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WWE 2K19 Release Date And Special Editions Revealed

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 04:11

WWE and 2K are dropping a flurry of news about WWE 2K19, including when you'll be able to play the game and special editions you can pick up if you want to score some extra content and collectibles. The game will release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 9, and in addition to the standard version, there will be a Deluxe Edition and a Collector's Edition. Here what's in each:

  • WWE 2K19 Deluxe Edition: The full game, plus special packaging and access to the game's Season Pass, pre-order digital content, and Collector's Edition digital content.
  • WWE 2K19 Collector's Edition: The full game, including all the content from the above Deluxe Edition, plus "exclusive and rare collectibles" and limited edition WWE SuperCard content.

The WWE says 2K will reveal more detailed information about what's in the Deluxe and Collector's editions this summer. There's no word yet on a possible Nintendo Switch version; WWE 2K18 came out on Switch several months after it released on other platforms. Meanwhile, 2K also announced who the face of the game will be: WWE Champion AJ Styles will grace the cover of WWE 2K19.

In a conference call about the game, Styles himself also announced a special contest for everyone who picks up a copy of the game. "I have a challenge for everyone out there," he said. "If you win the contest and beat me, AJ Styles, in WWE 2K19, you could win a million dollars. That's right. You heard me right. $1 million. Let's do this. I'm calling it the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge. All entrants can participate on the PS4, the Xbox One." You can find more details on the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge on the contest's website.

Beyond Good And Evil 2 Beta Coming By End Of 2019

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 03:18

According to Michel Ancel, director of Beyond Good and Evil 2, the first playable beta for the Ubisoft title won't launch until the end of 2019. Considering Ubisoft typically launches demos or betas for games several months prior to an official release, it's probably safe to say that Beyond Good and Evil 2 is currently scheduled for no sooner than 2020.

The announcement came via an Instagram post. In a post of a screenshot of Beyond Good and Evil 2, Ancel responded to a user comment asking for clarification on the title's release date by saying, "We aim for a playable beta for the end of next year."

We were impressed by the gameplay in Beyond Good and Evil 2's E3 2018 demo, and were shocked to see Jade, the protagonist of the original game, show up in the final moments of Beyond Good and Evil 2's new cinematic trailer. Perhaps most unexpected of all was an announcement from Joseph Gordon Levitt, who's company is partnering with Ubisoft to promote a campaign where anyone can create content for Beyond Good and Evil 2.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 is scheduled to launch on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Preacher Season 3 Clip: Watch Jesse And Cassidy Attempting The Impossible

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 03:00

Preacher Season 2 ended with quite a twist, with one of the main characters in a seemingly un-fixable jam. Season 3 picks that story right back up, so if you're not caught up on Preacher, you're going to want to stop reading now. And definitely don't watch this exclusive Preacher Season 3 clip. There are Preacher spoilers ahead!

When last we saw Tulip, she'd recently expired--died--exited this mortal coil--from a severe case of bullet to the gut syndrome. It's pretty clear that she'll be back in Season 3--if they'd wanted to keep it a secret, they probably wouldn't have included that Season 2 flashback where Jesse's grandmother resurrects a chicken.

So it's not surprising that in this exclusive Preacher Season 3 clip, Jesse and Cassidy have a mission: gathering Tulip's favorite things to help Grandma bring her back to life.

The clip comes from the Preacher Season 3 premiere, “Angelville,” whose official description reads thus: "In a last-ditch effort to save Tulip, Jesse and Cassidy take her to Angelville, Jesse’s family home, and Jesse is reunited with the people he fears the most: his own family."

It's certainly an interesting way to do it, and a big change from the comics. But if there's one thing we've come to expect from Preacher, it's that the show will always defy our expectations.

Preacher Season 3 premieres June 24 on AMC. If you want to catch up on Preacher's first two seasons, head to https://www.hulu.com/preacher.

5 Reasons Why the M80 Stiletto Is The Badass Boat to End All Boats

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 03:00

We talk about all kinds of things here at GameSpot, but one area in which we remain sorely lacking is our discussion of boats. BOATS. With a “b”.

Think of it this way: 70% of the world is water, while, on a good day, maybe only 3% of the world is video games. It seems reasonable to devote just a little more time thinking about this other 70% of the world and how we will inevitably bend it to our indomitable will using technology, cunning, and one badass boat.

That badass boat, my friends, is the M80 Stiletto.

Cribbing directly from your dating profile, America’s Navy describes the M80 Stiletto as a powerful, sleek, ultra-high-profile, carbon fiber-and-steel scythe of a ship perfect for close-combat situations. It is, in fact, the boat to end all boats. Here are five reasons why:

1) Actual Navy SEALs Call it the “Bat Boat”

Sure, “Boaty McBoatface” may be cute--the kind of boat you’d invite over for a night of board games and cocoa--but it’s not the boat any self-respecting, flying mammal-inspired, super-detective vigilante would call his own. The M80 Stiletto is, and that’s why actual Navy SEALs call it the “Bat Boat.” The shallow draft, along with its low-profile and faceted superstructure, allows the M80 to deliver a dozen Navy SEALs and Spec Ops personnel to their insertion points quickly and quietly, with a minimal radar signature. While SEALs execute the toughest missions out there, they can’t do it alone.

2) Gotta Go Fast!

6,600 hp engines allow the M80 Stiletto to plow through waves at up to 60 knots (about 70mph). Speeds like that would bounce a smaller boat--and its occupants--right out of the water, but the Stiletto’s wide, M-shaped hull forces waves through underwater troughs to generate lift. This also reduces the Stiletto’s draft to just three feet when fully-loaded, enabling the ship access to inland waterways and coastlines that would ground other vessels. (Fast, flexible, and able to access inland waterways… Note to self: Update dating profile.)

3) Release the Drones

Talk about two great tastes that taste great together--the M80 Stiletto combines everything you love about boats with everything you love about drones, carrying both airborne and seaborne drones that can provide a continuous stream of data to its onboard supercomputer. This allows SEALS to train using real-time reconnaissance information. New technologies from government and private developers are constantly being tested and tweaked using the M80 platform. Navy Information Systems Technicians can do it all.

4) It’s No Showboat (hey!), It Does Real Work

The Stiletto isn’t just for training and testing, it’s out there doing work. The boat has been deployed to recover NASA test vehicles that have splashed down in the Atlantic and has even seen action in counter-narcotics operations, successfully chasing down drug runners off the coast of Colombia.

5) The Price is Right

Perhaps the best thing about the M80 is its cost. At less than $10 million, the Stiletto is a bargain, representing a fraction of the cost of most boats in the Navy’s fleet. Seriously. This is a helluva lot of boat.

Like specs? Check these out!

  • Type & class: Experimental Pentamaran

  • Launched: January 31, 2006

  • Displacement: 60 tons (full load)

  • Length: 88.6 ft

  • Beam: 40 ft

  • Height: 15 ft

  • Draft: 2.5 ft

  • Propulsion: 4 × 1,650 horsepower C-30 CAT

  • Top Speed: 60+ knots (70 mph)

  • Cruising Speed: 40 knots (46 mph)

  • Range: 500 nm at full load/max speed

  • Crew: 3

  • Troops: 12 SEALs

  • Home port: Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Norfolk, Va.

