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A Look Back At Xenogears, 20 Years Later

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:00

Although these it's not mentioned as often today as some of its contemporaries, Xenogears is nevertheless a cult-classic RPG. Released in 1998 for the original PlayStation by the company then known as Squaresoft, Xenogears set the stage for a series of games that continues today, two decades later.

In the video above, we explore the history of Xenogears, including some behind-the-scenes details and a look at what made it special. With a twist on the Active Time Battle system used in games like Chrono Trigger, it offered a distinct style of combat to go along with an excellent soundtrack.

The video also explores the controversial religious aspects of the game that posed a problem during localization. It also touches on the infamously incomplete nature of the game; rather than cut content entirely, the developers resorted to leaning on exposition-heavy cutscenes comprised of static images.

Despite this, Xenogears remains beloved by many. It never received a direct sequel at Square, and disagreements with the publisher led to director Tetsuya Takahashi leaving the company to found Monolith Soft. That company subsequently went on to establish the Xeno series, first developing the Xenosaga games before moving on to the Xenoblade Chronicles titles, the most recent entry of which, Chronicles 2, debuted late last year on Nintendo Switch.

Monster Hunter World's Street Fighter 5 Event Begins Today For Some PS4 Players

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:58

Before the second part of Monster Hunter World's Horizon: Zero Dawn crossover event begins later this month, some PS4 players will have a chance to get a different set of crossover armor for their hunter. Beginning at 4 PM PT / 7 PM ET today, February 15 (12 AM GMT on February 16), PS4 players who have save data for Street Fighter V on their consoles will be able to accept the first Street Fighter V Event Quest.

The quest is called Down the Dark, Muddy Path, and it's a three-star mission that requires a Hunter Rank of 3 or higher. The objective of the quest is very straightforward: slay a Barroth. Complete the mission and you'll be rewarded with items to craft the Ryu armor set, which will turn your hunter into the iconic Street Fighter character when equipped. You can take a look at the Ryu armor below.

In addition to the Event Quest, Capcom will also offer Hadoken and Shoryuken gestures for your hunter, along with a Street Fighter V sticker set, as paid DLC. A second Street Fighter V Event Quest will follow later and gives players materials to craft the Sakura armor. You can read more about the Street Fighter V event on the official Monster Hunter World website.

While the first Street Fighter V crossover quest is only open to certain PS4 players at the moment, Capcom says it will also be available for everyone on PS4 as well as Xbox One at a later date. Likewise, players on both consoles will be able to get the retro Mega Man armor for their Palico in the future.

Monster Hunter World's second Horizon event begins on February 28. Like the previous quest, it will be exclusive to PS4 players. The mission this time around will be to hunt a giant Anjanath, and the reward will be materials to craft Aloy's bow and armor. Equipping the armor will change your appearance to look like Aloy, regardless of your hunter's gender.

Despite Setting A 2K Record, Mafia 3 Dev Hit With Layoffs

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 08:25

Hangar 13, the studio responsible for 2016's Mafia III, has been hit with a wave of layoffs. Publisher 2K confirmed the news with GameSpot, though the exact scope of the "staff reductions" is unclear at this point.

"2K can confirm that there have been staff reductions at Hangar 13 in order to ensure that the studio's resources are properly aligned with its long-term development plans," a 2K spokesperson said in a statement. "These reductions will not influence 2K's ability to create and deliver its products that are currently in development. We never take these matters lightly, and are working with the affected employees to support them and explore potential opportunities throughout our organization."

The news was originally reported by Kotaku; sources speaking with the site indicated that a "large portion" of the studio's staff have been laid off. At least prior to Mafia III's release, Hangar 13's staff count was in the neighborhood of 150 people.

Mafia III was the debut game from Hangar 13, which was formed in 2014. (The first two titles were developed by Silver Wish Games, now known as 2K Czech.) Its next project had not been officially announced, though Mafia III itself was seemingly a success for the company. It shipped 4.5 million copies to retailers during its launch week, which was a new record for 2K at the time. By the end of March 2017, it had shipped 5 million units.

Although shipment numbers were strong, critics were not as kind--our Mafia III review scored it a 6/10, and the Metacritic average landed in the 60s. Following launch, the CEO of 2K parent company Take-Two, Strauss Zelnick, admitted, "The scores were lower than we would have liked." He highlighted the positive reviews and chalked up others as "some anomalies in the review system."

