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Updated: 2 hours 37 min ago

New Switch Screenshots Of Fire Emblem Warriors Released

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 05:24

Nintendo and Koei Tecmo have released a few new images of Fire Emblem Warriors, the upcoming Dynasty Warriors-style Fire Emblem spinoff for Switch. The images were shared on the game's Japanese website and show off some of the playable heroes who come from the series' first 3DS installment, Fire Emblem Awakening.

In particular, the new screenshots give fans another look at Robin, Frederick, Lissa, and Lucina, who were initially revealed in the game's latest trailer. According to that video, the heroes find themselves lost in an unfamiliar forest when they encounter Rowan and Lianna, the original twin protagonists of Fire Emblem Warriors. While the screenshots don't depict any new battle scenes, they do give fans a glimpse at how some of the classic characters will play in Warriors; Lissa, for example, wields an axe despite primarily being a healer in Awakening, while the knight Frederick is shown on horseback. You can see the images below.

Koei Tecmo has said that Fire Emblem Warriors features a larger selection of playable characters than the first installment of any Warriors collaboration. The game's roster is primarily taken from three specific installments: Awakening, Fates, and Shadow Dragon. Other characters who have been confirmed for the title so far include Marth, Chrom, Xander, Ryoma, and Corrin.

Fire Emblem Warriors is slated to launch later this year. The game will also be released on New 3DS. You can watch nine minutes of gameplay footage of Fire Emblem Warriors here. Additionally, a new mainline installment in the series has been announced for Switch and will arrive sometime in 2018.

Check Out This Awesome Horizon: Zero Dawn Fan-Made Lego Set

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 05:20

Horizon: Zero Dawn's world is huge, lush, and varied, full of interesting creatures and ruins. In other words, an official Horizon Lego set would be amazing. Although Sony and Lego haven't made this happen yet, one fan took it upon himself to make a Horizon scene out of Legos anyways.

Flickr user Marcel V recently posted a photo of the Horizon set that he created, and it looks awesome. The terrain is complex and diverse--more so than most official Lego sets, and he made sure that it included even little details like Aloy's futuristic bow and more rudimentary outfit. Check it out below.

Interestingly, Marcel V said that he isn't even a huge fan of the game. "Although I'm not into these kind of games, I always enjoy the outstanding artwork," he wrote in the image's caption. "And Horizon: Zero Dawn is just beautiful."

From his Flickr profile, Marcel V is quite an accomplished Lego builder. You should check out the photos of his other creations--the model of the Weasley household from Harry Potter is particularly striking.

In other Horizon news, the game recently received a big update that adds a New Game+ mode and an Ultra Hard mode. In addition, developer Guerrilla Games is working on an expansion called The Frozen Wilds, which is scheduled for release sometime in 2017.

Super Smash Bros. Modders Are Making A Free-To-Play PC Fighting Game

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 04:59

You might have heard of developer Wavedash Games from its work on the Project M mod for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which is designed to improve gameplay and make it more closely resemble Super Smash Bros. Melee. Wavedash has now announced its first full game, titled Icons: Combat Arena.

It's a free-to-play PC fighting game, and its gameplay is arcade-y and fast-paced. Because Icons is a commercial project and not a fan tribute, it contains no Smash Bros. assets or Nintendo branding. It's meant to be a completely new game.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the game isn't similar at all to Smash Bros. On the contrary, Icons wears its inspiration on its sleeve. From the announcement trailer, its gameplay seems to share a lot in common with Nintendo's series. For example, Icons features classic Smash Bros. moves like the edge hang, wavedash, and others. You can see the similarities for yourself in the trailer above.

The initial public reaction to the game appears to be somewhat negative; the trailer currently has more dislikes than likes, and the highest-rated comments are complaints about the game's movesets and art style. The studio has tweeted that it is taking the public's feedback in order to better polish the game.

Icons doesn't have a release date yet, but it will have a public beta on Steam this fall. You can sign up for the beta right now at its website.

Telltale Teases Upcoming Announcement As Rating Filed For New Batman Project

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 04:33

It appears that Telltale Games is gearing up to announce something during San Diego Comic-Con, and it might be a new Batman series.

