Battlefield 2042 Review – The Battle Of The Bugs

battlefield 2042 review

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: DICE

November 19, 2021

Reviewed on: PC
Also on:
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Battlefield has always been the largest and loudest multiplayer experience in the business. It’s the video game equivalent of Texas, and its bombast cannot be overstated. Battlefield 2042 offers a variety of ways to participate in simulated near-future warfare. Whether you prefer to fight via land or sky, you can experience dizzying on-screen explosions, tense firefights, and more vehicles than teammates who know how to drive them. Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 is full of almost as many bugs as bad pilots, dragging down an otherwise solid online shooter.

If nothing else, Battlefield 2042 is familiar. It continues the series’ trend in delivering multiplayer maps with the largest player count possible and a range of reliable character archetypes that have become standard in first-person shooters. The newest addition to Battlefield’s long-standing formula is a weather system that lets you ride lethal tornados alongside the vehicles and debris they pick up on their route across the map. These storms are a neat touch and add a sense of panic to already-tense battles, but their inclusion feels inconsequential in the grand scheme. The 128-player matches and large maps guarantee dramatic moments, but there’s a thin line separating spectacle and chaos, and 2042 often devolves into the latter.

There’s never been a Battlefield game released without Conquest, the signature mode which tasks two opposing teams to capture and defend objective zones across the map. Each side has a limited number of reinforcements that slowly drain according to how many sectors the team controls. The popular format is alive and well in 2042, but unfortunately, it’s my least favorite way to play. For the first time, Battlefield hosts too many players in each match. Without the presence of Commanders to take charge of assaults, Conquest feels disorganized and incoherent at times since there’s no good way for all 64 players on each team to communicate and focus their attacks. Also, respawns frequently place you in the middle of a contested area only to be immediately killed by an enemy from somewhere off-screen.

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Even if the larger picture is occasionally blurred, the moment-to-moment gameplay loop is fun. Gunplay is solid even though hits don’t always seem to register when they should, and the wide array of vehicles are equally entertaining to pilot when running on foot becomes tiresome. I was disappointed by the lack of naval warfare, which is notable considering its importance in the series and the fact that several maps are surrounded by large bodies of water.

Breakthrough is the second mode in the game’s multiplayer suite, and it provides more focused engagements by separating maps into multiple segments, each containing two Control Points. If the attacking team successfully captures all of the objectives in a zone, they can force the defending team to retreat to the next area. While Breakthrough still suffers from an inflated player count, it is undoubtedly the best path to participating in a traditional Battlefield experience.

Hazard Zone, a brand new multiplayer format introduced in 2042, pits eight squads of four against one another and tasks them with retrieving data drives located in satellite crash sites scattered across the map. Each location is guarded by opposing AI forces that attack your team on sight. Hazard Zone has no respawning unless your teammates have a Redeploy Uplink. The only way to win these matches is to extract in a highly-contested Helicarrier, which only visits the map twice throughout the game. If you miss the flight or die before making it onboard, it’s game over, and you lose the credits you spent in the pre-match munitions shop. However, if you successfully extract, you’re rewarded with Dark Market Credits, a meta currency that persists between games, which you can spend to purchase better gear before your next match. Hazard Zone is tense and strategic, and the white-knuckle firefights at the end of each game make it my favorite way to play Battlefield 2042.

Another new addition to the series is Battlefield Portal, a community-driven platform that players can use to make custom games or play others’ weird creations. For example, there’s a free-for-all rockets-only mode in which the only way to reload your launcher is to jump five times. Watching rockets fly across the screen in such a ridiculous scenario is hilarious, but like most of the games in Portal, the fun fades after a match or two.

battlefield 2042 review

In theory, Portal is an opportunity for players to create inventive spins on Battlefield, especially since the Battlefield Builder is easy to grasp and is accessible via a web browser. Portal lets you customize the game mode, map rotation, arsenal restrictions, and you can program advanced rulesets with visual scripting in the Logic Editor; however, the latter is less approachable to beginners. As a fan of past creative suites like Halo Forge and Fortnite Creative, I’m not compelled to interact with Portal’s tools since they’re designed for modifying existing game settings and don’t allow you to design your own original levels. 

Portal also includes remastered versions of classic maps, and you can augment their rulesets or play them in their original form in a developer-featured playlist. I love this inclusion and am very happy to have a convenient way to return to beloved locations like Valparaiso, Caspian Border, or the Battle of The Bulge. These are effectively remastered versions of the series’ best maps, and I’m interested to see which ones DICE adds next.

Whether you’re grappling above the competition like Spider-Man, flying through a deadly tornado with a wingsuit, or sniping enemies from behind mobile barricades, each Battlefield specialist offers a unique way to participate in the battle. The title launched with ten specialists, and each of them falls into one of four classes: Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon. You can fine-tune these characters in myriad ways (including being able to use any weapon). Still, my favorite customization feature is the option to swap weapon attachments mid-fight without needing to respawn. My go-to sniper lens is the 6X scope, but I found it convenient to switch to a different optic on the fly with the press of a button. This new feature vastly improves the multiplayer experience and should be adopted by other first-person shooters.

battlefield 2042 review

Battlefield 2042 includes seven maps at launch. Hourglass features an isolated city reclaimed by the neighboring desert, Discarded hosts colossal shipyards along India’s western coasts, and Breakaway is nestled amidst the icy mountains of Antarctica. The other maps – Manifest, Kaleidoscope, Orbital, and Renewal – are standard fare but still feature landscapes worth exploring. Every map is affected by violent weather systems that are exciting to navigate, but I wish more maps hosted unique elements like Orbital’s rocket launch and Breakaway’s explosive silos that permanently augment the map mid-match. Regardless, there aren’t any bad maps, and I enjoy playing on each of them.

Unfortunately, Battlefield 2042 currently feels underbaked due to an abundance of bugs. While most bugs I encountered are minor, each one dilutes the fun I have when playing. For example, the grappling hook’s zipline clipping through the front of the device during its animation or not being able to call in air support on a map like Hourglass because of an issue with the sand’s navmesh. More serious glitches can negatively affect gameplay, like when sniper scopes lose their magnification after interacting with gadgets like Irish’s mobile barricades. While playing on PC, the game also hard crashed to my desktop once during a week spent playing the game. One of my friends wasn’t as lucky and experienced several crashes in one of our play sessions. These crashes left me especially disadvantaged in Hazard Zone. 

