PlayStation Now Adds The Witcher 3, Sonic, Slay The Spire, And More In June

While Xbox Game Pass often steals all the headlines thanks to its onslaught of games added over the last couple of years, Sony has been making some big additions to its PlayStation Now service as well. The company today announced the additions coming for the month of June, and the offerings are looking rather strong for those who subscribe to the service.

The headliner is certainly The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition. Those who haven’t already played The Witcher 3 are in for a treat, as this bundle not only includes one of the best games of last generation, but also all 16 pieces of DLC and the two award-winning expansion packs: Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was immediately one of the most memorable experiences in gaming history when it released, and it has only gotten better in the time since. You can read our review of the base game here. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available until September 6, and it’s a huge game, so plan on starting sooner rather than later.

Sonic Mania

Next up is a trio of Sonic games to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Blue Blur. Sonic Mania is not only a terrific celebration of the hedgehog’s past featuring classic level design, timeless music, and Genesis-inspired graphics, but arguably one of the best Sonic games to date. Sonic Forces released alongside Sonic Mania in 2017, and while it wasn’t as well received as the more traditional platformer, it’s not without its share of high-speed thrills. Finally, Sonic’s most recent racing outing, Team Sonic Racing, rounds out the hedgehog hijinks. You can read our review of Sonic Mania here, Sonic Forces here, and Team Sonic Racing here.

We loved Slay the Spire when it first launched and it’s great that more people will be able to play it thanks to PlayStation Now. Build your deck from a selection of hundreds of cards and tackle ever-changing layouts and escalating battles. The fascinating fusion of genres transcends the typical niche appeal to hook players of varying interests and inspire them to climb the deadly spire over and over again. Learn more about Slay the Spire in our review here. Slay the Spire will be available on PlayStation Now until December 6.

Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire

Rounding out this month’s list is Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown and Car Mechanic Simulator. Virtua Fighter 5 is largely revered as one of the best 3D fighters, but this is hardly a huge get for PlayStation Now subscribers, as it will already be available at no additional cost to PlayStation Plus members this month. Meanwhile, Car Mechanic Simulator appears to do what the name implies, allowing you to repair, paint, tune, and drive cars as you build your repair service business.

Streaming for PlayStation Now supports up to 1080p resolution to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 consoles, as well as PC, though resolution will depend largely on your internet connection. 

Are you a PlayStation Now subscriber? Are you looking forward to playing any of these games starting next month? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!


Far Cry 6 Narrative Director: ‘Our Story Is Political’

In the past, many developers have been hesitant to call their game “political” for fear of pushback from parts of the gaming community. Ubisoft has been guilty of that in the past, but following an out-of-context quote that circulated last Friday where Far Cry 6 narrative director Navid Khavari said the team didn’t want to deal specifically with the politics of Cuba, Khavari has come out and said, in no uncertain terms, that the story of Far Cry 6 is political.

Taking to a blog post on the Ubisoft website, Khavari starts the post with a blunt declaration about the politics of its upcoming game. You can read the full, unabridged text from the blog post, titled “The Politics of Far Cry 6,” below.

Our story is political.

A story about a modern revolution must be. There are hard, relevant discussions in Far Cry 6 about the conditions that lead to the rise of fascism in a nation, the costs of imperialism, forced labor, the need for free-and-fair elections, LGBTQ+ rights, and more within the context of Yara, a fictional island in the Caribbean. My goal was to empower our team to be fearless in the story we were telling, and we worked incredibly hard to do this over the last five years. We also tried to be very careful about how we approached our inspirations, which include Cuba, but also other countries around the world that have experienced political revolutions in their histories.

In our approach we made sure to seek creators and collaborators for our team who can speak personally to the history and cultures of the regions we were inspired by. We also brought on experts and consultants to examine the game story multiple times over the course of the project to make sure it was being told with sensitivity. It is not for me to decide if we succeeded, but I can say we absolutely tried.

The conversations and research done on the perspectives of those who fought revolutions in the late 1950s, early 1960s, and beyond are absolutely reflected in our story and characters. But if anyone is seeking a simplified, binary political statement specifically on the current political climate in Cuba, they won’t find it. I am from a family that has endured the consequences of revolution. I have debated revolution over the dinner table my entire life. I can only speak for myself, but it is a complex subject that should never be boiled down to one quote.

What players will find is a story that’s point-of-view attempts to capture the political complexity of a modern, present-day revolution within a fictional context. We have attempted to tell a story with action, adventure, and heart, but that also isn’t afraid to ask hard questions. Far Cry is a brand that in its DNA seeks to have mature, complex themes balanced with levity and humor. One doesn’t exist without the other, and we have attempted to achieve this balance with care. My only hope is that we are willing to let the story speak for itself first before forming hard opinions on its political reflections.

Thank you for reading.

Navid Khavari
Narrative Director, Far Cry 6

A story about a rising revolution in a nation slipping into fascism is ripe for storytelling, but also impossible to tell a meaningful story within the confines of avoiding the political overtones of such a situation. It seems as though Khavari recognizes that, and hopefully Ubisoft will allow the team to fully explore the themes it wants to with this game. Far Cry 6 launches on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC, and Mac on October 7. For more on Far Cry 6, check out our preview from last week.

[Source: Ubisoft]


PowerA’s Fusion Pro Is A Great Wireless Controller For Nintendo Switch

When the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, players were given a choice of how they wanted to play with Nintendo’s fledgling hybrid system. However, those who wanted a better gamepad experience than the Joy-Cons could offer needed to pick up the official Switch Pro Controller, which better emulated the traditional offerings from consoles like the Xbox One. In the time since the system’s launch, we’ve seen a few companies attempt to deliver a competent third-party experience, but to this point, most (if not all) have fallen short of Nintendo’s first-party offering. One of those companies, PowerA, has pulled out all the stops, finally giving the first-party Switch Pro Controller a run for its money.

The PowerA Fusion Pro Enhanced Wireless Controller delivers most of the bells and whistles you’d want from a premium gamepad. This weighty controller sits nicely in your hands and features the standard button layout gamers have grown accustomed to with four primary face buttons, two shoulder buttons, two triggers, a d-pad, and offset analog sticks. Unlike the first-party Switch Pro controller, the PowerA Fusion Pro features a textured grip, making it more comfortable to hold in your hands. To top it off, the controller features Bluetooth 5.0 technology, a 10-foot cable if you prefer to plug in, and a 3.5mm audio jack for when you’re playing in wired mode. 

Unfortunately, the Fusion Pro, like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, only supports digital triggers (not sensitive to varying degrees of pressure). In addition, the Fusion Pro does not support rumble in gameplay; if actually feeling the impact of the on-screen action in your hands is a big part of gaming for you, then perhaps this controller isn’t for you. However, the controller improves on several key areas that I didn’t miss the rumble as much as I thought I would going in.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



The Fusion Pro also offers a ton of customization options. As with other modern premium controllers, you can swap out the analog sticks; if the standard-length, concave sticks aren’t to your liking, you can equip longer sticks or even a convex stick to ensure the best feel on your thumbs. My personal loadout is to have a short concave stick on the left, a long concave stick on the right, a white faceplate, and no back paddles (more on those later). 

With third-party controller customization, the process can sometimes be a bit convoluted, requiring the use of special pack-in tools or even a screwdriver. The Fusion Pro lets you easily slide off the faceplate and then detach the stick you want to replace with limited fuss. Then, thanks to the fact that the sticks are attached under the faceplate, once you have the new face in place, the sticks are secure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked an analog stick off the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller since it just uses a strong magnet to keep the sticks in place, so I appreciate the security of the sticks on the Fusion Pro. 

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller offers terrific battery life with its built-in rechargeable pack, and the PowerA Fusion Pro is no different. Across several play sessions, I never even received a low-battery notification. After a couple weeks of use, I eventually plugged it in to allow it to charge before I woke up the next morning for another marathon gaming session. The company says a single charge can last 20 hours, and from my experience, that estimate might be a little on the low end.

The Fusion Pro controller may look good sitting on your coffee table and feel good resting in your hands, but where the Fusion Pro really sets itself apart is in how it plays. Testing it out through a diverse list of Switch mainstays, I never had a bad experience. Whether I was taking down Calamity Ganon in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or platforming through some of the more challenging sequences of Super Mario 3D World, I always felt in full control of my character.

One of the biggest problems with Nintendo’s Pro Controller is the mushy and imprecise d-pad. The d-pad on the first-party Switch Pro Controller is so bad that I avoid playing games like Tetris 99 with it. However, the Fusion Pro fixes this problem and then some. Putting the d-pad to the test, I replayed through the entirety of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2 in the Switch’s classic games catalog. Using the PowerA controller, I was able to precisely platform through Mario’s most formative playgrounds, never feeling like the d-pad was to blame for any of my lost lives. Even if the other improvements over the Switch Pro Controller weren’t present, the Fusion Pro d-pad offers such an improvement, I’d still prefer it over the standard first-party offering.

I was initially skeptical of the very concept of back paddles, but after playing Overwatch for hundreds of hours with the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, it’s tough for me to play a competitive shooter without them. I fired up my favorite first-person shooter on Switch to test out the paddles Fusion Pro. The custom mapping process isn’t as intuitive as the Xbox Elite (which has its own native app), but it was far from painless; you just have to hold down a button on the back, press the face button you want to map, then press the paddle you want to map it to. 

Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of the back paddles on the Fusion Pro. The paddles protrude just a touch more than those on the Xbox Elite Series 2, meaning I accidentally pressed them somewhat often. Even when I wasn’t accidentally triggering them, the way they sit in my hand wasn’t nearly as comfortable as I’d like. Thankfully, you can easily remove them from the controller with a press of a button, and replace the gap with a smooth cover to make it feel like a normal gamepad. Once I did that, the controller quickly became my favorite to use with the Switch.

Though I prefer the Fusion Pro over the standard Switch Pro controller, it does come at a cost. The first-party Switch Pro controller retails for $70 (though you can find deals on it pretty regularly), while the PowerA Fusion Pro will set you back $99. In my experience, between the much better d-pad, the improved handle grip, and the customization options, the Fusion Pro is well worth the higher price point.


CD Projekt Profits Drop As Cyberpunk 2077 Remains Off PlayStation Store

Following a launch that sparked massive backlash from the gaming community, CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 was removed from the PlayStation Store’s digital marketplace and those who purchased it were offered the opportunity to receive a refund. The game is still unavailable for purchase from the PlayStation Store today, and CD Projekt is feeling the effects as it reports its quarterly profits.

CD Projekt SA’s profit fell more than half from a year earlier, Reuters reports. While the company did not say how many copies of Cyberpunk 2077 it sold during the quarter, it says that approximately 60 percent of first-quarter sales came from Cyberpunk 2077. Overall net profit at the Polish company fell 64.7 percent to 32.5 million zlotys (just below $8.9 million). Going in, analysts projected 80 million zlotys, but Cyberpunk 2077 development expenditures plus work on post-launch fixes have greatly impacted that. CD Projekt revenue also dropped by 2 percent. Reuters also reports that CD Projekt’s shares have dropped more than 60 percent in value from their all-time high value during last year’s lead up to Cyberpunk 2077’s launch.

In March, CD Projekt said the return to the PlayStation Store was close to happening, but to this day, it remains delisted from the platform’s digital storefront. “The general situation as long as we are not back on the Sony store has not changed,” a company official said on today’s conference call. “One of the leading marketplaces for us is not available and we generate most of the sales on the PC/digital channels.”

In response to the Cyberpunk 2077 backlash, CD Projekt is planning to make some changes to its business and the way it operates. According to the report, the company plans to move toward a parallel development process where it will create multiple high-budget projects at the same time beginning in 2022. In addition, the company will begin looking for merger and acquisition opportunities.

Cyberpunk 2077 launched on December 10, 2020 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC. While we came away impressed by the PC version we played prior to release (read our review of that version here), the console version, which CD Projekt did not provide advance access to, was in a completely different state (read our review of that version here). This resulted in fans pushing back against the company and CD Projekt apologizing for the low-quality experience on consoles.

Cyberpunk 2077 is currently available to purchase digitally for Xbox One, Stadia, and PC, though a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S version is planned for 2021. CD Projekt also plans to release a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S version of its most beloved title, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, during the calendar year.

[Source: Reuters]


Several Older Need For Speed Games Delisted Today, Taken Offline This Fall

The current Need for Speed game may be in limbo at present so developer Criterion can help out with the Battlefield franchise, but Electronic Arts has announced it is sunsetting several older Need for Speed titles. Not only will the the five affected Need for Speed games no longer have access to their online features when the sunset occurs this fall, but they are also delisted from digital storefronts effective today. 

According to a Reddit post from community manager Max Myrus, Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, and Need for Speed: The Run are getting delisted today. After today’s delisting and closure of the in-game storefronts, players can access the online components until August 31. Beginning September 1, 2021, the online servers will close and players will be restricted to the offline modes.

“Decisions to retire games are never made easy, but we are now shifting gears to focus on the future of Need for Speed,” the post from Myrus said. “The development teams and operational staff have put a lot of time and passion into the development, creation, release, and upkeep of the game over the years, and we love to see you play. But the number of players has come to a point where it’s no longer feasible to continue the work behind the scenes required to keep Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed and Need for Speed The Run up and running.”

While servers for older games coming offline is no rare occurrence, the abrupt, same-day delisting with next to no warning is unfortunate for those who want to add the titles to their libraries. Thankfully, you can still track down the physical versions of the games if you wish to play. Of the games listed, the most recent is Need for Speed: The Run, which released in November 2011, meaning the games are all at least nearly a decade old. 