The studio recently said on Twitter that it'll have news to announce this week at SDCC. However, Telltale has revealed nothing else about what it might be. Some speculated that it could be a new The Wolf Among Us series, given that one of its actors retweeted Telltale's tease.

However, the Film and Labeling Body of New Zealand posted a rating today for a video game called Batman: The Enemy Within. It lists Telltale Games' Kent Mudle as its director. Mudle previously worked on an episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne as well as Telltale's Game of Thrones series.

If The Enemy Within is real, it would be the second Batman series that Telltale has created. The first consisted of five episodes, the last of which launched in December 2016. We've also known that Telltale's been working on new things for some time; at E3 2017, Telltale's head of communications, Job Stauffer, told GameSpot that the studio would announce "a handful of things" this summer.

Of course, ratings on labeling boards should never be taken as fact, and Telltale may announce a different series this week and Batman at a later date. It is, after all, capable of working on four series at once.

Switch's Splatoon 2 Demo Showed Off Its Polite Warning To Rage Quitters

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 04:32

Although Splatoon 2, like its predecessor, provides a more friendly style of gameplay than your standard third-person shooter, that doesn't mean the online experience is devoid of frustrated players. Rage-quitting happens as it does in any online game, and this weekend's Splatfest event provided an opportunity to see how Splatoon 2 handles such players.

As shown in the image below shared by Twitter user hypwnotic, the game presents you with a distinctly Nintendo-style message that's vaguely reminiscent of Animal Crossing's Mr. Resetti. While it doesn't force you to write a message to other players apologizing, it does warn that repeated disconnects will result in a temporary ban.

omg pic.twitter.com/IwBvToe89T

— Zy (@hypwnotic) July 15, 2017

"Your previous online play session didn't end naturally, which is PREEEEETY suspicious," the message reads. "If this keeps happening, we're gonna have to block you from playing online for a while. Make sure your Internet isn't busted and try again."

According to hypwnotic, this message showed up following their fourth disconnect, which allegedly stemmed from an issue where they unintentionally ended up playing on a Wi-Fi connection. It's unclear how long the prospective ban would last or what the exact conditions are that precipitate one being handed out. Based on the language, you'd still be free to play the game's single-player, which is detailed in the video above.

Splatoon 2 launches for Switch this Friday, July 21. Look for GameSpot's review prior to then.

Ark: Survival Evolved Update For PC Out Today, New Map Delayed On PS4 And Xbox One

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 04:09

Developer Studio Wildcard has shared some news today regarding its popular dinosaur game Ark: Survival Evolved. While the PC, PS4, and Xbox One versions will see new updates rolling out this week, one thing that won't be coming to consoles quite yet is the Ragnarok map, which the developer revealed has been delayed.

Wildcard explained the reason behind the map's delay in a post on the Ark forums. According to the post, the studio has been hard at work the past few weeks getting the game ready to submit for its retail disc certification. However, because the process took longer than Wildcard anticipated, the developer will not be able to meet Ragnarok's July 19 release date. A new release date, as well as an overview of Wildcard's plans for the game for the next month, will be announced on Wednesday.

In the meantime, updates for the PS4 and Xbox One versions are slated to arrive this week. The latter's 759.2 patch has been submitted to Microsoft today, though it's a fairly minor one that primarily addresses some known issues in that version. In particular, the patch fixes the Ark data folder toggle and "LB+Button" combo issues, as well as an issue where no dinosaur AI would appear on PvE and ORP servers. Full patch notes will be released once the update rolls out. A PS4 update will follow later this week, and this one will be rather sizable, making major improvements to dashboarding. Wildcard expects the PS4 update to go live between Wednesday and Friday.

A new PC build is slated to roll out today, which Wildcard says will be close to its "near-submission build for console." The developer hopes to get fan feedback regarding the single-player experience before the physical version is released. In particular, this version makes "a lot of adjustments to the bosses" as well as how the game is played in single-player.

