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Apex Legends Has A Monster Easter Egg

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:12

Apex Legends has been available for just over a week, and already the community has discovered an Easter egg that Respawn thought would take much longer. By finding all ten Nessy plushies scattered throughout the map, you can get a very special visit from the Loch Ness Monster herself.

The Apex Legends subreddit noticed that a message reading "A Nessy appears" would sometimes appear on the kill feed. That was a clue regarding the hidden Nessy dolls, and subsequently at least one Twitch streamer has captured footage of exactly what happens if you find all ten. Standing near the edge of the map you can make out the hazy shape of the legendary sea creature as she comes to say hello.

"I had a bet with our producer, Drew [McCoy], on how long it would take," said Chad Grenier, lead design scripter, in a comment on Reddit. "I thought he was crazy when he said a week, turns out he was just about spot on at 8 days! I figured a month at least. You are all unreal. I'd still like to see a good video clip of it when it's not in the circle though. Guess I need to make the next one much harder."

Apex Legends has been a massive success for Respawn, hitting 25 million players in just its first week, including more than 2 million concurrent players at its peak. With that many eyes on the new free-to-play game the community was bound to find it sooner or later. Currently Respawn and Twitch are hosting a special streamer tournament, and later this week the studio will introduce some new Valentine's cosmetic items.

"Apex Legends is a mix of smart shooter ideas that makes for a competitive, team-based game that gets at all the best parts of battle royale while addressing a lot of the weaknesses," critic Phil Hornshaw said in GameSpot's review. "Respawn's intense focus on team play makes Apex more than just a worthy addition to the genre; it's an indicator of where battle royale should go in the future."

Apex Legends Showing The Love For Valentine's Day

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:10

Apex Legends just surprise-launched last week, but Respawn already has imminent plans for its first live event. Respawn recently teased that it will be celebrating Valentine's Day with some special loot to collect.

A blog post from Respawn's Vince Zampella says it will be "introducing some limited-time Valentine's Day themed loot" later this week. It doesn't mention just what those new cosmetics will be, exactly when the update will drop, or how long it will last.

These new items might be randomly distributed in Apex Packs, the game's version of loot boxes. Those tend to grant random cosmetics and crafting materials. You can also unlock Legendary skins for the various characters.

This news came alongside word that the game had reached 25 million players in just its first week, including well over 2 million concurrent players. The studio is also kicking off the Apex Legends Twitch Challenge, which pits 48 streamers against each other in the battle royale game for your amusement. Apex has already become a massive success on Twitch, toppling the other most popular categories easily.

For more on getting the most out of your time in Apex Legends, read up on everything the game doesn't tell you and tips to improve your play. You might also be hunting for the best weapons to use as you scour before the combat starts.

Happy Death Day 2U Review: Time To Explain Everything

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:00

The first Happy Death Day was a slasher-tinged riff on Groundhog Day, the 1993 classic in which Bill Murray lives the same day over and over until he learns to be less of a dick. Like that movie, Happy Death Day never explained what caused the time loop in which Tree (Jessica Rothe) woke up every morning hungover in a stranger's dorm room and was murdered every night by a killer in a baby mask. Was an omnipotent being trying to teach Tree a lesson? Did someone put a curse on her, like in the infamous second draft of Groundhog Day's script? The movie provided no answers and few concrete hints.

As in the movie to which Happy Death Day owes its existence, the cause of the anomaly was less important than the journey, and the lessons learned along the way. Happy Death Day 2U throws that out the window and explains everything.

Luckily, though, it doesn't feel like they scrambled to come up with some cockamamey explanation upon learning they'd get to do a sequel. Director Christopher B. Landon even told Insider back in 2017 that he already knew what was causing the time loop, long before a sequel was a sure thing. "It's in my back pocket...if I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to make a sequel, the answer to that question is the premise of my sequel," he said.

I won't spoil what it is, but it doesn't take long into HDD2U until we find out. And as Landon stated in the same interview, the time loop's cause is heavily hinted at in the original--although it's only obvious in retrospect.

So in return for taking out the mystery, what do we get in Happy Death Day 2U? The sequel is a much more potent blend of genres, mixing elements of slashers, comedy, and sci-fi, all with a tongue-in-cheek wit that tells the audience the movie knows exactly what it is. It expands on the cast of characters, introducing some new ones while adding new dimensions to the old ones--literally, the plot this time around involves parallel universes, as anyone who's seen the trailers can surmise.

The movie shifts gears several times, from the opening, in which Carter's (Israel Broussard) hapless roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) finds himself stuck in a death loop of his own, to the out of place narrative cul-de-sac of a comedic heist, to Tree's trip to an alternate universe in which several key parts of her life are different. HDD2U spends a lopsided amount of time on that, and Tree's conundrum ultimately makes up the majority of the film's runtime, which winds up being disappointing after the movie's efforts to flesh out its other characters early on.

Ryan--the douchebag roommate who started every morning of Tree's original loop by referring to her as "fine vagine"--turns out to be an intriguing protagonist in his own right, before the focus shifts entirely back to Tree. And the movie introduces several other students (Sarah Yarkin and Suraj Sharma), as well as the '80s movie-style villainous Dean Bronson (Steve Zissis), all of whom should have been fleshed out more.

