions to both that mode and the PvE Save the World component.

Battle Royale now runs at 60 FPS on consoles, and not just for those with a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X--this is also true of the base PS4 and Xbox One versions. This takes the place of the existing uncapped framerate mode, although developer Epic has added a 30 FPS mode as an option if you'd prefer an improvement to visual quality at the expense of framerate.

Across consoles and PC in Battle Royale and Save the World, Fortnite's building has been improved in a variety of ways; there is now an option to continuously build by holding a button, and another to have the game auto-switch between materials when you run out. Additionally, you can build right through most objects now, which should make the building process even easier. (We've got Fortnite building tips if you still need help.)

Also new in Battle Royale is the Hand Cannon. This weapon uses Heavy ammo and features Epic and Legendary versions, and it can be found in treasure chests or supply drops or as floor loot. It's one of several changes on the weapon front, as grenades lose the ability to do critical hits, an exploit involving the pump shotgun and quickly switching weapons has been removed, and drop rates for various versions of the basic pistol have been changed. Additionally, the recently added crossbow has had its Valentine's Day-themed skin removed.

With this patch kicking off Season 3 of Battle Royale, the new Battle Pass has been introduced. This is purchasable only for 950 V-Bucks, rather than directly with money, and has even more rewards tiers than previous incarnations. Epic says it should still take a similar amount of time to unlock everything--you'll just get more rewards for doing so. Among the items available are the Back Bling cosmetics.

Other small, Battle Royale-specific changes and additions include the ability to see the path of the Battle Bus on the map at the start of the round and 10 seconds of control being given to players after winning a match.

Improvements to building aren't the only things that affect both Battle Royale and Save the World. Epic has introduce a new orchestral score from Marco Beltrami (Logan) and Pinar Toprak (Krypton). This replaces the music in Save the World and plays while in the menus of Battle Royale. Additionally, optional colorblind support has been added, though Epic says it is a work-in-progress and is open to feedback from users. Other visual upgrades have also been made, including those to lighting and shadows.

On the Save the World side, the Hoverboard has been added as a new means of transport; it can be obtained through a tutorial and requires no energy to use, though it takes three seconds to summon and any damage suffered will knock you off. A new chapter of the Spring It On event is also now available, which includes new quests, activities, and the previously announced Dragon weapons.

All of this is now available in Fortnite following some earlier, unexpected downtime. You can see everything that's new in the full patch notes on Fortnite's website.

Second Pokemon Go Community Day Event Takes Place This Weekend

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 05:17

Pokemon Go's second Community Day is right around the corner. The real-world event takes place this Saturday, February 24, and will give players around the world another opportunity to earn in-game bonuses and obtain a rare Pokemon with a special move.

Unlike past real-world events for Pokemon Go, Community Day isn't localized at a specific venue; rather, the event takes place during a set window of time, which will differ depending upon your region. In the US, the Community Day kicks off at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET and runs until 2 PM PT / 5 PM ET, while Europe's event begins at 10 AM GMT and concludes at 1 PM GMT.

During the event hours, players will earn triple the normal amount of Stardust for any Pokemon they capture, while Lure Modules will last for three hours. Additionally, each Community Day features a particular rare Pokemon, which will spawn in greater numbers and is capable of learning an exclusive move that it can't normally use in Pokemon Go. This time around, the featured Pokemon is the Dragon-type Dratini.

For the duration of the Community Day, players will encounter increased swarms of Dratini. If you manage to evolve its evolution, Dragonair, into a Dragonite during the event, the Pokemon will learn the powerful Dragon-type attack Draco Meteor. This applies to any Dragonair you own, even ones that were obtained prior to this month's Community Day. However, the Pokemon will only learn Draco Meteor if it evolves during the event hours.

In addition to this month's Community Day, players still have an opportunity to capture Pokemon Go's latest Legendary Pokemon, Rayquaza. The powerful Gen 3 Dragon-type will appear in Raid Battles at Gyms until March 16. Rayquaza arrived earlier this month alongside a new batch of Gen 3 Pokemon, which also included Salamence, Metagross, and Altaria.

Fortnite: Battle Royale's Season 3 Battle Pass Now Available

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 04:14

Season 3 of Fortnite's Battle Royale mode is underway on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, which means players can now pick up a new Battle Pass. As before, the Season 3 Battle Pass can only be purchased for 950 V-Bucks and lets players unlock items the more they play the game, including a slew of new outfits, gliders, emotes, and more.

For this season, Epic has added 30 more tiers to the Battle Pass, bringing the total number of tiers to 100. Despite this sizable increase, the studio says that players will still be able to unlock everything in the same amount of time it took to complete the Season 2 Battle Pass--roughly 75-150 hours of playtime by Epic's estimates. Players can also purchase tiers using V-Bucks to unlock items faster, and those who own the Season 2 Battle Pass will unlock five free tiers as a bonus in Season 3.

The Season 3 Battle Pass includes 76 items to unlock in all. Among the new one that players can earn this season are Back Blings--customization items for your character's back. Epic has also introduced new loading screens, skydiving effects trails, pickaxes, and more.

