Spring is just around the corner, and Niantic is celebrating the start of the season with a special event in Pokemon Go. Beginning tomorrow, March 19, the developer is holding an equinox event in the hit mobile game, which will feature increased Grass-type Pokemon spawns, new Field Research tasks, and more.
During the equinox event, Grass Pokemon such as Oddish, Exeggcute, Shroomish, and Sunkern will appear in the wild more frequently than normal. On top of that, the rare Rock/Psychic-types Lunatone and Solrock--each of which is typically exclusive to certain parts of the world--will swap regions for the duration of the event.
In addition to the increased Pokemon spawns, Niantic is doling out a special set of limited-time Field Research tasks centered around Grass Pokemon during the event. Grass Pokemon will also appear as Raid Bosses, and two moves--Acid Spray and Leaf Tornado--are being added to the game permanently.
The Pokemon Go equinox event kicks off at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET and runs until the same time on Tuesday, March 26. You can read more details about it on the official Pokemon Go website.
In addition to the equinox event, Niantic is holding this month's Pokemon Go Community Day this Saturday, March 23. That event will also feature a Grass-type Pokemon: Treecko, one of the three starters from Ruby and Sapphire.
Update: Epic has reinstated its Baller vehicle into Fortnite. "We've collected the data we were looking for and have re-enabled The Baller," the developer stated on Twitter. Original story follows.
Citing an unexpected technical issue, Epic Games has disabled Fortnite's latest vehicle, the Baller. The hamster ball-like vehicle went live recently with the 8.10 update, and sported a Boost and Grappler to let you swing around trees or climb cliffs.
In a tweet, Epic Games said it is investigating a stability issue surrounding the Baller and will issue a status update once it knows more. This could be related to an apparent exploit that allowed players to launch themselves high into the air. Until the issue is fixed, you'll just have to look elsewhere for your deadly hamster ball fix.
The Baller protected players from damage while inside the enclosure, but enemy fire could destroy the vehicle itself with its 300 health. It's fairly common for Fortnite updates to hit an unexpected issue and be temporarily disabled, as in the case of dynamite and guided missiles, among others.
The 8.10 update introduced a few other changes besides. Those included a change to the Vending Machines, which became free to activate, but self-destruct after a single use. Another significant change was to cross-play cross-play matchmaking. Nintendo Switch players were changed to the pool with mobile players, while Xbox One and PS4 players remained together in their pool. Players can still opt-in across platforms to play with their friends.
This is part of Fortnite's recently launched Season 8, which offers new battle pass cosmetics for completing challenges. Check out our challenge guide if you need a hand, or read up on how to take part in the High Stakes Challenge for additional rewards.
Monsters fans will have much to celebrate this summer when the biggest movie monster of them all returns to screens. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the follow-up to 2014's blockbuster Godzilla, and sees the legendary radioactive reptile joined by several other classic creatures from Godzilla mythology. A new teaser has now been released.
While this teaser is a lot shorter than the most recent trailer, it contains plenty of new footage. We see Godzilla being studied in a giant tank by a group of scientists--including Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch--causing the Big G to light up his back and thunder past them in scary style. There's also brief shots of three-headed King Ghidorah and the winged Rodan doing battle, plus a villainous voiceover from Charles Dance. Check it out below.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is directed by Michael Dougherty, whose previous credits include the Christmas monster movie Krampus. It stars Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), Kyle Chandler (Game Night), and Millie Bobbie Brown (Stranger Things), plus Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Ken Watanabe (Inception), and O'Shea Jackson Jr (Straight Outta Compton). It hits theaters on May 31, 2019. For more check out everything we know about Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
In a recent interview with Japanese site Tamashii, Dougherty spoke about approaching the new movie after the success of the first, which was directed by Rogue One's Gareth Edwards. "I think I had to be mindful of the reaction to the previous film," he said. "So it was a matter of trying to look at the previous film, and look at what worked, which I thought was the tone, the scale, the design. Luckily, we got to bring in Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, which helped, because these are the crown jewels of [production company] Toho. I felt like we already had the advantage of getting to bring in antagonists and allies for Godzilla, which were beloved legacy characters, so that was a huge, huge help."
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the latest entry in Legendary Pictures' so-called MonsterVerse, following Godzilla and 2017's Kong: Skull Island. The fourth movie in the series will be Godzilla vs Kong, which is now in production and scheduled for a May 2020 release. The cast includes Alexander Skarsgård (Hold the Dark), Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta), and Demián Bichir (Alien Covenant).
The Division 2's release date has finally arrived. The game is available on store shelves around the world, meaning players are once again diving into Dark Zones and looting friends and enemies alike, except this time in the dramatic surroundings of Washington DC.
The question is, though, is this sequel any good? GameSpot's Division 2 review-in-progress awarded the game a 9/10, with Edmond Tran stating he's "still enamored with" the sequel after 30 hours of game time.