Part of the reason they're not may be that Jessica Rothe is so magnetic as protagonist Tree. The ranges of frustration, determination, joy, despair, and fatigue that she displays throughout both movies are justification enough for the series to keep going past number two. The rest of the characters are destined to just be bit players with a protagonist this likable, so it's understandable why the sequel leans into that and keeps the focus mostly on her. The other standout this time around is Rachel Matthews' alpha boss sorority sister Danielle, who winds up playing a fairly different version of the character in Tree's alternate universe.

Ultimately, Happy Death Day 2U works despite the incongruity of its various parts. Jumping between horror, comedy, and sci-fi tones is a difficult balancing act, and HDD2U pulls it off, despite a few stumbles here and there. When it wants to be funny, it definitely is, while there are also legitimate scares that will have some viewers jumping out of their seats. And the sci-fi elements lead to an intriguing--while still hilarious--conclusion that I genuinely hope gets picked up in another Happy Death Day sequel.

The original Happy Death Day easily stands on its own as a complete, self-contained movie. Like Groundhog Day, it didn't need to be explained. But if you're going to expand on a movie like Happy Death Day, this is the way to do it.

The GoodThe BadJessica Rothe is an incredibly likable protagonistCould have spent more time with side charactersExpands on the original without detracting from itA couple of narrative cul-de-sacs, including an out of place heist sectionHas a lot of fun with the premise Impressively blends slasher, comedy, and sci-fi 

Alita: Battle Angel's Robert Rodriguez On His Cameo In The Movie And Creating Readable CG Sequences

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:36

The upcoming movie Alita: Battle Angel is full of gigantic CG action sequences mixed with live-action locations. Director Robert Rodriguez is bringing James Cameron's vision to life, and along the way, he accidentally made a cameo in the movie.

During the third act of the film, in the Motorball race, Rodriguez has a brief appearance, which he originally voiced until a voice actor came in. "Back then, the voice of the guy who gets kicked, he gets his head knocked off in the Motorball race, and he goes 'Aw, crap,'" Rodriguez explained to GameSpot. "That's still my voice from my original rough version. The crew left it in because they liked how it sounded. I said, 'Hey what's that actor we got?' They said, 'Nah we didn't like him for it. We liked you for it.'"

Cameos aside, Rodriguez accomplished readable, clear action sequences, throughout the film, which includes the Motorball sequence. "That was the most difficult sequence for me because the only way you read a script, an action script or any script, it's not the same writer as who directs it," Rodriguez explained. "So a lot of times, I'll read a script and go 'That's not gonna work,' but not with [James Cameron's] scripts. It's almost like he's seen the whole movie finished in his head, and he's writing down exactly what he's seen. It's so clear, that you can follow it like no other script I've ever read. And so I wanted it to be as clear as that. Where you can follow it, and that was my feeling like I've seen so many of these big movies you just get lost.

"People get lost, so it's great when you hear the audience cheering cause that means they're actually able to follow the action and the drama and Jim had just done such a great job of not making it the sport at all, making it a real character moment where she's actually being hunted down and possibly killed by these guys. Forget the ball game, he's trying to kill them. So you wanted to keep that drama, Jim did it in a very dramatic way, it had high stakes and all the adventures so you just didn't want to lose the audience."

From the major action sequences to the individual characters, Cameron's vision of this world was very specific, and Rodriguez was in awe of the work he put into this world before he came on. This is especially true for the Hunter Warrior Zapan, whose look is very different than how he appears in the manga. "I looked at a painting [Cameron] did," Rodriguez said. "I saw this shot. I think it must be Zapan, and I got a shot of his back, and it had that calendar on it, and it was metal, and I thought that just blew me away. It's like a Ferrari; he puts all of his money into his body and his face. It speaks volumes about his vanity. It's a cool design, and it's sort of a Latin design too which shows that it's a melting pot world world which for sure always had as the graphic novel could.

"You see cultures from all over come around, multiple languages being spoken, different signage. It's a microcosm of what's left of the world. But I just thought that was such a awesome place to start from, to just make him look like a shiny car, and there was a long aspect of design which was finishing it out, finishing the front of him, and how it tied together and yeah it's probably my favorite design but starting with Jim and then it finished… we did the rest of it."

You can see the visually stunning movie, Alita: Battle Angel, for yourself when it opens on Thursday, February 14.

PlayStation Classic Now Down To $40 In The US

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:32

The PlayStation Classic has already had some heavy price drops, but now it's gone lower than we've seen so far. The retailer Walmart has marked it down to $40, which is more than half off the original retail price of $100.

The listing on doesn't signal a limited-time offer, and the last time the mini-console dropped in price it remained roughly at that range for quite a while. Target still has it listed for $60 but may be willing to price match with proof of Walmart's price, while Amazon appears fresh out of new stock, but resellers have used ones for below the $40 price.

The PlayStation Classic was Sony's answer to Nintendo's successful mini-consoles, the NES and SNES Classic. A poor reception led by a spate of bad reviews resulted in quick price drops, though, first hitting $60 just after the holidays, then near $50, and now even lower than that.

