WitcherCon Teases Big Netflix’s The Witcher Season 2 News And Game Announcements With New Trailer

The first-ever WitcherCon experience is going down on July 9. It will offer fans of this particular fantasy universe a place to geek out and a chance to learn more about Netflix’s The Witcher season 2 and what CD Projekt RED has up its gaming sleeve. To commemorate the upcoming celebration, the official Witcher Twitter account dropped a new WitcherCon trailer to hype up what’s next. 

Taking to Twitter, the below trailer splices up gaming goodness and scenes from the Netflix series to show off the best of both worlds. With a new Witcher experience in the works over at CDPR, the polish studio behind the gaming adaptations of the novels from author Andrzej Sapkowski, and season 2 on the horizon – not to mention a prequel origins series also in the works – there is going to be a lot to enjoy: 

WitcherCon will have interactive panels during the showcase that highlights the various teams that have brought The Witcher to life. This includes teams from Netflix, the games, and more to share some never-before-seen reveals and first looks. There will also be deep dives into the the anime film and the expanded lore like the comic adaptations while also exploring more about the lore that drives it all. 

The first stream kicks off on July 9 at 1 p.m. Eastern time, with the second kicking off on the same day at 9 p.m. Eastern. Interested fans can tune in both on YouTube and Twitch at their respective links. You can also learn more about the upcoming stream event right here

What do you hope to see from the upcoming WitcherCon? A release date for Netflix’s The Witcher season 2? A closer look at the upcoming anime? How about a new game reveal? Don’t let those dreams be dreams; shout out those hopes in the comment section below! 


Konami Announces Social Deduction Game Crimesight

Look out, Among Us, there’s a new social deduction game coming to town. All we have right now is a trailer for Crimesight, but it looks like Anime Clue. In Crimesight, players need to deduce both the killer – and the victim! What the? It looks like this actually might be doing something interesting in the social game space among titles like the aforementioned Among Us, Town of Salem, Avalon, or Werewolf. Check out the trailer below and let’s break it down.

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Basically, the gist is that using advanced A.I. the players are able to determine the killer and the victim of the crime – potentially before it happens. As with other social deduction games, one player is branded as the killer, and the others need to figure out who it is – and who they are going to kill. The advanced mechanics aren’t really known at this time, but we do know it takes place in a snow-covered cabin isolated in the middle of nowhere and it has a stylized anime look to it, especially with the “good” and “bad” A.I. characters in Sherlock and Moriarty.

There is a movement and exploration component to the experience, and in the trailer we can see players uncovering secret passages, finding a potential murder weapon, and moving from room to room. During one of the “meeting” segments where players can communicate with each other, it appears that clues and information are delivered based on room proximity to one other, and may be like “the killer is in a room 3 tiles from player X” or something of that nature. It’s hard to dive too deep into details right now, but this brief trailer has me intrigued as to the possibilities.

You can find more details and instructions on how to sign up for the upcoming closed beta test on Steam on the Crimesight official website here. Are you interested in this take on the social deduction genre? Let us know in the comments!


Epic GoldenEye 007 Recreation Using Far Cry 5 Map Editor Officially Taken Down By Ubisoft And MGM

At the beginning of June, we covered a really epic fan recreation of the N64 classic GoldenEye 007 using Far Cry 5’s Map Editor. With the news that the Map Editor would not be present in Far Cry 6 and the games that will come after it, this recreation felt even more impressive in how it showed off the unlimited creativity this feature lends to players. It was an extensive feat that faithfully paid homage to the game that ruined our friendships back then, but Ubisoft stepped in and struck it down due to copyright infringement. 

The dedicated recreation of GoldenEye 007 came courtesy of YouTuber ‘Krollywood,’ and its removal was made public when the email they received from Ubisoft went live on Twitter. User @Graslu00 first noted that the GoldenEye maps were removed from Far Cry 5 (as spotted by Eurogamer), maps that were usable by the general public. After doing some digging, they were able to get to the root of the problem: copyright strike.

The above statement cites articles written by publications like us, IGN, and Kotaku that made their creation even more popular, putting more eyes on this recreation, including eyes a creator might not necessarily want. In the email they received from Ubisoft, it looks like MGM reached out to Ubisoft about the unofficial crossover. MGM, also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, holds the rights for GoldenEye currently, so if that company seeks legal action, Ubisoft’s step would be to seek removal before it reaches that point. 

The good news is that their work isn’t entirely gone; they have all of the levels saved on the PS+ Cloud and a separate USB stick. They concluded their update to fans of their levels, saying, “I don’t know if there is a legal way to upload [those levels] again, but I’m on their radar now, I think.”

This YouTuber took their love of the 1997 shooter and made it tangible using Far Cry 5’s map editor, completely rebuilding the N64 classic from the ground up. The YouTuber previously told Kotaku that this was no easy endeavor before its removal. This recreation took almost three years to make, and over 1,400 hours to see this project come to fruition. That’s dedication, even more so for me because I give up after not even an hour of trying to make a dinky little house in Minecraft. So. There’s that. I’m neither ashamed nor proud. 

The removal is sad but not entirely unexpected. MGM has a pretty long history of taking down fan projects that have to do with GoldenEye 007, and with Far Cry 6 around the corner, more eyes are on the Ubisoft franchise than usual. 


Tons Of New Trails Games Are Coming West

During the Nihon Falcom 40th Anniversary event, numerous announcements for a ton of new Trails games coming to the West were accompanied by a concert. No less than four different games are heading this way, so if you’re into JRPGs, this is basically like a holiday.

We’ll break down the games, release dates/windows, and platforms here in a moment. The games? Trails from Zero, Trails to Azure, Trails into Reverie, and The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails are all on the way! Check out the trailers below for a look at what to expect:

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In Trails from Zero, Lloyd Bannings sets out on an epic quest to join the Crossbell Police Department. Of course, this is a JRPG, so nothing is ever that simple. What starts off as completing simple tasks to help people similar to saving lost cats from trees or taking care of broken fire hydrants turns into a massive mystery that reveals a dark secret. Trails from Zero is coming in Fall 2022 to PS4, Switch, and PC.

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Trails to Azure brings more mystery and intrigue to the Lloyd Bannings saga as things become enveloped in political power struggles. Of course, new characters and new friends help as things get mired in conflict. Trails to Azure is coming to PS4, Switch, and PC in 2023. That’s a ways off but hey, it gives you time to play the other Trails games, right?

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Trails into Reverie lets players switch characters with the Crossroads system across our hero Lloyd Bannings, Rean Schwarzer, and an enigmatic figure known only as “C”. Yeah, that’s right. The letter C. I’m already intrigued! Trails into Reverie arrives on PS4, Switch, and PC in 2023.

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Last but not least, The Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Tales has players trekking through multiple worlds to… well, save the world. What a twist, eh? Legend of Nayuta: Boundless Trails is coming to PS4, Switch, and PC in 2023.

So while a lot of these titles are a ways off, that’s a ton of JRPG localization that should excite Trails fans. Are you looking forward to this deluge of titles? Let us know how you feel about the Trails series in the comments!


Halo Infinite Multiplayer Will Be An Evolving Story That Begins With Returning To Reach

343 Industries dropped a ton of new info about Halo Infinite multiplayer during E3 2021, including new features being added in and how the Battle Pass systems will work. Now we’re diving a little deeper into how the Halo Infinite multiplayer seasons will evolve through an ongoing story, with season one bringing us back to Reach to kick things off. 

While the main campaign story gave us a new look earlier this month with Cortana Lite (she’s not actually Cortana, that’s a joke), 343’s Joseph Staten opened up a little more about how the multiplayer story will progress. Yes, there is the story of Master Chief but there is a wider arc, as well. “There’s another hero standing beside Master Chief at the very heart of the Halo universe,” said Staten to close out the latest Halo Waypoint blog post. “Some of you may have met this hero way back in 2001 with the launch of Halo: Combat Evolved. Some of you will meet this hero for the first time this holiday. Because this hero is you.”

The first season of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is called Heroes of Reach. Players will be able to customize their own Spartan to look the way they want, which is “a huge part of the journey.” But it’s more than just a personalized avatar, there is a deeper connection to the overall Halo-verse that is vital to the experience. “At the center of our plans is a goal to deeply root your Multiplayer character in the larger Halo universe and give them a vital, active role in the Halo story moving forward. How exactly we’re going to do this in the Seasons and years ahead… Well, we’re not ready to share details yet. But I can share that we picked Heroes of Reach as a Seasonal theme for very specific reasons: Reach has a rich history; it’s a key location for Spartans of old and a focal point for a new generation of Spartans preparing to wrestle with the perils and mysteries of a galaxy that has fundamentally changed after the events of Halo 5.”

Staten calls the changes made to Halo Infinite’s multiplayer a “transformational moment” in Halo history, one that will play a key role in future Halo adventures to come. 

The evolving dual storylines is a part of the five key pillars that the live team has when approaching their game development. These pillars include the prioritization of healthy engagement, maintaining a “player-first” focus, providing “unambiguous value,” and to always listen and learn from the community and each other. Halo Infinite has the potential to pave a new feature for the franchise. It very much feels like we could potentially be facing the end of Master Chief’s storyline, which poses the question: What’s next? Do we go multiplayer-only in the future, adapting the live-service model to continue on a form of storytelling? Do we go a new hero route, someone that dares to step into the boots of Master Chief? Do they keep Master Chief’s story going, despite evidence that it could be on its way to conclusion?

Those are all billion-dollar questions where only time will tell. Still, the latest blog post is alight with insider knowledge about what’s going on behind the scenes. If you’re interested in learning more about Halo Infinite, we encourage you to read the full blog post here


Fortnite Teases Loki Joining The Fight In July

While Super Smash Bros. and Kingdom Hearts may be the long-reigning kings of the crossover in gaming, Epic Games’ Fortnite has quickly made its case to claim the throne over the last several years. Ever since Marvel’s Thanos entered the fray hot on the heels of Avengers: Infinity War, Fortnite has exploded with new crossovers. While the skins and characters available have expanded far, far beyond that of the Marvel Universe (even though it devoted an entire season to various Marvel heroes and villains facing off against Galactus), Epic Games seems to be dipping back into that well one more time. 

A teaser image released on social media by the official Fortnite channels features the god of mischief’s signature horned helmet with the caption, “It seems Mecha Cuddle Master wasn’t the only one who found their way to the island. Looks like a trickster snuck his way through the portal and into the Fortnite Crew this July.”

While Fortnite already features the likes of Black Panther, Deadpool, Wolverine, Storm, Iron Man, Thor, Doctor Doom, Groot, and more, Epic Games and Marvel are looking to strike while the iron’s hot. Disney Plus’ Loki series has become more popular as the season has continued (episode three released earlier this week). The crossovers expand well past the Marvel heroes and villains, however, with events featuring characters from The Walking Dead, Tomb Raider, Terminator, God of War, Halo, Street Fighter, Horizon Zero Dawn, Star Wars, and, yes, Marvel’s main competitor DC Comics.