For more on the critical consensus on The Division 2, read on below. Alternatively, see a wider view on critics' opinions on GameSpot sister site Metacritic.GameSpot -- 9/10 (Review-In-Progress)
"After spending 30 hours completing the campaign and beginning to dabble in the endgame, I'm still enamored with The Division 2. The range of enemy types continues to keep combat encounters challenging, the equipment I earn and pick up continues to feel different and valuable. The ravaged environments continue to intrigue, and sometimes they're so stunning I find myself needing to take a screenshot before I move on. There is still so much to see in The Division 2, but I want to take the time to see it. I have absolutely no clue why I'm here or what anyone's motivations are, and I wish I had a narrative purpose to my endless hunger for progression. But I'm glad to be here right now." -- Edmond Tran [Full review-in-progress]Eurogamer -- No Score
"From start to finish, The Division 2 pulls in ... bits of American history with unwavering earnesty and yet manages to say absolutely nothing. Worse, it goes out of its way to say nothing. The result is that the only real message The Division 2 manages to impart is that guns will keep you safe. Despite the advertising campaign this is not a game about saving the soul of America, it's a game about the good guys with guns taking what they want from the bad guys with guns. A shame, because if you can look past the vacuity and the slapdash politicisation of The Division 2, there's a great game to be enjoyed here--even if you'll never quite escape the sense that it's a thunderingly dumb one." -- Johnny Chiodini [Full review]VG247 -- No Score
"I'm not always convinced games will improve all that much post-launch and I can only review what I've played, but Ubisoft has a good track record of making games far better than they are at launch with frequent updates. For now, I have to at least commend The Division 2 for getting the basics right. There’s a compelling endgame, there’s loot that actually matters, and missions don’t feel like they’re copy and pasted to bulk out the runtime. If some of the frustrations can be ironed out, it could be the best of its genre. But for the love of god, please let your writers say something if you ever make another one." -- Kirk McKeand [Full review]The Telegraph -- No Score (Review-In-Progress)
"Whether altruism is as essential as that fly new beanie hat will be up to you. The Division 2 is doing a solid job at both, currently performing a smart balancing act that could tip either way as the game progresses and keeping things interesting becomes more of a challenge. But so far, so good." -- Tom Hoggins [Full review-in-progress]IGN -- 8.0/10 (Review-In-Progress)
"The Division 2's initial leveling progression has been a relatively joyful undertaking. It clears the low bar set for the genre with ease, but it's still not an experience I'd subject myself to in a vacuum, without the promise of a deep and interesting endgame. In order to really succeed from here on out The Division 2 needs to show me that my time was well spent by providing me with the kind of unique, progression-based multiplayer PvE and PvP gameplay that I can only get in a shared-world shooter." -- James Duggan [Full review-in-progress]
The Division 2's recent release means the Tom Clancy shooter tops the UK physical games chart for the week ending March 16, according to sales monitor Chart-Track. However, Eurogamer reports the game's launch week sales are just 20% of those achieved by the game's predecessor, The Division.
There are mitigating factors: the first game launched on a Tuesday, rather than a Friday, so had more time in its first week to garner sales. In addition, more people buy digitally now than in 2016, and downloads are not counted by Chart-Track. Regardless, an 80% drop in launch week sales is significant.
The chart is otherwise largely made up of the usual suspects: Red Dead Redemption 2 continues its stay at No.2, while fellow Rockstar title Grand Theft Auto V rises to No.3. FIFA 19 and The Lego Movie 2 Video Game round out the top five at No.4 and No.5, respectively.
Despite hitherto lackluster physical sales, The Division 2 has enjoyed positive verdicts from critics. GameSpot's Division 2 review-in-progress awarded the game a 9/10, with Edmond Tran stating he's "still enamored with" the sequel after 30 hours of game time.
You can read the full top 10 sales chart for this week below, courtesy of UKIE and GfK Chart-Track. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.
- The Division 2
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Grand Theft Auto V
- FIFA 19
- The Lego Movie 2 Video Game
- Devil May Cry 5
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Far Cry: New Dawn
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
The classic Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh is one of the network's most beloved programs, so fans have been understandably excited about rumours of a reboot. Now, Drake Bell himself has come forward to discuss what might be coming up next.
Bell told E! that he and co-star Josh Peck have been talking, and Peck has come up with "some cool ideas" for what to do with a new version of Drake & Josh. Bell added that neither he nor Peck want to do a reboot or a "college years"-type version of the show.
"It has to be something cool; it has to be something creative. I think we've come up with something that's a little bit more creative and a little more exciting," he said.
That's all Bell had to say on the matter, which is to be expected given that the new show--if it is even a show--hasn't been announced yet.
The original Drake & Josh aired on Nickelodeon from 2004 to 2007. Bell and Peck play stepbrothers who don't see eye-to-eye on much, with Miranda Cosgrove starring as their sister, Megan. A source told People that the new version would be "more adult."
The show was known for its wacky humour, and Bell--who is also a musician in real life--wrote the show's theme song, "Found A Way." According to People, the new version of Drake & Josh is being shopped around to multiple networks, though none were named.
Drake & Josh would be just the latest reboot--or whatever you want to call it--based on a Nickelodeon show. Nickelodeon is making new All That and Are You Afraid of the Dark shows, while Bell has also talked about the possibility of an Amanda Show reboot.
Would you be interested in a Drake & Josh reboot? Let us know in the comments below!
It's not just the Hallmark Channel that's dropping actress Lori Laughlin amid the ongoing college bribery scandal. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Laughlin won't appear on the upcoming fifth season of Netflix's popular family sitcom Fuller House.
Laughlin, who played Aunt Becky on the original Full House and portrayed her again in a guest-starring role on Fuller House, appeared in 13 of the new show's 57 episodes.
The fifth season of Fuller House, which hasn't started filming yet, is set to premiere on Netflix this fall. Sources told THR that the show's production won't be impacted by the drama surrounding Laughlin.
Laughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were among those indicted in a national college bribery scandal. She and Giannulli reportedly paid $500,000 to help get their daughters into the University of Southern California. Actress Felicity Huffman was also implicated in the scandal.
This is just the latest round of controversy surrounding Fuller House. In 2018, Warner Bros. TV, the production company behind Full House and Fuller House, fired creator Jeff Franklin in the wake of allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Microsoft has announced a brand-new testing program for the Halo series. The "Halo Inside Program," as it's called, is described by Microsoft as a "new way" for fans to work alongside developer 343 Industries to improve new releases by testing them before launch.
You can sign up right now, but be aware that doing so requires you to sign a confidentiality agreement. You're then asked to take a survey with a series of questions related to your history with and interest in with the Halo franchise, including specific titles and modes. Later in the survey you'll be asked to provide details that may get you into what 343 is calling "flighting" programs for upcoming Halo titles. These are pre-release testing periods in which 343 provides access to a subset of the community to gather feedback and data before rolling out publicly to everyone.
Join us on the journey to bring Halo: The Master Chief Collection to PC! The Halo Insider Program is the new way you can partner with us to help improve our games via feedback and hands-on public flighting. Learn more and sign up today! https://t.co/KDrRsbUMWA pic.twitter.com/a7yRdXRqds— Halo (@Halo) March 17, 2019
This new Halo Insider Program will replace the MCC Insider Program that 343 used to test Halo: The Master Chief Collection's numerous updates on Xbox One. Going forward, the Halo Insider Program will be the overarching program going forward to support all Halo titles, products, and services." Even if you were already a member of the MCC Insider Program, you will need to re-register for the for Halo Insider Program.
You can improve your chances of being selected for a flight by ensuring your Halo Insider Program information is correct. For PC specifically, you'll need to provide a DXDIAG upload and send over your SteamID.