Rainbow Six Siege Is Free To Play On PS4, Xbox One, And PC For A Limited Time

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:47

As promised, Ubisoft has launched a free weekend event for Rainbow Six Siege on all platforms. Those on PS4, Xbox One, and PC can try out the full version of the excellent game, albeit with a caveat in the case of the PS4 version.

Siege's free weekend is active now and available to everyone on PC (through both Uplay and Steam) and Xbox One. The latter is true even if you don't have an Xbox Live Gold membership, which is often a requirement to take part in these events. However, if you want to try Siege out on PS4, you'll need to be a PlayStation Plus member to do so.

No matter the platform, you'll have access until February 18. Any progress you make can carry over to the full game, should you decide to purchase it. Siege also happens to be on sale right now, with several editions discounted on the Xbox Store, PlayStation Store, and Steam, which just kicked off its Lunar New Year sale.

After starting out somewhat humbly in 2015, Siege has evolved into one of the best multiplayer shooters on the market right now. Perhaps its biggest update yet, Chimera, is set to launch soon with new Operators and maps, as well as a brand-new, limited-time co-op mode called Outbreak. You won't be able to try out any of that as part of this free play event, though owners of the PC version will be able to test it out ahead of its launch in March as part of a Technical Test Server update debuting next week.

New Ready Player One Video Channels Halo, Mario Kart, And Willy Wonka

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:28

Each time a new look at the upcoming Ready Player One movie arrives, it comes loaded with new bits of nostalgia to thrive on. Whether it's the Iron Giant, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, or King Kong and a Tyrannosaurus Rex rampaging through the streets, the Steven Spielberg film looks to be packed with eye candy.

The newest clip takes that idea to an entirely new level, thanks to the song it features. The new teaser is set to a cover of "Pure Imagination," originally performed by Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

A journey into a world of pure imagination is a perfect way of describing a movie like Ready Player One, which is largely set in a virtual world filled with famous characters and moments from the pop culture landscape, including films, TV, and video games. This latest extended trailer even includes a nod to the Halo franchise, with a group of UNSC Spartans running into battle, which you can see below.

Elsewhere in the new teaser, there is a mention of Super Mario Kart, an appearance by Hello Kitty, and one of the most massive chase sequences you can imagine. Ready Player One stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, and Simon Pegg. It races into theaters on March 29.

Nintendo Switch Adds A Lot Of New Games On Eshop This Week

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:09

February has been a busy month for Nintendo Switch owners so far, but this week in particular is packed with great games to choose from. A total of 18 new titles arrive in the Switch Eshop this week, many of which are worth a download if you're looking for something new to play on the hybrid console.

Headlining this week's releases is Platinum Games' acclaimed action game, Bayonetta 2, which arrives alongside the original Bayonetta on February 16. Originally released for Wii U back in 2014, Bayonetta 2 is one of the few games to earn a rare 10 out of 10 from GameSpot. Those who pick up the physical version will receive a free download code for the first Bayonetta. Each title will also be available individually on the Eshop, and purchasing one will entitle you to a significant discount on the other.

Fe

Arriving alongside Bayonetta 2 on February 16 is Fe, a beautiful adventure game from EA and developer Zoink. The game puts players in control of a cub who explores a dark forest, learning different animal cries that can be used to interact with other animals or plants to solve puzzles. Fe is the first title published under EA's indie-oriented EA Originals program.

Other notable games available for Switch this week include the latest ACA Neo Geo classic, Fatal Fury 3; the touching 2D adventure game Owlboy; the flashback-driven retro RPG The Longest Five Minutes; the Metroid-style platformer Xeodrifter; the classic arcade shoot-'em-up Samurai Aces; and the underwater 2D shooter Aqua Kitty UDX. Switch owners can also now download free demos for Quest of Dungeons, Violett, and Wanderjahr. You can find the full list of this week's new Switch releases below.

On top of all the new title, the Shadow Dragon DLC pack for Fire Emblem Warriors also arrives on Switch this week. This is the second of three DLC packs planned for the game, and it introduces three characters originally from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon--Navarre, Minerva, and Linde--as well as new History maps, weapons, and costumes. The DLC pack is included in Fire Emblem Warriors' $20 season pass or can be purchased separately for $9.