While we don’t have much more information about Loki’s appearance in Fortnite, we do know the trickster is arriving at some point in July. Until then, we’ll just have to make do with one of the myriad other Marvel gaming options, as the comics and movies giant continues to expand its reach in the gaming world through titles like Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man VR, and Avengers. For more on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy from the team at Eidos-Montréal, be sure to hit up our coverage hub here.


Bebe Rexha Headlining In-Game The Sims 4 Music Festival

If the last year has left you longing for some big musical festival action, but you’re not quite ready to venture out into a teeming sea of thousands on your own, it sounds like EA has you covered with its summer plans for The Sims 4. The long-running life-simulation game is set to host its first in-game music festival this summer from June 29 to July 7.

The event, entitled Sims Sessions, allows players to take their Sims to a music festival, letting them camp out at the event, snag festival outfits, and listen to the music. No word yet if the festival will also feature your Sims experiencing too-few bathrooms, heat exhaustion, or getting stranded on site after the event, but we have our fingers crossed!

The actual tunes will come courtesy of Bebe Rexha performing Sabotage, Glass Animals’ lead singer Dave Bayley performing Heat Waves, and Joy Oladukun performing Breathe Again. However, attendees will be treated to new versions of those songs, since all will be performed in the game’s native Simlish language.

In addition to the actual in-game event, EA is leveraging social media platforms to bring some increased attention to the current The Sims 4 experience. Bebe Rexha will join a cadre of TikTok musical personalities for a virtual karaoke challenge on TikTTok, where users can opt to perform/embarrass themselves in side-by-side duets with Rexha, singing along with Sabotage. In addition, at least some of the Sims Sessions event is going to broadcast out via Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, in case you’re wanting to follow along without actually attending “in-person.”

The Sims 4 has had a gradual climb to its current success. After its initial launch way back in 2014 to mostly middling reviews, the game has changed massively and seen a significant growth in player count. In a recent financial report from this May, EA indicated that the game had a whopping 36 million players worldwide across all its various platforms, which includes PC and previous-gen consoles.


Silent Hill Creator’s New Horror Game Will Be A Choice-Driven Experience That Will “Mess With Player’s Minds”

Keiichiroi Toyama is the creator of Silent Hill and a mastermind when it comes to involved storytelling. Since his time working in the fog, Toyama has been quite busy, helping to build up a new company with Bokeh Game Studio and hard at work creating a brand new horror game. COO and founder Kazunobu Sato recently sat down for a new inside look at what the team has been working on and what it’s like developing a new IP for a startup studio. 

In a new video on the official Bokeh Game Studio’s YouTube channel, the “Focus” is all on Kazunobu Sato. His current projects, the road leading up to this point, and a peek behind the proverbial curtain inside the world of development. The video starts with him talking about when he first tried joining the workforce as a teen/young adult. He reflects back on his time “floating” before he found his purpose from working standard jobs to trying out art school. He recalls that it was around the time when Toy Story and Virtua Fighter were released that he decided he wanted to try his hand at 3D graphics, but the barrier of entry was high due to the cost of tools needed to succeed in this field. That hindrance encouraged him to take a small course at an online Hollywood course to start building up a demo reel. 

His journey took him to Sony Computer Entertainment, where he met Keiichiroi Toyama. In an adorably wholesome moment, he recalls that he was a huge fan of Silent Hill at the time but didn’t realize that the man in front of him was the person behind one of his favorite horror adventures. Because he didn’t realize it was him, he was able to do his interview with minimum nerves, just like any other interview. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Sato went on to work on incredible things, including the Siren series. His work there inspired his own producing style, how he wants a game he worked on to be represented, to be experienced. He recalls having been the one to give suggestions to programmers and senior game designers. The passion was there; the desire to create was high. His love for the craftsmanship of the Siren series eventually led to him thinking out his own visions for gaming experiences. 

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Fast-forward to Bokeh, where he began working with Toyama to see his idea come to fruition. With him as the producer and Toyama as the director, he talked about how sometimes that means they don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye in the creative sense, but how that’s all part of the beautiful process. “It’s very important we share our opinions with each other,” he said. Those opinions, those differing perspectives on the overall design, are what make this a blend of visions and ultimately something wholistically unique. “As the producer, I always think about what would make the project and the game be better.” Because of that, he sometimes felt during this process that he was stuck between “pushing the project forward” and managing the company. It’s all about balance and one that sounds like it will be worth it. 

The new horror project will “mess with the player’s mind,” he said. It will be choice-driven in a way that will challenge the player to second-guess their actions, especially when weighing in the sacrifice system. Every consequence is designed to make the player feel it; emotionally, narratively. The impact will be profound and a constant force that players of this adventure will feel every step of the way. 

As a massive fan of the Siren series and of Silent Hill, I can’t wait to see what this team has to offer with this new horror experience. Horror has been changing in recent years. From cheap jump scares to rooted psychological journeys, the genre is evolving in a way that this could fit in quite nicely. That and it could challenge how we see horror games going forward. 

What do you think about the upcoming horror game from Bokeh Game Studios? Any elements from Silent Hill and Siren that you would like to see reflected in this new game? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below. 


Dungeons & Dragons Brings Dungeon Crawling To Magic: The Gathering

In case you haven’t heard, Magic: The Gathering is getting a Dungeons & Dragons themed set next month. Exploring one of the most popular D&D settings, The Forgotten Realms, the aptly named Adventures in the Forgotten Realms allows players to stuff some of the most popular fantasy characters and monsters in gaming history into their decks. That’s right, you can start attacking your opponent with the likes of Drizzt Do’Urden or conjure up Lolth the Spider Queen. 

Of course, alongside these big names Magic: The Gathering sets need new mechanics that fit the setting too. In Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, players can traverse dungeons with an all new mechanic. While it may not replicate the experience of moving through a tabletop environment with your friends, moving through these little card dungeons confers a bunch of benefits and can be built around with numerous cards in the set. Take an extensive look at how the mechanic works here.

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You have access to all three dungeons in the set at any time, as they are not cards that go into your deck.As you work your way through dungeons, each room or area you move into conveys various rewards. How do you do it? Every time you play a card with the “venture into the dungeon” text, you can move one space along. Not only do cards allow you to push through the dungeons and find their assorted treasures along the way, but other certain cards only activate when you’ve completed a dungeon. It’s inevitable that deck archetypes will exist focused on speeding through dungeons to take advantage of that bonus, and others will come into focus that spend more time finishing longer dungeon runs to take advantage of the significant rewards along the way.

As always, it will be interesting to see how dungeon crawling mechanics make their way into the metagame, and I can’t wait to draft up some adventures when Adventures in the Forgotten Realms hits Magic: The Gathering Arena on July 8. Check out more details on the dungeon mechanic on the official site here. Are you planning on heading into this possibly most nerdy crossover of all time? Let us know in the comments!


Abandoned Game Director Delays PS5 App, Full Reveal Set For August

BlueBox Game Studio has been at the heart of a wild bunch of conspiracy theories concerning its upcoming PS5 game Abandoned. From translating game director Hasan Kahraman’s name in various languages to decrypt a code, to tales that he’s an actor hired by Hideo Kojima to hide a new Silent Hill project, the rumor mill has been more active than usual with this particular mystery. Earlier this month, the game’s director took to the official BlueBox Game Studio Twitter to reveal a video of himself to put a “face to a name” to once more debunk any Kojima ties, now he’s back with a new video, this time talking about the delay of the PS5 app and an update on when we’re getting a full reveal. 

In the latest “update from Hasan,” the director apologized several times to fans about the decision to push back the release of the PS5 reveal app for Abandoned. He mentioned that the quality of the app itself and what was being shown did not match up to the small team’s standards, and that they wanted to reveal it the right way for the world’s first look. He also stated that a full trailer will be launching alongside the app, now set for sometime in August:

You thought the conspiracy theories would stop there? You must be new here. Some are saying that Hasan isn’t a real person, but not the actor that everyone thought. One theory is that he’s actually a computer rendering, while others are still convinced this is his latest paid acting gig. That being said, with the latest video, I feel even more strongly about sentiments expressed when we first started covering this story. My worry is that the speculation-driven hype surrounding Abandoned will place deep-rooted expectations on the horror game, expectations that will be impossible to reach because the very experience itself isn’t what people are assuming. I’m interested, and I know I am far from alone, in what the full reveal will have to offer, but I can’t help but have concerns that this may just be a case of a small studio that took a bite just a wee bit too big. That, and now that hype cycle could pose a danger rather than an aid to this game’s eventual reception. 

We’ll see soon enough. The director promises that a full reveal is dropping in August to give the team time to polish out the details. 

What are your thoughts on the Abandoned saga? Conspiracy theories that are just fun to explore, is this really Kojima-in-hiding, or is this a bigger conversation regarding the patterns of our community with expectation vs. reality? Sound off with your hot takes in the comment section below. 


The Beauty Of Legend Of Mana And Why You Should Play The Remaster

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the Mana series. It was integral in developing my love for RPGs and I created powerful memories that I’ll always cherish by bonding with my grandpa over Secret of Mana. I love getting lost in the series’ vibrant worlds, taking on larger-than-life baddies, and being taken with the stellar music – both poignant and adrenaline-pumping – that never disappoints. 

When Legend of Mana hit PS1 in 2000, it threw me for a loop, as it wasn’t a typical entry for the franchise. Sure, it had rabites, big boss battles, and its trademark action combat featuring co-op, but Legend of Mana’s structure is much different than previous titles (more on that later). It resulted in an entry that’s just as celebrated as it is disliked. I land on the side that sees it as the last great Mana game before Square Enix struggled with the franchise’s direction. Legend of Mana has its flaws, but it was also wise beyond its years in some of its systems and storytelling. I go back to it every few years just to see if my feelings will change, and every time I still see its magic – even if it didn’t always perfectly hit the target.  

In Legend of Mana, you’re building out the world on the map just as much as you are fighting in it. You collect artifacts for towns and dungeons and put them on a sprawling world map, deciding on the best placement for bonuses, which can impact everything from finding a rare monster for recruitment to factoring into which quests you can access. The further away from your home you place items, the more difficult the enemies and journey ahead become. Speaking of your home, as you play, you build it up to feel like one, recruiting characters to live on your premises, filling a monster ranch with baddies to fight at your side, customizing weapons at your very own workshop, and planting seeds at the Mana Tree to bear different items to lure new pets your way. None of these systems are too deep, but they do make your home feel like more than just a place to save your game.   

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What I love about Legend of Mana is that it doesn’t hold your hand, and forces you to seek out your own stories within its various landscapes. I look at the game as one big storybook, but you must find the pages. You advance the narrative by stumbling upon vignettes, that trigger through exploration and placing artifacts. These offer short slices of story and gameplay, so no level overstays its welcome. There’s something satisfying about interacting with the world and putting the pieces together to activate these short jaunts, like seeing an event and following a character from it, or hearing a villager discuss an issue and going to the scene in question. Some of these chapters end on cliffhangers, while others are stand-alone, but my favorite part is the variety within these stories, which can get deeply philosophical but are also balanced out by more humorous, light-hearted adventures. In addition, certain arcs have a bigger impact on your progression and overall mission of restoring the Mana Tree; others feel more like bonus chapters, opening more customization options.  

