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Xbox Estimated A Very Low Price To Get Baldur’s Gate 3 On Game Pass

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 03:39

Microsoft seemingly underestimated how successful Baldur's Gate 3 was going to be and thought it wouldn't cost much to get it on Xbox Game Pass on release day.

According to leaked files and emails from Microsoft, Xbox leadership called Baldur's Gate 3 a "second-run Stadia PC RPG" in May 2022. This sounds pretty insulting considering that the game's concurrent peak player count was 875,343. Additionally, it holds a current score of 96 on Metacritic.

Microsoft listed the projected cost of getting Baldur's Gate 3 on Xbox Game Pass to be around 5 million. Other games like EA's Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was estimated to be more than $300 million while WB's Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League sat at more than $250 million. The latter has been delayed to February 2024 due to its poor reception during February 2023's Sony State of Play. Its value on Game Pass has most likely gone down since then.

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Xbox's Spencer On Day PS5 Was Announced: "We Have A Better Product Than Sony Does"

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 03:14

Following the PlayStation 5's official announcement in March 2020, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer sent an email to his bosses, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CFO Amy Hood, to inform them that the PS5 reveal didn't cause him as much stress as he anticipated. On that day, Spencer said he believed the Xbox Series X|S was in a better position to succeed than the PS5. .

In an email dated March 18, 2020--the same day that Sony officially announced the PS5--Spencer told Nadella and Hood, "We have a better product than Sony does." This email came to light as part of the huge Xbox leaks from the FTC trial recently.

He added: "Not just on hardware but equally important on the software platform and service on top of the hardware. We have the ingredients of a winning plan."

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New Xbox Controller Leaks, Features Haptic Feedback And Gyro Controls

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 02:13

Leaked court documents from the FTC's case against Microsoft have revealed a mid-gen console refresh, which includes a new controller. Codenamed Sebile, the new design features a rechargeable and swappable battery, new mobile app features, and an accelerometer.

You will be able to use the controller with a variety of devices via Bluetooth 5.2 and direct connection with the cloud. As for practical features, the controller adds VCA haptics that also work as speakers, quieter buttons and thumbsticks, as well as an accelerometer to allow for gyro controls. No previous Xbox controller has had gyro controls and documents do not clarify what games would use the feature. You also can simply lift the controller to activate it.

The leaked slide deck detailed the features of Sebile.

In the documents, Microsoft touts the controller's sustainability, as it will come packaged with a rechargeable and replaceable battery. The controller uses more recycled material and less resin, though the leaked documents show no details on the recycled elements. The documents report that the controller is also easier to take apart and repair. Like the current Xbox Series X controller, Sebile will come in standard and limited editions and can be customized on Xbox Design Lab. An Elite variant is will also likely release.

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Emmy-Nominated Writer Is Penning Novelization Of One Of The Worst Games Ever Made

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 01:36

If you had "book version of a notoriously bad '90s video game" on your bingo card, you're one step closer to a row. Limited Run Games has announced a novelization of Plumbers Don't Wear Ties--the critically panned adventure game for PC and 3DO.

The novel will be written by Mike Drucker, who received an Emmy nomination for his work on Bill Nye Saves The World and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee. This will not be his first foray into video games, however, as he once revealed his part on the localization team for Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Have you ever wanted to read Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties? You have? Oh, that’s kinda weird—but boy we're about to make your day. Emmy-nominated TV writer and comedian @MikeDrucker & @PressRunBooks have come together to release an official novelization of this 3DO classic.

— Limited Run Games (@LimitedRunGames) September 19, 2023

The book will chronicle the full story of the 1993 release, which follows two singles, John--the plumber who literally has a tie on the cover of the game --and Jane, as they are pressured to find love. The game has become notable for being one of the worst of all time, thanks to what a past GameSpot list called "amateur hour acting, photography, and surreal sensual choices into a package that's about as erotic as doing your taxes."

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John Wick Could Have Been In Mortal Kombat 1

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 01:33

NetherRealm Studios attempted to get John Wick in the fighting game Mortal Kombat 1, but it didn't work out. NetherRealm's Ed Boon told Rolling Stone that John Wick would be a good fit for the Mortal Kombat series, and many would agree given the character's particular set of skills. But, for whatever reason, it didn't come together.

"I could certainly see the John Wicks of the world… as a matter of fact, that is one of the ones that we tried to get--John Wick--in Mortal Kombat, and we didn't get it," Boon said.

In 2021, John Wick actor Keanu Reeves said John Wick does not belong in Mortal Kombat, and neither does his other popular character, Neo from The Matrix.