"I'd like nothing more than to tell you that the PS Classic is a pleasant surprise, that it will match your excitement and then some," critic Peter Brown wrote in GameSpot's review. "This sadly isn't the case, and short of Sony refreshing it, or the hacking community breaking it open and reconfiguring it, the PS Classic may never be more than a puny PlayStation with good looks."

PlayStation Classic Full Game List
  • Battle Arena Toshinden
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • Destruction Derby
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Intelligent Qube
  • Jumping Flash
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Mr Driller
  • Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • Rayman
  • Resident Evil Director’s Cut
  • Revelations: Persona
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tekken 3
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
  • Twisted Metal
  • Wild Arms

Red Dead 2 Online Update Adds New Features This Month

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:07

Red Dead Redemption 2's Online mode may still be in beta, but that hasn't stopped developer Rockstar from updating it with new features. On February 26, more new features will come to Red Dead Online on PS4 and Xbox One, including a new law and bounty system, changes to the mini-map and weapons, and more.

The law and bounty system works similarly to the campaign's equivalent. Essentially, committing serious crimes such as killing other players incur a high bounty and reduce your honor, while minor crimes will reduce your honor only. If your bounty reaches a certain threshold, you will be wanted dead and NPC bounty hunters will attempt to kill you.

Committing dishonorable deeds will also make you stand out to other players. In a set of sweeping changes to the mini-map, players who frequently grief other players--by killing them or their horses outside of a structured mode, free roam mission, event, or competition, for example--will be highlighted to other players by a progressively darkening dot. Blue dots indicate a more honorable player, while redder dots signify a player who has committed more crimes, especially in a short space of time.

Additionally, the visibility of all player dots is to be reduced over long distances. "Your map position won't display to other players unless you are nearby (within 150 meters) and if you are slightly further away you will only appear when firing your weapon," says Rockstar. "Players in other towns or regions, for example, won't be visible. This prevents players from being repeatedly targeted across the map at long distances." Rockstar goes on to say the changes are designed "to minimize certain types of destructive player behavior."

Daily Challenges are also coming in the update, affording players the opportunities to complete tasks--such as foraging for herbs, hunting and skinning animals, clearing hideouts, or winning Feuds--for the rewards of gold nuggets and XP. For more on the update, check out the full list of changes on Rockstar's blog.

Red Dead Online's beta didn't begin until November, though the base game launched in October to critical acclaim. "While Red Dead Redemption was mostly focused on John Marston's story, Red Dead 2 is about the entire Van der Linde gang--as a community, as an idea, and as the death rattle of the Wild West," wrote Kallie Plagge in our Red Dead Redemption 2 review. "It is about Arthur, too, but as the lens through which you view the gang, his very personal, very messy story supports a larger tale. Some frustrating systems and a predictable mission structure end up serving that story well, though it does take patience to get through them and understand why. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an excellent prequel, but it's also an emotional, thought-provoking story in its own right, and it's a world that is hard to leave when it's done."

Pokemon Go Gets A Little More Like Snap With AR Photo Mode Update

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:00

Pokemon Go players have been able to take and share screenshots of Pokemon using the game's improved AR feature, but a dedicated photo mode is on the way soon. Developer Niantic has announced Go Snapshot, a new feature that will allow players to take photos of any Pokemon they have in storage.

The studio hasn't announced when Go Snapshot will launch, but it's slated to roll out "soon." Once it's live, you'll be able to access the feature either by looking at a specific Pokemon in your collection or by selecting the camera in your item bag. After that, you can select a Pokemon you want to photograph and place it anywhere by tapping on the screen.

Any photos you take using the Go Snapshot feature will automatically be saved to your device, allowing you to easily share them with friends and on social media. You can see samples of the kinds of screenshots you can take below; more details about the feature are available on the official Pokemon Go website.

In other Pokemon Go news, Niantic recently confirmed what event-exclusive move players will be able to learn during this month's Community Day. If you can evolve February's featured Pokemon, Swinub, into its final form Mamoswine up to an hour after the event ends, the Pokemon will know the Rock-type attack Ancient Power.

You can only obtain Mamoswine using a new evolutionary item called the Sinnoh Stone, but during this month's Community Day, you'll be able to earn up to 10 of them by battle Team Leaders and other players.

A special Meltan event is also underway in Pokemon Go. From now through March 4, you'll have a chance of encountering Shiny Meltan each time you open the Mystery Box, and the time you need to wait to reopen the item has been reduced by three days.

The Division 2 Open Beta Confirmed, Coming Next Month

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:00

The Division 2 will have an open beta after all. Ubisoft confirmed the impending beta will launch for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on March 1, giving you a chance to try it before the full game launch on March 15.

Word of a possible open beta began circulating recently, when the official account mentioned rewards for participation in either the private or open betas. This came just after a community developer mentioned an open beta during a livestream. Participating in the beta will grant you a DC Patriot weapon skin, and completing the Invaded mission will get you a Capitol Hill arm patch.

The private beta was reserved for pre-orders or those drawn randomly, and came with its share of technical hiccups. Ubisoft even recommended restarting every few hours to stave off one bug. It included two main missions, five side missions, open-world activities, a Dark Zone, and an endgame Invaded mission.