Ark: Survival Evolved has been available via Early Access for two years. The game is getting a physical release on August 8 and will retail for $60. That is also true for the Steam version, which doubled in price recently to match that of the upcoming physical release. In addition to the standard edition, Ark will be released in an Explorer's Edition, which includes a season pass for $100, and a Limited Collector's Edition that comes with a number of physical extras for $160. For the latest news on Ark: Survival Evolved, be sure to check out our complete game coverage.

PS4/Vita Remaster Of Windjammers Receives Release Date And A Bunch Of '90s-Style Merch

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 03:29

Windjammers, the classic Neo Geo disc-throwing game, is coming back in remastered form for PS4 and Vita, and today it got a release date. Developer DotEmu has announced that Windjammers will be available on August 29.

Alongside the release date announcement, DotEmu published a video that shows off the different playable characters in the game. There are six characters in total, and each has different strengths and weaknesses. You can watch it above.

The remaster includes several improvements over the original. It retains the classic art style, but it has received a boost in graphical fidelity. In addition, the new version includes online multiplayer, five game modes, and competitive leagues.

The remaster had a closed beta last month, and DotEmu has tweaked and changed the game based on the feedback from players. "Thanks to you, the community, we received tons of feedback regarding bugs and issues, and also the ergonomy, menus, and matchmaking system," the developer stated in a PlayStation Blog post. "You also provided many useful ideas regarding the general gaming experience. Most importantly, your comments confirmed that we'd captured the fun, immersive experience of the original."

DotEmu also announced today a lineup of official Windjammers merchandise. This includes '90s-style shirts, a hat, and a lapel pin, as well as a Windjammers-branded Frisbee. You can see the items in the gallery below, and you can buy them here when they go on sale on August 29.

Chewie Checks A Shot In New Star Wars Han Solo Movie Image

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 03:19

While the production of Star Wars movies are usually shrouded in secrecy, the controversial firing of Han Solo spinoff directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord last month led to much speculation about trouble behind-the-scenes.

Replacement director Ron Howard has been a lot more open since he took over, posting a steady stream of on-set images. While they haven't revealed much, his latest does feature a very familiar Star Wars character checking out a video monitor. Check it out below:

#Chewie checking the shot. #UntitledHanSoloMovie pic.twitter.com/Ia3ZT5Bv5h

— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) July 17, 2017

In addition, some eagle-eyed fans have speculated that the image on screen is of two Wookiees getting close to each other. Click here for a zoomed-in version.

Chewbacca is played by Joonas Suotamo in the upcoming movie. Suotamo already played Chewie in 2015's The Force Awakens, standing in for longtime actor Peter Mayhew during action scenes.

Last week, some unofficial behind-the-scenes images from the Han Solo movie were released. They featured Alden Ehrenreich as Solo, Woody Harrelson as a character called Beckett, and an unknown woman, who could be Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.

The film also stars Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Michael Kenneth Williams. TMZ caught up with Disney CEO Bob Iger recently, and he didn't say one way or the other if the movie will be delayed as a result of the directorial changes. Officially, the Han Solo film is scheduled to come out on May 25, 2018.

The next Star Wars movie is The Last Jedi, which hits theaters in December. A behind-the-scenes promo and series of stylish new posters were revealed at the annual D23 convention this weekend.

Crash Bandicoot Trilogy's Jumping Feels Different Than You Remember, And Here's Why

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 02:55

Since its release late last month, Crash Bandicoot fans have noticed that the N. Sane Trilogy--which packages together remastered versions of the first three Crash games--handles differently than the originals, sometimes even making them more difficult. Indeed, this isn't merely the case of foggy memories after two decades, as the changes stem from design decisions on the part of the collection's developer.

Unlike the original games, which were developed by Naughty Dog, N. Sane Trilogy was handled by Vicarious Visions. The studio has now responded to feedback concerning some of the perceived changes, particularly the way Crash jumps. It states upfront that it deliberately made some alterations, explaining, "Our goal for the Trilogy was to reduce any points of frustration while preserving the challenge of the originals, and we feel we've done that."