If you own these games, you have until August 31 to enjoy the online offerings. After that, you can still play the offline elements of those games. The post from the community manager recommends players who want to keep racing online pick up some of the newer titles including Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012), Need for Speed Rivals, Need for Speed (2015), Need for Speed Payback, Need for Speed Heat, and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered. The next Need for Speed game is currently set to launch in 2022.

[Source: Reddit]


Two Point Campus Leaked In Microsoft Store Listing

The studio behind Two Point Hospital is ready to take us back to school according to a leak from the Microsoft Store. We largely enjoyed Two Point Hospital when it launched in 2018, as the game harkened back to the nostalgic delights of Theme Hospital, so when the Microsoft Store leaked that Two Point Studios is gearing up to announce a university management game, I was immediately on board. 

The Microsoft Store listing (now taken down) was documented by several users across various forums, including Resetera and Quarter To Three. Those users not only grabbed the screenshots from the listing, but also the text from the product description. As the name implies, Two Point Campus allows you to build a university however you want, all with the signature Two Point Studios humor. 

According to the copied text from the forum users, you can build the university of your dreams, then populate it with students, faculty, and staff. Each student has a personality with wants and needs for you to fulfill. In addition to constructing buildings and laying out the campus itself, you can also design your curriculum by choosing courses and hiring the best staff you can.

Two Point Campus offers new creative tools for players to take of advantage of en route to building an academic institution that can withstand the test of time. In addition to laying out the buildings and constructing the soon-to-be hallowed halls of their university, players can also design the outdoor space of the campus, ensuring students have plenty to do and are happy. Players can get as detailed as they want with mechanics that enable them to drill down to placing every tree or constructing pathways with a new easy-to-use tool. According to the leaked product listing, players can also place benches, fountains, sculptures, hedgerows, and picket fences. 

With the Two Point name comes the Two Point humor and twists. The curricula available seem to reflect that, as students probably won’t be studying business or engineering on your Two Point Campus. Instead, it looks like your academic offerings consist of things like Knight School, where they learn to joust, and Gastronomy, where they learn to make things like giant pizzas and pies. 

You can prepare for the students’ arrival during summer break. During this time, you can build libraries, hire staff, add your favorite courses, and unlock the academic potential for the soon-to-arrive students. You can also offer clubs, societies, gigs, and more to help the students stay happy, develop relationships, and make sure they have fun in addition to learning.

Two Point Hospital launched in 2018 for PC, Mac, and Linux, but made the leap to consoles in 2020. No additional information on Two Point Campus is available at this time.

[Source: Microsoft via Resetera]


Double Fine’s Approach To Crunch And Labor

Double Fine founder Tim Schafer used to tell people he didn’t have any regrets; he’s been able to make all the things he wanted to make. But as he got older, his feelings changed. In his career, Schafer both participated in and encouraged brutal periods of crunch on various game development projects. Reflecting on it now, he says he has a lot of regrets about what he put his teams through.

“When it’s just yourself, you can throw yourself against the task as hard as you can,” Schafer says. “‘All day and all night, I’m going to push this rock. Ahhh! I’m going to give it my all.’ And then as I got more into a role where I was managing and designing and there were other people doing the gameplay programming stuff, now you’re pushing on a soft person who’s against the rock. So you can, like, squish them and kill them if you push too hard.”

Schafer’s career began in the nascent years of the game industry; his first job was at LucasArts, the game development division of Lucasfilm, in 1989. While many large companies made games at this time – Schafer worked for George Lucas’ company, after all – video games were still a hobbyist medium, made for and by hobbyists. Common labor practices of other industries weren’t present in the burgeoning game industry – which was full of people making tentpole games at home with friends, such as the original Doom, developed by id Software and released in 1993.

At the time, working day and night on video games, even at the cost of personal wellness, was just what game developers did. As Schafer tells it, it never occurred to him to be upset over the hours he put in at LucasArts. Working on point-and-click adventure games, such as Escape From Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, and Full Throttle, Schafer worked countless hours, because that was the job.

“I had no life,” Schafer recalls. “I was working on Grim Fandango until, like, three at night, seven days a week. All I did was be in the office writing dialogue all the time.”

Double Fine Productions
Grim Fandango

It’s worth pointing out, Schafer still speaks highly of his time at LucasArts; in a lot of ways, it made his career. He also says that if he wasn’t working on the games, he would have just gone home, watched TV, and ate Chinese food. “Like, it’s not that big a loss,” Schafer says about the time. But in 2000, Schafer left LucasArts and founded his own studio, Double Fine Productions. The first game the company worked on, the 2005 cult classic Psychonauts, had an abysmal development cycle. “In fact, the Grim crunch mode was nothing compared to the Psychonauts’ crunch mode,” Schafer says. “So it got even worse, just like you would imagine.”

More than 15 years later, Schafer and members of the development team still talk about how miserable the production was at times. A big issue was, as a brand-new studio, the team had little experience with 3D platformers. It was also making its own engine at the time and learning at a basic level what kind of company Double Fine even was. While ultimately the finished product turned out great and the team still speaks fondly about the completed game, the making of Psychonauts fundamentally altered Double Fine forever. Starting on the company’s second project, Brütal Legend, Schafer claims Double Fine tried to fight and curb crunch modes entirely. “We really reduced it on each project,” he says. “We’ve been able to bring it down and mostly get rid of it.”

“Whenever there’s crunch mode, it means a mistake has been made somewhere,” Schafer says.

For the last several years, crunch has been a hot-button topic in the game industry. As games get harder to make and opinions on work-life balance change, many studios have been called out for their labor practices. Rockstar Games, Naughty Dog, CD Projekt Red, and many other massive game companies have all come under fire when it comes to crunch. Where the game industry used to be full of young people making games in their homes, it’s now a billion-dollar global industry, employing hundreds of thousands of people. In a lot of ways, the labor expectations of decades past, when a game was made by a few people, haven’t scaled to meet the dynamic and changing needs of a workforce of thousands of developers who all have their own private lives, needs, and backgrounds. The game industry has yet to successfully unionize, either, which could better protect employees from exploitative labor practices such as crunch.

Double Fine Productions

The fact that a company like Double Fine is being as frank as it is about crunch and labor – with the press and with its own employees ­– is sadly rarer than it should be. Outside of exposés, crunch is often a hidden issue, kept away from the public eye. Double Fine is not only frank about its own issues with crunch and hopeful solutions,  but some people within the company don’t exactly pull punches when talking about crunch within the game industry at large.

“I feel like the industry kind of just leans on that,” Schafer says. “I think that’s where it’s actually evil, when you know, your big company kind of banks on that. And they know they’re going to lay off the team afterward, so it just doesn’t matter what they do to morale, you know? So that’s where the problems come from.”

“I do feel that when I worked at other companies – and I’m not going to name any names – I do feel like there were times where the culture and the fundamental planning for a game was built around making people work 60 to 80 hours a week for months on end, and that was built into the schedule,” adds Double Fine artist Lee Petty. “That was extremely prevalent in the industry. It still is. It’s less prevalent and now it gets hidden and lied about in various ways. That’s terrible. That’s a terrible cost to a human being.”

At Double Fine, mitigating crunch essentially comes down to planning and money. On a game like Brütal Legend, for example, the company partnered with its publisher EA, a move Schafer says was to secure the money Double Fine needed for the ambitious scope of the project without having to crunch the team to meet those demands. More recently, before it was acquired by Microsoft in 2019, Double Fine cut the boss fights from Psychonauts 2 because it didn’t have the resources to finish those gameplay sequences – something it was able to reimplement after the buyout.

Schafer disputes the idea that crunch is inevitable. But it is something a studio needs to prioritize. Human beings work for game development studios, and guaranteeing their quality-of-life, not sacrificing it for a commercial product, is part of running and managing a company.

“You have to see that dial as not moveable,” Schafer says. “You’re like, ‘Okay, we’re up against the gun. The schedule can’t move because the marketing plans are in order. The quality can’t move because we can’t make something bad. The budget – there’s no more money. You can’t move these dials. Well, there’s the quality of life of the team dial. Let’s just move that way down and then we’ll get all this more time.’ People always see that as a dial that’s movable because you have the authority to make people feel like they should work. You just have to set that as a rule that that’s not movable either. In the end, you often move all the dials a little bit. You get a little bit more money, little more time, or you plan better so you don’t have to do these kinds of trade-offs.”

Double Fine Productions
Psychonauts 2

Petty, who’s worked in the game industry for 25 years and been with Double Fine since Brütal Legend, says he’s seen Psychonauts 2 handled better than any project before it at Double Fine. Schafer and other management have made avoiding crunch a top priority, he says. And while he feels great about that movement, he adds, “I feel like there’s always improvement that can be done.”

These points are all echoed by newer members of Double Fine’s staff. During a recent period of burnout, content and community manager Heather Alexandra, who also wrote about crunch during her time as a journalist for Kotaku, was told by her boss to take time off. “And I think in other places, if you were working in Business Unit C of ward nine, whatever, that just wouldn’t happen,” Alexandra says. “But here, it’s a thing that can happen because people do look out for each other.”

Other employees bring up similar stories, being told to take time off by bosses or superiors when they’ve put extra time in on a project. Similarly, sometimes if someone is staying at work late, they will also be told to just go home.

“The only time I’ve ever stayed late is because I, personally, was like, ‘I really want to get this thing done,’” says senior systems programmer Aaron Jacobs. “In those few cases when that has happened and I have decided to stay late, I will, at the time, often get pressure from people to go home.”

While Double Fine has certainly found a better balance in this area, that’s not to say the studio is perfect and there isn’t room for improvement. Challenges continue to arise, especially in the last year, when the workforce shifted to working from home due to the ongoing global pandemic. It’s harder to keep an eye on every employee when they’re no longer sitting next to you in an office. If someone does a bit of extra work at night instead of watching Netflix, does that count as crunch? What if someone works better at night than they do during normal work hours? Do you try and mitigate that? As Double Fine keeps addressing its relationship to crunch while also navigating a changing world, these are the questions newer employees bring up when asked about Double Fine’s labor practices, on top of whether a project inherently encourages crunch – despite management’s best efforts.

Double Fine Productions
Psychonauts 2

“I think there are ways to improve,” says senior concept artist Gianna Ruggiero. “Even though we are a culture that we don’t condone crunch, is the project itself making it stressful for people to feel like they need to crunch? And if that is happening, how are we addressing that? And I don’t think that’s something that Double Fine is that aware of yet.”

“Psychonauts [2], we keep extending when this thing is coming out,” Ruggiero continues. “And there are reasons for that. And there are stresses on people. That’s something that I think we could be better at doing, is understanding and mitigating those stresses on people.”

It stands to reason that after 15 years of striving to limit crunch, Double Fine will continue to reevaluate, reassess, and work on its relationship with labor going forward. Talking to people from the studio, especially on Psychonauts 2, it seems to be a sizable pillar of the company’s overall culture and development philosophies. Schafer admits he is still learning; it’s an ongoing process. But at the very least, where other companies have often failed, Double Fine has created a workplace that tries to put the individual needs of its employees first. It’s a game development studio making commercial products, but that studio is made of human beings. That’s not lost on the brass within Double Fine.

“I think prioritizing people is something that Double Fine does a good job at,” says environment artist Janice Bell. “Because it just feels like a lot of other studios see their people as assets, where Double Fine is the first studio I’ve worked at where they actually see you as people, important parts of the studio with views that matter and input that matter[s].”


Far Cry 6 Collector’s Edition Revealed, Pre-Orders Now Live

We’ve got adorable puppy dogs, enhanced weapon crafting, a power-crazed dictator on the cusp of losing his power; Far Cry 6 has it all. For those that are excited about the next Ubisoft adventure, the Far Cry 6 Collector’s Edition is now available to pre-order. Not big into collectibles? There are other versions, as well. Here’s what you need to know. 

For those that pre-order Far Cry 6, you get a special skin for the adorable Chorizo wiener dog that stole the show. You can also get the Discos Locos deadly disc launcher, as well. The pre-order bonus for the game is called the Libertad Pack. 

Far Cry 6 Standard Edition – $60

  • Base game
  • Pre-order bonuses 

Far Cry 6 Gold Edition – $100 – $110

  • Base game
  • Pre-order bonuses
  • Season Pass
    • 3 DLCs
      • Beware the Dictator 
      • The Jewel of the Carribean
      • A Nation Stranded in the Past
  • For $110, you can get a steelbook

Far Cry 6 Ultimate Edition – $120

  • Base game
  • Pre-order bonuses
  • Season Pass
  • Three skins
    • Croc Hunter
    • Vice
    • Jungle Expedition

Far Cry 6 Collector’s Edition – $200

  • Base game
  • Pre-order bonuses
  • Season Pass
  • The skins mentioned above
  • Tostador 72cm flamethrower replica
  • Far Cry 6 64-page art book
  • “How to assemble” print
  • Steelbook
  • 10 stickers
  • Soundtrack
  • Chorizo keychain
  • World map

We learned a lot today about Far Cry 6 with stunning new gameplay, including how youc an choose from a puppers or vicious crocodile as a partner in crime and how you can craft weapons to your heart’s content. The adventure kicks off on October 7, will you be taking part? 


The Last Of Us TV Series: Every Character Casting Confirmed So Far

HBO is adapting the Naughty Dog universe of The Last of Us, starring The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal as Joel himself. With more casting news on the way, we decided to compile all of the confirmed casting choices so far, and we will update it as more are revealed in the coming months. For those curious, here is every character casting confirmed for The Last of Us TV series from HBO. 