Legend of Mana’s core loop draws me in every time. What I appreciate most is it takes the things I love about RPGs, but it presents them in a slightly different way. For instance, we all explore towns, but how many times do we actually feel like our actions in them are fueling the story? This little touch makes the journey a bit more personal, which is kind of ironic considering your character is not the focus by any means in Legend of Mana. In most cases, you are merely an observer that offers a helping hand, witnessing how people survive and manage conflicts in the worst of circumstances, as extinction looms over them. However, it’s how you have to work to see what’s really inside this world that makes everything feel more meaningful. Legend of Mana is a game about experimentation, and you’re not shown the way, you find your own way. 

Every time I go back to it, I’m worried I won’t feel as endeared to it as I once was, but that quickly evaporated after playing a few hours of this remaster for PS4, Switch, and PC. While I think Square Enix missed the opportunity to do a full-on remake as it did with Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana, the remaster offers some quality-of-life improvements, such as faster load times, being able to save almost anywhere, the ability to turn off normal encounters, and updated visuals. There’s also a rearranged soundtrack by original (and all-star!) composer Yoko Shimomura, who you might know from Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XV. 

For its time, Legend of Mana was fairly inventive with its systems and the way you created the world. However, it’s also an offbeat, flawed entry (the action combat has seen better days). I won’t deny those aspects. They’re part of the charm, after all. If you’ve always been curious about this game, now is the time. And for those who also appreciate this quirky, heartwarming entry, share your love in the comments and consider another playthrough. 


Super Replay – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Look at me: I am the captain now.

After watching Dan Tack wipe the floor with Bloodborne in our last Super Replay, it’s time that I, Marcus Stewart, do the same with its successor, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Released in 2019 to critical acclaim, this tough-as-nails ninja epic flipped the FromSoftware formula on its head with a combat and parry system that promotes pure skill and aggression. The game’s memorable bosses can’t be felled by simply grinding and out-leveling them. You have to out-finesse them. It’s a challenging game, but on Friday at 2 p.m. CT, I’ll be tackling Sekiro in its entirety in a quest for redemption. 

As much as I enjoyed Sekiro I never finished the game after I hit a wall whose name rhymes with “Lardian Grape”. After suffering defeat after defeat I walked away for over a year and decided to travel the globe in search of enlightenment. I scaled mountains, meditated under waterfalls, and trained under the tutelage of Tibetan monks: all to acquire the mental and physical skills necessary to beat Sekiro once and for all. 

Okay, I may have embellished that last bit. However, I have an even better support system. FromSoftware expert Dan Tack will act as my trusty coach, and I’ll also have Andrew Reiner in my corner to provide his entertaining brand of commentary and moral support. It doesn’t matter if it takes 5, 10, 15, 20 episodes or more. When the dust settles, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be nothing more than another notch in my belt and I’ll finally become a master shinobi. 

Join us every Friday on Twitch at 2 p.m. Central as we go live with what’s sure to be a raucous and entertaining playthrough of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Our livestreams are a blast and we love interacting with our readers, so we hope to see you there! If you can’t catch us live, we’ll have the archived episode uploaded to our YouTube channel 24 hours later. Can I finally exorcise Sekiro’s demons for good? I may need your encouragement and advice to pull it off. 

Be sure to check out the entire Bloodborne Super Replay as well as check out past Replay episodes by visiting our archive. Be sure to also let us know what games you’d like to see us tackle in future Super Replays!


Final Fantasy XIV Online And Twitch Team Up For Free Rewards, Including The ‘Fat Black Chocobo’ Mount

Final Fantasy XIV and Twitch are teaming up for a new promotion to offer players some free in-game loot. The MMORPG definitely had a rough launch when it was first released; players were both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the structure of the new take on the franchise when it was first released. Thankfully, since then, various improvements and expansions have been released, effectively turning it into one of the most successful MMORPGs on the market. Now that this game is on PS5, the community is more active than ever before, which is where we finally get our chance to say: Come get your Fat Black Chocobo mount.

Chocobos are cute no matter what but this little floofy black ball of cuteness is just too pure to resist. It all starts today with Square Enix partnering up with Twitch once more for exclusive in-game items for Final Fantasy XIV Online. From this date, June 24, until August 24, XIV players can get the Heavenscracker and Fat Black Chocobo mount by utilizing Twitch’s gift subscription service to a select group of streamers that are broadcasting their time in Eorzea. 

But first, we just really need you to join us in appreciating how adorable this is: 

The Fat Black Chocobo In-Game Mount via Square Enix

For those that gift one sub to the participating channels, there will be a reward of 100 in-game Deluxe Heavenscracker items to enjoy. Gift four in total and you score that sweet, sweet ball of adorableness. To learn more about how you can make sure you don’t miss out on some free loot drops, you can check out the entire partnership initiative right here

You can also gift a limited amount of subs for free if you have Amazon/Twitch Prime.

Thoughts on how Square Enix is teaming up with Twitch to celebrate the latest journey for Final Fantasy XIV with Endwalker? On a scale of one to ten, how perfect is that mount and why is your answer eleven? Sound off in the comments below! 


Phil Spencer Says New Fable Game Is In ‘Amazing’ Hands, ‘Really Important To A Lot Of Xbox Fans’

When Xbox finally confirmed the rumors that Playground Games was taking charge of the next Fable entry following the closure of Lionhead Studios, fans of the RPG franchise were excited and a little nervous about the new team. While we didn’t get a new Fable trailer like we were hoping for during E3 2021, Xbox boss Phil Spencer is giving us a little hope to thrive off of in the meantime. 

Spencer sat down for a new episode of the Dropped Frames podcast (via VGC) to talk about what’s going on in the realm of Xbox. Outside of reigniting hopes of a new Killer Instinct, he also touched on Fable and how the “amazing team” working on it understands what a vital IP it is to fans. 

When talking about Playground Games, Spencer couldn’t sing the team’s praises enough. While we didn’t expect him to trash talk a studio working under the Xbox name for a property that is an intricate part of this platform’s history, he does draw a good point at another title under the Playground banner.

“The only thing I can really say about Fable is, seeing the pedigree of the team and Playground, and where they set the bar for themselves in building a game – I think that showed with the Forza Horizon 5 preview that they had – I think people should just take confidence in that [studio director] Gavin [Raeburn] and the team there has that same level of focus on doing something amazing with an IP that we know is really important to a lot of Xbox fans, so we can’t wait to get to show more, but the team is just amazing.”

No Fable trailer, but we did get an extensive new look at the upcoming Forza adventure and to say it was stunning would be a massive understatement. Technology continues to grow in leaps and bounds and seeing what this team is capable of when it comes to environmental creation bodes well for the immersive open-world they are crafting with Fable. Considering the last time we saw Fable was with the third entry back on the Xbox 360 in 2010, a lot has changed since then which means we have an entirely new fresh start for a franchise that is so beloved. 

Fable began its journey into our hearts back in 2004 for the original Xbox system. At the time, it was a massively-anticipated fantasy epic led by Lionhead Studios and its leader, Peter Molyneux. Since the original Fable, the series has been a big contributor to the air of notoriety that surrounded Molyneux while he ran Lionhead. Despite a lot of the talk surrounding Molyneux during his time at Lionhead, the core Fable trilogy cultivated a largely loyal community attached to this ongoing narrative and it became a major Xbox pillar long after the first title’s release.

Personally, I can’t wait to learn more. Our first look at the new trailer didn’t offer much outside of a weirdly specific scene about a frog ingesting a fairy, but it did confirm the rumors that have been circulating since 2018. Knowing what Playground is capable of and seeing the recognition of how important the Fable franchise is to the Xbox brand, I’m personally eager to learn more about where the studio will take this staple. 

What about you? What are you most excited to see from Fable? Are there any mistakes from the previous games that you hope Playground avoids? Shout out those hot takes in the comment section! You can also check out the full podcast episode referenced in the article below: 

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Mario Golf: Super Rush And Scarlet Nexus Lead The Summer Charge – GI Show

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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 Mario Golf: Super Rush, Scarlet Nexus, Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights, Dead by Daylight, Storybook Brawl, and Mighty Goose. We close the show by interviewing Squad’s head of production Nestor Gomez and Intercept Game’s creative director Nate Simpson about their work on on the Kerbal Space Program franchise, what fans can expect from the sequel, and how the company found out that NASA was a big fan of the series. 

It’s a full show, but we make time for another round of fantastic community emails. So please join Brian Shea (@BrianPShea), Dan Tack (@dantack), Alex Stadnik (@Studnik76), 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
00:02:43 – Mario Golf: Super Rush
00:13:41 – Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
00:14:51 – Dead by Daylight
00:15:44 – Storybook Brawl
00:16:40 – Scarlet Nexus
00:28:59 – Mighty Goose
00:32:11 – Guardians of the Galaxy
00:45:22 – Community Emails
01:14:35 – Kerbal Space Program Interview



Pokémon Trading Card Game Announces 25th Anniversary Celebration Collection

The 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise has brought several celebrations for the enthusiastic fan base. Whether you’re talking about the announcement of Diamond and Pearl remakes, the brave new direction in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, or the virtual Post Malone concert, fans have had no shortage of fun things to look forward to. As the Pokémon Trading Card Game continues to explode in popularity, Pokémaniacs now have another thing to help their party like it’s 1996: a new TCG collection celebrating the first 25 years of the franchise.

The new Celebrations expansion lets you take an evolved stroll down memory lane, offering up a collection of Legendary, Mythical, and beloved Pokémon, including Mew, Ho-Oh, Flying Pikachu, and Surfing Pikachu. This collection is smaller than your typical expansion, featuring just over 45 cards, including four Pokémon V cards, two Pokémon VMAX cards, and 25 classic Pokémon TCG cards. These classic Pokémon TCG cards give you the chance to add remakes of iconic cards to your collection, including Base Set Charizard, Umbreon ☆, and Tapu Lele-GX. 

Unfortunately, given the special nature of this set, you can’t purchase individual booster packs. Instead, you can pick up various Collections. The Collections will feature special four-card booster packs with uniquely designed cards, all featuring foil and a 25th-anniversary logo. While several cards in this expansion are celebrating Pokémon’s past, collectors and players can expect creatures from all regions, including Zamazenta from Pokémon Sword & Shield. In addition, players can expect some of the newer Pokémon to feature mechanics from previous Pokémon TCG sets, like Light Pokémon, Delta Species Pokémon, and Pokémon Star.

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On October 8, you can pick up the following sets:

  • Celebrations Collection – Dragapult Prime
  • Celebrations Collection – Lance’s Charizard V
  • Celebrations Collection – Dark Sylveon V
  • Celebrations Deluxe Pin Collection
  • Celebrations Elite Trainer Box
  • Celebrations Mini Tin
  • Celebrations Special Collection – Pikachu V-Union

Following that initial launch date, two new Collections launch on October 22: Celebrations Premium Figure Collection – Pikachu VMAX and Celebrations Ultra-Premium Collection. Then, at some point in October (no date set yet), the Pokémon Trading Card Game will release the Celebrations Collector Chest.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last year as products fly off shelves. Some retailers even temporarily halted sales of the cards, citing employee and customer safety, but many stores have them returning to the shelves with item limits applied.

