Konami Teases Outsourcing Plans For New IPs Following GetsuFumaDen Reveal

When Konami debuted GetsuFumaDen: Undying Moon back in April, gamers were excited to see an experience that takes its predecessor to new horizons. The original Getsu Fuma Den was released back in the late ’80s, but the caveat was that it was only available for Japanese players on the Famicom. Now, a sequel is on the way, thanks to Konami and indie studio GuruGuru. It looks like this is just the start of a renewed initiative for the company that gave us franchises like Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid. 

In a recent interview with JPGamesKonami producer Shin Murato teased what else the studio is currently working on. When asked why the company paired with an indie studio for this project, he referenced the team’s inspiration drawn from indie favorites and why this sequel was of interest. 

“We are continually inspired by various indie titles and how they innovate and produce exciting games,” Murato told the site. “We felt that GetsuFumaDen would be an interesting IP to bring back to follow this indie approach, and so we decided to contact GuruGuru as we know the team well. They had been exploring new approaches for graphical design and thought they would be a great fit for this IP. It also helped that there were fans of the original GetsuFumaDen game within the GuruGuru team.” 

He added that fans should wait for more announcements like projects like this regarding other collaborations. Details weren’t given at the time, but the tease is clear: Konami will have more to reveal in the future, and the possibilities are more open than many have previously thought following Hideo Kojima’s departure

I wouldn’t expect any reveals during E3 this year regarding who the company is working with. Konami recently stated why it would not be attending this year’s digital festivities: 

“Due to timing, we will not be ready to present at E3 this year,” reads the initial statement from the studio. “We want to reassure our fans that we are in deep development on a number of key projects, so please stay tuned for some updates in the coming months. While we are not participating this year, we have great respect for the ESA, and we know that 2021 will be a great success. We will continue to support the ESA and wish the best to all participant’s in this year’s show.” 

The ESA responded to the initial statement, telling Game Informer

“We support our partner Konami’s decision to not participate in E3 this year and are excited to see what they’ll be announcing in the future when they’re ready to do so. We can’t wait for their return to E3 2022, but in the meantime, we look forward to sharing all of the highly-anticipated reveals, programming and so much more at this year’s E3.”

What sort of collaboration would you like to see from Konami and another studio? Any particular team you’d like to see work with Konami? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Netflix Is Reportedly Going Big On Gaming Adaptations, More Immersive Experiences

Netflix has been on a roll with gaming adaptations. From Resident Evil to The Witcher (though that adaption is focused on the books that inspired the games) to Dota and Assassin’s Creed — it’s been a good time to be a gamer when it comes to the movies and TV streaming app. That being said, reports have begun circulating that the company is doing even more outreach to broaden its gaming scope. 

Last week, The Information broke a news report about Netflix’s further exploration into the realm of gaming adaptations, including gaming veterans telling the site that the company has approached them for possible recruitment. According to the initial report, this venture isn’t just about gaming adaptations but more immersible experiences, as well. Much like the brand did with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, it looks like bringing established games to the silver screen isn’t the only goal in mind.

“There are a lot of things that I think people are going to be really surprised by,” said one former Netflix employee to Game Informer, who wished to remain anonymous. They mentioned that gaming has been a big interest for Netflix over the last two years but that the focus has honed in more over the course of 2020. We were also told that The Circle’s success has also played a role, the Netflix reality show series that plays heavily into social media themes.  

Going off of the trajectory we’ve seen in the last 18 months from Netflix, I would assume that gaming adaptations, reality show aspirations, and more gaming documentaries are included in this expansive new venture. It also would be a safe bet to think that some foray into the esports realm is also in the cards, though nothing has been officially confirmed at this time. 

What do you think about Netflix diving more into the gaming scene? With Castlevania wrapping up after an immense amount of success, what aspect of video games would you like to see this company tackle next? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Mass Effect Legendary Edition Console Commands Mod Is Now Available

Modders hit the ground running to rebuild the extensive options available for the original Mass Effect trilogy, including the return of console commands. For those looking for Mass Effect Legendary Edition console commands (which has been a lot, my inbox is weeping), NexusMods has you covered. 

There are two notable mods to choose from when re-activating Mass Effect’s console commands. There is the Easy Console Commands mod from Seeker Erebus, found here, and the Enable In-Game Console one here from Mgamerz. 

Keep in mind that newer versions of the mod will be needed with game updates, according to Mgamerz. “This mod edits a game file to patch out the checks used for preventing the in-game console from working. This differs from the .dll version by d00telemental because it modifies the functions on disk, rather than patching them in memory which may not occur in time due to the DRM. This makes it 100% reliable. However, it may be incompatible with newer game builds.”

They added that this mod was uploaded due to console access being vital for the setup of modding tools. They’ve uploaded the console commands early while Mod Manager continues to be tweaked. 

The original trilogy had some incredible mods. From changing how characters look completely to giving the story an entirely new conclusion, the community has been dedicated for years. Unfortunately, those mods have been largely rendered obsolete when looking at the Legendary Edition remaster due to the inability to utilize the popular ME3Explorer toolset. We’ve previously talked to the BioWare team about mods and have been working with the community to learn more about the road ahead, but despite all of that, there are quite a few new Mass Effect Legendary mods to use. 

Interested in learning more about Mass Effect Legendary Edition? Check out our game hub here to read exclusive BioWare interviews, helpful tips and tricks for newcomers, and a ton of other space-faring goodness. 

Did you have any mods for the trilogy that were your absolute go-to? Which mods are you hoping to see over on Nexus in the near future? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


LittleBigPlanet Servers Temporarily Shut Down After Prolonged Hacker Abuse And Hate Speech

If you’re a fan of LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation 3, then you may already be aware of the repeated DDoS attacks against the game’s servers. The expected toxicity came from the numerous hackings and shared messages, but a new low was hit in March when the incessant attacks caused the servers to close down over and over again. Another shutdown was recently put into place, this time following a plethora of transphobic remarks utilizing the game’s social aspects. 

This weekend, the game’s official Twitter account provided the following update, “Due to the severity of the recent attacks, we have no other option than to disable the game servers temporarily. We do not take these attacks lightly, especially when they target our loyal community members.” It concluded, saying, “Thanks for understanding.”

We don’t really know why this game is the particular avenue for these attacks. There are many theories in the game’s social forums online about the reason behind the repeated offenses. Ranging from a past disgruntled employee to an angered fan trying to get back at Sony for “dropping” the series in an unfavorable manner. It’s been discussed previously that there are technical issues in place that don’t safeguard the game, but progress has yet to be revealed concerning a more long-term solution to these hacks. 

Sony mentioned previously that the teams are working hard to get the servers back online after several pulls. Where they go from here remains to be seen, but hopefully, the hackers and the reported hateful speech are on the downturn. 

What do you think about the repeated DDoS attacks on LittleBigPlanet? Any recommendations on what the team should do to protect the integrity of the community? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

[H/T: Kotaku]


Netflix’s Resident Evil TV Series, Infinite Darkness, Gets Its Own Drink Line

Now that the Resident Evil Village hype has died down a little bit post-launch, it’s time to look at the future ahead. With new games on the horizon and several more adaptations, there is still more horror goodness on the way. One such project is Netflix’s Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, the new animated TV series coming soon to Netflix. To celebrate the latest show adaptation of the Capcom franchise, Cocalero, an herbal spirit, is releasing an official Resident Evil drink line.

Cocalero is an herbal liquor that is still fairly new to the Georgia area Interestingly enough, this brand has become a hot commodity in the Japanese club scene, including Cocalero bombs that mix red bull. 

This particular brand is Irish but draws from Incan inspiration, according to Paste Magazine (via Kotaku). With South American coca leaves as its base and a few other botanical ingredients to make it unique, the new drink line seems interesting if nothing else. With guarana and ginseng among the ingredients, the site’s description of gin meets energy drink doesn’t seem that far-fetched. 

The Cocalero Biohazard, which you can see the Infinite Darkness label on the marketing itself, is set to go live this July. It’s not the first gaming x booze hybrid. Assassin’s Creed also has a pretty impressive wine line, and it’s actually pretty tasty! There are more, as well, and many more to come in the future. But green liquor? I don’t know, seems pretty appropriate for a Resident Evil collaboration. 

Regarding the upcoming TV show that the new drink is promoting, it is produced and supervised by Capcom’s Hiroyuki Kobayashi of Resident Evil fame. TMS Entertainment, which has birthed various anime series, will produce the series, while Quebico, led by Kei Miyamoto, the producer of Resident Evil: Vendetta, will be leading the full 3DCG animation production. 

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness takes place in the year 2006, two years post-Resident Evil 4. The series starts off with the U.S. President, Ashley’s father, having to evacuate the White House after yet another hostile takeover takes place. In the universe that can’t seem to catch a break, fans of the iconic horror series from Capcom have a new adventure to partake in, and it’s set to go live on July 8.

What do you think about the Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness drink crossover? Does this Ireland-man herbal blend sound good to you, or is a hard pass? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Knockout City Review – Dodgeball Delight

Knockout City

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Velan Studios

May 21, 2021

Rating: Everyone 10+
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Also on:
PlayStation 4, Switch, PC

Stepping onto the court for a dodgeball match used to either fill you with excitement or dread depending on where you stood in the gym-class pecking order. The same could be said of multiplayer shooters, as poorly matchmade games deliver feast or famine results based on your level of skill. Knockout City masterfully combines the best from both dodgeball and multiplayer shooters to create an experience that is frantic, fun, and welcoming to players of all skill levels.

Joining a match is hardly an intimidating affair thanks to Knockout City’s streamlined gameplay. All you need to know at the start is that you find a ball on the map, then find someone to throw it at; the game automatically locks on to targets, making the action less about how elite your aim is and more about the strategy of how to approach each rubber-ball firefight. Once you have the basics down, you can learn different kinds of trick shots, ways to capitalize on the various special balls, and how to master the timing of catching incoming balls. These matches become fast-paced, so gaining a keen awareness for when you’re targeted (as indicated by a red outline on your screen) and learning how to read when balls come your way is where most improvement occurs.

As I learned to contextualize the action and strung together effective plays, the excitement ramped up. In one chaotic sequence, I was at a two-on-one disadvantage, and both opponents had a ball. As the first one fired at me, I timed my catch perfectly, which immediately gave me a pre-charged throw, allowing me to fire back at the thrower at full speed before they knew what hit them, knocking them out. Then, I dashed to avoid the second incoming throw, snagged another nearby ball, and performed a spin move to put a curve on my throw, wrapping it around a pole and hitting the second opponent from an unexpected angle. Moments like that, where you flow from one satisfying move to the next off instinct is supremely rewarding, making you feel like a dodgeball master.

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Despite moments like these, all modes (save for the tense one-on-one Face-Off mode) place you in two teams of three. Teams do more than just even the odds, however, as you can interact with your teammates to perform stronger attacks. Balls gain an instant charge when you pass them to a teammate, letting your friends immediately fire them off at full speed to deliver the final blow to an enemy player. Players can even turn into a ball themselves, allowing teammates to pick up and throw each other at enemies, or perform an ultimate attack which turns the held teammate into a bomb that rains an area-of-effect explosion on targeted players.

Knockout City’s five maps are entertaining playgrounds full of concentrated battlefields, naturally flowing lanes, and unique obstacles. I loved the rotating center structure of the Galaxy Burger map, while the opposing skyscrapers of Rooftop Rumble creates intriguing dynamics with the two teams. The maps are also well populated with balls, meaning you’re rarely struggling to find something to fire your opponents’ way.

Scattered through traditional matches are special balls that augment your dodgeballs so they explode, gain extra distance and speed, and move with moon-like gravity. These power-ups are rare in most modes, but they take center stage in the over-the-top Party Team K.O. where all standard balls are replaced by special balls. Those matches are exciting and unpredictable, but the chaos can be a little too much at times, and during a typical play session I would migrate back to standard Team K.O. after a few Party matches.

Every action you take counts toward a suite of goals listed in the menu. These objectives range from scoring knockouts with a particular type of throw to assisting your teammates in various ways. As you complete objectives and level up, you earn cosmetic rewards and Holobux, which can be traded in for rewards like new outfits, emotes, and gliders. Thankfully, all the upgrades are cosmetic, meaning nobody has a competitive advantage from unlocks.

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Outside of the approachable gameplay, perhaps the biggest boon to making sure everyone can enjoy Knockout City together is the fact that the title supports crossplay and cross-progression. Without any issues, I was able to party up PC players while I played on my Xbox. I still needed to find each player’s in-game player name, but the intuitive social menu makes connecting with friends and recent players a breeze. You can also join a Crew, a unique twist on the traditional Clan system, letting you further customize your character with a logo, vehicle to enter the match, and more. You also earn additional rewards and experience when you play with your Crewmates.

Unfortunately, Knockout City lacks significant content at launch. The game contains four base modes and only five maps. Developer Velan Studios has ambitious plans for post-launch life, including new maps, modes, and playlists, but that’s all still forthcoming. The existing content is strong, but I grew weary of what was initially on offer after a few short hours.

Content concerns aside, Knockout City has a superb base to build off. With gameplay that eases you in, then encourages you to experiment with those mechanics to increase your mastery, Knockout City offers a refreshing take on both the multiplayer shooter and the classic game of dodgeball.

Score: 8.5

Summary: With a fun core, approachable gameplay, and intense rubber-ball firefights, Knockout City lets everyone get in on the enjoyable dodgeball action.

Concept: Replace the guns typically found in an arena shooter with dodgeballs to reimagine the gym-class staple

Graphics: Cartoony visuals hammer home the fast-paced and lighthearted action

Sound: A fun soundtrack complements the battles well, but the star here is the true-to-life thud the dodgeballs make on impact

Playability: Easy to pick up but tricky to master, Knockout City offers fun for players of a wide range of skill levels

Entertainment: At launch, Knockout City lacks in content, but it makes up for it with a strong base game and a ton of potential to grow in the future

Replay: Moderately High

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Best Renegade Moments In Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Sometimes it’s good to be bad. While not all Renegade options in Mass Effect and the Legendary Edition are super hardcore, there are some triggers that you just can’t help to pull. From punching the reporter to Spartan-style kicking a merc out of a skyscraper window, there are some Renegade choices that we love to choose. So, without further ado, here are our best Renegade moments in Mass Effect Legendary Edition. 

Best Renegade Moments In Mass Effect Legendary Edition

First things first, what does Renegade mean? Going Renegade (indicated by red or bottom choices on the dialogue wheel) is for players that love to be ruthless. In Mass Effect 2, this option is my favorite. Punch anyone you want, throw bad guys out the window, threatening those that stand in your way. This type of Shepard does whatever needs to be done to get the mission accomplished; a real “the ends justify the means” type of character. In Mass Effect 3, however, those renegade options become something more ruthless than many players may have expected. Characters that paragon-Shepard becomes close to suddenly don’t like the thought of being a part of their crew. It’s a very different experience, especially if you commit to the renegade options 100%. If you dedicate yourself to this path, be prepared: some of the renegade choices in Mass Effect 3 are rough. But others? Others are so satisfying. 

Warning: There are spoilers in this article to be able to talk about each scene. They are as stripped as possible, but spoilers are ahead.


Spartan Kick Out The Window

If given the option to spartan kick a merc out of a very high-up window, would you do it?

Even though punching the reporter is a close second, Spartan kicking a merc in the chest right out of a skyscraper window takes the cake for me. Even if I’m devoted to a Paragon playthrough, I will still always slam down on that red trigger. 

This scene takes place in Mass Effect 2 when going on the Assassin recruitment mission. When Commander Shepard starts interrogating a certain Eclipse Trooper, there is a brief flare of the Renegade trigger when Shep has had enough. Hit it and send that tool flying. Trust me, it feels good. 


Punch the Reporter

Do it, do it now.

I would just like to take a moment to say that reporter Zhalisah al-Jilani is a huge A-hole and I will never advocate for giving her the benefit of the doubt. Did it feel a little weird to punch her as MaleShep when I rolled that way? Yeah, but whether I went John or Jane, this just felt weirdly good. 

There isn’t just one game where you’ll have to engage with Khalisah al-Jilani, but you will get to a point where you can finally say enough is enough and sock it to her good. Is it petty for someone of Shepard’s standing to punch a tabloid reporter? You betcha. Do I do it anyway? Yup! 

For those concerned about losing out on any kind of professional relationship with her, don’t be. You can make her apologize in the third game. 


Kai Leng Gets Slammed With Karma

Dude’s got a punchable face.

Depending on when you ask me what my number one Renegade option is, sometimes this is it. Without spoiling who the vengeance is for, Shepard has a very personal reason not to like The Illusive Man’s right-hand guy: Kai Leng. Throughout Mass Effect 3, the Normandy crew just takes hit after hit with Kai Leng always being just one step ahead. Those tides change, however, and karma comes in swinging. During the mission where players take on Cerberus HQ, there will be a moment when Kai Leng tries to sneak up on a preoccupied Shepard. Luckily, that N7 training ensures that Shep is never fully preoccupied. If the Renegade option is chosen, you can interrupt his intended attack and stab him where it hurts with your omni-blade. Shepard also yells out a vengeful line that feels guttural and oh so good. 


Another Middle Finger To The Reapers

You have the chance to literally blow up a Reaper. Take it.

The war against the Reapers is intense and many lives are lost throughout the fight. Some strangers, some friends, all tough to swallow. That being said, there is one moment on Rannoch where Shepard will toe-to-“Reaper equivalent of a toe” and at the end? There’s an additional option to prove to them just how over their shenanigans you are. 