The first Division took place in New York City following a pandemic bio-engineered virus that made the social order break down. This sequel moves a few hundred miles south to Washington DC. For more on The Division 2, check out everything we know and our favorite new features. Microsoft recently announced two Division 2 Xbox One bundles. Those will come alongside the game on March 15.

Destiny 2 Ascendant Challenge Location Guide, Week 6 (Feb. 12-19)

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:00

Destiny 2's weekly reset brings with it Crimson Days, Bungie's Valentine's Day-themed event, as well as a new Ascendant Challenge, which takes you into the strange recesses of the Dreaming City. This is the end of the six-week cycle of challenges, and this one, the Cimmerian Garrison, is one of the spookiest and most involved. Here's where to find the Taken portal and what to do once you're inside.

As always, the first step is to pick up the Ascendant Challenge from Petra--this is what nets you a piece of Powerful gear for completing it. Once that's done, make sure you have a Tincture of Queensfoil. With that in hand, you'll enter the Lost Sector in Rheasilvia, the Chamber of Starlight. You'll need to make your way through the entire thing, as the portal is located just behind the chest that unlocks after killing the boss. While optional, you might as well complete the Lost Sector to make things easier on yourself. With that out of the way, use the Tincture to gain the Ascendance buff, which allows you to see the Taken portal. The exact location can be seen in the video above and map below.

Jump through the portal to head to Cimmerian Garrison, located in the Ascendant Plane. Here, you'll be faced with what amounts to a gauntlet--you'll need to make your way through and kill an enemy at the end. Once you go inside, you'll be chased by three knights. As you progress, you'll have to deal with various enemies, including hobgoblins, shriekers, and thrall with yellow health bars. Take them out as you go, and you'll reach a point where you have to platform across some rocks (because it wouldn't be an Ascendant Challenge without some first-person platforming). Along the way, be mindful of the Taken corruption that will periodically explode with a blast of energy, which can send you falling you to your death if you aren't careful.

Once you're done platforming, you'll have to kill a knight to finish things out, but beware the shrieker that spawns nearby. With the knight dead, open the chest to complete the Ascendant Challenge. There may not be any special rewards inside there, but you'll get a piece of Powerful gear for turning in the associated bounty.

This week's reset marks the end of the Iron Banner as well as The Dawning, and you'll have to wait a bit if you're itching for something new to do. There's one last Forge activity to unlock in Destiny 2's latest expansion, The Black Armory, but it won't become available for to find and unlock until the weekly reset on January 8. In the meantime, though, there's the Izanami Forge, which is the toughest and most involved to unlock yet--check out our guide for help.

How The Little Mermaid Brought Disney Animation Back From The Dead

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 03:53

It's been nearly 30 years since The Little Mermaid swam into theaters on November 17, 1989, ushering in a new era for Walt Disney animated films. At the time of its production, Disney Studios' animation division was no longer the powerhouse it has once been. Mermaid, however, was just the film the company needed to turn its cartoon division around.

Now, three decades later, The Little Mermaid co-director Ron Clements and directing animator Mark Henn are celebrating the 4K Blu-ray and digital release of the film. To mark the occasion, they sat down with GameSpot to discuss the film's lasting impression on audiences and share a few stories from behind-the-scenes of the production. From creating the film under less-than-ideal circumstances to how legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber nearly composed the movie's music, the tales behind the making of The Little Mermaid are fascinating.

The Little Mermaid's 4K released is loaded with a treasure trove of new special features, including a sing-along cut of the film, giving you the perfect opportunity to scream the lyrics of "Under the Sea" at your television. The digital release is out now, with the 4K and standard Blu-ray arriving on February 26.

GameSpot: When you guys were making this movie, many thought the shine had come off of Disney animation in the '80s. What was it like creating in that environment?

Ron Clements: Well, I mean, first I'd say, of the generation, like say the new generation that started to coming to Disney in the '70s when they started the animation training program at CalArts, I would say a lot of the people felt that same way. That felt like after Walt [Disney] died that the films just maybe weren't quite what those earlier films were. And wanting to sort of see a kind of, everybody wanted to work on something like Snow White or Pinocchio or Bambi or the classic films.

So there was a hunger within that group to want to do something that you could really, really feel good about. A movie that sort of worked on many levels. And we built up to Mermaid with several films leading up to it. But in a certain way, Mermaid was a special film that really was all baby boomers really wanting to prove themselves and just wanting to make the best movie that they possibly could. So that created a very, I'd say, dynamic atmosphere. It wasn't necessarily just a totally happy atmosphere because I think everybody felt the stakes were high and still feeling that the whole part was kind of vulnerable, that if we didn't prove ourselves by a certain point that they might stop doing animation all together. That was always kind of a possibility.

GameSpot: Mark, what was the experience like for you as the directing animator?

Mark Henn: There was definitely a feeling of, it was our turn now and we wanted to make sure that this film was as good as it could possibly be. Thankfully, I would say, we were on an upturn. We maybe didn't recognize it at first but we were, things had arguably bottomed out with say Black Cauldron but we had the new regime change and there was an interest in animation. So Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company. And if you actually look, just from a box office point of view, you could start to see that upturn until you got to The Little Mermaid and then, of course, we didn't know it at the time, but as it turned out in the end, we really made a big jump from that point of view.