For more on the Pokémon Trading Card Game, click on the banner below to head to our hub!


Xbox’s Phil Spencer Says More Killer Instinct Is A Goal, Just Not Right Now

Microsoft and Xbox have been busy over the past few years, completely renovating the Team Green ecosystem, including new studio acquisitions and broader goals for the road ahead. But just because there is new on the horizon doesn’t mean that everything we’ve loved in the past is getting left in the dust. Xbox’s Phil Spencer mentioned recently that there are “so many” games they’d like to revisit as a team, Killer Instinct among them. 

Killer Instinct is a fighting game with a hugely dedicated fanbase. With various combatants to choose from and special attacks to master, it’s been a vital part of this particular community. That being said, there’s not really a demand for this right now, especially so with other fighting games on the market currently and Xbox working on expanding beyond its current boundaries. 

Spencer joined up with the folks over at the Dropped Frames podcast to talk about revisiting old favorites. It was then that Killer Instinct was brought up, saying, “There are so many good games in our catalog that we’d love to revisit,” Spencer said. “The response when we did [Killer Instinct] at the launch of Xbox One was fantastic. Not everybody inside of the Xbox org kind of saw what that game could become. I will just say, Matt [Booty] and I have discussed many times [Killer Instinct] and where we’d like to go with it.”

The love and desire are there, but the timing isn’t. Spencer added, “It’s in our hearts and our minds that we want to continue to do something with [Killer Instinct]. It is about finding the right team and the right opportunity. But it’s not due to any lack of desire on our part that we’re not doing more of [Killer Instinct] because we love the franchise and the community response.”

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While I would personally love to see Killer Instinct make its return, I am glad that the team is focusing on outward growth. While that can absolutely include familiar favorites, too much of a focus on that could potentially result in a backwards slide of momentum. Xbox has been doing amazing things since the Xbox One era to grow and nurture a new and improved ecosystem. We broke down, in detail, here about the different strategies between Sony and Microsoft for this generation, including how Xbox is thinking outside of the … well, the box. 

Speaking of fan favorites, what do you think about more Killer Instinct in the future? What other games from the past would you like to see make a comeback? Join in with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

[Source: Dropped Frame via VGC]


Apex Legends Kings Canyon Map Coming Back Next Week, Revenant Heirloom Revealed

Here’s a question for all my fellow Apex Legends lifers out there: When was the last time you played on King’s Canyon? A majority of you might retort, “Well, Jay, just a few seasons ago,” and you’d be right in saying that. But what if I raise you one and ask another question: When was the last time you played on the preseason version of King’s Canyon? That’s right, the original map that launched alongside Respawn Entertainment’s battle royale back in 2019; the arena with fan-favorite points of interest (perhaps, even long-forgotten) like Skulltown and Bridges. Well, starting next week, you’ll be able to get swallowed up by nostalgia as the beloved battlefield makes its way into rotation just in time for a new in-game event.

The Genesis Collection Event will be similar to previous Apex Legends extravaganzas in that the tantalizing rewards will still range from cosmetic items (for characters and weapons alike), equipable stat cards, and more. You can earn a bevy of rewards for simply playing the game, but others can only be unlocked with in-game currency or real-world monies. I, for one, am beyond excited because cool skins for both of my mains Wattson and Loba – are dropping at the same time! But I know why you’re really here: Revenant’s heirloom has been revealed. I don’t want to spoil anything outright, but the guy is reminiscent of the grim reaper for a reason. You can watch the trailer above to see his melee options in action.

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Other incoming changes include fixes to Lifeline’s hitbox, balancing tweaks for rifles like the Spitfire and 30-30 Repeater, Arenas updates that focus on weapon prices and ability kits as well as a handy scoreboard that’ll allow you to keep track of the duel in real-time, and quality of life adjustments. However, the biggest update focuses on Wattson: she can place more than one Nessie on the map at a time with her Epic emote, with up to 20 Nessies being the max – a feature that we Wattson players have been desperately waiting for all season long

The Genesis Collection Event starts next week on June 29 and lasts until July 6. Have you been saving up to purchase Revenant’s heirloom? Let us know what you think about it below!


Greedfall Gets New-Gen Upgrade, Story Expansion, And Gold Edition Bundle

2019’s Greedfall is getting a new expansion, an upgrade to new-gen consoles, as well as a new edition packaging those updates together. If you missed out on the choice-driven RPG or want a new reason to revisit the island of Teer Fradee one more time, developer Spiders has some tantalizing propositions for you.

First up, Greedfall is coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on June 30. It’ll be a free upgrade if you own the previous gen versions of the game and you can transfer your save data as well. The new-gen versions boast 4K UHD visuals, 60 frames-per-second performance, and faster loading. 

On the same day comes the arrival of the new expansion, The De Vespe Conspiracy. Set in a new region of Teer Fradee, the story, as the name implies, revolves around unraveling a complex conspiracy while confronting a new enemy faction. When you’re not working untangle a web of lies and intrigue, you’ll be facing suiting up in new gear to take on never-before-seen beasts.

If you’ve never played Greedfall but are interested in giving it a shot, Greedfall: Gold Edition might be for you. It bundles the base game and The De Vespe Conspiracy to give you the full adventure in one package. Gold Edition also arrives on June 30th for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The price of this bundle is unknown at this time. 

For those who missed out on Greedfall, the free-form RPG takes to an uncharted island steeped in magic and inhabited by mythical wildlife. As a colonial noble, you’re searching for a cure for a deadly disease but quickly get wrapped up in conflict involving the native population and other invading foreigners. 

In his 7.25 out of 10 review, GI editor-in-chief Andrew Reiner highlighted the game’s strengths and weaknesses saying “GreedFall’s stories, world, and wealth of choices are fun to explore and can legitimately be great at times, but the problematic combat, reliance on conversation for quests, and lack of polish over everything hold it back, but Spiders is on to something and isn’t far off from having its first truly notable RPG.” You can read the full review here

Did you enjoy Greedfall and will you be hopping into the expansion? If you haven’t played it, does the Gold Edition and new-gen enhancements entice you to give the game a shot? Let us know in the comments! 


Game Informer’s Summer Buying Guide 2021

School is out, the weather is warm, and you’ve got some free time. To celebrate the summer months after an especially challenging cold stretch, we’ve gathered some gift selections to brighten up the season. Whether you plan to venture outdoors or enjoy some well-deserved downtime inside, we found a few things you’ll undoubtedly love. Read more…


Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII Remake Easter Egg Spotted Using Photo Mode

With Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, PS5 and PS4 players are diving back into Midgar once more. Whether it’s to play the new Yuffie episode or just to enjoy the remake in its even more optimized form, there are plenty of reasons to don that iconic sword once more. With so many getting back into the game, one player noticed a pretty sneaky Final Fantasy VII Remake Easter egg while using the Photo Mode in Seventh Heaven. This one is for the fans of Final Fantasy’s amazing soundtrack.

One Redditor (spotted by the folks over at GameRant) shared a screenshot of the latest Easter egg to be found. This one is specific to Tifa’s bar called Seventh Heaven and shows off the Piano Collections album. In the image below, you can see a plaque with the Piano Collections cover emblazed on the front with the caption, “Thank you for the memories.” 

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Final Fantasy has always had an incredible soundtrack, but VII’s is among the best of the best. There are even quests specific to finding music in these games, making the auditory experience even more immersive by making it a tangible and obtainable objective. 

No you may be thinking to yourself, “Self, that plaque looks to be in plain view, there’s no way that’s a new find.” We say that’s a fair assessment! The response thread was quick to congratulate the Redditor on the ‘rare find’ and part of what makes it so rare isn’t necessarily the objective difficulty of finding it, but the ability to hone in on it. With the Photo Mode, players are able to deep dive into the world of Midgar more than ever before, making it the perfect time to try to uncover any Easter egg-related secrets. 

Interested in Final Fantasy VII Remake or Intergrade? Check out our review for the PS5-enhanced version right here to learn more about it and if it’s worth diving back into. 

Any cool Final Fantasy VII Remake Easter egg findings of your own? Drop ’em down below and tell us what you’ve found! 


Neo: The World Ends With You Gets A Demo And One Last Trailer

If you’re a fan of The World Ends With You, you’ll soon get to sample its upcoming sequel, Neo: The World Ends With You. Square Enix is launching a free demo of the game tomorrow, June 25, for PlayStation 4 and Switch. The publisher also released one last big trailer for the title ahead of its launch next month. 

The demo takes players through the first two days of the Reaper’s Game. Players control protagonist Rindo and his buddy Fret to battle the Noise while also getting to try out a variety of ability-granting pins. In addition to getting to taste the game’s early story beats you’ll also be able to engage in sidequests and explore the now fully 3D Shibuya. Demo progress carries over to the main game as well, so feel free to take your time and really dig into it. 

If you still need convincing that Neo is worth your time, or just need one last shot of hype juice, Square has released the final trailer for the game. Clocking it at over five minutes, if this doesn’t give you a good idea of what to expect, we suspect nothing will.

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Neo: The World Ends With You takes place three years after the events of the original game. A new cast takes on a revamped Reaper’s Game that pits full teams of players against each other instead of just pairings. Rindo’s squad, the Wicked Twisters, are the stars of the show but expect to run into some familiar faces as well. That includes Neku, who Square says plays an important mysterious role in Neo’s plot. Gameplay still revolves around equipping party members with upgradable pins to take on monsters, but players will be controlling an entire squad simultaneously in stylish, fully 3D battles. To learn more, here’s a list of important facts we learned about the game from an interview with Square Enix. 

Neo: The World Ends With You launches July 27 for PlayStation 4 and Switch. The game is also coming to PC sometime later this year. For in-depth impressions on Neo’s gameplay, check out our recent hands-on preview

Are you excited to get your hands on the demo? Let us know in the comments!


Razer Blade Pro 17 Review – The Epitome Of Laptop Tech

The Razer Blade Pro 17 comes bearing the gift of the RTX 3000 series and completely shatters everything I know about gaming on a laptop. My primary gaming platform is PC, and previous attempts to game on the go with a laptop have left me disappointed. Not only does hardware usually go out of date fairly quickly, but I have a hard time adjusting to the smaller screen size and overall feel of laptop gaming. That being said, the Blade Pro 17 offers a much bigger screen and the performance blew my previous experiences right out of the water. This might just be the piece of equipment that makes me excited with gaming on a laptop. 