Ready to accept this badass boat as your new boaty overlord? Think you have what it takes to code and command the systems in the M80 Stiletto? Check out these high-demand Cyber Warfare Engineer, Cryptology and Information Systems careers in America’s Navy.

Dive deeper into Navy innovation.

New Free Xbox One Games With Gold Now Available For June 2018

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:10

The month is half over, which means Xbox Live Gold subscribers can now download two more freebies. As usual, one is an Xbox One game, and the other is an Xbox 360 game you can play on Xbox One thanks to backwards compatibility.

The new free Xbox One game is the Smite Gold Bundle, which will be available between now and July 15. Smite is a free-to-play game, but the Gold Bundle includes 20 additional gods, plus skins, announcer packs, and other extra content. Seeing as it normally sells for $100, that's a good deal for anyone interested in this MOBA-of-the-gods.

The Xbox 360 game Gold members can download for free is Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. Available until June 30, it's an action game that lets you play through Lego versions of all four Indiana Jones films. And if you haven't picked it up yet, you can still download the side-scrolling Xbox One game Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia, which is available until June 30.

To make way for the new games, a pair of titles has left the service: the Xbox One game Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and the Xbox 360 game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. If you didn't grab those for free, you'll have to pay for them.

You can see the full list of June's free Games with Gold below. They'll be replaced with a new lineup of freebies on July 1.

June 2018 Games With Gold

Xbox One

  • Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia -- June 1 - 30
  • Smite Gold Bundle -- June 16 - July 15

Xbox 360

  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed -- June 1 - 15
  • Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues -- June 16 - 30

AJ Styles is WWE 2K19's Cover Star And He's Bringing A Million Dollar Challenge With Him

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:05

At long last, the cover superstar for WWE 2K19 has been revealed. WWE Champion AJ Styles--otherwise known as the face that runs the place and the champ that runs the camp--has the honor of gracing the cover of the next installment of WWE's annual video game.

The news was revealed by Styles himself, who also announced a special contest for everyone who picks up a copy of the game. "I have a challenge for everyone out there," Styles said during a conference call to reveal his role in the new game. "If you win the contest and beat me, AJ Styles, in WWE 2K19, you could win a million dollars. That's right. You heard me right. $1 million. Let's do this. I'm calling it the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge. All entrants can participate on the PS4, the Xbox One."

The rules are rather simple. Users will have to beat a yet-to-be-announced new mode in the game, then submit a video of themselves explaining why they deserve a shot at Styles. Four players will be chosen to fight in the semi-final round, with one winner going on to face-off with Styles in the game. Make sure you check out the complete rules for the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge.

If you want to start training for Styles early, he tipped his hand a bit during the press conference, admitting he normally plays with the Crow version of Sting from WCW when he plays the 2K games. "Sting was always my favorite," he says. "And so, that's the guy that I always played with. And my son actually plays with AJ Styles, and he whips my tail. But Sting is my choice. I've always been a big fan. The Crow Sting was my favorite, and will forever be my favorite."

More details about the new WWE game, including any pre-order bonuses and DLC content, will be announced at a later time. WWE 2K19 will be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC on October 9--in both standard and deluxe editions.

Beyond Good & Evil 2’s Gameplay, Explained

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:00

If you haven’t been following the development of Beyond Good & Evil 2 closely--from its rumored existence, through to its official reveal at E3 2017, and its presence at Ubisoft’s press conference during E3 2018--it’s possible that your current feelings toward it carry some confusion. With a strong emphasis on community involvement with the Space Monkey and Hitrecord initiatives, and only brief glimpses at incredibly early tech demos, the question at the forefront of your mind is likely: What kind of game is Beyond Good & Evil 2, exactly?

Well, we think we have a pretty good idea. In a behind-closed-doors presentation at E3 2018, key developers from Ubisoft Montpellier showed us a live demo of the game, played in co-op, and it was surprising how many of the game’s systems were there, and how much there was to see.

The demo began in an underground temple, where we were introduced to the combat system. Every character in Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be equipped with a melee weapon (in this case, swords), a gun, an energy shield, a jetpack, and each one of these tools can have their behavior and abilities modified with Augments. We saw examples of a pushback ability, and a dome that could be fired to slow down anyone within it. Damage boosting and healing augments were also mentioned.

You also have a high-tech spyglass that can be used to survey your environment and get information on world objects and enemies, in what could be a nod to the camera mechanics in the original game. Planning encounters by using the spyglass was stressed as something that was particularly important, because of the fact that enemies have the access and capacity to use the same equipment, augments, and abilities as the player, which creates the danger of not necessarily knowing what you might be up against at first glance.

We watched our co-op duo explore and sneak around the temple separately before coming together to assault a squad of security guards, defending a group of scientists performing experiments on live monkey hybrids. After some quick surveillance, they engaged using a variety of gunplay and melee attacks. The melee mechanics in this early demo didn’t seem to have the impact you see in other third-person games, but there was a variety of different combat maneuvers were shown, including using slowdown domes to isolate enemies, precision shooting, using the jetpack to maneuver around the battlefield achieve better flanking positions, and using pushback-augmented weapons to break shields.

When the dust had settled, one of the players scanned the monkey still alive on an operating table, learning a bit about its backstory in the process. It was mentioned that characters like this would be recruitable for your space pirate crew. You’d also hypothetically also have the opportunity to break out prisoners from a police station and recruit them, among other options. However, what you’ll be able to actually do with your crew was not discussed.

The co-op players then exited the underground temple and boarded their vehicles--one in a single-pilot space fighter, one on a flying motorcycle--and flew out into the city of Ganesha City, an incredibly large urban hub filled with Indian architecture and neon lights--a mash of old and new, rich and poor, and populated with flying vehicles and NPCs. The players went their separate ways, and the motorcycle rider eventually got off and flew around on her jetpack, giving us a tour of the city by scanning buildings to discover their purpose--shops, police stations, a bank. The other player eventually got into a scrap with local police, engaging in a dogfight against multiple ships, and the original motorcycle rider hopped into her own starfighter and joined in.

But before engaging, they took a moment to show off starfighter customization. In a menu, they swapped out individual modules of their ship’s makeup (like cabins, wings, engines), as well as weapons and cosmetic finishes. Cosmetic ship customization will be one of the avenues where the community can submit custom art to be used within the game through Hitrecord, along with billboard spots on structures. They’ll also be able to contribute and music to the in-world radio programs.

Dogfighting looked like an arcade-style experience, with the space fighters we saw having access to two weapons: in this case, a machine gun and lock-on missiles. These weapons, we were told, can also be modified via the same kind of augments are regular weapons. We saw the two players perform barrel-rolls and loops to juke and destroy police ships high in the sky, so high that you could make out the curvature of the planet.

