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The Twilight Zone TV Show Adds To Its Excellent Cast

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:04

The new Twilight Zone TV anthology series has big shoes to fill. Rod Serling's original is regarded as one of the best shows of all time, and part of what made the program great was its excellent writing and performances.

The new version is assembling some excellent talent, too, with news today from THR that John Cho (Star Trek, Searching), Allison Tolman (Fargo, Castle Rock), and child actor Jacob Tremblay (Room, Wonder) have joined the cast that already includes Adam Scott, Kumail Nanjiani, and Sanaa Lathan in starring roles.

Cho, Tolman, and Tremblay will star in an episode called "The Wunderkind." No further details about the episode or the story were divulged. The new Twilight Zone officially entered production in October,

One of the best episodes of the original Twilight Zone featured a child actor as well. The episode "It's a Good Life" features a six-year-old boy who terrorises his community with his ability to read minds and manifest anything he wants.

The original Twilight Zone featured numerous actors who went on to become very famous, including William Shatner, Ed Wynn, Cloris Leachman, Don Rickles, and Robert Duvall, among many others.

The new Twilight Zone comes from the mind of Jordan Peele, who entered a new stratosphere and success after his acclaimed 2017 film Get Out, for which he won an Oscar. It's incredibly exciting to think about what Peele, who is narrating, may bring to the table with the new Twilight Zone. The show airs in 2019 on CBS All-Access.

Disclosure: CBS owns GameSpot

The Halo TV Show Suffers A Setback, As Director Leaves

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:33

The Halo TV series, which has been in the works for years now, may take even longer to finally get going. It was announced today that director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) has left the project due to a change in the production schedule.

"It's with great disappointment that changes to the production schedule of Halo prevent me from continuing in my role as a director on the series," Wyatt said in a statement (via THR). "My time on Halo has been a creatively rich and rewarding experience with a phenomenal team of people. I now join the legion of fans out there, excited to see the finished series and wishing everyone involved the very best."

The Halo TV show will air on Showtime, whose parent company, CBS, also owns GameSpot. Network president of programming Gary Levine said in his own statement that the Halo show is "evolving beautifully with rich characters, compelling stories, and powerful scripts."

The production demands for the Halo TV show are "enormous," Levine said. As such, Showtime needed to add more time to the production schedule, and this meant that Wyatt had to drop out. Showtime said previously that Halo is the network's "most ambitious series ever," and that's notable given Showtime is behind some massive productions such as Homeland, Shameless, Billions, and more recently the Jim Carrey show Kidding.

The Halo TV show will feature Master Chief in some capacity, but it remains to be seen if he is the lead, or what other characters might join him. Kyle Killen (Awake) will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive producer.

Showtime has ordered 10 hour-long episodes of Halo for its first season. The Halo show was originally announced back in 2013 with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television set to produce, which it still is.

The new Halo TV show, which doesn't have a name yet, follows 2012's series Halo: Forward Unto Dawn that starred Chronicles of Narnia actress Anna Popplewell.

A Halo movie was at one point in the works with Neil Blomkamp set to direct and Peter Jackson producing, but it never happened. It wasn't a totally sad story, however, as Blomkamp and Jackson created the acclaimed sci-fi film District 9 out of Halo's ashes.

As for the Halo video game franchise, the next instalment is Halo Infinite for Xbox One and PC. There is no word on when the game is coming out, and all we've seen so far is a trailer for the game's engine, not the game itself.

Fallout 76's Canvas Bag Flub Update: Bethesda Is Doing Right By Purchasers

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 09:35

The latest chapter in the Great Fallout 76 Canvas Bag Fiasco Of 2018 has unfolded. Those who received a nylon bag instead of the promised canvas bag in the $200 Power Armor Edition will indeed receive a canvas bag, the publisher confirmed in a statement.

"We are finalizing manufacturing plans for replacement canvas bags for the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition," the publisher said.

Those who bought the special edition can submit a ticket here to request a canvas bag. Bethesda did not say when the bags will be ready, but you need to submit a ticket by January 31.

The controversy began when purchasers of the Fallout 76 Power Armor Edition noticed the bag delivered was nylon instead of canvas as advertised. One fan reached out to Bethesda support, and received a succinct reply that the company was "not planning on doing anything about it." The company subsequently apologized for that response, and blaming the change on "unavailability of materials."

Bethesda initially announced it would compensate purchasers with 500 Atoms for Fallout 76, but players quickly roasted Bethesda for this, as it only amounts to $5 worth of compensation.

It is good to see Bethesda do right by players over the collector's edition issue, but Bethesda isn't exactly out of the woods yet as it relates to public perception. The game had a rocky launch, and reviewers generally did not like the game. What's more, a law firm is investigating Bethesda over its Fallout 76 refund policy. Bethesda has acknowledged some "frustrating issues" surrounding the game and has committed to supporting it long-term. It has already laid out a roadmap of upcoming changes.

Battlefield 5's First Free DLC Delayed As DICE Discovers Issue At The Last Minute

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:58

The first instalment in Battlefield V's free DLC campaign will not make it out on schedule. Developer DICE said on Twitter that it found an unspecified "issue" with the first Tides of War content, Chapter 1: Overture, and as such, the release is being held back beyond its announced December 4 launch.