Vicarious says it intended to provide a "cohesive experience across all three games," which resulted in the adjustments. "The reason for that is because we want the best experience for all players, and Crash's handling falls into this category," it explains. "We spent a lot of time studying the three titles and chose the handling from Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped as our Trilogy's starting point; it represented the most improved and modern approach as it gives players the most control.

"We went through rounds of internal testing, user testing, and iterations to get each game's handling to just the right place. In the end, we ended up tuning jump differently for each game, so that the jump metrics are the same as the originals. However, there are a few subtle differences in Crash Bandicoot, chief among these being the fact that you fall more quickly upon release of the X button than you did in the original first game."

Another change involves Crash's interaction with platforms and enemies, which is due to the use of a new collision system. "[C]ombined with the addition of physics, certain jumps require more precision than the originals," Vicarious explains. "Much like the handling, we iterated on collision and physics throughout development to make it fair to all players and as faithful to the original games as possible."

Vicarious also discusses the changes to saves and checkpoints in the first game. This includes the addition of the dynamic difficulty system that wasn't originally incorporated until the second game, which helps players out after repeatedly failing to complete a level. Despite this, it acknowledges that the first game is challenging--so much so that it suggests that players consider starting with the later games first.

"An increased precision is now required in the first game, which makes the gameplay experience different," it says. "Particularly if you are a new player, you may want to start with the second and third games first, and then come back to try Crash Bandicoot after you've had more practice. For those of you who played the originals and acquired a fair amount of muscle memory, re-learning the handling in our game may present an additional challenge you weren't expecting. But we're sure you up to the task."

N. Sane Trilogy was released as a PS4 exclusive in late June, although it may be headed to other platforms eventually. Early sales have appeared to be strong in both the US and Europe, and publisher Activision has said a strong performance "could lead to other things," perhaps suggesting a new, original Crash game. For more, check out our full Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy review.

RuneScape Is Coming To Mobile, Will Be Cross-Play With PC

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 02:36

RuneScape, that MMO that you probably played in middle or high school, is still around, and developer Jagex announced today that it's coming to mobile devices. What's more, it'll support cross-play between mobile and PC.

Both RuneScape and Old-School RuneScape will be coming to mobile, with Old-School RuneScape launching this winter and RuneScape coming after that. They'll be fully cross-play compatible between PC and mobile--meaning that you'll be able to close the game on your PC and pick it up seamlessly on your phone, the developer stated in a press release. You can see some screenshots from the mobile versions below; the first four images are from Old-School RuneScape, while the last is from RuneScape.

"The RuneScape titles will become the first mainstream and established Western MMORPGs on mobile in full and the first to deliver cross-platform play between PC and mobile platforms," the developer claimed.

In case you haven't been following the game closely since its heyday in the mid-2000s, RuneScape is actually now two different games. RuneScape is the current iteration of the game that the developer has been working on since 2001. Old-School RuneScape, meanwhile, is based on the 2007 version of the game and was released in 2013; updates for the game are voted on by the player community.

Runescape continues to receive frequent support and content updates from Jagex. In the 16 years since its launch, the developer has created several expansions and released overhauls such as the "Runescape 3" update. It is free-to-play, but it also has an optional, paid subscription.

Final Fantasy Fighting Game Beta Registration Opens

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 01:48

Square Enix is bringing the Final Fantasy arcade fighter, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, to PlayStation 4 next year, but some fans will have an opportunity to try the game before then. Today, the publisher announced it will be hosting a closed beta for the game ahead of its release, and players can begin registering for access to it.

While Square Enix hasn't revealed the exact date for when the closed beta will begin, the publisher says it will take place this summer, and more details regarding the event will be announced soon. Players who'd like a chance to participate can sign up now, but as with other closed betas, space is limited, so only a select number will be chosen. North and Latin American players can register for the closed beta here, while those in PAL regions can sign up here.