Those who purchase the Season 3 Battle Pass will automatically gain access to a batch of free items, including the Mission Specialist Outfit. Epic is also offering a Battle Bundle, which includes the Season 3 Battle Pass and 25 tiers' worth of items, for 2,800 V-Bucks. Individual tiers, meanwhile, can be purchased for 150 V-Bucks each. You can read more about the Season 3 Battle Pass on the official Fortnite website.

Coinciding with the start of Season 3, Epic has rolled out a new update for both Battle Royale and Save the World modes. Along with the aforementioned Battle Pass, the update introduces a new weapon to Battle Royale--the Hand Cannon--as well as some gameplay tweaks, such as a 60 FPS option for consoles and a variety of building improvements.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is free to download and play on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, while the Save the World mode is currently still in paid early access. If you've yet to give the game a try, Xbox Live Gold members can purchase Fornite's various Founders Packs at a discount on the Xbox Store as part of this week's Deals with Gold.

The New Battlefield Will Be Playable At EA Play, Which Returns Before E3 This Year

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 04:00

Rather than being a part of E3 proper, Electronic Arts will once again host its own dedicated event just prior to the start of the gaming industry's major event in June. EA has confirmed the first details about EA Play 2018, including the fact that the next Battlefield will be playable there.

As you'd expect, there are virtually no details on what the game will be; EA simply says that EA Play attendees will "have a chance to play the next Battlefield experience." The publisher had previously confirmed the next entry in the series would release later this year, so we'd expect to have learned the first details by the time June rolls around. However, we've learned nothing yet about what to expect from the game, including what era it will take place in after Battlefield 1 went to World War I.

EA Play 2018 will take place in Los Angeles' Hollywood Palladium from June 9-11; E3 begins the following day, on June 12, also in LA. A press conference will take place on June 9 and will be streamed online.

Aside from Battlefield, EA teases that the upcoming slate of EA Sports games will be playable. Attendees will also "get an inside look" at BioWare's new game, Anthem, though it's unclear if it will be playable. Although EA claims it's not a delay, the publisher recently moved its release date from this year to early 2019.

Tickets to EA Play will be distributed for free, though you'll obviously need to be able to make it to LA if you secure one. You'll be able to get a ticket sometime this spring through a new system intended "to give players better hands-on access to their favorite games." Further specifics on tickets and the event's schedule will be shared in the "coming weeks."

What Is Bitcoin?

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 03:00

You might be aware that GPU prices have skyrocketed in recent months. This is due in large part to the rise of cryptocurrencies, to which there are many. Bitcoin is the first and leading one, but what is Bitcoin? We're here to demystify the topic for you. While Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are incredibly deep and complex topics, in this beginner's guide, we'll not only explain what Bitcoin is, but we'll also dive into how it's created, discuss its use-cases, clear up misconceptions, and much more. Here's everything you should know about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

What is Bitcoin? Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency. You can send and receive it to an individual via a peer-to-peer payment system anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. You can also purchase goods with it among several online sites and physical stores. Its decentralized design means that it isn't controlled by any one individual, central bank, company, or country. In short, Bitcoin is an open-source international currency without borders.

Who invented Bitcoin? Satoshi Nakamoto wrote the technical whitepaper to Bitcoin in 2008 and the first Bitcoin was produced the following year. It's unclear who Nakamoto is, however, and there are rumors that the alias may represent more than one person.

What is the blockchain? Bitcoins are produced, or "mined", by individuals with high-end computers that solve encrypted math equations over a distributed online database called the blockchain. Whenever a Bitcoin transaction takes place, that data is encrypted and sent across the network for mining computers to verify. They do so by decrypting the data. This process is known as cryptography and forms the backbone of security for Bitcoin (more on security later). Once the data has been decrypted, they are publicly stored in one megabyte blocks on the blockchain network. These blocks are formed every 10 minutes and can not be altered. New transactions are stored on subsequent blocks, which link up to the old blocks in a chronological chain. The blockchain thus acts as a public ledger of Bitcoin transaction history. Every miner keeps an up-to-date record of the blockchain and gets rewarded with a small amount of Bitcoin for doing so.

Can Bitcoin be hacked? The way the blockchain is designed prevents Bitcoins from being spent again after they've already been used. The blockchain also makes it very difficult to create new Bitcoins out of thin air. In conjunction with the cryptographic measures outlined above, the Bitcoin blockchain is based on a consensus proof-of-work model. This means that not only do mining computers have to provide answers to the aforementioned encrypted equations, but in order for data to be added to the blockchain, a majority of the mining computers on the network have to agree that the computations were correct.

To overcome this, a hacker would effectively have to hack the majority of computers on the network (to which there are hundreds across the world) at the same time while providing mathematical proof of work. This makes Bitcoin incredibly hard to hack, and is arguably the cryptocurrency's greatest asset. To date, Bitcoin has not been hacked.

Some exchanges that act as an online meeting grounds for buyers and sellers of cryptocurrency have been hacked, however. The Mt. Gox attack is the most notable one. In 2014, 850,000 Bitcoins were stolen from the Japan-based exchange. Users can mitigate their risk by taking their assets off of these exchanges and storing them in cryptocurrency wallets.

How do cryptocurrency wallets work? There are two major types of cryptocurrency wallets. Perhaps the most accessible are digital wallets that act as an online address for you to store the keys to your Bitcoins/cryptocurrencies. USB-based hardware wallets such as Trezor allow you to store your keys offline and are generally deemed more secure as a result.