The Last of Us TV series just recently added two new directors with Jasmila Žbanić (Aida) and Ali Abbasi (Border). The pair joins Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann. The casting choices for the most notable characters can be seen in the list below:

Every The Last of Us TV series character casting confirmed so far

This is a much shorter list than what we have for the upcoming Borderlands movie from Eli Roth, however, more casting choices will be revealed in the near future. We still don’t have a trailer at this point, but at least we aren’t totally in the dark about what’s on the horizon.  Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann previously confirmed that the upcoming adaptation would feature original content alongside the already-known game narrative that made the first title a PlayStation insta-hit. 

“We talked at length that season 1 of The Last of Us series is going to be the first game,” Druckmann mentioned in a previous interview“As far as the superficial things, like should a character wear the same plaid shirt or the same red shirt? They might or might not appear in it; that’s way less important to us than getting the core of who these people are and the core of their journey. Things sometimes stay pretty close. It’s funny to see my dialogue there from the games in HBO scripts. And sometimes they deviate greatly to much better effect because we are dealing with a different medium.”

Hopefully, with more and more progress being made towards getting a full cast and crew, we’ll have something to see this Summer. The E3 window is just around the corner; the perfect time for Sony to showcase some new games and possibly a first look at the upcoming TV series. 

With only three names confirmed thus far, it does beg the question: Who else would you like to see cast? Would you recast anyone confirmed up until this point? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Mass Effect’s Jennifer Hale And Courtenay Taylor On The Challenges Of Bringing Certain Characters To Life

Click to watch embedded media

With the Mass Effect Legendary Edition out now, so many seasoned fans are jumping back to board the Normandy once more to revisit familiar planets and say hello to old friends. More than that, however, newcomers to this beloved franchise are diving in for the first time, experiencing a new adventure, one that has touched so many lives throughout the years. With so many characters that have come to feel like family so many, what about the voices behind those friendly faces? We sat down with Jennifer Hale, who plays Commander Jane Shepard (among other roles) in the franchise, and Courtenay Taylor, who famously brought Jack to life, to learn a little more about the process behind the creation. We already knew it wasn’t easy, but some of what we learned is good insight that applies to many aspects of life. 

When going a little deeper into the voice acting side of games, Taylor mentioned that it’s still hard not to be self-critical, no matter the years of experience under her belt. “It’s hard, honestly. I’ve tried to give this up the further into my career I get, but it’s really hard for me not to be self-critical,” she tells Game Informer. “I am trying to be more gentle with myself, but there is no way for you to do this job where you get so little information from the start, and then to be able to know the whole story and see who is who and everything like that and to not go back and be like ‘ah, you know what, I think I have should have done this instead.’ It’s just the level of information we are working with, it’s generally very small.”

She adds, “So how you come out the other side? It’s not like watching a movie where you’re like, ‘Oh, I know what the script was.’ [Voice acting] is sort of all over the place, and it’s really hard to focus when it’s you.” 

Hale jumped in, saying, “Yeah! I think that’s one for the things that people may not realize. It’s that this job, you know, game acting 85% of the time is what we call cold reading, you don’t get the script ahead of the time [like movie actors do]. And even when you get the script, it’s an Excel spreadsheet with just your lines, it doesn’t have the context, it doesn’t have what just happened; there are all these questions before you say each line, which is obviously, you know, ‘who am I? What do I want? Who am I talking to? What just happened? What’s going on between me and them? What’s the arc of our story together? Where are we? Did I just meet them or did they just try to kill me?’ There are all of these branching storylines that we just don’t know. It’s insane. Now we walk in, there it is on the monitor.” 

She laughed, adding, “God bless the voice directors. We can ask them, sometimes, what just happened? They’ll say this and that and then we just do it. Sometimes we’ll do it a couple of times. Maybe if we’re really fancy, six or seven times, maybe eight. Usually between two to four, though. And then it goes off to the market and it’s out of our hands.”

Hrayr Movsisyan

Taylor adds, “You do have a voice director, and there are some amazing ones out there. I think Jen [Hale] would agree with me how important it is to have someone that can synthesize this process because these ‘game bibles’ are huge. They’re massive, and even if you could read them, as an actor, you would never be able to remember. This is like a movie that you are walking through and meeting 100 different people and having relationships. So to have a voice director who can not only synthesize the writers in the room, the actual material that’s coming down the pipeline that can be written as we’re just going along. And then wrangling actors who, you know, can be crazy and sensitive, and to be able to put all of that together and make it better? It’s awesome.”

Hale also adds that Mass Effect was a great example of how a phenomenal voice director can make or break an experience. One thing the trilogy is hailed for (Hale’d, if you will) is it’s organic and natural-feeling and sounding dialogue. The angry moments are so angry. The vulnerable moments are so vulnerable. The fight-to-survive moments? Unbeatable. A lot of that is the talent, absolutely, but bringing it all together is very much on the voice directors, as well. According to Hale, the voice directors for Mass Effect were able to “synthesize” flawlessly, she was even allowed to voice alongside Mark Meer, the actor behind Commander John Shepard, to make sure that the experience between the two gender options felt in harmony, versus like two completely different games. 

What was interesting to me when chatting with these two incredible women was just how much Taylor related to Jack as a character. I’ve mentioned before in an earlier Yakuza feature about what it was like to grow up homeless and always on the cusp of dangerous situations, and that’s something that has made me, as a fan, relate to Jack. She was abused, tormented, used. She fought for her right to survive, and that hardened her in a lot of ways. While Taylor had her own battles, her own hardships and punk-rock nature helped her bring Jack to life in a way that I don’t think anyone else could have. 

When I asked Taylor, after learning about how little information voice actors sometimes get, how she made Jack her own, she mentioned that she did already have her backstory, and that helped. That being said, she immediately connected to her when she received the script. After seeing Jack’s visuals and how she looked when she was introduced in Mass Effect 2, Taylor mentioned that got her the most excited. When she first saw Jack in all of her shaved-head glory, a connection was made. 

Game Informer

“I was so excited,” says tells Game Informer. “Because actually, I did shave my head back in high school. The school I went to was very strict, so when I dyed my hair pink, they removed me until I had my natural hair color back. So I just shaved my head. They were not happy about that, but I was like, ‘hey, man, this came out it’s natural to shave.’ I also had a mohawk in high school, stuff like that. It made me feel like this was kind of kismet. You know, the magic of voice acting isn’t actually magic, it’s a lot of hard work, it’s taking a lot of classes, it’s being in touch with your emotions, it’s all the things that make up a bigger picture.”

She continued, saying, “For me personally, the connection with Jack was that I had gone through – obviously not anything like [the character] did – but I did have a hard time in school. I had funny hair colors. Back then, people didn’t have those hair colors. They didn’t do that. People would walk up to you and yank your head back and mock you and say weird things like ‘where’d you park your spaceship, weirdo.’ But I was a total punk rocker. I went to shows back when not a lot of people did that. I had a lot of anger and a lot of emotions that I wasn’t really in charge of. A lot of displaced anger. And so the amazing writing and to be able to really get in touch with my emotions, for better or worse, helped [with Jack]. In the context of Jack, what she had gone through, and that feeling that you’re not worthy of being loved, you know, not being the best. The best defense is offense, you know. Basically, punch now and ask questions later, that feeling was familiar to me. Because of that, I felt like I had this deep connection because I understand how hard it can be when you have no way to channel or harness the rage of things, of what happened to you.”

To be able to come out of the other side, knowing that you are greater than the sum of your parts … Jack’s story was just an excellently crafted storyline.

To read more about Taylor’s thoughts on Jack, including how she feels that her character didn’t see her full potential, you can check out our previous interview right here. Oh, and how Hale wants FemShep to have her time to shine with Tali as a romance option


Game Informer Staff Celebrate 5 Years of Overwatch

In a market full of class-based multiplayer games, Overwatch exploded onto the scene back in 2016 with a roster that demanded attention. Not only did each character fulfill a necessary team role, but each of them was visually distinct from the last. Players fell in love with Mei’s charm, chastised Bastion and his damn shield turret, and found solace behind Reinhardt’s broad shoulde– I mean, uh, barrier field. You had a role to play no matter which hero you played, and when your team was firing on all cylinders, Overwatch felt like magic. And while the shifting winds of esports lead to major shakeups in the game’s meta, Blizzard continued to update their hero shooter with seasonal events, new cosmetics, and even massive character reworks.

In our original review of Overwatch, we lauded the game’s fresh twist on the team-based multiplayer genre:

Overwatch is an amazing experience. It’s fresh and consistently fun, with matches that are great in random groups but astonishingly good when played with friends. Blizzard has taken its masterful art of polishing and perfection to the team shooter, and things will never be the same.

To close out Overwatch’s 5th Anniversary week, I reached out to Game Informer staff members to share why Overwatch means so much to us. If you have any specific memories tied to the game or simply want to share what Overwatch means to you, leave a comment down below to let us know.

Margaret Andrews, Production Director

“Overwatch is a perfect storm of skills & challenges, short matches, and a core social element that makes it a uniquely captivating game I’m still playing 1400 hours later. Where other games in this genre haven’t hooked me, Overwatch did with its low barrier to entry and positive reinforcement. Free from leaderboards and public rankings, I felt encouraged to play characters I wouldn’t normally play and had a blast doing it. My playtime escalated quickly, and 5 years later, I’m still logging on almost every day, usually to play with family. It’s provided unique opportunities to spend time with friends and coworkers during a turbulent pandemic year, some of whom I haven’t seen in ages. Overwatch gives us the virtual space to enjoy that special time together. Not even a week goes by that the office Overwatch Slack channel isn’t professing our mutual love for Mei, speculating about our favorite heroes, or coordinating our next play session. It’s this blend of community and gameplay that makes Overwatch so important to me.”

Kimberley Wallace, Features Editor

“Positive reinforcement is a powerful thing, and that’s where Overwatch shines. It celebrates players’ achievements and doesn’t shame their failures. When you get a card on the board or the Play of the Game, it’s a nod to a job well done – encouraging you to keep it up and showing your team firsthand where you excelled. And if you have an off game, your stats aren’t plastered all over for others to see. In a world where we are fast to focus on the negatives and find the flaws, I appreciate Overwatch praising what people do well in matches. The whole system is encouraging, and I can’t deny the adrenaline rush I get from seeing my best moments captured on screen. How can you not crack a little smile when your name and character intro pop up for Play of the Game? And sometimes, that’s the little thing we need to make our day better. Through the years, Overwatch has celebrated my successes, and this has only made me want to keep getting better at the game.“

Kristin Williams, Web Designer & Programmer

“I’ve never been a big online gamer – interacting with people I can look in the face is stressful enough, and as a femme gamer, I’ve always been aware of the threat of harassment in online spaces. So when friends recommended I try out Overwatch, I ignored them – for a while. It took me a year to try out the game, but as soon as I started, I set up weekly games, jumped on voice chats with friends I hadn’t talked to in years, and talked excitedly about the lore and complaining about Bastion being overpowered. As much as I enjoy the gameplay, that’s what Overwatch means to me – an evening with friends, yelling at the TV. Playing on a team together in Overwatch means we’re sharing victories, or at least losing together. It’s fun to improve your skills and learn new strategies when you’ve got your friends to encourage you even when you’re having an off day. I’m not sure I would have stuck with the game so long if I was playing with just anyone, but teaming up with people I care about has kept me coming back to the game for years and far too many hours of playtime.”

Liana Ruppert, Senior Associate Editor

“Overwatch, to me, is a game that offers a strange source of calm. It’s an adaptable game that can be what the player wants it to be. For some, it can be the simple shooter that it looks like; an enjoyable online experience to pass the time and destress. Or, it can be something more. For me, I’ve been enjoying diving into deeper lore. The comics, the events, the in-lobby voice lines depending on what the team comp is. It all adds up to paint a picture of the heroes of Overwatch beyond the short time we get with them while in a match. One thing I am going to miss, though, is Jeff Kaplan. He brought with him a love for the community that could be felt. Each update from him felt genuine, more player-to-player than anything. He gave fans permission to be as silly as they want, which is why I love this fanbase so much. There’s a lot of passion for Overwatch, passion that has carried it through its lulls. It’s those kinds of communities that I value the most. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Overwatch 2, but looking back? I’m just really grateful for the experience that Overwatch has offered since its launch.”


You Can Fight Alongside A Cute Weiner Dog Or A Vicious Crocodile In Far Cry 6

Today’s Far Cry 6 gameplay reel showcased high-stakes gunfights, zany explosions, guerrilla commandos, and…a cute weiner dog that kills enemies with kindness. Far Cry 5’s “Guns For Hire” is back, but this time your companions are fittingly called “Amigos For Hire.” You see, the Cuban island of Yara is expansive and beautiful; brimming with dense metropolitan centers, sparkling beaches, and lush forests. Over the course of the many intense skirmishes that you’ll be catalyzing, you might find yourself in need of some company. Luckily for you, two such allies were revealed in the Far Cry 6 footage: an adorable pup and a man-eating crocodile.


Let me guess, if you weren’t sold before, you’re sold now that you know Chorizo (what an incredible name for a weiner dog!) is coming along for the ride. Your little buddy is as sweet as they come, but packs an unexpectedly mean punch too. If you prefer the stealth approach when taking down command posts or patrolling platoons, let Chorizo run loose and distract guards with his incredibly adorable face and unassuming barks. Sure, you’ll have to swoop in from behind with a bow knife and put that unsuspecting soldier to rest, but viva la revolution am I right? When the smoke clears, don’t forget to show the little guy some love with a flurry of pets. Chorizo is a true doggy-heartthrob and I’m sure that he’ll make every “Best Video Game Dogs/Pets” listicle to come. 