"We know everyone is super eager and excited to get started but please be patient-- tweeting at the team and posting in the forums asking to be included or demanding to know why you're not included won’t help the process," 343 said.
Even if you do get into the Halo Insider Program, you might not get selected for each flight. For example, on PC, 343 might want to test future Halo releases against specific hardware configurations, so not everyone may be needed.
"With MCC on PC specifically, the team is going to need to ensure they have specific representation across a broad matrix of PC hardware configurations," 343 said.
Those who get into a flight will want to make sure they participate, as 343 might not invite you back if you don't.
"Often flights require a critical mass of players online at a particular time, and maybe in a particular region, so your location and availability could also come into play. Once flighting is up and running, the team will likely also focus on active participants who play and provide feedback as candidates for ongoing flighting while players who don't actually participate may find they're not included in subsequent releases."
You can read more about the Halo Insider Program here in this detailed FAQ.
The upcoming release of Halo: MCC on PC will happen in stages, with each title releasing individually, so it seems likely that 343 will test each game with Halo Insider members first before rolling each title out widely to everyone. Looking further out, Microsoft has already confirmed that Halo Infinite will be playable early through flighting, so it seems the Halo Insider Program is returning for that game as well.
More details have come to light about DC's upcoming Suicide Squad sequel. Producer Peter Safran told Joblo that the sequel is a "total reboot," so it shouldn't be referred to as Suicide Squad. The name the studio is using is The Suicide Squad, though whether or not this is the final name or a working title remains unconfirmed.
"First of all, we don't call it Suicide Squad 2 'cause it's a total reboot, so it's The Suicide Squad and I think people should be extremely excited about it," Safran said.
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who was recently re-instated for Vol. 3, will write and direct The Suicide Squad. Regarding the script, Safran said, "It's everything you would hope from a James Gunn script and I think that says a lot and that promises a lot and I know that we will deliver a lot."
The intriguing angle of this story is that, now that he's back making Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Gunn is directing movies for both DC and Marvel. Safran said he and Gunn agree that the Marvel vs. DC rivalry is "absurd," and everything is going to be just fine.
"You know what I love about James directing for both Marvel and DC is he has always espoused the view that that which unites comic book and superhero lovers is much greater than that which divides us," Safran said. "Because, there's always been this Marvel/DC rivalry, which he has said, and I agree, is absurd. There's room for everybody and certainly that which unites us all is far greater than that which divides us, so hopefully they'll see that you can be both a Marvel and a DC fan and the world won't spin off its axis."
It's not exactly what what the description "total reboot" means for The Suicide Squad 2. What we do know is that Idris Elba will play Deadshot in the sequel, taking over the role from Will Smith.
The Suicide Squad comes to theatres in August 2021. A recent intriguing report says the film will add a number of characters from the DC Comics world, including Ratcatcher, King Shark, Polka-Dot Man, and Peacemaker.
Captain Marvel continues to be the No. 1 movie at the box office. According to box office figures from EW, the superhero film pulled in $69.3 million in the US and Canada this past weekend, keeping the film at the top of the box office charts. The $69.3 million, which is down 55 percent from its opening-weekend haul, now represents the 18th highest second-weekend in the history of movies.
There is a lot of space between Captain Marvel and the competition, as the animated film Wonder Park landed in the No. 2 position with $16 million. The No. 3 movie this past weekend was Five Feet Apart, which made $13.2 million.
Captain Marvel has now made $266.2 million in the US and Canada. Internationally, the film opened in Japan this weekend and made $5.6 million, which was good for No. 1 in Japan, and the highest opening for a standalone MCU character movie ever in the country.
The movie made a further $119.7 million from other international markets this weekend, boosting the movie's global results to $760.2 million after just two weeks.
Captain Marvel reportedly cost $150 million to make, and it holds the record for the biggest opening-weekend in the history of film for a female-led movie on a global basis.
If you've seen the movie, you can check out our list of Captain Marvel Easter eggs and breakdown of the end-credits scenes. We also have a history of the Tesseract and much more for you to check out. If you want some more Captain Marvel content, you can also check out the origin of Talos, a key character in the film.
In other news, you can see more of Captain Marvel in the new Avengers: Endgame trailer that you can see in the embed above.March 15-17 US/Canada Box Office:
- Captain Marvel -- $69.3 million
- Wonder Park -- $16 million
- Five Feet Apart -- $13.2 million
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World -- $9.3 million
- Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral -- $8.1 million
- No Manches Frida 2 -- $3.9 million
- Captive State -- $3.2 million
- Lego Movie 2: The Second Part -- $2.1 million
- Alita: Battle Angel -- $1.9 million
- Green Book --$1.3 million
Halo developer 343 Industries has a pizza-themed gift for all Halo 5: Guardians players. Available now in the Xbox One shooter is the "Pizza Party" Req pack, which includes a pepperoni pizza-themed weapon skin, Last Slice, as well as the Hot Pie banner.
Why pizza? The studio originally teased Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC, which has now been confirmed, by referencing pepperoni pizza. When the game was officially announced for PC last, excited fans sent pizzas to 343's offices. They sent so many pizzas that 343 had to plead with fans to please stop sending pizzas.
Thank you for the outpouring of excitement over the news that Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming to PC. As a token of gratitude, we’d like to offer you a hot slice of pepperoni within Halo 5. Jump online today and pick up your complimentary Last Slice skin! pic.twitter.com/ARBFUgOsxa— Halo (@Halo) March 17, 2019
The pizza skin for the Halo 5 Assault Rifle looks pretty slick. Check out the video above to see it in action, while some images of the notifications and more can be seen below.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming to PC, and it'll be available on Steam in addition to the Windows Store. Additionally, Halo: Reach is coming to The Master Chief Collection on both Xbox One and PC.
In addition, a brand-new Halo game, Halo Infinite, is coming to Xbox One and PC. Microsoft is expected to talk more about this long-in-development titles at E3 in June.
After the second trailer for the remake of Pet Sematary dropped, there were some divisive reactions. Remakes in general are not always well received, and for every good Stephen King adaptation like It, we get a Dark Tower or two. With the new Pet Sematary, directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer take some major departures from the source material that made people think the marketing for the film gave away everything. But the Starry Eyes directors have more aces up their sleeves. This new remake dares ask to ask: What if dead was not better?