The latest laptop in Razer’s growing line is compelling, and it features a stunning display to optimize any type of game. The screen performance is unparalleled, and the port options make it easy to adjust the portable computer to your whim. To test out the Razer Blade Pro 17, I ran this machine through the wringer: Destiny 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield 4, and a modded-to-oblivion Skyrim – I tried it all. Beyond gaming, I also experimented with what it was like to run a thousand tabs as I do during any usual workday while using programs like Adobe Premiere Pro, auditory software, and running a game in the background. This machine passed every test I threw at it with flying colors, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a few drawbacks. Let’s talk about the pros first. 

What I loved about the Razer Blade Pro 17

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For $3,199, there had better be a lot of pros. Luckily, there are. I immediately loved this laptop’s size. The Blade Pro 17 is a Big Boy coming in at just over six pounds, so some may see this as a hindrance, but I couldn’t get enough. I’ve had older Blade models, but the screen sizes were uncomfortably small for my personal taste. The Pro 17 comes with a 17.3-inch screen that displays games in perfect detail with enough space to make out the tiniest of details. When playing Destiny 2 PvP, I had no problems seeing the smaller aspects of each map, an issue I had with the Blade series’ more compact counterparts. Even with its bigger size, it still lived up to the Blade name of being a thin shell to house this hardware, so while it’s not as compact as previous laptops, it’s still easy to take with you wherever your destination leads you.

To say that the specs are a little overkill would be an understatement, but my regular PC setup is pretty extra, so this was perfect. Transitioning from a game to Windows was fluid and I experienced zero stutters, lag was non-existent, and color vibrancy looked nothing short of stunning. The levels of connectivity were a huge boon for this particular model, sporting 2.5GbE ethernet access and USB3.2 Gen 2 ports. With nine inputs total; I found it easy and enjoyable to filter between objectives. From creating content to gaming, the technical setup is expertly designed to offer more than one purpose. The various inputs include:

One issue I had with previous entries in the Blade series is overheating. My previous Razer laptop went from room temperature to scalding hot in less than 10 minutes, making gaming while traveling a sweltering affair if I had limited space. The Blade Pro 17 definitely corrected that design issue with a much larger surface engineered with cooling in mind. I found this incredibly useful because when a piece of hardware overheats, the performance suffers, and that is an issue when working on projects that demand both connection and power. I’ve spent over two weeks with the Razer Blade Pro 17, and I haven’t run into any overheating issues, which is already a massive improvement. Between the surface area and the anodized matte finish to help protect from surface damage, this is a laptop I feel much more comfortable using for travel. 

What could be better

As mentioned, the battery life is incredibly short. Running a moderate amount of processes, I averaged about four hours. However, when using programs like Adobe, livestreaming, or just gaming, I saw it dip as low as two. Laptops are great for being functional on the go, so this battery drain is a pretty big drawback. Pre-COVID, I would find myself on a plane every couple of weeks, sometimes on several flights in a single day. While I won’t be streaming Battlefield in the air anytime soon, the low battery life is something I wish wasn’t quite so prevalent, especially in light of the Blade Pro 17’s price point. That being said, this machine is impressively powerful, so a battery drain is expected, and I would even argue that the pros far outweigh this con. 

The design of the 17 is sleek, durable, and perfect for those that are especially attached to the Razer name. The standard RGB settings were easy to use and displayed beautifully, and the sound capabilities were top-notch, laptop or not. So what’s the verdict? 

Final thoughts

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is a must-have if you have the budget to spend. It’s one of the most powerful laptops on the market right now, and it blows the rest of the competition out of the water. The Blade’s RAM more than compensates for any sort of multitasking you have planned, especially content creators who do gaming livestreams. This is a great system for gaming, creative work, or livestreaming. If the price makes you wince, then this might not be the build for you for the following reasons: 

  • You need better battery life
  • You don’t plan on playing too many demanding games
  • You’re using it as just a run-of-the-mill laptop

Unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to get an RTX 3000 series graphics card right now unless you get one with a pre-build or a laptop like this, which might make the Blade Pro 17 a good proposition.

To learn more about the Razer Blade Pro 17, you can check out the official Razer website right here


Mario Golf: Super Rush Review – Teed For Speed

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Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Camelot Software

June 25, 2021

Rating: Everyone
Reviewed on: Switch

Mario Kart and Mario Tennis players understand that when Nintendo’s cast of characters infiltrate a sport, they take the spirit of the game and turn it on its head with power-ups, unique character abilities, and zany courses. The game of golf is a patient affair, but when Mario and company step up to the tee in Mario Golf: Super Rush, it’s hardly slow-paced, as the unique take on the sport injects foot races, battle modes, and special abilities to often chaotic results.

The core golf mechanics shine in Mario Golf: Super Rush. Lining up your shot, using the in-game measuring tools to judge the distance you need, and entering your backswing is easy for anyone to understand. Selecting the power on your shot is done with a single, timed button press, with each stroke giving you the opportunity to add subtle effects like spin and curve through intuitive commands. On multiple occasions, I found a tree standing in my path to the green, but through shaping my shot, I could choose to either wrap the ball around the tree or float it above and land on the other side. Nailing a perfect shot like that is a regular occurrence thanks to streamlined controls, but it doesn’t make it any less satisfying to see your ball curve around a tree and land perfectly where you were aiming.

Obviously, the goal is to get your ball on the fairway or green, but if you find yourself in other spots, whether that’s the rough, a sand trap, or something worse, you must take those elements, as well as any slope of the terrain, into account. Where your ball lies affects the distance, trajectory, and even how the ball curves off your club. Once on the green, putting is as simple as lining up your shot, again accounting for the slope of the surface, and timing the meter to apply the correct amount of power. The tools at your disposal make the core golf mechanics continuously enjoyable from moment to moment and lay a terrific foundation for the more over-the-top deviations from the traditional golf formula. While Mario Golf: Super Rush provides a strong take on the traditional sport, destination modes like Speed Golf and Battle Golf (both of which can be played online) provide unique and entertaining twists to the tried-and-true formula.

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In Speed Golf, you tee off alongside up to three opponents, then take part in a foot race to where your ball lands before taking another swing. The goal remains to get the ball in the hole, but rather than taking your time to line up the shot, you have the clock to worry about; each stroke adds 30 seconds to your course time, and the player with the lowest time takes the podium. As you sprint to your ball, you need to consider the best route, your stamina meter, and on-course obstacles. However, the most fun part of the mode is when special shots and dashes start messing with the characters. While golfers are typically among the most respectful and chivalrous athletes, that all goes out the window in these modes; blasting somebody with your special dash is simply too much fun to ignore. However, Speed Golf’s biggest weakness is that this element isn’t taken far enough; too often the running parts of this mode feel uneventful, and the action often feels like filler between your strokes. Thankfully, for those who like the more chaotic elements, there’s Battle Golf.

Battle Golf drops you into an arena with other players in a nonlinear, free-for-all mode with the mission to sink three holes first. The stadium is full of environmental traps and weapons for players to use on each other; blasting a nearby rival with a Bob-omb as they try to line up their putt is beyond satisfying. Since holes disappears after the first player sinks it, you need to be strategic about which flagsticks you target, as well as the path you take to each one. On top of dangers like Chain-Chomps, Thwomps, and Bob-ombs, players can also use special shots to electrocute other players, turn their balls into imprecise Yoshi eggs, and even haunt them with a Boo to cause their shots to veer off course. For every half-measure that Speed Golf takes, Battle Golf goes all in, delivering my favorite mode in the Mario Golf: Super Rush package.

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Unfortunately, another main attraction to Mario Golf: Super Rush doesn’t live up to its potential. Serving as both a tutorial and a linear story mode with light RPG elements, the single-player Golf Adventure is an adequate place to start your Mario Golf journey if you’re wanting to learn the basics, but the shine wears off fast. The mode is skippable thanks to its tendency to spotlight different unexciting variants of Speed Golf, repetitive boss fights, and downright frustrating modes. One section drops you into a big open course with several nonlinear holes like Battle Golf, only it’s a solo version with stroke limits and tornados you use to reach higher areas; if you don’t hit these tornados at just the right angle or miss the tornado and instead land at the foot of it, your attempt is basically done for as you waste precious strokes returning to the correct angle. Add in a completely nonessential story as the backdrop, and you’re better off sticking with the standalone modes.

Despite the underwhelming nature of the story mode, Mario Golf: Super Rush delivers plenty of golfing greatness. With a strong foundation and multiple fun avenues of play, Mario Golf: Super Rush carries on the long-standing tradition of Nintendo sports games by being a good time regardless of your fandom of the actual sport.

Score: 8.25

Summary: Whether you’re a fan of golf, a fan of Mario, or both, Mario Golf: Super Rush is a fun twist on the sport.

Concept: Take the traditionally slow-paced game of golf and inject a foot race into the middle of the competition

Graphics: The Mario gang looks snazzy in their finest golf apparel, and the courses are brought to life with vibrant visuals

Sound: Super Rush’s soundtrack has a couple of bangers, but I quickly grew tired of much of the music. My Mii character’s voice alone made me want to mute the game

Playability: The core game of golf is well represented in an approachable manner, and having your fundamentals down will serve you well as you try to get your putt off before an opponent drops a Bob-omb on you in Battle Golf

Entertainment: Whether you want to play 18 holes of traditional golf or blast your opponents into oblivion, Mario Golf: Super Rush is a fun package for both fans and non-fans of the real-life sport

Replay: Moderate

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Exclusive: Dying Light 2 Devs On Why A Cure Didn’t Work, How Player Choice Affects Multiplayer, And More

Why didn’t the cure in the first game work? How does the multiplayer work with player choice in mind? How old is Aiden?! The world has questions, we have answers. The team at Techland will be sharing episode 2 of its video developer series called Dying 2 Know soon but since we here at Game Informer are also “dying to know” more about the upcoming sequel, we got a little sneak peek at what’s ahead. We also have an exclusive new screenshot to share for those eager to get a new look at what Dying Light 2 Stay Human will have to offer fans of the franchise. 

Dying Light 2 is taking the franchise into much deeper waters where player choice means more than it ever has before, and there are more than just the creatures that are our enemies. The team at Techland gets a lot of questions about what Dying Light 2 has in store, including things like “why didn’t the cure work in the first game?” Ahead of the next developer update video, we’ve got some answers to those burning questions right here. 

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What about a cure and what’s the deal with that wristband?

Let’s start with what happened to the cure in the first game. With the entry Dying Light title, there was an attempt made at the cure. Obviously, we see in the sequel that this cure wasn’t as effective as we hoped. Dawid Lubryka, animation director for Dying Light 2, tells Game Informer, “As fans of Dying Light will know, antizine was never actually a cure- it only slowed down the progression of the infection. In the events of Dying Light 2, everyone in The City is infected, and people learn how to live with that infection. They manage to stay alive, Stay Human, with what they have at their disposal.”

With learning how to control the infection, Lukasz Burdka, senior technology programmer, had this to say: “A biomarker is a device that’s permanently fixed to a human’s wrist. In the first episode of Dying 2 Know, viewers could see Jonah Scott (who plays Aiden Caldwell) wearing this. It’s attached to the vein with an elastic needle and constantly monitors the progress of the infection, which advances in the darkness, while sunlight and UV rays keep the infection at bay. Players should always remember to keep an eye on their biomarker when exploring the dark corners of the city.”