"Rather than create issues in the game, we're holding the update for the time being," DICE said. The studio added that it will report back with an update as soon as possible, but for now the developer said it does not anticipate "a long delay."

The new Panzerstorm map

Whereas previous Battlefield games charged money for extra content, Battlefield V is giving it away for free through the live service element known as Tides of War. Chapter 1: Overture adds a new map, Panzerstorm, which is set in 1940 Belgium. As its name suggests, it is a tank-focused map--and DICE says up to 17 tanks can duke it out at once on the map.

The Overture update also adds the fifth War Story single-player chapter, The Last Tiger. This missions sees you playing as a Nazi soldier who is fighting not only Allied forces but also "their own doubts about doubts about the ideology that led them to their now-inevitable defeat." You can see a brief tease for the campaign in the video below.

What's more, Overture introduces a new training mode called Practice Range, a tutorial mode of sorts that teaches you the basics of weapons and vehicles. Additionally, the update introduces new challenges that reward players with things like soldier outfits and weapon skins, while the game also adds cosmetic customisation options for tanks and other vehicles.

On a further-out timeline, Battlefield V will introduce a battle royale mode called Firestorm in March.

Red Dead Online's Economy Isn't Right, Rockstar Admits; Updates Coming Soon

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:26

Red Dead Redemption 2's multiplayer mode, Red Dead Online, launched in late November as a beta--and Rockstar had said from the start that players should expect bugs and other oddities. Players have indeed discovered the experience to be less-than-optimal in some areas, one of which is the in-game economy. Players quickly found out that baked beans are more valuable than gold rings, based on Red Dead Online's economy--and that's probably not right.

Rockstar has now acknowledged the problems with Red Dead Online's economy, stating on Twitter that it is working on getting the economy in a better place "to ensure all activities are appropriately rewarding and fun." The studio needs more time to work on balancing to get this right, it said.

Red Dead Online Beta Status update: pic.twitter.com/ljZziKDgnj

— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) December 3, 2018

Outside of the in-game economy, Rockstar is also planning to address some of the "persistent bugs" related to players getting kicked out of sessions.

"The game has been developed so that we will be able to quickly make any adjustments like these," Rockstar said. The first updates for Red Dead Online are expected to launch at the end of the week at the soonest, with more updates coming next week.

You can send feedback about Red Dead Online directly to Rockstar here. There is no word on how long the game will remain in beta form, but keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

Red Dead Online features new story missions set before the events of the single-player campaign that can be played solo or with others. It also features a variety of co-op and PvP modes, including Red Dead's own battle royale mode.

Rockstar says to expect "lots more updates to the Red Dead Online beta in the coming weeks and months." It hasn't shared much about what to expect in terms of future updates to the game, though Grand Theft Auto V's extensive array of free GTA Online expansions suggests there's plenty in store.

A future update for Red Dead Online will add the ability to purchase the in-game currency gold with real money. Gold can also be earned by playing, and it's used to buy certain weapons and other items, as well as a shortcut to lower your Honor level.

If you pre-ordered the game or bought a special edition, here's how to access your bonus content.

For more on Red Dead Online, check out GameSpot's recent opinion piece, "Red Dead Online's Beta Misses What Makes RDR 2 Great."

PSN Is Down, All PS4 Services Affected [Updated]

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 07:25

[Update] Service has been restored. [Original Story] PlayStation Network services are currently offline, which means online gaming, shopping, and communication is currently unavailable on the PS4. The PlayStation Network service status page states account management, gaming and social, PlayStation Now; Vue; Video; Store; and Music are all inaccessible.

"You may have some difficulty launching games, applications, or online features," a message on the site reads. "Our engineers are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and we thank you for your patience."

Based on messages directed at the various PlayStation support accounts on Twitter, it looks like the outage is widespread, with users both in the US and Europe reporting issues with connectivity. Sony has not provided a timeframe for when it expects services to be up and running again. The actual cause of the issue has also not been detailed.

With any luck, the problems won't be severe and the service should be up and running again soon. Of course, outage at this time of the year immediately sparks memories of 2011, when PlayStation Network was severely compromised by hackers. In that situation, services were not restored for a significant length of time.

Downtime is fairly common with online network services, however, so as mentioned previously in most cases issues are resolved fairly quickly.

The Flash 100: How "What's Past Is Prologue" Aims To Be More Than A Greatest Hits Episode

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 07:11

To celebrate 100 episodes, The Flash is doing something it's been very fond of over five seasons. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is going back in time--again--and will hopefully not screw up the timeline--again. In a trailer for the momentous episode, "What's Past is Prologue," it's revealed that Barry will be revisiting the biggest villains from the show's past, and he's not doing it alone. This time, his speedster daughter Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) is along for the ride.

The Flash isn't simply relying on old faces for its 100th episode, though. Instead, as Tom Cavanagh--who directs the installment--told GameSpot at the 100th episode red carpet event, "What's Past is Prologue" is more about the show's future than anything else.

"I do have to say I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that [the fans] figured into it in a massive way because you can you know, you want to have a certain celebration on the screen," he said. "You do not want to be indulgent. You also don't want to do a greatest hits episode because in some ways it's almost too easy."