And then, they did something I wasn’t entirely expecting them to do. The players pointed their planes upwards and hit their hyperspeed. Looking behind them, we saw the city and its population getting smaller and smaller as they continued into the stratosphere. We looked over the horizon and saw other cities in the distance. They flew so high that we could see entire continent masses, Ganesha City now a dot on the map, and eventually reached another vehicle: A mothership owned by one of the players, a kind of giant, space battleship. One of the players left her starfighter and used her jetpack to fly around, protected by a clear spacesuit that materialized over her body like the one seen in the E3 2018 trailer.

This was all seamless, and my mind immediately went to compare it to No Man’s Sky, that is, if No Man’s Sky’s planets were filled with dense, populated cities with complex interiors. They brought up the map screen and noted that it was simply a real-time rendering of the existing game world from a fixed camera angle, and as they zoomed in and out of the continent we were directly above, we could see icons pop up representing additional cities, quests, points of interest, and undiscovered mysteries across the huge land masses.

As they zoomed out and rotated the globe, they pointed out an enormous geoglyph of a monkey burned into a nearby continent, mentioning that uncovering these mysteries would be a significant part of the game. We also panned over to take a look at the other half of the planet--a meteor-ravaged wasteland which is a significant part of the game’s world narrative, involving hybrid beings and slave labor.

But then, they kept zooming out. The screen changed from the view of the continent to a view of the planet. From a view of the planet to a view including neighboring planets, and it didn’t stop. We zoomed out to see the entire subsystem, and they eventually stopped when the map screen had a view of the entire local solar system, filled with planets, their moons, and presumably, all the game content that comes with that. The players hopped back in their starfighters, flew off into the infinite space, and the demo ended.

When asked what progression might look like--what you actually do in Beyond Good & Evil 2--the developers seemed to have a clear idea. It’s naturally a very non-linear experience, and you can likely make some good assumptions by looking at Ubisoft’s current direction with their open-world games. Ubisoft Montpellier said one of the major goals is to create a strong throughline to explore and discover more about the game’s story. The cinematic trailers we’ve seen so far follow the journey of a space crew (featuring Pey'j from the original game, as well as a younger version of Jade as their adversary), searching for a place at the ends of the universe called the Moksha Gate. Beyond Good & Evil 2 will see you creating your own customizable character, building up your own crew, and going on an adventure to try and reach it.

The Ubisoft team also explained that there would be plenty of opportunities for those that just want to fly around the galaxy and be the best space pirate. You’ll be able to take on a number of side activities that make you stronger, which might not necessarily be in service of the main narrative at all. Finally, the developers mentioned that one of their priorities was to create a fun co-op experience, as well as give the player complete freedom, so you would feel like a true pirate in a world created to be your oyster.

When asked about the game's development progress, Ubisoft spoke about how when building this kind of all-encompassing, open-world, and systemic game, you need to build entire layers of foundational mechanics, and need to iterate on almost all of them at the same time, lest they begin to affect one another in negative, game-breaking ways. As such, all mechanical components of Beyond Good & Evil 2 are roughly at the same development level, they said.

The demo of Beyond Good & Evil 2 was impressive on a technical level despite being an incredibly early build--visually, it was certainly a lot plainer than the brief, but more detailed snippets of gameplay we saw at Ubisoft’s E3 2018 press conference. But it was surprising to witness working co-op play, the ability to explore a seamless universe with no visible loading, as well as functioning combat and vehicle mechanics. It was certainly much, much more than we were expecting to see, and we’re now feeling much more positive about the prospects of what Beyond Good & Evil 2 could be.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 currently has no announced release date.

WWE Money In The Bank 2018: Live Updates And Match Results

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 09:39

If climbing up ladders in order to grab a briefcase containing a contract for a title shot gets you excited, then on Sunday, June 17, you're in luck because there will be two matches at the Money in the Bank PPV that are just that! Superstars from both the Raw and Smackdown rosters will be competing in two of these ladder matches, one for the men and one for the women. Over the course of the evening, 10 matches will take place during the course of the PPV, including one during the Kickoff Show.

Money in the Bank comes to the WWE Network today at 7 PM ET / 4 PM PT, with the Kickoff Show starting one hour prior. The event takes place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL. If you aren't signed up for the WWE Network but still want to watch MITB, you can sign up for one month for free [LINK TO HOW TO WATCH] and cancel without any commitment to the streaming service.

There will be two MITB matches for the men and the women. Both matches will consist of eight superstars vying for the contract instead of the traditional six. The Miz is heavily favored to win according to Vegas betting odds on the men's side and Natalya is for the women. Raw newcomer Ember Moon told GameSpot during an interview [LINK LATER]that she may be afraid of heights, but she is excited for the opportunity: "I'm ready to rise to that challenge, and it's not going to deter me from getting that Money in the Bank contract." Additionally, numerous titles are on the line, including the WWE Championship, which AJ Styles will defend, once again, against Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing match, and we cover the history of this rivalry, which involves plenty of low blows, in the video above.

Here's the match card:
  • The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The Good Brothers (For the Smackdown Tag Team Championship) - KICKOFF SHOW
  • Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
  • Nia Jax (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (For the Raw Women's Championship)
  • Carmella (c) vs. Asuka (For the Smackdown Women's Championship)
  • Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn
  • Seth Rollins (c) vs. Elias (For the Intercontinental Championship)
  • AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship)
  • Lana, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, Charlotte, Ember Moon, Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Sasha Banks (Money in the Bank match)
  • Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, Bobby Roode, Braun Strowman, The Miz, Rusev, Finn Balor, and one member of The New Day (Money in the Bank match)

In case you're not caught up, don't worry; we put the final results in spoiler blocks.

Kickoff Show

The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The Good Brothers (For the Smackdown Tag Team Championship)

Luke Harper pinned Luke Gallows at 7:01.

Main Card

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

Daniel Bryan beat Big Cass by submission at 15:17.

Lashley vs. Sami Zayn

Bobby Lashley pinned Sami Zayn at 6:35.

Seth Rollins (c) vs. Elias (For the Intercontinental Championship)

Updating.

What It Was Like Shooting Hereditary's Most Shocking, Traumatic Scene

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 06:29

There's one scene in Hereditary that's more shocking, traumatic, and terrible than all the rest. And it turns out it wasn't any more fun to shoot than it is to watch--at least for one of the actors involved. If you haven't seen Hereditary, stop reading now!

We're talking, of course, about the scene involving Alex Wolff's character Peter and Milly Shapiro's Charlie in the car. Charlie is having an allergy attack, and Peter, stoned out of his mind, is barreling down the highway, racing to the hospital. It's the end result of a long series of setups and misdirects throughout the movie, and it goes miles more horribly wrong than you could possibly expect. Wolff said it was "not that fun" to shoot, and as he elaborated, that turned out to be an understatement.

"It was just an upsetting scene to shoot, and hard," Wolff told GameSpot during a recent interview. "But I am proud of it...I feel super lucky to be a part of it, and it was an amazing experience, but yeah, that was probably the hardest scene I've had to shoot of everything I've ever done."