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Xbox Boss Said Large Gap Between AAA Game Pass Additions Was A "Disaster"

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 00:44

A trove of leaked emails from Microsoft have shown loads of internal deliberations about possible acquisitions, future console plans, and more. Among the revelations is an email from Xbox head Phil Spencer expressing concern about the long gap between big marquee games on its Xbox Game Pass service, referring to it as a "disaster situation."

The email from Spencer, dated May 7, 2022 says that the Starfield delay combined with the war in Ukraine impacting both Redfall and Stalker 2 created a "huge hole" in the games lineup for marketing and differentiation of Game Pass content, and concludes that the company should be mindful of this in the future.

"We keep talking about a bit (sic) AAA a quarter in the service and it feels like we are likely to go through a gap of almost 16 months between big exclusive launches on our platform," it reads. "Halo Infinite being our last on December 8, 2021. This is really a disaster situation for us given all we've invested in content across studios at our GP content fund. We need to learn from this and build a plan going forward."

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Chris Evans Won't Come Back As Captain America If It's A Cash Grab

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 00:31

Actor Chris Evans is known for portraying the Marvel superhero Captain America, and he wrapped up his run in Avengers: Endgame. But could Evans ever suit up again? In a new GQ profile, Evans said he has a "never-say-never" attitude, but don't count on it.

"It was such a wonderful experience. But I'm also very precious with it," Evans said about playing Captain America (via Variety). "It's something that I am very proud of. And like I said, sometimes I can't believe it even happened. And I wouldn't want the black eye if it felt like a cash grab or if it didn't live up to expectations or if it just felt like it wasn't connected to that original thing. So, no time soon."

In general, Evans said he is hoping to "maybe act a little bit less" going forward. He said he wants to go pursue his other interests and is satisfied with his acting career.

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The New Asus ROG Evangelion Collection Is Available At Amazon, Newegg

Wed, 09/20/2023 - 00:00

Asus' new Evangelion-themed ROG PC components inspired by Eva Unit 2--the red Eva mech piloted by Asuka Langley--are now available to purchase.

The new EVA-02 line includes a motherboard, GeForce RTX 4090, liquid cooling unit, and a giant PC case to fit them all in, plus several peripherals like gaming mice, keyboards, and more. Each part was designed by ROG and features red and orange color schemes and unique molds that evoke the design of Eva Unit 2. Some even feature art of Asuka Langley and other Evangelion-related decals.

The EVA-02 accessories join the rest of Asus ROG's line of Evangelion collab products, which includes numerous parts themed on the purple Eva Unit 1 piloted by series protagonist Shinji Ikari.

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Xbox Game Pass: Four More Day-One Launches Coming This Month

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 23:48

Microsoft has announced the second wave of Game Pass additions for September, as well as some titles arriving in early October, and there are some notable games on the way. In total, there are four day-one new releases on tap for the second half of September.

The Souls-like Pinocchio game, Lies of P, is out now on Game Pass. It's getting generally great reviews, including an 8/10 Lies of P review at GameSpot, and is a day-one new release on Game Pass. Another day-one release is the whimsical battle royale game Party Animals (September 20), which lets players become animals and battle until only one person or team remains standing.

Yet another day-one new release, Payday 3, lands on September 21. This is the newest entry in the heist-themed co-op FPS series, featuring robberies across New York City. Lastly, a fourth day-one new release is Cocoon (September 29), the latest game from Limbo and Inside lead designer Jeppe Carlsen. This is an eerie puzzle game featuring "world-leaping" game mechanics.

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Tekken 8 Closed Beta Test Set For Next Month, Sign-Ups Begin Today

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 23:36

After locking down a January 2024 release date for the next battle, Bandai Namco has announced a closed beta test for Tekken 8, which will take place October 21-24.

The closed beta test will take place on all platforms--Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC--and it will include cross-play for the duration of the test. It will feature 19 playable characters--all 16 from the Closed Network Test in July, along with Raven, Feng, and series newcomer Azucena.

The beta will feature three main modes: Ranked Match, Quick Match, and Battle Tutorial. It will also mark the playable debut of the game's social hub, the Tekken Fight Lounge, which was revealed during Evo 2023 in August.

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Video Game Actors Strike Looking More Possible, Bargaining Talks Apparently Going Nowhere

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 23:25

SAG-AFTRA, the world's largest labor union representing performers and broadcasters, is asking its members to vote for the organization's right to call for a strike if necessary. While the union supports all kinds of actors, this strike authorization is aimed at protecting video game performers from issues such as low pay and recreating their likenesses with AI.

President Fran Drescher addresses these issues on Twitter with a video highlighting the cause and calling for action. She emphasizes that this vote is only to approve strike authorization to use against companies as leverage, not to strike immediately. Eligible SAG-AFTRA members can read about the Interactive Media Agreement and vote now from the official website.