Don’t get me wrong: Battlefield 2042 is playable, packed with content, and often really fun. The title’s seven maps are distinct from one another, its bevy of customization options make it easy to play how you want, and I love the extreme weather systems and the quick-equip weapon feature. Portal hasn’t reached its full potential, but it introduces a convenient way to access six beloved experiences from Battlefield 3, Battlefield 1942, and Bad Company 2. Battlefield 2042 is an easy recommendation for existing fans or players looking for a modern war game, but I struggle to fully endorse it due to its current lack of polish. As long as DICE continues to publish hotfixes and patches as they have, Battlefield 2042 could eventually become a go-to online shooter, but it’s a shame it was released like this.

Battlefield 2042 was reviewed on PC with a code provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Score: 7

Summary: An otherwise solid online shooter bogged down by an abundance of bugs.

Concept: Battle for objectives across large-scale maps via land, sky, and in the middle of tornados

Graphics: The visuals are sacrificed in modes with larger player counts, but environments are rendered beautifully in smaller modes like Hazard Zone

Sound: Deep bass, large drums, and guttural synths comprise a familiar but compelling modern combat soundscape

Playability: Myriad customization options and approachable combat make for a varied first-person shooter

Entertainment: Each weapon has a unique feel that is fun to master and contested objectives always keep you busy

Replay: Moderately High

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Halo Infinite: New Look At Campaign And Side Missions | New Gameplay Today

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Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developer: 343 Industries

December 8, 2021

Rating: Teen
Platform: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

Spartans! Bare your fangs! Set a fire in your heart! Halo Infinite’s December 8 release draws nearer with each passing day…but it’s not time to finish the fight just yet. It’s not an easy wait, but hopefully, what Game Informer has in store for you today makes it a little easier. 

Today, Game Informer has three videos for you from the first hours of Halo Infinite, and your hosts Alex Stadnik and Wesley LeBlanc will be your guides, explaining what they thought of each as they played it, how they tackled each objective, and more.

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With three videos for you to watch today, there’s a lot to go over, so let’s get right into it. In the first video, we have 11 minutes of Halo Infinite campaign footage. That means if you want to remain completely unspoiled of what awaits you in the game, you should avoid this one. However, it doesn’t reveal too much about the larger narrative at all. That’s because it takes place in the opening hours of Halo Infinite. You’ll hear Alex and Wesley discuss the different ways to infiltrate a structure known as The Tower. They discuss different ways to approach the mission, what awaits you in The Tower, and more. Be sure to stick around to the end if you’re excited to see what bosses in Halo Infinite look like. 

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In the second video, Alex and Wesley go over the FOBs, or Forward Operating Bases, scattered around Zeta Halo. Before reclaiming one from the Banished for the UNSC, you’ll need to, of course, defeat the Banished that currently call it their own. Upon doing so, you’ll gain access to FOB, which means it’s not just a new Fast Travel spot on the map, but a place for you to stock up on ammo, grenades, weapons, and even vehicles. 

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The final video in today’s Game Informer Halo Infinite coverage is all about HVTs, or High Value Targets. Scattered around Zeta Halo, these targets are essentially boss forms of different types of enemies like Elites. In our HVT fight, we take on a special Elite HVT who uses a sword and invisibility to try and defeat us (spoilers: he doesn’t). We also discuss how HVTs carry unique modified versions of weapons present elsewhere in the game. 

And if that’s not enough, be sure to check out Game Informer’s Halo Infinite hub, where you’ll find 4K looks at campaign footage, clips showcasing new weapons, information about multiplayer, and so much more. Halo Infinite is this month’s cover story for Game Informer’s magazine, too, so be sure to keep an eye on your mailbox for that, and if you’re a digital subscriber, all that awaits you within can be read now. Thanks for watching, and we hope you enjoy the coverage!


Plague Doctor Action RPG Thymesia Pushed To 2022

Thymesia is an upcoming action-adventure game that puts you in the shoes of the world’s toughest plague doctor who uses diseases-turned-weapons to battle enemies. The fast-paced action RPG sports heavy Dark Souls vibes and was slated to launch on December 7. Unfortunately, that will no longer be the case because Thymesia is now arriving sometime in 2022.

Developer OverBorder Studio states it wants to make sure Thymesia is razor-sharp for its big debut, so it’s leaving it in the oven for a while longer. On the bright side, it announced the game is headed to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S after only confirming PC in the past.

Thymesia stars Corvus, a plague doctor who’s half-man, half-raven. He’s on a mission to regain his lost memories while also slaying abominations lurking within his gloomy kingdom. Combat is fast-paced and punishing, emphasizing aggression and mobility thanks to a swift dodge maneuver. Corvus can extract diseases from foes, then transform them into weapons such as a scythe or sword. He can also utilize his raven form to unleash dagger-like feathers. You can mold Corvus to your liking thanks to multiple character builds, as well as different endings to encourage replayability. Check out the original announcement trailer below.

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What do you think of Thymesia? Are you bummed about the delay or excited to see receive additional polish? Let us know in the comments! 


Halo Infinite Multiplayer Surprise Release And Dying Light 2 Hands-On Impressions | GI Show

Another week, another packed episode of The Game Informer Show! This time around, we’re giving you our hands-on impressions of Halo Infinite’s surprise multiplayer release, Dying Light 2 Stay Human, and John Carson is here to give his review of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl! That’s not at all, as we’re also recapping Xbox’s huge 20th Anniversary stream and getting playful in this edition of listener questions!

Follow the crew on Twitter: Alex Stadnik (@Studnik76), Alex Van Aken (@itsVanAken), Brian Shea (@BrianPShea), John Carson (@John_Carson), and Ben Reeves (@BenjaminReeves)

The Game Informer Show is a weekly gaming podcast covering the latest video game news, industry topics, exclusive reveals, and reviews. Join hosts Alex Stadnik and Alex Van Aken every Thursday to chat about your favorite games – past and present – with Game Informer staff, developers, and special guests from all around the industry. Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or your favorite podcast app.

Check out the timestamps below to jump to a particular point in the discussion:

00:01:05 – Introduction
00:03:09 – Xbox 20th Anniversary Stream Recap
00:16:53 – Halo Infinite Multiplayer
00:41:47 – Dying Light 2 Stay Human Preview Impressions
00:53:48 – Pokémon Brilliant Diamond Review
01:13:53 – Housekeeping
01:18:21 – Listener Questions

Topic Of The Show:

Halo Infinite’s Multiplayer Is Here!