It's not hard to see why. Peter has just sucked down a massive bong rip, so Wolff had to act both stoned and panicky when his sister's throat started closing. The scene's intensity rockets through the roof as it becomes harder and harder for her to breathe. When it's finally over, the complex blend of terror, disbelief, denial, and shock are evident on the actor's face.

"Alex is pretty method. He's like, in it, so I think for him it probably was [traumatic]. He really went there. I was worried about him," said writer and director Ari Aster. "I felt like half my job that day was just to take care of him...he went to a very dark place for that scene."

Milly Shapiro arguably had it even tougher, as she had to act like she was choking, fingers clawing at her throat, emitting guttural noises while sucking in every molecule of oxygen she could manage--all while maintaining the generally strange aura of her character underneath. But surprisingly, Shapiro said it was another fun day on set.

"For me it was really fun, because I got to do kind of my own stunt and I got to hang out of a car, which is always a really fun thing to do," the actress told GameSpot. "I was tethered in, so it was safe."

For inspiration, she drew on a real life allergy attack she had when she was younger. "Everyone was really great with helping me through it, and Alex was really great, because he was so into it that it really helped me get to that point of acting," she said. "And Ari helped me work out what I was going to do--how I was going to react physically, how the character would react mentally."

"Milly is very--she jumps in and out [of character]," Aster said. "For an actress her age, she's staggeringly disciplined. She's amazing."

The scene is shocking for so many reasons. From a narrative standpoint, it's just about the most unexpected thing that could happen. Hereditary has been marketed as a movie about the grandmother's death; most viewers probably didn't expect the little girl to die too, and especially not in the first act. And even if you picked up on the hints about her nut allergy early on, there's no way you expected her to be decapitated by a telephone pole on the side of the road.

"I was really nervous about filming it, because it is such an important part of the movie...It's such a turning point, and it changes everything about the story, and you really need to affect audiences," Shapiro said. "The way it's set up, you think that Charlie's going to be alive through the whole thing...It's just so confusing, because it's not expected at all."

As writer and director, Aster knew exactly what he was doing. "Of course the allergy, in that sense, is misdirection, and it's a sort of red herring, and it is playing with expectation," he said. "Because we've set it up through the first act, where it's like, 'OK, we get it, she's got an allergy, something's going to happen there.' So you're looking directly at it when it's coming, because you're waiting for something to be satisfied that's been thoroughly set up. And then, this thing.

"I wanted that left turn that happens to be less of a left turn than, like, a chute that opens up underneath you and drops you into a new movie, where you realize, 'Oh, I'm not in control of this experience. This isn't safe.'"

But it's not just the twist--even taken completely out of context, Charlie's death scene would be incredibly shocking. Even in horror movies, it's uncommon to see young characters die, especially in so gruesome a way. By extension, the idea of showing the child's disfigured, bloody, decomposing head by the roadside in broad daylight is basically unheard of.

"I was worried about, like, how much are we going to show?" Wolff said. "And actually, Ari being like, 'Oh, we're gonna show everything, and we're gonna make it really upsetting,' I was like, 'Well, OK.' I mean, there's something about that, that you go, 'Alright, that that's what this movie is, we're gonna really go for it,' you know? There's something about him not pussyfooting around it."

"I thought that was kind of awesome," he continued. "I completely trust Ari. I think he's a genius."

"There is a mean-spiritedness to the film," Aster explained, somewhat proudly. "I hope it takes its time to develop these people. We cut out 30 scenes, so we took more time originally to develop these people. But then, you know, it turns out that we've developed these people so that you're invested in them, so that when these things happen...they really feel like betrayals."

Hereditary is in theaters now. Read our full Hereditary review, then find out why Aster cut a full hour from the movie, and learn more about the ending from the people who made it.

Fortnite's Week 7: Pleasant Park Treasure Map, Goal On Pitches (Season 4 Challenges)

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 07:11

More Fortnite challenges are now live, with Week 7 presenting players with another batch of seven different things to do while playing. A number of them are fairly routine, while one is essentially a tie-in to coincide with the start of the World Cup, and another has you dealing with a treasure map. Here's how to complete them all.

With the challenges debuting in-game on the same day the World Cup begins, one challenge asks you to score a goal on different pitches. You'll need to do this one five times, and it involves heading to one of the soccer fields scattered around the match and knocking the soccer ball into the goal. You don't have to do all five in a single round of Battle Royale, and there are more than five total to come across. Among those are ones located in Pleasant Park, Risky Reels, Fatal Fields, and Flush Factory, as well as one southeast of Junk Junction.

Another challenge you might need some direction with asks you to follow the treasure map found in Pleasant Park. You can go there and secure the map, or, if you know where it leads, you can simply head right to the end point. This one takes you to the eastern edge of Tilted Towers. There's a small mountain with a pair of trees on top; try to land there at the start of a match (or build your way up) and you'll be able to collect the Battle Star icon.

The only other challenge that isn't completely straightforward tells you to consume hop rocks, apples, or mushrooms. These are consumable items that are used immediately on pick-up that have been added during Season 4. They can be found in a variety of locations, but your best is to head to Dusty Divot, where you'll find numerous hop rocks littered around the impact site, outside the fenced-in area.

As for the rest of Week 7's challenges, they involve using the right weapons or being in the right place. Searching chests in Risky Reels is as simple as landing there repeatedly and grinding your way to the seven you need. To eliminate opponents in Shifty Shafts, you'll want to do the same thing, starting out the match there and trying to beat other players to weapons. If it's an assault rifle, all the better, as you can complete your assault rifle eliminations that way. For both of those, you'll want to attempt this in a solo playlist, where you don't have to deal with downing players and then having to finish them off. On the other hand, for the final challenge--deal 250 damage with a pickaxe to opponents--your easiest path is to play a team game, down an enemy, and then swing away.

Fortnite Week 7 Challenges
  • Deal damage with a pickaxe to opponents (250) -- 5 Battle Stars
  • Search chests in Risky Reels (7) -- 5 Battle Stars
  • Consume Hop Rocks, Apples, or Mushrooms (2) -- 5 Battle Stars
  • Score a goal on different pitches (5) -- 5 Battle Stars
  • Hard: Follow the treasure map found in Pleasant Park -- 10 Battle Stars
  • Hard: Assault Rifle eliminations (5) -- 10 Battle Stars
  • Hard: Eliminate opponents in Shifty Shafts (3) -- 10 Battle Stars

Hereditary's Ending Explained By The People Who Made It

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 08:50

Hereditary is absolutely a horror movie, and a terrifying one at that. But it's also a family drama that explores how tragedy and grief can twist people into unrecognizable shapes. Much of the film is spent exploring the relationships between the characters, which makes the ending--where the story finally descends into utter, terrifying chaos--a little jarring.

Whether or not you liked Hereditary's ending, there's no denying that it's sparked conversation among viewers. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't read any further, because there are spoilers ahead!