One common misconception is that these wallets store your Bitcoins/cryptocurrencies, but they only store the keys (passcodes) that allow you to open up your Bitcoins on the blockchain network so you could transfer them elsewhere.

How much is Bitcoin right now? In relation to the US dollar, the current value of Bitcoin is:

Can you exchange Bitcoin back to your local fiat currency (Dollars, Pounds, Euros, etc.)? Yes. Similar to purchasing stocks from investment banks online, many cryptocurrency exchanges allow you to purchase Bitcoin for fiat and vice versa.

What determines the price of Bitcoin? Similar to stocks, the price of Bitcoin is determined by consumer trust. This is manifested by how much people are willing to invest in the currency.

Do you have to buy a whole Bitcoin? No. As a matter of fact, Bitcoins are divisible up to eight decimal places. The smallest denomination (.00000001 Bitcoin) is called a Satoshi.

How many Bitcoin are there? Currently, there are over 16.8 million Bitcoins. Nakamoto designed Bitcoin to max out at 21 million by the year 2140. Beyond then, no Bitcoins will be mined or created. The cap was implemented to prevent currency inflation. Beyond 2140, miners will reap transaction fees for maintaining the Bitcoin blockchain.

What is an altcoin? Altcoins are alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin. Like Bitcoin, most of them are designed around decentralized blockchain technologies that typically involve miners working together on a network. Currently, there are over 1,000 altcoins. Many of them are attempting to offer unique use-cases. Ethereum, for instance, has its own unique blockchain that enables "smart contracts."

Smart contracts attempt to open up new avenues for conditional automations where trust is a key variable. For instance, in a future where self-driving cars can deliver packages to your house, a smart contract coupled with the blockchain can ensure that you won't be charged until the package has arrived at your house. This is a transaction that can occur without any human interaction.

Some altcoins are tying blockchain technologies to radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags so people can scan a product with their smartphone to validate the authenticity of moving goods in markets with high amounts of counterfeiting.

One general appeal of altcoins is that they're attempting to better facilitate automation in the business world and between emerging smart devices.

Can I use my gaming PC to mine Bitcoin? You used to be able to mine Bitcoin with gaming GPUs, but Nakamoto designed Bitcoin to be harder to mine over time. This was done to mimic the scarcity and difficulty of mining gold. As such, application-specific integrated circuit chips (ASICs) were designed specifically to mine Bitcoin. You can use modern gaming graphics cards to mine altcoins, however. This is the reason why GPU prices have skyrocketed so much in recent months.

Why are GPUs used to mine cryptocurrency? Because mining cryptocurrency involves solving numerous encrypted equations, GPUs with their highly parallel architecture are inherently very efficient at powering through these computations. While the best modern consumer CPUs may have 4, 8, or even 16 cores to do the job, modern GPUs have hundreds of compute cores working in parallel, which makes them orders of magnitudes more effective.

How can I use my gaming PC to mine cryptocurrency? To mine cryptocurrency, you'll first need to set up a cryptocurrency wallet so you can deposit your earnings.

The easiest way for beginners to start mining is to join a crypto-mining marketplace. Nicehash is the largest one, and the company makes its money by taking a cut of mined coins.

How successful a PC is at mining is largely determined by the speed at which it can compute an operation in the Bitcoin code. This is known as the hash rate and is measured in megahashes per second. Since mining cryptocurrency is very GPU-intensive, it can consume a lot of power. Thus, the ideal balance is to maximize your hash rate while minimizing power consumption. Nicehash offers a benchmark that suggests what your specific PC should mine.

Many retail outlets are selling six pack of GPUs for cryptocurrency mining.

What are some of the risks to mining? Cryptocurrency mining can significantly raise your power bill and be detrimental to your hardware, since you would have to run them under heavy workloads for long periods of time. This can also cause overheating. Furthermore, while mining a particular altcoin may be profitable one day, if the coin takes a financial crash the next, you could potentially lose money. Finally, while joining a crypto-mining marketplace is the easiest way to start mining, like exchanges, these marketplaces act as centralized hubs for cryptocurrency, and are more susceptible to hacks.

What are the best GPUs to mine cryptocurrency? This will vary depending on the altcoins you want to mine, but popular GPUs for mining on Nvidia's side at the moment include the Titan X, GTX 1080 Ti, and GTX 1070. On AMD's side, current popular picks include the RX 580, RX 570, RX Vega 64, and RX Vega 56. Many miners will also set up rigs with multiple GPUs working in parallel to bolster hash rates.

Where can you spend Bitcoin? There are several companies that accept Bitcoin. Some notable ones include, Expedia, and Newegg. More can be found here.

Where can I buy Bitcoin? The most common way is to purchase them from online exchanges. Some of the most common exchanges in the US include Coinbase and GDAX.

What obstacles does Bitcoin face? While many people have turned a profit investing in Bitcoin and other altcoins, the reverse is also true. It's a highly speculative and volatile market. Regulations and tax rules are currently in a state of flux. In addition, there is concern that certain countries may ban cryptocurrencies, which could stunt growth.