On the other side of the spectrum, you have ex-KGB spy Juan Cortez’s pet crocodile, Guapo (Spanish for “handsome”). This ferocious reptile definitely looks better from a distance for militias since he tends to close in on enemy positions and rip their skin and defenses to shreds. Guapo is fast-moving while on land, but even deadlier underwater as you can use his terrifying presence to initiate engagements or keep foes occupied. And much like his less-intimidating counterpart, Chorizo, you can show Guapo some affection and appreciation too…just mind that gigantic set of teeth, of course.

Better yet, you can also rush through the packed streets and muddy villages of Yara on horseback if that suits your fancy. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some more Amigos For Hire in future cinematics.…; target=”_blank”>Far Cry 6 is slated to launch at some point later in the year on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC, and Mac.

How are you feeling about these two animal friends? Do you you think you’ll commission one’s services over the other, or are you planning to alternate playstyles? 


Far Cry 6 Lets You Craft Awesome Weapons To Your Heart’s Content

Antón Castillo’s bloody reign over the Cuban paradise, Yara, must be stopped. You’ll scour the island’s myriad biomes alongside a bevy of Amigos For Hire and with the support of a few other revolutionaries to free the general public from tyrannical rule. As Dani Rojas (players can choose to play as a woman or man), you’ll need the best equipment you can find. Sometimes, however, instead of stumbling across some rare stash or bountiful armory, you’ll have to make due with what you’ve got. In Far Cry 6, you’ll have to craft your most powerful weapons to transform into a one-person-army. 

Yaran culture is appropriately informed by Cuba’s real-world “resolver” philosophy: use everything and anything at your disposal to accomplish the goal/objective that has been set. As a seasoned mercenary and revolutionary, you must embrace this methodology to stay one step ahead of Castillo’s gargantuan military force. In other words, you’ll become a “resolver guerilla.” While out and about, you’ll likely collect a good amount of seemingly throw-away scraps and mechanical parts. These pieces can be presented  to your mentor, Juan Cortez, and crafted into weapons of notable strength. 

In the gameplay footage that was released today, Dani can be seen wielding a motorcycle engine powered minigun and unleashing carnage on their weaker opponents. Additionally, you’ll likely spot a homing missile throwing backpack hilariously laying waste to the landscape. Far Cry 6 embraces the zaniness of craftable weapons so that you can live out your own badass action-movie fantasies. And when you’re not in the mood to spark the flames of chaos and warfare, you can holster your weapon– for the first time in franchise history by the way! – to take a more passive approach to exploration and navigation. 

While we’re sure there’ll be more wacky firearms and gear to create, we’ll have to wait and see what Ubisoft has in store for future trailers and updates. Unfortunately Far Cry 6 was delayed, but it’s still set for a 2021 launch on next-gen and current-gen consoles as well as PC and Stadia. 


Far Cry 6 Release Date Set With New Gameplay Reveal

Far Cry 6 release date has been revealed alongside an extensive first look at what the next step of the Ubisoft franchise will have to offer. From petting those good puppers out there to riding horses, the latest Far Cry looks to be an adventure. 

The latest Far Cry title is set to release on October 7 as revealed in the character trailer released below. Showing off more of the faces of Far Cry 6, including a new look at Anton Castillo played by Giancarlo Esposito

Click here to watch embedded media

Set in the fictional world of Yara, Anton’s dictatorship role was heavily inspired by his father, the former president of this location. Following dear old dad’s execution after the people of Yara rebelled, Anton grew up fixated on the belief that this island was stolen from him and his family by those that rebelled. As he grew up, the idea of control became more than enticing as the Castillo family continued to grow in power. When the son eventually became El Presidente, he sought to rebuild Yara in his own image. 

Rebellion, unlike lightning, does often strike in the same place twice, which is what the latest look at Far Cry 6 shows. There are many faces that are leading this new quest for freedom. We’ll have a few deeper dives looking into the world of Far Cry 6 here soon on the site, so keep it tuned in here at Game Informer to learn more about the many new faces players will meet, and the features that can be enjoyed. 

Far Cry 6 is set to arrive on October 7 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. 

Thoughts on the latest look at Far Cry 6 and the gameplay reveal going on now at the time this article was written? Sound off with your hottest of hot takes in the comment section below! 


Bungie Highlights Upcoming Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer Stasis Changes

Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer brings with it transmog, the epic return of Vault of Glass, Expunge, and more. It is also bringing much-needed Stasis changes, an ability introduced with Beyond Light that has the Destiny community divided, doubly so on the PvP side of things. In a recent blog post from Bungie, the studio has outlined some upcoming changes to this subclass and what that means for Guardians going forward. 

Sandbox lead Kevin Yanes took the reigns during this week’s update to talk about Stasis changes that Guardians have ahead. The main focus of the latest Statsis heads up concerns the state of PvP. There has been a lot of feedback regarding the addition of PvP. While I personally love the additional challenge in Crucible, despite hating getting frozen, I do understand the frustration. It is incredibly unbalanced, especially for those playing comp. With the lack of new Crucible maps and the perceived lack of meaningful updates to the PvP experience, it’s understandable why the Guardian versus Guardian aspect of Destiny 2 has found itself under a bright spotlight. 

“It’s clear the vision we had for crowd control in PvE is succeeding and players are finding it both useful and fun,” said Yanes in the most recent blog post. “We love how Stasis plays in PvE and we want to preserve that experience, but we agree with many in the PvP community who say that Stasis is too dominant in the Crucible for too little effort or skill required.”

He continued on, saying that the feedback has been crucial and that the team is preparing to roll out some new changes based on community insight. Working hard to “reel in this great new power,” Bungie is making a few vital tweaks to make Crucible more fun and blanaced. 

“Stasis and crowd control are key components of the Destiny combat sandbox – they’re not going anywhere, meaning it’s up to us to ensure Stasis plays well across all activities, regardless of skill level,” he added. “What you’ll find detailed in this TWAB is a series of changes we believe will more evenly position Stasis alongside Void, Solar, and Arc subclasses as an equal option rather than the dominant one, while retaining what is fun about the ability set.”

The dev continues saying that since Forsaken, the team recognizes why players feel that gunplay has “taken a backseat” and because of that, Bungie will be focusing more on weapons going forward. Since Crucible is an excellent combination of subclass power and weaponry, the balance is a hard, thin line to tread, but one the studio is committed to regardless. 

Yanes mentioned that the changes going forward implement a few key pillars of the studio’s creative vision going into PvP, including weapons as a primary focus, non-super abilities acting as an enhancement to combat, abilities with clear-cut strengths, weakness and counters, and rewards. All in all, the gist of the latest update is that Bungie has heard players and it is shifting its focus back onto gunplay; the core pillar. 

Combat designer Eric Smith added that Bungie had some planned changes for Season 15 with a substantial subclass balance patch, but feedback has prompted for some of those changes to arrive sooner rather than later. For Hotfix (June 3), the below changes can be expected: 

Stasis Freeze

  • Reduced duration of all non-Super freezes vs. players to 1.35s.
    • Note: This freeze is too short to break out of, so breaking out is now only possible when frozen by a Super.
  • Reduced Special-weapon, Heavy-weapon, and Light-ability bonus damage vs. frozen players from +50% to +5%.

Stasis Slow 

  • No longer reduces weapon accuracy. 
    • Now increases weapon flinch when under fire. 
  • No longer suppresses class ability and air moves (e.g., Icarus Dash). 
    • Known issue: The Stormcaller’s Ionic Blink is still suppressed when slowed. We plan to address this in a future release. 
  • Reduced movement speed penalty while slowed by ~20%. 

Whisper of Hedrons Fragment

  • No longer increases weapon damage after freezing. 
  • Now increases weapon stability, weapon aim assist, Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery after freezing. 

Whisper of Rime Fragment

  • No longer provides overshield while in Super. 

Coldsnap Grenade 

  • Seeker no longer tracks targets after initial target acquisition. 
  • Increased arming duration before seeker spawns from 0.3s to 0.8s. 
  • Reduced detonation radius vs. players from 3m to 1.5m. 
  • Now bounces off walls and detonates on the ground. 

Titan Behemoth 

Shiver Strike 

  • Reduced flight speed and distance. 
  • Reduced knockback vs. players. 
  • Removed slow detonation on player impact. 


  • Now requires the Titan to sprint for 1.25s before activation when not in Super. 
  • Removed cooldown. 

Howl of the Storm 

  • Reduced angle of initial freezing/damage cone. 
  • Reduced crystal-creation freezing radius. 
  • Slowed down sequence of crystal formation to allow victims more opportunity to escape. 
  • Now spawns a small crystal on walls if performed into walls. 

Glacial Quake 

  • Reduced heavy slam vertical freeze range vs. players. 
  • Reduced damage resistance from 50% to 47%. 

Hunter Revenant 

Withering Blade

  • Reduced slow duration vs. players from 2.5s to 1.5s. 
  • Reduced Whisper of Durance slow-duration extension vs. players from 2s to 0.5s. 
  • Reduced damage vs. players from 65 to 45 (after one bounce reduced further to 30). 
  • Reduced projectile speed by 10%. 
  • Reduced tracking after bouncing off a wall. 

Winter’s Shroud 

  • Reduced slow duration vs. players from 2.5s to 1.5s. 
  • Reduced Whisper of Durance slow-duration extension vs. players from 2s to 0.5s. 

Touch of Winter 

  • Coldsnap seeker no longer has increased movement speed or travel distance. 
  • Coldsnap seeker now spawns a small Stasis crystal on detonation. 

Warlock Shadebinder

Penumbral Blast 

  • Reduced tracking and proximity detonation size and tracking vs. players. 
  • Reduced freeze radius vs. players when impacting the environment from 2.7m to 1.5m. 

Iceflare Bolts 

  • Seeker now only chains once when spawned from a player shatter. 

Winter’s Wrath 

  • Freezing-projectile tracking strength now ramps down to 0 after 2s of flight.’

To learn more, you can check out the full Bungie blog post here


Fornite Unites With Mistborn For Unexpected Crossover

Fortnite continues to surprise in the most unexpected of ways, this time with a crossover event with Brandon Sanderson’s ongoing Mistborn book series.

Starting today, players can dive into Fortnite’s battle royale shop to add Mistborn’s Kelsier to their ranks. This cloaked assassin wields a volcanic glass dagger, and players can choose whether he wears his black attire or his masked, white undercover variant. The purchase also adds the Hemalurgic Spikes Back Bling, and a Kelsier-themed loading screen.

Sanderson has penned seven different Mistborn books, and has announced plans to release four more. The next novel, Mistborn: The Lost Metal, is slated to release in December 2022. Sanderson has also projected release dates for the next trilogy of books, landing in 2025, 2026, and 2027. We’d love for George R. R. Martin to adopt a similar schedule so we could know what year (or decade) his next Song of Ice and Fire book is on the way.

Sanderson has worked with Epic Games’ Donald Mustard in the past. He wrote two novellas based on Chair’s excellent mobile Infinity Blade games. The Infinity Blade weapon of note appeared in Fortnite for a short stint before being vaulted on December 14, 2018. It can now be found in Creative mode.

For players that subscribe to the Fortnite Crew, the heavily armored Mecha Cuddle Master will be added to the pack this June. She comes with the Psytronic Bow Back Bling, the Nuzzle Jet Pickaxe (which shoots out a flame), and a Cuddle Mech Wrap.

What crossover event would you like to see happen next in Fortnite? Epic Games has delivered a steady drip of characters from Star Wars, Marvel, and DC Comics, and has also looked to popular movies to add The Predator and Terminator to the mix. It’s fair to assume this summer’s theatrical blockbusters have a good shot of being represented. Marvel’s Black Widow seems like a slam dunk, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if F9 (Fast & Furious 9) is represented in some way.


The Secrets Behind Tim Schafer’s Rubik’s Cube Collection

Tim Schafer owns a lot of Rubik’s Cubes. This is something eagle-eyed viewers of Double Fine’s many documentaries might’ve noticed throughout the years. Any scene with Schafer sitting in his office – of which there are a lot – is usually accompanied by many Rubik’s Cubes covering his desk. Or they’re found in his hands, as he quickly works through the Cube’s puzzles in various meetings or work calls.

Take, for example, this scene from Double Fine Adventure episode three. Schafer, sitting next to Double Fine principal artist Lee Petty, is on a Skype call with artist Nathan “Bagel” Stapley as they work out various art directions for the then-in development Broken Age. Based on our frame-by-frame analysis of the scene, three different Rubik’s Cubes can be seen: one in Schafer’s hands, one on his desk between him and Petty, and one atop the couch near the window in the background. While there has been some debate here at Game Informer over whether or not the final Rubik’s Cube counts, as it appears to actually be a small pillow, for the sake of comprehensiveness, we’ve chosen to include it.

Double Fine Productions/2 Player Productions

Double Fine Productions/2 Player Productions

Owning a Rubik’s Cube on its own is not that peculiar; they’re popular toys. In fact, since its debut in 1977 (originally sold as the Magic Cube), Rubik’s has sold more than 450 million of its toys. It stands to reason a lot of people own one. One. That makes sense. But three in an office alone? It’s a bit outlandish.

Being the intrepid reporter I am, I decided to use a chunk of Game Informer’s limited time with Schafer on our recent cover story interviews to get to the bottom of this Rubik’s Cube mystery. The answer might surprise you. But probably not. He just kinda likes them.