Now that’s how you start a week on the right foot. While rumors said that we might get a taste of developer 343’s multiplayer suite a bit early, fans didn’t know what to expect coming into the week. That was until the devs took the digital stage and announced to the world that players could indeed jump into Halo Infinite’s multiplayer right now! After getting through the blue screen, we dove head-first into Big Team Battle, Slayer, and more to get our bearings and see how different Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is. The good news? While not without issues, 343 has nailed PVP, and we’re discussing why we’re so smitten with it during this week’s Topic of the Show!

Watch our gameplay stream here.

The Playlist:

Game Informer Staff discuss the games they’re playing.

Another week, another stacked section of The Playlist. Brian Shea is here to detail his first work trip in two years and his time going hands-on with Dying Light 2 Stay Human. Join us for our discussion on how the game has evolved since the series began in 2015, whether or not it felt like a solid build of the game, and so much more. Not to be outdone, The King of Late Night, John Carson, follows that up with his review impressions of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and lets fans know whether or not they should be excited for the latest remake from ILCA and Game Freak!

Read our Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl review here.

Listener Questions:

The Game Informer crew answers your burning questions.

We’re back with another round of listener questions as the crew plays two fun games and talks about some of the most important titles in the industry on both a micro and macro level.

Read their questions below, or submit your own via the Official Game Informer Community Discord or by emailing us at

BIG. MAN. SWAG. Hello Game Informer crew! I have been a listener for years and can honestly say this is my favorite lineup so far. The previous hosts have been great, but there is just something special about you two, and I absolutely love it. And as a big ol’ 6′ 6″ man myself, the introduction of the phrase “Big Man Swag” in my life has been perfect. You all are awesome. Keep up the amazing work. I recently wrapped up running a video game club at my place of work, and at the end of every meeting, I tried to come up with some fun game to play with everyone. Most recently, I re-did a game I heard submitted on either the Easy Allies podcast or the MinnMax Show that I thought you all might enjoy. (I apologize for not being able to remember the person who submitted this originally. It was a while ago. But well done to that person, as this is an amazing idea. All credit to them.) So, would you all like to play…HALO SHIP OR TAYLOR SWIFT SONG? The game is simple. I’ll provide two titles. One is the name of a spaceship in the Halo universe, and one is the title of a Taylor Swift song. You have to pick which one is the ship. For example, if the options were “Pillar of Autumn” or “Shake It Off,” you’d pick Pillar of Autumn. Good luck! – Brady Easter Edmond, OK (Email)
Hi GI crew. What’s the most important game you’ve ever played and why? – Tommy from the Internet (Discord)
15 years ago, whenever a blockbuster movie released, you could be sure there would be an (often mediocre) licensed video-game tie-in accompanying it. These days, licensed tie-in games seem to be effectively dead, or at least, have become mobile games. So here is a little game for you!! Which of these movies had a video-game tie-in on consoles? – Jonah Abraham (Discord)

For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out…; delay=”150″ href=”…; rel=”noopener noreferrer” tabindex=”-1″ target=”_blank”>Video Gameography, our video game history podcast, and…; delay=”150″ href=”…; rel=”noopener noreferrer” tabindex=”-1″ target=”_blank”>All Things Nintendo with host Brian Shea which deep dives into Nintendo’s library of games every week.


Nintendo Partners With Panda Global For New Official Smash Bros. Ultimate And Melee Tournaments

Following Sony Interactive Entertainment’s purchase of Evolution Championship Series, more commonly known as EVO, Smash Bros. fans were left wondering what could come of the usual Smash Bros. tournaments featured at the annual EVO showcases. The global COVID-19 pandemic threw its own wrench in EVO’s in-person showcases, but it seems Nintendo is ready to officially support the Smash tournament scene. 

“Confirmed. Ready your A-game, Super Smash Bros competitors. We’ve partnered with Panda Global to launch the first officially licenses Super Smash Bros. championship circuit in North America, coming 2022.” 

As you can see in the tweet above, Nintendo has partnered with Panda Global to bring “the first officially licensed circuit for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee to North America.” This is especially unprecedented as Nintendo has often remained quite mum on support for the Melee tournament scene. 

It’s unclear exactly what these tournaments will look like – we’ll find out next year – but Panda says they’ll feature cash prizes. 

While waiting for more information, read about Sony’s purchase of EVO and then check out this story about the final fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Read about Masahiro Sakurai’s journey to get Sora added to the game after that. 

Are you excited about these official Smash Bros. tournaments? Let us know in the comments below!


The Top 10 Beat ‘Em Ups To Play Right Now

Few genres provide the simple pleasure of a good old-fashioned beat ‘em up. After all, these arcade-style games let you and your buddies punch and kick dozens of often colorful enemies in the face. What’s not to love? Double-teaming mobs of enemies or a sturdy boss strengthens bonds. Conversely, repeatedly grabbing health pick-ups “on accident” with a full health bar while your friend hangs on by a thread can reveal cracks in a relationship. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, we’ve all likely played these sorts of games, and the last decade has seen modernized takes on the winning formula. Here are 10 of the best contemporary beat ‘em ups (in no particular order) that you can play right now. No quarters necessary. 

Streets of Rage 4

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

Developer Dotemu successfully resurrected the Streets of Rage series from decades of dormancy with this stellar fourth entry. Players control old favorites like Axel and Blaze and newcomers Cherry and Floyd to dish out hard-hitting, combo-heavy street justice that feels satisfying. An eye-catching comic-inspired art direction replaces the pixelated sprites, and a bumping soundtrack featuring tracks by original SoR composer Yuzo Koshiro completes this entertaining package. Streets of Rage 4 proved itself a worthy entry in the series at launch. Still, DLC updates such as this year’s Mr. X Nightmare expansion sweetened the deal by adding new playable characters, a survival mode, and music tracks by beloved retro composer Tee Lopes. | Our Review

Young Souls


Young Souls’ winning formula combines beat ‘em up-style action with a dungeon-crawling progression and exploration. As two troubled, orphaned teenagers, your adoptive father has been kidnapped by underground goblins. During the day, you’ll explore your suburban town to pump stat-boosting weights at the gym and buy armor and weapons in order to complete evening runs through the goblin kingdom. Double-teaming these monsters alongside a friend rocks, but Young Souls makes playing solo just as fun by letting players tag the twins in and out, adding a fighting game-like strategy to combat. With a killer art direction and an unexpectedly touching story, this timed-Stadia exclusive can’t spread its joy to more platforms soon enough. | Our Review