Those not familiar with the novel or film need not worry, however, for Pet Sematary is a highly entertaining, terrifying, and fun movie all on its own. Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) is tired of the city life, so he decides to move his family from Boston to rural Maine to spend more time with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz), and their two young children, 8-year-old Ellie (Jeté Laurence) and 3-year-old Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoie). One day Ellie discovers a procession of kids in creepy animal masks heading to a mysterious burial ground in the woods near the family’s new home. There, she meets her neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), who tells the story of the titular pet cemetery that houses beloved and departed pets (and, because this is Stephen King we're talking about, also something more ancient and sinister).
At 101 minutes, Pet Sematary has a great pace that makes it feel like the movie is shorter than it is, leaving you wishing you could see more of this twisted tale. By nature of the story, the major scares don’t begin until about halfway through the movie, but Buhler is an impatient writer and the script wants to scare you as soon as it can--and it succeeds. There are plenty of smaller scares that whet your appetite for the madness that will follow.
The film doesn’t shy away from showing you some horrific and gory stuff, including a scene in which a character's face is half scraped off with his brain hanging out from his skull. It’s an unnerving and visceral sight that will have horror fans cheering in the theater. And those expecting a certain scalpel to play a part in the film should be excited for Pet Sematary, as the scene in question is as gory as you would expect.
There are plenty of surprises both for longtime fans of the story and those coming in blind. The script by Jeff Buhler expects you to be familiar with the story, because it wants to make you feel like you know what is going to happen next. You anticipate the pivotal moments from the older movie and the book, right before Buhler pulls the rug from under you and makes you jump in fear or laugh at the clever ways the script and Kölsch and Widmyer’s direction subverts expectations.
One of the biggest changes takes place in an elaborate and tense scene that acknowledges the audience expectations and then hits you in the face with a truck. It is also a change that works perfectly for this adaptation. Pet Sematary takes full advantage of this change to explore questions about mortality, grief and what we would do if we were in that situation.
One of the most interesting aspects of the story is how it addresses grief, and how hard it is to let go of loved ones after they die. Jeté Laurence plays Ellie with a nuance not commonly seen in such young actors. Jason Clarke is great as Louis, but it is Amy Seimetz as Rachel who is the highlight of the film. Rachel has a bigger character arc in this version of the story, exploring her proximity to death more closely. And fans of Zelda need not worry, as Pet Sematary takes her part in the story and elevates it to new and more horrific heights.
Despite having plenty of gruesome imagery, Pet Sematary is also morbidly funny. Buhler’s script and Kölsch and Widmyer’s direction doesn’t rely on jokes, but on the messed-up situations the Creed family gets involved in. This is a pitch-black film with a bleak third act that also features a scene with a hairbrush that will have audiences squirming and laughing at the same time.
In an age where every film is getting a remake or a reboot, Pet Sematary might actually be better than the original. It's terrifying, twisted, heartbreaking, morbidly funny, and a hell of a fun time.The GoodThe BadThird act is bananas in all the twisted and dark ways imaginableJohn Lithgow doesn’t have as much to do as one would expectJeté Laurence is a revelationWill turn you off from wanting to have kidsSmart changes from the source material Doesn’t shy away from being gory and morbidly funny Hypnotic score by Christopher Young
While horror franchises aren't exactly new, James Wan's Conjuring series is more ambitious than most, and has been slowly building an MCU-style interconnected horror universe for several years. Following last year's hugely successful The Nun, 2019 sees the return of spooky Victorian doll Annabelle, for her third movie. A short teaser has now been released, which confirms the title of the new film.
The teaser has no footage from the movie, but it does reveal that it is named Annabelle Comes Home. It follows Annabelle (2014) and Annabelle: Creation (2017) and hits theaters on June 28. Check the teaser out below:
Annabelle Comes Home is directed by Gary Dauberman. While this is Dauberman's first movie as director, he wrote the previous two Annabelle films, as well as the upcoming It: Chapter Two. The movie stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, who reprise their roles from the main Conjuring films as paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren. Wan is producing once more.
Annabelle Comes Home isn't the only Conjuring-related movie on its way this year. Next month sees the release of The Curse Of La Llorona, which is also produced by Wan and has a loose connection to those films. Check out GameSpot's review here.
There were enough red flags going into The Curse of La Llorona to make me worry. Setting a story that relies so heavily on a latino folklore in 1970s Los Angeles was one thing, and having a Caucasian protagonist was even worse. But this movie's most serious flaw is that it simply feels lazy. There are enough good intentions to make you appreciate the effort, but every choice made feels like they wanted it to be done as quickly as possible with no regard for the original folktale or the people who care about it. Add a shoehorned-in last-minute Conjuring connection and you get this horror franchise’s version of The Cloverfield Paradox.
The legend of La Llorona, or The Weeping Woman, is arguably the most famous horror folktale in Latin America. Every country has their own version, but they mostly agree that La Llorona is the ghost of a woman whose children drowned (either by her hand, or someone else’s) and in her grief, she killed herself. She now spends her afterlife stuck in purgatory, weeping for her lost children and looking for new children to make her own. It’s a simple story, but there is no denying the huge impact it’s had on Latin American culture for generations, so it’s refreshing and exciting for La Llorona to finally make her debut in an American studio film. But this was the wrong film to do it.
We start with a prologue set in 1673 Mexico that shows the film’s version of the folktale, where our titular villainess murders her children, before jumping forward in time to Los Angeles. Here we meet social worker Anna (Linda Cardellini), a widower to a latino police officer who is called to the home of Patricia Alvarez (Patricia Velásquez). What appears to be a normal case of terrible parenting actually has something even more sinister behind it, and before long, two kids are dead, and the evil spirit has set her sights on Anna’s children.
Director Michael Chaves makes an impressive directorial debut with The Curse of La Llorona, and within a few minutes you will realize why he was given the keys to the next Conjuring movie (he's set to direct Conjuring 3). He knows where to place the camera so that you're always wary of what’s lurking at the corner of the screen, as well as maintaining an ominous atmosphere through the use of darkness and shadow. He also knows how to pull a good jump scare, even though the film relies too much on the same sound effect and jump scare repeatedly. After the 30th time the camera pans to reveal La Llorona standing where five seconds before there was nothing, you will beg for something new to happen on screen.