In the 1990s, Schafer worked for LucasArts, the game development division of George Lucas’ company Lucasfilm. The team used an internal engine called the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion (SCUMM for short), named after the game the engine was originally made for. When pressed about his Rubik’s Cube habit, Schafer admits that compiling SCUMM games took, as he puts it, an “awkward” amount of time. He’d often be stuck with not enough time to use the bathroom or go to the kitchen, but too much time to sit there and do nothing. So Schafer, needing a way to fill the days, learned to solve a three-by-three-block Rubik’s Cube.

However, many years later, at Double Fine Productions, the company Schafer founded after LucasArts, a never-solved mystery presented itself.

“I learned how to do a three-by-three cube, and then one day at Double Fine, mysteriously, I never figured out who did this, someone left a four-by-four on my desk,” Schafer says. “I was like, ‘Ah, I can’t solve that.’ But the thing that’s different now is that everything you could ever want to do, there’s some kid on YouTube who can do it and will tell you how to do it. So, I was like, ‘I’m going to solve a four-by-four.’ And I was like, ‘Hey, look! I solved it. I don’t know who left that on my desk, but I solved it.’ And then this five-by-five showed up on my desk, and it’s like, ‘Ugh.'”

While Schafer still doesn’t know who left the Cubes on his desk, the mystery escalated all the way to seven-by-seven-block Rubik’s Cubes. Schafer, a man determined, learned to solve them all. In exclusive photos obtained by Game Informer, you can see how large Schafer’s collection has become. Sitting in a small basket on his desk, at least 14 cubes of various dimensions, colors, and complexities can be seen.

Rubik’s Cubes now consume Schafer’s days, and no 24 hours are complete without at least a few solves of his various cubes. If you ever find yourself on a video call with Schafer, there’s a good chance that just under his camera are fingers hard at work.

“There’s no secret to it, there’s just these patterns and methods for doing it,” Schafer says. “But once you learn it – I solve this stack every day a few times. Because I’m sitting in meetings now, and we’re in these Zoom meetings, and I’m sure you all have things that you’re doing when you’re in a meeting. Like, there’s a lot of meetings where you just have to listen. In a real-life live meeting, I want to do this, but it’s rude because I’m supposed to be looking in your eyes, but I’m messing with this cube. But on a Zoom meeting, I have it down here [off camera] the whole time and no one even knows. It’s fun, satisfying.”

So there you have it – the secrets behind Tim Schafer’s Rubik’s Cube collection and habits (mostly) solved. However, Schafer leaves us with a couple surprising revelations. For one, he’s moved from Rubik’s Cubes to nicer, more high-end cube puzzles from China, ones that spin faster and feel good to the touch. The second revelation is that it’s not just cubes anymore. He’s graduated onto something else far different.

“I have [cubes] for Zoom meetings and then I also have tiny, tiny little jigsaw puzzles that I do at my desk here while I’m in the longer meetings,” Schafer reveals. “Am I the only one who does that? Don’t you go to long meetings?”


Cyberpunk 2077 Gets A New Game Director

Cyberpunk 2077 has found a new game director in Gabriel Amatangelo following former quest director, Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, stepping down from his role and leaving CD Projekt Red entirely.

The new game director joined up with the studio back in January of 2020. He joined the team as creative director for Cyberpunk 2077. Prior to that, he has worked on several major RPG experiences, including Dragon Age Inquisition’s expansions (which did much to tie the base game together) and Star Wars: The Old Republic. With his RPG background and ability to tie into an ongoing story flawlessly, his leadership could mean amazing things for Cyberpunk 2077’s future following its chaotic launch.

Amatangelo will be leading the development charge as Cyberpunk 2077 continues to get into the shape it was promised to be in at launch, as well as the promised DLC for this open-world adventure. 

Adam Badowski, the former Cyberpunk 2077 game director, has stepped down from his role to focus on other aspects of game development under the CDPR umbrella in a different leadership position. With more Cyberpunk experiences on the way and a return to the Witcher franchise, there is plenty of work to be done for the Polish studio.

This is all part of the revised plan of action for the studio after its game was pulled from Sony storefronts after it was revealed that the marketing for the game was not what it seemed. To learn about the road to Cyberpunk 2077’s launch, and what happened after beyond just glitches, you can read more at our game hub here



Super Replay Is Back With Bloodborne

Click to watch embedded media

Are you ready for part twelve of our epic playthrough of FromSoftware’s Bloodborne! Grab some snacks and come join us as we take the iconic whirligig saw out for a spin on the toughest bosses of The Old Hunters. Check out our review here and join us today at 2 PM CT!

Are you ready for a chilling thrill ride through FromSoftware’s masterpiece? Bloodborne is a dark horror action/RPG that tasks the player with navigating through haunted streets full of werewolves and shuffling, shambling ghouls – and that’s just the first hour. Bloodborne showcases immaculate environments dripping with atmosphere, creative and cruel monster designs, and terrors ripped from the great beyond. And we’re going to play through it! Super Replay, the legendary Game Informer series that pairs pro players with even more professional commentary, is back.

Click here to watch embedded media

As the flagship revival title, Bloodborne is going to be live and uncut every Friday at 2 PM CST. So won’t you come join us for a blood-tinged brawl? How many times will I choke during boss fights? Will I even remember how to use the parry guns? (Probably not).

But I have faith that together, we will make it through, even if that includes farming up a mess of blood vials to get past a grotesque pig and other creatures of the night. This is a raw, organic playthrough at its finest, as I haven’t really touched the game since my second playthrough of The Old Hunters shortly after it launched. In short, it’s the perfect way to bring all the fun and intensity of the Super Replay directly into your eyeballs, shot live and beamed into reality via livestream. 

“Bloodborne is a blood-drenched horror gem that has only the faintest of cracks in its façade. Bloodborne succeeds through sparse storytelling, lush atmospheres (conjuring up notions of the best of Lovecraft’s work), and tight combat that forces you to be aggressive,” I said in my Game Informer review. “While this new IP doesn’t stray far from the established Souls franchise, it is a magical, wondrous work that admirably instills both terror and triumph in those brave enough to delve into it.”

Checkout the entire Replay series here and get started with the Bloodborne run in epic fashion here.

Do you like Super Replay? Are you glad to see it back? What other games would you like to see featured in the future? Let us know in the comments!


The Last Of Us TV Series Casts Merle Dandridge As Marlene, Reprising Her Role From The Game

The Last of Us TV series from HBO continues to find its cast, with the show’s lasting addition being someone that is already intimately familiar with her role. Merle Dandridge is reprising her role from the game, playing Marlene in the upcoming The Last of Us TV series. 

The latest casting news came from an unusual source with Geoff Keighley. He took to Twitter to relay the good news, sharing yet another confirmation of the expanding cast members. 

For those that may not remember Marlene in The Last of Us game, she was the final antagonist in the first title. She also briefly appeared in the sequel, though only as a flashback. Leader of the Fireflies and Ellie’s surrogate mother, Marlene was staunchly against the military control set withing this world setting. Fighting against the tight control within the Quarantine Zones, she – alongside many others – fought tooth and nail to overpower the military. Even successfully doing so several times over. 

The upcoming HBO adaptation is under the helm of Sony Pictures Television, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and Naughty Dog. The HBO adaptation is meant to be a new beginning for the franchise following The Last of Us Part II‘s release. The games themselves artistically entangled combat and narrative cutscenes, so the jump for this franchise into a TV format isn’t really a huge stretch. While the sequel was met with a very mixed reception, the first game is pretty universally loved. With reports that Sony is remaking The Last of Us for the PlayStation 5, it will be interesting to see a fresh lens on a universe that was a vital part of the last two generations. 

We don’t have an anticipated release window at this time, but with two new directors and the mainstay cast set in stone, this project is inching closer and closer to getting ready to share with the world. 

What do you think of the actress behind Marlene reprising her role for the upcoming The Last of Us TV series? Are you happy with the casting calls thus far? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Everything New In Horizon Forbidden West

The State of Play that premiered today was all about Horizon Forbidden West, the stunning and highly-anticipated sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. Gameplay footage provided us with some bombastic insight into Aloy’s new mission, her futuristic gear, and the environment that she’ll be navigating. In case you missed the extensive clip that was shown earlier today, here’s all the new exciting info that Guerrilla Games has in store for us.

Narrative Beats

Red Blight / San Francisco / New Enemy Faction

A disease called the Red Blight is poisoning the land. The clock is ticking on when all life will be at the mercy of this spreading plague.  It’s up to Aloy to venture into the wilds and comb through a bevy of dangerous environments – including the San Francisco ruins that were shown during today’s State of Play – to find any technological answers that’ll put an end to the Red Blight. In addition to the monstrous fauna that’ll be skulking each biome, a new tribe with the ability to control machines, much like Aloy herself, will be attempting to thwart your search. 

Exploration Tools

Focus Scanner / Pull Caster / Shield Wing / Diving Mask

Of course, Aloy will be traversing the world with a bevy of interesting new exploration items. The Focus Scanner can be used to highlight climbing spots otherwise hidden throughout the open-world, while the Pull Caster can be used to speed up the process by catapulting Aloy to great heights. This can be coupled with the Shield Wing – a futuristic umbrella of sorts – that allows Aloy to quickly close distances from above in order to escape violent pursuers, descend from particularly perilous heights, or ambush unsuspecting foes. Finally the Diving Mask presents players with the opportunity to dip beneath the water’s surface for an indefinite period of time to unearth secrets, boost through strong currents, or chart safe pathways away from the watchful eyes of amphibious machines. 

Combat Tools

Spear / Slingshot / Special Arrows / Spike Launcher / Smoke Bombs / Dropped Weapons

Aloy also comes equipped with a spear which can be used at close-range to chain multiple combos. Additionally, you can apply buffs, called surges, to the spear to take down incredibly powerful enemies with amplified attacks. The weapon wheel contains other items like a slingshot that chucks adhesive grenades to temporarily stall hunkering machines. 

There are also special arrows that can be used to strip armor and expose weak spots, a launcher that fires explode-on-impact spikes, and smoke bombs to blind enemies and make openings for devastating attacks. Finally, Aloy can retrieve dropped weapons from the battlefield (you can see this towards the end of the gameplay footage) allowing her to turn an adversaries’ firepower back against them. These tools and more can be upgraded at work benches for higher stats. 

What did you think of the State of Play? I, for one, was floored by the next-gen visuals and can’t wait to experience the action up-close whenever Horizon Forbidden West launches. Show your excitement in the comments below!


Xbox Game Pass Adding 7 New Games As Surprise Addition

Even though Microsoft already shared a ton of new titles coming to Xbox Game Pass last week, the company has just confirmed even more are on the way. Seven new additions are coming soon on top of the previously confirmed titles, including a survivalist adventure you won’t forget and a stunning indie journey that is all about magic. Let’s dive into what’s coming down the pipeline. 

What’s coming to Xbox Game Pass: 

Let’s dive in, here is what is coming to Xbox Game Pass starting today:

  • Conan Exiles (Cloud and Console) – May 27
  • Fuzion Frenzy (Cloud) – May 27
  • Joy Ride Turbo (Cloud) – May 27 
  • Solasta: Crown of the Magister (PC) – May 27
  • Slime Rancher (PC) – May 27
  • MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (Console) – May 27
  • SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest (PC) – May 27

Previously confirmed additions: 

  • Snowrunner, Cloud, Console, PC – Today
  • Peggle 2, Cloud – May 20
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, Cloud – May 20
  • Secret Neighbor, PC – May 20
  • The Wild At Heart, Console and PC – May 20
  • The Catch: Carp & Course Fishing, Cloud, Console, and PC – May 21
  • Knockout City, Console and PC – May 21
  • Maneater, Cloud, Console, and PC – May 25

What’s leaving – May 31

  • Assetto Corsas, Cloud and Console
  • Broforce, PC
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  • Surviving Mars
  • Void Bastards

There are two versions of Xbox Game Pass available to those interested in joining the party. Xbox Game Pass is $9.99, and the Ultimate version, which includes Xbox Live, for $14.99. With the price point of certain titles coming in at $70, a membership service like this is a welcome option. Even more so that the resources behind this library continue to grow, including the recent EA Play and Bethesda additions. With first-party day one titles being included as a perk, it’s a solid deal for those looking to try out games before shelling out 60 plus bucks. 

Thoughts on the new Xbox Game Pass arrivals dropping this month? What do you hope gets added next? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below!


New Horizon Forbidden West PS5 Gameplay Revealed, Including New Locations And Stunning Creatures

E3 2021 feels like it has kicked off a little early this year with so many announcements happening around the same time. With the latest PlayStation State of Play, Guerrilla Games shared new Horizon Forbidden West PS5 gameplay footage for those eager to jump back into the role of Aloy from the original Horizon Zero Dawn experience. 

The latest video dives deep into what players can expect from the highly anticipated sequel. The stunning open world is made even more so by utilizing smart ray tracing technology. From what we’ve seen before today’s showcase, massive storms have destroyed the land that we so loved in the first game. This latest look also shows off some of the earlier features revealed, like diving underwater. There will also be a plethora of new creatures for her to interact with and new monsters to fight, including an awesome-looking robotic elephant.

Can we also appreciate that she has a Breath of the Wild glider and an Ult attack? And the scanner? And the boost? I’m OK, I’m not excited or anything…(I’m very excited). 