Fight’N Rage

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Prefer a more traditional arcade experience that still feels like it launched this generation? Fight’N Rage is a little-known gem that rules the school. It boasts charming pixel art enhanced by a CRT-style presentation. You’ll feel like you’re sitting in front of that old TV (set to channel 3, of course) fighting bad guys with two other buddies. Fight’N Rage boasts smooth combat and a killer combo system, letting you air juggle foes with dozens of hits before they explode into a humorous pile of bones. Don’t let this one pass you by if you’re searching for a good, simple, fun brawler.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – The Complete Edition

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia, PC

2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a flag bearer for the beat ‘em up renaissance of the PS3/Xbox 360 era. Based on the cult-favorite movie based on the cult-favorite comic series, the game borrowed heavily from River City Ransom and other classics to form a winning experience all its own. Unfortunately, Scott Pilgrim was delisted from sale in 2014, making it lost to time for the unlucky souls who never purchased it. Prayers for a return were answered in 2020 when Ubisoft remastered and re-released Scott Pilgrim (complete with all of its DLC) for modern platforms. Don’t miss out a second time. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game remains a delight over ten years later, regardless of whether you’re a fan of the source material or not. 

River City Girls

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Every game on this list owes some of its existence to River City Ransom, and the classic series is still kicking thanks to the fresh River City Girls. As the name implies, you throw hands as high school students Misako and Kyoko, girlfriends of series protagonists Kunio and Riki, who have been captured. This flip of the script offers enjoyable melee combat backed by one of the best soundtracks in recent memory. Seriously, you’ll be humming this game’s tunes long after you’ve pummeled the final goon or wacky boss. River City Girls isn’t perfect, and its difficulty can be punishing at times, but fans of old-school throwdowns won’t be disappointed. | Our Review

The Takeover

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Streets of Rage must be grinning ear to ear while blushing in embarrassment. The Takeover is an unabashed homage to Sega’s classic series in a way that borders on being a pure rip-off. Its presentation (though 3D), combat, and even jazz-fueled soundtrack feel extremely familiar, but that doesn’t mean the game isn’t fun or lacks its own tricks. Quite the contrary, as players can use guns as an additional range attack, unleash powerful rage moves by filling a meter, and can reign hell with screen-clearing special attacks. The Takeover may be too liberal in how much it borrows, but at least it executes established ideas well. 

Castle Crashers Remastered

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch

Like Scott Pilgrim, Castle Crashers was also blessed with the remaster treatment, giving the king of the modern beat ‘em up another reign at the top. One of the most popular indie games of its time finds new life thanks to 60 frames-per-second gameplay, a new multiplayer mini-game, and every piece of DLC it ever received. Laying the smackdown as the four colorful knights remains a joy and rekindles fond memories of countless parties back in 2008. Castle Crashers Remastered is the best way to relive that excitement with friends old and new. 

Dragon’s Crown Pro

PlayStation 4

Beloved RPG maker Vanillaware took a chance with Dragon’s Crown in 2013, and it paid off. The studio applied its role-playing expertise, storytelling chops, and famous art direction to a cooperative hack ‘n slash adventure that, frankly, was a blast. The game has since become a cult classic that has left fans pining for a sequel to this day. Until that day (hopefully) comes, they’ll have to settle for Dragon’s Crown Pro, an enhanced re-release that sports a 4K presentation, cross-platform play, all of its DLC, and even a rerecorded orchestral soundtrack. Dragon’s Crown Pro is a strong option if you prefer more RPG with your brawler. 

Double Dragon Neon

Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Billy and Jimmy kicked their way back to relevance with Double Dragon Neon, a vibrant return to form for one of the pillars of the genre. Love interest Marian once again finds herself kidnapped, laying the way for a nostalgia-fueled adventure that plays better than the old games ever did. One reason for that is a new evade mechanic, where dodging foes at the precise moment rewards powerful counterattacks. Neon’s presentation and vibe drip with the 1980s, which may go unappreciated by young ‘uns, but older fans asking, “whatever happened to Double Dragon?” need not look any further. | Our Review 

Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

This may be cheating, but why have one good brawler when you can have seven? The Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle is a treat for genre connoisseurs since it assembles a classic in Final Fight with harder-to-find gems like Captain Commando, The King of Dragons, Knights of the Round, Warriors of Fate, Armored Warriors, and Battle Circuit. Best of all, each title supports online multiplayer and comes in both their English and Japanese incarnations. The bundle also serves as the first home console release for Armored Warriors and Battle Circuit, giving history nerds a chance to experience long-lost arcade relics. Welcome to the pupu platter of arcade brawlers.

What beat ’em up games are your favorites? Let us know in the comments! Be sure to check out our other Top 10 lists by clicking the Goose below. 


Activision Blizzard Shareholders Call On Bobby Kotick, Board Members To Resign [UPDATE]

Update: 11/18/21 2:00 p.m. Central: We have learned through the reporting of Shannon Liao at The Washington Post that Activision Blizzard employees have begun signing an open petition for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign from his position at the company. At the time of this update, over 500 workers have put their names on the petition, which reads, “We, the undersigned, no longer have confidence in the leadership of Bobby Kotick as the CEO of Activision Blizzard.” The group’s demand is succinct and simple, saying, “We ask that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders.” According to data from 2020, Activision Blizzard employs somewhere in the ballpark of 9,500 people, which means this petition currently represents over 5% of the workforce.

Original Story: Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published an extensive report detailing evidence that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was aware for years of the company’s long history of sexual misconduct. The report also points to Kotick withholding information about these events from the board of directors and surfaces abuse allegations levied at Kotick himself. You can read the full story here, but the revelations sparked an industry-wide outcry that resulted in over 100 Activision Blizzard employees staging an impromptu walkout yesterday demanding Kotick’s resignation. It now appears that a group of shareholders is echoing the same sentiment. 

The Washington Post published a story revealing that several shareholders, led by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group, have penned a joint letter to Activision’s board of directors requesting Kotick to step down. The letter also asks for the resignation of two of the board’s longest-tenured members, Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado. Kelly, who joined the company in 1995, serves as chairman of the board. Morgado has been with Activision since 1997 and acts as lead independent director. 

These shareholders have requested Kotick, Kelly, and Morgado resign by December 31. If they do not, the group vows not to vote for the reelection of current board members during next June’s annual shareholder’s meeting. The SOC tells the Post that current Activision leadership has repeatedly failed to foster a safe working environment for all employees and that the company needs “a reset button on the board.” Among their replacements, the group wishes to appoint at least one non-executive Activision Blizzard employee and wants a more diverse board overall.