Half-Life's Gordon Freeman Comes To Final Fantasy 15 PC

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 02:13

The excruciating wait for a new Half-Life game carries on with no end in sight. If all you care about is seeing protagonist Gordon Freeman in a new setting, Final Fantasy XV may be just the ticket, as Square Enix has announced a new limited-time promotion involving the upcoming PC version.

Players who purchase Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition, the RPG's PC version, through Steam by the end of April will receive the Half-Life Pack. This will be distributed through the Steam Workshop and allows you to dress up as Freeman. There are three different components to this: the HEV suit itself, Freeman's glasses, and his signature crowbar, which can be used as a weapon.

These items can be equipped in both the single-player campaign--letting you deal with the bizarre sight of seeing Final Fantasy XV star Noctis cosplaying as Gordon Freeman--or in Comrades, the game's online multiplayer mode. You can see what the latter looks like in the gallery below.

Square Enix has already released a benchmark tool to help you evaluate your PC's ability to run the game and announced the pre-order bonuses that are available. You'll be able to try out the game itself with a demo releasing for free to everyone on February 26, though the specifics of what that entails have not been shared.

Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition launches on March 6. That same day will see the release of the Royal Edition on PS4 and Xbox One.

SoulCalibur 6's Character Roster Adds Ivy and Zasalamel

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 01:52

Bandai Namco has revealed Ivy and Zasalamel will be playable characters in SoulCalibur VI and released short gameplay trailers for them both. The two characters have been in previous entries, so their returns to the new PS4, Xbox One, and PC game will certainly be welcome news to long-time fans of the weapon-based fighting series.

Ivy Valentine makes her comeback wielding the tricksy Ivy Blade, which has the ability to switch between a solid sword or a barbed whip. She's still on a quest for revenge and hopes to destroy the evil sword at the centre of the game's story.

"Ivy's father was driven mad and finally died while researching the history of Soul Edge with her mother following not long after," Bandai Namco explains in a press release. "Since then, she thirsts for revenge and wants to destroy the cursed sword that took the lives of her parents, using her alchemy skills to craft a weapon tailored to her needs. She combines Western European sword with Eastern European whip techniques, making her attacks graceful and absolutely deadly at the same time."

The gameplay trailer for her (above) shows she's still got plenty of big combo opportunities and is handy at controlling space thanks to the two forms her weapon can take. She's also got a pretty cool ethereal bow and arrow.

Zasalamel, meanwhile, made his debut in SoulCalibur III and, based on the gameplay trailer, his Kafziel scythe looks like it's still just as devastating at mid-to-close range. As with Ivy, Bandai Namco has opted to provide a brief overview of his story as a whole, instead of his motivations in the new game.

"[Zasalamel] was born into a clan called Guardians of the Spirit Sword charged with protecting the legendary swords Soul Calibur and Soul Edge. While he was exiled from the clan for breaking their sacred laws, Zasalamel nonetheless managed to discover the secret of reincarnation, making him a mighty magician and dangerous foe."

The last SoulCalibur VI characters to be revealed were Kilik, Xianghua, and Nightmare--all series veterans--and Groh, a newcomer. You can read our hands-on with SoulCalibur 6's new characters to find out what we thought of them.

Fortnite Servers Go Offline Following Season 3 Launch [Update]

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 01:48

Update: Epic has apologized for the downtime and announced that Fortnite's servers are back online. Along with that, you can now check out the new Season 3 content, including the latest Battle Pass, details of which are outlined below. The original story follows.

Following the launch of Fortnite's Season 3 update, servers for the game have been taken offline. According to the official Fortnite Twitter account, developer Epic Games is "currently investigating issues with this release" and needed to turn off servers as part of this. Since then, Epic has said it expects servers to be back at around 3 PM UK / 7 AM PST.

As part of the launch of Season 3 of Fortnite, a new Battle Pass will be available for the Battle Royale mode. This includes access to new cosmetic items such as emotes, loading screens, outfits, and Back Blings. The Season 3 Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks, which is about $10/£10. It comes with 76 items in total, provided you play enough to unlock them all.

We expect the servers to be back up in approximately 2 hours.

We'll update hourly.

— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) February 22, 2018

Alternatively, you can purchase the Battle Bundle, which has the Battle Pass and the first 25 tiers of unlocks for 2,800 V-Bucks (this currency also be acquired through normal gameplay progression). The Battle Bundle costs around $25 USD.

As you progress during the new season, you unlock reward tiers that come with even more items. There's 30 additional tiers in Season 3's Battle Pass and, according to Epic, it'll take around 75-150 hours to get through all of that.

If you're new to Fortnite: Battle Royale or are just looking for some tips, have a look at our Fortnite building guide or our discussion about what makes the mode so popular.

Bond 25: Danny Boyle Is Working On The Script With Trainspotting Writer--Report

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 01:41

Earlier this week, it was reported that the producers of the James Bond series had their sights set on Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle to helm the next 007 movie, which arrives next year. More details about Boyle's involvement have now emerged.

According to Deadline, Boyle is working on a script for Bond 25 with John Hodge, who wrote the screenplays for several of the director's movies, including Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and 2017 sequel T2 Trainspotting. Boyle had an idea for "a very specific 007 movie," and that this script is separate from the one by veteran Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

The site states that Hodge's script won't be complete for a couple of months, at which point it will be delivered to MGM. The studio will then make a decision about which script to go with; if the Hodge script is chosen, then Boyle will direct it. If not, he will step away and a new director will be hired to direct Purvis and Wade's screenplay.