Dissidia Final Fantasy is a 3D fighting game series that features heroes, villains, and levels drawn from Final Fantasy's 30-year history. The first installment was released for PSP back in 2009 and was followed by a sequel in 2011. The upcoming PS4 iteration is a home console port of the arcade game that was released in Japan in 2015. This entry features a revamped three-versus-three team-based battle system, over 20 playable characters, and iconic Final Fantasy Summons that can be called into battle.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is slated to arrive in early 2018. You can read more about the upcoming closed beta on Square Enix's blog. Meanwhile, a number of other high profile Final Fantasy releases have come out recently. Last week saw the release of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a critically acclaimed remaster of the PS2 installment, while the Stormblood expansion for Final Fantasy XIV and a new DLC episode for Final Fantasy XV both launched in June.

New Atari Console Will Bring "Current Gaming Content" As Well As Classic Titles

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 00:05

Atari has revealed new details and images of its first console in over 20 years, the Ataribox. The company has said it wants to bring both "current" and "classic" gaming content to the new device, which will contain "modern internal specs."

Atari said in a newsletter to fans (via Kotaku AU) that its "objective is to create a new product that stays true to our heritage while appealing to both old and new fans of Atari." As such, it intends to launch two editions of its new console: a red/black version and a wood version. The company stated that both variants will possess "a smooth design, with ribs that flow seamlessly all around the body of the product, a front panel that can be either wood or glass, a front facing logo, indicator lights that glow through the material, and an array of new ports (HDMI, 4xUSB, SD).

"As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs," the publisher added. "It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content."

Take a look at the first images of the new device--which is separate to AtGames' NES Classic-like Flashback 8 microconsole--above. No price or release date have been announced for the Ataribox, which was first teased in June, though the company said "lots more information and status updates" will come as development progresses.

The last Atari console to launch was the Jaguar in 1993, but the releases of the original PlayStation and Sega Saturn in 1995 further hindered the Jaguar's already-struggling sales. Ultimately this lead to a decline in fortunes for Atari, which had previously pioneered the games industry in western markets with titles such as Pong, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders.

The Atari brand has since changed hands a number of times. More recently the majority of the company's business has been in publishing mobile games such as RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, though the current owner of the Atari name--Atari SA, previously called Infogrames--is almost entirely separate from the original company from the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

New Blade Runner 2049 Trailer Delivers Stylish Futuristic Action

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 23:02

The second trailer for the upcoming sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049 is here. The follow-up to Ridley Scott's classic 1982 movie is set for release in October, and this new trailer provides plenty of new footage not contained in the previous promo. Check it out below:

Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling as K, a cop in futuristic LA who unearths a long-buried secret that threatens to destroy society. K's discovery leads him to track down former cop Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, who reprises his role from the original movie.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) spoke about the challenges of making a sequel to such an iconic film. "Ryan and I made peace with the idea that the chances of success were very narrow," he said. "I came on board because the script was very strong. But no matter what you do, no matter how good what you’re doing is, the film will always be compared to the first, which is a masterpiece. So I made peace with that. And when you make piece with that, you are free."

The director went on to explain that although Scott created the distinctive world of the original movie, he was very hands-off in his role as producer on the sequel. "He said, 'It's your movie. I'll be there if you need me, otherwise I'll be away,'" Villeneuve said. "And I must say he was not there physically, but I felt his presence all the time, because I was dealing with his universe all the time. So in a way he wasn't there, but he was there a lot at the same time."

Blade Runner 2049 also stars Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, and Robin Wright. It hits theaters on October 6, 2017.

Two More Xbox One X Games Getting 4K Enhancements

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 21:07

Xbox One X was officially unveiled at E3 2017, when Microsoft announced its new console would enhance a bunch of games to support 4K resolution. Now, the company has revealed two more titles that will be playable in "4K Ultra HD."

On the official Xbox website, both The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus now show the "Xbox One X Enhanced," "HDR," and "4K Ultra HD" logos. They join the new Xbox console's growing list of 4K-supported games, which includes Crackdown 3, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Sea of Thieves, and more.

In addition, a bunch of existing first-party Xbox games will receive updates to support 4K when Xbox One X comes out. These include Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Killer Instinct, Minecraft, and Halo 5.

Xbox One X launches November 7 for US $499 / £449 / AU $649. For more on the upgraded Xbox device, check out everything we know about Xbox One X.

The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein II were also both revealed at E3 this year. The former launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Friday, October 13, and it recently received new gameplay clips--watch them here.