Several investment groups have signed the letter and, as a whole, account for 4.8 million owned shares of Activision’s nearly 779 million total outstanding shares.  SOC Investment Group is a firm that works with union-sponsored pension funds and, in its own words, “holds corporations and their leadership accountable for irresponsible and unethical corporate behavior and excessive executive pay”. The SOC has previously opposed Kotick’s substantial income, which is one of the highest among U.S. executives. 

It’s worth noting that Activision’s board of directors issued a statement yesterday in response to the WSJ’s report, saying it “remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.” Kotick himself sent a transcribed video message to Activision Blizzard employees calling the WSJ‘s report “inaccurate and misleading.”

[Source: The Washington Post]


Sifu Release Date Moved Up Two Weeks, Now Releasing February 8

Sifu, the upcoming Kung Fu action game from developer Sloclap, has moved its release date by exactly two weeks. 

After it was delayed to 2022, we learned that its release date was February 22. Now, Sifu will launch on February 8 in a rare move that sees it coming earlier than expected. To accompany the news, Sloclap has released a new trailer showcasing more of the bone-breaking combat featured in Sifu, which you can watch below: 

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The studio also released additional information about the combat and progression featured within Sifu. 

“Sifu’s unique visual style promises a smooth 60fps across both platforms so players can get the most detailed look at the carnage they will reap upon their enemies,” a press release reads. “Players must be focused, fast, and skilled with their attacks to succeed in their quest, but building a great defense through mastering pushbacks, knockdowns, and stuns is just as important in combat. Attacks and parries open opportunities to strike efficiently once an enemy is knocked off balance, but careless players can be caught off guard during enemy attacks and lose their balance.” 

Sloclap also emphasizes the role environments will play in Sifu, citing them as a critical part of the Kung Fu experience. Players will need to use the items in an area, as well as the walls and physical surroundings, to take down enemies. The Focus ability is there to help with that – it builds up as you fight and when in use, it will allow players to “deliver a precise and devastating blow to a foe.” 

The studio also detailed the progression within Sifu. 

“Players carry an ancient pendant which allows them to rise up after death – at a cost,” a press release reads. “Fighters age with every death, but they also get the opportunity to spend XP on skills to come back stronger, wiser, and/or tougher. But as players age through death, they gradually exchange maximum health for offensive power.”

As we’ve seen in trailers before, the character model also ages, but Sloclap says “getting older has no detrimental drawbacks on abilities.” They can unlock skills at any age. These are unlocked in their Wuguan Kung Fu training facility between missions or Shrines scattered throughout levels, giving players different abilities to use in fights. Perks are also present in the game, and they can offer boosts to health, additional focus charges, and more. 

Sifu will hit PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC on February 8. It will cost $39.99 for the standard edition or $49.99 for the deluxe edition. 

Are you excited about Sifu? Let us know in the comments below!


Halo Infinite Multiplayer | Game Informer Live

Many rockets will be fired! Grenades will also be thrown! We’re hoping a few of them hit their targets. At 2 p.m. CT, the Game Informer crew is suiting up for a second round of Halo Infinite multiplayer, and you can watch the mayhem unfold exclusively on Twitch.

Microsoft’s surprise launch of the multiplayer beta has been warmly received by many of us at Game Informer. It’s all I’ve been playing the last few days, and I can’t wait to jump back in. I’ll be joined today by Alex Stadnik and Dan Tack, two Halo veterans who will show me how to play this game the right way.

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As you watch, we encourage you to join the excellent Game Informer community in the chat. Ask any questions you have about Halo Infinite or video games in general, and we’ll answer them when we have a break in the action.

For more on Halo Infinite, check out our exclusive video content on YouTube. We have a video that shows off our first look at the campaign, another that shows the first level in 4K, and a great comparison piece that shows how far the campaign has come in development between 2020 and now.

Here’s hoping we go undefeated in today’s stream! Cheer us on, gang!


Halo Infinite: 343 Industries Details Battle Pass Progression Changes Coming Later This Week

After announcing yesterday that the team is looking into Battle Pass progression in Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer, which surprise dropped on Monday, 343 Industries has detailed some of the changes we can expect to go live later this week. 

While still technically in beta, players have criticized the Battle Pass progression featured within Halo Infinite’s multiplayer. More specifically, players have lamented how leveling up works. Right now, you only earn experience by completing specific weekly and daily challenges. These aren’t necessarily difficult to complete, but if you play a match without completing one, you essentially get nothing for the time spent in that match. 

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Or in other words, you can play a long match of Big Team Battle and come out empty-handed in terms of progression, even if you get a win. 343 Industries said yesterday that it’s looking into progression and later that day, communication manager John Junyszek created a Twitter thread detailing what to expect. 

“To address feedback on the Battle Pass progression we will be making targeted tunings to our model later this week,” Junyszek wrote on Twitter. “To start, we’ll be adding ‘Play 1 Game’ challenges to help make sure you consistently progress through the Battle Pass by playing matches the way you want.”

Junyszek continued and said 343 Industries will be “adjusting, fixing bugs with, and removing some Weekly Challenges” based on player feedback as well. Challenge difficulty will be tuned as well to help players complete Weekly Challenges faster, which Junyszek says will speed up overall Battle Pass progression.

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“When we make this update, you’ll need to reset your Challenges, including your progress towards Weekly Ones,” he continues in the thread. “To make up for this reset, we’ll be granting this week’s Ultimate Reward, the Sigil Mark VII visor, to everyone who logs in from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30.” 

The duration of 2XP Boosts will be doubled with this incoming progression update as well, meaning they’ll now last one full hour as opposed to 30 minutes. Junyszek says this week’s forthcoming update is “only our first step” and that the team is committed to evolving these systems. 

As for when to expect these changes to go live, a specific date or time was not mentioned. However, Junyszek says it’s coming later this week. That could mean as early as tomorrow or perhaps on Sunday. Only time will tell.

While waiting for these changes to be implemented, read about how your Halo Infinite multiplayer beta progression carries over to the full game launch on December 8, and then check out this story about how Season One: Heroes of Reach will last until May 2022. Read this story about how Halo Infinite’s multiplayer amassed a record-breaking 270,000 concurrent players on Steam at launch after that and then check out this guide on how to access the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta on Xbox and PC.

What do you think of the Battle Pass progression in Halo Infinite’s multiplayer at the moment? Let us know in the comments below!