So instead of letting the show's past be the star, every element Barry sees once more helps to push forward a multitude of current plots, from the battle against Cicada (Chris Klein) to his relationship with Nora. "The idea that the writers had to have Norah and Barry Allen go... back in time to get a few things that they need to defeat the current villain, I thought it was genius," Cavanagh admitted.

And in the end, it's true to how he and the rest of those involved view the show as; a comic book come to life. "The thing that got us to 100 was trying to do a comic book every time out," he explained. "You know, we succeed and we fail but we're always trying. And to not do that for the 100th felt wrong."

The 100th episode of The Flash airs Tuesday, December 4 on The CW. After that, the "Elseworlds" crossover, which sees The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl meet up with Batwoman (Ruby Rose) for the first time kicks off on Sunday, December 8. Make sure to check out our photos and teasers for the "Elseworlds" event.

Free Fortnite V-Bucks With This Xbox Live Gold Deal For New Members (US And UK)

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 07:08

Calling all Xbox One owners who either don't have Gold subscriptions or have let them lapse. If you're a Fortnite fan who wouldn't mind having three months of Xbox Live Gold, here's a fantastic deal that's available right now. You can get a three-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold, plus 1,000 V-Bucks in Fortnite, for just $10 / £6. The only catch is that the deal is only open to new subscribers, or anyone who canceled their Gold membership prior to October 1, 2018. You can take advantage of the deal on Xbox.com.

Assuming you're eligible, this deal can save you a heap of money. Normally, a three-month Gold subscription costs $25 on its own, and 1,000 V-Bucks costs $10. But instead of dropping $35 on this collection of digital goodies, you only have to pay $10.

The deal is even better in the UK, where it will only set you back £6, because 1,000 V-Bucks normally runs £7. That means you get the Fortnite cash and the Gold subscription for less than the V-Bucks would regularly cost on their own.

Now is a particularly great time to get those V-Bucks as well, because Fortnite Season 7 starts on December 6. Assuming the pricing stays the same, buying Season 7's Battle Pass--which comes with in-game seasonal items and unlocks new challenges each week--will cost 950 V-Bucks. That will leave you with 50 V-Bucks to spend on in-game outfits, emotes, or other cosmetics.

As for Xbox Live Gold, not only does the service let you take your paid games online, but it also gets you free Xbox One and Xbox 360 games each month. This is a fantastic deal, so consider taking advantage if you're eligible.

The Game Awards: When Is It And How To Watch

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 06:51

The Game Awards will kick off on Thursday evening, promising loads of accolades for the year's best alongside new game reveals and other announcements. If you want to watch live, you can tune in right here on GameSpot starting at 8:30 PM ET / 5:30 PM PT / 1:30 AM GMT (Friday) / 12:30 PM AET (Friday).

This year's Game of the Year nominees are Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Celeste, God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, Monster Hunter World, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Three of those--God of War, Spider-Man, and Red Dead--are also up for Best Game Direction. God of War and Red Dead are generally regarded as the frontrunners, given that they both lead for number of nominees at eight apiece. Other notable categories include Best Ongoing Game, Games for Impact, and a variety of Esports categories. You can see everything in the full list of awards and nominees.

Sharing the spotlight with the awards will be a slate of game announcements. Host Geoff Keighley has already announced that we can expect ten new game announcements along with several updates on current games. Obsidian has teased that we'll see whatever it has in store at the show too. We can also expect celebrity guests, such as Avengers 4 directors the Russo brothers.

Last year's Game Awards attracted 11.5 million viewers according to Variety, and hosted announcements of games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, In The Valley Of Gods, and Bayonetta 3.

New Ghost Recon Wildlands Update Comes Next Week, Adds New PvP Features

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 06:42

Ubisoft has announced the next update for Ghost Recon Wildlands, titled Special Operations 3. The update launches on all platforms on December 11 and mostly introduces new PvP features.

Special Operations 3 includes a new PvE mission and in-game rewards, including two PvP classes inspired by the theme of the update's mission. Ubisoft has not announced what the theme of this mission might be, but previous ones have included characters from other Tom Clancy games like Rainbow Six Siege and Splinter Cell. The update also adds two new PvP multiplayer maps.

The mission, in-game rewards, and maps will be available for all players starting December 11. Both new PvP classes will only be available for Year 2 Pass owners on December 11, and will only unlock for other players one week later.

A new Photo Mode is also included in Special Operations 3. The mode will allow players to capture any in-game moment, as well as edit pictures with effects and filters. Special Operations 3 also implements community feedback into Wildlands' in-game store. Over 90 new items will be added, and changes will be made to the game's Prestige Economy. Ubisoft has announced it will release more information on what those changes might be "soon."

In our Ghost Recon Wildlands review, Miguel Concepcion gave the game a 7/10, writing, "As only the second open world game in the Clancyverse, Ghost Recon: Wildlands is a middlingly safe tactical shooter and a slightly wasted opportunity given the ambitious scope of its seemingly boundless map. While its main strength is its mission diversity, it doesn’t take long to lose the motivation after reaching El Sueno's doorstep. Even with a foursome of highly trained friends, Wildlands eventually reveals its diminishing returns. The feeling of positive immediacy and dopamine hits begin to wane sooner than you expected from a game with such a large and diverse world."

Ghost Recon Wildlands is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse: Who The Hell Is Prowler?