When the Reaper on Rannoch is eventually taken down, there is the option to talk to it as it withers and dies. As the Reaper goes on and on with its air of superiority, Shepard can interrupt him with a Renegade prompt that, frankly, blows it to hell. It’s freaking great, let me tell you. 


Kill The Bartender

Wow, these do get pretty dark, don’t they?

OK, so … yeah. Obviously, some of these get pretty dark and pretty darn petty but hear me out. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it’s to get drunk every chance you get in the games, especially the third Mass Effect. Hilarity ensues after knocking a few back. That being said, getting your drink on in Mass Effect 2 will trigger a small side quest. See, there is a Batarian in the lower parts of the club on Omega called Afterlife. He hates humans. So, when humans break the number one rule in the club – “don’t drink the drinks on Omega if you’re human” – he basically poisons them. Problem is, Shepard’s not easy prey. When they realize what’s been done to them, essentially attempted murder, they can choose to go back and confront the bartender. There is a Paragon option to call him out in front of the whole bar, which effectively leads to a Turian killing him. Or, you can make him drink his own brew by going Renegade. Both options end with him dead. 

Sweet, sweet justice. 


When In Doubt, Headbutt A Krogan

Think of it as just a really, really aggressive handshake.

Headbutts are basically handshakes for Krogan. It can be a greeting, it can be a warning, and it can be a test. Unlike handshakes, however, headbutts are fun. In Mass Effect 2, there is a specific quest for Grunt, a Krogan in the sequel. When heading to the Krogan homeworld, Tuchanka, Shepard must help Grunt prove that he’s earned the Krogan name. When inquiring about a Rite that he must endure, there is a chance to defend everybody’s favorite tank baby. And by defend, we clearly mean headbutt. 


Telling Admiral Han’Gerrel To Shove Off

Admiral Gerrel sucks.

By Mass Effect 3, you’re likely pretty close with Tali. Whether she’s your romance option or your sister from another mister, you’re probably like most of us and kind of protective of her. So when Quarian Admiral Han’Gerrel continues to be a pain in the butt, it’s easy to want to show him what’s what. Despite defending Tali’s honor in Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 makes him just a ponce. When he opens fire on Shepard and their squad aboard a dreadnought, the Commander can make the admiral regret his inability to listen to orders by punching him in the stomach and then ruthlessly kicking him off the Normandy for good. 


Drink Off

If Ashley is still with you by Mass Effect 3, you can act like you’re in college again.

To say Ashley Williams isn’t the most popular character in the Mass Effect universe would be a massive understatement, but if you enjoy this character and keep her until Mass Effect 3 you can opt into a pretty fun drink-off. There are several moments throughout the third game where Shepard can kick back and relax with the crew. With Vega, it’s a pushup contest. With Ashley? Prepare to drink.

As part of the Citadel DLC, you can take her to the Silver Coast Casino and commence the drinking. Shep needs to make it through four shots in order to win. Failure to do so means Ashley is going to have some major smack to talk and you’ll walk away with wounded pride. 

This isn’t the first time you’ll see the party side of Ash. In the same game, she’ll get so drunk with Vega that you’ll find her hungover and praying for death. 


Kill Shot

Say goodbye, Illusive Man.

The Illusive Man was a tentative ally in Mass Effect 2, but in Mass Effect 3 he’s your worst enemy. After countless battles, pointless hologram messages, and infiltration at every level, Shepard finally gets their time to square off against their former boss. When the Illusive Man has his final face-off against Shepard at the end of the game, his indoctrination becomes undeniable. He does the stereotypical bad guy thing and rambles to hear his own voice. During this scene, there is a Renegade prompt that will pop up, allowing Shepard to shoot him dead mid-speech. 

It’s very much worth it. 


Make Conrad Verner Rue His Obsession

He’s harmless, but that doesn’t mean you have to be.

Conrad Verner. Oh, what a weirdo. Harmless fan turned resident obsessor, this kid worships the ground Shepard walks on. The situation escalates in Mass Effect 2 and eventually, Shepard will come up on him aggressively interacting with a worker at Illium’s Eternity Lounge. His obsession with Shepard is evident and he is living on an entirely different plane of existence. Conrad has left reality, ladies and gents, but you can knock him back into it if you really want to.

If you choose the Renegade prompt during this interaction, you can shoot him in the foot and put him in his place. Or you can not, and be the good guy. Your choice. 

There are tons of other moments out there where Shepard can choose Renegade or Paragon. There are a few choices that I will never pick more than once.  I picked the Renegade option to shoot Mordin in Mass Effect 3 during my 100% playthrough and immediately hated it. So much so, I turned right around and replayed a full Paragon run to make myself feel better. If you’re interested in learning more about Paragon or Renegade, I highly check out our previous coverage here. It goes very deep into the two options and why it’s dangerous to hover too much in the middle. 

To learn more about Mass Effect, check out https://www.gameinformer.com/product/mass-effect-legendary-edition" target=”_blank”>our dedicated hub here, including exclusive interviews with the team, gameplay, and our review-in-progress. 


Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director Reflects Back On Rough Launch, “We Didn’t Have An Identity”

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When The Elder Scrolls Online game was first announced, there was significant interest in being able to enjoy a journey in the world of Tamriel with friends. When the game launched, however, it was a convoluted mess. From a higher-than-average monthly subscription fee (that was fairly quickly revoked) to a bland base story that felt like too much and too little at the same time, there were many reasons why Elder Scrolls Online failed to capture the magic of this beloved franchise. Instead of giving up, however, ZeniMax took the Final Fantasy XIV approach, committing to retracing steps, reflecting back on past decisions, and letting creative energy completely loose for future expansions. That work paid off, transforming the MMORPG into a highly successful online experience. 

We sat down with Elder Scrolls Online’s creative director, Rich Lambert, to reflect back on the evolution of the MMORPG as we brace for the road ahead with Gates of Oblivion. From admitting to the team playing it too safe trying to satisfy two completely different markets, to just plainly stating that the game didn’t have an identity, we talked about it all. Oh, and more on romance for the future. 

Game Informer: The ESO launch was a chaotic one, especially with the premiere pricing. Can you talk a little bit about the choices that led up to the decisions for Elder Scrolls Online’s start? 

Rich Lambert: Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing is we were, at the time, building a game where we were trying to satisfy both sides of the coin, to satisfy the MMO player but also the Elder Scrolls player. The MMO player is typically used to a subscription, so that was easy for us to understand; that’s just what it was. That’s what all of the competition we were looking at was doing. So we’re like, “Okay, we’ll do this.” That decision was made before we even launched. And we kind of went that route, and then we launched the game, as you so astutely noted, it was, yeah. It was a little bit chaotic. But it wasn’t the game that our fans wanted to play, and that was important. So we had to rethink a lot of things.

We were also trying to figure out how we were going to make ESO on consoles work at that time as well because we were only PC at launch. So we went through a lot of different back and forth discussions. One of those decisions was to go to a different model with the optional subscription. This was really important for console players too, because they had to pay twice to play the game [with the subscription] when paired with PS Plus or Xbox Gold, or whatever. That was our sort of genesis for the new monetization model, the fact that we were releasing on console. From there, it became about really listening to what our players were telling us and watching them and what they were playing and what kind of content they enjoyed. 

GI: You said that it didn’t feel like the Elder Scrolls game fans were hoping for. From your perspective, what was it about ESO that wasn’t coming across as an Elder Scrolls title? 

RL: I think the biggest thing is we didn’t have an identity; we didn’t really know the game we wanted to be when we first launched because we were so focused on trying to please everybody and be in the middle. And so we didn’t necessarily commit to the game, and that was one of the things we decided early on, after we launched, that we needed to decide what Elder Scrolls means. It means there are X [amount of things needed] to write great storytelling. It means the freedom to explore, to play the way you want to play. It’s easy to kind of pick up and put down. Those are all the things that [factored] into a lot of the decisions we made at that time. 

GI: When the team realized ESO “didn’t have an identity,” what was the process of going back to the drawing board like? Did you look at previously cut ideas, or did you start from scratch? 

RL: We definitely looked at things we cut. We looked at a lot of things that were on the original design board. Things we originally dismissed as either too hard or too risky. For example, player housing was a big one. That’s such a huge part of Skyrim. Then the question became, “How the hell can we do this in an MMO like other games have done?” But they didn’t. They didn’t give you a lot of freedom that you had in Skyrim to build the thing the way you want to, to muck up space however much you want. So we put that on the backburner early on because it was an unknown, and there was a lot of uncertainty there about what you can pull off in the MMO space. 

Some of it, though, was completely starting from scratch. Rethinking about how we tell stories. The launch was an excellent example. We were so focused on earth-shattering, world-changing events and quests where you go into an area, and it was populated by monsters, and then you complete the objective. You’d save the city and all that other stuff, and yeah, that’s great. But a single-player game doesn’t work in a multiplayer game because you separate players from each other, and they can’t play together. So that was a big area for us to rethink; how do we tell those types of stories and find new ways to do just that without separating players? 

GI: That sounds really hard.

RL: I spent, you know, six months with a team just solving what we had implemented at launch and undoing a lot of those things where we weren’t completely redoing all the quests – getting rid of all of those layering issues and player separation issues. It was tough. We took a lot of lessons learned from that launch and implemented that all into each new thing we built. That’s what we do every chapter, every DLC. Each time we get a little bit smarter. You mentioned yourself – that shows. Every time we do something, we want to get better at it. 

GI: Were there any other challenges specific to bridging the gap between single-player and multiplayer? 

RL: A lot of the storytelling early on. I mean, we’re all huge fans of the Elder Scrolls games, obviously, but we play other games as well. Most MMOs at the time were a lot of text, just loads and loads of text. It almost could feel like a click adventure; just click as fast as you can to move onto the next thing. Elder Scrolls games aren’t like that; they are fully voiced. That was a big challenge that we committed to early on to make everything fully voiced. But then it became: How does that work? None of our tools and pipelines are really set up for that, and so we had to build all of those while we were making the commitment to learning how to just write for voiceover. Dialogue is very, very different than reading a book, and so we had to re-learn that process. 

GI: Were there any just absolutely bats–t crazy ideas that were left on the cutting room floor? 

RL: Oh, we always have bats–t crazy ideas. We went down a path, and you know that Todd [Howard] really laid the letter of the law down on this stuff, but we went down the path at one point where we were exploring Dwemer stuff. Everyone wants to know about that, and we wanted to know about it too, and we were digging into that, and Todd kindly reminded us that this was something we will never do, we will never come out and spoil the mystery and the secrets of the Dwemer. But we did explore it just so we had a good idea of how this works. 

We’ve gone down that path with a lot of different things, with the Dark Brotherhood, as well. And when we were doing the Dark Brotherhood storyline, that was as DLC. We thought we had nailed it down because we played Oblivion and whatnot. And we kind of knew it backward and forwards because we had all of this research done. And then we actually sat down with Emil Pagliarulo, who was the lead on the Dark Brotherhood, and he was the director at Bethesda Game Studios. He told us what we got wrong, and it was like nine pages of notes. His notes were bigger than the doc that we sent him. So, it was good to have them in our corner and good to have them as a resource. 

GI: How do you approach DLC and expansions? There is so much lore to pour through and so many varying details; one small misstep could unravel everything. What’s that process like? 

RL: That’s why we have a loremaster; that’s their full-time job. They make sure we are on the straight and narrow, and when we had questions, they would be the conduit to Bethesda Game Studios. They would reach out to them, too, to make sure we got everything right. 

GI: With the modding community being such a huge contributing factor to games like World of Warcraft, and Skyrim being one of the most-modded games out there, did your team ever collaborate with modders? Was there any inspiration there? 

RL: We looked at all kinds of places for inspiration. It can be books, TV, sports, movies, whatever. But one of my favorite places to go is the Reddit lore forums. Going in and just kind of see[ing] what people are writing and why they’re writing it, to see how they interpret certain things. It’s really interesting to see their takes on certain aspects and what they think they’ve figured out. Our modding community comes into play in ways, too, especially with the UI interfaces. We pay very close attention to those for quality-of-life improvements. We’ve implemented over the years a number of those things into the default UI. Like the scrolling combat text, that is something we never had. That was one of the first things that I put in when I became creative director because that was one of the topmost downloaded mods on PC. We’ve done that over and over, and we’re doing it with Blackwood. We’re essentially implementing a version of the Action Duration Reminder, which is a very popular mod. This mod basically teaches players the most efficient way and helps notify them when the ability durations are up and retest them. It’s pretty cool! 

Modders are ingenious; they have the ability to very quickly react to sentiment or what the community wants. It’s very interesting to see mods pop up over the course of time; there are a ton. 

GI: It’s honestly amazing to see the collaboration, especially with the line between the gaming community and the devs being smaller than ever before. You’ve got Discord, Reddit, Twitter; it seems like collaborations with these large communities are almost inevitable. 

RL: Yeah, it definitely is. I think the big thing out of all of this is that gaming isn’t just a hardcore thing now. For the longest time, it was only geared towards hardcore MMO players. A little bit of pain here and there to play was kind of okay. But now that it’s more mainstream, accessibility is a huge part of playing games. And what the mod community is able to do is provide that accessibility for games that haven’t necessarily been able to deliver that up to this point. I think you’ll see that as things progress further into the future, more and more games will be more accessible. Just watch.  

GI: Right now, a lot of World of Warcraft players feel like Blizzard has stopped listening to the community a little bit. Lore cohesion is something that’s often talked about. Is that something your team is concerned with? 

RL: It terrifies me. It terrifies me to think about losing the pulse of the community and feel like they might think we’re not paying attention. You know, as I said earlier, one of the biggest reasons why we’re in the position we are in today is because we listen to them. And we’re a part of the community, as well. And so the game got better because of that. You know, I think if you don’t play your own game, you’re not going to be in tune with the game; you’re going to not be in tune with your community. That’s just going to be harder to make the game better. So yes, it’s something that sometimes keeps me up at night. Luckily, we play the game a lot. We have obviously been playing other things, too. I just finished plaything through Outriders and I had a blast. 

GI: Outriders has some unique aspects to it. Was there anything about that online experience that you thought, “Oh, we should look into that?” 

RL: I don’t know. I’d have to dig into thinking about that a little more. I enjoyed playing through the story; I’m kind of a big nut for that sort of looter shooter. I love Diablo and Path of Exile. Those types of games are fun to chase gear in. So those are the things I really dig, but I’d have to think about that one a little bit more.

GI: You mentioned being really invested in the community, is there any sort of fan feedback that impacted ESO the most? 

RL: There has been so much through the years. I’ve been the creative director essentially since launch. I think there are so many different pieces of feedback, but I think it’s some of the little things like watching a Twitch streamer that adores housing and loves building things. He was in a stream, and he made a comment, it wasn’t even directed to me, about how there was some pain in being able to tweak the placement of items in a specific way. He was using a mod to make that better for more precision placement. I challenged the team to be like, “Hey, you know, there are these amazing tools that the community is desperate for; they’re downloading this mod all of the time, how do we do something like this with our own UI?” The team found a way to make it work and put it in there, so yeah. It’s those little things where you’re watching a player and seeing what they are doing and see what they are struggling with or not happy with and learning how to fix those issues. 

GI: Last question! Last time we talked, you told me that the companions were the stepping stone to possible romance in the game (seen here), what’s the status on that? 

RL: [laughs] Well, I mean… nothing is certain, but I will say that it would probably be a pretty big miss if we didn’t deliver on that. Take that how you will. 


Super Replay Is Back With Bloodborne

Click to watch embedded media

It’s time for part eleven 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!


Super Replay Is Back With Bloodborne

Click to watch embedded media

It’s time for part eleven 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!


How Double Fine Handles Mental Health In Psychonauts 2

The Psychonauts series is about going inside people’s minds – and all the good and bad that entails. That is tricky territory to explore, as people are susceptible to falling on outdated views or harmful stereotypes about the nature of mental illnesses and the people who suffer from them. With Psychonauts 2, developer Double Fine made the decision to work with a mental health expert to ensure it explored these themes in a respectful way. 

Double Fine is working with Dr. Rafael Boccamazzo, a doctor of clinical psychology and the clinical director at Take This, a non-profit established to promote mental health in the game industry that works to ensure that these sensitive topics are approached in the right ways. It’s an easy thing to get wrong – especially if you’re relying on outdated tropes, such as the dangerous asylum inmate, as seen in games like the Outlast series.

“People with serious mental health challenges are more likely to be victims than victimizers,” Boccamazzo says. “There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. But statistically speaking, that’s the case. And so the idea of someone with mental health challenges always being violent, that’s a common thing in a lot of horror games, movies, books, that isn’t necessarily representational of reality.”

When working with a game developer, Boccamazzo says his time on a project varies game-by-game. On Psychonauts 2, he’s been on the project for two or three months; he wasn’t involved in the writing process but was brought on to look over the content of the game and make sure Double Fine had done well. According to Boccamazzo, even before he joined the project, Double Fine had done a “better job than most” with its representation of mental health. When he had suggestions for changes, Double Fine was receptive to making edits when it could – something, Boccamazzo says, is not always the case with every game developer.

Going into people’s minds, changing the way they think or behave, raises a lot of concerns around the nature of consent. Raz, the protagonist of the Psychonauts series, has this power, so Double Fine wanted to make sure the character wasn’t acting with impunity, that Raz wasn’t taking his psychic abilities for granted.