The latter, meanwhile, contains a combat mission in which you're wheelchair-bound, which we thought was bold and empowering. It's coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 27.

Top 10 UK Sales Chart: Final Fantasy 12's PS4 Remaster Debuts At Top

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 19:32

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has debuted at No.1 for the week ending July 15, handing publisher Square Enix its first No.1 since 2016's Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The RPG forced the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy down from top spot last week to No.3 this, while retailer promotions help Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to No.2.

Overwatch falls one place to No.4 meanwhile, despite sales actually increasing 82% week-on-week, according to sales monitor Chart-Track. Below that, the ever-present Grand Theft Auto V rounds off the top five in its 200th week on the chart.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is the PS4 remaster of the PS2 classic, first released in 2006 (2007 in Europe). In our verdict, critic Miguel Concepcion said the spruced up version contains "a wealth of improvements and changes, delivering a fresh experience even if you've memorized the path from The Phon Coast to The Tomb of Raithwall.

"While its enhancements do not translate into a brand new game for existing fans, The Zodiac Age is nonetheless invigorating," he continued. "For an experience that can last over a hundred hours, the subtle tweaks therein go a long way in showcasing Final Fantasy XII's grand trek in a new light. Its epic, lore-abundant story and its time-tested Gambit System should also appeal to those who missed out on the mainline series' trip to Ivalice the first time around. And thanks in part to the new audio and speed options, The Zodiac Age is an ideal definitive edition: one that improves the game over its original version across the board."

Read more in our full Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age review, or check out our review roundup for a wider view of critical opinion on the RPG.

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

Top 10 UK Sales Chart
  1. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
  2. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  3. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  4. Overwatch
  5. Grand Theft Auto V
  6. Forza Horizon 3
  7. Minecraft: Xbox Edition
  8. Wipeout: Omega Collection
  9. Horizon Zero Dawn
  10. Injustice 2

Fighting Game BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle Announced At Evo 2017

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 15:06

This weekend at the Evo 2017 fighting game championships, Arc System Works announced BlazBlue Cross Battle Tag. A 2D fighting game, Cross Tag Battle is a crossover title that features characters from franchises like Persona 4 Arena, BlazBlue, and Under Night In-Birth.

"Look forward to the tag team battle that no one has ever imagined!" reads a line from the game's description (via Polygon).

Going off the first trailer, which you can see above, it looks like Cross Tag Battle is a 2v2 tag battle game where you choose characters from the different franchises.

Cross Tag Battle is scheduled to launch in 2018 for consoles, though there are no further details available about the game.

Here are some other stories from Evo 2017:

Watch The Game Of Thrones S7 Ep 2 Trailer Here

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 14:41

Game of Thrones returned tonight for its seventh season, kicking off with the debut episode "Dragonstone." We have a full rundown of the episode here. You're probably already thinking about Episode 2, "Stormborn," and now the first trailer for it has landed.

Obviously this trailer has lots of spoilers about what's happening in Westeros, so maybe don't watch this if you are not caught up. "Stormborn" airs on Sunday, July 23.

For even more on the first episode of the new Game of Thrones season, go to Entertainment Weekly to see what Arya actress Maisie Williams had to say about what her character did in the premiere.

In other Game of Thrones news, some of the series regulars have spoken out against online leaks.

There are seven episodes in this season, while the eighth and final season will have just six--though they could be longer than usual. Though Game of Thrones is coming to an end, there are pilots for as many as five spinoffs in the works.

Directing Final Fantasy 7 Remake And Kingdom Hearts 3 Together Made Life Easier For Nomura

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 14:30

Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake are two of the mostly eagerly anticipated games in development right now, and they’re being directed by the same man: Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura, who has previously worked extensively on both franchises. During a group interview at Disney's D23 expo, he explained how the two new games have proved the perfect complements to one another for him as director.

"I don’t really feel any sort of hurdles or difficulty because the two titles are so different," he said. "It actually works to my advantage because [they’re] so different. If both titles seem to have a sort of similar vein, both titles may start to look the same. So with the two being different, if there’s one thing that I could not do in one title, I might be able to do it in the other. It works out for me in that way."