Hereditary ends with Milly Shapiro's Charlie, Gabriel Byrne's Steve, and Toni Collette's Annie all extremely dead, pawns in grandma's demonic scheme to use Alex Wolff's character Peter to summon a King of Hell, Paimon, into waking life. A full on demon summoning is probably not where most people expected this movie to go, and that's no accident, according to Hereditary director Ari Aster.

"I've set up this patient, dark family drama, and then it just goes off the rails," he described during a recent interview with GameSpot.

There were plenty of hints throughout the movie that this was how things would go. Obviously the grandmother was into some messed up stuff, and many viewers probably got cult vibes long before the big reveal. And Ann Dowd's character Joan was clearly sinister in the way she deliberately inserted herself into the Grahams' life through Annie. By the end, the movie even gets into a surprising amount of detail about the demon king, Paimon, that the cult worships.

"It's interesting, because when you talk about the ending, it's easy for it to sound a little kitschy, when you talk about it and you don't see the rest of the movie, that's so grounded," Alex Wolff told GameSpot. But he added that he thinks it works both literally and metaphorically in the context of the whole film.

According to both Wolff and Milly Shapiro, the character Charlie is Paimon. She was born a demon. She's not a person who's been possessed--although she's certainly a pawn--but a literal, physical manifestation of Paimon. That explains why she's so strange, why grandma obsessively fawned over her, and why she had to die for the ritual to be completed (as you may have noticed, the cult's symbol was etched into the phone pole that killed her, implying the cult had some influence over the events).

But Paimon/Charlie certainly isn't the villain of the movie, and Paimon actually appears to be an unknowing participant in the cult's scheme. Charlie doesn't know what she is.

"She never knew anything different from how she is," Shapiro told GameSpot. "With possession usually, there is a person trapped in there, but there never really was anything but [Paimon] for Charlie."

"She is a demon," Wolff succinctly explained. "But I feel like it's so interesting--Ari took the approach that she's not necessarily evil. She's actually scared, and she's just in this circumstance. She's born this way, and she doesn't feel connected to the rest of the world. And I think it's kind of a sick, twisted, true analogy about being on the outside and having a mental disorder."

There are hints throughout the movie that the demon king needs a male body to successfully use as a vessel. It's outright stated at one point, but another example is Annie's brother, who died before the movie's events and allegedly suffered from schizophrenia. There's one theory that he was actually the grandmother's previous, failed attempt to summon Paimon. But at the end of Hereditary, there's no failure--Charlie's spirit, which was actually Paimon, enters Peter's body, and the ritual is complete.

"He becomes Charlie, that's the end, is that Charlie is Paimon," Wolff said. "Really I believe, yeah, in a literal sense, he's possessed by Paimon, which is Charlie, and he switches and becomes Charlie. And that's the end of the movie."

Aster confirmed that the ending is meant to be viewed literally, not simply as a metaphor for mental deterioration or as some sort of delusion on the characters' part. "It is literal," he said. "Nobody likes the 'It was all a dream' thing."

That said, there are of course more subtle, metaphorical meanings to it as well. "In a more emotional sense, I believe that it's almost like each member of the family's psyche deteriorates, and the end for me is Peter's psyche deteriorating, and everything smashing to a thousand little pieces and it being unfixable," Wolff said.

"I believe you should always interpret things as exactly what you're seeing, but it kind of doesn't matter, because whatever it is, it turns into f***ing chaos, and that's what it is," he continued. "Whatever's actually happening, the feeling is the hyperbole of absolute anarchy and the depths of guilt and the depths of trauma in a family, and feeling like you're cursed."

"For me, that ending is very much about how trauma can completely transform a person, and not necessarily for the better," Aster explained. "When I was first pitching the film, I was describing it as a family tragedy that curdles into a nightmare, in the same way that life can feel like a nightmare when disaster is striking."

"I wanted to make a film that collapsed under the weight of what these people are going through," he continued. "It starts to split apart at the seams. I wanted the ending, even as it's going crazy, to still feel like it was absolutely rooted in what these people were suffering through."

Shapiro said she finds the ending extra interesting because it essentially switches to the cult's point of view. For them, it's a happy ending, while for the Graham family, "it's absolute despair."

"I think the thing that makes it so relatable is everyone has felt like they were cursed or had bad thing after bad thing happen, and no matter what the family does, it doesn't stop," she said. "They don't really know what they're getting themselves into, and they don't know how to stop it, because there isn't really a way. It's something that was planned before they were born, and it's something that was always going to happen."

Hereditary is in theaters now. Read GameSpot's full Hereditary review here, and find out why an hour of the movie wound up on the cutting room floor.

WWE's Ember Moon Wowed By Smash Bros At E3, And Ready For Money In The Bank, Despite Fear Of Heights

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 05:35

Money in the Bank has quickly become one of WWE's bigger events of the year. The titular matches involve a contract with a title shot contained within a briefcase, hanging above the ring. Whoever climbs a ladder and grabs the case first is the winner, which sounds like an easy task, as long as you're up for the challenge. One of the superstars involved in said match is Raw newcomer Ember Moon. She's had quite the busy week, spending some time at E3 in Los Angeles.

Moon spent the past week at E3 as part of the Smash Bros. Celebrity Invitational, and along with two other celebrities, took on professional Smasher Nairo. "The new game is phenomenal, it really is," Moon told GameSpot. "It brought back everything that was good about the GameCube and the Wii version and brought it all into one console. Man, it was great." During the Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament, Moon used Pikachu, in a lucha outfit, and easily held her own. "I thought I was going in for a tournament, and we faced a pro, and we just got brutally demolished."

That wasn't all Moon was hyped for during the show. "E3 is like Christmas," she explained. Moon said she was excited for Dying Light [2], The Last of Us [Part] 2, and Super Mario Party. However, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey really wowed her. "I'm definitely going to get because I love the Assassin's Creed games."

On June 17, Moon will head to Chicago for the WWE PPV Money in the Bank, where she will compete with seven other women in a ladder match for a championship contract. "I'm pretty confident," Moon said. "It's not my first time getting to have fun with some ladders. There is a bit of uncertainty just to have competitors I've never been in the ring with, ever."

However, Moon is afraid of heights, which comes into play in a match in which you have to climb a ladder to win, but she's all about overcoming that on her road to becoming a WWE Champion: "Conquering fears. I don't think everyone knows I'm afraid of heights, but I constantly challenge that fear every single time and then being in the ring with seven other superstars as well that have completed so many accolades and goals in their careers, and I'm just getting started it seems, yeah, that can be a little scary. But like I said, I'm ready to rise to that challenge, and it's not going to deter me from getting that Money in the Bank contract."