“Because of the power, you know, the ability to create connections and change thoughts, that’s not a low-level power that can be abused really easily,” Boccamazzo says. “And one of the things Tim [Schafer, founder of Double Fine and Psychonauts 2’s director] made clear very quickly is that that was something they wanted to handle with care.”

The flipside of this entire subject is that Psychonauts 2, like a lot of media, is not rooted in reality. There are certain concessions that need to be made when bridging the gap between scientific accuracy and a fantastical world. One example Boccamazzo brings up is the contested theory that the Tyrannosaurus Rex wasn’t a predator, but rather a scavenger. For a movie like Jurassic Park, this simply isn’t as exciting as a beast that constantly hunts its prey. Whatever the truth might be, sometimes fiction trumps facts. Same with Psychonauts 2 – but only to a point.

“Obviously, this is a fantastical, surreal world where people are jumping through doors into people’s minds,” Boccamazzo says. “So, the idea of scientific accuracy in that case has – it’s gonna go out the window a bit. But [Double Fine was] really concerned more about sensitivity and showing these things in a way that was hopeful and helpful. And in that respect, I think they did a pretty decent job.”

That’s not to say it’s always one or the other, though. In the Psychonauts’ universe, abstract concepts are often given physical manifestations. For example, one collectible, called mental baggage, is shown as a literal bag. In Psychonauts 2, Panic Attacks and Bad Ideas are two common enemies. For Boccamazzo, who suffers from the former, he says he likes the artistic slant in bringing some of these issues to life.

Schafer says he thinks all video games should be reviewed by experts such as Boccamazzo. All developers have blind spots, and Schafer thinks it’s important to try and avoid hurting people when you’re not meaning to. Along with Boccamazzo, Double Fine has also been working with Microsoft’s internal mental health experts to review Psychonauts 2. In fact, Boccamazzo goes out of his way to praise both parties’ proactiveness when tackling mental health subjects responsibily. After our interview, he even sent along a video expanding his thoughts, which we’ll embed below.

Click here to watch embedded media

Psychonauts 2 tackles some heavy subjects. In the level we saw during our cover story interviews, the topic of addiction was explored relatively thoroughly. While we don’t know specifics, the studio is tackling other mental health challenges throughout the game. Boccamazzo thinks it could be easy to take these subjects and create a dour experience, one that feels hopeless. But Double Fine is trying to create a game that confronts challenging topics while being hopeful and helpful. This is not to say that it gets everything perfect, but the studio is trying to do its due diligence when approaching the themes of its story.

“When you’re representing anything in a game that’s sensitive, it’s about basing it in our reality instead of stereotypes about it,” Schafer says. “So, you can pull in a lot of reference for real experiences, you know? And real science and real reference for how to represent that kind of stuff. I’m sure we’ll still get a bunch of stuff wrong, but the intentions are always good.”


Why Mass Effect Andromeda Is A Better Game Than You Think

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Mass Effect Andromeda took BioWare’s space adventure to a brand new galaxy with a fresh protagonist, new alien races, and completely revamped gameplay mechanics. Ryder was just a kid trying to do what was right after the entire world collapsed around them, kind of figuring out things as they go. Unfortunately, the road leading up to launch was rough and an Early Access period, terrible resource allocation, and poor animations at release set the stage for a halt to Andromeda’s growth. That being said, it will have some ties into the next Mass Effect, which we’ve broken down extensively in the past. With Mass Effect Legendary Edition opening up a ton of new players to the BioWare sci-fi RPG, we thought we’d break down some of the overlooked aspects of Andromeda and why you should give it a second chance. 

When people start to talk about Andromeda, a common thing I hear is “it doesn’t compare to the trilogy.” That’s fair, but comparing the entire world scope of a trilogy versus Andromeda – which was just one game that could have been its own trilogy with time to flesh out the world Andromeda built – is not fair.  Andromeda was about laying the groundwork, creating a believable universe that players would want to explore. Pacing issues with Eos and the launch issues were enough to put some off from exploring beyond the first world, taking away the chance to meet some of the more nuanced aspects of what this game had to offer. Hidden gems about the trilogy throughout the whole game, seeing Ryder go from self-doubting dork to major badass, learning the origins of a new species and what that means for life as we know it, that special tie-in with the Memory Trigger sequence, and seeing faces from the original trilogy again? There was a lot more to love than many saw at first glance.

That’s where we come in.

So join Alex Stadnik and Liana Ruppert as we dive into the reasons why you should give Andromeda a second chance, especially with all of our Mass Effect Legendary Edition coverage recently. If you’re interested in learning more about our deep dive into the trilogy, Andromeda, and the road ahead, be sure to mosey on over to our previous analysis here. After watching some of our highlights that we feel were massively overlooked, sound off in the comments below and tell us all of your Andromeda takes! 


Resident Evil Village And Bloodborne Collide With This Lady Dimitrescu Mod

Lady Dimitrescu, despite her relatively small role, is a big point of conversation centering around Resident Evil Village. She’s also been the subject of some pretty weird mods. Following a Mod Corner entry surrounding a Bloodborne 2 take, the modder reached out to me with their latest creation: bringing Bloodborne into the world of Resident Evil Village. 

From YouTuber ‘Garden of Eyes,’ there is a mod that pits Lady Dimitrescu against Lady Maria in Resident Evil Village, making for a pretty epic boss fight that we didn’t know we needed until now: 

Click here to watch embedded media

The mod is pretty simple, it replaces Lady Dimitrescu with Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower. Making the mod work, however, is a little less so. Unlike most of the mods I cover, this one requires a PS4. A modded PS4, to be more exact. If you’re interested in trying your hand at that, you can learn how to do so here. Just be warned, modding your console (especially if you don’t know how) and creating the necessary files to mod could cause damages to your save files and sometimes, even your account. No matter the platform, there is always a risk of save corruption when modding. You’re changing a title from its intended state. Create backups before modding so you can create the experience you want without losing hard-earned progress. 

For more Resident Evil Village mod goodness, check out our compilation of the weirdest mods for the latest horror title from Capcom here. Bring a banana to a gun fight, Chris as a baby, a baby as Chris? It’s weird, you’ll love it. You can also check out some of our other great mods below: 

Thoughts on the Bloodborne and Resident Evil Village mashup? What other games would you like to see the next Mod Corner tackle? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


2021 Video Game Release Schedule

If you’re wondering what games are coming up in 2021, we’ve put them all in one convenient location. This list will be continually updated to act as a living, breathing schedule as new dates are announced, titles are delayed, and big reveals happen. This should help you plan out your next several months in gaming and beyond.

As the gaming calendar is constantly changing, we highly recommend you bookmark this page. You’ll likely find yourself coming back to this to find out the most recent release schedule for the most anticipated games across PC, consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices. If you notice that we’ve missed something, feel free to let us know! Please note that games will not get assigned to a month until they have confirmed release dates.

Hitman 3


Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues
(PC) – January 5

Iron Conflict
(PC) – January 7

MXGP 2020
(PlayStation 5) – January 14

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 14

Hitman 3
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 20

 – Read review

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – January 20

Dyson Sphere Program
(PC) – January 21

Ride 4
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – January 21

(Xbox One, Switch) – January 21

Gravity Heroes
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 22

(Switch, PC, iOS) – January 22

Cyber Shadow
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 26

 – Read review

Stronghold: Warlords
(PC) – January 26

The Sims 4: Paranormal Stuff Pack
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – January 26

Ryte – The Eye of Atlantis
(PC) – January 27

The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – January 27

The Dark Eye: Memoria
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – January 27

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 28

Madden NFL 21
(Stadia) – January 28

 – Read review

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 28

 – Read review

Sword of the Necromancer
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 28

The Medium
(Xbox Series X/S, PC) – January 28

 – Read review

The Yakuza Remastered Collection
(Xbox One, PC) – January 28

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 28

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – January 29

Gods Will Fall
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – January 29

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- The Prophecy of the Throne
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – January 29

Turrican Flashback
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – January 29

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury


(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – February 2

 – Read review

Destruction AllStars
(PlayStation 5) – February 2

 – Read review

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox
(PlayStation 4) – February 2

Blue Fire
(Switch, PC) – February 4

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – February 4

 – Read review

Kinetic Edge
(PC) – February 5

Nioh 2 Remastered – The Complete Edition
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – February 5

Nioh Remastered – The Complete Edition
(PlayStation 5) – February 5

The Nioh Collection
(PlayStation 5) – February 5

 – Read review

Little Nightmares II
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – February 11

 – Read review

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
(Switch) – February 12

 – Read review

Fallen Legion Revenants
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – February 16

The Sinking City
(PlayStation 5) – February 19

 – Read review

Curse of the Dead Gods
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – February 23

 – Read review

Horned Knight
(PlayStation 4) – February 23

Persona 5 Strikers
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – February 23

 – Read review

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos
(Switch, PC) – February 23

 – Read review

We Were Here (Series)
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – February 23

Horned Knight
(Xbox One) – February 24

Cotton Reboot
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – February 25

Darius Cozmic Revelation
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – February 25

Forward to the Sky
(Switch) – February 25

Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Resurrection
(Switch) – February 25

 – Read review

(Switch) – February 25

Wrath: Aeon of Ruin
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – February 25

Bravely Default II
(Switch) – February 26

 – Read review

Horned Knight
(Switch, PC) – February 26

RetroMania Wrestling
(PC) – February 26

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Yakuza: Like A Dragon


Harvest Moon: One World
(Switch) – March 2

(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – March 2

 – Read review

Neptunia Virtual Stars
(PlayStation 4) – March 2

Yakuza: Like A Dragon
(PlayStation 5) – March 2

 – Read review

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
(PC) – March 3

Ar Nosurge DX
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – March 4

Ciel Nosurge DX
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – March 4

Loop Hero
(PC) – March 4

 – Read review

Sea of Solitude: Director’s Cut
(Switch) – March 4

Two Point Hospital: Jumbo Edition
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – March 5

Apex Legends
(Switch) – March 9

 – Read review

Gensou Skydrift
(PlayStation 4) – March 9

(PC) – March 10

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch) – March 12

 – Read review

(PC) – March 16

Kingdoms Of Amalur: Re-Reckoning
(Switch) – March 16

Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 4
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – March 16

(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 16

 – Read review

R.B.I. Baseball 21
(Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, iOS, Android) – March 16

Samurai Shodown
(Xbox Series X/S) – March 16

 – Read review

Saviors of Sapphire Wings & Stranger of Sword City Revisited
(Switch, PC) – March 16

Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 16

(Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – March 17

Red Ronin
(PC) – March 17

Cartel Tycoon
(PC) – March 18

DARQ: Complete Edition
(Switch) – March 18

Jack Jeanne
(Switch) – March 18

Maglam Lord
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – March 18

Marvel’s Avengers
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – March 18

 – Read review

Can’t Drive This
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 19

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
(Switch) – March 19

 – Read review

Root Film
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – March 19

Overcooked: All You Can Eat
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 23

Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
(Switch) – March 23

 – Read review

Love Live! School Idol Festival: After School Wai-Wai! Home Meeting!!
(PlayStation 4) – March 24

Paradise Lost
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – March 24

Black Legend
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 25

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run
(iOS, Android) – March 25

Dandy Ace
(PC) – March 25

DARQ: Complete Edition
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – March 25

El Hijo – A Wild West Tale
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – March 25

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
(Xbox One, PC) – March 25

 – Read review

Balan Wonderworld
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 26

Genesis Noir
(Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 26

It Takes Two
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – March 26

 – Read review

Monster Hunter Rise
(Switch) – March 26

 – Read review

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 And 2
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – March 26

 – Read review

Neptunia Virtual Stars
(PC) – March 29

Auto Chess
(PlayStation 5) – March 30

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Stadia, PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Evil Genius 2: World Domination
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Kingdom Hearts III
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory
(PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Narita Boy
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – March 30

 – Read review

Tennis World Tour 2
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – March 30

The Binding Of Isaac: Repentance
(PC) – March 31



(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – April 1

 – Read review

What Comes After
(Switch) – April 1

World of Demons
(iOS) – April 2

Lost Words: Beyond the Page
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 6

 – Read review

Oddworld: Soulstorm
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – April 6

 – Read review

Star Wars: Republic Commando
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – April 6

Pac-Man 99
(Switch) – April 7

 – Read review

Before Your Eyes
(PC) – April 8

 – Read review

Borderlands 3: Director’s Cut DLC
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – April 8

Cozy Grove
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 8

Scarlet Hood and the Wicked Wood
(PC, Mac) – April 8

What The Dub?!
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 8

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV
(Switch, PC) – April 9

Poison Control
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – April 13

(Switch) – April 14

 – Read review

(PC) – April 15

Drifters Loot the Galaxy
(PC) – April 15

SaGa Frontier Remastered
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC, iOS, Android) – April 15

Super Meat Boy Forever
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – April 16

 – Read review

Tribal Pass
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – April 16

MLB The Show 21
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – April 20

 – Read review

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe Pack
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – April 22

Buildings Have Feelings Too!
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 22

Immortals Fenyx Rising: The Lost Gods DLC
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – April 22

(PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita) – April 22

Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion
(Switch, PC) – April 22

(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia) – April 23

 – Read review

Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – April 23

 – Read review

Death end re; Quest
(Switch) – April 27

Genshin Impact
(PlayStation 5) – April 28

 – Read review

The Sinking City
(Xbox Series X/S) – April 28

 – Read review

Total War: Rome Remastered
(PC) – April 29

New Pokémon Snap
(Switch) – April 30

 – Read review

R-Type Final 2
(Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – April 30

(PlayStation 5) – April 30

 – Read review

Terminator Resistance: Enhanced
(PlayStation 5) – April 30

Resident Evil Village


Sayri: The Beginning
(PC) – May 4

The Colonists
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – May 4

Skate City
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 6

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch) – May 7

Resident Evil Village
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – May 7

 – Read review

Hood: Outlaws And Legends
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – May 10

Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – May 11

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids DLC
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – May 13

Monster Harvest
(PC) – May 13

Before We Leave
(PC) – May 14

Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind
(Switch) – May 14

Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir
(Switch) – May 14

 – Read review

Mass Effect Legendary Edition
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – May 14

 – Read review

(Switch) – May 14

 – Read review

Subnautica: Below Zero
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 14

 – Read review

Days Gone
(PC) – May 18

 – Read review

Divinity: Original Sin 2
(iOS) – May 18

 – Read review

(Switch) – May 18

Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 19

 – Read review

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey
(PC) – May 19

Manifold Garden
(PlayStation 5) – May 20

The Wild At Heart
(Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – May 20

Knockout City
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 21

(Switch) – May 21

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – May 21

 – Read review

(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – May 25

Final Fantasy XIV
(PlayStation 5) – May 25

King of Seas
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – May 25

(Switch) – May 25

 – Read review

Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – May 25

Earth Defense Force: World Brothers
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – May 27

Oddworld: Collection
(Switch) – May 27

The Idolmaster: Starlit Season
(PlayStation 4, PC) – May 27

The Longest Road on Earth
(PC) – May 27

Wonder Boy: Asha in Monster World
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – May 28

World’s End Club
(Switch) – May 28

Mario Golf: Super Rush


Ghosts ‘n Goblins: Resurrection
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 1

 – Read review

Operation: Tango
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 1

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gates of Oblivion
(Stadia, PC) – June 1

(PlayStation 5) – June 1

 – Read review

Monster Harvest
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – June 3

Pro Cycling Manager 2021
(PC) – June 3

Tour De France 2021
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 3

(PlayStation 5) – June 4

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 4

The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 4

The Persistence
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – June 4

Chivalry 2
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 8

Edge of Eternity
(PC) – June 8

The Elder Scrolls Online
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – June 8

The Elder Scrolls Online: Gates of Oblivion
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – June 8

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
(PlayStation 5) – June 10

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 10

Game Builder Garage
(Switch) – June 11

Guilty Gear -Strive-
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – June 11

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
(PlayStation 5) – June 11

Curved Space
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 18

Dark Alliance
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 22

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
(Switch, PC) – June 22

Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – June 24

Legend of Mana
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – June 24

(PC) – June 24

Mario Golf: Super Rush
(Switch) – June 25

Scarlet Nexus
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – June 25

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 And 2
(Switch) – June 25

 – Read review

Destroy All Humans
(Switch) – June 29

 – Read review

Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny
(Switch) – June 29

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD


Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – July 6

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin
(Switch, PC) – July 9

Where the Heart Leads
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4) – July 13

F1 2021
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – July 16

The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
(Switch) – July 16

Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – July 20

Cris Tales
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC) – July 20

Neo: The World Ends With You
(PlayStation 4, Switch) – July 27

The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures
(PlayStation 4, Switch, PC) – July 27

The Ascent
(Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC) – July 29

New World


In Sound Mind
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC) – August 3

(PC) – August 17

RiMS Racing
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – August 19

Kena: Bridge of Spirits
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC) – August 24

King’s Bounty II
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – August 24

No More Heroes 3
(Switch) – August 27

New World
(PC) – August 31



WRC 10
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – September 2

Life is Strange: True Colors
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC) – September 10

Tales of Arise
(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – September 10

(PlayStation 5, PC) – September 14

Lost Judgment
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One) – September 24

Hot Wheels Unleashed
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – September 30

Back 4 Blood


Back 4 Blood
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) – October 12

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker


Grand Theft Auto V
(PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S) – November 11

 – Read review

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
(PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac) – November 23


To Be Announced

12 Minutes (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Abandoned (PlayStation 5)

Age of Empires IV (PC)

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch)

 – Read review

Aliens: Fireteam (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Among Us (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)

 – Read review

Anno: Mutationem (PlayStation 4, PC)