He added that the biggest challenge is simply how busy he is. "For example, we were making preparations to come here to D23 for Kingdom Hearts, and while we’re kind of in the rush to do that we have to schedule a mandatory meeting for Final Fantasy 7," he said. "So juggling that I think is a big challenge as well, but it comes with the territory."

Nomura also discussed how the developers are using Unreal Engine 4 to develop both Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake. "With Unreal 4 there are a lot of different middleware that exist that is compatible and that we can utilize with the engine, so there’s no need to prepare everything from scratch on the development side," he said. "So I think that has allowed for development to be smooth."

He described how they're customizing the engine to fit their needs, particularly on Kingdom Hearts 3, so that their games don't look like other Unreal Engine games.

"For example, the effects, the visual effects that you see, are very highly regarded for Kingdom Hearts, but that’s actually one of the elements that the development team has customized on Unreal Engine 4 so that it is unique to us," he said. "So games that are developed by other companies that utilize Unreal Engine may not be necessarily able to recreate those same kinds of effects on theirs."

It feels like it's been ages since we learned anything new about the Final Fantasy 7 remake, and Nomura wasn't as eager to discuss it at D23 as he was Kingdom Hearts 3--for obvious reasons. There's nothing new to share about the remake's release date, but fans can at least take heart from one fact: If Kingdom Hearts 3 actually comes out next year, like it's currently supposed to, it will seem like anything is possible.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Director Tetsuya Nomura Explains What Took So Long

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:45

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been a long time coming, and despite the series’ many spin-offs, remakes and re-releases, fans are hungry for another adventure with Sora and friends. It’s been 12 years since Kingdom Hearts 2 came out on PS2, and in a recent group interview at Disney’s D23 expo, game director Tetsuya Nomura explained what’s taken so long.

“A lot of people have been mentioning and making it sound like ‘Oh, Nomura’s taking too much time,’ and it hurts,“ Nomura said, through a translator. He explained that the decision was made above his head to switch development to Unreal Engine 4 after about a year of development, which caused extensive delays. In addition, certain timing and resources challenges within Square Enix had an effect.

“There was a decision made to change to an external [engine]...Unreal Engine 4,” he said. “So we switched over to that. Unfortunately there was a bit of time that needed to be rewinded and started over. So there was a bit of a setback there, but it was a decision that the company had to make, so it was inevitable.”

“We had a plan of the period that it’s going to take for us to create the content at the start of the project, and we laid out, after such and such years, we would need to add more personnel resources,” he said. “We had submitted it to our headquarters and had it approved, but internal personnel is very limited, and there are various different projects that happen within our company, so unfortunately timing did not work out. So we had to make due with the timing that was appropriate for the company...the company makes the decisions, so unfortunately sometimes it is out of my control.”

He was keen to emphasize that it hasn’t been problems with development or any choices made by him or his team that have caused Kingdom Hearts 3 to take so long. “I wanted to emphasize that it wasn’t a problem on our development teams," he said. "It just happened that way, and there were some decisions that the company had to make, and it just didn’t work out for certain timings that we were hoping to hit.”

“It’s kind of out of my hands,” he added. “I mean, yes, time has passed. But it’s out of my hands.”

At D23 Nomura took the stage during Disney’s video games panel to announce another new world for Kingdom Hearts 3, one based on Toy Story. Nomura said it’s one he’s wanted to add to the series for years, but never had the opportunity to until now.

The series’ signature combat has played a big role in all its trailers and appearances so far, and the game looks more fun and chaotic than any other in the series. One central new system is keyblade transformations, which Nomura said has been a big focus during development. Each world now will also have unique mechanics, like the giant robots Sora is able to pilot in the Toy Story world. Jumping into one during combat switches the view to a first-person camera, a new type of drastic gameplay shift that Nomura said they hoped to capture in some way on every world in the game.

Speaking of the game’s various Disney-themed worlds, of which Toy Story is just the latest to be revealed, Nomura said they likely won’t be saving any as a surprise for players to discover on their own. “I don’t think we’ll be keeping any worlds secret until the game is released. I think we will be introducing them leading up to launch,” he said. “Nowadays games can add content on after the fact through DLC content, so there’s no need to hide any worlds.”