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 06:39

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is just around the corner, and although it's bringing some fresh faces to the forefront with Miles Morales and his friends, it's also drawing on some pretty familiar comic book history. Or more accurately, you could call it recent history--Miles himself is less a decade old in terms of publication, so don't be too hard on yourself if you're not familiar with all of his background. There's been a lot of it in not a lot of time.

One of those background elements revolves around a new version of a familiar Spider-Man baddie, a man called The Prowler, who was completely reimagined for Miles' universe and is subsequently being brought to life for Into The Spider-Verse. He may not be the most famous villain making an animated big screen debut, but he's probably going to be one of the most painful challenges Miles has to face for the movie, and it's all thanks to one simple fact: If the movie keeps his backstory the same as the comics, Prowler will turn out to actually be Miles' uncle, Aaron Davis.

To really understand what that means, you'll have to wrap your head around the basic concept of the "Spider-Verse" as a whole. Miles exists in a reality that is actually separate from the traditional Spider-Man story--Miles' world, the Ultimate Universe, has its own Peter Parker, who is still Spider-Man, and it's still populated with heroes and villains with names you'd know. But there are some major differences, too. It's essentially an alternate reality where only some things are changed. Back on the standard Spider-Man Earth--the one we know from the comics, generally called Earth 616 for the sake of clarity--Prowler is essentially a d-list villain who has had a couple of incarnations, none of them all that impactful.

Ultimate Prowler is a different situation, however, and a whole lot more relevant to the situation at hand. Aaron Davis actually had a direct hand in Miles' spider-empowerment in the comics. A petty thief and cat burglar, Aaron had attempted to steal a case of experimental tech from an Oscorp lab, but in doing so, unknowingly spirited one of the genetically modified spiders Norman Osborn had been working with (in an attempt to replicate the Spider-Man phenomena) out of the building. Miles, not realizing what his uncle had just done, visited Aaron's apartment only to be bit by the spider and, well, you know how that particular story goes. Miles and Peter aren't that different when it comes to how they actually got their powers.

Prior to the spider-incident, Miles and Aaron had been pretty close, much to the dismay of Miles' father, Jefferson, who used to run with the same less-than-reputable crews as his brother before going straight and becoming a cop. However, with the Oscorp job officially botched and Aaron now on the run--not to mention the complications built into Miles' new dual identity as the new Spider-Man--things began to get pretty rocky. Aaron went on the run, Miles came into his superheroic own, and Jefferson forbade Miles to spend time with his uncle should he ever come back.

He did come back, of course, and things began to go even more down hill. Aside from the obvious conflicts between Prowler, a costumed villain, and Spider-Man, a superhero, there was also the matter of Aaron slowly piecing together just what had happened with his nephew and, eventually, learning his secret. The knowledge put him at a crossroads, not wanting to hurt his nephew, but seeing the opportunity it presented for things like blackmail. Afterall, the life of a supervillain gets considerably easier when they're able to keep the local heroes off their back.

Prowler's career blackmailing his own nephew came to a tragic conclusion after a showdown between he and Miles resulted in the fatal malfunction of his gear--or, at least, the sort of fatal malfunction of his gear. Despite "dying" in the Ultimate Universe, Aaron Davis was mysteriously resurrected following the massive multiverse-wide event known as Secret Wars, which transplanted Miles from his home Earth to Earth-616. Somewhere in the chaos, Aaron was returned to life and brought to Earth-616 as well, where he co-opted the Iron Spider identity and began working for the Sinister Six.

So what does this mean for Into The Spider-Verse? Well, it's a little complicated. We know from our sneak peak at NYCC that Aaron and Miles are going to have a relationship at the start of things that is pretty similar to their comics counterparts. Miles sees Aaron as a cool mentor figure, despite his dad's reservations. Miles' origin story is slightly modified for the movie, however, so Aaron's attempted robbery of Oscorp isn't how Miles ends up getting spider-bitten.

That said, it would seem like Aaron is still an active criminal in the Spider-Verse universe. In the Venom post-credits scene, we saw Prowler--or at least, a version of Prowler--pursuing Miles (and an unconscious alternate dimension Peter Parker.) The interesting thing to observe here is that Miles is not actually disguised for this chase, so if the Prowler hunting him and Peter down actually is his Uncle Aaron, he may already be aware of Miles' secret identity at this point in the movie.

(It's worth noting, as an aside, that Aaron Davis was also portrayed in Spider-Man: Homecoming, albeit as more of a cameo. He was played by Donald Glover and Tom Holland's Peter Parker confronted him in a parking garage.)

The other possibility here, given the multiversal shenanigans in play for all of Into The Spider-Verse, is that there are actually two different versions of Aaron Davis in play--the one Miles knows and loves, and a considerably crueler one from another dimension, working for Kingpin. Either way, Miles is probably going to get a very rude awakening about his favorite uncle when and if that purple mask comes off.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits theaters December 14. Read our full review to find out what we thought.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Gives Let's Go Players A Free Pikachu / Eevee Spirit

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 05:50

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate replaces the series' long-standing trophies with Spirits, collectible game characters that can be equipped to augment your fighter's stats and abilities. The title features hundreds of Spirits drawn from a wide range of video game franchises, and while they're primarily unlocked through the World of Light and Spirit Board modes, you'll get a free one if you've played either Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu or Let's Go Eevee.