Tencent Acquires Minority Stake In Yooka-Laylee Developer Playtonic

Tencent has acquired a minority stake in Playtonic, the developer behind Yooka-Laylee and its 2D sequel, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. 

This news comes by way of Playtonic, which announced the news in a blog post made today. The studio says it will retain “full creative control over its IP” and will use Tencent’s investment funding to scale from its current structure to a bigger one. 

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“Playtonic…will use the investment to scale from their current one team structure to multiple teams, with an emphasis on hiring diverse talent from near and afar, improving their HQ, as well as looking to expand in new locations,” Playtonic’s blog post reads. 

Playtonic founder Gavin Price says Tencent’s investment will help the studio scale-up and fast-track the “super-exciting, super-secret projects we’ve been keeping close to our treasure chests.” The expansion of the studio has already begun, too, with Playtonic hiring Danny Spiteri, formerly of Raw Fury and Team 17, as its new Head of Publishing. 

For more Playtonic, check out our thoughts on its first game in Game Informer’s Yooka-Laylee review and then read what we thought of its 2D sequel in Game Informer’s Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair review after that. 

Are you excited about the future of Playtonic? Let us know in the comments below!


Check Out An Exclusive New Featurette For Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City

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Ahead of the release of Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City next week, we have an exclusive new featurette that briefly dives into the relationship between the movie’s production team and the video game series’ development team at Capcom. Check it out in full above. 

One fun tidbit detailed in the trailer is director Johannes Roberts sneaking in nods to his favorite games in the series: 

“Director Johannes [Roberts] really loves the games, so there are a lot of Easter eggs in the movie,” Capcom producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi says in the video. “One of my personal favorites is, though the movie is based on games 1 and 2, director Johannes snuck in some of his favorite elements from a later game. Hope you can find it.” 

For more on Welcome To Raccoon City, check our interview with two of the film’s leads, Tom Hopper and Avan Jogia, who play Albert Wesker and Leon Kennedy, respectively, where we talk about co-leading this new Resident Evil film series, their favorite moments from filming, and where they found inspiration for their characters. 

Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City will be released in theaters on November 24, 2021. 


Talking Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City With Two Of The Film’s Stars

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Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City will be released in theaters next week on November 24. It’s perhaps one of the more interesting video game movies ever released. Not narratively or stylistically, but rather in the shoes it has to fill. Welcome To Raccoon City is a complete reimagining of the Resident Evil world for the big screen, coming off the heels of Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil film series, which ran for six movies, netting more than a billion dollars in box office revenue. 

Where Anderson took the Resident Evil source material and made his own science fiction universe, Welcome To Raccoon City – directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters DownThe Strangers: Prey At Night) – sticks far closer to the first two games in the series. It results in a far more grounded story, focusing on characters fans have known for decades. 

Ahead of the movie’s release next week, we sat down with two of its stars, Tom Hopper and Avan Jogia, who play Albert Wesker and Leon Kennedy, respectively, to talk about co-leading this new Resident Evil film series, their favorite moments from filming, and where they found inspiration for their characters. 

Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City will be released in theaters on November 24, 2021. 


Loop Hero Begins Another Run On Switch December 9

Loop Hero ranks among the year’s best PC exclusives, and we found out it was making its move to consoles, namely Switch, during August’s Nintendo Indie World Showcase. If you’ve been waiting to try your hand at the looping adventure or simply want to take it on the go, December 9 is the date to look out for.

For those unfamiliar with Loop Hero, it has a unique premise. To save the world from destruction, a hero roams a looping track filled with monsters and other hazards. However, you don’t control your hero directly; instead, you create the world in which he’ll explore. By strategically placing a variety of creatures, terrain types, and obstacles, your auto-moving hero grows stronger with every baddie slain. The key is to throw just enough at the hero to increase its strength without accidentally overwhelming them and causing their demise. In between runs, you’ll build up a settlement with different shops to unlock equipment and buffs to increase your odds for the next loop.

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Loop Hero is one of those titles best played yourself to truly understand its hooks. In our review of the PC version, we scored the game an 8.5 out of 10. Reviewer Dan Tack noted that “Loop Hero is a creative and clever little game that should be on your radar if you enjoy strategy, RPGs, deckbuilders, roguelikes, or all of the above. While its novelty begins to wither the further you get away from your opening hours, the journey is worthwhile and engaging.”

Loop Hero is priced at $14.99 but you can pre-order it on the eShop now for a 10% discount ($13.49).


WWE 2K22 – First Look At How Visual Concepts Is Repackaging Its Annual Wrestling Sim

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Visual Concepts

WWE fans know that the company has been in a chaotic state as of late. Dozens of roster cuts this year have not only put fans on edge about the long-term fates of their favorite Superstars, but they’ve also brought into question the status of WWE 2K22. It’s the first wrestling sim since 2019’s ill-received 2K20, and the game is forgoing the series’ usual fall release window for a March 2022 launch. That extra time seemingly gives Visual Concepts time to polish up a few holds, so what can fans expect? While Visual Concepts is still withholding most information until its previously announced January unveiling, it did provide a sneak peek into the features and improvements its concocted so far. 

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    Lapsed fans may be happy to hear that Visual Concepts has rebuilt WWE 2K’s engine from the ground up. This means brand new animations and a redesigned move list consisting of 30,000 returning attacks and 5,000 new additions. The control scheme has also been overhauled with the intent of being easy enough for anyone to pick up while packing depth for experienced grapplers. Furthermore, Visual Concepts promises improved control over the action while feeling smoother overall. 

    The graphics have received a shot in the arm thanks to Visual Concepts adopting the same character scanning and rendering technology used for the NBA 2K series. The result is Superstars that appear better than ever. Visual Concepts has also consulted with WWE showrunners to make the presentation feel as immersive and authentic to TV as possible, such as adding new camera angles. Hours’ worth of new commentary lines have been recorded, hopefully cutting down on the frequency of repeated lines.  

    WWE games are as much about the modes as they are the matches. Visual Concepts didn’t discuss the types of matches in 2K22 but did run down some of the other destinations players can dig into:

    MyGM: The popular mode returns and, like previous iterations, allows players to book shows, draft superstars, manage contracts, and more. 

    Universe Mode: A staple of the series, 2K22’s Universe Mode promises more control than ever over how players manage brands, PPVs, rivalries, and more. 