Earlier this week, Christopher Nolan ruled himself out of directing the next 007 film. Despite meeting with producers last year, the Dunkirk and Dark Knight director stated: "I won't be the man. No, categorically. I think every time they hire a new director I'm rumored to be doing it. They don't particularly need me. But I've always been very inspired by the films and would love to do one someday."

Bond 25 hits theaters on November 8, 2019. After some amount of uncertainty, Daniel Craig will play Bond for the fifth time, following on from Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre.

Happy 10th Anniversary To The Biggest Games Of 2008

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 01:00

2008 was an all around stellar year for games. With exciting releases such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Fallout 3, and Grand Theft Auto IV, the year managed to check off a number of titles on fans' most anticipated list of games. However, there were others that caught people by surprise, showcasing new ways to scare, excite, and empower its players. While 2008 may not be as well regarded as the previous year, it still managed to hold its own as a standout and remarkable time for games.

GameSpot has put together a quick digest video of games--in order of their respective releases--that made 2008 a year to remember. Check out the above video to see what game has already celebrated its 10th anniversary, and which ones are still coming up. For more info on these games, check out our gallery showcasing all the key games, and along with our thoughts on each of them.

And if you want to see the standout games that celebrated their anniversary last year, be sure to check out our feature covering the biggest games that turned 10 in 2007. Also, check out our retrospective on the 20th anniversary for Xenogears, where we take a look back at one of the most captivating and intriguing JRPG titles of the original Playstation era.

Death Stranding Cast Adds The Last Of Us And Days Gone Actors

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 23:11

Prolific video game performance actor Troy Baker has joined the cast of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding, along with Emily O'Brien, another well known actor that has been featured in a number of big games.

O'Brien made the announcement on Instagram by posting a picture of herself with Baker and Norman Reedus, who has already been confirmed as one of the main characters in Death Stranding. "Honored to be working alongside these two fine lads on Hideo Kojima's new project Death Stranding," reads the caption. "I'm a lucky gal ;)"

A post shared by Emily O'Brien (@emroya) on Feb 21, 2018 at 5:25pm PST

O'Brien's recent credits include Days Gone, which is in development at Sony's Bend Studios, Arkane Studios' Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Telltale's Batman: The Enemy Within and Guardians of the Galaxy series', and World of Final Fantasy.

Baker, meanwhile, is reprising the role of Joel for Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II, and most recently voiced Talion in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Sam Drake in Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, and is Batman/Bruce Wayne in Telltale's series based on DC's Dark Knight.

As of yet there hasn't been a confirmed Death Stranding release date, but Kojima hinted that it might launch in 2018. It also stars Mads Mikkelson (Hannibal), director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) and Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead).

The last Death Stranding trailer was 8-minutes long and, although it's very exciting, creates a whole bunch of new questions, which is pretty standard for Kojima's titles. In April, Kojima spoke a little about the game, explaining why he wanted Norman Reedus to be naked in the game's first trailer. We've also since learned why its fog looks so nice.

New Super Mario Odyssey Mode Added In Free Update

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:38

Nintendo has released a free update for Super Mario Odyssey, bringing a new mini-game called "Balloon World" to the critically acclaimed Nintendo Switch title. Along with the new mode, there's also two new filters to use when taking screenshots in the Snapshot Mode.

Balloon World becomes available once the main game is completed and, to get started, players need to find Luigi in each Kingdom and talk to him. Balloon World's "Hide It" mode lets you hide balloons within stages that other players race to find. Conversely, "Find It" mode let's you track down other balloons hidden by players from across the globe.

"Whether players are hiding balloons or finding them, their Rank will go up based on their score," Nintendo explains in a press release. "While playing Balloon World, the atmosphere will change for each kingdom: for example, players will see it rain in New Donk City during the day and watch the sunset in Tostarena."

Also in the update are "a range of new outfits", including The Sunshine, Musician, and Knight Armor outfits, all of which become available in the shop after the main story is finished. The two new Snapshot filters, meanwhile, are Coin and Neon.

In GameSpot's Super Mario Odyssey review the game was awarded a 10, and GameSpot voted it the third best game of 2017. It was a great year for Nintendo overall, with Switch becoming the fastest selling console in the US, and Super Mario Odyssey taking the top slot of Amazon's best-selling games of the year.

Australians Spent $3 Billion On Video Games In 2017, Here's How That Compares To The US

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 16:14

Australians spent more than $3 billion on video game software and hardware in 2017, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) announced today. Sales from physical retailers amounted to $1.176 billion, while digital sales hit $2.054 billion. Those are increases of 11 percent and 9 percent respectively. In all, that comes to $3.23 billion for the year, which represents an increase of nine percent.

For home consoles specifically, sales jumped by 36 percent during the year. The Nintendo Switch had a "strong debut" following its launch in March, the IGEA said, while Nintendo's SNES and NES systems also "performed well." On the games side, and in a clear sign of the times, full-game digital sales jumped 17 percent compared to 2016's figures. Additionally, "digital extras," which we imagine to be things like DLC packs and microtransactions, rose by 12 percent compared to last year.