What's amazing about that fear is that Moon's finisher, The Eclipse, is a top rope maneuver and a wondrous sight to witness at that--which you can see in the video below. "When I first started doing The Eclipse, I did it off the second rope. I was totally terrified to go to the top rope. I remember going to [Booker T, one of her many trainers during her career], and he was like, 'Man, you really need to try to top that off the top rope.' I'm like, 'No, I'm cool. I'm cool on the second. This is my home right now. We're going to be good here." And he talked me into doing it off the top rope, and it was so much more fluid as well because when you do it off the second you have to spin a lot faster 'cause you have to make sure you get around, but doing it from the top rope just worked."

Moon is a newer addition to the Raw women's roster, which has thankfully gone through some major changes the past few years, elevating the women to the same level as the men. They have been given the same opportunities, like competing in matches like Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and Money in the Bank, which had its first women's match in 2017: "It just proves that the women that did the first one did an amazing job, and they had to do it twice," Moon said referring to the June 27 episode of Smackdown where the women got a MITB rematch after interference from Carmella's valet, James Ellsworth. "They did a phenomenal job both times and this is only the evolution of that first time and this is going to be the second of many more to come. And it's just continuing to prove that one, we're just as good as the men too. We're not Porcelain Princesses, and we can take a hit."

Additionally, Moon stated that she'd love to do an Extreme Rules match and a TLC match, two of the more brutal bouts in WWE's canon. And again, Moon has no problem climbing up ladder, despite her fear, which is incredibly admirable to see that level of dedication to the craft.

She takes that dedication to craft and character outside of work with her, in her free time, when she plays Dungeons and Dragons as well. "I'm a big fan of 3.5," she said. If Moon's character was a in D&D she'd multi-classed. "I feel like I'd have to go Mage/Rogue, maybe. Like in that range. But like go toward that class of assassin with the rogue. So, I feel like that would be the best." However, Moon stated that she loves playing as a Monk, and it's her preferred class. Hopefully, we'll see Moon hitting a Flurry of Blows on her competitors at Money in the Bank.

Make sure to come back to GameSpot on Sunday, June 17 for live coverage of Money in the Bank. For more info on the show, check out the full match card, our predictions, the rumors surrounding the PPV, the betting odds, and our video feature about AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Will Incredibles 3 Take Another 14 Years?

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 04:52

It took 14 long years to get a second Incredibles film from Disney/Pixar. However, it seems as though the latest installment in the superhero franchise didn't miss a step. As GameSpot's Incredibles 2 review points out, the new film is a worthy sequel--and just might be even better than the original.

It's also well on its way to earning Disney/Pixar's best opening weekend at the box office, with $18.5 million in Thursday night domestic preview screenings. That news comes via Deadline.

With seemingly everything working in its favor, it's only natural to wonder what happens next. After all, Pixar wouldn't wait another 14 years to revisit the Incredibles universe, would it? There have been three Cars movies since the first Incredibles movie hit theaters, proving the animation studio isn't afraid of sequels. You should stop reading now if you haven't seen Incredibles 2, as we're going to discuss spoilers.

So when should fans expect Incredibles 3? "Yeah, don't go there," writer-director Brad Bird tells GameSpot. "It's best not to talk to the mom who's just delivered a child about, 'How about the next child?' Don't do it. Don't do it, man."

Given that Bird and his team are just now closing the book on Incredibles 2, it's easy to understand why he's reticent to discuss another sequel. However, there are plenty of opportunities to explore in the new film. Whether it's the introduction of a new generation of supers or the fact that the Underminer is still at large, there are plenty of plot threads to address in another movie.

However, the biggest "unexploded bomb," as Bird refers to it, is Jack-Jack. The youngest member of the Parr family has a ton of crazy superpowers, and the writer-director teases there may be even more to see beyond what's in Incredibles 2. "He's all potential, right?" Bird asks.

Whatever the case, another Incredibles movie seems like an obvious road for Disney/Pixar to go down. As for when it will happen, that's anyone's guess.

Star Trek: Discovery Changes Showrunners Again

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 03:38

Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery is currently in production, ahead of a 2019 premiere. The series was being overseen by showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, who replaced Bryan Fuller early into the production of Season 1. It has now been reported that Berg and Harberts have themselves left the show, with producer Alex Kurtzman taking over as showrunner.

Kurtzman's new role was confirmed in a statement from CBS Television Studios, which produces Discovery. It reads, "We've made some producer changes at Star Trek: Discovery. The series continues under the creative vision and leadership of executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman. Discovery remains on course for season two in 2019 with new and continuing stories that build on its successful premiere season."

Kurtzman has been involved with the show since the very start and remains the most consistent figure amongst the various behind-the-scenes personnel changes. Fuller was originally appointed as showrunner, but in October 2016, he left the show to focus on Starz's American Gods. Berg and Harberts were already involved as executive producers and took over from Fuller.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, there were a number of rumored reasons for their departure, including a ballooning budget for Season 2's premiere episode and disagreements with members of the show's writing team. The site notes that the production was due to go on a planned hiatus soon, and that the change of showrunners will not affect its schedule.

In April, it was reported that Inhumans star Anson Mount will join Season 2 in the role of Captain Christopher Pike, the predecessor of James T. Kirk at the helm of the USS Enterprise. The arrival of Pike was first teased in the Season 1 finale when the USS Discovery came face-to-face with the iconic Star Trek vessel.

In related news, it has also been revealed that there are in fact two separate Star Trek movies in development. Although the direction of the franchise on the big screen has been uncertain following the commercial disappointment of 2016's Star Trek Beyond, Paramount boss Jim Gianopulos confirmed that it was still an active property at the studio. While we don't know what these projects are, one of them could be the Star Trek movie that Quentin Tarantino has been reportedly developing.

Disclosure: CBS is GameSpot's parent company.

American Horror Story Creator Ryan Murphy Announces AHS Crossover Season

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 02:30

American Horror Story fans were expecting a crossover season at some point, but no one expected it as soon as this year! Ryan Murphy officially confirmed on Twitter that there will be an American Horror Story crossover season coming out this September combining two of the most popular seasons, Murder House and Coven.

Murphy did previously confirm that Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, and Kathy Bates will all be rejoining the cast for season 8. He even gave us a vague idea of who some of their characters may be, describing Peter's character as a funny hair stylist whose grandmother will be played by Joan Collins. Murphy also said that the season takes place 18 months from now, but things are a bit confused with the confirmation of the crossover season.

The Coven/Murder House AHS crossover season won't be happening next year...because it's happening THIS YEAR. AHS #8 WITCHES RULE THIS SEPTEMBER

— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) June 14, 2018

Many fans are wondering, is the character that Murphy described for Peters in the crossover, or the season after it? When Murphy said it will take place 18 months from now, does that mean the crossover will be in the near future? Or was he talking about the season after this one? Will Sarah Paulson or Kathy Bates be reprising any of their roles? Will any of the old characters be coming back? In typical AHS fashion, the answers seem to only lead to more questions.

Details aside, what we know at this point is that the worlds of Murder House and Coven will be colliding in an American Horror Story crossover season this September, and we can't wait to see the ghosts party with the witches.

Pokemon Go June 2018 Community Day Takes Place This Weekend

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:48

The next Pokemon Go Community Day is right around the corner. The event takes place this Saturday, June 16, giving players another chance to capture rare Pokemon and earn some extra bonuses.