This Week's New Nintendo Switch Releases

February 13

  • The Fall Part 2: Unbound
  • The Longest Five Minutes
  • Monster Energy Supercross
  • Owlboy

February 14

  • Fire Emblem Warriors -- Shadow Dragon DLC Pack

February 15

  • ACA Neo Geo: Fatal Fury 3
  • Aqua Kitty UDX
  • Escape Trick: 35 Fateful Enigmas
  • Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Gate of Doom
  • Millie
  • Pool Billiard
  • Samurai Aces
  • TorqueL: Physics Modified Edition
  • Wanderjahr: TryAgainOrWalkAway
  • Xeodrifter

February 16

  • Bayonetta
  • Bayonetta 2
  • Fe
  • Joe Dever's Lone Wolf
New Nintendo Switch Eshop Demos
  • Quest of Dungeons
  • Violett
  • Wanderjahr: TryAgainOrWalkAway

Path Of Exile Gets Ready For A Monster Hunt In A Massive New Update

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:00

Path of Exile has seen steady growth over the years since its 2013 early-access launch. Available on both PC and Xbox One, featuring re-designed mechanics for the console, the developers at Grinding Gear Games have released several expansions that significantly boost the game's content and millage, giving veterans new dungeons to explore, monsters to fight, and loot to find. But in the next major update, the creators have something a bit different in-mind for the community, which will task adventurers to start capturing beasts, instead of slaying them.

In the upcoming Bestiary update, releasing on March 2, players will be able to join the Bestiary Challenge League, allowing adventurers to capture monsters and store them in a player base known as the Managerie. In this new area, you'll be able to invite friends to see the many beasts you've captured and also interact with new NPC characters to learn more about the league and what's expected of you. The monsters you find aren't just for show, as capturing the rare beasts often yields access to higher-end weapons and armor. Known as Beastcrafting, you can sacrifice beasts and key monster parts at the Managerie's blood alter to power up some of your more valuable weapons. But in doing so, you'll summon powerful boss monsters that have to be defeated.

Speaking with Path of Exile's lead designer and producer Chris Wilson, he explained their approach to the many updates, and how Grinding Gear Games wants to ensure that current and returning players will have new stuff to play.

"The basic plan is that four times a year, we release a new league for players. Regardless of whether or not you're new, existing, or returning, there's always something for you to experience. And when they decide to move to another game like PUBG or something, they can always come back to the game and find something new to see. But in addition, we try to make each release a bit different in their own way. You've seen the content for this one, but we've got some weird stuff lined up for June, a larger one in September, and of course we're planning a mega-one sometime in the future."

Along with new areas and monsters to battle, the Bestiary update will also feature a number of quality of life updates and balance, including new gems, skills, and revamps to the Ascendancy classes. Here's quick rundown of the core features as written by the developers coming for this update:

  • The Bestiary Challenge League: With a fresh economy and brand new mechanics, the Bestiary Challenge League is ideal for existing, returning, and brand new players to experience the award-winning gameplay Path of Exile has to offer.
  • Capture Dangerous Beasts: Track Wraeclast's most dangerous animals, weaken them, and capture them to make them your own. There are around 250 regular beasts and 40 legendary beasts to capture.
  • Complete your Bestiary: As you capture beasts from across Wraeclast, they are marked in your Bestiary, a permanent record of your progress through this league.
  • Populate your Menagerie: Visit and observe the beasts you've captured whenever you want, then use them to fuel your Beastcrafting.
  • Beastcrafting: Perform the ritual of Sacrifice by Combat at the Blood Altar to create and augment potent items. There are dozens of powerful recipes that require the sacrifice of different combinations of beasts that you have collected.
  • New End-Game Foes: Capturing and crafting with the right set of beasts may grant you entrance to difficult spirit boss encounters with powerful Unique item rewards.
  • Bestiary Sets: The Bestiary League contains four new sets of items based on the powerful spirit beasts. Mix and match them with other items and discover potent new builds.
  • The Story Continues: High-level players will be able to challenge The Elder and The Shaper simultaneously, deep in the centre of the Atlas of Worlds--the toughest boss encounter in Path of Exile yet!