Aragami 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

art of rally (Switch)

As Dusk Falls (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Astria Ascending (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Away: The Survival Series (PlayStation 4, PC)

Axiom Verge 2 (Switch, PC)

Aztech Forgotten Gods (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Babylon’s Fall (PlayStation 4, PC)

Backbone (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Baldo (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Balsa Model Flight Simulator (PC)

Bear and Breakfast (Switch),

Beast Breaker (Switch, PC)

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions (Switch)

Black Book (PC)

Blood Bowl 3 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Blue Fire (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

Boundary (PC)

Boyfriend Dungeon (Switch, PC)

Braid: Anniversary Edition (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac, Linux)

Bright Memory: Infinite (Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Bullet Age (Switch, PC)

Card Shark (Switch, PC)

Chicory: A Colorful Tale (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC)

Chorus (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Stadia, PC)

Circuit Superstars (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Commander Keen (iOS, Android)

Crimson Desert (PC)

CrossfireX (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One)

Cyber Knights: Flashpoint (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android)

Cyberpunk 2077 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)

 – Read review

Dangerous Driving 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Death’s Door (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Demon Slayer: The Video Game (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC)

Diablo II: Resurrected (PC)

Digimon Survive (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Dirt 5 (Stadia)

 – Read review

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut (Xbox Series X/S, Switch)

 – Read review

Drive Buy (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Dual Universe (PC)

Dungeon Defenders: Awakened (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch)

Dustborn (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Earth Defense Force 6

Eastward (PC, Mac)

Echo Generation (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Edge of Eternity (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

Elden Ring (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Elite Dangerous: Odyssey (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

Endling (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Epic Chef (PC)

Evil West (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Eville (PC)

Exo One (Xbox Series X/S, PC)

ExoMecha (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One)

F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch (PlayStation 4)

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch)

 – Read review

Far Cry 6 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC, Mac)

Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier (iOS, Android)

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC)

Foreclosed (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Frozen Flame (PC)

Garden Story (Switch, PC)

Ghostrunner (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)

GhostWire: Tokyo (PlayStation 5, PC)

God of War (2021) (PlayStation 5)

Goodbye Volcano High (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC)

Greak: Memories Of Azur (PC)

Halo Infinite (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Haven (PlayStation 4, Switch)

 – Read review

Heavenly Bodies (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC)

Hello Neighbor 2 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Hindsight (Switch, PC, iOS)

Hollow Knight: Silksong (Switch, PC)

Horizon Forbidden West (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)

Humanity (PlayStation 4)

Hyper Scape (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)

 – Read review

Hytale (PC, Mac)

I Am Jesus Christ (PC)

Icarus (PC)

Imposter Factory (PC)

Industries Of Titan (PC)

Jack Move (Switch, PC)

Jett: The Far Shore (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)

Know By Heart (PC)

Lake (Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Last Days of Lazarus (Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Last Stop (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Lawn Mowing Simulator (Xbox Series X/S, PC)

League of Legends: Wild Rift (iOS, Android)

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Let’s Build a Zoo (PC)

Little Devil Inside (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC)

Little Witch in the Woods (PC)

Lost At Sea (PC)

Lost in Random (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Madden NFL 22

Magic: Legends (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Main Assembly (PC)

Marvel Future Revolution (iOS, Android)

Metal: Hellsinger (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Xbox Series X/S)

Mineko’s Night Market (Switch, PC, Mac)

Neo: The World Ends With You (PC)

Neon White (Switch)

Nier Reincarnation (iOS, Android)

No Place For Bravery (Switch, PC)

Nobody Saves the World (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Nour: Play With Your Food (PlayStation 5, PC)

Open Roads (PC)

Oxenfree II: Lost Signals (Switch, PC)

Panzer Dragoon VR

Paranoia: Happiness Is Mandatory (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Phantom Breaker: Omnia (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond (Switch)

Pokémon Shining Pearl (Switch)

ProtoCorgi (Switch, PC)

Psychonauts 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Puzzle Quest 3

Puzzling Places (PlayStation VR, Rift)

Rainbow Six Quarantine (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Rawmen (PC)

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Recompile (PlayStation 5, PC)

RetroMania Wrestling (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch)

Riders Republic (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC)

Road 96 (Switch, PC)

Rogue Lords (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Roller Champions (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Rune Factory 5 (Switch)

Sable (PC)

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! (Quest, Vive, PC)

Scavengers (PC)

Scorn (Xbox Series X/S)

Second Extinction (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One)

Seed of Life (PC)

Session (Xbox One, PC)

Shadow Warrior 3 (PC)

She Dreams Elsewhere (Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Shin Megami Tensei V (Switch)

Sifu (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC)

SkateBIRD (Switch, PC, Linux)

Skater XL (Switch)

Sky: Children Of The Light (Switch)

 – Read review

Smash Ball (PC)

Solar Ash (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)

Song in the Smoke (PlayStation VR, Rift, Quest)

Song of Horror Complete Edition (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

 – Read review

Sons of the Forest (PC)

Soup Pot (Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Spelunky (Switch)

 – Read review

Spelunky 2 (Switch)

 – Read review

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)

 – Read review

Star Wars: Hunters (Switch)

State of Decay 3 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One)

Stonefly (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Stray (PlayStation 5)

Surviving The Aftermath (Xbox One, Switch, PC)

System Shock Remastered (PC)

Temtem (Xbox Series X/S, Switch)

The Academy: The First Riddle (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch)

The Artful Escape (Xbox One, PC)

The Big Con (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

The Binding Of Isaac: Repentance (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Switch)

The Good Life (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

The Gunk (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

The House of the Dead: Remake (Switch)

The Invincible (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

The King of Fighters XV

The Last Friend (PC)

The Outlast Trials (PC)

The Settlers (PC)

The Slormancer (PC)

The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe (PC)

The Walking Dead: Survivors (iOS, Android)

The Waylanders (PC)

The Witcher: Monster Slayer (iOS, Android)

Those Who Remain (Switch)

Thymesia (PC)

Total War: Warhammer III (PC)

Tribes Of Midgard (PlayStation 5, PC)

Tunche (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Tunic (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC)

Ultimate Fishing Simulator 2 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Ultimate Rivals: The Court (iOS)

UnDungeon (PC)

Unknown 9: Awakening (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Valheim (PC)

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Way to the Woods (Xbox One, PC)

We Are The Caretakers (PC)

Weird West (PC)

Where Cards Fall (Switch, PC)

White Shadows (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

WWE 2K22

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (Switch, PC)


Xbox Game Pass Adding The Riftbreaker At Launch

Xbox Game Pass is always adding new titles, including a plethora of games to choose from for the month of May. While the latest announcement isn’t for this Summer, Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Game Pass will be adding The Riftbreaker as a day one title to the evolving library. 

So what is Riftbreaker? It’s a base-builder survival action-RPG from Exor Studios and it tasks players with assuming the role of Captain Ashley Nowak. Get your inner Neon Genesis Evangelion on and get in the damned robot, because this experience is all about mecha-suit power and exploration. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Interested in what The Riftbreaker has to offer? It will be available on day one for Xbox Game Pass members on both PC and console this Fall. 

Don’t have Game Pass yet and are curious to learn more about it? One of the things to be aware of is that there are two versions of this subscription service to choose from: the standard Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox Game Pass is $9.99, whereas the Ultimate version includes Xbox Live retails for $14.99. 

Since this aspect of the Microsoft ecosystem emerged, it has grown exponentially in its value, especially so with big AAA launch day additions. That impressive library continues to grow with each acquisition Xbox makes, including the recent EA Play and Bethesda additions. With first-party day one games being included as a perk, and surprise reveals like MLB The Show 21, Xbox continues to push the different ways this service provides a level of value that members expect. 

Thoughts on The Riftbreaker and its addition to the Xbox Game Pass library at launch? What do you hope gets added next? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below!


Mass Effect Is Crossing Over With No Man’s Sky

Click here to watch embedded media

It’s always fun to see game developers that clearly appreciate each other’s work come together for a fun crossover event. To celebrate the release of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Hello Games is adding Mass Effect’s SSV Normandy SR1 to No Man’s Sky.

Over the last week, Hello Games has led its community on a journey to unearth a new secret tied to an object called the Historiographical Dosimeter. Today, the community will see their expedition leads to the Normandy. The ship looks fantastic, and you have to assume Commander Shepard and crew are inside of it.

If you want to see this majestic ship (and add it to your fleet for good), time is of the essence. The crossover event ends on May 31. That’s right, you only have 10 days to finish the mission. For whatever reason, events of this ilk never last long. The same thing happened with Assassin’s Creed in Final Fantasy XV, and The Predator in Ghost Recon Wildlands.

Hello Games’ Sean Murray outlined his excitement for the crossover in a written letter to the community. “We are thrilled and flattered that Bioware and EA let us pay tribute in this way. As huge fans of the series, it’s a lovely moment for sci-fi fans. It comes at such an exciting time for Mass Effect, with so many people discovering and rediscovering this amazing universe through the release of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.”

Hello Games says more surprises are on the way in the near future, all tied to No Man’s Sky‘s fifth anniversary. Could other licensed crossovers be on the way? Star Wars or Star Trek would be amazing additions, but too many pop culture nods could steal away from the artistic vision Hello Games has worked hard to establish. Regardless, this is a hell of a surprise, and the Normandy fits right in with No Man’s Sky’s designs.


Destiny 2: Season Of The Splicer Preps For Vault Of Glass Raid, Crossplay Beta Goes Live Next Week

Arguably the best raid to ever make it into either Destiny game is back this weekend with Destiny 2: Season of the Splicer. Bungie already detailed how it is handling World’s First, which you can catch up on right here, since it’s not technically a new game, but the latest blog post from the team shares new rewards and a few other updates players should know about. 

It all kicks off on May 22 at 10 a.m. Pacific. Guardians will once more take to Venus to take on the Vault of Glass, but as usual for World’s First, there will be a Contest Mode active. There are also some pretty sweet rewards on the line. First things first though, there are a few things you need to know. According to Bungie:

  • Vault of Glass will launch with Contest Mode enabled for 24 hours, starting at 10:00 AM Pacific on Saturday, May 22.  
    • You will need to be at 1300 Power to be at the cap for all of the encounters. 
  • Clearing the raid with Contest Mode active is the first step to access the new Challenge Mode in the Director. 
  • Completing each encounter in this newly unlocked Challenge Mode, while also finishing a curated list of Triumphs will be how a fireteam crosses the World First finish line. 
    • To remove the guesswork, in the Challenge Mode, your team will wipe if you fail the conditions of the Triumph during the encounter. 

Now let’s talk rewards! For those players that clear the raid by May 25 at 9:59 a.m. Pacific, there is a special Vault of Glass Raid Ring available to purchase from the Bungie Store: 

If that’s too much of a deadline for a fireteam, another reward is also on the line. For those that clear the raid before June 1 at the same time, the below Vault of Glass Raid jacket is up for grabs:

That’s not all being offered, though! Some smaller rewards, including a new Raise a Glass emblem, a special pin, and a new art print inspired by the raid are also available. 

But what else is new? You may remember at the start of the new season that crossplay was accidentally triggered early. It wasn’t meant to go live until season 15, but some wires got crossed and … well, there we were. While that’s fixed, Bungie did confirm that a crossplay beta will be going live next week, giving players a chance to team up with Guardians no matter the platform. 

There is one caveat to crossplay: you won’t be able to make your own fireteam just yet and there won’t be an option to invite friends. Bungie says that it is still working on the matchmaking aspect of crossplay to get it ready for season 15.

There is one more thing, too. For those that have Twitch Prime (if you have Amazon Prime, you’ll have this automatically), then there are a few other freebies on the horizon: 

For this month’s Twitch Prime freebies, Guardians can expect the Vigilance Wing Exotic pulse rifle, the Book of the Dead Exotic ornament, the Ravager’s Ride Exotic sparrow, and the House of Light Legendary Ghost projection. 

It’s all going down soon for raid lovers, are you ready?

Are you going to attempt to rank for World’s First with the Vault of Glass Raid? What other gems from the first Destiny would you like to see make a comeback? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Drizzt Do’Urden Comes To Magic: The Gathering

We knew Dungeons & Dragons was coming to Magic: The Gathering this summer, complete with Portable Holes and Beholders. Today, Wizards of The Coast has unveiled several new, high-profile faces that are set to be featured in upcoming Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set. Interestingly enough, one of them is even classified as a planeswalker! This is to facilitate Magic: The Gathering mechanics, but it’s still fascinating to see Lolth this way. So who’s on deck? Today, we get a look at Lolth, Spider Queen, the epic Drizzt Do’Urden, and Bruenor Battlehammer!

Seeing some of the best of the best from the Forgotten Realms in Magic: The Gathering card form is pretty exciting as it is, but we also get a look at some of the new card treatments. The “Rulebook showcase” frame highlights the Dungeons & Dragons tomes of yore and gives them some cool alternate art, but personally I think Lolth’s borderless frame is the best look yet. I’m definitely still interested in seeing how some of the monsters look in the slick new frames, especially the sure-to-be-powerful Baleful Beholder. Does it zap cards with its dooming gaze? We’ll have to wait and see…

Did you expect Drizzt to be green/white? I suppose the big question now is – what will the Guenhwyvar token look like? Drizzt’s abilities are worthy of his fearsome D&D reputation, bringing a truckload of threat to the board by himself, with his cat companion being a hefty bonus.

Lolth as a mono-black planeswalker makes a lot of sense, and I’m sure we all appreciate the ultimate ability costing eight. In case you missed the obvious nod, the eight price is associated with the eight-legged arachnids and spiders. Pretty cool, and the card is packed with lots of skittering flavor on top!

Last but not least, Bruenor Battlehammer gets a Boros treatment as an aggressive, weapon-wielding warrior. The perfect way to slam into opponents!

Players can begin playing with the new set as early as July 8 on Magic: The Gathering Arena. Are you planning to check out Adventures in the Forgotten Realms? The set seems like a big win for already established Magic: The Gathering players, but how about the Dungeons & Dragons crew – are you interested in cracking some packs given the set? Let us know in the comments! 


Final Fantasy XIV Community Pays Respects To Berserk Creator Kentaro Miura

Kentaro Miura, the creator of the highly influential manga Berserk, passed away at the age of 54. Fans of the massively talented storyteller have rallied around his work to honor his passing, and one such tribute comes by way of the passionate Final Fantasy XIV community. 

When looking at his work, Berserk immediately comes to mind. Ever since its serialization in 1989, Miura’s storytelling was phenomenal. Many called it a masterpiece, and they’re not wrong. As gamers, we have so much to owe to this man. From Dark Souls to Final Fantasy, his creative touch has impacted so many aspects of our lives, making his passing even harder to accept. 

YouTuber SmugAnimeGuy uploaded a heartfelt video about how the Final Fantasy XIV online community pays tribute to Miura and Berserk, showing just how much his gift has meant to us through the years. 

Click here to watch embedded media

“Miura-sensei was a master artist and storyteller, and we had the great privilege of publishing several of his finest works, including his masterpiece, Berserk,” said publisher Dark Horse Comics. “He will be greatly missed.”

“The news of Miura’s sudden passing has blanketed the Young Animal editorial department in deep sadness,” added the publication over at Young Animal Comics. 

As a huge fan myself, I’m still processing his loss. 54 is so young, and his mind and heart offered so much that the world needs. He will be sorely missed, and we here at Game Informer hope his friends and family can find peace during these times. 


Overwatch 2 Drops Standard PVP Count To 5V5

Overwatch 2 is set to be the exciting successor to the team-based FPS that took the world by storm back in 2013. Players around the world fell in love with Blizzard’s colorful, diverse characters by way of cinematic shorts, comics, and in-game interactions. Overwatch 2, however, is bringing back everyone’s favorite roster of heroes and villains alongside a bevy of technical, visual, and contextual upgrades. Changes to the gameplay loop are also being implemented; one of the most important being the development team’s decision to drop the PVP player count from 6v6 to 5v5.

That’s right, the days of 2-2-2 team compositions are coming to an abrupt end when Overwatch 2 finally launches. Now, players will be tasked with overcoming their adversaries without having that extra friend to lead the charge. What will this mean for 6-player friend groups? We’ll have to wait and find out. But in any case, each team composition will have one tank, two dps (or damage dealers), and two support players. This will likely change the rules of engagement in nuanced ways. For instance, are groups going to prioritize shield-equipped main tanks like Reinhardt and Orisa, or will they prefer to smash into enemies with off-tanks like Roadhog and Zarya?  

Additionally, role passives will give each hero some extra boosts (perhaps, these abilities will make up for that one missing teammate!). Damage heroes will move slightly faster than other roles, Support heroes will automatically regenerate their health after staying out of combat for a short period of time (just like Mercy’s passive!), and Tanks are getting knockback reductions while also providing less ultimate charge to any adversaries that might damage them. 

Non-Mei players will be happy to hear that her dreaded Endothermic Blaster will no longer freeze enemies in Overwatch 2; it’ll still slow you down and do damage, of course. Bastion as well as other unnamed heroes are getting complete reworks too. 

Gameplay details, beyond what was shown at today’s presentation, are still scarce. We know that the new “Push” game mode is an interesting mix of king of the hill and payload escort mechanics. Assault (better known as “2CP”), however, is leaving the playlist rotation in Overwatch 2 and will be replaced with other game modes (including another brand new mode that won’t be unveiled at this time!). Your favorite 2CP maps – Temple of Anubis, Volskaya Industries, etc. – can ultimately be accessed from the Custom Games menus.