As Niantic previously revealed, the featured Pokemon in this month's Community Day is Larvitar. The Rock-type monster will spawn much more frequently than normal during the event hours, and if past Community Days are any indication, players will also have a chance to encounter Shiny variants of the Pokemon.

Any Larvitar that evolves into Tyranitar before the Community Day ends will also learn a special event-exclusive move, which Niantic recently revealed is the Rock-type attack Smack Down. This also applies to Larvitar that were captured prior to the Community Day; however, the Pokemon will only learn Smack Down if it evolves during the event hours.

On top of increased Larvitar spawns, players who participate in the Community Day will earn triple the normal amount of XP for capturing Pokemon. Additionally, any Lure Modules that are activated during the event will last for three hours, rather than the usual 30 minutes.

As is typically the case, June's Community Day will be held during a specific window of time rather than at a particular location. The event runs for three hours and kicks off at different times depending on where you live. You can find the Community Day schedule for each major region below.

North America

  • 11 AM - 2 PM PT
  • 2 PM - 5 PM ET

Europe and Africa

  • 10 AM - 1 PM BST

Asia-Pacific

  • 12 PM - 3 PM JST

On top of the new Community Day, Pokemon Go players can still participate in the ongoing Water Festival event, which runs until June 21. During the Water Festival, Water-type Pokemon such as Magikarp and Wailmer spawn more frequently, while 2km Eggs will hatch into Totodile, Mudkip, Corphish, and other Water-types.

The Legendary Water Pokemon Kyogre has also returned temporarily as part of the Water Festival. As before, the Pokemon can be found as a Raid Battle at Gyms, and this time, Niantic teases that players may have a chance to encounter its Shiny form.

E3 2018: Xbox Is Investing In Its Future--And That’s A Big Deal

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:23

Prior to E3, things weren't looking great for Microsoft. Crackdown was delayed to 2019. Sea of Thieves launch got off to an unstable start. And the console's list of exclusives looked lacking, to say the least. But the Microsoft press conference cracked open the shell obscuring what the Xbox has planned for the near future. And things are now looking much better. Matt Booty, the recently appointed head of first party studios, explained in an interview at E3 that he's trying to do more than just put out sequels to existing franchises; he he hopes to do more "branching out sideways."

"For example, you saw what we're doing with Gears of War," Booty explained. "We're putting the game on three different platforms with three different games in three different genres. We've got a core Gears game on console. We've got a new exploration off in mobile. We've got a whole new kind of game off in PC with Gears Tactics, right? And that's one way we'll grow."

But the other avenue for growth is equally headline-making: Xbox announced partnerships with five new studios, all of which will fall under Booty's umbrella. "We're going to bet on people, we're going to bet on ideas. We're going to go on, Phil [Spencer] used the word, a 'quest' to find creators. You think about the common thread with people like Guillaume [Provost] at Compulsion Games, Nina at Ninja Theory. These are studio leaders who really understand the craft of the game and the creativity."

Booty says that he also has some "complete blank slates." For the hiring of Darrell Gallagher, who heads up the newly formed Santa Monica studio, Booty gave him a "blank piece of paper," and told him, "You go hire the team you want. You go work on the game you want. We're going to get you a building you want, and we want to just start a studio from scratch."

The future of Xbox games sounds promising, but 2018 still feels light on exclusives. In response to that, Booty boasts that the power of the Xbox One makes the console's strong third party line-up an equally important selling point. "We saw partners of our stage, folks like Bethesda, who have decided to show their content many times first on our stage, and flat out have said, 'Hey, we think this looks best on Xbox One X.' So we've got some cool stuff coming from first party as we get into holiday, but we've got a whole bunch of partners that are bringing content over the next year that really plays best on Xbox."

But the Microsoft gaming division is about more than just games. Spencer teased that a console streaming service is on the way. There's the dedicated streaming app Mixer. And on the hardware side, there's already a team at work on the next iteration of Xbox hardware. How does someone like Booty help elevate his teams while also making sure everything else Microsoft has coming up gets the attention it needs?

"The job of first party, really at the core, is to be kind of a beacon and a lighthouse for a lot of our things," he explains. "So when we first said, 'What if we put games into Game Pass at the same time that we put them into retail and digital?' There were some questions about that. Does that mean that people are only going to play it in the Game Pass? Is that going to impact retail sales?

"Sea of Thieves was our first game to go day and date into Game Pass, followed by State of Decay, and what we have found is that we've had great success with both of those games at retail and digital, and we've got a bunch of people inside Game Pass engaging with the game either because they were already subscribed to Game Pass, or they might not have engaged with that game before, but because it's available to them inside Game Pass, they try it out. It's about exploration, and about discovery. We've had over two million people play State of Decay so far just in its short time since launch, and that really is, I believe, because Game Pass has opened up a bigger audience. There is some inherent risk in there, but the job of Microsoft Studios is to go first, and to really be that lighthouse.

"When you think all the way back to the very first Xbox: Halo as a shooter--it's almost hard to believe now, but at the time, there was all this debate about whether shooters would work on console. 'How can you possibly play a shooter on a console? Are you going to be able to have the internet? Multiplayer, how does that work?' And yet Halo took the risk and was there first, really made it work, and it was obviously a great success.

"So when you think about balancing those priorities, the thing we've got to remember and that we've got to orient to is that's our job. Our job is to sort of be there first, and I sit in the same meetings in the same rooms with folks who are the leaders for Game Pass, for Mixer, with our hardware engineers, and we all collaborate very closely. One of the advantages of being part of first party is that we have access with them and we have the ability to influence those decisions."

The balancing act is not an easy, and the coming year will show how well Booty is going to be able to execute on his plans for coordination and expansion. But whether or not it's ultimately successful, Microsoft is going to have some exciting announcements in the next few years.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Goes Full RPG With Choice And Consequence, And It's Better For It

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:16

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is three years in the making; Ubisoft Quebec conceived this entry into the long-running franchise as the team wrapped up development for Assassin's Creed Syndicate back in 2015. Ubisoft Montreal was in the process of transforming the series with Origins (that released in 2017) which gave the Quebec studio a foundation to further evolve Assassin's Creed into a full-fledged RPG the team envisioned. It's not just about the inclusion of branching dialogue or seemingly arbitrary choices during quests, though. Consequence is at the heart of making the journey through Ancient Greece something more than just another historical fiction.

During a visit to Ubisoft Quebec's studio, I had the opportunity to spend around five hours with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, starting at a point deep into the story. Many of its features jumped out immediately, like choosing to play as the female protagonist Kassandra through the entire game. Regardless, I'm a mercenary on the search for lost family members in the midst of the Peloponnesian War in 431 BC. Docked ashore the Delos Islands following a storm, I'm immediately posed with conversation options with my shipmate Barnabas. At first, it's striking to see this in an Assassin's Creed game, but considering Odyssey's full RPG approach, having agency in what I say to others is to be expected. While I could tease out more information or evoke different responses, words can have a much larger impact in certain situations.