GameSpot: This is essentially the film that introduced a new generation of viewers to Disney movies. How exciting is it for you to look back 30 years later and realize it's a movie that still holds such a special place for people, and now future generations?

Clements: Yeah, it's really cool. I mean, for my generation, for the baby boomer generation, there's no real equivalent of that except I would say the Wizard of Oz in the sense that when I was a kid that was shown every year on TV and it seemed like every kid in America watched it. You couldn't put a video in and watch it over and over again.

But at least you could see it multiple times, and it became ingrained and a part of you. And that was kind of a touchstone for our whole generation. Mermaid was the first new film to actually go out on home video. So it really is unique in that respect from any film that came before it in the sense that kids could watch over and over and over again. They could just wear out the whole video.

So it's even hard for me to really know what that might be like cause I didn't really experience that. But certainly, it's thrilling. I mean, these films are so much work, so many people, they take so long to have them endure and have an afterlife. I mean, that's really, really I think, just the coolest thing. And makes all that work feel like it was totally worthwhile.

GameSpot: Can you speak a bit about collaborating with Howard Ashman on the film? When you look at a documentary like Waking Sleeping Beauty, it becomes clear how big a piece of that creative puzzle he was.

Clements: Oh yeah. Howard brought so much. And with his musical theater background, he was a Disney fan as well, and there was serendipity in terms of how everything worked out at that time. I mean, there's actually a possibility, the first person that was approached to do the music for Little Mermaid was Andrew Lloyd Webber, who turned it down at the time. [Co-director] John Musker and myself, we were big fans Little Shop of Horrors, we loved that, but it wasn't our decision. We heard, we had just written a treatment, and certainly we had our treatment, and then we heard from [then Walt Disney Feature Animation president] Peter Schneider that Howard was gonna be involved with the movie 'cause [The Walt Disney Studios chairman] Jeffrey [Katzenberg] had approached Howard and really wanted Howard to just work for Disney. I mean, to do a live-action film or do whatever. And Howard saw a list of films that were in development in both live action and animation and he said, "Regardless of anything else, I would love to write the songs for Little Mermaid." And then, this was around when John Musker and I were just finishing Great Mouse Detective and we were going to New York to do a little promotion and they sort of worked out the time to meet Howard for the first time at [the] Helmsley Palace [Hotel].

And we spent two days with Howard going over the treatment, talking about the songs, and how the songs would fit into the movie, and a lot of what came out of those two days is the movie. We were saying earlier, before that, music has always been a part of, a big part of Disney films. Of course Fantasia, maybe before that, Silly Symphonies, there's something about music and animation, they're just meant to be together. They really fit. And all the Disney films, pretty much I think, had songs in them.

But Mermaid was different in the sense it was much more like a theatrical musical and the songs were integral to the plot and the storytelling and they advanced things and moved things forward. They carried a lot of weight [and it's] very difficult to take any out. There was some pressure to take certain ones out and certain times, but fortunately, it was constructed in such a way that was really hard to do. But yeah, it sort of transformed I think, a little bit, at least what a musical animated film could be. And since then, it's certainly had a huge influence on all the other films.

Henn: Yeah, it kind of set a new model for us. But I was just thinking as I was listening to you how, in a lot of ways, Howard was fairly new. I mean, he had a big hit with Little Shop, but he was, compared to an Andrew Lloyd Webber, who I think was the king at the time [of] theatrical musicals, so it seemed like that woulda been a no-brainer if you were looking to approach somebody. But Howard kind of grew up with us, in a sense, on this film. But yeah, he really brought this whole idea of storytelling through song, not just stopping the story, having a nice song and then picking up where you left off. I mean, he really felt strongly about the songs telling you something and moving the story along. So where you started at the beginning and where you ended, you were further along.

Clements: And one cool thing that I think people may not think about but, when I was a kid musicals were popular. There were a lot of popular musical films, not just Mary Poppins and West Side Story. But films like The Music Man and The Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, really popular musical films. At the time of Mermaid, and I was just coming off the '80s, things had changed a lot and even Howard's world of musical theater, I think things were a little bit in a slight decline. And somehow there was a whole generation that had a tendency to reject musicals as a way of storytelling because of that sort of uncomfortable feeling, two people are talking to each other and then they sort of burst into song. And it was like, it became, "I don't buy that!" But animation seemed like a place where you could do it. And Howard felt that way too that, that was a place to bring that kind of storytelling. And in a way now, musicals are popular again and embraced again, and in a certain way, I feel like you could attribute that, even though Howard was kind of unhappy at the time and almost felt like the musical theater was in the decline, but he was actually responsible for a lot of things coming back.

And I know Lin Manuel Miranda is a huge fan of Little Mermaid and of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and that really influenced him in his whole life. And so there's something very kinda cool about that.

The Little Mermaid is available on 4K Ultra HD Digital now. It will be released on 4K and standard Blu-ray on February 26.

Watch The Apex Legends Twitch Rivals Tournament Here, Live Right Now

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 03:48

Apex Legends has already hit a whopping 25 million players after just one week. Respawn is keeping that engine moving with an event that will bring together 48 notable streamers as they throw down on the new battle royale game, and you can watch it all unfold right here. The Apex Legends Challenge pits 48 streamers against each other in a big tournament. It will take place on February 12 and February 19.