Nintendo announced that players who have save data of either of the Pokemon games on their Switch will automatically receive a Pikachu or Eevee Spirit, depending on the version they've played. As you can see in the images below, each one is an Ace-level Support Spirit; Pikachu slightly increases attack and movement speed, while Eevee greatly increases attack, defense, and speed after eating food items.

In Super #SmashBrosUltimate, those with save data for Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! will unlock the Partner Pikachu Spirit, and those with save data for Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! will unlock the Partner Eevee Spirit! Be sure to have your #PokemonLetsGo save data ready on 12/7! pic.twitter.com/g9pJB4urM6

— Nintendo Versus (@NintendoVS) December 2, 2018

Even if you don't own either Let's Go Pikachu or Eevee, you will still be able to unlock the Partner Pikachu and Eevee Spirits through normal gameplay, but this is a nice little bonus for players who've picked up the new Pokemon games. Nintendo did something similar for Super Smash Bros. Melee as well. Players who had save data of Pikmin on their memory card would unlock a special Captain Olimar trophy in Melee.

As previously mentioned, Spirits can be unlocked in the Spirit Board and the World of Light adventure mode. We recently went hands-on with both and felt they were a much more compelling single-player experience than what past titles had offered. We also tried out many of the game's new fighters such as Ken, Incineroar, and Isabelle; you can watch them in action here.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches on December 7. If you buy a physical copy of the game, you'll need to install a day-one update for the game's replay system. Everyone who registers Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on My Nintendo by January 31, 2019 will also receive an additional surprise fighter, Piranha Plant, for free. Nintendo is also releasing five other as-yet unannounced DLC characters as part of the Fighters Pass.

Shang-Chi To Mark Marvel's First Superhero Franchise With Asian Lead

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 05:36

Marvel Studios is reportedly eyeing its first tentpole superhero franchise with an Asian lead, focused on the character Shang-Chi. The studio is said to be keen to replicate the success of Black Panther by applying similar sensibilities to the production of a film with Asian and Asian-American themes.

Deadline reports that the screenplay will be penned by the Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham, and the studio is currently looking into Asian and Asian-American directors. Callaham has had a hand in co-writing Wonder Woman 1984, and he's currently at work on a sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. He also has comic credits to his name, having written the scripts for Jackpot and America: The Motion Picture.

Shang-Chi in the comics was launched alongside the rise of films like Enter the Dragon, and meant to capitalize on that success. The character is the son of a reclusive Chinese globalist, raised and educated in his personal compound. Once he's eventually allowed to explore the outside world to help with the family business, he learns his father isn't exactly a humanitarian, having earned the nickname The Devil's Doctor. Shang-Chi is one of the few completely mortal Marvel heroes, though his skill in martial arts has made him a match for superpowered opponents.

The character would likely be a part of the next phase of Marvel films, which will begin after this phase wraps up with the release of Avengers 4. That movie is said to be book-ending the first decade-plus of Marvel movies that began with Iron Man. After the cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War, we just have Captain Marvel and then Avengers 4 to go. We have yet to see much of either of them, but that could change soon.

Killer Deals: $33 Black Ops 4, $40 Spider-Man, More At Amazon (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 04:24

Amazon doesn't do regularly scheduled deals like you'll find at other video game retailers, but that doesn't mean the online megastore is above knocking a few bucks off games to get you to buy them. Right now Amazon has some killer deals on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games, so we've highlighted some of our favorites below. But if you find a deal you want, grab it fast, because stock is running out quickly.

Perhaps the best gaming deal at Amazon right now is Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, which you can get for $33 on both PS4 and Xbox One. That's a great deal for one of the biggest games of the year, considering it just launched in October. And if you have a PS4 and haven't picked up Spider-Man yet, you might want to grab it while it's on sale for $40 in both physical and digital formats.

Xbox One owners can grab the delightful murder-sandbox game Hitman 2 for $30 or Okami HD for just $12. If you're interested in saving some cash on upcoming games, you can lock in your copy of Doom Eternal for $52 or Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition for $40.

Switch owners aren't left out in the cold, either. You can pick up The World Ends with You: Final Remix or SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for $33 each, or snag the action-RPG Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for $37.

Check out the list below for even more deals at Amazon, or take a peek at today's gaming-focused 12 Days of Deals for more bargains.

PS4Xbox OneNintendo Switch

Crunchyroll Announces Third Annual Anime Awards

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 04:00

Crunchyroll has announced the Anime Awards are coming back for a third year in a row. The ceremony itself won't happen until 2019, in order to give 2018 Fall anime series time to conclude.

The full list of categories and the roster of judges will be announced in mid-December, and voting will start on January 11, 2019 before ending on January 18. Winners for each category will be revealed on February 16, 2019.

The hit series My Hero Academia dominated the second annual Anime Awards, winning Best Animation, Best Opening, Best Action, Best Boy, Best Girl, Hero of the Year, and Villain of the Year. The show did not, however, nab the top prize of Anime of Year, which instead went to Made in Abyss. Other notable standouts were Your Name for Best Film, Land of the Lustrous for Best CGI, and My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness for Manga of the Year.