What did you think of the Overwatch 2 presentation? Are you bummed about the 5v5 news, or are you looking forward to creating new compositions and strategies around the role passives? Does Push look like a game mode that you would be good at? Let us know in the comments section!


Overwatch 2 Unveils Monte Carlo Map, New Looks

Overwatch 2 had a robust presentation today, covering many of the shifting facets of player-vs-player that are being worked on for the sequel. While this stream was entirely PVP-centric, Overwatch 2 is being built with numerous co-op aspects in mind as well, including replayable missions that feature high variance, tasking players to defeat different enemies and complete different objectives each time. Blizzcon featured many reveals in regards to the concepts that are taking shape to form the co-op and campaign of Overwatch 2, but today was all about content that’s relevant to the time-honored tradition of team-vs-team gameplay.

Overwatch 2 is shifting to five-vs-five instead of six-vs-six action as one of the major changes, but we also got a good peek at some of the glamourous maps we’ll be doing battle in.  In addition to a big look at the changing face of PVP, the Overwatch team spent some time walking players through new maps and styles for classic characters. There’s a lot to digest, so I recommend checking out the major highlights over on the official Overwatch site here.

Five maps were showcased and explored over the course of the presentation. While we’ve seen some of these maps before at Blizzcon, this exposition gave us more of Overwatch’s vision of New York City, Rome, and Rio. However, the newly revealed Monte Carlo was the show stealer. This escort map is a high roller in terms of presentation and panache, featuring elaborate lighting, cool interior locations, and massive luxury flavor. You may find yourself wanting to take a break from the shooting to play a few hands of blackjack or something, I don’t know! Oh, Toronto was also featured too. Listen Toronto, I like you and all, but you’re no Monte Carlo. Just look at this high-tech paradise!

Changes to character looks have been part of the Overwatch 2 conversation since Blizzcon, and today was Torbjörn’s time to shine! Torbjörn looks like he’s seen some serious combat with this look, which, if you’ve ever tried to set up a turret with an enemy team bearing down on you over the last few years, makes perfect sense. Some other HUD and UI changes are coming to certain characters to better facilitate their playstyle, including Mercy and Zenyatta.

Are you excited to see what’s in store for Overwatch 2? Did you like the presentation today? Let us know in the comments!


More Than Just Dots On A Map: The Challenges Behind Open-World Game Creation

Video games are constantly getting more ambitious, whether it’s from advances in technology offering new possibilities or developers building on past innovations. One area that keeps flourishing is open-world design. Players gladly immerse themselves in virtual environments for hours on end, uncovering every possible facet and secret. But keeping players entertained for the long haul isn’t as simple as randomly filling the map with various knick-knacks and sidequests. Developers constantly have to find new and interesting ways to keep the journey through these massive landscapes exciting, while also making them feel like living and breathing entities. In these vast locales, myriad activities provide fun diversions, NPCs live out full lives, and intriguing discoveries are around every bend.

Everyone can remember their favorite world to explore, but what goes into building these vistas that slowly sprawl out before you? We were curious about the process behind these fascinating places and the design decisions that bring them to life. To learn more about this intense undertaking, we chatted with several developers from award-winning studios such as Ubisoft Montreal and Quebec, Sucker Punch, Insomniac Games, and CD Projekt Red, to see what goes into these worlds that we voluntarily lose ourselves in.

Setting The Stage

Like most endeavors, there isn’t a right or wrong approach to building a virtual world, but the setting does influence the structure, activities, and everything else. When working on the Assassin’s Creed series, Ubisoft takes into account the historical time period and real-world locations, while CD Projekt Red referenced Mike Pondsmith’s pen-and-paper-RPG source material when deciding on locations and districts for Cyberpunk 2077. Other games, like Immortals Fenyx Rising, Ubisoft Quebec’s lighthearted take on Greek mythology, embrace the creative freedom that comes with a fantastical setting. All developers have different rules and philosophies about how far they’re willing to go in terms of realism – taking liberties and making concessions in the name of making a game more fun.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

For Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, level design director Philippe Bergeron said the team had one goal: “[We] want to make sure that [the players] get the greatest hits of being a Viking.” This meant identifying the iconic landmarks, characters, and historical events before dropping them into a geographical map. “We took a top-down view of England,” Bergeron says. “We knew for sure we needed to have Stonehenge and London. We also knew we needed to probably have York; it was like one of the biggest port towns back then … and those White Cliffs of Dover, like on the southern edge of the map.” In the end, Ubisoft Montreal decided to give each territory its own narrative arc, which would introduce you to significant places and figures through the main plot, but also hold its share of environmental storytelling to give each area its own flavor and feel.

You can’t play through Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima without noticing its serene beauty and striking locales. The team certainly did a lot of research into Japan and took inspiration from Akira Kurosawa films for its samurai tale, but it also wasn’t afraid to punch things up. Sucker Punch took some of the most interesting pockets of the real-world island of Tsushima and expanded them to make its entire map look like the kinds of places that would show up in someone’s Instagram feed. For instance, take the Golden Forest; instead of having every type of tree that actually grows there, the team focused on using orange and yellow hues for the trees. “You can see it from across the island; it definitely stands out,” says art and creative director Jason Connell. “It’s not technically realistic, but it isn’t not realistic either. Those are ginkgo trees, and trees like that do grow in that area. So it’s got enough plausible reality.”

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Insomniac Games had one rightfully important feature drive how it built the world for its Spider-Man titles: the web-slinging. Having New York as its destination may have given Insomniac a template to work with, but the team had to think about traversal from the perspective of Spider-Man. Miles Morales director Cameron Christian said once the team started asking those questions and figuring out distances and heights, everything started coming together. “There was a lot of exploration early on, like how fast is our Spider-Man swinging?” Christian recalls. “And we started figuring out, well, for every two swings, we want him to pass one large building … and we started to get ideas for metrics and scale and size … We played a lot to determine, where do we exaggerate heights to just make it interesting to swing across the city?”

For CD Projekt Red, narrative reigns supreme, and it tucks away certain threads within its worlds to pique your curiosity. In Cyberpunk 2077, the team used fixers and gigs to introduce you to the issues of the world. For instance, Regina represented the district of Watson and her gigs were an opportunity to learn about Night City’s social issues, like cyberpsychosis among veterans. “We try to get gamers used to the fact that there is a story behind every corner and behind every player-activity in the world,” says open-world director Bartosz Ochman. “These small narrative bites are interconnected with each other, sometimes like a spider’s web, sometimes like Matryoshka dolls. You can consume them one by one, but if you go deeper into the stories behind them, you will see that they are part of the bigger picture.”

Revealing The World

Once a player steps into a world, it’s up to them to explore it and make discoveries. Throughout the years, developers have had many ways of providing indicators and icons for everything from side quests to minigames to treasure. Some games let you see the map and everything it offers all at once, others slowly reveal themselves, requiring you to visit a place or take down an outpost to see an area’s offerings. Some gamers love having direction and a list of things to do before them, checking off one task after the next. Others love making their own discoveries, feeling more rewarded having stumbled upon gold or secrets. Developers are constantly experimenting with the best ways to unveil the map to players, and it’s been fascinating to see the different approaches and how they worked for different experiences.

One of the more unique ways to find your way was recently done in Ghost of Tsushima, which had you following the wind to your desired destination on the map. Surprisingly enough, Sucker Punch didn’t always have a guiding gust in the game, initially opting for a standard, minimal compass to follow. “What we ended up finding [was] a lot of people just stare at the compass or icons,” Connell says. “[The wind] points you in a direction, but instead of looking up at the top of the screen … you ended up looking at the world. You are more immersed, but it’s giving you the same amount of information.”

Sucker Punch took a minimalist approach to the information it put on the map for good reason; it created a breathtaking world, and the team wanted to keep you in it. Whether it was simply providing a question mark as a hint to an area you should explore or showing the rewards upfront to entice you toward a quest, when you looked at the map, Connell said the team wanted it to be as simple and easy to use as possible so you got right back to the game. “The goal has to be: How can we keep you in the game world as much as possible?” Connell says.

Another challenge was figuring out the right amount of content density for a world that at times could be more contemplative. “We didn’t want it to be like, ‘Every 10 seconds there’s something happening,’ but for Ghost of Tsushima, it couldn’t be every three minutes – that’s too long,” Connell says. “We want people to be satiated in their exploration and feel rewarded for that minute or two or 30 seconds of just going off in a direction.” Speaking of those aforementioned question marks, Connell said they were a late addition because people wanted some direction toward discoveries, but the team didn’t want to show its entire hand.

Immortals Fenyx Rising

That’s the difficult part. Everyone has their own preferences in how they make discoveries and how much guidance they want. In Immortals Fenyx Rising, you have the farsight ability, which allows you to identify objects and activities in the world and reveal them on the map. Director Scott Phillips said the team tweaked how powerful this tool would be right up until the game went gold. “I feel like with farsight, we [didn’t exactly] nail what I wanted to get,” he says. “But we needed to make sure that people felt that the world had enough to offer them – that they continued to engage with it. I think where we ended is a bit too easy.”

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla changed up how the series categorized things, providing different colors to indicate what might await you: wealth (gold), mysteries (blue), artifacts (white). “That was sort of to play with the notion of mystery,” Bergeron says. “In the past, we would say, ‘This is the blacksmith, this is a tomb, and this is a type of collectible.’ Basically, it becomes a chore of ‘I need to collect all the gems’ or ‘I need to collect all the blacksmiths.’ We were removing that sort of identifier. It’s like a Kinder egg. You’re excited to open up that chocolate egg and see what toy is gonna be inside.”

This aura of mystery also extends to the addition of World Events, special side quests you have to seek out before they appear on the map. These quickly won over fans due to the unique tasks and stories they add to your Assassin’s Creed Valhalla journey, getting as silly as finding viper eggs so a woman can cut a nasty fart or being as heartfelt as shooting down a leaf to help a little girl move on with her life.

Bergeron compares the hidden World Events to the ambiguous question marks that dotted the map in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. “You didn’t know what it’s going to be, but you knew it was authored content and it was going to be fun,” he says. “You trusted the developer to have put thought, effort, and love into it.” It also allowed the team to add some levity to Eivor’s adventure and not always focus on the undeniably violent and dark parts of the Viking era. “World Events sort of permitted us to see a different facet of [the Viking lifestyle], portray Eivor’s personality in a different light alongside the people and how they live through all this. It gave us a bit more creative freedom than some of the more earnest stories would have.”

The Rules Of Engagement

Developers spend their time crafting content, so it’s no surprise that they think just as much about ways to draw players toward it. In Immortals Fenyx Rising, Ubisoft Quebec wanted things in the distance to catch your eye and compel you to seek them out. In many cases, environmental cues were used to highlight certain points of interest. “Rather than relying on the HUD as much, we would try to make those things visible in the world and use more glows and sparkles at night,” Phillips says. “We’d highlight or put giant whirlwinds around things that would really call your attention just visually.”

Most developers consider the main quest and your path through it when deciding where to place things. “We want to make sure that not only the location where the quest takes place maximizes the space, but also the trajectory that the player is probably going to be taking,” Bergeron says. “If I think about where a quest ended and where the next quest starts, what’s in between if I draw a straight line? That’s probably where most players are going to go. We’ll draw a bubble of the general environment and make sure that you’re going through some of our ‘greatest hits’ of that territory and sort of tease you as you’re going towards your next location. It’s like, ‘Oh, wait, I see something over there!’ And then you go off track to see that thing.”

Sucker Punch let players see the rewards, like a cool fire-covered sword, for completing “mythic” quests in Ghost of Tsushima as a way to entice them. “Rewards became a strategy for dangling the carrot,” Connell says. “And then the journey was the cool 2D cutscene you get about the lore of the mission, finding out what happened, and the epic duel at the end. Then the excitement is no longer about a sword (even though that’s a nice thing at the end), but it’s [over] the cool character you met along the way, the mystery, the curse, or whatever the mission presented. I would rather give you the easy, fun, and mechanical thing up front and then saturate you in a 30-to- 45-minute-long mission with a different type of storytelling and let that be the thing that stands out.”

Of course, it’s important to note different people are attracted to different things, and while most players aren’t completionists, you still want to keep them in for the long haul. “Variety and quality are key here in keeping the player interested; we don’t want players to feel like there is ‘A content’ to play, and these are part of the ‘B content,” says CD Projekt Red senior level designer Miles Tost. This also comes down to your reward for exploring; CD Projekt Red loves to leave breadcrumbs to follow that can often be as grand as opening a new questline, providing a legendary weapon, or even spotting a cameo from Hideo Kojima. “Small pieces of loot are actually hidden throughout the city without being outright mapped out to players,” adds Ochman. “This is in contrast to The Witcher, where almost every treasure chest was marked on the map itself. It was a deliberate change, and we treat these as the ultimate reward for the most stubborn of urban explorers.”

Cyberpunk 2077

Insomniac stuck by what Christian calls the studio’s number-one philosophy to get you noticing things: “It just needs to be fun to move around.” While swinging in Spider-Man, crimes would emergently occur, Sable outposts could be seen in the distance, and special landmarks like the Avengers Tower would beckon you. When the movement feels that good, why not have it lead you to the content, which had everything from collectibles to underground hideouts?

Truth be told, more thought and care go into distributing the content in a game than we realize. Sometimes, it’s as simple as the density of the area playing into where things end up, e.g., a city would have more to do than a rural area. Other times, artists collaborate with quest designers, letting them know about places or landscapes they’ve built that are just begging for a quest. And sometimes small variations in things like time of day or gameplay level can alter what’s available. “I can say that, for us, finding the right density of content and how to place it is more than simply throwing stuff onto a map and seeing what sticks,” Tost says of CD Projekt Red. “It’s a very meticulous process, which we spend a lot of time and thought on. This becomes clearer when you realize that part of the [Cyberpunk 2077] content in the city isn’t fully static, meaning some activities appear only during a certain time of day or after other conditions, like reaching a certain Street Cred level are met.”

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

A Bright Future

We’ve just entered a new era of console gaming with the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. With new tech and an eye toward innovation, developers are already pondering how open-world games will evolve. “The future of open-world games … I think it’s a great time to ask that question,” Connell says. “The most important part is embracing the question, and so that’s where I’m at. And I think that a lot of people are thinking about it, whether it’s designers, artists, gamers, or YouTubers. I like this question, because Ghost of Tsushima is so much about what a lot of people enjoy about exploration; a huge part of it is just about enjoying the world. [I’m] embracing the stuff that went well with it. Freedom and exploration in video games are tough, and I think it does pay off and people enjoy it.”

After working on Cyberpunk 2077, Ochman says he started thinking about verticality and how it will play into the future. “I think the imposing scale added by a sense of verticality adds a lot to immersion, especially when you’re on foot and taking in the city from the ground,” he says. “And even now, I can see places where we could have taken even more advantage of this in Cyberpunk 2077. There’s a lot that open-world games could do with verticality, including linking it to more dynamic quests, or tying it closer to the narrative. It’s a pretty exciting prospect.”

Throw in the new consoles’ SSDs making load times almost obsolete and there’s a lot of potential, such as transitioning between environments instantly for more variety and epic encounters. “Anytime you need fast travel, being able to just do it instantly is a huge game-changer,” Phillips says. “Beyond that, I think everything is just a sort of a continuous increase in quality. And the more the world is well-realized and feels like a real place, I think the better off all the games will be – especially seeing as every one or two years, there’s some amazing new thing that someone does that then everyone learns from. We are constantly growing as an industry.”

This article originally appeared in Issue 334 of Game Informer.


GI Show – Psychonauts 2 And Mass Effect Legendary Edition

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On this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, we discuss a handful of the games we’ve been digging recently, including Mass Effect Legendary Edition, The Ascent, Returnal, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield, and Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis. We also recently announced that Psychonauts 2 is the latest game to grace the cover of Game Informer Magazine, so we spend a good deal of time talking about Double Fine’s upcoming platformer and what we learned during our interviews with the studio. 

It’s a full show, but we make time for another round of fantastic community emails. So please join Alex Stadnik (@Studnik76), Kimberley Wallace (@kstar1785), Liana Ruppert (@DirtyEffinHippy), Blake Hester (@metallicaisrad), Dan Tack (@dantack), 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 podcast@gameinformer.com 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
00:03:28 – Mass Effect Legendary Edition
00:30:46 – The Ascent
00:35:21 – Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
00:39:21 – Returnal
00:43:35 – Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield
00:49:07 – Psychonauts 2
01:03:48 – Community Emails
01:29:07 – Jennifer Hale and Courtenay Taylor Interview



Get NBA 2K21 For Free Through Epic Games Store For A Limited Time

If you’re interested in playing some basketball without actually having to play basketball, then boy, do we have a treat for you. Epic Games Store has just opened up its Vault to give gamers a free copy of NBA 2K21 on PC, but it’s only free to download for a limited time. 

For those interested, NBA 2K21 is available for free in the Epic Games Store Vault and is available now until May 27, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Sports not your thing? No worries! At the end of that freebie period, a different free game will be revealed. Freebies drop on Thursdays, so be sure to keep an eye out. 

In addition to the Vault free title, the Epic Coupon is also returning. For games $14.99 and higher, there will be a $10 coupon available during the Epic Mega Sale. Each time you use a coupon, another one will take its place. To learn more about coupon eligibility, you can check out the full blog post about the sale going on now right here

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For those interested in scoring this week’s free game, our own Kimberly Wallace scored it an 8 out of 10, saying, “NBA 2K21’s full-team on-court action plays the best it ever has, and the graphical leap is impressive to boot, but it still comes up short in some key areas. Visual Concepts still hasn’t figured out a great way to elevate its online play, and microtransactions continue to destroy what should be a fun part of the experience. I love creating spectacular plays and the thrill of sinking a buzzer-beating three, but the moment I walk into the online space, that feeling evaporates. It becomes about the money, not about the love of the game. 