Only a week after launch, Apex Legends is already a popular game on Twitch. According to Twitch's public viewing data, it has 427,000 viewers as of the time of writing. That's roughly equal to the next four highest-watched categories combined. Those are League of Legends, Just Chatting, Dota 2, and Fortnite, respectively.

Apex Legends is the latest entry in the battle royale genre, though it also mixes up the formula with distinct hero characters who all have their own sets of skills, a la Overwatch. It's a free-to-play game with cosmetic purchases and two additional hero characters not included as the free set. It's also set in Respawn's Titanfall universe, and the studio has said that more Titanfall is on the way.

For tips on how to make the most out of your play, check out everything the game doesn't tell you, along with tips to improve your play. You might also be hunting for the best weapons to use as you scour before the combat starts.

"Apex Legends is a mix of smart shooter ideas that makes for a competitive, team-based game that gets at all the best parts of battle royale while addressing a lot of the weaknesses," critic Phil Hornshaw said in GameSpot's review. "Respawn's intense focus on team play makes Apex more than just a worthy addition to the genre; it's an indicator of where battle royale should go in the future."

Fortnite Server Downtime Coming Soon To Prepare For Update 7.40

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 03:25

Fortnite's upcoming 7.40 update, as with most Fortnite patches, is sure to change the game's meta with its introduction of new items and weapons. However, developer Epic Games has warned players the game's servers will be brought offline for an as yet unconfirmed duration while the company implements the changes.

Epic confirmed on Twitter that server downtime will begin on February 13 at 1 AM PT / 4 AM ET / 9 AM GMT / 8 PM AET. We already know some of what's included in the update: a new gun called the Infantry Rifle is on its way "soon" and will almost certainly arrive with version 7.40. In addition, Epic is increasing the reload time for Rocket Launchers and reducing the amount of structure damage Hand Cannons deal, while the Stormwing vehicle will no longer be able to crash through structures. The full list of changes will be available after the update drops.

On top of that, a new set of Overtime challenges will be available following the 7.40 update. Epic hasn't shared any details yet on what these missions will entail, but they're part of the recently announced Share the Love event, and they'll give players an opportunity to earn five new Valentine's Day-themed rewards. Battle Pass holders will also be able to unlock new styles of the Trog, Powder, and Onesie skins.

While Epic hasn't announced when Season 8 of Fortnite will begin, the developer has confirmed that Season 7 ends on February 28, so players only have a little more time to complete any remaining challenges. We've put together tips and guides for the trickier ones in our complete Fortnite Season 7 challenges roundup. The developer will also hold two double XP weekends before the season ends to give players another opportunity to level their Battle Pass up; the first is set for February 15-17, while the second takes place February 22-24.

Crackdown 3 Multiplayer Is Unplayable With Friends At Launch, Microsoft Confirms

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 01:42

Crackdown 3's release date is nearly here, but an already troubled development doesn't appear to be getting any easier for Microsoft. The publisher has confirmed to GameSpot that playing Crackdown 3 multiplayer with friends will not be possible when the game launches on February 15.

"Players will soon be able to take full advantage of the Xbox platform's Party features so they can experience the fully destructible environments in Crackdown 3 Wrecking Zone with friends," a Microsoft spokesperson stated. "We are always looking for ways to improve our fans' experience, and party functionality will be enabled with an upcoming title update along with our soon to be announced post-launch content."

Wrecking Zone is the name of Crackdown 3's multiplayer segment, which was recently available in beta for Xbox Insiders--this is when the inability to invite friends was discovered. Otherwise, we were impressed by Crackdown 3's multiplayer.

If you're a subscriber to Game Pass, you'll have access to Crackdown 3 on its release day, February 15--along with a raft of other games this month. For more, check out the full Xbox One Game Pass lineup for February.

New Switch Nintendo Direct Confirmed, Will Have Fire Emblem: Three Houses Details

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 01:11

Nintendo has confirmed it will host its first Nintendo Direct of 2019 on February 13. It is scheduled to take place at 2 PM PT / 5 PM ET / 10 PM GMT / 9 AM on February 14, AEST. It is set to last "roughly 35 minutes" and will deliver "information on upcoming Nintendo Switch titles, including new details on Fire Emblem: Three Houses."

As per usual, the Direct will be available to watch on Nintendo's on website, as well as through its YouTube channel. We'll also be hosting it here on GameSpot and providing you with the news as it breaks. Fire Emblem: Three Houses was first announced at E3 2018 with a spring 2019 release window. However, Nintendo hasn't discussed the title since then, so this will be the first time we're given detailed information about the title since its reveal.

Beyond Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Nintendo is also developing Yoshi's Crafted World, Luigi's Mansion 3, a new core Pokemon title, and another entry in the Animal Crossing series for Nintendo Switch. It has not officially confirmed that these titles will be discussed during the Direct, however.

It could be that Nintendo also announces new projects during the Direct. Metroid fans in particular have been hopeful that the Wii's Metroid Prime Trilogy is re-released for Switch. Especially after the recent news that Metroid Prime 4 development has been restarted, and we're unlikely to hear more about the sequel for quite some time.