"Right now is the time to show our solidarity with video game performers," Drescher says in the video. "It's been nearly a year since SAG-AFTRA began negotiating the interactive media agreement with video game companies. Despite many multi-day bargaining sessions, the companies are refusing to meet our members' needs in vital areas."

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Chainsaw Man Manga Box Set On Sale At Amazon Ahead Of Next Week's Release

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 23:19

One of the hottest anime series of recent memory has easily been Chainsaw Man, and if you're not content to wait what will likely be a few years for the next season to be broadcast, then it's time to check out the manga series source material. Over on Amazon, preorders are now live for the Chainsaw Man manga box set ahead of its release on September 26, which collects all 11 volumes of the first Chainsaw Man series. This collection has been discounted from $100 to $90. If you place your order now, you'll receive the lowest price offered until release.

Preorder at Amazon

Chainsaw Man Box Set

These graphic novels all come in a very attractive box that features the main trio of Denji, Power, and Aki, as well as an exclusive double-sided full-color poster. Written and drawn by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Chainsaw Man isn't for the faint-hearted. The broad strokes of the series is that it focuses on Denji, a small-time devil hunter forced to pay off an inherited debt by exterminating deadly demons. After an incident results in Denji being hacked into pieces by zombies and revived by his pet devil Pochita, Denji becomes Chainsaw Man, a dense-as-bricks government agent who has the power to rip and tear through anything in his way.

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Xbox Game Pass Losing These 7 Games Soon

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 23:05

As it does twice per month, Microsoft is removing another batch of titles from the Xbox Game Pass library. There are seven games getting dumped on September 30 across console, PC, and the cloud.

These include Outriders, Prodeus, Weird West, Moonscars, Last Call BBS, Despot's Game, and Beacon Pines. The good news is that while these games are headed out soon, anyone who wants to keep playing them can purchase them for 20% off their normal price.

While these games are going away, Game Pass recently added the Souls-like Pinocchio game, Lies of P (read our Lies of P review here), while the battle royale game Party Animals arrives on September 20. Payday 3 comes to Game Pass on September 21, while Gotham Knights hits the service on October 3.

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Phil Spencer Says Xbox Buying Nintendo Would Be A "Career Moment," But Don't Bet On It

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 22:13

The massive Xbox leak has revealed an email from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in which he discussed how it would be a "career moment" to acquire Nintendo. In the same email, Spencer also mentioned Warner Bros. Interactive and Valve as potential acquisition targets.

This follows earlier documents that came to light showing that Microsoft at least considered making acquisitions of Bungie, Square Enix, and Sega.

In the newly discovered email by The Verge, which is dated to August 6, 2020, Spencer is replying to Microsoft marketing executives Takeshi Numoto and Chris Capossela on an email chain with the subject "random thought." Spencer said that Nintendo is "THE prime asset for us in gaming."

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Bluey Is Finally Getting A Video Game (For Real Life)

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 22:00

Bluey, the hit kids show that we love, is getting a video game. Aptly called Bluey: The Videogame, the game tells a new original story that captures some of the show's iconic moments in four-player co-op. It's coming to Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S on November 17.

According to the announcement, Bluey: The Videogame is a sandbox adventure that lets you explore familiar locales like Bluey's home, and take part in activities from the show. You can play as all four members of the Heeler family (Dad, Mum, Bluey, and Bingo) and play minigames like Keepy Uppy and Magix Xylophone to earn costumes, open new locations, and unlock playable episodes.

The game tells a story created in partnership with show producer Ludo Studio, and features the show's English-speaking voice cast and soundtrack from Joff Bush, along with new tracks from the development studio. The announcement notes that it also includes variable difficulty features like an on/off toggle for the UI and voiceover instructions to make it approachable for families with preschoolers.

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New On Disney Plus In October 2023: Marvel's Loki Season 2, Haunted Mansion

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 21:54

As October approaches, Disney+ has revealed its collection of TV shows and movies set to arrive on the platform across the month. From the start of October, viewers can jump into some Mickey Mouse not-so-scary Halloween fun, and can soon find themselves in the endless hallways of the Haunted Mansion. Plus, Marvel is bringing back your favorite god of mischief in Loki Season 2.

Season 2 picks up in the aftermath of the shocking season finale when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) finds himself in a battle for the soul of the Time Variance Authority--the TVA. Along with Mobius (Owen Wilson), Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), and a team of new and returning characters, Loki navigates an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous multiverse as he searches for Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Miss Minutes, and the truth of what it means to possess free will and glorious purpose. Loki premieres October 5, with new episodes airing weekly.