According to research company Telsyte, subscription revenue was also a bright spot, rising 14 percent, thanks in part to growth in PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live subscriptions. For digital games specifically, mobile games dominated of course, bringing in more than $1 billion in revenue in Australia during the year.

"Despite the huge amount of entertainment options available to Australians, the appetite for games shows no signs of waning, evidenced by growth across the entire industry," IGEA CEO Ron Curry said in a statement. "In 2017, we saw gamers embrace new and updated consoles. At the same time, there was lots of love shown and nostalgia for old favourites – both hardware and games. Australians enjoy buying products in-store, where they can seek out hands-on experiences and advice from retail staff, and similarly they are very comfortable downloading full games and additional content."

By comparison, US video game industry revenue came out to $36 billion in 2017. Like Australia, the US saw year-over-year increases in revenue from game and hardware sales. Australia's population is around 24 million, as compared to more than 320 million in the US.

Fortnite Servers Going Down Soon On PS4, Xbox One, And PC

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:14

Fortnite's servers will be offline for period of time tomorrow across Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, as developer Epic Games launches a new patch. The v.3.0.0 patch will be deployed at 4 AM EST on February 22, though Battle Royale's matchmaking will go down at 3:35 AM.

The patch coincides with the end of Fortnite's Season 2, which started back in December. When the servers come back online, that will kick off Season 3, and with it comes the new Battle Pass containing new items like Back Bling and more.

Patch notes for v.3.0.0 will be published tomorrow when the downtime begins. Epic's post on Reddit does not say when the servers will be back online, but we'll report back with those details as they're announced.

You may notice the countdown clock in Battle Royale currently shows that Season 2 ends at 11 AM ET on February 22, but this is an error on Epic's part. As mentioned, it's actually sooner than that.

The Season 3 Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks, which is about $10. It comes with 76 items in all; along with the 3 Back Blings, you'll also get a bunch of emoticons, banners, and other cosmetics. You can read more about what the Battle Pass comes with here. Season 2 wraps up soon, so the new Battle Pass should go on sale this week.

In other news, Epic will soon add a brand new gun, the Hand Cannon, to the game. In addition, a new patch for Fortnite launched recently on PS4, Xbox One, and PC that comes with the Impulse Grenade.

Two Batmobiles Will Soon Be Playable in Rocket League

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:03

Since its release, Rocket League has gotten several tie-in DLC packs that add various well-known vehicles, like the DeLorean from Back to the Future. Soon, another pair of iconic cars will be usable in the game: two Batmobiles.

The vehicles headline the DC Super Heroes DLC pack, which also comes with a variety of cosmetic items. You'll be able to drive the 1989 version of the Batmobile as well as the Tumbler, the tank-like vehicle from The Dark Knight. These will be the second and third Batmobiles added to the game; back in 2016, developer Psyonix also released the Batmobile from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. You can check the new ones out in action in the video below.

The DC Super Heroes DLC Pack comes to Rocket League on March 5, featuring TWO new Batmobiles! Learn more about the 20+ customization items:

— Rocket League (@RocketLeague) February 20, 2018

Alongside the Batmobiles, you'll also get access to a bunch of DC cosmetic items themed after various heroes. There'll be decals and banners for Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and several other characters. You can check out the full list below.

The DLC will run you $4, and it'll launch on March 5 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. In other news, the game is still extremely popular--back in January, it passed 40 million total players. In spite of its success, don't expect Rocket League 2 soon. Psyonix plans on continuing to support the first game with more DLC.

All Cosmetic Items

  • Aquaman--Decal (Breakout), and Player Banner
  • Batman--Decal (Paladin), and Player Banner
  • Cyborg--Decal (Roadhog), and Player Banner
  • Flash--Speed Force Boost, Wheels, Decal (Venom), and Player Banner
  • Green Arrow--Decal (Hotshot), and Player Banner
  • Green Lantern--Decal (Merc), and Player Banner
  • Superman--Decal (Octane), and Player Banner
  • Wonder Woman--Wheels, Decal (X-Devil), and Player Banner
  • DC--Player Banner

How Will Game Of Thrones End? Maisie Williams Says She Knows

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 13:28

The much-anticipated eighth and final season of HBO's Game of Thrones airs in 2019, and we're excited about it. In particular, everyone wants to know how it'll all wrap up.

Actress Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, apparently knows how it'll all go down. She appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week where she claimed to have read the script for the final episode. Kimmel jumped in to say that he's heard that to protect the secret, HBO is shooting multiple endings so that even the cast is unaware of how it ends. However, Williams sounded confident that she knows what will happen in the very last episode. And she added that she doesn't believe HBO has the budge to shoot so many different endings.

"I do--I know the end of Game of Thrones," Williams said, recalling that she read the script while in bed. "It's just surreal, to be honest; being with this show for so long and then also it having the following that it does. It's just--everyone is waiting for this moment, and then you read it, and it's just incredible."

Williams went on to suggest, with facial expressions, that the ending might on paper sound underwhelming, but when you see it, you'll understand why it's so moving. She added that her mom knows the ending, too, because she sent the scripts to her. She broke a rule in doing so, apparently, as she noted that she was told: "Don't give [the scripts] to anyone."