It may also be possible that Nintendo shows off more the next DLC fighter for Smash Bros. Ultimate, who was revealed to be Persona 5's Joker during The Game Awards in December of 2018. Pokemon developer Game Freak is also working on an RPG called "Town," of which we've seen very little of too. Either way, we'll find out what Nintendo has in store for us soon.

Red Sonja Movie Delayed Following Director Controversy

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 00:10

Despite being fired from the production of the hit Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, in September last year director Bryan Singer was announced as director of fantasy movie Red Sonja. However, following various allegations of sexual assault against Singer, it has been reported that the project has been delayed by producers Millennium Films.

According to Variety, the movie was set to start shooting in Bulgaria this year. However, a spokeswoman for Millennium confirmed that the movie is no longer on the studio's slate and plans for its production have been postponed. In addition, distribution rights are no longer for sale at the European Film Market, which is currently taking place in Berlin.

Last month, The Atlantic published a story in which Singer was accused of sexual assault on the set of his 1998 movie Apt Pupil and of sleeping with under-age boys. Singer has denied all charges against him. In addition, Singer was fired by Fox from Bohemian Rhapsody in December 2017 after repeated absences from the set. Singer is also known as the director of several X-Men movies, including the original 2000 film and 2017's X-Men: Apocalypse.

This news of Red Sonja's delay comes two weeks after Millennium boss Avi Lerner defended Singer and insisted that he was still in place as Red Sonja's director. "The over $800 million Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is testament to his remarkable vision and acumen," said Lerner at the time. "I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision. In America people are innocent until proven otherwise."

The character of Red Sonja first appeared in a 1973 issue of Marvel's Conan the Barbarian comic, and subsequently appeared in her own title. A previous movie was made in 1986, with Brigitte Nielsen in the lead role and co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but this was a commercial and critical failure. A new movie version has been in development for many years--at one stage Alita: Battle Angel director Robert Rodriguez was slated to direct.

Aquaman 2 Is Happening, Brings Back Original Writer - Report

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 16:12

2018's Aquaman brought in more than $1.1 billion at the box office, making it one of the most commercially successful movies of the year. Success at that level pretty much guaranteed a sequel would happen, and now Warner Bros. is reportedly starting to lay the groundwork for it.

According to The Wrap, Warner Bros. has hired the first movie's co-writer, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, to come back to write the script for the sequel. However, it's unclear if James Wan, who directed the first Aquaman, will return for the follow-up. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wan is in the midst of making a deal with Warner Bros. to produce the sequel, however.

With more than $1.1 billion globally at the box office, Aquaman is DC's biggest hit since The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. It was reported that Warner Bros. would make Aquaman 2 before the first movie even hit theatres, so it is no surprise at all that the film is advancing through the early stages of development.

In December, THR said Aquaman actress Amber Heard was paid at least $1 million to appear as Mera in the film. For the sequel, Heard will earn more, according to the report. Aquaman actor Jason Momoa will presumably get a bigger payday for the rumoured sequel as well.

In addition to Aquaman 2, Warner Bros. THR says Warner Bros. is developing a Aquaman spinoff called The Trench that is a horror movie. The film will reportedly have a smaller budget than Aquaman and other tentpole DC films, and it won't feature the stars of the mainline Aquaman.

The Division 2 Will Seemingly Have An Open Beta

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:17

The Division 2 will have an open beta, apparently. The Division's official Twitter account made a casual reference to an "Open Beta" when talking to a fan about rewards.

Players can earn the Capitol Hill Arm Patch for completing the Invaded mission in the previous, pre-order exclusive Private beta, or the upcoming and unannounced Open Beta, the tweet said. Players who simply participate in either beta will earn the DC Patriot Weapon Skin.

There are 2 rewards available for playing the Beta:

Earn the Capitol Hill Arm Patch by completing the Invaded Mission in the Private or Open Beta

Earn the DC Patriot Weapon Skin by participating in any of the The Division 2 Betas

— The Division 2 (@TheDivisionGame) February 7, 2019

Headlines about an open beta for The Division 2 made the rounds today after a community developer mentioned an "open beta" during a livestream.

As mentioned, you had to pre-order The Division 2 to get access to the Private beta that ran earlier this month. The open beta will presumably be ... open for everyone to play. It's not clear at this stage if the content will differ from the Private beta to the Open beta, but keep checking back with GameSpot for more.

The Division 2 launches on March 15 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more, check out all of GameSpot's written and video content for the game here.

Brooklyn Nine Nine Adds Lin-Manuel Miranda As Amy's Brother

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:26

Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda will appear in an upcoming episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. According to Entertainment Weekly, Miranda will play Amy Santiago's brother, David Santiago, in the March 7 episode "The Golden Child." The episode will reportedly focus on their sibling rivalry.

Miranda was one of many celebrities who voiced their support for Brooklyn Nine-Nine following Fox's decision to cancel the show last year. NBC wasted no time in picking up the show, and the current 18-episode sixth season is airing now.

Miranda most recently starred in Disney's new Mary Poppins movie opposite Emily Blunt. He is perhaps known for creating hit Broadway shows Hamilton and In The Heights. He also co-wrote songs for the Moana soundtrack, which earned him an Academy award nomination.

Miranda has also appeared in TV shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Inside Amy Schumer, and BoJack Horseman, among many others.