Returning players can also expect some changes to the Atlas as well. As one of the more dense, lengthier forms of content in the game, veterans were able to clear through much of the Atlas map's content--which offered access to smaller encounters that yielded high-rewards. But in the upcoming update, you'll be able to return to previous completed nodes on the map and replay them on a higher difficulty--leading to new items and monsters to fight. One boss in particular is the Uber-Elder, who is so difficult, Wilson claims that the developers themselves have yet to beat it.

With Path of Exile still going strong, the lead designer stated that they're still committed to the game for many years to come. And with a rather inventive take on monster hunting on the way, which still focuses on the loot in the run, the developers have some strange, but innovative plans in store for the game.

Karate Kid Sequel TV Show Cobra Kai Gets Trailer That Shows The '80s Never Die

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 06:32

It's been over 30 years since Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) faced off in the finals at the All-Valley Karate Tournament in Karate Kid. While Daniel, under the tutelage of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), might have been victorious that days, some grudges never die.

YouTube Red is revisiting the world of Karate Kid with its upcoming series Cobra Kai, and the first trailer for the original series is packed with just about everything a Karate Kid fan could want from a revival. Set in present day, the new show follows Johnny as he reopens the evil Cobra Kai dojo. "I just don't know why you'd ever want to bring back Cobra Kai," Daniel tells his old nemesis.

The series is being billed by YouTube Red as a half-hour comedy, though the trailer certainly doesn't match that tone. However, with a story written by Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine), along with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle), there's bound to be plenty of funny built into the series.

Joining Macchio and Zabka in the series are Courtney Henggeler (Mom), Xolo Maridueña (Parenthood), and Tanner Buchanan (Designated Survivor) as Johnny's son Robby. Ed Asner will appear as a guest star. Cobra Kai will debut later this year on Youtube Red.

Steam Kicks Off New PC Game Sale And Revamps Wishlists

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 06:10

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, Valve has launched the latest big sale on Steam. Aside from the usual assortment of steep discounts on countless PC games, this also coincides with an update to Steam wishlists, which now provide users with more information and flexibility to find games in different ways.

As far as discounts go, the Lunar New Year sale runs from now until February 19, making it shorter than the lengthier promotions that happen around Christmas, for instance. That doesn't appear to be reflected in the quality of the price drops, however, as you can get some very nice deals right now. Highlights include Heat Signature for $10, Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition for $36, Overcooked for $5.77, Ark: Survival Evolved for $20, Rocket League for $12, and Planet Coaster for $11.24.

Among other things, the new wishlist features should make it easier to see when the games you're looking to buy go on sale. Valve has introduced new filters to look at certain types of content (such as games vs. DLC), support for specific operating systems, VR-only games, items under certain price thresholds ($5 or $10), and those that are on sale. You can also specifically look at games that are discounted by a certain amount--either 50% or 75%--if you're hunting for the best deals, as well as things that can be purchased with the money available in your Steam Wallet. Maybe best of all, you can filter out early access and unreleased games. In other words, you can finally add such a game to your wishlist to keep track of its full release but avoid having it clutter your wishlist when you're looking to shop in the meantime.

The actual listings in the wishlist have also been bolstered with more information. You'll see popular tags that users have added to the game, whether it's in early access, the overall user review average, and supported operating systems. There's also now a button to add something directly to your cart from the wishlist, sparing you the extra step of having to first visit its store page. However, this is only available for games with only a single purchase option--those with multiple editions will require you to go to the store page, so as to save you from purchasing a version that isn't exactly what you're looking for.

These changes are now live on Steam, which should come in handy during the ongoing sale. You can see everything on sale here.

Dark Souls To Get A New Comic Alongside Remaster Release; Check Out Some Art

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 06:00

From Software's seminal action-RPG Dark Souls is heading to a new generation of consoles later this year thanks to the forthcoming Remastered edition, but before that, fans will have a chance to delve back into the world of Lordran at bookstores. Titan Comics is publishing a new comic series based on Dark Souls, the first issue of which is slated to debut ahead of the Remastered version this May.

Titled Dark Souls: The Age of Fire, the comic is a four-issue series that ties directly into the Dark Souls video game and features "all the main characters" from the title. Titan says the story will be a "dramatic retelling of the Legends of Silver Knights." The series is written by Ryan O'Sullivan (whose previous credits include Void Trip, Warhammer) and features art by Anton Kokarev (Assassin's Creed).