Click here to watch embedded media

Horizon Zero Dawn was a huge success for PlayStation 4, marking it as an instant staple for the Sony-specific platform. It’s easy to see why so many fell in love with Aloy, the RPG’s protagonist. She was strong, impressively so, and tough but she didn’t let that harden her heart, a heart with the capability to forgive, to survive, and to thrive. Never scared off from approaching a challenge head-on, the sequel with Horizon Forbidden West aims to carry on her strength. Meeting new characters, besting new foes, and exploring new terrain all await when Horizon Forbidden west drops. 

This franchise’s dual-nature setting with futuristic technology in a more tribal society made the parallels between the two worlds a unique one for the game’s narrative. With Forbidden West promising even more adventures, a larger world to get lost in, and new ways to master combat and hone Aloy’s skills, the upcoming journey from Guerrilla Games aims to take what so many loved from the first adventure and make it even better. 

Still no release date yet, but hopefully something more concrete soon. 

What do you think about the latest Horizon Forbidden West PS5 gameplay reveal? Are you anxious to transform into Aloy once more? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


New Dying Light 2: Stay Human Gameplay Shows Off More About The Dangers Of Consequences

We’ve got some glorious new Dying Light 2 gameplay to feast our eyes on, now called Dying Light 2: Stay Human, and it goes even deeper into what role consequences and player choice have in this game. We always knew that choice would be a heavy factor in Dying Light 2, now we’ve got a closer look at what that means. 

With our new look at Dying Light 2: Stay human, we’ve got a closer view of the story surrounding the story; more backstory, more nuanced, and more dangers beyond the first game. Techland Games has previously confirmed that there are heavy consequences beyond just the obvious; some of them will even require more than one playthrough to see them come to full fruition. Players will be forced to make incredibly hard decisions in various no-win situations, decisions that will impact even the very world itself. Sometimes, these major consequences will even manifest at the very end of Dying Light 2, making it far too late for players to turn back time. 

Click here to watch embedded media


The Dying Light universe was already phenomenal, but adding more RPG-like elements into the mix makes it more immersive than ever before. With a fully-fledged consequence system, surreal human interaction, and a variety of conversational options to choose from, Dying Light 2 has the potential to be a massive hit. More than that, however, it also has the chance to change the industry and how we approach development going forward.

Much like Half-Life did for the FPS genre and gaming in general, completely changing how studios approach game design, Dying Light 2: Stay Human can do the same. If done correctly and true-to-vision, the world-shattering (literally) consequence system and reactive environmental evolution could be completely unparalleled, shifting what it means to create a fully immersed universe that can change, morph, and be destroyed at the drop of a hat. That being said, the undertaking Techland chose is massive and extremely precise, not to mention complicated. Sometimes, that can mean the end product doesn’t match up with the vision, much like Cyberpunk 2077. There is a potential for this ambition to backfire, but so far, it looks like it is on track to be the extraordinary journey that the team wants players to have and that gamers want to have.

The latest gameplay video, which you can see above, shows off more about what exactly the sequel has to offer and more about the story’s background. After so long without any news, the rollouts began in earnest not too long ago. This has alleviated many concerns that the sequel was stuck in development hell, though the road to get here hasn’t necessarily been paved with sunshine and roses

What are your thoughts on the latest look at Dying Light 2? Do you agree that it could be industry-changing, or are we overstating the sequel’s potential? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Dying Light 2 Collector’s Edition Revealed With Three Additional Digital Options

Techland gave fans what they’ve been wanting: a detailed new look at what Dying Light 2 will have to offer. With its release date set in stone and more about the backstory and how consequences can be gut-wrenching, the studio also revealed a few different editions that players can buy. And yes, there is also a Dying Light 2 Collector’s Edition. 

With pre-orders now live, players can choose which experience they want to have with the Standard, Deluxe, and Collector’s options. Digital-only players also have a few options with Standard, Deluxe, and Ultimate. For anyone that pre-orders Dying Light 2: Stay Human, there will be a digital download for the Reload Pack, which will offer a unique outfit, paraglider skin, and weapon. 

Click here to watch embedded media

The collector’s edition, which you can see above, comes with a Dying Light 2 art book, a steel book, a secret locations map, UV stickers, a UV flashlight, and a new statue featuring the sequel’s protagonist. The collector’s edition will retail or $259.99. For those interested in nabbing one for themselves, you can pre-order your collector’s edition right here. For digital players, there will be the Standard, Deluxe, and Ultimate edition, which can also be found at the pre-order link referenced earlier. 

Dying Light 2: Stay human release on December 7 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC players. 

To learn more about Dying Light 2, be sure to check out our game hub here to see more behind-the-scenes action, exclusive art for the sequel, and more. 

Are you excited to get your hands on the highly anticipated Dying Light sequel? What did you think of today’s showcase? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Dying Light 2 Release Date Set For December

Dying Light 2

The long-awaited Dying Light 2 finally has a release date. Following a year of near silence after the game was delayed early last year, developer Techland has slowly started revealing more information about its long-awaited sequel. During today’s Dying 2 Know stream, Techland not only confirmed the game is coming on December 7, but also that it has a brand new name: Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human picks up years after the story of the first game. You no longer play as Kyle Crane, the protagonist of the first game. Instead, you control Aiden Caldwell in a story that shapes around your choices. The game was a sight to behold at E3 2019, the first time we saw it in action. In that demo, we witnessed parkour upgrades, new combat mechanics, stunning visuals, and an impressive choice-and-consequence system. Those mechanics were further explored during today’s stream. You can read more about the choice mechanics here.

Dying Light 2

If you happened to miss the boat on the first Dying Light, Techland also announced a Platinum Edition of the original Dying Light. Dying Light: Platinum Edition gathers the base game and all of the DLC, including the expansion titled The Following, as well as a ton of cosmetic bundles. The original Dying Light was a great twist on the open-world zombie genre when it launched in 2015, and you can read our review right here.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human comes out December 7 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players have six different editions to choose from: three digital and three retail. For more on those editions, head here.

Did you enjoy the first Dying Light? Are you looking forward to Dying Light 2 Stay Human? Let us know your thoughts on if you’ll be picking this up at release in the comments section below!


Horizon Forbidden West State Of Play: Watch Along With Game Informer

Though physical units may be sparse, the PlayStation 5 has had no shortage of amazing experiences since its launch late last year. From the icons such as Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales to the surprising and enthralling Returnal, there has been plenty for fans of Sony’s hardware to geek out about over the last year, and Guerilla Games hopes to continue that hype train. 

Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to the 2017 sci-fi marvel, has been on the minds of gamers ever since its first reveal in June of last year, and for good reason. The return to Aloy’s story means one of futuristic spectacle, filled with memorable metal dinos and an engrossing open-world begging to be explored. The wait to know more has been arduous, but the Horizon-faithful are about to have their patience paid off.

Sony is unveiling a new State of Play today, and Aloy and company are the main event. Guerilla Games will be rolling out a whole 14 minutes of newly revealed footage and we at Game Informer are going to be along for the ride with you! Join Kim Wallace, Ben Reeves, and Alex Stadnik as we react live to all the new gameplay, big news, and more live on Twitch! The show starts at 4 p.m. CT but we’ll be going live 10 minutes early for a little preshow action to discuss why we’re excited about the upcoming PlayStation exclusive.

For those not in the know, we moved all of our livestreams over to Twitch to facilitate a better viewing experience for our community. If you’d like to know more, be sure to check out this handy article for more details!

Want to know more about Guerilla’s hotly anticipated new game? Be sure to check out why we included Horizon Forbidden West in the list of our most anticipated action games, our article detailing today’s State of Play, and the original announcement trailer from last year’s PS5 showcase.


GI Show – Biomutant, Knockout City, And Deathloop Interview

Click to watch embedded media

On this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, we discuss a handful of the games we’ve been digging recently, including Biomutant, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Knockout City, and Portal Reloaded. We close the show by interviewing Arkane Studios’ game director Dinga Bakaba (@DBakaba) and art director Sébastien Mitton (@mitmitman) about their newest project Deathloop and why they didn’t just make another Dishonored

It’s a full show, but we make time for another round of fantastic community emails. So please join Brian Shea (@BrianPShea), Marcus Stewart (@MarcusStewart7), Alex Stadnik (@Studnik76), Blake Hester (@metallicaisrad), and Ben Reeves (@Benjaminreeves) for a new wild and ever-entertaining episode!

Thanks for listening! Please make sure to leave feedback below and share the episode if you enjoyed it. You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloudstream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 at the bottom of the page. Also, be sure to send your questions to for a chance to have them answered on the show!

Our thanks to The Rapture Twins for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their music on their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below.

00:00:00 – Introduction
00:02:46 –
00:20:12 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
00:21:58 – Knockout City
00:34:17 – Portal Reloaded
00:37:43 – Community Emails
Dinga Bakaba and Sébastien Mitton Interview


World’s End Club – Not With A Bang But A Whimper

Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Too Kyo Games

May 28, 2021

Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: Switch

What happens when a crew of angsty students witness the apocalypse during a seemingly normal field trip? World’s End Club answers this question as it examines the various interpersonal relationships of its ensemble cast. However, janky platforming, predictable story beats, uninspired characters, and a forgettable soundtrack prevent World’s End Club from reaching the heights of the two franchises that directly informed it: Danganronpa and Zero Escape.

You’ll spend most of your time in World’s End Club parsing through extensive conversations that give context to the overarching narrative. These dialogue-heavy moments are glorified exposition dumps. Characters announce their ulterior motives and innermost feelings haphazardly, and when a primary villain enters the fray to “accidentally” reveal their diabolical plans (this happens at an alarming rate), the narrative is stripped of its stakes. At times, I was excited to see plotlines resolved, but the emotional stakes got upended so often that I lost interest. This is particularly frustrating because, despite its cartoonish/light-hearted aesthetic, World’s End Club wants to be a game about complex motifs like deceit, trust, and lasting friendship. This could have been interesting, but, as it stands, the narrative feels hollow.

Silent protagonist Reycho is the daring leader of the Go-Getters Club, a quirky band of misfits. When a meteor suddenly crashes into Tokyo one summer afternoon, the world abruptly ends. After the impact, the crew wakes in an underwater amusement park where a floating, Pokémon-esque creature named Pielope forces them to take part in a dangerous “Game of Fate.” The trials that Reycho and company face push the tight-knit fellowship to the brink. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that each member of the Go-Getters Club is merely a shallow archetype – from the oblivious airhead Vanilla, to the overweight, gluttonous Mowchan. Moreover, the voiceover fluctuates from mediocre to downright laughable. It became increasingly hard to care about the playable cast when they’re awkwardly robotic during emotionally tense moments and even mispronounce each other’s names from time to time.

Click here to watch embedded media

World’s End Club’s gameplay loop is split into three distinct sections: Act, Camp, and Story. During the unremarkable Act phase, you’ll jump over bottomless pits and push crates to clear blocked passageways. Combat usually amounts to tossing blunt objects at slow-moving targets or running for your life while navigating an array of pesky hurdles. I enjoyed the latter moments, but soon realized that getting away from World’s End Club’s zany creatures was deflatingly easy. The less frequent stealth sequences required me to hide behind objects and time my escape sprints. The Go-Getter’s Club get their down time at Campsites, where you can briefly converse with each member to gain a better understanding of character motivations, which are just as shallow as the Story moments.

The one-dimensionality of World’s End Club’s characters is apparent the minute they open their mouths, but when their Awakened Abilities activate, their personalities truly come to life. These awesome super moves help you survive in this dastardly world, and they slowly unlock as you progress through story acts. Awakened Abilities made me feel appropriately powerful and lent themselves nicely to most of World’s End Club’s simple environmental puzzles. For example, I enjoyed using Reycho’s “Big League Pitcher” to toss rocks at overhanging structures, forcing them to collapse on enemies patrolling below. I used other Awakened Abilities to wipe out otherwise indestructible geographical formations or simply slow down undefeatable bosses. The sheer number of applicable abilities made the otherwise boring enemy encounters a bit more satisfying and made uneventful platforming sections mildly entertaining.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t run into my fair share of gameplay issues. Countless times, I found myself staring at a Game Over screen because of wooden controls. Sometimes I’d continuously press the jump button just to watch Reycho saunter towards the edge of a platform. At other times, the characters seemed to fight me as I tried to grab ledges or avoid one-hit-kill obstructions. On several occasions, I was spotted repeatedly by adversaries because of unforgiving stick sensitivity; I’d try to move slightly closer to a ledge, but simply fall off the platform and into the clutches of enemies.

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



The monster and biome design, on the other hand, emerged as my two favorite aspects of World’s End Club. My journey through Japan took me to abandoned prefectures teeming with overgrowth and dangerous obstacles like molten lava, pools of quicksand, and mutated foliage. Underground facilities housed rabid, bipedal canines, and dusty mountainsides were home to gigantic, armored beetles. Some creatures were far more grotesque and interesting to look at with serpentine limbs and unnerving, convulsive movements. Nevertheless, these features weren’t significant enough to distract me from World’s End Club’s myriad narrative and mechanical flaws.

World’s End Club tells an uninteresting story full of obvious twists and turns that’s segmented by linear exploration and low-stakes action. On normal difficulty, you’re killed in one hit, which doesn’t mix well with the finnicky controls. Some character designs and their accompanying abilities are particularly inspired, but I didn’t fall in love with any of their static personalities. World’s End Club ultimately wound up feeling like an unimaginative afterschool activity.

Score: 6

Summary: World’s End Club’s dull platforming mechanics, story, and ensemble cast make it a chore to play.