That of course begged the question: Are they already planning downloadable content for Kingdom Hearts 3? “Nothing is set in stone, and I’m afraid we can’t go into details, but I have told the team: Just be prepared to be able to accommodate for something like that,” Nomura said. “We can’t suddenly develop a system where we’re accommodating for downloadable content. So it’s not confirming or denying either way, but just so that the development team will be prepared, I have informed them of making the preparations.”

It sounds like Kingdom Hearts 3 may have fewer worlds than the series' previous games, but each world will be more dense and detailed than what we’re used to. “I feel like I’ve packed in much more fun than I had in my previous Kingdom Hearts titles,” Nomura said.

“Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to be our first full HD game in our current console generation,” he continued. “It does involve a lot of bandwidth and resources in order to create in full HD, so our directive was to have as many elements [as possible] of gameplay included in one single world, rather than having multiple different little worlds with few elements. We wanted to pack in as many gameplay elements and fun into a single world.”

“If we are able to accomplish everything that we did plan out for, I’m pretty confident that people will enjoy and be fully satisfied with the end product,” he finished.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is, at long last, scheduled to be released in 2018.

Game Of Thrones: The Biggest Moments From Season 7, Episode 1 [SPOILERS]

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:02

Game of Thrones is back for Season 7 and started off with a bang this week. The season opener--titled "Dragonstone"--offered a lot of insight into where this year's stories and characters will be headed. We'll be taking a look at one big moment from this week's episode.

Warning: Spoilers are coming.

Right off the bat, the audience was treated to a jaw-dropping moment, involving House Frey. Walder Frey sat in front of his men, enjoying a large banquet in celebration of all their accomplishments. His men were handed wine for a toast, the finest wine. However, Walder does not drink the wine, while his men guzzle it down. Walder recounts the Red Wedding and makes mention that they did not kill all of the Starks, and that was their mistake. "Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe," he states.

All of the soldiers drop dead, from poison, and Walder removes his face to reveal it was Arya Stark all along. She turns to the young girl next to her and says, "When people ask you what happened here, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey." Don't mess with Arya Stark, or you will die.

Later on, while traveling, Arya rides by some Lannister soldiers--one of which is musician Ed Sheeran-- and they offer her some food and wine. She eventually divulges to the men that she plans on killing the queen, which results in an uproar of laughter. If only these men only knew how serious she was.

Arya's arc within the season premiere sets a tremendous tone. Game of Thrones has a ton of key players, working in the open, assembling armies to prepare for battle. However, there is one rogue character that seems to have just as great of a chance of completing their goals, and that's Arya. She's under the radar and become a living weapon, with the capability of hiding in plain site, and most of the time, she doesn't even need a false face for it. We can only expect to see more blood on her hands as the season progresses forward.

Here are some other big moments from "Dragonstone:"

  • Daenerys Targaryen returned to her ancestral home of Dragonstone, during the closing moments of the episode.
  • Samwell Tarly gained access to the restricted section of the library of the Citadell in Oldtown. In one of the books he read, he saw that under Dragonstone is Dragon Glass, which Jon Snow and the North need to fight off the White Walkers.
  • Sandor Clegane has become an uneasy ally and traveling companion of Beric Dondarrion and his men. Clegane gained knowledge of the future through the fire and saw White Walkers and the dead at the Wall.
  • There is tension between Jon Snow and Sansa Stark. She wants him to be a smart leader, and while she thinks highly of him as a ruler, she doesn't want him to make a mistake which will lead to his death, like the rest of the Stark household.
  • Euron Greyjoy met with Cersei and Jaime Lannister at King's Landing, in order to make an alliance. Euron taunted Jaime time and time again, and it was awesome.
  • While working at the Citadel, Samwell was grabbed by a sick man through a portal in his door. The man asked about Daenerys. This was obviously Jorah, and his greyscale has progressed, from what we could see on his arm.
  • Bran Stark and Meera Reed make it to the Wall and are greeted by the Night's Watch.

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