The first issue of Dark Souls: The Age of Fire arrives in physical and digital comic stores on May 16 and costs $4. Ahead of its release, Titan has shared a handful of beautiful variant covers, as well as several pages of interior art from the upcoming comic. You can take a look at those in our gallery below.

Dark Souls Remastered launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch on May 25. Unlike most video game remasters, Dark Souls Remastered is being developed internally at From Software, rather than being outsourced to a third-party studio. It features touched up visuals and supports "up to six players" for online multiplayer.

Dark Souls isn't the only From Software title getting a comic adaptation. Titan Comics is also publishing a comic series based on the PS4-exclusive Bloodborne. The first issue of that series, Bloodborne: The Death of Sleep, debuts this month; you can take a look at some stunning art from the comic here. Titan is also releasing an Assassin's Creed Origins comic, as well as a comic based on Sea of Thieves.

It's A Good Time To Buy PS4's PSVR, Thanks To Some New Deals

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 05:45

This month is looking like an ideal time for PlayStation 4 owners in the market for a PlayStation VR headset to finally pick one up. Sony is bringing back some steep discounts on the standalone headset and various bundles, bringing their respective prices as low as they've ever gone.

These new promotions begin in the United States on February 18 and will see the cheapest option sell for $200, rather than the usual $300. The PlayStation Blog suggests this may just be the standalone headset (which doesn't come with the required PS4 camera). However, the official PlayStation website shows that it may also include the Gran Turismo Sport bundle, which gets you the game and camera, but that will require you actually finding a store that has it in stock.

Next cheapest is Doom VFR's bundle, which will go for $300 (down from $400). This packs in a physical copy of Doom VFR in addition to the headset, camera, and the 2.0 demo disc. Alternatively, Skyrim's bundle drops to $350 (from $450) and gets you Skyrim VR, the headset, camera, 2.0 demo disc, and two PlayStation Move controllers. As with a number of other games, Skyrim VR can be played either with the Move controllers or a standard DualShock 4.

These offers will be available until March 3 at participating retailers; according to Sony, these include Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and GameStop. If you're unsure about buying one, check out our comparison of the different VR headsets. You could also wait and hope Sony does another promotion where it sends PSVR demo units to people's homes.

One thing to be aware of is that Sony introduced a small revamp of PSVR last year, allowing HDR passthrough with the breakout box and making other refinements. For more help in deciding which unit is right for you, check out our Doom VFR review and thoughts on Skyrim VR.

Next Free Amazon/Twitch Prime Game Now Available

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 04:48

Those in the market for a new game that won't cost them a penny are in luck, provided they have an Amazon Prime membership. The next free PC game to be offered through Twitch Prime--which is one of the perks of an Amazon Prime membership--is now available, and it's a good one.

Civilization IV: The Complete Edition can currently be had for free on Twitch. It's available from now until February 21 and can be claimed from Civ IV's game page or by clicking the Prime Loot button from the Twitch website's top bar while logged into a Twitch Prime account. Bear in mind, you'll need to redeem this through the Twitch desktop app, rather than simply getting a code to redeem through Steam, but it's yours to keep even after this offer expires.

Although the Civ series is now two numbered entries ahead, Civ IV remains an excellent game that you can easily lose hundreds of hours in. The Complete Edition, which normally retails for $30, packages the base game with its Beyond the Sword, Colonization, and Warlords expansion packs, introducing even more content to a game that already offered a tremendous amount of gameplay.

Free games and DLC packs are periodically given out to members with Twitch Prime. Another is on the way shortly after this Civ IV offer concludes, as the original Devil May Cry will be free beginning on February 27. That precedes the PS4, Xbox One, and PC release of Devil May Cry HD Collection on March 13. PC owners can also nab another free game through EA's On the House promotion, which is currently giving away Dead Space.

EA's Next Free PC Game Out Now, And It's A Good One

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 03:50

Dead Space, the acclaimed 2008 sci-fi horror game from the now-defunct developer Visceral Games, is now completely free on PC. It is the newest "On the House" game from publisher Electronic Arts, and you can grab it right here from Origin.

As with the previous On the House titles, once you download Dead Space it is yours to keep forever. The only catch is that EA doesn't say when On the House titles cycle out, so if you're interested, you may want to grab the game right now instead of putting it off until later.