Concept: Lead your large crew of friends through a post-apocalyptic Tokyo while avoiding death at the hands of mutated monsters

Graphics: A few of the main character designs are cool, but most are middling. The numerous locations you traverse and creatures you encounter are definitive highlights

Sound: At best, the voicework is subpar, and the cacophonous soundtrack detracts from the already lackluster story

Playability: World’s End Club’s unresponsive controls make it easy to miss key jumps or grapples. On higher difficulties, I died a few times because of these finicky controls, but the story checkpoints are quite forgiving

Entertainment: Most Awakened Abilities are fun to use, but puzzles are boring because they’re such a breeze to complete

Replay: Low

Click to Purchase


Dying Light 2 Livestream: Watch Along With Game Informer

Dying Light 2 may have been revealed in 2018, but it was the game’s demo the following year that put the industry on notice. Developer Techland’s open-world zombie title blew people away with its promise of a deep, choice-filled world set on the backdrop of apocalyptic beauty. But then silence and scandal hit the studio, and Dying Light 2 has faded into the ether, with fans pining for any sort of information on the sequel to the fan-favorite title.

But today is a new day for those excited for this ambitious title. Techland is taking the pre-E3 digital stage (PrE3? Is this even a part of E3? Who knows?) and is showing off Dying Light 2 live for all to see. While the Polish developer has been relatively mum on what we’ll be seeing today, the hope is that we will finally get a more substantive look at what fans will be playing when they finally get their hands on the game.

While we don’t know what Techland will be showing, we do know who will be watching alongside you at Game Informer! Join zombie-enthusiasts Liana Ruppert and Alex Stadnik as they react live with you to all the big news, reveals, and whatever else Techland has up its sleeves.

We’re going live at 1:50 p.m. CT with our preshow to discuss our hopes and dreams for Dying Light 2, and we hope you can join us there. For those who haven’t heard, we’ve made the exciting switch to exclusively streaming on Twitch to create better livestream experiences for our lovely audience.

For more on Dying Light 2, be sure to check out Techland’s recent update videos featuring info on the map size and story, and a look at the 2019 demo that blasted the levels of hype for the game into the stratosphere!


Everything You Need To Know About Supermassive Games’ House Of Ashes

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Supermassive Games


Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games is finally pulling back the curtain on the third entry in its Dark Pictures Anthology, a game pentalogy, with each standalone entry mashing together different subgenres of horror. House of Ashes brings new frights and surprises as you explore an underground temple and discover horrific creatures nesting there. 

The newest entry in the anthology takes inspiration from famed horror writer H.P Lovecraft, particularly his book At The Mountains of Madness, in addition to iconic films such as Predator, Alien, and The Descent. “At its heart, House of Ashes is an exploration horror: a group of experts on a critical mission, in a remote location, cut-off from any backup facing an inhuman enemy threat,” says director Will Doyle. “It’s also a story about loyalty, duty, and trust.”

We saw a presentation and interviewed the Supermassive team, learning firsthand about the new setting, themes, and improvements.

It’s Set During The Iraq War In The Middle East

House of Ashes is set in 2003 during the Iraq War. It begins with a U.S. military group on a mission to unearth weapons of mass destruction located underground. When they arrive, a firefight ensues, with holdout Iraqi forces attacking them, but then an earthquake disrupts everything, sending both sides down below into a vast underground temple. While this was a complicated time in our history, Supermassive says this is not a game about the war and its politics. “We knew that this could potentially be controversial,” says producer Dan McDonald. “Every step of the way, we’ve tried to treat it with respect. We’ve had lots of different consultants come on, whether it’s about Arabic or the military, to try and make sure that what we’re doing is grounded in reality …  It’s really a setting for us. [The war] is not what the game is about.” However, Supermassive isn’t shying away from addressing certain prejudices and tensions that may exist between soldiers on both sides. As you play, certain characters will be at odds over their different beliefs and must decide how to put them aside to survive an inhuman threat. 

You Explore A Cursed Temple 

All the games in the Dark Pictures Anthology have some basis in fact or legend, and discovering the connections rooted in reality and what liberties the Supermassive team took to tell a haunting story is always part of the fun. In the anthology’s first two entries, Supermassive tackled the legend of Ourang Medan and the 17th-century Salem and Andover witch trials. For House of Ashes, it’s going much further in history, letting you explore an underground temple dating back to the ancient kingdom of Akkad, which existed in the Mesopotamia region. This temple was built by a real-world historical figure: the self-proclaimed God King of the Akkad empire, Naram Sin, who reigned around 2250 B.C. Naram-Sin doesn’t have the cleanest history; he upset the gods by ransacking a temple belonging to Enlil, the God of Earth, Wind, and Storms. This brought on a curse of war, famine, and plague to Naram-Sin’s kingdom. 

In House of Ashes, the huge temple you explore was Naram-Sin’s peace-offering to the gods to end the curse, but obviously, that didn’t get him back in their good graces. Akkad falls and his temple is buried under desert sands, only being rediscovered now. Expect some claustrophobic and enclosed spaces, as you’re essentially trapped underground, but Supermassive also has areas open up regularly so you feel the vastness of this unknown world below the surface. 

There Are Monsters In The Dark

Unraveling the deeper mysteries of the temple and finding an escape route won’t be your only challenge. You have even greater threats down below – a nest of monsters that are hungry for blood. “We want you to feel exposed, vulnerable, and threatened, to get a feeling you’re being watched at all times by creatures you know nothing about,” Doyle says.

Supermassive is really building up to the first time you actually come face to face with one of these deadly creatures, as they mostly lurk and kill in the shadows. “The creatures in House of Ashes are some of the most complicated we’ve ever made,” Doyle says. “But through hand animation and motion capture, we’ve created a monster that is very believable, very threatening, and very dangerous. And there’s a whole nest of them waiting down there for you.”

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



New Cast, With Ashley Tisdale Of High School Musical Fame As Lead

As with previous games, the fate of the five characters will be in your hands as you run through the adventure. Characters can die at any time, or potentially survive the whole ordeal. Every game has one big-name actor to support it. The Boys’  Shawn Ashmore took the helm in Man of Medan, followed by Midsommar’s Will Poulter for Little Hope. House of Ashes marks the first female star of The Dark Pictures Anthology, with Ashley Tisdale, best known for her Disney Channel roles, playing lead CIA officer Rachel King.

“We went after [Ashley] quite early,” McDonald says. “We had her in our mind, and she gave us a fantastic performance. I think she really wanted to try something different. So when we contacted her agent, she was interested in the project, because it was outside of her comfort zone and she wanted to test herself and stretch herself.”  

We originally saw Tisdale’s character wading through a river of blood and bones holding a human thigh bone as a torch in the teaser trailer, but it appears her headstrong protagonist is also struggling with what she wants for her future in the relationship department, which you will help her decide. 

Other characters who round out the cast include Colonel Eric King, Rachel’s estranged husband, making their relationship complicated as she decides if she wants to move on with someone else, stay single, or reconcile. Marines Jason Kolchek and Nick Kay also join them; Nick has been struggling with some of the horrific things that have happened to him in Iraq, whereas Jason likes to throw his higher rank around and be large and in charge. Lastly, an Iraqi soldier named Salim gets trapped with them, forcing the enemy sides to work together. “He’s a father,” McDonald says. “He’s got a son that he wants to get back to. [He has a] life that he wants to get back to, and that shows. You see into his world; you see into his reality.”

Supermassive thinks having people who were all connected by the war really helped them build some unique characters and conflicts. “It’s an interesting point to start off from for character motivations, and it allowed us to build up a team of characters that work together, that know each other,” McDonald says. “You get camaraderie and tension. Everyone doesn’t always get on. Not a single one of them is clean and innocent. They’ve each got their own baggage that they bring with them. We wanted to make [our characters] more complex and nuanced. There is no black and white, good and evil. It’s, ‘How you want to play it?’ and ”How you want that story to move forward?’

Building relationships again will be front and center, but this time you will have to decide when to put yourself first versus helping someone else. Supermassive has said difficult dilemmas around survival and collaboration will be at the heart of things. “What risk would you take to make sure nobody gets left behind?” Doyle asks, “And when all hell breaks loose, is there any place for compassion, or is it just to look after number one?”

New Mechanics

Supermassive emphasized that if fans played previous games, they’ll have an instant-feel for the mechanics, so don’t expect big changes to the formula. However, the developer is always listening to fan feedback and made some improvements for House of Ashes, saying fans will notice “many improvements in how the game handles.” The team experimented in Little Hope with 360° cameras. For House of Ashes, fixed cameras have been entirely replaced by a 360° player-controlled camera to make exploration more immersive. A new flashlight button also lets you search the darkest areas of the catacombs with ease for secrets and new paths, but it does slow you down a bit when you use it, so you’ll want to only bring it out when necessary. Difficulty settings (easy, medium, hard) have also been added to the game, and since people are so divided on what’s considered easy or too hard for QTEs, Supermassive is also allowing you to adjust their difficulty in terms of speed to match your skillset.

House of Ashes is set to come out sometime this year, but doesn’t have an official release date. However, for the first time, enhanced versions will be available for the new-gen systems that raise the graphical fidelity greatly. Being the third game in the anthology, hopefully, Supermassive can raise the bar even further. Time will tell.


Sonic Origins Gives Players A New Chance To Experience The Glory Days

This year marks the 30th anniversary for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and as with any major anniversary milestone for a long-running franchise, fans want something to celebrate the glory days of the series. While 2017’s Sonic Mania paid stellar tribute to the 2D days of Sega’s spiny speedster, fans still love and play the games that gave Nintendo’s popular plumber a run for his money back in the ’90s. During today’s Sonic Central presentation, Sega announced Sonic Origins to help players relive the early days of the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

As the name implies, Sonic Origins gathers the several of the series’ earlier entries into one collection. While we don’t have too many details at this time, Sega describes it as a “new compiled series.” As you might imagine, Sonic Origins features the mainline Genesis games (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles) as well as Sonic CD, which originally appeared on Sega CD. According to Sega, Sonic Origins will deliver a nostalgic experience with non-stop Sonic action and “fresh content.” Outside of that, Sega teases fans that more information will be coming soon.

The classic Genesis games are perhaps some of the most ported titles in the gaming, with appearances across all kinds of platforms ranging from PC to mobile to even Apple TV. All of the games mentioned in the Sonic Origins collection were released on Xbox Live Arcade and are still playable today through backwards compatibility on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One. While Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 have continued receiving the re-release and port treatments over the years, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles have been largely absent from the sweeping re-releases. Sega has never released an official statement on the reason for that, but many speculate the reason is due to the music rights since popstar Michael Jackson has long been linked to the soundtrack. It will be interesting to see if the inclusion of Sonic 3 & Knuckles in Sonic Origins means those rights have been ironed out, or if Sega has found a workaround solution.

Another thing to watch is how much care goes into updating these experiences. Will the games that have seen re-release after re-release, like Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, receive additional features and content as the tease indicates? When these two games were released on Switch under the Sega Ages banner, they added new features like the spin dash to Sonic 1, the ability to play as Knuckles (without the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge) to Sonic 2, and the Sonic Mania drop dash to both titles. Will the “fresh content” be along those lines, or is Sega teasing something bigger? Only time will tell as we get closer to the launch of the Sonic Origins release.

We do not currently have a release date or platform list for Sonic Origins. For more on the Sonic franchise, head here to learn about why Sonic 2 was so important for Sega’s rise to prominence, or head here to learn how Sonic 3 split into two games.


Sonic Colors: Ultimate Sprints To Modern Platforms This September

It’s no secret that the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise had a particularly rough period in the late ’00s and early ’10s, but one of the most well-liked entries in the 3D series also came out during that time. Sonic Colors delivered fast-paced action, fun level design, and unique power-ups when it launched in 2010, becoming one of the better-received Sonic games of that era. Unfortunately, the title has been stranded on Wii since its launch, with no re-releases or availability through backwards compatibility. Thankfully, Sega and developer Blind Squirrel Entertainment have changed that by announcing Sonic Colors: Ultimate.

This remaster of the 2010 Wii game delivers the same thrills as the original did 11 years ago, but as with all remasters, you can expect some enhancements. The visuals have been upscaled, the controls and core gameplay have been refined, and players can even tackle an all-new mode. In the brand new Rival Rush mode, Sonic goes head-to-head with Metal Sonic. If you can outrun your robotic rival, you earn rewards.

Click here to watch embedded media

For those who never experienced Sonic Colors, Dr. Eggman has built a giant, interstellar amusement park that he is powering with captured members of an alien race called Wisps. Sonic learns of this and decides to bust them out of their captivity, but the aid is hardly one-way traffic; the Wisps are able to give Sonic new powers. With the help of the Wisps, Sonic speeds through six unique worlds on his way to stopping Eggman and freeing the colorful aliens. 

If Sonic Colors: Ultimate sounds like exactly what you’ve been waiting for, Sega has a few options for you to choose from. The Standard Retail Physical Pre-Order ($40) includes an exclusive Baby Sonic keychain. The Digital Standard edition ($40) includes the Sonic Movie Boost, giving players an electric boost and aura as seen in the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog movie, plus exclusive player icons. Finally, the Digital Deluxe version ($45) allows you to jump in a few days early on September 3 at 6 p.m. Pacific / 9 p.m. Eastern, plus exclusive player icons, the Sonic Movie Boost mentioned before, special gold and silver gloves and shoes, and the Ultimate Music Pack featuring three original game remixes.

Sonic Colors: Ultimate launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on September 7. The PC version is digital-only and exclusive to the Epic Games Store.


Next Mainline Sonic Game Coming In 2022

Click here to watch embedded media

At SXSX 2019, head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka announced that the the next mainline Sonic the Hedgehog game from the flagship Sonic studio was underway. Since then, we’ve heard nothing about the project, and after today’s Sonic Central stream, we know little more than the project is still in development. During today’s video, Iizuka confirmed that the team behind Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces is still working on the next mainline Sonic game and gave us a tiny teaser video with a release window of 2022.