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Oblivion And Fallout 3 Remasters, Dishonored 3 Among Games In Leaked Xbox Schedule Docs

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 17:33

An old release schedule leaked in documents released for the FTC v. Microsoft trial mentions a number of unnanounced games including Dishonored 3, a Ghostwire Tokyo sequel, Doom Year Zero, and Fallout 3 and Oblivion remasters.

As posted by Wario64, the leaked document shows an old ZeniMax release schedule that lists a number of major titles we already know about--such as Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6--alongside a handful that have never been announced.

Fallout 3 Remaster, Ghostwire Tokyo Sequel, Dishonored 3, Oblivion Remaster, Doom Year Zero appear on a release schedule list

— Wario64 (@Wario64) September 19, 2023

The unannounced games include a third game in the Dishonored series, despite recent reports that Deathloop was developed due to Bethesda turning down Dishonored 3. A Ghostwire: Tokyo sequel also appears on the schedule, which appears to have been greenlit while the original game was still in development. A new Doom title named Year Zero is also on the list, along with lots of DLC--suggesting it's planned to be a major title.

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Xbox's Next-Gen Plans Leaked--"Cloud Hybrid" Console Planned For 2028

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 17:26

A number of sensitive documents detailing Xbox's upcoming plans have been leaked due to the FTC v. Microsoft court case, including several slides detailing plans for Microsoft's next generation of consoles. The future consoles have a focus on "cloud hybrid" technology and seem poised to encourage a greater use of AI and machine learning in gaming tech.

The vision for the next generation, as laid out in the Xbox documentation, is to "develop a next-generation hybrid game platform capable of leveraging the combined power of the client and cloud to deliver deeper immersion and entirely new classes of game experiences."

"Next Generation Xbox early details (Release in 2028, Cloud-Hybrid games, potentially switching to Arm)"

— Wario64 (@Wario64) September 19, 2023

A table of key strategic decisions shows that Microsoft is considering switching to an ARM64 CPU, like the Nintendo Switch uses. Points listed under "graphics innovation" also show Microsoft is targeting DirectX ray tracing for its next-gen consoles, as well as machine-learning-powered graphical enhancement.

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Xbox Series X Digital-Only Mid-Gen Refresh Has Been Leaked In Court Documents

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 16:31

Xbox's plans for a mid-gen digital-only refresh of the Xbox Series X|S, including three new models, have been leaked by FTC court documents that weren't properly redacted, as posted to Resetera. A number of files showing internal Microsoft plans were left attached to a court document, revealing plans for the mid-gen refresh, a new controller codenamed "Sebile", and plans for Microsoft's next generation of consoles.

Despite Microsoft previously stating that it had no plans for a mid-generation console refresh in the vein of last generation's Xbox One X upgrade, the new documents show a refresh is indeed planned for 2024.

Xbox Series X Refresh/mid-gen info leaked thanks to FTC documents
-Xbox Series X refresh digital only (2TB storage), target launch Oct 2024
-New Xbox controller with gyro
Source from attachments in PDF

— Wario64 (@Wario64) September 19, 2023

The three consoles in the refresh are all digital, with no included disc drive. The first, Ellewood, is a "light" refresh of the Xbox Series S, while the Brooklin is the new disc-free iteration of the Xbox Series X. The third, codenamed Uther, has the same specs as the Brooklin but is "in XDL"--presumably denoting it'll be available with Microsoft's Xbox Design Lab customization. All three will ship with the upgraded controller, nicknamed Sebile, which is set to release some time ahead of the mid-gen consoles.

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Baldur's Gate 3 Voice Actors Will Play D&D Together As Their Characters

Tue, 09/19/2023 - 15:03

If you can't get enough of hit RPG Baldur's Gate 3 and its characters, I've got some good news for you. The voice actors behind the game's origin characters--Shadowheart, Lae'zel, Karlach, Astarion, Gale, and Wyll--will be getting together to play an actual game of D&D together as their characters.

The D&D oneshot is being hosted by popular actual play show High Rollers, and will premiere this Friday, September 22 at 11 AM PT / 2 PM ET on Twitch. The show will also be available as a VOD for those who can't tune in for the premiere stream.

This Friday at 7pm BST, join the cast of Baldur's Gate 3 for a D&D adventure with @HighRollersDnD! Tune in at

— Larian Studios (@larianstudios) September 18, 2023

Last week, actor Devora Wilde--who voices Lae'zel--posted a video of the cast gathered together, including Neil Newbon (Astarion), Tim Downie (Gale), Samantha Beart (Karlach), Jennifer English (Shadowheart), and Theo Solomon (Wyll).

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