Dead Space was already in the Origin Access free game library on PC, so if you subscribe to that service you have been able to play the game at no cost for a while now. The game was also released on Xbox 360, and it is playable on Xbox One through backwards compatibility. The Xbox 360 edition is in the Xbox One EA Access library.

Dead Space was in fact the very first EA On the House freebie, kicking off the freebie campaign back in 2014. It appears to be the first title to have two runs in the On the House hopper.

In Dead Space, you play as a space engineer named Isaac Clarke who must fight all manner of ghastly creatures on a spaceship. Sequels Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3 were released in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, who now lead Call of Duty studio Sledgehammer Games, worked on Dead Space before starting their own studio.

Dead Space 3 failed to meet EA's sales expectations. However, despite that, the publisher said in 2013 that the brand remains one that is "close to Electronic Arts' heart." However, with creator Visceral Games now shuttered, it remains to be seen if the franchise has a future at EA.

Fortnite Update Out Now On PC, PS4, Xbox One; Here Are The Patch Notes

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 02:25

Although it's coming a bit later than expected, the new update for Fortnite has arrived on all platforms. The version 2.5.0 patch makes some big changes and additions for both Battle Royale and Save the World modes, including the addition of a new weapon to obtain and new areas to explore in the popular PvP mode on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Battle Royale is now home to the Impulse Grenade, a new type of explosive that, after a short delay, sends all nearby players flying a long distance. It's a Blue rarity item, and it can only be found in Treasure Chests and Supply Drops. You can get a glimpse at what it can do in the brief video clip below; it may lead to some hilarious match endings in the final circle.

Among the places you'll now find Treasure Chests in during Battle Royale matches are new "thematic Shrines hidden across the map." One of these is pictured in the gallery below, and they appear to have a Chinese architectural look to them. Meanwhile, Save the World has introduced new heroes and Dragon weapons themed around the Lunar New Year (also pictured below).

Other notable changes to Battle Royale include some technical changes for PS4 and Xbox One players. The standard versions of those consoles now feature dynamic resolution and high quality temporal upsampling; the former seeks to ensure a smooth framerate by decreasing the resolution when necessary. Those on an Xbox One X can now play at "full" 4K, while PS4 players should no longer experience excessively slow Fortnite patch downloads.

In terms of balance, a variety of adjustments have been made, including the temporary removal of the SMG weapon, which was done to create some breathing room for other weapons that have been added to the game. Additionally, several items are now less likely to drop, including the crossbow, minigun, and Chug Jug. There have also been some notable audio improvements, such as the crossbow making a noise when it's ready to fire again. There are also now "above" and "below" versions of footstep sounds when running on wood, stone, or metal.

Save the World--which remains in paid early access but will eventually be for free everyone--also receives some significant additions in this update. In addition to the aforementioned Dragon weapons and Lunar New Year heroes, the Heartbreaker Crossbow is now available. Most importantly, the Spring It On event has begun, introducing new quests and rewards, with more to be added in the coming weeks.

All of this is available now. For a complete rundown on what's new, check out the full patch notes here. And if you're new to Fortnite: Battle Royale or are just looking for some tips, have a look at our Fortnite building guide.

GTA 5: What's New In GTA Online For PS4, Xbox One, And PC This Week

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 01:30

Rockstar is continuing its weekly support of Grand Theft Auto V with a new batch of content for GTA Online on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Along with another assortment of bonuses and discounts, players can now add a fiery new car to their collections, just in time for Valentine's Day.

This week's new vehicle is the Vapid Hustler, which is available to purchase from Legendary Motorsport. Here's how Rockstar describes the car: "When you see that running board swooping low over the front wheels, that high-set radiator grill and the holder for your cigarette holder, you'll feel like you're back in the 1920s. But then you see the carbon steel reinforcements to the chassis, the turbo charger and the bullbar, and you realize you're somewhere else altogether."

In addition to that, players can earn double GTA$ and RP from a variety of modes from now until February 19. The playlist is very loosely themed around Valentine's Day and includes Till Death Do Us Part, Slasher, Resurrection, Deadline, and Lost vs. Damned.