Life outside of The City

But what about survivors outside of The City? There is a lot that happens in Dying Light 2 that changes the world as we know it, what happens to those outside of the walls? Is there anyone outside of the walls? “The City is the biggest place that holds human beings,” says Julia Szynkaruk, the sequel’s associate producer. “It is the only still-living city in the human world. That’s why it’s called The City, because there are no others. As the largest settlement, it is surrounded by huge walls, so no one can enter and no one can leave. These were originally built for keeping people inside, like a quarantine of the whole city. As players will see, it didn’t really work as planned, because there are still infected inside, but the count of living people in one place is largest in The City. Of course, there are other settlements, but they are very small, scattered around the world.”

She adds, “There is a special group that travels between the settlements, however. They are the Pilgrims and Aiden is one of them.”

Burdka added that just because Aiden is in his early 20s, people shouldn’t discount his skills. “He’s still a pretty skilled dude,” he says. Aiden has gone through a lot in his short life, especially when he was younger, and that past has shaped and honed his life in a way that transcends simple age brackets. 

Who are the Renegades?

Another common question the dev team gets is about the Renegade faction. Lubryka tells us that the Renegades “are an ex-military faction. They are very, very ruthless. They actually never wanted to cooperate with any other factions in the process of rebuilding The City. They are very violent and greedy, and they wear masks so their actions and presence are dehumanized. No one really likes them for the fact that they conducted the initial bombing of The City with chemicals that people were led to believe would protect them.”

They sound like total jerks.

Transporting around the map

Players will be able to move around this larger-than-ever map in several ways, the primary being simple boots on ground. Burdka tells us that players will have a lot of freedom on foot, more than they might think. “You can move about The City quickly, and with confidence, using our advanced parkour system in combination with objects and facilities built by city inhabitants. Of course, if you want to quickly descend from a tall building, you can always use your paraglider, and we also encourage you to creatively use the grappling hook for the coolest stunts.” 

He also added for those further areas that feel beyond reach, there will be a Fast Travel option available, as well.

New monsters

Lubryka confirms that the team has not yet shown off all of the different types of infected. The upcoming Dying 2 Know episode will highlight something new, but Techland also wants there to be some surprises for when players get a chance to dive in for themselves. 

How does multiplayer work with player choice? 

As we’ve talked about before, Dying Light 2’s choice system has the power to level the entire world: literally. So how does that impact the multiplayer experience? Burkda tells us, “The host makes all the decisions, and our players experience them. So you can witness how the world of the host changes as a result of their choices, and you can compare this outcome to your own world. So all choices and their consequences stay with the host—they don’t affect your solo campaign, but you get to keep all the player progress you’ve made and all the loot you’ve found.”

Daytime is safer, not safe

Lubryka warns players that though the daytime is safer for humans, don’t mistake that for being safe. “The day is still very scary. You have to remember, humans fight with humans in this world. After all, it’s people are the most ruthless. So you will encounter bandits, renegades, and other very dangerous factions, so you always need to keep on your toes. Use parkour to stay agile and run from the danger, or stand your ground and fight. But to fight effectively, you must be prepared. Infected can appear during the day, but they are slightly slower when affected by sunlight. If you venture into interiors, the most dangerous ones await, and scary is an understatement. 

Exclusive new screenshot

There will be plenty more to learn about when the next episode of Dying 2 Know airs, but for now? Let’s take a new look at the sequel ahead of the next showcase: 

Episode 2 kicks off on July 1 at 12 p.m. Pacific. We’ll be learning more about what we talked about above and see more of the game in action! 

Are you excited to see more of Dying Light 2 and how the sequel will differ from the first game? What are your hopes for the upcoming horror adventure? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! You can also check out our dedicated game hub here to learn more. 


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Switch Gameplay Comparison

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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of going to Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom HuckJam, you’ll understand what a wild ride skateboarding can be. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series has also gone through similar ups and downs since the Birdman first graced our PlayStations in 1999.

Last year was a high note for fans of the extreme sports series, as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brought the series back into the good graces of the gaming public with the expert gameplay players love along with a beautiful new coat of paint. But while people got to experience Pro Skater 1+2 if they had an Xbox, PlayStation, or PC, the Switch crowd was left in the cold. That is until this year.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 is finally releasing on the Nintendo hybrid console on June 25, and while Switch owners are sure to have a bad taste in their mouths from some less than stellar console ports, we have good news for those excited to take their skateboarding on the go.

Join Alex Stadnik and Brian Shea as they tour some of the game’s most iconic levels on both Switch and Xbox Series X and let you know what their experience has been like with the newest release from Activision and developer Vicarious Visions. We also discuss not only the Switch port’s impact on graphics but on performance and control as well!

Want to know more about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2? Be sure to check out Stadnik and Shea’s review discussion from last year, where they discuss why this remaster is one of the best entries in the entire series! For the Switch fans out there, we’ve got a fresh episode of New Gameplay Today featuring Monster Hunter Stories 2, a deep dive into Nintendo’s triumphant E3 Direct, and details on the Splatoon 2 online feature that’s going away soon.


Watch The Full Sonic 30th Anniversary Concert Right Here

Today is the Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th birthday, and to celebrate, Sega unveiled a bunch of new games as part of its Sonic Central stream. During that stream, Sega also gave fans news that on Sonic’s actual anniversary date, June 23, 2021, it would be holding a special Symphony livestream featuring music that spans all three decades of the franchise’s existence.

The stream just ended, but you can view the archived version of the concert below. In the stream, you’ll find everything from an orchestra performing Sonic’s most classic and recognizable hits from the early days of the series all the way up to rock group Crush 40 performing big hits like the Sonic Heroes theme song and “Live and Learn” from Sonic Adventure 2. If you have any affection for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and its music, this is a terrific celebration of one of its most consistently excellent elements.

You can check out the archived stream from Sega and the official Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel below:

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Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th-anniversary celebration kicked off last year with the announcement of a 30th-anniversary logo and special merchandise. After that, the news went fairly dry up until last month’s Sonic Central stream, which brought news of a Sonic Colors remaster, an upcoming retro collection called Sonic Origins, and a teaser trailer of the next Sonic Team game

For more on the 30th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, check out our interview with the head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka for his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the Blue Blur here. For more on the history of the franchise, head to our feature about the franchise’s rise to prominence and subsequent fall from grace here, our feature about why Sonic 2 is so important to the franchise here, or how Sonic made the leap to not only launching on Nintendo platforms, but also appearing in games alongside his once-bitter rival, Mario here.

[Source: Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube]


Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle Of The Realms Gets A Release Date, New Box Art

Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms is the direct sequel to Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. The sequel was revealed earlier this month from Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Interactive, and NetherRealm Studios, and now we’ve got a Battle of the Realms release date and our first look at the official box art. 

Confirmed today, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms is making its Digital and Blu-ray debut on August 31. There will also be a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack available, as well, for those that may have missed the first film. 

Joel McHale will be returning to voice Johnny Cage alongside Jennifer Carpenter as Sonya Blade, Artt Butler as Shang Tsung, Jordan Rodrigues as Liu Kang, Patrick Seitz as Scorpion, Robin Atkin Downes as Shinnok, Ike Amadi as Jax, Grey Griffin as Kitana and Mileena, Fred Tatasciore as Shao Kahn, and Dave B. Mitchell as Raiden. Newcomers joining the fray are Debra Wilson as D’Vorah, Emily O’Brien as Jade, Paul Nakauchi as Lin Kuei Grandmaster, Matt Yang King as Kung Lao, Matthew Mercer as both Smoke and Stryker, and Bayardo De Murguia as Sub-Zero.

Following the events of Scorpion’s Revenge, Battle of the Realms will task memorable characters to travel to Outworld in defense of Earthrealm. Scorpion must find the ancient Kamidogu before it is too late and is used to resurrect the One Being, which basically would mean the destruction of life as we know it – no big. 

What are your thoughts on Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge and its sequel with Battle of the Realms? Have you been enjoying the recent resurfacing of Mortal Kombat in other mediums outside of the games? Join in on the conversation in the comment section below! You can also check out our own Brian Shea’s review of the latest Mortal Kombat movie right here to bide that time before August 31. 


Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin – New Gameplay Today

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Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin is a mere two weeks away from release, and with a trial version of the game releasing on June 25, we thought it’d be a great time to show you a quick look at Capcom’s upcoming monster-hatching JRPG. You might be thinking to yourself, “Didn’t Monster Hunter Rise just release in March?” Yep, it sure did, however Monster Hunter Stories 2 features turn-based combat and a neat monster-hatching system that differentiates itself from its action-focused cousin. With that in mind, join John Carson, Jason Guisao, and yours truly for an episode of New Gameplay Today wherein we share an early glimpse at one of the first chapters from Monster Hunter Stories 2.

Wings of Ruin’s story follows the grandson of a legendary wyvern rider who has a connection with a special Rathalos egg that seems to be the key to answering the mystery of its species’ sudden disappearance. Taking inspiration from beloved series like Pokémon, Monster Hunter Stories 2 focuses on the special connection between a creature and their rider. John Carson, Associate Editor at Game Informer, puts it best in his recent article:

Wings of Ruin follows the descendant of a legendary monster rider who is bestowed a special Rathalos egg. The creature inside is known as Razewing Ratha, which legends say can cause the world to burn with just the beat of its wings. As opposed to the combative nature of the mainline Monster Hunter series, Stories focuses on the friendship and camaraderie between riders and what they adorably call “Monsties.” Also, instead of being action-oriented, this spin-off is more like the Pokémon games. Monstie collection is a huge part of the experience, and combat is handled through turn-based battles with the protagonist fighting alongside a chosen team. Each Monstie has elemental affinities, so prepare to bone up on various strengths and weaknesses.

Did you enjoy this look at Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin and want to see gameplay of other upcoming 2021 video game releases? Then be sure to subscribe to the Game Informer YouTube channel and catch up on recent episodes of New Gameplay Today right here. As always, be sure to leave a comment down below letting us know if you’re excited to check out this upcoming game.


Morrowind Remake Mod ‘Skywind’ Drops New Developer Update Video On Making “A Believable World”

The Skywind Morrowind Skyrim remake is a project that I’ve been covering for years and can’t help but to feel passionately excited for. This ambitious fan-driven project is not only approved by Bethesda but also seeks to faithfully recreate Morrowind using the Skyrim engine. This has been years in the making and while we do have quite a bit of time left to wait, we do have a new development update video to showcase the finer details of what Skywind brings to the table. 

The latest development update video dives deep into the smaller details of development that are often overlooked; the details that bring the bigger picture together and aid in creating a believable and enjoyable world. Also in the video is a call-to-action with the volunteer team looking for 3D Artists to help out with this venture. To throw your name into that hat, you can mosey on over to the Skywind website right here to learn more.

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It will be some time yet before we get a full release date for this project in its entirety, but the team has been doing a phenomenal job at keeping those interested in this mod in the know regarding progress. To learn more about what this fan-driven project has to offer, you can learn a little bit about the team below courtesy of their website:

“It is a non-commercial, fan-made modification for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that seeks to merge the amazing world of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind with the enhanced graphics and capabilities of Skyrim’s engine.