It’s important to note that since her initial review that came with a 7 out of 10 score, a next-gen version did come out and widely improved the areas of critique Wallace shared, so if you’re interested? Dive right in!

Are you going to be scooping up anything during the Epic Game Store sale? Shout out your picks in the comment section below. 


The Story Behind Supergiant Games’ Transistor

Coming off the heels of our latest issue, which features a profile on close-knit studio Supergiant Games, we’re also sharing parts of the indie developer’s amazing journey online by posting the stories behind its inventive titles. Last week, we took an in-depth look at Supergiant’s formation and its debut game, Bastion. Now we’re shining the spotlight on the studio’s hotly-anticipated follow-up: Transistor. The studio’s second game certainly changed things up, bringing in a fresh new setting and twist on the action/RPG genre. The sci-fi RPG follows a famous singer named Red who gets more than she bargained for when she avoids an assassination attempt on her life and picks up a sword-like weapon that can communicate with her. All eyes were on Supergiant to deliver another hit, but Transistor turned out to be a project full of highs and lows, as the team worked to prove they weren’t just a one-hit-wonder. 


Transistor remains Supergiant’s most challenging project to launch. Bastion took 18 months to complete; Transistor’s pre-production cycle alone took longer than that. It was also the first time a project started with a full team on hand. Not to mention Bastion’s success was still in full view, thanks to part of the team focusing on getting it to work on mobile. The studio was also growing, adding a few new roles (like a 3D artist) that it had previously hired freelancers for. Eventually, the staff grew up to 12 members.

“We were starting the game with a full team – including more voices and perspectives and learning how to do that,” says studio director Amir Rao, adding that things that took weeks to figure out for Bastion took months for Transistor. “There was also all this invisible pressure of wanting to live up to [Bastion] – a game that was really well-liked and seemed with time to be getting more well-liked.” 

The team had put all they had into Bastion, all the ideas they had dreamed up if they ever had the chance to make their own game. “It’s like you have your entire life to make your first album and a year to make your second,” says composer and audio director Darren Korb.  “All of the ideas you’ve ever wanted to use, you can use on your first thing, and then you have to make all new ideas for your second thing in this much shorter time.” 

After having most of her art go directly into Bastion without much time for iteration, art director Jen Zee welcomed the pre-production phase as it gave her more time to ideate on her art. “I would say I may differ from the other guys in that I remember Transistor quite fondly,” she says. “It represented an opportunity for me to basically evolve what I had done on Bastion into something slightly different –  and in what I hoped would be better. I had all these issues [in Bastion] with how I’d made some of the environments too overly detailed and the color was a little too strong here and there. I had no compositional control over certain things and didn’t work with light and shadow enough. Transistor represented where I could improve that stuff, having learned off of Bastion, and it was also basically a fresh start.” 

Supergiant knew it didn’t want to do a Bastion 2, even if that would have been the safe choice. The team also decided early that Transistor would feature a science-fiction love story in a cyberpunk setting – but without the gritty backdrop. “We were really interested in kind of slowing things down and having a game with a more deliberate pace,” says creative director Greg Kasavin. “We were seeing if we could capture the kind of drama and suspense of turn-based strategy games where you’re biting your nails, wondering if things will go horribly wrong. We wanted to see if we could capture it in an action/RPG setting. I think we got to them in the end, but it was a long, winding road.”


While the team agreed on these aspects of the game, they still struggled to agree on Transistor’s direction and the difficulties continued to mount the longer it took to get things going. “It was really challenging for that game to find its point of view and to find its gameplay,” Rao says. “It was challenging across the board to find its specific artistic and musical execution, to find the character voices, everything.”

Being on the project from the beginning this time around as creative director, Kasavin said he ran into his own frustrations figuring out exactly what his role should be and bringing together the work of a much bigger team. It even led to his relationship with Rao being a little strained as they figured out the game. “Amir and I clashed on Transistor,” Kasavin says. “Nothing bad, but after having worked together quite harmoniously overall on Bastion, the pre-production on Transistor was more fraught. We just had more disagreements and struggles to align on what the game should be and what it should feel like. I think it’s attributable to the part where we literally had never had a pre-production phase like that before.”

Kasavin and Rao weren’t the only ones who felt hardship. After getting such praise for Bastion’s score, Korb struggled to find the sound for Transistor, saying he experimented for six months before he got it, calling it a “hair-pulling, frustrating experience,” due to the added challenges of trying to write from a specific character’s perspective and having main character Red be a famous singer. “The music, like it had to, was given a lot of responsibility for some of the emotional beats,” he says. “I’m glad it worked out.” 

Getting the project past the conception phase took much longer than expected, causing tensions to rise. “The sort of the honeymoon phase of having pre-production time ended after a couple of months,” Kasavin recalls. “And suddenly we were just wandering in the woods in a way that was new to our team.” 

Things reached a breaking point right as the team was about to unveil the game at PAX East 2013. “We were so nervous about how it was going to be received that we almost pulled the plug,” Kasavin says. The team was set to announce Transistor on a Tuesday, but was still having conversations on Sunday if they should change course. “That’s how tense we were about how the Transistor announcement was going to go over,” Kasavin says. “Because even at that point when we felt we had something to show that was like a real expression of what we were working on, we were still getting kind of mixed playtest feedback.” 

Ultimately, the group decided to move forward, figuring even if they had extra time, it wouldn’t fundamentally change anything. “If people didn’t like it, it would be better for us to know that sooner,” Kasavin says. “But the announcement went over way better than any of us expected. It was just incredibly encouraging.” 


When it launched in May 2014, Transistor was a success. Our own Matt Miller gave the game a 9 out 10, writing: “Supergiant Games’ follow-up to Bastion is a powerfully imaginative action/RPG that evokes a sense of wonder and revels in experimentation.”

It wasn’t just a success critically, either. Since Supergiant Games self-published Transistor at a higher price point than Bastion, it brought in more money – quickly. “I think history may show that Transistor was our most important title because of its immediate success,” says principal voice actor Logan Cunningham. “Because it was just like, whatever else the team behind Bastion had next, there was a huge audience in place that was going to get it no matter what.” 

But it didn’t exactly provide all members with the happy feelings they felt after the launch of Bastion. “I love that people love Transistor so much,” Cunningham says. “But I don’t have very fond memories of that process. It was really hard. It took the most time and we didn’t know what it was for a while.” 

Zee differs a bit from the others, as she will always have a special affection for it. “Transistor was the closest to my heart, in the sense that it is in a style that is closest to what I would naturally end up creating on a daily basis.” 

Either way, the team had proven themselves once again and got what they needed: the ability to keep working together on another game. Kasavin said it best: “We survived another round. Even if we could financially withstand a bit of a failure, I think culturally, it would have been really difficult for us to move on.”

You can check out our previous feature on the story behind Bastion here. Stay tuned for Supergiant’s journey through Pyre hitting later this week!


The Longest Road On Earth Arrives May 27

Okay, but what exactly is The Longest Road on Earth? Coming to PC and iOS on May 27, it’s more of an interactive music video than what we’d usually think of a game, and features a journey through 4 different character’s lives with twenty different songs. There are few choices to make along the way from the player perspective. I had a chance to ask the team behind the game a few questions about the experience. Check out the trailer below for a sense of what to expect with The Longest Road on Earth.

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Game Informer: For making The Longest Road on Earth, why did you choose games as a medium instead of say, a short film or a music video, given that there are few decisions to make? Why add decision making to the mix at all? How do you feel this impacts the experience?

Edu Verz, art/narrative: We think that the interaction itself is the most powerful immersive element right now, even though our game has very little interaction we think that being able to control the characters and their actions makes the work as a whole have a more personal weight. Apart from that, making a movie could be something conceptually simpler, but the video game industry provides more channels to reach people. Being able to create a game from your computer in your bedroom and then being able to sell it on the same platform with almost the same opportunity to reach the same people as bigger companies, is something that we should protect as an industry since I believe it is something artistically historic.

What inspirations went into creating this game? What is your history/background in games? Favorite game? Favorite album? Favorite literary work?

Edu Verz – We’ve found inspiration in different media, from movies like Tokyo Stories to the music of The National. These all contributed to what The Longest Road is today. Prior to this game, we loved to explore different themes in video games that could provoke some empathy in players. I think we followed the same approach for this game, though with much more dedication as it’s significantly a bigger project. I don’t have a favorite game but if humanity ended there are a few games I’d send out to space as a representation of what we did, like Jalopy, Papers Please, and The Red Strings Club.

Beatriz Ruiz-Castillo (aka Beícoli), composer/music –  I really liked Wilmot’s Warehouse. I played it recently while having a lot of anxiety and it was the only thing that helped me get out of my head.

Mohammed Bakir, artist – My favourite album… I recently came back to it even though it affects me a lot when I listen to it is Mashrou Leila’s Ibn el Leil. I love it for all its powerful and political lyrics. I feel it gives a voice to many who literally don’t have it anymore. As for my favorite literary work, I think it would be Camus’ The Plague. The unexpected development of human values in the middle of a plague (that was a metaphor of something worse) that is shown in the novel brings a very needed hope in our times.

Beatriz Ruiz-Castillo – I don’t really have favorites but I always get inspired listening to really talented women. Lately I’ve been listening to Tanerélle, Foushée and Charlotte Cardin. As for a literary work, Siddhartha from Hermann Hesse impacted me a lot when I was younger.

What’s next for you after The Longest Road?

Edu Verz – we recently made the Brainwash Propaganda where we explained the other projects we have going on. We are a collective of about 9 people divided in mini-teams that work on different projects with the hope that some will make money for the whole group. So whatever it is we hope it will allow us to keep making games with the people we love.


Call Of Duty: Warzone Season 3 Reloaded Update Patch Notes, 80’s Action Heroes Event Goes Live

A new Call of Duty: Warzone update is here, and it comes bearing gifts of 80’s action stars, new events, and a whole lot more. For those interested in the Call of Duty: Warzone Season 3 Reloaded update, here is what you need to know. 

Call of Duty: Warzone Season 3 Update – Reloaded

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First, let’s talk about events. The 80’s Action Heroes event is kicking off with the Reloaded update, bringing two sets of nine challenges for players to take on to earn exclusive new rewards. This event is available for both Black Ops Cold War and Warzone, and it is available starting today! Finish all nine Black Ops Cold challenges to unlock a special tactical rifle weapon blueprint and the nine challenges for Warzone to unlock a unique sniper rifle weapon blueprint. 

The Power Grab limited-time mode also arrives with the sole aim of ramping up Warzone’s intensity to 11. In this mode, players must take out other Operators while completing Contracts and looting all of the Supply Boxes within the map to uncover dog tags. With each tag recovered, players will scale tiers for special rewards, rewards designed to help you win against other players. Once it comes down to the wire with taking control of the flag, the match’s fate relies on what players have in their arsenal during the final circle. No load-outs. Smaller circles. No Gulag. Good luck!

Regarding playlist changes: 

  • Adding:
    • Verdansk – Power Grab
    • Plunder – Quads
    • Rebirth Island – Resurgence Trios 
  • Removing:
    • Verdansk – Mini Royale
    • Plunder – Blood Money Duos
    • Rebirth Island – Resurgence Quads

For maps, here is what players have to look forward to, according to Activision: 

  • New Point of Interest: Nakatomi Plaza (Launch)
    • The headquarters of the Nakatomi Corporation have moved from sunny Los Angeles to Verdansk’s Downtown for a limited time
  • New Point of Interest: Survival Camps (Launch)
    • Around Verdansk, numerous campsites have been converted into Survival Camps as a homage to Rambo: First Blood Part II
  • New Point of Interest: CIA Outpost (Launch)
    • One of the aircraft hangars in Verdansk’s northwest sector has been converted into a makeshift CIA Outpost, as these agents need a home base to start tracking down the elusive Rambo

Other changes include Gunsmith Customs being added for Black Ops Cold War weapons and gameplay tweaks with a new Combat Bow Killstreak with core BR, Plunder, and Power Grab. To learn more about the latest update, check out the official update blog post right here


Lies Of P Is The Dark Souls Of Pinocchio

Announced with a stylish and undeniably intriguing trailer, Neowiz and Round8 studio are bringing a Souls-like Pinocchio experience to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. Truly, playing as Pinocchio in a souls-style game is only suited for such powerful platforms. First, check out the story trailer below to get a sense of the environments and style.

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In Lies of P, you play as Pinocchio in a world where humanity has been lost. The cityscape around you has become a nightmare, and you must find Mr. Geppetto to unravel the world’s mysteries. A Disney take on Carlo Collodi’s famous novel, this is not.

“We’ve been toying with the idea of retelling Pinocchio’s tale in our own way for some time. Lies of P is the culmination of our dreams and our nightmares. It’s definitely a version of this classic story that you’ve never seen before,” said Jiwon Choi, development director for Lies of P. “To us, Pinocchio has always been a grimly dark tale of the lies we tell to get by in a world that’s not always black and white. We can’t wait to show you more of the game in the coming months.”

In Souls-like fashion, you will take on terrifying opponents and explore a dark world inspired by the Belle Époque Era, showcasing a collapsed city that was once prosperous and vibrant. Here’s something you may not expect. Because you’re playing as Pinocchio, one of the core concepts in the game is to lie. Depending on the lies you tell over the course of the game, the ending will differ.

While we don’t know too much as to how combat and mechanics are going to play out at this time, there is a weapon crafting system that allows players to combine weapons with one another to create new ones. There are also skill systems that tap into the fact that Pinocchio is a doll, allowing him to swap out parts of his body to gain new features and abilities.

Are you interested in this tale of darkness, lies, and deception? Are you excited to play as a puppet mechanoid that will do anything to become human? Let us know in the comments!


New Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Trailer Is About Exciting Planet Exploration Ahead

We’re getting closer and closer to launch, and to celebrate, we’ve got a new Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart trailer to enjoy. In the last video, we had explored the different weapons gamers will have in their arsenal. Now, we’re exploring the beautiful world that pushes the limits of what this new generation of consoles can do. 

Aaron Espinoza, Insomniac Games senior community manager, took to the PlayStation Blog to share a different side to the Rift Apart universe. In the video below, we get a chance to see some of the beautiful worlds this crew will explore, showing off different environments to adventure through and how easily it is to do so thanks to the PlayStation 5’s loading times: 

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The latest video is honestly stunning, and it’s easy to see why our own Andrew Reiner said in his preview that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a true show of power for PS5. From traversing the terrain in creative ways such as railway carts to scanning which planet to go to next, everything about the latest inside look promises a beautiful new journey for a beloved franchise. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the many ways to scale each planet, check out our previous coverage here, where Insomniac Games showed off the game’s traversal and weapons. 

Players can dive right in for themselves when Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart arrives exclusively on PlayStation 5 this June 11. 

Are you excited to take on a new Ratchet & Clank adventure with Rift Apart? What are your thoughts on the latest game trailer shown? Sound off with those Insomniac Games hot takes in the comment section below! 


New Back 4 Blood Trailer Lets You Get Comfy With The Cleaners

Turtle Rock Studios has just dropped a brand new Back 4 Blood trailer, this time letting interested fans learn a little more about the playable slaying crew in the Left 4 Dead spiritual successor. Meet The Cleaners, eight different personalities that are more than just their zombie-slaying abilities. But we’ll also be learning about those too, as well as another look at some of the beasties players will go up against. 

There are eight playable characters in Back 4 Blood, including Doc, Walker, Holly, Evangelo, Karlee, Hoffman, Jim, and Mom. Holly became a cleaner after losing her entire family to Devil Worm. Because of her loss, she’s also incredibly protective of her fellow Cleaners, a makeshift family of her own creation. She’s also a beast with her nail-laden bat called Dottie. 

Walker is the oldest of five brothers and sisters, born of a traditional blue-collar family. He used to be an Amry Ranger, so you know he’s good in a combat situation. While he may not be the most talkative of the bunch, he does ensure that when he does speak, it’s meaningful. 

Doc is the lifeblood of Fort Hope. An independent personality, Doc decided to go all-in on her career, shirking any sort of social life. That all changed when she met Mom, however, a kindred spirit, that took her no-nonsense attitude to new heights in the best way possible.

Speaking of Mom, Mom is always up for a challenge and is unendingly giving of herself to others. She’s a strong character, but being the “authority” of the group and giving too much can sometimes make her feel like the entire weight of the world is on her shoulders.

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Jim is the one you’ll want to go to when you need to know more about the area, he knows Finleyville like the back of his hand. Hunting with his father as a kid gave him an intimate understanding of this world. Paired with his own military experience, he’s doing what he can to provide support to his team and to kick the ass of every enemy in his vicinity. 

If you find yourself a bit of a loner, then Karlee is your girl. She’s always been incredibly independent and very untrusting of others. When the threat around this group continued to rise, however, she shrugged off her distrustful ways and dedicated herself to this ragtag group of friends in order to save herself and those around her.

Hoffman can always be seen with the proverbial tinfoil hat, always thinking of the next conspiracy theory. When the infection began to take over, he and his mother decided to bunker down and see if things would pass. Unfortunately, she eventually passed away and a need for supplies drove him out of safety. A little annoying, but a good guy at heart, and it’s good to see that he’s found new family within the Cleaner group. 