    2K Showcase Mode: WWE 2K’s playable documentary has been a series highlight. It allows players to follow the career of a legendary wrestler or a historical period, such as Stone Cold and the Women’s Revolution, by playing pivotal matches and watching well-made video packages courtesy of WWE’s production team. 2K22’s showcase appears to focus on the career of Rey Mysterio. 

    MyFaction: A new addition to the series that lets players create and manage their own stable. Assemble a group that rivals the Four Horsemen, nWo, or Bullet Club by recruiting superstars of your choice, then raise their stock by completing regular challenges and special events. 

    MyRise: This new spin on MyCareer presents a choice-driven adventure about guiding a WWE prospect from rookie to main eventer to Hall of Famer. Superstars can be either male or female, and the storyline branches based on your decisions. 

    Creation Suite: Whereas 2K20’s creation options were lacking, 2K22’s promises to be bigger than ever. While Visual Concepts didn’t divulge many specifics, it did state the game includes more body types to be as representative as possible. Those who don’t have time to spend hours crafting the perfect superstar can use the new persona creator, which essentially provides a pre-built template to expedite the creation process. There’s no word yet on if popular features, such as the ability to create arenas, entrances, or championships, will return. 

    Lastly, let’s discuss the roster. The running joke regarding WWE’s months-long spree of surprise releases is that there won’t be anyone left to play in 2K22. While we don’t have the complete list of wrestlers, we can confirm the following superstars based on today’s footage and previous videos:

    • AJ Styles
    • Apollo Crews
    • Austin Theory
    • Bayley
    • Bianca Belair
    • Big E
    • Bobby Lashley
    • Cesaro
    • Chad Gable
    • Dolph Ziggler
    • Dominik Mysterio
    • Drew McIntyre
    • Edge
    • Finn Bálor
    • Goldberg (WCW)
    • Jeff Hardy
    • Joaquin Wilde
    • Kane
    • Kevin Owens
    • Kofi Kingston
    • The Miz
    • Montez Ford
    • Mustafa Ali
    • MVP
    • Raquel González
    • Rhea Ripley
    • Ricochet
    • Rey Mysterio
    • Roman Reigns
    • Samoa Joe
    • Seth Rollins
    • Shayna Baszler
    • Sheamus
    • Shelton Benjamin
    • Shinsuke Nakamura
    • Tamina
    • Tyler Bate

    While it’s good to finally have some idea of what to expect from WWE 2K22, we’ll have to wait until January for an exact release date as well as its planned platforms. 

    What do you think of this latest look at WWE 2K22? Let us know in the comments!


    Six Days In Fallujah: Controversial Iraq War Game Delayed to 2022

    Victura and Highwire Games have announced that Six Days in Fallujah, a controversial shooter based on the real-life Battle of Fallujah that occurred during the Iraq War, has been delayed to 2022. 

    More specifically, the shooter has been delayed to Q4 of 2022, citing that the team behind it needs more people to hit the level of quality the studio is striving for. It also requires more capital and time, hence the delay. 

    “It became clear that recreating these true stories at a high quality was going to require more people, capital, and time than we had,” Victura CEO Peter Tamte said in the delay announcement. “Doubling our team is just one of the many things we’re doing to make sure Six Days in Fallujah brings new kinds of tactical and emotional depth to military shooters.” 

    Atomic Games attempted to release a game set during the Battle of Fallujah way back in 2009. However, the project was rightfully criticized for the developer’s decision to alongside the CIA to publish the game, with many calling it propaganda. Ultimately, Atomic Games’ project was re-revealed back in February with news that Victura and Highwire Games were helming the Fallujah-centric game instead. 

    The studio said around the announcement that the team had spent over three years building unique technology to overhaul the game and its mechanics. It also revealed that it hopes to go beyond simply presenting another shooter and instead show the realities of war and its consequences. However, the re-reveal was criticized much in the same way the first attempt at this game was. 

    Only time will tell what the final product turns out to be, but now we know it’s not coming until at least Q4 of next year. 

    While waiting for that, check out Game Informer’s coverage of the original 2009 reveal and then read about the Six Days in Fallujah revival after that.


    MultiVersus Announced, Will Feature Batman, Shaggy, Bugs Bunny, Arya Stark, Steven Universe, And More

    Warner Bros. Games has announced MultiVersus, a free-to-play platform fighter game featuring team-based 2v2 combat between famous characters like Batman, Bugs Bunny, and more. 

    Perhaps one of the year’s worst-kept secrets, MultiVersus had been heavily rumored as of late, with apparent leaks appearing on social media and elsewhere. However, today’s announcement makes it official: you’ll finally be able to destroy Batman by throwing Jerry at him while playing as Tom (dreams really do come true). 

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    “Featuring matches with a strong emphasis on online cooperative gameplay, every fighter will be outfitted with a deep set of combat mechanics that distinguish the game’s fresh take on 2 vs. 2 gameplay,” a press release about the announcement reads. “This allows combatants to boast customizable movesets that combine dynamically with other characters as they battle for supremacy. From Wonder Woman and her Lasso truth attack being unexpectedly paired with Shaggy and his sandwich projectile, to Arya Stark’s face-swapping ability being used to complement Superman’s laser vision, the impossible can become possible through surprising team combinations and matchups.” 

    In a very Smash Bros.-like way, players will fight on different themed stages based on characters within the game. You’ll be able to play in 1v1 clashes alongside the game’s standard 2v2 mode. Plus, there’s a four-player free-for-all mode packaged in as well. 

    One fascinating feature about MultiVersus is the voice cast, which features many of the original or best-known voice actors for these characters. 

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    Here are the characters and voice actors behind them that Warner Bros. Games revealed today

    • Batman, voiced by Kevin Conroy
    • Superman, voiced by George Newbern
    • Wonder Woman, voiced by Abby Trott
    • Harley Quinn, voiced by Tara Strong
    • Shaggy, voiced by Matthew Lillard
    • Bugs Bunny, voiced by Eric Bauza
    • Tom and Jerry, voiced by Eric Bauza
    • Arya Stark, voiced by Maisie Williams
    • Jake the Dog, voiced by John DiMaggio
    • Finn the Human, voiced by Jeremy Shada
    • Steven Universe, voiced by Daniel DiVenere
    • Garnet, voiced by Estelle
    • Reindog, a new original character, voiced by Andrew Frankel

    MultiVersus will hit PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC with cross-play, dedicated server rollback netcode, and content-filled seasons in 2022. 

    Are you excited about MultiVersus? Let us know in the comments below!