Indeed, HBO's security for Game of Thrones is reportedly substantial, making use of things like scripts written in code and even keeping watch for drones on outdoor sets. And regarding the multiple endings, HBO president Casey Bloys sounded pretty confident that multiple endings would be shot, though of course plans can change. "I know in Game of Thrones the ending, they're going to shoot multiple versions so that nobody really know what happens," Bloys said back in September.

Also in the interview, Williams said she still has a lot of shooting left to do on the final season. "A lot, endless amounts," she said about what's left of her shooting schedule. "It's a mammoth task this year. It's huge."

Kimmel smartly jumped in to ask if this means her character, Arya, will survive. Williams deftly danced around the question, saying, "No, not necessarily, because some of the episodes take a really long time to shoot."

Indeed, every episode in Season 8 is reportedly as long as a movie, so lengthy shoots are to be expected.

There will be six episodes in the final Game of Thrones season. We don't know their titles yet, but HBO has announced who will be directing them. The Game of Thrones franchise is expected to continue after the main show wraps up through a prequel spinoff.

In other news, Game of Thrones TV show creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are working on a new series of Star Wars movies for Disney.

How Are The Uncharted And Last Of Us Movies Coming Along?

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 12:39

Movies based on Naughty Dog's Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises are in the works, but, as is often the case in Hollywood, they aren't progressing very quickly. Naughty Dog's creative lead Neil Druckmann sat down with 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg at the D.I.C.E. Summit today in Las Vegas for a conversation about storytelling. Naturally, the question came up about how the Uncharted and Last of Us movies are coming along.

Druckmann said Naughty Dog has had "some conversations" with director Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Night at the Museum), a person who Druckmann says really "gets it" and "understands where we're at." Druckmann went on to say that Naughty Dog's feelings towards a film adaptation of Uncharted has "evolved" over years.

"We used to just be excited--oh my god, movies are looking at us! There could be an Uncharted movie on the screen, and then as more time passes on, we're not excited by a direct adaptation of the story we told, because we feel we've already told that story very well cinematically, so I don't know what else you could bring to it."

Spider-Man actor Tom Holland is confirmed to play a young Nathan Drake in the Uncharted movie. Levy's Uncharted movie will not be a direct adaptation of any of the four main Uncharted games, but instead it is expected to fill in the gaps with the younger Drake. Beyond that, however, we don't know any more plot details. One of the scripts was written by The Grey's Joe Carnahan--and Druckmann had some things to say about it.

Whatever the case, Druckmann said an Uncharted movie will feel strange to him and some fans because with different actors, it might not feel right. "For me--and I know for Naughty Dog and for a lot of our fans--Nolan North is Nathan Drake. Ashley Johnson is Ellie. Troy Baker is Joel. It would be very disorienting to see someone else in that role."

As an example, Druckmann said if they were to make a Breaking Bad movie and someone other than Bryan Cranston played Walter White, well, it just "doesn't make sense" and would "feel so wrong on so many levels."

Trachtenberg then mentioned the well-received TV show adaptation of the beloved movie Fargo as an example of how do it right. The two agreed that this is different because it has new characters instead of existing ones. "It captured the tone, it captured the world, it expanded up; I love that show. I think that's the way to do it."

Also during the talk, Druckmann spoke briefly of the Last of Us film. The script that he worked on at one point was a direct adaptation of the game--and it wasn't great. "Now, having some separation from it, I look back like--I don't want that movie to be made," he said.

The much-anticipated Last of Us sequel, The Last of Us: Part II, is currently in development for PlayStation 4. As for the Uncharted franchise, 2016's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End was the last mainline title in the series to be developed by Naughty Dog and the final one starring Nathan Drake. That being said, Uncharted 5 could be developed by another studio.

The next big video game movie is March's Tomb Raider, which stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft. You can watch the newest trailer here.

Top 20 Best-Selling Games In The US For January 2018

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:33

The NPD Group today released its report for January 2018 video game sales in the United States, covering games and hardware. In terms of game sales, Monster Hunter: World was the top-selling title of the month on the all-platforms chart. Rounding out the top five were Dragon Ball: Fighter Z, Call of Duty: WWII, PUBG, and Grand Theft Auto V.

You can see the full chart below, along with platform-specific charts for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch, along with another one for the best-selling games on a trailing 12-month period. Note that while these NPD reports now factor in some digital sales, not every publisher shares this information, as you'll see in the charts below.

Monster Hunter: World also topped the Xbox One and PS4 charts, while the game overall enjoyed the best launch month ever for the Monster Hunter series in the US. The No. 2 game, Dragon Ball: Fighter Z, had the franchise's best launch-month sales since 2002's Dragon Ball Z: Budokai.

Total video game sales in the US during January amounted to $517 million, which is up significantly (51 percent) compared to last year. In fact, January game sales were the highest since January 2011 ($549 million).

On the hardware side, spending on consoles reached $278 million for January 2018, which is an increase of an incredible 119 percent. The NPD Group said the uptick in sales was driven by the gains that Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4 posted during the month. The $278 million spend on hardware in the US during the month was the highest since January 2011 ($323 million).

All three systems "performed well," the NPD Group said. It was a tight race, as the gap between the top-selling platform (which was not disclosed) and third place was just 3 percent based on dollar sales.