Watch Captain Marvel Star Brie Larson Push A 5,000-Pound Car To Train For The Movie

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:05

Brie Larson put in some serious training to prepare for her new superhero movie Captain Marvel. Larson tweeted a video today of what she called a "training highlight" that was pushing a 5,000-pound Jeep that had a full tank of gas. She pushed it for a full minute, and don't worry, someone was behind the wheel to make sure things didn't go wrong.

You can watch the video below, which chronicles the final twenty seconds of the mighty push.

A training highlight - pushing Jason Walsh’s almost 5000lbs Jeep(with a full tank of gas and Alyssa behind the wheel for safety!)for 60 seconds. In Captain Marvel @nike Metcons! It’s a strong vibe but I like it.

— Brie Larson (@brielarson) February 12, 2019

The 29-year-old Oscar winner did a lot more than just push heavy cars to prepare for her starring title role in Captain Marvel. She told E! News that a major part of the Captain Marvel character is her strength, so she wanted to make sure her body was in shape.

To that end, Larson said she spent three months training 4.5 hours every day. "If I was seeing this movie, I think it would mean so much more to me knowing there was that type of dedication put into it and that it's not, 'Girls are strong with CGI,'" Larson said. "It's, 'Girls are strong [period]!'"

By the end of her training, Larson said she could deadlift 215 pounds and perform 400-pound hip thrusts.

Captain Marvel hits theatres on March 8, and it'll be followed by Avengers: Endgame in April. Larson is set to reprise her role as Captain Marvel in that film. You can watch the latest TV trailer for Captain Marvel in the video embed above.

PlayStation Boss Predicts "Post-Console" World

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 11:24

Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden has laid down a ambitious prediction for where he thinks the video game industry could be headed. Speaking to Game Informer, Layden said he foresees some kind of "post-console" world where PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo are more unified than ever. While Layden maintains that PlayStation is the "best gaming experience," he said Xbox One and Nintendo Switch offer "great experiences" as well, and PlayStation should do more to recognize that.

"I don't want to put too fine a point on this because it might upset some of the people I work with, but I think effectively, we’re looking at kind of a post-console world where you can have quality gaming experiences across a variety of technologies," he said. "Sure, PS4 and PS4 Pro provide what, of course, we think is the best gaming experience, but the other consoles out there, be it Switch, Xbox One X, or tablets, or phones--there are great experiences across all these. What we need to do is recognize all that."

He added: "We're not little gaming ghettos that are not federated or aligned at all. We're all part of the same gaming community, we just come at it through different doorways. I think the future will be an extension of that metaphor. Your platform is not your hideaway. It's just your doorway to all these other gamer folk."

That's an intriguing and surprising quote to hear from a PlayStation higher-up given that what Layden is suggesting is just about the opposite of what Sony's approach has been in recent years. Controversially, the company initially said it wouldn't allow cross-play between PS4 and other consoles because PlayStation is the best place to play. The company has since relented, and games like Fortnite and Rocket League support cross-play between PS4 and competing consoles.

Layden is not alone in talking about his desire for the walls between consoles to come down. EA's CEO predicted a future for games where you can play on any device, while the CEO of Red Dead Redemption parent company Take-Two also has spoken about the closed system walls coming down and why that might be good. Pete Hines, an executive at Bethesda, said he wants to see the closed system walls between Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo come down so more people can play together.

"I think you're going to see platforms get more homogenised," Hines said. "Because truthfully, there's really not a reason for [competing consoles] to be different. You don't buy a DVD and then worry about which DVD player you have. You just buy a DVD and anything that plays DVDs works. And I think games are going to start to move closer and closer to that."

Also in the interview, Layden talked about how the transition between console generations can be problematic and difficult.

"One of the terrible circumstances of our gaming industry is that every time we launch a new console technology, we sort of put the last generation to bed," he said. "That doesn't occur in movies. That doesn't occur in music, but it occurs all the time in games."

Sony's game-streaming service, PlayStation Now, allows PS4 users to play PS3 games, but this is not the kind of true backwards compatibility that Xbox One offers. On PS4, you have to pay to play games through PlayStation Now, while Xbox One's backwards compatibility feature recognizes the games you owned on Xbox 360 and lets you play them on Xbox One.

Layden also spoke about why Sony is not attending E3 this year. Expanding on what he told GameSpot sister site CNET, Layden said Sony just doesn't have much to talk about.

"This year, coming to 2019, I'll be honest--we just didn't have a new story to tell. And when Sony rings the bell for everyone to come 'round, they have an expectation for something that is completely new and amazing. We looked at the lineup and we can probably only give fans a lot of updates on things they already know, so how does this work for us?"

He added that Sony right now is releasing fewer games than it ever has in its history. "We're doing fewer games at any given time than any time before in our history. Back in the day, when we were doing 15-20 games at a time; there was always a new game. Something was in a window that we could have that conversation about. But 2019, for us, that confluence just didn't occur."

Game Informer's full interview with Layden is fascinating and in-depth--you can read it here.

We may be hearing more from Layden on the subject of a "post-console" world very soon. Layden will give the keynote address at the DICE Summit this week in Las Vegas. His speech is titled "Beyond Generations," so you can expect he'll give some predictions about the future of gaming.