“While ownership of both games is required to play, the player only actually plays Skywind using the Skyrim game, and not the older Morrowind game. This means that the user interface, combat, graphics, and system requirements for the Skywind mod are all those of Skyrim and NOT Morrowind.”

The modding team added, “Skywind aims to have full functionality upon release equivalent to recent Elder Scrolls titles, as well as to expand by reintroducing critical elements from Morrowind, that did not make it into Skyrim. We cannot make any promises at this time about what will and will not make it into the final release but rest assured some are already implemented and others are being worked on.”

The latest video is the sixth entry into this dev diary series! You can catch up on other inside looks at what’s going on behind the scenes with even more videos here


Nintendo Is Shutting Down Splatoon 2’s Online Lounge Feature In July

Splatoon 2’s rather nifty Online Lounge feature will soon go the way of the dodo. That means it’s being shut down, effective July 28 according to Nintendo.  

The feature allowed players to use the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app to set up Splatoon 2 matches and invite friends by sending them a URL link. Although Online Lounge will no longer be supported, Nintendo says it has no plans to change any of the app’s other game-specific features. That means users will still be able to use voice chat, for example.

Nintendo’s support page doesn’t cite a specific reason doing away with the Online Lounge. Players will still be able to set up local and online Splatoon 2 matches via in-game methods, of course, but this could be part of the gradual sun setting of the game. Nintendo released Splatoon 2’s “final” big update during the summer of 2019, though it has continued to host the occasional Splatfests even past that. The most recent contest took place in January of this year, and it was the battle of Mario power-ups with Super Mushroom vs Super Star (Mushroom won, if you’re curious). 

Meanwhile, we know the company is hard at work making Splatoon 3, which was announced during a Nintendo Direct in February. It’s set to release some time in 2022 and the setting moves away from Inkopolis to a brand new zone, the Splatlands. Nintendo hasn’t provided any more details about the game since, and it was absent during their E3 Direct presentation. It wouldn’t be surprising that removing the Online Lounge feature for Splatoon 2 has something to do with paving the way for its successor. 

Setting up Splatoon 2 matches with friends in-game can be a hassle (to say the least), so it stinks to lose another, arguably easier method of doing so. With Splatoon 3 a good ways off, it feels a bit premature to deactivate this feature. Nintendo often works in mysterious ways, though, so I can only assume there’s a method to the madness.  

Do you still play Splatoon 2 regularly and did you use the Online Lounge feature often? If so, are you bummed to see it disappearing? Let us know in the comments! 

[Source: Nintendo Customer Support via Nintendolife]


Final Fantasy VII Remake Almost Had Cloud Pole-Dancing At The HoneyBee Inn

We all remember the Wall Market segment of Final Fantasy VII – whether it was in the original version of the game or the Remake. The latter release, however, came equipped with a humorous, unexpected rhythm section where a dancing cutscene played alongside simple QTEs. It was wacky, but fun nonetheless. And Cloud emerging from the flashy spectacle in a beautiful dress and pigtails was literally icing on the cake. In a recent interview uploaded on the official Square Enix site, Final Fantasy VII Remake Co-Director Motomu Toriyama revealed, albeit briefly, that a pole-dancing scene was in the works at one point over the course of the game’s development.

Throughout the interview, Toriyama talked about why the HoneyBee Inn section was such a momentous task for the studio and how the team ended up creating a polished minigame. “The whole scene took a long time, from the initial idea, to composing the music, taking the motion capture, and adjusting the music and motions to fit together,” he said. “I was incredibly nervous until it finally all came together!” Toriyama and co. ultimately commissioned professional dancers to choreograph the entire burlesque show.

Moreover, long before the onstage dance-off between Cloud and Andrea Rhodea came to fruition, there was another, more risqué scene in mind: “Initially, for example, there was a pole dancing scene included, which meant that filming began on an elaborate set. We decided to take that part out due to the impact on the rating!” And there you have it, everyone; we truly missed out on potentially one of the greatest moments in Final Fantasy history…and a Mature rating!

Jokes aside, Toriyama considers the HoneyBee Inn to be a significant moment where dangerous notions about gender roles were appropriately stripped away:

 “Given how famous the cross-dressing was in the original FINAL FANTASY VII, we were aware that people would have high expectations for the remake. We knew we had to do it in a way that both lived up to those expectations, but took modern sensibilities into consideration.

For example, fans these days expect stories and dialogue in games to go beyond stereotypical depictions of gender. Through Andrea’s lines and the lyrics of the backing track, Stand Up, we tried to build in a positive and supportive message for Cloud during his cross-dressing scene.”

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is now available on PlayStation 5. If you’ve yet to hop into the upgraded version, read my Episode Intermission review to get a better understanding of what lies in wait! And if you’re interested in reading another Final Fantasy-related interview, check out our talk with the legendary Yoshinori Kitase.

[Source: Square Enix]


Scarlet Nexus – Game Informer Live

Are you ready to get brainpunk? Scarlet Nexus is out in just a few days on June 25. Is it a good choice for your gaming library? Join Dan Tack today on Game Informer live for a discussion all about the game. Got a question? Ask away, cause we’ll be fielding all the queries you can conjure up! When is it all happening? 2 PM CT on Twitch! Like, share, and subscribe!

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“Scarlet Nexus transports players into a “brainpunk” anime world where psionic powers and bizarre otherworldly creatures threaten humanity. What does brainpunk mean? In this somewhat modern era, massive advances in mind technology have led to the use of incredible psychic abilities,” I said in my Game Informer review.  “Of course, not everything is as it seems, and a mystery unravels over the course of the journey. Scarlet Nexus excels at selling its stylish and unique world, crafting combat that’s a joy to play and watch, pitting players against weird, wonderful bosses. However, some elements – like character dialogue, relationship building, and level design – weigh down an otherwise excellent experience.”

I scored the game quite high with an 8.75, which was definitely a pleasant shift from Code Vein, for instance. However, depending on what you’re looking for out of a game, it may not meet your There’s a lot to talk when it comes to Scarlet Nexus, and we’ll be discussing it all today live. So, come join us on Twitch for all the freaking action! 

Are you looking forward to Scarlet Nexus? What’s your favorite anime and why is it Ninja Scroll? Is Alex going to profess his secret love for Death Note on the podcast tomorrow? Hint: The answer to that last one is yes. Let us know in the comments and come by the stream!


New Suicide Squad Trailer Shows Bloodsport’s Backstory

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad is slated to be a three-way mix of hilarity, ridiculousness, and intense (likely graphic) action. Previous cinematics have given us fun glimpses at the movie’s irreverent jokes and completely destructible set pieces, but a new trailer gives us a bit more background into Idris Elba’s role: Bloodsport, the leader of the team. 

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Real name: Robert DuBois, Bloodsport is sent to jail for hospitalizing Superman after shooting him with a Kryptonite-laced bullet. Amanda Waller, the director of A.R.G.U.S., recruits Bloodsport by leveraging his daughter’s court date. As you can guess, this angers the ex-mercenary, but he soon joins The Suicide Squad to help save the world nevertheless. You can watch the trailer above. The Suicide Squad’s synopsis reads as follows: 

Welcome to hell—a.k.a. Belle Reve, the prison with the highest mortality rate in the US of A. Where the worst Super-Villains are kept and where they will do anything to get out—even join the super-secret, super-shady Task Force X. Today’s do-or-die assignment? Assemble a collection of cons, including Bloodsport, Peacemaker, Captain Boomerang, Ratcatcher 2, Savant, King Shark, Blackguard, Javelin and everyone’s favorite psycho, Harley Quinn. Then arm them heavily and drop them (literally) on the remote, enemy-infused island of Corto Maltese.

Trekking through a jungle teeming with militant adversaries and guerrilla forces at every turn, the Squad is on a search-and-destroy mission with only Colonel Rick Flag on the ground to make them behave…and Amanda Waller’s government techies in their ears, tracking their every movement. And as always, one wrong move and they’re dead (whether at the hands of their opponents, a teammate, or Waller herself). If anyone’s laying down bets, the smart money is against them—all of them.

The Suicide Squad comes packed with an all-star cast including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, John Cena as Peacemaker, Sylvester Stallone as King Shark (among many other returning faces from David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad adaptation). The movie releases worldwide on August 6. There’s also an upcoming Suicide Squad-inspired video game that was revealed last year. You can learn more about it and watch the trailer here.


BioWare Talks About Canceled Mass Effect Movie And Why A TV Adaption Would Work Better

Back in October, we talked about how a possible Mass Effect adaptation would work better as a TV series rather than a movie. This conversation was sparked by a Mass Effect movie that has been held in limbo for years, only to be eventually scrapped. With the Mass Effect Legendary Edition bringing an entirely new wave of fans aboard the Normandy, BioWare’s Mac Walters recently shed some light on the canceled movie adaptation and why a TV series format makes more sense. 

The Mass Effect movie in question was in the works back in 2010 under Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros., but it was never able to pick up enough traction to get the project moving forward at full speed ahead. Then, Legendary had a shakeup on the leadership level; the question came into play of “movie or TV?” Unfortunately, that question ended up draining any interest. But now that the remaster has the community alive and well once more, anything is possible.

With so many other adaptations coming down the pipeline, including several Resident Evil projects, a Halo series, and The Last of Us HBO show, the topic of the scrapped Mass Effect movie was bound to come up sooner or later. In a recent interview with InsiderWalters mentioned that Hollywood is going to want another shot at Mass Effect in the future, especially given the vastness of this universe. “It’s such an expansive world, and so many people I know in the TV and film industry have reached out to ask me when we’re going to do it and saying we’ve got to do it,” Walters told the site.

That being said, if it were to happen, it would need to happen correctly, and a few different angles would need to be addressed: Does BioWare try to adapt the original trilogy? Offer some closure to Mass Effect Andromeda? An entirely new tale, perhaps exploring the franchise’s history, such as the First Contact War? The studio can really go anywhere; there are so many pockets of lore found within the games, the anime, and the surrounding comics and books. Because of that expansiveness, however, a movie format could prove too restrictive. According to Walters, “If you’re going to tell a story that’s as fleshed out as ‘Mass Effect,’ TV is the way to do it. There’s a natural way it fits well with episodic content.”

“When we build out a Mass Effect game, we have a backbone or an overall story that we want to tell, but each level or mission is like its own TV episode,” Walters added. “It doesn’t get written ahead of time. It gets written at the time that we get to it. So it gets added to the main story, and sometimes the main story gets adjusted because we did something really cool in that ‘episode.’ So long-from storytelling is a great place for game franchises.”

Video game movie adaptations don’t have the best track record, and a lot of that is because film formatting is restrictive in terms of time allotted to tell a certain story. Because of that, either the vision becomes convoluted or comes out being so far off from the source material that it’s unrecognizable. With a TV series, there is time to develop the narrative, world-build, and ensure that the viewer is as immersed as possible. We’ve seen success with this format with The Witcher, Castlevania, DOTA’s anime, and more. It seems to be the magical middle ground that has been left out of consideration when taking to the gaming world. 