This week's batch of in-game deals are likewise loosely themed around Valentine's Day, offering discounts on "love nests," Valentine's clothing, and other items. Players can get 25% off of all of the following through February 19:

Vehicles

  • Albany Roosevelt (Sports Classic)
  • Albany Roosevelt Valor (Sports Classic)
  • Nagasaki Shotaro (Motorcycle - available for purchase after completing a round of Deadline)
  • Ocelot Stromberg (Sports Classic/Weaponized)
  • Nagasaki Buzzard (Attack Helicopter)

Dynasty8

  • All 10-car Properties (including High-End Apartments, Garages and Stilt Houses)
  • Executive Offices

Clothing and Accessories

  • All Valentine's clothing
  • Doomsday Heist Tattoos
  • Smuggler’s Run clothing

The Premium Race this week is Turbine, which is locked to off-road class vehicles. Everyone who participates in the race will earn triple RP, while those who finish in the top three will get a big GTA$ payout. This week's Time Trial is LSIA, which will reward players with GTA$ and RP if they manage to beat the target time. You can read more about this week's new GTA Online content on Rockstar's website.

Another Sea Of Thieves Beta Begins Tomorrow On Xbox One And PC

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 22:45

Sea of Thieves, the upcoming multiplayer pirate game from Rare, will have another beta this weekend. Those that had access to the first closed beta will be able to set sail again from February 16 at 10 AM GMT / 2 AM PST until February 18 10 AM GMT / 2 AM PST.

According to Rare, this second beta "is to test a lot of the work we’ve done since the closed beta, and to try and hit a higher concurrent players number than we’ve ever seen before." As a result, it has said players should expect to see sessions being interrupted, difficulty joining games at peak times over the weekend, and issues with using the in-game shop. Of course, this is all in service of ironing out the problems for its eventual release.

Additionally, the content available will be the same as that included in the previous beta. Rare said it will "purposefully be a similar feature set ... restricted to the Gold Hoarders trading company and accompanying Voyages," so it can "drive scale and test issues at a high scale of player concurrency."

For those that haven't been able to get into the beta yet, Rare said it plans on running another one closer to the launch of the game. This will provide "a taste of the wider Sea of Thieves experience."

Following a previous technical test, rate detailed Sea of Thieves' official PC system requirements and recommended specs, and they're pretty wide-ranging.

Sea of Thieves launches on March 20 on PC and Xbox One. For those with Xbox Game Pass, Sea of Thieves will be available as part of the subscription program on day one. That gets you access to not just the Xbox One version, but the PC version as well. Special Sea of Thieves-themed Xbox One accessories will also launch alongside the game.

We recently played the game, and you can find out what we think in our Sea of Thieves preview.

New Incredibles 2 Trailer Shows Bob As Stay-At-Home Dad

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 16:33

A new trailer for The Incredibles 2 premiered tonight during the Olympics. It provides one of the best looks so far at the much-anticipated animated movie from Pixar. In this timeline, superheroes are outlawed, but Helen (Holly Hunter) gets pulled back in. Bob (Craig T. Nelson) is a stay-at-home dad, and that's no walk in the park either.

This trailer also shows of Bob Odenkirk's character, while it teases out some more of the story, which will center around a "new villain [who] emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything." As you'll see, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is also back.

This new trailer comes not long after Disney released a set of posters for The Incredibles 2--you can see them all here.

Incredibles 2, like its predecessor, is directed by Bird and produced by John Walker. It hits theaters on June 15. The original came out in 2004, so it's been a long time coming for the sequel. What do you think of the new trailer? Let us know in the comments below!

Here's Who Might Direct The Call Of Duty Movie

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 14:30

The Call of Duty movie is progressing and has potentially found a director. Sources told Hollywood news site Variety that Sicario 2: Soldado director Stefano Sollima is currently in talks to direct the untitled Call of Duty movie. Importantly, it sounds like no deal has been struck as of yet, and, in Hollywood, nothing is certain.

The site goes on to say that Snowden writer Kieran Fitzgerald wrote the script for the Call of Duty movie, with Coco Francini (The Hateful Eight, Skylanders Academy) producing alongside Sollima. Activision Blizzard declined to comment when approached by Variety.

A scene from Call of Duty: WWII

There is no word for what the plot might be for the Call of Duty film, but it could be part of a Marvel-style cinematic universe with multiple connecting stories.

Stacey Sher and Nick van Dyk, co-presidents of in-house production team Activision Blizzard Studios, said in an interview last year that films based on Call of Duty sub-brands are currently in the works, while multiple scripts have already been written.

"We have plotted out many years," Sher explained. "We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going. There'll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it's like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on."