During a Q&A after the film’s world premiere at SXSW, producers Gary Dauberman and James Wan talked about being inspired by '70s police procedurals and wanting to include that feeling in The Curse of La Llorona. There is definitely a touch of that in the movie, as the first half is more of an investigation into what is haunting these kids, and an exploration of the dynamics of the Tate-Garcia family to make us feel invested in their well-being.
The performances are mostly good. Linda Cardellini is convincing as the widow Anna, a woman struggling to raise her two kids alone, who now must also battle an angry spirit. She goes from sweet and loving to badass protective mama bear in a flash, and it’s thrilling to see her in fighting mode once her children are threatened. Raymond Cruz is a highlight as the wisecracking, ass-kicking curandero that acts as this film’s version of Father Merrin from The Exorcist, while also bringing some much needed humor. Rounding out the cast is Patricia Velásquez in an overdue return to horror (or horror-adjacent) movies after her role in The Mummy. Velásquez instantly sells you her pain and grief after the loss of her children with lines like, “I feel nothing, because I have felt the worst.” Unfortunately, she doesn’t get to do much, and is in the film for less than 10 minutes.
For a film that is being sold as a very latino story, it doesn’t feel like the writers or producers gave much thought to either the latino characters, or any kind of latino flavor. Despite most of the cast being Latin American or of latino descent, their characters are little more than plot devices, only there to give exposition and explain the folktale, or to hand a weapon to Anna. It’s a pity, really, that the most important characters are kept at arm’s length. This extends to a lack of consistency, as any Spanish-speaker will notice that Raymond Cruz’s character speaks with a different accent every five seconds, not to mention the egregious use of Dora The Explorer-like bilingualism.
The titular La Llorona gets the most barebones of a backstory, without much depth to her or her background despite centuries of folklore across many countries. That being said, La Llorona is very effective at scaring the audience, and a scene involving an umbrella is most impressive and effective in its intent. The issue is that it pretty much feels like a Conjuring movie in every way imaginable, without acknowledging the cultures from which it borrows this story. From the long zooms and camera movements to the extremely unnecessary use of loud noises before each jump scare, it feels like horror by numbers. There’s also the very much not needed connection to the Conjuring universe--Curse all but name-drops the Warrens without any kind of payoff to justify it.
Despite featuring latino actors and being based on a latino folktale, The Curse of La Llorona lacks latino flavor, instead feeling like the blandest of the Conjuring movies. This movie had so much potential, but the forced connection to the rest of the franchise ends up making it feel like the Cloverfield Paradox--a side story with potential, but which didn't live up to the standard set by the other movies in the series.The GoodThe BadMichael Chaves’s direction will make you excited for the Conjuring 3Feels lazy in its attempt to capture Latin American folkloreEnough thrills and scares to entertain youOver-reliance on jump scares and loud noisesCast does a mostly good jobConjuring connection shoehorned in Shallow characters Latino characters get pushed to the sideline and used as plot devices
Though Capcom's action game series has always had a particular sound for its gothic-horror-aesthetic, the current game, Devil May Cry 5, features music that really goes the extra mile to get players to feel something more as they're working their way up to SSS rank. GameSpot recently interviewed DMC5 composers Cody Matthew Johnson and husband-wife team Casey and Ali Edwards about the making of the action game's main tracks for its cast of characters. During this talk, they spoke about their collaboration with Capcom, how the game's energizing and dynamic soundtrack is a game-changer, and what it's like having the internet embrace their new sound.
Editor's Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.
Can you talk about what it was like working with Capcom for this project, and how they first got in contact with you?
Casey Edwards: Funny enough, even though I ended up writing the track Devil Trigger, I got found through one of Ali's older tracks that she did for another video game called Killer Instinct with Mick Gordon [B. Orchid's Theme, in particular]. I actually did some work on that game as well, assisting the composer.
Ali Edwards: Yeah, it's like they wanted both of us without knowing that we even knew each other, or that we were married at all.
Casey: Yeah, Capcom heard that particular track and they really liked the drive that it had. It really just stood out to everyone. When I wrote Devil Trigger, I pitched her as the vocalist and they just immediately fell in love with it. So, it kinda just worked out in a weird, coincidental, ironic way.
And Cody, this is actually your third collaboration with Capcom, the first being for Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite?
Cody M. Johnson: That is true. My career is still in the early stages, which is really exciting as all these things are happening. My collaborator Jeff Rona and I did three games back to back for Capcom. We didn't really stop. We started off with Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. Right after that came out, word got around to another development team about what we were doing, and they liked what they heard. So they came back to us. Right out of the gate I was working with Jeff, who wrote "Crimson Cloud" [V's Theme], and I ended up writing "Subhuman" [Dante's theme]. We worked on Devil May Cry 5 first, but then shortly after that, another team at Capcom hit us up to do Resident Evil 2 shortly after. So it's been pretty exciting.
Were you fans of the series before you worked on this game?
Cody: I had played Devil May Cry 4 and the previous games a lot. I was still young enough to sneak away and play them with my friends, but it was so hard, I didn't get very far. Even as an experienced gamer now, I've come back to try to play them, when I first picked up Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite--but they're just so hard. They're still one of the hardest games I've ever played to date.
Casey: I actually grew up playing Devil May Cry. So I remembered the whole Devil Trigger aspect of the game pretty vividly, and that was what was sticking out in my head as I was writing the song. I couldn't get it out of my head and yeah, I don't know, I just wrote it and we just went with it. I thought for sure someone from Capcom was gonna send me an email back saying, "Hey, you need to change that."
Ali: But that didn't happen. They all loved it.
The big line of the song, "bang, bang, bang, pull my Devil Trigger," is such an earworm, and it feels so appropriate for the series.
Casey: Right, I remember writing that. I wrote all these lyrics in one sitting, pretty much. For that particular part, I was looking at Ali, and then I verbalized what she was about to sing.
Ali: You were so worried I was gonna hate it!
Casey: To me, that was kind of a fun phrase. I just wasn't sure if it would latch on to the Devil May Cry fans, you know?
Last I checked, Devil Trigger has over 21 million views on YouTube. Having those earlier reservations, are you surprised to see how much it has taken off?