Overall, covering games and hardware, total video game spending in the US for January 2018 came to $1.1 billion. That represents an impressive 59 percent surge compared to January 2017.

January 2018 Top 20 All Platforms

*Titles marked with an asterisk do not include digital sales*

  1. Monster Hunter World
  2. Dragon Ball: Fighter Z
  3. Call of Duty: WWII
  4. PUBG*
  5. GTA V
  6. NBA 2K18
  7. Super Mario Odyssey*
  8. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  9. Mario Kart 8*
  10. Madden NFL 18
  11. Star Wars: Battlefront II*
  12. Assassin's Creed: Origins
  13. EA Sports UFC 3
  14. Rainbow Six Siege
  15. FIFA 18*
  16. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse
  17. The Sims 4*
  18. Splatoon 2*
  19. Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT
  20. Need for Speed: Payback*
January 2018 Top 10 Xbox One Games
  1. Monster Hunter: World
  2. PUBG
  3. Call of Duty: WWII
  4. Dragon Ball: Fighter Z
  5. GTA V
  6. Star Wars: Battlefront II
  7. NBA 2K18
  8. Madden NFL 18
  9. Assassin's Creed Origins
  10. EA Sports UFC 3
January 2018 Top 10 PS4 Games
  1. Monster Hunter: World
  2. Dragon Ball: Fighter Z
  3. Call of Duty: WWII
  4. GTA V
  5. NBA 2K18
  6. Madden NFL 18
  7. Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT
  8. Star Wars: Battlefront II
  9. EA Sports UFC 3
  10. FIFA 18
January 2018 Top 10 Nintendo Switch
  1. Super Mario Odyssey*
  2. Mario Kart 8*
  3. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  4. Splatoon 2*
  5. Pokken Tournament DX*
  6. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim*
  7. Xenoblade Chronicles 2*
  8. Arms*
  9. Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle*
  10. Doom*
January 2018 Top 10 3DS Games
  1. Pokemon Ultra Sun
  2. Pokemon Ultra Moon
  3. Mario Kart 7
  4. Mario Party: The Top 100
  5. Minecraft
  6. Super Mario Maker
  7. Super Smash Bros.
  8. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions
  9. New Super Mario Bros. 2
  10. Kirby: Battle Royale
Top 10 Selling Games for the trailing 12-Month Period
  1. Call of Duty: WWII
  2. NBA 2K18
  3. Destiny 2*
  4. Madden NFL 18
  5. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
  6. GTA V
  7. Star Wars: Battlefront II*
  8. Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  9. Super Mario Odyssey*
  10. Mario Kart 8*

Destiny 2 Dev Tweaks Development Roadmap; Delays Some Upcoming Features

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:30

A big Destiny 2 update is scheduled for release next week which will add several new features and change some systems in the game. However, Bungie announced today that it has had to delay a few of these features until future updates.

Specifically, Bungie has pushed back the release date for reducing duplicate Exotic drop rates, unique rewards for Nightfall Strikes, and viewing vendors in the companion app. In a blog post, Bungie specifically addressed the delay for unique Nightfall rewards, explaining that new weapons and gear will require more time for the artists to design than originally anticipated. All of these features are now scheduled for release on March 27 in the 1.1.4 patch.

Tweaks to Exotic gear were originally planned to roll out with the 1.1.4 patch. However, due to the other delays, Bungie now plans on implementing the Exotic changes in the big 1.2.0 patch coming with the launch of Season 3. This update will also bring a Prestige Mode for Eater of Worlds, an increase to Vault space, and private matches, among other new features.

Update 1.1.3, meanwhile, is slated for release on Tuesday, February 27, and it will come with a bunch of new emblem variants. It will also add Nightfall scoring, the ability to see Fireteam Members on the destination map, and public text chat on PC.

Destiny 2's latest Faction Rally is happening now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. There are a few new weapons available, one for each faction. A faction's gun will be made available if that faction emerges victorious from the event. You can see the new Faction Rally weapons here.

Fortnite: Battle Royale Will Soon Let You Customize The Back Of Your Hero

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:02

Epic Games has been adding a bunch of new content to Fortnite, especially as the game's popularity has continued to rise. In the Season 3 Battle Pass for the Battle Royale mode, for example, the developer is releasing some new cosmetic items, such as emotes, loading screens, outfits--and Back Blings.

You read that right: Epic is adding a new customization option for your Hero that modifies the appearance of its back. Basically, anything that a character holds on its back is now part of this option, so you'll be able to change out previously permanent characteristics like the Love Ranger's wings or the Knights' shields.

Any character can use Back Bling, and there are three new Blings being added in the Battle Pass. This new option will probably enable some pretty wild combinations with the different Heroes and their skins.

The Season 3 Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks, which is about $10. It comes with 76 items in all; along with the 3 Back Blings, you'll also get a bunch of emoticons, banners, and other cosmetics. You can read more about what the Battle Pass comes with here. Season 2 wraps up soon, so the new Battle Pass should go on sale this week.

In other news, Epic will soon add a brand new gun, the Hand Cannon, to the game. In addition, a new patch for Fortnite launched recently on PS4, Xbox One, and PC that comes with the Impulse Grenade.