"It's going to have the same sort of high-adrenaline, high-energy aesthetic as the game, but it's not a literal adaptation," added van Dyk. "It's a much more broad and inclusive, global in scope ... a big, tentpole, Marvel-esque movie."

Sicario 2 comes to theatres in June, but there is no word as of yet regarding when the Call of Duty movie might start shooting, who will star in it, and when it will be released.

What would you like to see from the Call of Duty movie? Let us know in the comments below!

US Senator Takes Aim At Predatory Loot Boxes And Microtransactions

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 13:18

United States Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is taking aim at microtransactions in video games, asking the ESRB to review things like loot boxes and decide whether or not use of loot boxes needs to be displayed on a game box. In a letter to ESRB president Patricia Vance, Hassan started off by saying the issue was brought to her attention by a constituent.

With the changes to technology that come in a field as dynamic as video games, the ESRB "must work to keep pace with new gaming trends, including the in-game microtransactions and predatory gaming tactics, particularly as they are deployed on minors," Hassan wrote, according to Glixel.

The former governor of New Hampshire added that loot boxes raise "several concerns" regarding the "use of psychological principles and enticing mechanics that closely mirror those often found in casinos and games of chance.

"The potential for harm is real."

Hassan went on to point out that the World Health Organisation recently announced that "gaming disorder" has been classified as a medical condition on the group's latest Classification of Diseases document. She added that what makes loot boxes more problematic is that they can be targeted at children.

"While there is robust debate over whether loot boxes should be considered gambling, the fact that they are both expensive habits and use similar psychological principles suggest loot boxes should be treated with extra scrutiny," she said. "At minimum, the rating system should denote when loot boxes are utilized in physical copies of electronic games."

Hassasn added that she is urging the ESRB to review its policies around loot boxes and, in future ratings, take the "potential harm" that loot boxes could have on children into consideration. She went on to say that the ESRB should look into whether or not the marketing of loot boxes in video games aimed at children is being done in an "ethical and transparent way that adequately protects the developing minds of young children from predatory practices."

What's more, Hassan said the ESRB should work with "relevant stakeholders" to put together and ultimately publish data regarding how video games use loot boxes, how commonplace they are, and how much money is spent on them. Lastly, Hassan said the ESRB should put together a "best practices" document that developers can look at in an effort to make loot boxes "less essential to core gameplay."

Hassan asked the four FTC commissioner nominees about loot boxes in a hearing this week. You can see a video of that embedded above.

The ESRB's official line is that loot boxes do not constitute gambling and as such should not have to be regulated by the government. Of course, not everyone agrees. Just recently, lawmakers in Hawaii put forth a pair of bills that would ban the sale of video games with "gambling-like mechanisms" to people under 21. Bills with similar language have been introduced in other states, including Washington and Indiana.

This is a developing and ongoing story, so keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

You Can Get A GTX 1060 Video Card For Close To MSRP Right Now

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:05

It says a lot about the state of video card prices when it's a big deal to see one in stock for around the normal suggested retail price. In this instance, the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 OCV1 (6GB) with a single-fan cooler is available on Ebay via Newegg for $320 USD. MSRP for the 6GB model of the GTX 1060 is $300, so a few extra bucks for an overclocked version doesn't seem so bad today.

MSI's OCV1 model sports 1280 CUDA cores, a core clock speed of 1544MHz, and a boost clock of 1759MHz. This version packs 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM and has an effective memory clock of 8008MHz. Potential buyers should note that this particular card has one HDMI 2.0 port, one port for DisplayPort 1.4, and a DVI-D port. It's recommended that you have at least a 400-watt power supply.

MSI GeForce GTX 1060 OCV1 (6GB)

This MSI OCV1 GTX 1060 is more compact than typical models as it's only 7.4 inches long, although it's still a dual slot card due to the fan height. Again, if you're interested in getting one of these cards at a fairly decent price, this might be a good opportunity. In our review of the GTX 1060, the card was able to handle modern PC games with maximum graphics settings at 1080p quite well.

For more on why video cards are so expensive, check out our breakdown of how cryptocurrency mining is affecting the PC hardware market. Also, if you're looking into getting a new PC entirely, consider a few decently priced pre-build options. Want to know how wild cryptocurrency mining has gotten? Check out these video card six packs and PC racks that can hold up to 19 video cards at once.

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