Casey: Well, first of all, it's pretty freakin' crazy. That's a lot of plays. It kinda blows my mind a little bit. I think there might be a few factors involved in that. People have been really excited to see a continuation of [classic] Devil May Cry. I guess in the sense that you say, the song is holding its own water a little bit as well, yeah, I don't know what to say other than it's pretty insane that people have played the song that many times.
Ali: Yeah, it's definitely something we didn't expect. We were more worried that fans would hate the track, and it would become a meme. Instead, it became a meme in the best possible way.
Both of you even got to perform the song live at The Game Awards. They had Rivers Cuomo from Weezer introduce your performance.
Casey: Yeah, that was awesome. We actually got to run into Rivers after that, and it was pretty great getting to take pictures with him and nerd out. I mean gosh, yeah, I was listening to them back in high school, so that was pretty awesome. And yeah, getting to play at The Game Awards was, I mean, a dream come true. And I know it's a relatively new awards show, but they had so many awesome people on stage, and we got to share a stage with Hans Zimmer. That's nuts.
Ali: Yeah, that was pretty crazy, it was a blast. It was such a crazy production if you think about it. It takes a huge team to put on a production of that magnitude. It's crazy seeing it all happen, and being a part of it, continuously.
As far as working on Devil May Cry 5, I can only imagine how much planning went into writing the tracks and getting them just write. Can you talk about what the collaborative process was like with the other composers at Capcom.
Cody: Yeah, from the very beginning, Capcom wanted, I should say, independence. They wanted to make sure each of these key tracks could exist separately from one other, but still work together within the Devil May Cry universe. We worked with Kota Suzuki [DMC5's main composer], who actually wrote the track "Legacy," which was in the final trailer. He was part of the development team that flew out to LA when we did the recording sessions for the bigger tracks, including "Subhuman" and "Crimson Cloud." Other than that, Capcom didn't really restrict us; they really wanted the score in these scenes to give identity to their characters.
Casey: When we were working with Capcom Japan, they had some clear visions for what they wanted for some of these tracks, and it was really nice getting to implement previous work I had done in the game, and getting to bring it to new light towards the end of the gaming experience.
Ali: After they heard me on "Devil Trigger," I guess maybe that's when they reached out for "Legacy" with me. I didn't think was going to happen until the game was released. I wasn't sure that was ever going to see the light of day in trailer form. And so I remember being pleasantly surprised when that came out. It's an exciting track, it's really beautiful, with swelling strings, and it was amazing for the fans to finally hear that. Working with Kota on that was a great experience as well.
That song really comes up at such a great moment in the game. It also highlights how different a lot of the tracks are in the game, yet they work really well when you bring it all together.
Casey: Yeah, for sure. I think that's one thing people can get lost sometimes. They forget, "Devil Trigger," for instance, is some weird hybrid rock pop thing, but I am also a classically trained orchestral composer and Ali does anything from soft, ethereal vocals to just mind-blowing powerful pop vocals, and stuff like that.
Ali: I started out as a jazz singer, so there's that, too. But we got to be totally crazy with it. Working on a session musician, you can be asked to do anything, and I think your willingness to be a chameleon is really where your usability as a session musician really comes into play. The more I can become a chameleon and adhere to different genres of music, I mean, that's why I'm being asked to work on video games. If I couldn't do that, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to work on so many incredible games so far.
Looking back on the history of the series, Devil May Cry has this really deep focus on presenting bombastic and energizing tracks. Another game in the series that had a really eclectic soundtrack was Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil May Cry--featuring Noisia and Combichrist. Did the style of that game have any influence on this one?
Cody: Well from the very start, everything was based on Devil May Cry 4, as in all the references they sent us. But of course, it was something I personally looked into. It's important to understand the trajectory of all these games, where it's been, and how the fans reacted. And you need to make a decision about where you want your art to align with. It was very conscious from the very beginning that this game is Devil May Cry 5. That was a very conscious decision, not to stay away from that version of DmC, but to separate from it, stylistically. But yeah, the combat system that matures and alters the music was something we really liked about that game.
It's really thrilling to hear DMC5's music evolve depending on how well you're playing.
Cody: Yeah, It was just something we were very conscious of from the very beginning. We don't want to leave any players behind, but we didn't want to make it easier for players either. It's all about challenging yourself. But the worst thing that could happen would be if the game's music was boring. I know this as a gamer, I know this as someone who goes listens to the same 32-second track on loop for hours. It's the worst thing in the world: You're stuck on a level for three days, you don't wanna be listening to the same piece of music.
We really tried to craft these songs in a way, that if you don't hit SSS rank, you don't ever hear the chorus or the breakdown. By doing that, those parts of the song will never get boring. The goal from the start was to incentivize the player. There is something more, you should do your absolute best to get to your SSS, and you'll get the payoff. There should be rewards for those players that accomplish that, and I think we achieved something beyond the normal combat music.
Did you enjoy your experience working with Capcom on Devil May Cry 5?
Cody: They've always been happy with what we've done and we're always happy to give it to 'em. They're such an amazing collaborator, and they really care about artistic vision, and they care about what you can bring to the table, and it's truly an amazing experience working with them.
Casey: I was super excited to work on Devil May Cry. I've been playing this game since Devil May Cry 1, which came out in 2001. I remember my mom taking me to Blockbuster to rent it. And then you fast forward to 2017, when I was asked to work on it, I was already so freaking pumped to get started on it. We're classically trained and I play guitar as well in the STEM program, right? I love doing so many different things and different genres. So being asked to genre hop is one of the best things about working in the field. TV and video games and film, all alike, and one day you could be writing a solo piano piece and the next day you're writing "Devil Trigger."
Ali: Yeah, for me, video games have always been a pretty large part of my life. It's always been a love of mine. So, I remember playing games with my cousins when we were all kids and it was this bonding experience for all of us. And I never would've imagined that I'd be working on video games today. It's kind of crazy to think about, but I absolutely love what I do. I love being able to work on various projects across various genres and kind of become a different person for a little while. And it's really, really humbling, seeing how the fans have accepted our work. It's very humbling, it's very exciting, and, all in all, we're very grateful to be a part of the Devil May Cry family.
Like many games in this genre, The Division 2 plays best with a well-coordinated squad of friends covering each other and using unique abilities to fend off mobs with tactical efficiency. Even a squad of random players simply taking down enemies together is sufficient enough to get through most of the game's missions. But sometimes I just want play as a lone wolf and go at my own pace without the pressure of keeping up with others. And I often ask with these types of games, how viable is it go solo?