If you need to catch up on anime prior to Crunchyroll's Anime Awards, refer to our guide of anime you should be watching for the Fall 2018 season. It lists every series airing on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hidive, Netflix, and Amazon so you can catch up on dozens of quality anime. Bloom Into You is a notable standout, telling the story of two girls who struggle with accepting themselves until they learn to rely on each other. Zombie Land Saga is also a pretty good show this season, mixing together idol tropes and zombie story stereotypes to create a story that runs the gambit of bizarre to heartfelt. If you're not watching either one, you should consider adding them to your queue.

Fortnite Season 7 Start Date Confirmed, Teaser Released

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 03:55

Season 6 of Fortnite is coming to an end this week, which means Season 7 of the hit battle royale game is just around the corner. As it has done in the lead up to previous seasons, developer Epic has now shared the first teaser image for Season 7 on Twitter, confirming that the season will kick off later this week.

"A bitter ice spreads... 3 days to Season 7," the official Fortnite Twitter account tweeted. That means that the new season is set to begin this Thursday, December 6--the same day that Season 6 formally ends. That's a much shorter gap between seasons than usual; typically, there would be at least a day or two between when one season ended and the next one began, as was the case with Season 6.

The tweet also seems to confirm that Season 7 will have some sort of winter theme, as players had speculated. The accompanying teaser image further reinforces this, as it features a mysterious icy silhouette of what will presumably be one of the new skins coming to the game. If that wasn't enough, the right side of the image also features a character skiing or snowboarding down a slope.

Players first began speculating that Season 7 would be winter themed when they noticed distant clouds appear in the ocean surrounding the island. Since then, there have been other subtle indications that the temperature on the island is dropping, and players have discovered that the aforementioned clouds are actually shrouding an iceberg that is slowly approaching.

What all this means for Season 7 remains to be seen, but we won't have to wait too long to find out. In the meantime, you still have a few more days to complete any remaining Season 6 challenges and unlock the last Season 6 Battle Pass rewards. If you need a helping hand, you can find tips for the trickier missions in our complete Season 6 challenges guide.

Black Mirror's Return Teased In Deleted Netflix Tweet

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 03:02

The fourth season of Black Mirror arrived on Netflix nearly a year ago, and while we know that Charlie Brooker's acclaimed sci-fi satire is set to return at some point, it hasn't been clear when this would be. However, a now-deleted tweet from the streaming giant suggests we might be getting some more Black Mirror before the end of the year.

As reported by Forbes, Netflix tweeted a list of shows and movies that are set to debut on the service throughout December. While most of these have already been announced, there was one title that had not--Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which is seemingly scheduled for December 28. The tweet was rapidly deleted, but not before it was screen-captured.

Netflix is yet to confirm this show, and we don't know for sure what 'Bandersnatch' refers to. However, it has rumored that an interactive "choose-your-own-adventure"-style Black Mirror episode has been in development, and if this was to be a standalone episode it would make sense that it might get released ahead of a full season. Netflix are also reportedly working on a number of other interactive shows.

The Bandersnatch is a creature in Lewis Carroll's classic fantasy story Alice Through the Looking-Glass. In addition, a video game with that title was developed back in 1984, and behind-the-scenes images of the Black Mirror set taken in April this year suggest that an episode with an '80s setting was in production.

It had also been rumored that the next season of Black Mirror will also return to the worlds of two previous episodes--namely, Season 2's White Bear and Season 3's Juniper. However, Brooker has subsequently denied this.

For more on Black Mirror, check out GameSpot's guide to the most WTF moments in Season 4.

A New $250 Limited Edition Super Nintendo From Analogue, Shipping Now

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 03:00

Analogue has just announced a collaboration with Ghostly International, a music and fashion label with a logo that may look familiar to fans of Pac-Man. Available today, Analogue is selling a limited run of 1,000 bright white Super Nt consoles, bundled with a matching controller and receiver, for $250. The Ghostly Edition also features a new boot animation from Phil Fish, with a rotating assortment of accompanying sound effects produced by musicians on the Ghostly label.

The Super Nt is an FPGA-based Super Nintendo clone from Analogue that is the best third-party solution money can buy. It supports games from all regions, and most important of all, it's designed to play nicely on modern displays without the usual blurry image stretching or input delay found in cheaper products. You can check out our full impressions of the Super Nt in our review.

Analogue usually charges $190 for the standard Super Nt color schemes, but the $250 price point for the Ghostly International version isn't as outrageous of a markup as it sounds: the included wireless controller and receiver are usually sold separately for $40. In the end, the price of exclusivity tops out at an extra $20. It's worth noting that Analogue doesn't ship for free; UPS ground shipping in the in the US will cost an additional fee of roughly $20, depending on the destination.

Also on the way, coming in April 2019, Analogue will release the previously announced Mega Sg, an FPGA-based 8- and 16-bit Sega console. It's also priced at $190 plus shipping, and is currently available for pre-order in four different color schemes.

Xbox One 2018 Report Card: Year In Review

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 03:00

Xbox One, Microsoft's successor to the Xbox 360, turned five-years old in 2018. This year, Xbox One still lacked the sheer volume of quality exclusives that its competitors produced. However, Microsoft took steps towards improving Xbox One's future by increasing the appeal of the console for anyone who already owns one.

So as we say goodbye to 2018, let's look back at the type of year Xbox One had.

More Controller Options Makes Games More Accessible For All

Xbox One still has one of the better standard controller designs out there, but Microsoft's decision to expand on what people can use to play games in 2018 is an excellent step towards appealing to players who don't like it or can't easily use it.