The baby of the group is definitely Evangelo. Though young, he’s more than proved his worth when it comes to being a viable member of the team. He’s also a nervous talker, so his and Karlee’s dynamic is a little amusing. 

You can learn more about this first-person co-op zombie adventure in the trailer above! Don’t forget to also sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below with who your favorite Cleaner is. 


Joint Xbox-Bethesda E3 2021 Showcase Confirmed Post-Acquisition

E3 2021 is just around the corner. With so many leaks flying around about Starfield, it’s no wonder why so many gamers are eager to see more from the Xbox acquisition of ZeniMax and its umbrella properties. With Bethesda included under that umbrella, the two companies are confirmed to have a joint showcase during E3 2021, as confirmed by Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty in a recent interview with a French publication. 

Booty confirmed the joint showcase in a recent interview with Le Figaro. This was something that has been highly speculated, especially given that Bethesda’s BethesdaLand E3 show has always been a celebratory highlight of E3. It looks like that may be changing in the future, or possibly just for this digital format because the Xbox exec has confirmed that the two companies are going halfsies this year. 

He didn’t go into specifics, especially with E3 less than a month away, but he did reiterate something that both companies have been very adamant about: that this acquisition will not touch the creative freedom these studios have. He also added that the goal of these acquisitions is not to pump out content on Xbox game Pass, instead of looking at building a more broadened game experience over on Team Green. He also warns that Xbox should not, and is not, looking to adopt the path of Netflix in how that streaming service analyzes data. 

With so many Bethesda games now available at no additional cost thanks to Xbox Game Pass due to the acquisition, what’s next has fans excited. We know Elder Scrolls 6 is still a long way off, but Todd Howard did confirm that Starfield is playable. Could we finally be getting an actual trailer? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t expect a 2021 release. 

For those interested in learning more about the background and what could and couldn’t be an exclusive going forward, check out our previous coverage here. 

[Source: Le Figaro via Reddit]


New TimeSplitters Game Officially In Development As Free Radical Design Reforms

Publisher Deep Silver has announced the reformation of TimeSplitters developer Free Radical Design. Not only that, but the studio’s first order of business is reviving the long-dormant shooter franchise. While the only action the series has seen in a long time came in the form of secret playable levels from TimeSplitters 2 in Homefront: The Revolution, the franchise hasn’t seen a proper new release since 2005’s TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. That changes now, as Deep Silver has announced that development is officially underway for a new TimeSplitters game.

The new version of Free Radical Design features key members of the original team, including founders Steve Ellis and David Doak (both of whom also worked on beloved games like GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark while at Rare). The original studio was purchased by Crytek and rebranded as Crytek UK in 2009, but was shut down in 2014, with much of the staff transferring to the then-newly formed Homefront: The Revolution developer Deep Silver Dambuster Studio.

In 2018, Deep Silver owners Koch Media purchased the TimeSplitters IP, making Free Radical Design a Deep Silver studio. Now, the reformed studio’s members hope to capitalize upon the 22 years of history and return to the team’s roots with a new TimeSplitters game.

“To finally be able to confirm that the studio has been formed and that we have a plan for the next TimeSplitters game is incredible,” Ellis, now the studio development director, said in a press release. “While we cannot tell you anything more at the moment, we look forward to sharing information in the future.”

According to that same press release, the team at the reformed Free Radical Design will commence development on the next TimeSplitters game in the coming months. In the meantime, the staff is focusing on building the studio in the Nottingham, U.K. area. Additional employment opportunities to support development on this next TimeSplitters game will be posted and advertised at the studio as the team staffs up.

Following a PlayStation 2-exclusive debut title in 2000, the TimeSplitters franchise went multiplatform, with both 2002’s TimeSplitters 2 and 2005’s TimeSplitters: Future Perfect launching on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube. Despite receiving positive reviews, with Metacritic scores firmly entrenched in the 80s (the PS2 version of TimeSplitters 2 even has a Metacritic score of 90), the series has not seen a new entry since 2005. 

There are no additional details on the fourth TimeSplitters game, but hopefully we’ll hear more about the project soon.


Injustice Animated Movie Stealthily Confirmed By DC

Warner Bros. and DC Comics have confirmed the existence of an animated movie based on the Injustice series. The confirmation of the film comes via a press release for the upcoming Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two.

Buried in the middle of the press release for Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two is a list of bonus features for the upcoming animated movie. While the list includes a new animated short starring Blue Beetle, a double feature of the Two-Face arc from Batman: The Animated Series, and DC Universe Movies Flashbacks for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 and Batman: Hush, a certain tease caught our eye. One of the bullet-point features listed as a bonus to both the Blu-ray and digital versions of The Long Halloween, Part Two, is “a Sneak Peek at the next DC Animated Movie – An advanced look at Injustice.”

You can see the trailer for Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two below.

Click here to watch embedded media

Injustice: Gods Among Us released in 2013 as the second console game from Mortal Kombat studio NetherRealm. While much of the excitement was in having a fighting game starring the heroes and villains of the DC Universe built by the genre experts at NetherRealm Studios, the story mode gave fans a fun ride through the DC Comics Multiverse with a story featuring a timeline where Joker tricks Superman into becoming a murderous maniac and the rest of DC’s finest have to figure out a way to put a halt to his rampage. In 2017, Injustice 2 gave us a follow up game that continues the story of a deeply flawed Superman, but introduces myriad new characters into the mix including Brainiac, Gorilla Grodd, Supergirl, and more.

While the Injustice series began as a fighting game, the series quickly garnered a following in the realm of comics. To date, the Injustice comic series has released more than 150 digital issues. Many of those stories in the comics follow the events of the game, while others serve as prequels to the original Injustice: Gods Among Us game and others expand beyond the scope of either in-game narrative.

No further details on the Injustice film are available at this time, but that’s sure to change as the next Batman animated film hits this summer. Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two arrives digitally on July 27 and on Blu-ray on August 10. The film is rated R for “some violence and bloody images.” For more on the Injustice series, be sure to check out our review of Injustice 2.

What do you hope to see from an Injustice movie? Would you rather see the game’s storyline adapted into a movie, or would you prefer it be a continuation of the games’ stories? Sound off in the comments section below!


Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir Review – A Beautiful Update To A Boilerplate Mystery

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: MAGES

May 14, 2021

Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: Switch

The Famicom Detective Club games are a special part of Nintendo’s adventure game history. Released in the late ‘80s for the Famicom Disk System, they were influential in opening the door for visual novels on the console market, and Famicom Detective Club’s creator, Yoshio Sakamoto, went on to be a driving force behind the Metroid series. Three decades later, thanks to new remakes of both titles on Switch, audiences outside Japan can finally step into the shoes of a young detective trying to get to the bottom of a couple of deadly mysteries. The Missing Heir was the first in the two-game series, exploring an affluent family’s cursed history.  

The mystery in The Missing Heir centers on the powerful Ayashiro family, who built a corporate empire from the ground up. But the family has a few skeletons in their closet that come to light after the head of the family ­and chairwoman of its corporation, Kiku Ayashiro, releases her will. Greed, betrayal, and murder ensue. That’s where you come in. As a young hotshot detective, you must uncover the truth about this family dynasty entangled in lies and well-kept secrets. But you’re not in the best shape yourself: you have recently washed ashore with a nasty head wound and have no recollection of your past. There’s a serious tone from the onset that helps sell the stakes, and plenty of red herrings kept me guessing along the way. However, none of that distracts from the obvious: the plot is well-worn with a tired amnesia trope.

That said, considering this game came out in the late ‘80s, the adventure still holds up. With suspenseful moments and exciting twists, I stayed invested until the end, even if parts are predictable and I figured certain details out well before the credits rolled. My biggest disappointment is that the key players in the story never evolve beyond suspects or plot devices – don’t expect much character development or any meaningful dialogue exchanges to advance the plot.  The storytelling is run-of-the-mill, which could be a testament to the game’s age, but it is unfortunate nonetheless, especially in a visual novel where the narrative drives the game.


As mentioned, the Famicom Detective Club games are visual novels with some adventure elements, meaning you read a lot of text as you examine surroundings, interview the locals for information, and collect evidence to get new clues. You don’t enter the courtroom like in the Ace Attorney games, but you do investigate and make deductions based on your findings. I was a bit disappointed with the limited interactivity, and the bulk of my strategy boiled down to asking questions and presenting evidence at the right times. The occasional riddle shakes things up, but I didn’t find them very interesting to solve, as they usually require following tedious instructions. I enjoyed trying to learn more about each family member so I could piece together motives, but the slow pacing and repetitive dialogue often brought down the momentum.

For this update, Nintendo recreated the graphics, added Japanese voice acting, and updated both the music and sound effects, which helps modernize this classic visual novel. Unfortunately, this remake only goes so far in fixing antiquated elements, which is a shame because some archaic design choices hold the game back. For instance, you often must ask characters the same question three times before getting the response you want, and sometimes you have to approach questioning and evidence presentation in a specific order to progress the plot. I often resorted to trial-and-error, spamming every possible option in every potential order to get past certain sequences. This isn’t fun and breaks immersion when you just want to see the mystery unfold.

As the first entry in the Famicom Detective Club series, The Missing Heir gives you a chance to experience a key point in visual novel history. Piecing together this mystery and seeing where it leads has this undeniable appeal. However, while the new graphics offer a beautiful leap in quality, this remake doesn’t alter some of the more archaic aspects of the experience, or even attempt to make the characters or story more interesting to keep with modern times. If anything, it’s an enticing way to look back at the history of this franchise, which I’m glad to have as it satiates my curiosity about this classic series. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make more of an impact than that.  

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



Score: 7.25

Summary: The Missing Heir gives you a chance to experience a key point in visual novel history.

Concept: As a detective with amnesia, you must unravel the dark history behind a wealthy family that’s being targeted for murder

Graphics: This remake’s updated visuals are straight-up gorgeous, with colorful backdrops and detailed character models that make an instant impression. Too bad the environments aren’t all that interesting to explore

Sound: The music and sound effects help sell intense moments and bring personality to situations, but they are minimal. Also worth noting is the voice acting, which is in Japanese with English subtitles

Playability: Some archaic and obtuse design choices make advancing the plot of this standard visual novel a bit of a chore

Entertainment: Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir lets Western audiences experience an adventure game they never could before. The story is engaging for what it is, but its pages are well-worn, and it shows

Replay: Moderate

Click to Purchase


Top 10 Mass Effect Legendary Edition Mistakes Every Player Should Avoid

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available now for players to enjoy, both newcomers to the Normandy and returning fans alike. But you don’t have to be a newcomer to make some pretty big mistakes, mistakes that could lead to beloved squadmates and character dying and very big missed story opportunities. For those looking for some very easy mistakes to make so you can avoid them, here are our top 10 Mass Effect Legendary Edition mistakes that you should avoid. 

Choose your path EARLY

Paragon or Renegade, don’t hover too much in the middle for too long.

While I encourage everyone to play the way they want to play, there is a caveat that you should at least be aware of, something that I’ve noticed many players aren’t even aware of when the credits have rolled. When you go paragon, there are renegade choices you must hit, it’s tradition (punching the reporter, anyone?). Vice versa, as well, but you want to be careful not to lean too heavily into playing that middle ground. Why, you may be asking? Choices

It’s important to mostly dedicate your time leaning one way or the other right off the bat, especially early on in the game. With each paragon action taken and dialogue option chosen, you’re earning points for “blue.” This is the same with renegade, noted as “red.” Both sides dictate how your Shepard reacts to certain situations and how others react to them. 

Throughout the entire trilogy, there are pivotal moments that can have small consequences (such as an ally potentially turned away) but they can also have massive ones as well, up to and including wiping out entire races. The common mistake I see a lot of people make when talking about Mass Effect is players saying they “didn’t know” there were options to save so and so or options to make ‘X’ decision. The reason is that they are going with their gut on how to respond to certain situations, meaning that the paragon and renegade levels are too intertwined, so there aren’t enough points to lean in one particular direction. When either end of the spectrum isn’t filled out to a certain point, certain choices will be blacked out, making them inaccessible to the player. Some of the consequences to this are small: not being able to convince someone you are right, not being able to get information the easy way, etc. But some? Some consequences are massive: an entire species is now extinct, a beloved squadmate takes their own life, a monstrous discovery can no longer be corrected. Player agency can still be achieved, but be aware of the goal that you want for your Shepard. What kind of hero are they? How do they evolve over the course of the three games? 

To put it simply, going paragon means you’re choosing the blue options (and the options on the right of the dialogue wheel at the top). These choices center around a more diplomatic approach. Kinder, less rash, more “by the books.” If you like being the “good guy,” this is the route for you. Not all paragon choices are sunshine and roses, but they are geared towards being more politically correct and more thought out. Sometimes, that’s a bane, because paragon options often make your work to save the galaxy a little harder; certain quests might take longer to complete. 

For renegade, this option (indicated by red or bottom choices on the dialogue wheel) is for players that love to be ruthless. In Mass Effect 2, this option is my favorite. Punch anyone you want, throw bad guys out the window, threaten those that stand in your way. This type of Shepard does whatever needs to be done to get the mission accomplished, a real “the ends justify the means” type of character. In Mass Effect 3, however, those renegade options become something more ruthless than a lot of players may have expected. Characters that paragon-Shepard becomes close to suddenly don’t like the thought of being a part of their crew. It’s a very different experience, especially if you commit to the renegade options 100%. If you dedicate yourself to this path, be prepared: some of the renegade choices in Mass Effect 3 are rough. 

At the end of the day, play how you want to play. This is your game experience and the Mass Effect trilogy is really geared towards running the story numerous times, not just the one playthrough. Play around with renegade one playthrough and paragon another. I would recommend starting with paragon just so you can see how truly meaningful some of these in-game relationships are, but really? Do you. Do what feels right. Kind-hearted hero or ruthless leader? You decide. 

Charm and Intimidate

Invest heavily in Charm and Intimidate in Mass Effect 1 early on in-game.

This tip pairs well with the above advice because it is very much in line with the same gameplay appeal and consequences. Charm is for Paragon players, Intimidate is for Renegade fans, but failure to invest in these Squad points will lock you out of certain dialogue choices that can mean life or death for characters, failure to make peace with certain groups, and a plethora of other consequences that can easily be avoidable. 

Major spoiler warning ahead. Click on the black stripe to reveal a key example of this regarding Virmire in the first game: When you land on Virmire towards the tail-end of Mass Effect 1, there is a conflict you must resolve with the Krogan Wrex. When you first land, it’s discovered that Saren is working on a Genophage cure, a manufactured virus that attacks Krogan fertility, effectively keeping their population under control. Because this cure is 1) manufactured by a Very Not Good Dude and 2) driving the Krogan literally insane, there is a good reason to want to destroy what is found in the labs. Wrex, being Krogan, obviously isn’t a fan of this idea. You’re tasked with talking to him about it and if you don’t have high enough Charm or Intimidate, then you’re going to lose out on an additional dialogue option and you’ll be forced to shoot him down. This really sucks, because his inclusion in 2 and 3 is very important to the story, and he’s downright hilarious in the final game’s Citadel DLC.

Just invest in these early on in your playthrough. It’s tempting to load all those points into tech and biotic upgrades, but you’ll see a world of new possibilities with these unlocked dialogue options. 

Do All Side Quests And Loyalty Missions

It may be tempting to skimp, but there are MASSIVE consequences for skipping the wrong thing.

A lot of times in games, side quests are not really necessary and feel more like pointless fetch missions than actual meaningful content. That is definitely not the case with Mass Effect and the Legendary Edition is no exception. First, let’s talk about the side quests. 

The side quests, even in Mass Effect 1, are ‘optional’ missions that players can take on. This can vary from getting a loot pickup to investigating a biotic cult. The thing with these though, is that many of the Mass Effect 1 side quests have a bigger impact on the subsequent games than many might think. Oftentimes, you’ll run into faces you’ve saved in 2 and 3, or at the very least hear from them. There are also a lot of sub-missions that provide additional context into species conflict and Cerberus’ growth. Each quest is a piece to the narrative puzzle, more so than many games out there that task players with optional exploration. With Mass Effect 1, you’re going to want to scan all of the planets too, because there are quests directly tied to exploring previously unexplored areas.

While Mass Effect 1 did have ‘loyalty missions’ with characters like Garrus and Wrex, Mass Effect 2 took these in-depth missions to a whole other level. Not only are they fantastic for learning more about your squadmates, but they can actually mean life or death for your crew. Failure to do the loyalty missions will result in those characters dying, especially with the Suicide Mission at the end of the second game. Don’t miss out on some incredible moments in the final game just because you wanted to save some time. Trust me, they are worth it. 

Wait To Play The Citadel DLC

Source: Dude trust me.

Now that the DLC is included in the base game with the remaster, it’s really tempting to just dive right in. This is especially true since much of the DLC is absolutely vital to the storyline. From learning about the Reaper’s origins with Leviathan to taking on an entirely different adventure with Liara in 2 with Shadowbroker, there is a lot of additional content to enjoy. That being said, there is one DLC in particular that sticks out the most, and I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of the best expansions in gaming history: Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC. From epic fights that you won’t see coming to an entirely new portion of the Citadel that opens up filled with arcades, bars, and sushi, there is a lot to look forward to with this particular experience. So trust me when I say to savor it and wait to do this last. Hear me out.