It's the same question I had recently with Fallout 76 and Anthem, and one I've been asking since jumping into the original Destiny. Naturally, I thought about the same thing going into The Division 2, and I'm glad that more so than other loot shooters, playing by yourself turned out to be an enjoyable experience that still captures many of the game's high points.My Division agent can take care of the evil that's permeated Washington DC on her own.
Something about The Division 2 makes the lone wolf approach work. I mainly attribute it to the fact that it revolves around being a cover-based shooter that taps more into a tactical mindset rather than your ability to eliminate enemy hordes and huge bosses that soak up tons of damage. Don't get me wrong, The Division 2 has elements of that, but your ability to control combat scenarios and find clever ways to handle sometimes overwhelming firefights are much more important factors.
One particular experience solidified this feeling. The initial firefight in the Air And Space Museum mission proved more difficult than anything before, despite me being the proper level for it. I was downed in short time, twice. In the first attempt, I got caught out of cover for a little too long, and on a second try, flanked by enemies while desperately trying to find safety as my riot shield got torn to shreds. On the third and successful effort, I scouted for higher-level (purple) enemies so I could plan to take them out first before a full-on firefight broke out. With the use of my chem launcher skill and a few well-placed sniper shots, I took out the biggest threats at the outset.
I made my way through the rest of the mission consistently challenged, but ultimately relying on smart use of cover and taking advantage of openings. In the final phase of the whole mission played out differently; it forced me to think my way out of a heavily-armored boss pressuring me and encroaching on my space of limited cover. With my back against the wall, I pulled out all the stops; grenades, skills, unloading both primary weapons directly on a weak spot, while dancing around a slim pillar to keep changing my cover angle, I finished the fight by the skin of my teeth.
After 15 hours spent as a lone wolf, I'm still going, and I think that says a lot about how great it executes the core gameplay loop in a playground of fascinating set-pieces.
These moments aren't unique to solo play by any stretch, but they illustrate why The Division 2 works as a single-player experience. You're constantly on your toes, considering your position in these battles and trying your best to take out enemies before they get the jump on you or before another one can flank you. Of course, there were a number of cases where I simply took aim and landed precision shots with a semi-auto rifle to get through the many phases of missions, but even that still has a definite satisfaction thanks to a variety of tools at your disposal that have an effective, impactful feel upon using.
Another thing to consider is that playing solo means no one is around to revive you. Missions are usually generous with checkpoints and keeping your progress even when you get killed, but it's not always the case. As a result, the not-so-forgiving phases give combat somewhat higher stakes like 'no respawn zone' phases. Dying in the open world also forces you to respawn at a fast travel point and run back to what you were doing. It's not ideal, but it does play into how carefully you approach combat when you're alone.The Air And Space Museum is rich with detail and real exhibits.
The Division 2 makes the lonesome journey worthwhile in another capacity--I had the time and space to embrace the wonderfully detailed--albeit dilapidated and abandoned--environments. This is a fairly accurate rendition of the nation's capital after all, and I'll be damned if I didn't treat it as a little field trip. I found the ViewPoint Museum mission to be utterly fascinating as a display of history, media, and politics just as much as the American History Museum's Vietnam War exhibit. Calling back to the Air And Space Museum, I took the time to actually examine what was on display. It's a testament to the incredible set-pieces featured in several of the game's main quests, real-world locations, and museums and landmarks that communicate a history that eerily complements the dark backdrop of The Division's storyline.
Speaking of story, there's unfortunately not much to see here. I often go into these types of games solo in order to soak up narrative bits, reflect on in-game events, and make sure I speak to every NPC possible to get the full picture, but that's certainly not the case. In the original Division, I loved finding ECHOs, which painted a vivid picture of New York was before the Dollar Flu and right when poor folks scrambled to survive, and in turn, tried to understand an entirely new lore. However, The Division 2 falls short in delivering a story worth caring about. The canon has already been built, we know how dire the virus made things, and it rests on that. It's a generic story about rebuilding with perfunctory attempts at emotional stakes. Factions exist to put a name and evil archetype on enemies that you don't feel bad fighting against. And NPCs primarily serve functional purposes at settlements and bases, nothing more. In a way, The Division 2's design flows like it's specifically tuned for the squad that wants to churn through missions at a rapid pace with narrative as an afterthought. If anything, this approach keeps the action moving and places less emphasis on a weaker aspect of the game.
It's not an entirely seamless experience on your own; there will be times when waves of Hyenas or True Sons just become too much to handle, and prove more frustrating than challenging. These are often scenarios that would've been easier with a mate or two to pick you up when you get downed, lay down covering fire, or take out imminent threats. Admittedly, I haven't delved too deep into the Dark Zone, so I can't speak to how one of the more captivating features of this game fares with no one to watch your back. But for the majority of The Division 2's main questline, a solo player should be just as excited to engage in the game's satisfying combat system while being able to handle its bigger fights.
At some point, you'll inevitably squad up with randoms or friends because, of course, that's what a multiplayer shared-world game is going to push you to do. But overall, the grind of The Division 2 delivers a plenty of fun and challenge that's manageable, especially when incorporating more of your skills and devise ways to move from cover to cover and create your own flanking routes. After 15 hours spent as a lone wolf, I'm still going, and I think that says a lot about how great it executes the core gameplay loop in a playground of fascinating set-pieces.
Valve has announced it's revisiting user reviews on Steam in order to combat review bombing. In a blog post, Valve wrote it will now "identify off-topic review bombs, and remove them from the Review Score."
"We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score," Valve continued. The company admits there's still a bit of a grey area with this definition, so it's developed a tool that "identifies any anomalous review activity on all games on Steam in as close to real-time as possible."
After the tool has identified possibly troublesome reviews, it will inform Valve and the company will then begin an investigation. If Valve decides the user reviews are an off-topic bomb, the company will inform the developer that every review within the time period of the review bomb will be removed from the game's overall Steam score. At this point, however, the user reviews will still be live. It will be up to the developer's discretion over which are deleted.