Of the major strides Microsoft made on the controller front this year, the release of the Xbox Adaptive Controller is the bigger of the two. First announced in May 2018, the Xbox Adaptive Controller released on September 4 for $100 USD. Although it's nearly double the price of a standard controller, the Adaptive Controller fills a void that's existed in gaming for far too long. There have been third-party devices before, but the Adaptive is the first official modern-day game controller for those with limited mobility. It's pretty forward-thinking, and an important piece of game tech for the industry as a whole (the controller can be used on other platforms). Microsoft even designed the Adaptive's packaging to be easier to open for those with mobility considerations. It's a shame the company hasn't taken the same steps with the boxes for the One S or One X, but at least Microsoft is moving in the right direction.

In 2018, Microsoft also added mouse and keyboard support to Xbox One. Developers still need to decide whether or not they'll implement the control scheme in their game, but adding the option opens up new play styles that Xbox One can support in the future. Some computer role-playing games, like Divinity: Original Sin II, have been adapted to work with a standard controller on Xbox One, but those games are originally designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard and it stands to reason that they handle better that way. Both InXile Entertainment and Obsidian--recently acquired by Microsoft and responsible for computer RPGs like Wasteland 2 and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II respectfully--are sure to take advantage of the new control scheme in upcoming titles.

If anything, this announcement hopefully paves the way for more developers to consider porting their PC-exclusive games to Xbox One. Despite how powerful the One X is--it could theoretically play certain PC titles the original Xbox One can not--it still has the same game library as its predecessors. Giving the One X an extended library of games that include PC titles might motivate some more players to upgrade to Microsoft's more powerful console.

Some Good Exclusives, But Not Enough To Compete

The divide in quality exclusives between Microsoft and its two main competitors, Sony and Nintendo, is a bit smaller this year than it was in 2017. But that's mostly because both Sony and Nintendo had fewer exclusive games this year. In terms of quality, Microsoft still feels like it's pulling up the rear.

It would have been difficult for Sony to match the number of quality exclusives that launched on the PS4 last year, but 2018 still saw a few Game of the Year contenders like God of War and Marvel's Spider-Man. Nintendo had some strong exclusives in 2018 too, such as Octopath Traveler and Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu / Let's Go Eevee, not to mention what looks like a very promising game in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Meanwhile, Microsoft went another year without a new Halo or Gears of War, and Crackdown 3 was delayed again. Halo Infinite and Gears 5 were at least announced at E3 2018, but we don't even have scheduled release dates for them yet.

2018 saw the release of Forza Horizon 4, as well as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds leaving Early Access--both of which are pretty good games. However, Xbox One's other big 2018 exclusives, State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves, were not as well received, and PUBG has been overshadowed by the far more popular Fortnite and Black Ops 4 Blackout mode. Xbox One did have some good-looking console exclusive indie titles lined up this year, but for whatever reason Microsoft did little to market or push many of them. Games like Pit People could have done more for Microsoft's console with additional marketing, and titles scheduled for 2018 that still haven't come out and are probably being delayed to 2019--such as The Last Night--are an unfortunate loss.

True, in 2018 Microsoft did manage to secure ports of some of Sony's 2017 exclusives, like Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice in March and Nier: Automata in June. Getting more first-party titles would have been better than playing catch-up, but at least securing these games is a major plus.

Games As A Service Is Finally Worth It

Microsoft started its Game With Gold program back with the Xbox 360, first supported EA Access in 2014, and implemented Game Pass last year. 2018 saw dozens of quality games offered through all three programs, allowing people to play new titles for a fraction of the retail price. For the first time, Microsoft's promised dream of a Netflix-style library of games seems both practical and desirable.

Although Games With Gold had a weak start in 2018, it ended Q1 with Crazy Taxi and Superhot and then went on to offer quality games like The Witness, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Forza Horizon 2, Overcooked, Battlefield 1, Dead Space 2, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, and Dragon Age II. Including For Honor as a Games With Gold in August--a few months after Ubisoft announced its Marching Fire DLC and one month before the expansion actually released--was an especially nice touch.

Xbox One is still the only console to support EA Access, which lets people play whatever they want from a collection of 50 plus games after paying a subscription fee. Subscribing also gets you 10 percent off all digital purchases for EA games on Xbox One and early access to certain new titles. This year, that includes games like Madden NFL 19 and Battlefield V. Next year, EA Access members get early looks at titles like Anthem and Sea of Solitude. Respawn's Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and third Titanfall game will probably have early access through the subscription too.

Xbox Game Pass was the true star, though, as Microsoft announced in January 2018 that the service would now include all first-party titles on the day the games launched. So not only were older Xbox One console exclusives added to the service, like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, but new 2018 games like Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, and Forza Horizon 4 all launched on Game Pass on day one. When Crackdown 3, Halo Infinite, Gears 5, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps launch, it will be the same thing. Plenty of excellent third-party games from 2016 through 2018 joined Game Pass as well, such as Laser League, OnRush, Fallout 4, and Doom, with more titles like Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice scheduled to be added this December.