While Sonic Team has worked on several Puyo Puyo titles in recent years, as you might expect, the vast majority of games the studio has developed since its inception have been Sonic the Hedgehog titles. Its most recent game for the Blue Blur was Sonic Forces, which came out in 2017. While the game made various improvements and played heavily into the fandom with a create-a-character feature, the title received lukewarm reception from critics and fans. Prior to that, Sonic Team released the poorly received Sonic Lost World on Wii U and PC. However, before that, the studio seemed to regain its footing from the disastrous Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), releasing fan-favorite games like Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations over a three-year stretch. Sonic Colors is so well liked that Sega is releasing an Ultimate version of it later this year.

This confirmation accompanies a flurry of other Sonic-centric announcements, including an in-game event for Two Point Hospital where you can swap out the staff members’ outfits to celebrate Sonic’s 30th anniversary, mobile game events for titles like Sonic Forces: Speed Battle and Sonic Racing, and already-released games like Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, and Team Sonic Racing coming to PlayStation Now. You can also learn more about the newly announced Sonic Origins collection here.

We don’t have any additional information about the next mainline game from Sonic Team, but hopefully we’ll learn more soon. The new Sonic Team game launches in 2022. If you’re looking for a deep dive into the rise and fall of the Sonic series, head here. If you want to learn more about how the Sonic brand made the lead to Nintendo consoles following Sega’s transition to third-party developer, head here


This Year’s Pokémon Go Fest Is A Musical Celebration

For the second straight year, Pokémon Go Fest is worldwide, meaning anyone can purchase a digital ticket and participate from the comfort of their homes and neighborhoods. Last year’s tickets cost $14.99, but this year’s will be just $5, and it gives you access to two full days of Pokémon catching on July 17 and 18.

This year’s festival is themed around music. Most Pokémon Go players don’t have the sound on when they’re out in the wild, tracking down rare critters to add to their collections, but you’ll want to turn it on this year, as longtime Pokémon music producer Junichi Masuda put together new tracks just for this event. In a blog posting, Niantic details two of the songs. One is a “rock-and-rolling track for Pikachu Rock Star fans,” and the other is a “high-energy electro-pop song for Pikachu Pop Star stans.” At the fest, you’ll have the chance to catch newly outfitted Pikachus that represent the rock and pop star forms.

Similar to last year’s event, the day of catching unfolds across rotating habitats. Every hour a different habitat comes online with different spawns. For instance, for the jungle habitat, you can catch a Aipom, Froakie, Scyther, and other critters that fit the theme. For the Cave, Roggenrola, Deino, and the Galarian Stunfisk will spawn. You’ll need to play all day (from 10 to 6) to catch everything that the fest has to offer.

Day two shifts the focus to raids, but all of Pokémon from day one will still be around to catch. We don’t know which Pokémon will be in the raids, but there’s a good chance we’ll see a new one given the secrecy. We’ll also likely add a new Pokémon to our Pokédex by completing the festival’s mission, which has typically been of the Mythical variety.

New shiny variations of Pokémon will also be a part of the mix. This year, shiny Unown F, Throh, Sawk, Whismur, Chimecho, Audino, and Tympole are making their debuts. I can’t wait to see what other surprises unfold over these summer days of catching.


Dying Light: Platinum Edition Is Available Now

Ahead of the Dying Light 2 showcase that is planned later today, Dying Light: Platinum Edition is available now. With the sequel on the way, players that have not yet experienced what this Techland adventure has to offer have the chance to do so in the best way possible now. 

So what comes in the Platinum Edition, exactly? Players can expect to get the base game itself and all four DLC, added weapons, and seventeen skin bundles. For those ready to dive in, it’s available now at a heavily discounted rate for $24.99 through Xbox Live, though it looks like it’s still the normal price of $99 through the PlayStation Store, at least at the time of publishing. 

Everything included in Dying Light: Platinum Edition

  • Be the Zombie
  • Crash Test Skin Pack
  • Cuisine & Cargo
  • Dying Light
  • Dying Light Classified Operation Bundle
  • Dying Light – Dying Light
  • Dying Light – 5th Anniversary Bundle
  • Be the Zombie
  • Dying Light Classified Operation Bundle
  • Crash Test Skin Pack
  • Cuisine & Cargo
  • Godfather Bundle
  • Gun Psycho Bundle
  • Harran Inmate Bundle
  • Harran Ranger Bundle
  • Dying Light – Harran Tactical Unit Bundle
  • Dying Light – Hellraid
  • Dying Light – Rais Elite Bundle
  • Retrowave Bundle
  • Shu Warrior
  • The Bozak Horde
  • Dying Light: The Following
  • Ultimate Survivor Bundle
  • Viking: Raiders of Harran bundle
  • Dying Light – Vintage Gunslinger Bundle
  • Volatile Hunter Bundle
  • Dying Light – Volkan Combat Armor Bundle
  • Dying Light – White Death Bundle5th Anniversary Bundle
  • Dying Light – Harran Tactical Unit Bundle
  • Dying Light – Hellraid
  • Dying Light – Rais Elite Bundle
  • Dying Light – Vintage Gunslinger Bundle
  • Dying Light – Volkan Combat Armor Bundle
  • Dying Light – White Death Bundle
  • Dying Light: The Following
  • Godfather Bundle
  • Gun Psycho Bundle
  • Harran Inmate Bundle
  • Harran Ranger Bundle
  • Retrowave Bundle
  • Shu Warrior
  • The Bozak Horde
  • Ultimate Survivor Bundle
  • Viking: Raiders of Harran bundle
  • Volatile Hunter Bundle

For those looking at the road ahead, Techland Games has a special presentation later today at 12 p.m. Pacific / 3 p.m. Eastern. Gameplay footage will be shown, as well as a few other surprises. 

Dying Light: Platinum Edition is available on the Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store (only for PS Plus subscribers), Steam, and GOG. 

At the time this article was written, it was only available on the PlayStation and Microsoft storefronts. The Steam and GOG versions are expected to drop later today. 

Are you going to scoop up Dying Light: Platinum Edition, or are you waiting to see what Dying Light 2 will have to offer? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Game Builder Garage Preview – Making Game Development Approachable

game builder garage

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo

June 11, 2021

Rating: Everyone
Platform: Switch

Three years ago Nintendo introduced the world to its curious product line called Labo, a papercraft toys-to-life series that focused on not only delivering new games to kids but teaching them to build whimsical cardboard accessories to play with. Game Builder Garage, the upcoming first-party Nintendo Switch programming game that was announced in earlier this month, feels like the natural evolution of Labo – minus the cardboard. The game includes seven interactive lessons that aim to teach you how to develop seven different games via approachable visual scripting and then will set you free to build any game you’d like with its Free Programming mode. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Before you can begin programming games in Game Builder Garage, you’ll need a crash course in Nodons, which are personified representations of the game objects, triggers, timers, cameras, and other tools that inhabit a game engine. The game is aimed at a younger audience, so these fictionalized creatures help to teach design principles while keeping the experience approachable and easy to understand. There’s a Nodon for everything, and you’ll connect them together in different ways to build a game. Need to move a character from left to right with a Joy-Con stick? Connect a Control Stick Nodon to the Left/Right function of the Person Nodon that’s tied to the character. Need to scale the size of the game screen’s field of view? Yep, there’s a Nodon for that.

However, the engine’s simple node-based visual scripting doesn’t mean it lacks depth. In fact, there are a variety of games that can be built in Game Builder Garage. My demo featured a ten-step interactive lesson called Alien Blaster, which teaches players how to develop their own 2D side-scrolling shooter. And players shouldn’t worry about getting lost either, since the seven lessons can’t be skimmed through and require comprehensive checkpoint tests.

When inquiring about the range of projects that can be created using the software, I was shown an array of games: an arcade twin-stick shooter reminiscent of Geometry Wars, 2D and 3D platformers, a local multiplayer arcade driving game, and virtual pinball. The coolest part is that Nintendo is allowing users to access some of the Switch’s best features, including IR sensors, motion controls, and support of up to 8 Joy-Cons for local multiplayer games. So in theory, players can recreate party games like 1-2-Switch.

game builder garage

Despite the large number of games that can be developed with Game Builder Garage, it should be known that the software isn’t nearly as robust as game engines like Unity, Unreal Engine, or even other development-focused games like Dreams. For instance, users won’t be able to import any external assets into the game, meaning they’ll have to rely on the game’s audio library and catalog of character and object models. However, the parameters of those premade assets can be customized, like the tempo and instrumentation of music tracks or the textures on a 3D model. And you might’ve already seen this coming, but no, you can’t export your games to play outside of Game Builder Garage. However, you can share your games with other players who own a copy of the game and subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online via a number ID system similar to Super Mario Maker.

Nintendo’s decision to release Game Builder Garage as an insular platform isn’t surprising to me, and the software’s constraints clearly demonstrate the vision behind its creation: to make game development approachable. While it won’t serve as the avenue for the next great commercial release, Game Builder Garage fosters an environment focused on learning, iterating, and ultimately, having fun. Game Builder Garage releases on June 11, 2021 for $29.99 on Nintendo Switch, where you can learn the basics of game development from the brilliant minds at Nintendo.


Gearbox Is Adding Borderlands 3 Crossplay, But Gearbox Was Told To Remove PS5 And PS4 Support

Sony has isolated itself in the past when looking at crossplay. While the company eventually conceded to long-time pressure to add this feature for games like Fortnite despite its previous staunch stance against opening up the ability to play between platforms, it looks like it’s still an ongoing battle. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford confirmed that Borderlands 3 crossplay is included in an upcoming update for the game, but that “the publisher” has removed compatibility for PS5 and PS4 players due to certification. 

Pitchford took to Twitter to confirm the crossplay news, a feature that will be available for Xbox, PC, and Google Stadia players. It was meant to include support for PlayStation players before Sony stepped in: 

In the above tweet, Pitchford confirmed the crossplay plans. “Good news or bad news first,” he began. “Good news: An update for Borderlands 3 has been prepared for release that includes full crossplay support across all platforms. Bad news: For certification, we have been required by the publisher to remove crossplay support for PlayStation consoles.” 

The publisher for Gearbox in this instance is 2K Games. He references “the publisher” in the tweet but doesn’t call the name. Whether the directive came from 2K Games on their in or from Sony down is unclear, but Game Informer has reached out for clarification. Given that Sony requires additional payment for crossplay access, it is a possibility that 2K, as the publisher, opted not to pay the added fee. It’s also possible that Sony is still on the fence about what justifies a crossplay title under its umbrella. We hope to have more info soon, so keep this page bookmarked for future updates.

What do you think about Borderlands 3 pulling crossplay support from PlayStation consoles? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below. 


Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance Reveals Joe Manganiello As Utaar

Actor Joe Manganiello, arguably most known for his roles in True Blood and Justice League, is an actor known for his neverending love for Dungeons & Dragons. Because of that love and his various public D&D campaigns, it should be of no surprise that he is confirmed to have a role in the upcoming Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance from Tuque Games. 

The studio posted up a new video clip on the game’s official Twitter account of the Kelvin descendant, Utaar Kelvinson. With the simple caption of, “This guy’s voice sounds so familiar…,” fans were quick to realize who exactly was voicing the frost giant. 

This isn’t the actor’s first run with Dungeons & Dragons as a professional, not just a player. He added his writing talents to that of Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, which made its debut in 2019. 

Players will be able to meet Utaar for themselves when Dark Alliance arrives on June 22, 2021. Thanks to this title being available on Xbox Game Pass at launch, players that are members of this particular subscription service can jump into the newest adventure at no additional cost. There is a lot to be excited for with this third-person action brawler. This is especially true for those that are looking for a new fantasy game to dive into with friends. With up to 4-player co-op, it being free just adds yet another reason to check it out. 

You can also learn more about the game with our hub here

Thoughts on Joe Manganiello’s role in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance with his Dungeons & Dragons love? Are you excited to see what the upcoming RPG has to offer? Weigh in with those hottest of hot takes in the comment section below! 


Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance Reveals, And Famous Dungeons & Dragons Fan, Joe Manganiello As Utaar

Actor Joe Manganiello, arguably most known for his roles in True Blood and Justice League, is an actor known for his neverending love for Dungeons & Dragons. Because of that love and his various public D&D campaigns, it should be of no surprise that he is confirmed to have a role in the upcoming Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance from Tuque Games. 

The studio posted up a new video clip on the game’s official Twitter account of the Kelvin descendant, Utaar Kelvinson. With the simple caption of, “This guy’s voice sounds so familiar…,” fans were quick to realize who exactly was voicing the frost giant. 

This isn’t the actor’s first run with Dungeons & Dragons as a professional, not just a player. He added his writing talents to that of Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, which made its debut in 2019. 

Players will be able to meet Utaar for themselves when Dark Alliance arrives on June 22, 2021. Thanks to this title being available on Xbox Game Pass at launch, players that are members of this particular subscription service can jump into the newest adventure at no additional cost. There is a lot to be excited for with this third-person action brawler. This is especially true for those that are looking for a new fantasy game to dive into with friends. With up to 4-player co-op, it being free just adds yet another reason to check it out. 

You can also learn more about the game with our hub here

Thoughts on Joe Manganiello’s role in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance with his Dungeons & Dragons love? Are you excited to see what the upcoming RPG has to offer? Weigh in with those hottest of hot takes in the comment section below!