The downside to this process is that every user review during an off-topic review bomb will be removed from a game's overall Steam score, even the good ones. "But as we mentioned back in our first User Review post, our data shows us that review bombs tend to be temporary distortions, so we believe the Review Score will still be accurate, and other players will still be able to find and read your review within the period," Valve wrote. Plenty of negative comments that focus on DRM or EULA changes will also be considered off-topic review bombings as well.
Developers who don't want this new tool combing through their games' comments and Valve declaring when an off-topic review bomb is happening can opt out of the process by going into their Steam Store options. Valve is working on a few more changes to user reviews as well, but they'll be shipped out at a later date.
As Game of Thrones Season 8's April 14 premiere date quickly approaches, one question dominates all others: Who will sit on the Iron Throne when all is said and done? This is the show's final season, after all, and unlike George R.R. Martin's forever-in-progress books, the HBO production will actually have a conclusion.
We had that all-consuming question in mind when we recently got the chance to sit down with Harry Lloyd, who's set to play Charles Xavier--Professor X--in the third and final season of FX's X-Men adaptation Legion. Game of Thrones fans, however, will probably know Lloyd better as Viserys Targaryen, Daenerys's abusive brother from back in Game of Thrones Season 1.
Lloyd couched his opinion in the fact that he's "not quite up to date, shamefully," though he plans to catch up before Season 8 arrives. But his nomination for Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, King or Queen of Westeros, and Warmer of the Iron Throne is nevertheless perfectly valid: nobody.
"I kind of want no one on it, to be honest," the actor said, grinning. "I just want it to become a really nice, kind of democracy."
He did offer one more alternative, though: "I'll tell you what, I always wanted Hodor to be in charge," he continued, laughing--clearly aware of the character's fate in Season 6. "But, yeah--maybe with some time travel?"
With this line of questioning begun, we couldn't stop at one. To this day, Viserys's gruesome death at Khal Drogo's hands in Season 1--with a pot of molten gold poured over his dome--stands as one of the show's best. We asked Lloyd whether there's been another since then that topped it. Surprisingly, he went all the way back to another Season 1 death.
"You know what one of my favorite deaths has always been, was just a couple of episodes after mine, in Episode 8 of Season 1, when Khal Drogo rips that guy's tongue out," Lloyd said. He remembered discussing the scene with Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo (and, of course, went on to portray Aquaman in Justice League and his own standalone movie). According to Lloyd, the scene was written as a more straightforward sword fight, but Momoa had other ideas.
Momoa apparently got involved personally, asking the art department to whip up a convincing tongue that looked like it had been ripped out root and stem. "And it's Game of Thrones, so the art department, you know, they rustled one of them up--they probably had a couple already on file," Lloyd recalled.
"I just thought that was a wonderful little sequence, and the fact that it was so collaborative,even in that first [season]," he continued, "I always liked that."
The Guardians of the Galaxy will, indeed, live to fight again with director James Gunn at the helm. Well, at least some of them probably will. Who knows what's going to happen in Avengers: Endgame? However, the news that Disney has rehired James Gunn to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after firing him last summer has been met with unabashed positivity by fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as Gunn himself.
In his first tweet since he was fired in July 2018, Gunn shared a message on the heels of his being hired once again by Marvel Studios. "I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months," he wrote. "I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney's decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all."March 15, 2019
Gunn was first removed from the project after years-old tweets surfaced, in which he made jokes about rape and pedophilia. At the time, Gunn apologized and noted that he had apologized in the past. At the time, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn explained the director's dismissal, saying, "The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him."
His return to the project--and the Marvel Cinematic Universe--was celebrated by Gunn's fellow MCU directors. Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed tweeted, "Welcome back, James." Meanwhile, Doctor Strange helmer Scott Derrickson offered up a "GLORY HALLELUJA" to the news.
Welcome back, James. pic.twitter.com/UeFv45LSM9— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) March 15, 2019
G L O R Y H A L L E L U J A https://t.co/Yex7f34DO2— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) March 15, 2019
With Gunn back in the driver's seat, it's now believed Guardians Vol. 3 will go into production following the director's commitment to the Suicide Squad sequel he's signed on for. The Suicide Squad sequel, which is reportedly eyeing Idris Elba as a replacement for Will Smith in the role of Deadshot, is expected to begin filming later this year.
Out of nowhere, a new type of item--jump pads--have appeared in Apex Legends near Market. And these are not just any jump pads either; they're the ones the rumored new Legend Octane places as his Ultimate ability, suggesting that developer Respawn Entertainment could be teasing what's coming to the game soon.
We've stumbled upon it ourselves (as you can see in the video above), and we aren't the only ones, as evidenced by posts on Reddit. Other players are reporting they've found Octane's jump pads as well. Respawn is just leaving coy-looking emoji comments in response, which implies this is a purposeful tease of what's to come, and not a mistaken leak on the developer's part.
Prior to this, Octane has leaked a few times, which is why so many people believe he's the next scheduled character for Apex Legends. The first mention of the Legend was a leak that showcased the character's ability page. The leaked image stated Octane's Passive allowed him to heal over time while not in combat, his Tactical caused him to move 30 percent faster for six seconds at the cost of 10 percent of his health, and his Ultimate deployed a jump pad to launch Legends into the air.
After that leak, another one--this time detailing the upcoming battle pass for Apex Legends--also showcased Octane, seemingly confirming he's the next playable character in the battle royale game. In this second leak, the Origin landing page had accidentally changed early, promoting the battle pass with a picture of the Borderlands-looking Legends. "Survive the the [sic] arena, meet the Apex Games' latest Legend, Octane, wield new weapons, and score unique loot. The Season 01 Battle Pass is here, purchase it at the in-game store for 950 Apex Coins," the launch page said.
After these leaks--and a few other less credible ones--Respawn responded, clarifying the battle pass would not launch on March 12 like some data miners had suggested and that not everything on the internet should be taken at face value. "There's lots of stuff that has been datamined from Apex since launch and is swirling around the Internet," Respawn community manager Jay Frechett wrote. "We know this stuff is fun to dig up and speculate about, but you should not treat any of that info as a source of truth. There's stuff in there that is very old, or things we've tried in the past and cut--remember our design process is to prototype and play lots of ideas--and some of it may be things we’re still building for Apex Legends."
There seems to be some semblance of truth to Octane at least. Respawn hasn't clarified whether his launch pads will stick around near Market or eventually be removed from the game when the Legend does officially release--which is due this month. Apex Legends is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.