The ability to steer your own course was abundantly clear when I could affect the rebellion on the Delos Islands. Would I endorse a brute force approach suggested by Thelatas or devise a more subtle, strategic plan with Kyra? Thelatas offers naval combat missions while Kyra points out enemy camps where you destroy weapons and supplies to weaken them. Siding with either ally on how take down the unjust ruler Podarkes would lead to liberation, but in this case, it's about changing the journey, not the destination. You won't be able to go through both missions in the same playthrough.

Decision-making in Odyssey is taken a step further when factoring consequences. A side-quest given by the philosopher Socrates tasked me with handling a prisoner situation. This particular prisoner could aid the rebellion, but he's known to be dangerous and unhinged. I could straight up kill him, save him, or just ignore the quest altogether. So, as a dedicated paragon all throughout Mass Effect, I'm willing to give others a second chance. Little did I know that saving him would impact the conclusion to the main quest line. After taking down Podarkes, the Delos Islands erupted in celebration. However, the man I saved went rogue and assassinated an ally that he believed to be a threat to maintaining independence. It was an unforeseen consequence, but I quickly realized that Assassin's Creed is now asking us to think twice, watch our backs, or anticipate the effects of our actions.

Of course, the demo was just a small slice of a much larger open world, and if Odyssey can weave all the variables into a cohesive RPG experience, it's easy to see the game stand with some of the genre's best, which have also served as inspiration for the new approach. Director Scott Phillips said it himself; The Witcher 3, The Elder Scrolls, and Fallout are among his favorite games, and stated "that's what we wanted to push Assassin's Creed as a franchise into: more choice for the player."

Everything that's new is layered on top of the foundation Assassin's Creed Origins built. Franchise staples still permeate the game like climbing up to vantage points for synchronizations, stealth assassinations, and a modern day tie-in story. Genre trends such as weakening an enemy presence in specifically mapped zones to take control runs core to the game. Traversal holds Odyssey back from feeling fluid, though. Unintentionally leaping off building and scaling walls in the wrong direction happens more often than you'd hope. Hand-to-hand combat, in particular, is similar to Origins in feel, cumbersome targeting system in all. It's somewhat sluggish, but stays varied through different weapon types. However, Odyssey stands on its own with the number of abilities available in combat.

The skill tree gives players access to many more options this time around. Yes, the Spartan kick is thrilling to use for launching enemies off cliffs or into the sea during ship combat, but comes in clutch when you just want to create more distance. A shield rip makes defense enemies less irritating and much more manageable. The multi-arrow show helps tack on more damage per shot, which was really useful when fighting a burly bear with a whole lot of HP. These skills are easy to access because of how they're seamlessly mapped to the face buttons when you either hold the left trigger or left bumper. That's eight skills at your disposal at any time.

Trekking the open deserts of Origins wasn't the most exciting part of the game. Odyssey replaces that with the dangerous waters between Greece's collection of islands. In a similar vein as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, ship combat plays a large role. Fire arrow barrages, waves of javelins, or full-speed naval rams tear enemy ships, and hopping aboard to finish off the last of an enemy crew yields useful loot. It makes all the in-between more interesting and the game feels full.

The initial impression is that Assassin's Creed Odyssey makes meaningful strides for the franchise by going all in on being an RPG, and it seems to be better for it. By looking at the genres frontrunners, Ubisoft adapts the web of choice and consequence for the first time in franchise history while building on established mechanics. It's a bold move for a series that traditionally tells you a story; soon you'll be telling your own.

Why Bethesda Turned Its Skyrim On Amazon Alexa Joke Into A Real Thing

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:02

During Bethesda's E3 2018 press conference, Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard announced yet another version of Skyrim: Skyrim Very Special Edition for Amazon Alexa. It was presented as a joke, complete with a skit starring Key & Peele's Keegan-Michael Key, but it's actually a real thing you can get on the Alexa store.

It took a lot of people by surprise, including us, but this version of Skyrim is definitely playable. We asked Bethesda Senior Vice President Pete Hines about the multilayered joke, and he explained how it came to be.

It all starts with the sea of jokes about Skyrim being on everything, which picked up steam after Bethesda announced both Skyrim on Nintendo Switch and Skyrim on PSVR last year. "We know we get a lot of flak [like] 'What else are you gonna put Skyrim on,' so we're like, 'Well, we're just gonna own it and have fun with that and make fun of ourselves and make fun of everybody else," Hines said.

"This, by the way, was entirely Todd [Howard]'s idea from the beginning, but it just started off as a joke and then it evolved into, 'Actually, we could make the game that we're joking about and then just troll [you] one layer deeper where [you] think [it's] really funny…and then you find out that it's a real thing, and we got you twice."

It certainly got us--we had to update our original story once we realized Skyrim Very Special Edition was real--and it also seems to be somewhat of a hit among fans, with 85% five-star ratings on the store page as of this writing.

"It started out simple," Hines said. "But like a lot of Todd things, it turned out to be way crazier and more complicated and awesome as a result."

In addition to Skyrim Very Special Edition, Bethesda also announced mobile game Elder Scrolls Blades as well as the long-awaited Elder Scrolls VI. To catch up on anything you missed, be sure to check our roundup of all the news from Bethesda's E3 2018 conference.

E3 2018: Halo Infinite May Bring Back Master Chief Voice Actor

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 09:44

Actor Steve Downes has voiced Master Chief in every mainline Halo instalment to date, and it appears that's going to continue with Halo Infinite. During E3, Downes strongly suggested on Twitter that he is coming back to voice the super-soldier in 343's upcoming game.

The Xbox Twitter account asked Halo fans, "Are you ready to get back to work?" Downes replied, "I was born ready." While not confirmed, it really sounds like Downes will be back to play Chief again.

I was born ready https://t.co/BCjvcHxqCM

— Steve Downes (@SteveDownes117) June 12, 2018

In 2015, just before Halo 5: Guardians launched, Downes sent out a tweet that sounded like he might be retiring from the Halo franchise. This was the same year that he retired as a radio host, so some believed Downes might be taking a step back from professional work, including Halo.

Thankfully, it sounds like he's coming back to Halo at least once more. We have followed up with Microsoft in an attempt to get more details on Downes' involvement in Halo Infinite.

It has been nothing short of a galactic journey. Thanks for everything @343 @Xbox. #TeamChief #Halo5

— Steve Downes (@SteveDownes117) September 28, 2015

What we do know about Halo Infinite is that it will tell a more Master Chief-centric story, which is good news after Halo 5 steered away from him. According to Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg, Infinite is a "bigger and bolder" Halo game that will go back to the roots of the Halo franchise.

No release date has been set for Infinite, but it sounds like it won't launch anytime soon. The game has a new art style and goes in "new and unexpected directions," while 343 has also teased that you'll get to play early in beta tests. For lots more on Infinite, check out GameSpot's breakdown of everything you need to know from E3.

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