Personally, I always do this DLC right before the push on the Cerberus Headquarters. Once you start that mission, you’re on the path of no return towards endgame. I like the idea that this is one last hurrah before the end, though another popular choice is actually doing it after beating the game. So either way, wait until the end. Why? Because if you don’t, you’re going to miss out on a lot. The Citadel DLC is 100% fan service. Characters poking fun of their own tropes, hilarious content unlike anything else in the trilogy, and drunk Krogan crying in showers because Hanar can’t wear sweaters. It’s great, but if you do it too early, you’re going to miss out on a lot of that banter. Doing it before side quests, loyalty missions, and the bulk of the game will result in many of your companions not being able to make it to this DLC’s festivities, especially the party that follows after the Big Fight. Fewer characters mean less banter, less fan service, and less hilarity. You want as many characters to return from all three games as possible, and the only way to do that is to exercise patience. 

Upgrade The Normandy In Mass Effect 2

Failure to do so will … you guessed it, result in more deaths.

When playing through Mass Effect 2, there is a Research Terminal in the Tech Labs where Mordin resides. Here is where you will find various upgrades to invest in using materials found throughout the galaxy, including upgrades for your ship, your armor, your weapons, and your squad. You’ll also find unique upgrade options from talking to your crew, you’ll see this dialogue option as [UPGRADES]. There are a few upgrades that are beyond vital to making it to Mass Effect 3 with a 100% survival rate, but you can’t ensure everyone’s safety if you don’t put in the time. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

What you need: 

  • Heavy Ship Armor for 15,000 Palladium, from Jacob
  • Multicore Shielding for 15,000 Palladium, from Tali
  • Thanix Cannon for 15,000 Platinum, from Garrus

What happens if you skip these upgrades: 

  • No Multicore Shielding: Garrus, Legion, Kasumi, Grunt, Tali, Zaeed, or Thane will die
  • No Heavy Ship Armor: Kasumi or Jack will die
  • No Thanix Cannon: Samara (or Morinth), Garrus, Jack, or Grunt will die

If you don’t do any of the loyalty missions, those that are not loyal will not survive the final push. Invest, invest, invest! 

Choose Your Suicide Mission Squad Wisely

Picking the wrong person for the job will result in loss of life and possibly even mission failure.

The Suicide Mission, as you’ve probably guessed from the name, is an important story step in Mass Effect 2. Command Shepard spends all of their time throughout the game to prep for this mission, including the upgrades listed above. That’s only the first part. The second part requires some critical thinking because you’ll need to allocate roles to your squadmates before rushing the Collector Base. Failure to pick the right person will result in key characters dying. Mass Effect doesn’t play around with consequences. Luckily for you, I’ve played this game well over 30 times, so I’ve got your back. 

A few things you need to be aware of before kicking off this step. There is a mission called Reaper IFF. Consider this your point of no return, which is a common saying in the Mass Effect community. While there is more content after this, this is a key turning point in the story, and anything important left undone, such as loyalty missions, will remain undone and have critical consequences. Before you start this step, make sure to do as much as possible. Those loyalty missions? Check. Those side quests and Dossier fulfillments? Check and check! The only exception to this is that you can do Legion’s loyalty mission called A House Divided. Doing this right after getting the all-clear to pursue the Reaper IFF will not negatively impact the success rate. However, waiting too long to retrieve the IFF will result in crew members dying, but not your squadmates. 

Without spoiling too much, you’ll have a chance to save everyone on your ship, especially Kelly Chambers. However, doing so is tricky, and is very time-sensitive. If you go straight to the Reaper IFF with having completed mission-critical quests, then the entire Normandy crew will leave to see another day. The longer you wait, the more people will die, including our beloved Doctor Chakwas. 

Suicide Mission Team Selections

All crew members MUST have the loyalty missions completed. Italicized means that’s my primary choice when I play, but any of the characters shown will work.

Tech Specialist for the vents: 

Tali, Legion, or Kasumi

2nd Fire Team Leader:

Miranda, Jacob, Garrus

Biotic Specialists for Shields: 

Samara or Jack

Distraction Fire Team Leader: 

Jacob, Garrus, Miranda

Normandy Crew Escort: 

Any loyal crew member will work, but I personally enjoy sending Mordin since he is a doctor and in my head cannon, he’s a good fit to help with trauma and shock.

Final Boss Squad: 

You’ll want to make sure you have evened out abilities, such as tech and biotics, but really just pick who you enjoy the most. Unlock the roles above, there are no lasting consequences on who you bring with you for the final fight as long as they are loyal. 

Pay Attention To Game Cues

While there is always room to improve, BioWare does a pretty good job at telling you when you’re off course.

With a game as consequence-heavy as Mass Effect, it’s important to pay attention to the details hidden within character dialogue. From the first game until the very last, there are certain crew members you’ll need to have with you for a variety of missions. Some are required, but other times missions can just take a whole new turn with more context provided by key characters. In Mass Effect 1, for example, there is a small side mission to try to retrieve the body of a soldier, a wife to a man you’ll meet in the Embassies in Mass Effect 1. If you don’t have Ashley in your party, your squadmates will say “Wasn’t that a part of Ashley’s squad” and then proceed to say that she’ll probably want to talk to him. That’s a cue to do a swap out. 

In Mass Effect 2 and beyond, there are some missions that are made all the better depending on the crew of choice, but loyalty missions will hard-lock choices for you. This makes it easy to not accidentally do an important story part without the right party members. For Miranda’s loyalty mission, if you try to talk to her contact on the Citadel mission, they will just ignore you while they are on their phone. You won’t be able to start it without her, but other missions aren’t quite so clear-cut. These cues are also important for those aforementioned ship upgrades. If you’re talking to a character and they mention there is an area of improvement, or they need certain food ingredients: listen to that. That’s BioWare nudging you into a certain direction, a direction that – worst-case scenario – could save someone’s life. 

Be A Creep, Talk To Everyone

Be a Nosey McNoserson. Don’t be scared.

Part of the beauty of a BioWare game lies within the relationships built. I’ve played many games in my 34 years of life, but none have quite impacted me the way Mass Effect has. Just like in real life, any type of relationship requires work and effort. The same thing applies to the trilogy. After every mission, talk to every single person on your crew, including Joker. This will kickstart loyalty missions, get insight into how you’ve handled previous parts of the story, and unlock backstories and friendship with each member of your crew. For those pursuing romance, this is very applicable to that as well. You can’t start those feelings of love if you don’t know that person, and some of the crewmembers require a high level of trust before opening up to you. Talk to them, go through the dialogue wheel, even if you think you’ve already exhausted the options. Sometimes, not all of the time, that same dialogue choice will open up a new response. 

And don’t take it personally that Garrus is always calibrating. Don’t hate, just calibrate. 

Don’t Rush Through Cutscenes

Sometimes characters go on and on, but try your best to be patient.

Look, I get it. Sometimes, a character just goes on and on and it’s so tempting to hit that button that rushes through the conversation to get back to gameplay. You’re going to want to especially NOT do this in 2 and 3 because it’s there that there are the right and left QTE prompts to indicate a Paragon or Renegade choice. Rushing through the dialogue can actually skip those options, making you miss out on ranking up those much-needed points. Also, the dialogue wheel is just finicky, so rushing through can actually choose a response option that you might not necessarily have wanted to make. 

Plus, the story is just good. Savor it. 

There are so many more tips I’d love to give, including who to romance, who to side with, who to kill, yada yada yada. However, these are the most common mistakes I hear players make, both those familiar with Mass Effect and those just coming in. Speaking yesterday with a friend who has played through the series 3 times said she had no idea you could make everyone survive the Suicide Mission, or make peace between two races that have been at war for centuries. This is a series that involves a lot of attention to detail and a lot of heavy choices to make. Hopefully, this guide will aid you well in your Mass Effect Legendary Edition adventures. 

Interested in learning more about Mass Effect Legendary Edition? Be sure to check out https://www.gameinformer.com/product/mass-effect-legendary-edition" target=”_blank”>our dedicated hub here, including exclusive interviews with the team, gameplay, and our review-in-progress. 

Now. You should go. 


Does Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Still Hold Up? – Game Informer Live

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Mass Effect Legendary Edition is without a doubt the best way to enjoy the series, however, it lacks one standout feature that made the original trilogy so great: Mass Effect 3 multiplayer. Join the Game Informer crew alongside special guest Derek Hollan, former BioWare developer, to see if the fan-favorite game mode still holds up. Spoilers: it does, and we’d love to see Mass Effect 3 multiplayer find its way into Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

But why wasn’t multiplayer included in the recent release of Legendary Edition? In a previous interview with Game Informer, BioWare developer Kevin Meek had this to say: 

“I had all of these analogies early on to try to help people understand what this remaster is going to be about,” he said. “It’s one thing to take a 1982 Porsche that needs to be fully restored, but now I want you to imagine that it was actually buried in concrete. So you’ve got to chip away at all of that, and every time you go to try something it’s like ‘is this even going to work?’ Do I blow the engine turnover? You know, it’s just a lot of work. And I think people underestimate what it’s like to do this game, because – at every step – you are given an agonizing choice of ‘is this the thing that we want to spend our time on and really try to improve it’ and ‘where will this lead us down the road?'” 

He added, “I feel strongly that we’ve chosen the things that are what the majority of our fans were most passionate about. On the topic of multiplayer, it was just really hard. Getting all of the online systems working and functionality would have been another large chunk to do but at the same time, there are a lot of other logistics involved. The economy is built completely differently. Then questions came up like, ‘Do we support it post-launch? What about people who are still playing multiplayer today? Do we try to find a way to somehow do crossplay between the PS3 and PS4?’ and it was a lot.” 

Hopefully, the success of the recently remastered trilogy will help to incentivize BioWare to remaster the third game’s multiplayer mode. But what do you think? Is it in BioWare’s best interest to spend additional resources to support Mass Effect Legendary Edition post-launch by adding multiplayer? Lucky for us, we can still enjoy the multiplayer mode while we wait, since Mass Effect 3’s servers are still online and easily accessible with an original copy of the 2012 release.

This video was originally broadcasted on the Game Informer Twitch channel, where you can watch live and chat with us.


Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Remake On Switch Locks Fast-Travel Behind Loftwing Amiibo

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Earlier today, we shared a first look at the latest Amiibo to join the Nintendo lineup for the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD remake coming to Nintendo Switch. The Amiibo is stunning, but there is an unfortunate downside to its availability. For those that were looking forward to being able to fast-travel, the new Amiibo becomes a “must-buy” instead of just a “want-buy.” 

The new Zelda and Loftwing Amiibo are detailed and adorable, but also come bearing a paywall. For those that played the original, you may remember that traveling between locations was somewhat limited due to certain point locations being available. This is still very much available in the game but limited in its original iteration. With the new Zelda and Loftwing Amiibo, players will be able to travel with more freedom. While this feature is pretty neat, it is restricted to just the Amiibo at this time. 

Amiibo brings many awesome features to games, including unique cosmetics, character inclusion, and even special attacks. There is always a line between what is and isn’t considered predatory in terms of monetized extras in any game. Amiibo has done a good job at toeing this line, not crossing over into grey pay-to-win territory. I don’t think this feature lock could be considered crossing that line by any stretch. Still, I do think it’s important for consumers to note considering this is a feature that is highly requested and impacts gameplay progression in a pretty profound way, doubly so since this was not a feature in the original. 

For those that love Amiibo as I do, you’ll also probably know that this isn’t the first time a feature was locked behind these adorable little figures. In Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Wolf Link was tied to purchasing that particular Amiibo that was released for the Twilight Princess HD. That backstory is important for context regarding Amiibo and Nintendo franchises, especially when looking at other Zelda games and titles like Super Smash Bros. 

You can see the Loftwing Amiibo in action in the video at the top of the article.

Thoughts on Skyward Sword HD and the Zelda and Loftwing Amiibo? Did you expect fast travel to be locked behind an Amiibo purchase, or are you disappointed that feature isn’t in the game itself organically? There are points to both sides, so speak your truth in the comment section below! 


Psychonauts 2: Exclusive First Look At The Game’s New Psi-Power

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Anyone who stepped foot into the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp in the original Psychonauts understands the charm of Double Fine’s iconic platformer. That’s largely due to Raz, Liz, and the rest of the crew, but it also stems from their unique psychic abilities, which made for a memorable gaming experience. With our heroes returning for another adventure in Psychonauts 2, the psychic cadets are growing in their abilities and able to command new powers, which players can use to pulverize the villainous censors and bad ideas. Join us as we give you an exclusive first look at Psychonauts 2’s latest ability: mental connection.

Psychonauts 2 picks up three days after the events of the original title with Raz joining the Psychonauts to learn from the world’s best psychic minds. Already late to class, our hero bumps heads with Hollis Forsythe, second in command at the Psychonauts, as she teaches her class in the ways of mental connection. According to Hollis, the ability allows users to link certain thoughts together to form associations. But there are always consequences to messing with people’s minds.

When Hollis steps away, the kids start to play. We won’t spoil anything for you, but when Raz goes wild connecting ideas in Ms. Forsythe’s mind, the newest member of the Psychonauts must work to reverse his mistake before the storied organization goes completely kaput.

The mental connection ability isn’t only used for major story beats though. Raz’s power also acts as a means of traversal and is useful in combat. In this scene, Raz uses his special combination of acrobatics and psychic abilities to pull himself into a thought bubble. From there, he’s not only able to connect bubbles and form new thoughts, but he can use mental connection to traverse the level and gain access to more vertical locations. This method of traversal opens up a whole new world of platforming possibilities for our psychic cadet as Double Fine challenges players with even more perilous play spaces.

Mental connection also enhances the combat experience, and the new ability works differently when used against various opponents. When faced with a smaller enemy type such as the original Censors or the new Bad Ideas, Raz will pull them closer to unleash a flurry of furious blows until the enemies cease to exist in a person’s mind. But what about when the Heavy Censors come rolling in? Raz can use his newfound power to pull himself toward the big baddies then devastate them with his other psychic abilities before they can even think about stamping out another spark of creativity.

Mental connection is just one of the new abilities fans can look forward to using in Psychonauts 2, but what else does developer Double Fine have up its sleeve? You’ll just have to tune back into Game Informer to find out.

If you enjoyed this video, be sure to keep check out the coverage hub below and the reveal of our latest cover story!


New Zelda And Loftwing Amiibo Joins Skyward Sword HD This July

Earlier this year, Nintendo announced it’s bringing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to the Nintendo Switch through a new HD remaster version. While details have largely been scarce since its announcement, we got a quick glimpse at the game in action through the unveiling of a new Amiibo featuring Skyward Sword Zelda with a Loftwing.

Throughout the existence of Amiibo figures, only the Super Mario series has been featured more prominently than The Legend of Zelda. To this point, the only Skyward Sword figure we’ve received has been of Link. Through the new Zelda & Loftwing Amiibo, players can add an extra convenience to the Skyward Sword HD experience. In the original game, players could only travel between the surface and sky at certain points, but if they call Fi and use the newly announced Amiibo, they can make the jump at any time. The functionality even works while in dungeons and buildings.

You can see the effects the Amiibo has on Skyward Sword HD in the trailer below.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword originally released on Wii in 2011. Despite receiving critical acclaim, the title was divisive among fans thanks to its pacing and reliance on the Wii’s motion controls. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD not only delivers higher-resolution visuals, but lets you use the Switch’s Joy-Cons to replicate and even surpass the motion controls of the Wii. However, for those who are opposed to playing a long game such as Skyward Sword with motion controls, for the first time ever, Skyward Sword HD will feature button controls for both handheld and docked modes. 

Both The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and the Zelda & Loftwing Amiibo launch on July 16. For more on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, check out the announcement trailer here.


Nintendo Switch Online May 2021 Game Update Adds Five More Games

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Nintendo has announced the latest batch of games to come to Nintendo Switch Online’s ever-growing library of classic games. While the SNES and NES libraries have a ton of classic games featuring some of the most iconic 8- and 16-bit games ever released, this batch of games isn’t quite so recognizable. However, this month represents a major milestone for the service.

This month, Nintendo is adding four SNES games and one NES game to subscribers’ libraries. The 1991 action game Joe & Mac (or Caveman Ninja) probably headlines this month, giving players plenty of stone-age adventuring. In addition, players can take the field in the outlandish baseball game Super Baseball Simulator 1.000, then throw other kinds at magical balls of enemies in Spanky’s Quest. The Super Nintendo offerings are rounded out with Magical Drop2, a puzzle game that hit Super Famicom in 1996, but never received an English release. Players who prefer the NES can look forward to Ninja JaJaMaru-kun, an action-packed ninja game that previously only released in Japan.

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These five new additions push the Nintendo Switch Online’s catalog of classic SNES and NES titles over the 100-game threshold. To this point, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers have enjoyed some of the most iconic games ever released, with titles like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Bros. 3, and plenty more being playable at no additional cost to subscribers.

The service supplanted Nintendo’s Virtual Console service, which was the way to purchase classic games à la carte on Wii U and Wii. Initially there was some resistance in the Nintendo fan base to the transition away from players owning the classic games through Virtual Console and instead having them bundled in with the online subscription. However, those criticisms have largely faded as the number of games playable on the service at no extra cost has continued to climb and players weighed the cost of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription against the cost of purchasing each one of these games individually. While not every game on the Nintendo Switch Online service has been a massive hit, cult-classic, or critical darling, it has given players a massive library of retro titles to play.

What would you like to see next from Nintendo Switch Online? Is a Nintendo 64 library the obvious next step as the number of beloved SNES and NES titles not already on the service continues to dwindle? Where does the Nintendo Switch Online subscription go from here? Sound off in the comments section!