If you’re interested in our own thoughts about why a TV adaptation would work better and some of our ideas as to what that should look like, you can check that out right here


New Xbox Cloud Upgrade Means Game Pass Games Will Look And Play Better

Xbox’s cloud-gaming platform, Game Pass (and Ultimate), continue to bring a stream-lined experience to millions of gamers everyday. The monthly subscription is leagues ahead of most other cloud services out there because of its sheer number of readily available games to play as well as its monthly cycle of titles. Additionally, Microsoft is truly committing to Game Pass by bringing a bevy of its upcoming, highly-anticipated titles to the catalog on respective launch days. Another Xbox cloud update has gone live, affecting the visual and technical prowess of Game Pass titles.

According to Ars Techica’s Sam Machkovech, the upgrade seems to be more prevalent on Game Pass titles being activated on web browsers or through the Android app. This is to make the games play, feel, and look as if they were booted up on an Xbox Series X console:

“The Xbox version has been quite attractive thanks to its value proposition. It includes over 260 games as part of a $15/month subscription…Up until now, however, the catch has been measly power on the server-farm side, since its cloud instances regressed to the “base” Xbox One console spec. Earlier this month, Xbox execs confirmed that its server fleet would begin upgrading to the Xbox Series X spec, which supports higher frame rates, higher pixel resolutions, faster loading times, and advanced rendering features.”

Machkovech also states that the upgrade hasn’t been officially revealed, but any games that have still not been amplified or are exhibiting faster load times/better visuals will likely be getting that update soon. If you’re riding the Game Pass wave, we’ve got you covered on what’s coming to the subscription next month

Have you been playing most of your games through Game Pass? Will you be testing out the upgrades on your PC and Android? Let us know what you’ve discovered and what you think in the comments below!

[Source: Ars Technica]


Dungeons & Dragons And WWE Superstars Collide For D&D Live

A new D&D Live is just around the corner and this time, we’ve got a few WWE Superstars jumping into the Dungeons & Dragons fray. The upcoming D&D Live session with G4TV, we’ve got Tyler Breeze, Ember Moon, Mace, and Xavier Woods diving straight into The Chaos Carnival for a new campaign with Aabria Lyengar as the Dungeon Master. 

It’s not so strange to see these names pop up for D&D Live, each has their own passionate history with Dungeons & Dragons’ expansive tabletop experience, including being in several D&D books. It’s all going down soon, kicking off on July 16 and 17: 

“It’s no coincidence that the storyline I have prepared for WWE Superstars involves high-flying attractions and wildly dangerous stakes,” said Dungeon Master, Aabira Lyengar. “Each player at the table lost something precious to them at the Chaos Carnival years ago…can they unravel the secrets below the Big Top before they become the next main attraction?”

The WWE Superstars are teaming up to do some good in the world, joining up to raise money for Connor’s Cure charity. Connor’s Cure is a cancer research charity organization that the WWE has created to honor an incredibly brave young boy. This charity initiative was inspired by Connor Michalek, an 8-year-old WWE superfan that battled a rare form of cancer with medulloblastoma. If you can’t make the D&D Live event and would like to contribute to Connor’s Cure, you can learn more here

For those that want to tune in and watch the fun, you can watch the latest D&D Live a few different ways: 

Are you excited for the WWE Superstars takeover with the upcoming D&D Live? What other names would you like to see join in on a campaign in the name of charity? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Aliens: Fireteam Elite Gets August Launch Date

The game formerly known as just Aliens: Fireteam has been rebranded to Aliens: Fireteam Elite and it’s coming in August. We first learned about the game back in March, and it’s a co-op bug hunt that, as its title implies, draws heavy inspiration from Xenomorph-laden action of Aliens

On August 24, you and up to two other friends (or AI teammates) can suit up as marines to take on the universe’s greatest hunters in a new adventure set 23 years after the original film trilogy. The story unfolds over four separate campaigns with three missions each. Similar to games like Left 4 Dead, you’ll fend off waves of Xenomorphs with each player taking on one of five specialized classes (gunner, demolisher, recon, technician, and doc). Marines can be customized further with various weapon perks and cosmetics. Concocting the right combination of skills and classes is vital to successfully combat Fireteam Elite’s 11 different Xenomorph types and 20 enemy types overall. Check out the new gameplay trailer below. 

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Although developer Cold Iron Studios designing Fireteam Elite with replayability in mind, it is not a live service game. Rather, players can use a range of modifier cards to dramatically alter the rules of engagement, such as making it so that only headshots can damage enemies. Playing under these special conditions will net bigger rewards upon completion, giving players a reason to repeatedly take on the hive while keeping the action fresh. 

Aliens: Fireteam Elite is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 

If you love slaughtering waves of enemies alongside some good buddies, there’s quite a few games on the horizon to look out for. Be sure to keep an eye on Left 4 Dead spiritual successor Back 4 Blood, Arkane Studios’ newly announced vampire action game, Redfall, and the PvE focused Rainbow Six Extraction

Will you be checking out Aliens: Fireteam Elite? Sound off in the comments below!


Xbox Game Pass Adding 9 More Games, 8 Leaving

Worms Rumble arrives on Xbox Game Pass today, but it will soon be joined by even more titles on the horizon. Just like every month, new games will be making their way onto the Xbox Game Pass library and others will be leaving to make room. With so many new additions confirmed during E3 2021, here is what else members can look forward to for the rest of June and the beginning of July. 

For those that may not know, the Xbox Game Pass library is one that continues to evolve. From day one launches of hit games to indie treasures that deserve their time to shine, the Game Pass membership allows players a chance to have instant access to a plethora of games without having to shell out 60 bucks each time. But, before we go into the benefits of Xbox Game Pass, let’s look to see what’s coming soon. 

What’s coming to Xbox Game Pass: 

  • Worms Rumble, Cloud, Console, and PC – Today
  • Iron Harvest, PC – June 24
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, Console and PC – June 24
  • Prodeus, PC – June 24
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts – July 1
  • Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling, Cloud, Console, and PC – July 1
  • Gang Beasts, Cloud, Console, and PC – July 1
  • Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars, Cloud, Console, and PC – July 1
  • Limbo, Cloud, Console, and PC – July 1

DLC/Game Updates:

  • Black Desert x Bugatti Event – Until July 7
  • Dead by Daylight: Resident Evil – Available now
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection Season 7 – Available now
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator: World Update V Nordics – Available Now
  • Minecraft: Sonic the Hedgehog DLC – Available now
  • NBA 2K21 Season 8: Trial of Champions – Available now
  • For Honor: Year 5 Season 2 Mirage – Available until July 1
  • Seas of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life – Available now
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Series X/S Update – Available now
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Console Enhanced Series X/S Update – Available now

What’s leaving – June 30:

  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Cloud, Console, and PC
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Cloud, Console, and PC
  • Mistover, PC
  • Monster Hunter World, Cloud and Console
  • Out of the Park Baseball 21, PC
  • Outer Wilds, Cloud and Console
  • Soulcalibur VI, Console
  • The Messenger, Cloud, Console, and PC

Xbox Game Pass offers Team Green fans a pretty solid deal, and it’s gotten more impressive as Microsoft makes more studio moves. With a growing library and a ton of more on the way thanks to Bethesda and ZeniMax, there are two versions of this membership to look at when considering this deal. There is the standard Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox Game Pass is $9.99, whereas the Ultimate version includes Xbox Live for $14.99. Ultimate comes with additional perks like partner offers, exclusive access to certain titles, and more. 

With the price point of certain titles coming in at $70, a membership service like this is a welcome option. Even more so that the resources behind this library continue to grow, including the recent EA Play and Bethesda additions. With first-party day one games being included as a perk, especially when looking at grabs like MLB The Show 21, Xbox continues to prove that it’s invested in offering a stable ecosystem and improving the player experience. 

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


This Tribute Concert To Red Dead Redemption II Proved The Power Of Its Music

Red Dead Redemption II – the prosaic complexity of its narrative, its timeless ensemble cast, and the riveting score, backed by a bevy of notable talent – has been an integral part of my life since its 2018 release. From submitting my amateur review of the title alongside a Game Informer internship application to attaching the brief video essay that I made while attending the internship to get into game design school, Red Dead Redemption II has been tethered to my video-games-industry origin story for as long as I can remember.

It was only natural that my first bonafide press event as an associate editor would be to attend a Rockstar-hosted Red Dead Redemption II music concert at the Tribeca Festival. I sat front and center, complimentary popcorn in my lap, and re-experienced each solitudinal horseback trek, perilous, slo-mo shootout, and reflective fireside interaction through song. Acclaimed musicians like folk-singer Rhiannon Giddens, producer Daniel Lanois, and neo-soul legend D’Angelo made appearances, as an epic montage of the Van der Linde gang roaming the American wilderness played on a jumbotron behind the stage. 

Early on, I listened to somber instrumentals that were evocative of brief, poetic memories I had while playing the game rather than outright story beats: fields of bentgrass swaying in the wind, even the rhythmic click-clack of horse hoofs pressing against Saint Denis’ cobblestone pathways. But at the midpoint, I recall the intense summer sun dipping into New York Harbor and chilly breezes swooping in as the troupe began to croon “Mountain Hymn,” a quiet piece that echoes the transience of life and innocence in Red Dead Redemption II’s violent American frontier. 

Suddenly, Lanois and Giddens, backed by harmonious chants, begin to croon “See the fire in your eyes” repeatedly, and the intermittent audience noise falls away. That rapturous moment when Arthur Morgan watches the sun rise – its harsh, red rays dappling the treeline – becomes ever so clear and momentous. I was always in awe of the Red Dead Redemption II soundtrack and how it’s reminiscent of and inspired by a number of classic spaghetti western scores composed by the great, late Ennio Morricone. Hearing it live, however, was electric.

Click here to watch embedded media

When D’Angelo emerged from blue-lit smoke to sing “Unshaken,” everyone in Battery Park was completely enraptured (you can watch a portion of the song from the festival in the video above). A funky guitar solo echoes throughout the venue, as the singer’s smooth voice gives way to musical vespers: “May I stand unshaken. Amid, amidst a crashing world.” While listening, I couldn’t help but come to grips with why “Unshaken” remains Red Dead Redemption II’s most popular song. Despite acknowledging the incredible voices that lent themselves to Woody Jackson’s eclectic score, I’ve always preferred the lyricless couplet that is “American Venom” and “American Reprise” fans might recognize these two incredible songs from the game’s final story mission. 

“Unshaken,” however, chronicles Red Dead Redemption II’s most resounding themes in mere minutes: redemption through violence, redemption through heroism, and, most importantly, redemption through fatherhood: “Am I to wander, as a wayward son? Will the hunter be hunted by the smoking gun?” 

Yeah, I really enjoyed that concert. And I never did get around to eating the popcorn; I was just so caught up in the moment.