Smart Acquisitions Could Spell A Promising Future

Disappointingly, Microsoft spent most of its E3 2018 presentation showcasing games that wouldn't release until 2019 or later. However, it was a pleasant surprise to hear that the company had acquired four game studios and established another. Later in the year, Microsoft followed up with an announcement that the studio had acquired both InXile Entertainment and Obsidian as well. That's seven more studios developing games for Xbox One.

The four acquired studios that Microsoft announced at E3 2018 are Undead Labs, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, and Ninja Theory, which are responsible for this year's State of Decay 2, Forza Horizon 4, We Happy Few, and the Xbox version of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, respectively. The fifth studio, The Initiative, is established by Microsoft and based out of Santa Monica. It's led by Darrell Gallagher, who's best known for heading up 2013's Tomb Raider and working in the past for Rockstar, Sony, and THQ. As stated before, InXile develops the Wasteland series, but it also created Torment: Tides of Numenera and The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep. Obsidian is responsible for plenty of solid RPGs, but its most well-known titles are Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords, South Part: The Stick of Truth, and Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.

That's a lot of new talent working for Microsoft. It doesn't do much for this year, but it does mean we can probably expect more first-party titles at the end of the Xbox One's lifespan and on whatever console Microsoft has planned next. Of course, there's no way of knowing if these studio acquisitions translate into good exclusives for Xbox One until we see what games are being developed, but given some of these companies' track records--especially Playground, Team Ninja, and Obsidian--it inspires a hopeful future.

Other Matters, In Brief
  • As more studios begin honing in on player's nostalgia, Xbox One is still the best when it comes to playing older games. Xbox One features an ever-growing list of backwards compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games--some of which are freely offered through Games With Gold, EA Access, and Game Pass. This allows you to play older titles if you still have the disc or by downloading them. Some classics, such as Final Fantasy XIII, are even Xbox One X-enhanced so their more noticeable flaws are patched away for a superior gaming experience.
  • Rather than improve the Xbox One UI--which the console desperately needs--Microsoft's October 2018 patch implemented updates that added new Avatar customization options as well as Cortana and Alexa voice support. Neither changes how confusing it is to navigate through the Xbox One dashboard, with the latter only making things slower since you have to speak specific phrases instead of press buttons.
  • In 2018, Microsoft has seemingly left behind its consoles' 500GB standard and instead switched to mostly selling Xbox One S and One X with 1TB hard drives. With game sizes getting larger--and X-enhanced assets being a mandatory download on Xbox One regardless if you have a One X to utilize them--this is a welcome change.
Verdict

Everything Microsoft did for Xbox One in 2018 is all well and good if you already own one of the consoles, but it might not have been enough to convince people to go out and buy a new Xbox this year. The Adaptive Controller opens up gaming to a new audience, but since it works with other systems, you don't need to buy an Xbox One to take advantage of its unique design. Despite how good Xbox Game Pass has been in 2018, the heavy hitters--the console exclusives for Microsoft's major IPs--are primarily scheduled for 2019 or beyond. And, as stated before, the studio acquisitions mostly set a stage for future releases that could be years away.

Microsoft spent most of 2018 looking forward. That's great, as it could mean Xbox One has a chance to have a really good 2019 or 2020. But as it stands, 2018 was mostly a repeat of 2017. Microsoft doubled down on its attempts to improve its relationship with its existing player base--and it succeeded--but players were faced with another year where Xbox One doesn't have many exciting exclusives to point to.

The GoodThe Bad
  • Microsoft continues to struggle with delivering more than one or two exciting triple-A console exclusives a year on Xbox One
  • Between Game Pass, EA Access, and Games With Gold, there are hundreds of quality titles to play on Xbox One for a fraction of their retail price
  • Xbox One UI is still a mess
  • Releasing the Adaptive Controller and implementing mouse and keyboard support are welcome additions to playing on Xbox One
  • Xbox One is still the only current generation console doing backwards compatibility, offering the best way to play games from the last two console generations

Pikachu The Possum Looks Just Like (Wait For It) Pikachu

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 02:55

A strange mutation has made one of the world's ugliest real animals look like one of the cutest fictional ones. A brushtail possum was brought to a clinic in Melbourne, Australia, with unique golden coloring. The caretakers there affectionately named her Pikachu, after the famous Pokemon.

The Age reports that Pikachu (the possum, not the Pokemon) has low levels of melanin which causes the fur color abnormality. She also happens to have large ears, which helps the comparison. She was found lying on the ground and vets say she probably fell off her mother's back. Though she's in good health now, the vets say she probably won't be released into the wild because her unique coloring makes her an easy target for predators.

The golden possum abnormality isn't unheard of, but they usually don't live long due to their vulnerability. Caroline Dazey from Wildlife Victoria says the state has "little pockets" of the critters, but they try to keep their location secret.

This orphaned brushtail possum is affectionately known as Pikachu, for obvious reason https://t.co/IpVC76vvUf

— The Age (@theage) November 30, 2018

The family resemblance makes sense. Pikachu the Pokemon is classified as an "Electric Mouse," so its design was loosely based on a member of the rodent family. Possums are similarly rodents, so all it takes is a little coloring and a cute complexion to bear some similarity.

Pikachu has been the breakout star and mascot of the Pokemon franchise since the early days. Most recently, he's getting a starring role voiced by Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming Detective Pikachu film, and was one of the two mascot characters to appear on the cover of Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee.

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