    Pragmata Delayed To 2023, New Video And Artwork Released By Capcom

    Capcom’s upcoming sci-fi title, Pragmata, has been delayed to 2023. 

    Pragmata was first announced during the PlayStation 5 reveal event way back in June 2020. It featured an astronaut walking through New York who stumbles upon a little girl. A strange glitch-in-the-matrix happens and all of a sudden, a satellite crashes through the sky and then the duo ends up in space after using some weird 3D printer-like device. It’s as strange as it sounds, as you can see from the Pragmata announcement trailer

    However, when it was first revealed, Capcom said the game would release in 2022. Now, it’s been delayed to 2023, which isn’t all that surprising considering that 2020 look at the title was the last we heard about Pragmata. 

    “Our team is hard at work on the project, but to ensure this will be an unforgettable adventure, we’ve decided to shift the release window to 2023. In the meantime, we have a brand new artwork to share with you. Thank you for your patience.”

    As you can see in the tweet above, Capcom released a new video alongside news of this delay. It features Pragmata’s young heroine holding a piece of paper with “2022” scratched out and “2023” written beside it. The company also released new artwork, which you can see below: 

    While waiting for Pragmata, check out Game Informer’s coverage of the original announcement

    Are you excited about Pragamata? What do you think the game could be about? Let us know in the comments below!


    Mario Kart Live 2.0 Update Adds Split-Screen Multiplayer, Four-Player Relay Racing, And More

    Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit has received a new 2.0 update, and it brings split-screen multiplayer, a new four-player Relay Race mode, additional tracks, and more customization to the racer. 

    This update was revealed on Nintendo’s YouTube yesterday in a new video showcasing all you can expect in 2.0. In it, Nintendo reveals the new split-screen multiplayer mode coming to Mario Kart Live, which is the company’s toys-to-life-esque kart racer that tasks players with building a track in their own house and then racing a real Mario Kart RC car around it.

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    The new Split-Screen mode is exactly what you’d expect in a Mario Kart game: place two karts onto the track, round up two controllers, and race your friend or foe on-screen. It looks pretty identical to a standard Mario Kart split-screen mode, except it’s your living room on the screen rather than Bowser’s Castle. 

    If two players aren’t enough, you can bring in two more thanks to Mario Kart Live’s new Relay Race mode. In this mode, two players will be on one kart, and they can swap control of the wheel back and forth, meaning up to four people can play at once. Three new courses have been added: Windmill Meadows, Music Broadway, and King Boo’s Courtyard. Plus, Luigi’s Poltergust is now a customization item available for use alongside the Spooky Horn. You must complete the Luigi Cup under certain conditions in the Grand Prix to unlock them, though.

    If you haven’t yet checked out Mario Kart Live, be sure to read Game Informer’s Mario Kart Live review and then check out this New Gameplay Today featuring some Game Informer editors playing Mario Kart Live.  

    Are you going to jump back into Mario Kart Live to check out the new update? Let us know in the comments below!


    Exclusive: Halo Infinite Now Vs. 2020 Campaign Comparison (4K)

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    It’s a demo Halo fans will never forget. In 2020, developer 343 Industries brought its latest take on the Halo franchise to the masses during one of Microsoft’s digital events. Halo Infinite‘s gameplay debut was met with some positivity but spawned an online firestorm and popularized conversation around Craig The Brute, among other discussions. It’s been over a year since fans were shown that demo, and a lot has changed ahead of Halo Infinite’s campaign release on December 8. Before that long-awaited day, join us for a unique updated look at the campaign in all its new shining glory.

    Today’s video isn’t a complete one-to-one recreation of the 2020 footage, but rather a potent illustration of how the team has improved upon that earlier foundation, including both side-by-side cinematics, and gameplay from both versions. Both demos are set in the same portion of the game, and take place a few hours into the campaign as Master Chief fights through waves of The Banished to take out anti-aircraft towers, all with the help of The Pilot and John’s new AI companion, The Weapon. The 2021 demo takes a different path than the 2020 version, but both segments end with Chief doing what he does best and coming across the now-famous speech from Escharum, one of the leading villains players will come to know when they get their hands on the game in a few weeks. Bare your fangs, Halo fans. This is just the beginning.

    Is the wait for Halo Infinite’s campaign feeling too long? We understand and want to help you through this time with our exciting new cover story! This month, we’re diving into a ton of new and compelling interviews, gameplay videos, and more from the team behind the next entry in Master Cheif’s story. Be sure to check out our quick looks at the opening level of the game, our campaign impressions, learn more about exploration and progression, and our look into the creation of the devious bots from the earlier versions of the multiplayer test flights. Thanks for watching, and let us know what you thought of the video in the comments below!


    Update: Kena: Bridge of Spirits Physical Deluxe Edition Out This Friday

    Update, 11/17/21:

    The physical deluxe edition of Kena: Bridge of Spirits will be out this Friday. 

    Detailed today in a new press release from Kena dev Ember Lab and Maximum Games, this deluxe edition of the PlayStation-exclusive game will cost $49.99. It will include a digital soundtrack, a retail exclusive physical sticker sheet, a unique digital in-game silver staff for Kena to use, a golden Rot character skin, and “unique celebration hats for the Rot.” 

    Maximum Games says the deluxe edition will be sold in “popular retailers” and can be purchased directly from its website. The game will continue to be sold as a standard digital edition release for $39.99 and a digital deluxe edition for $49.99 on PSN, too. 

    While waiting for the physical deluxe edition to hit stores, check out our thoughts with this Kena: Bridge of Spirits review

    Original story continues below…

    Original Story, 9/20/21:

    Ember Labs’ Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks to have the same magical qualities of a fantastical Disney-Pixar movie. Two new trailers revealed more backstory and gameplay footage, as well as a dynamic photo mode that has me incredibly excited to take pictures with NPCs (and I usually gloss over photo modes when playing games!). Additionally, a physical deluxe edition was announced in partnership with publisher Maximum Games. 

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    Kena: Bridge of Spirits follows the titular heroine/spirit guide as she travels to a distant land in search of a sacred mountain shrine. Spirits have been transforming into monsters, and only Kena can bridge the gap between life and death to make things right again. She’ll meet plenty of colorful personalities along the way, including sooty little anthropomorphic creatures called The Rot, which will aid her in battle. For more backstory details ahead of the game’s release, watch the launch trailer above or check out Marcus Stewarts’ Everything We Know About Kena: Bridge Of Spirits.

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    A Photo Mode trailer also dropped today. Kena has no shortage of awe-inspiring vistas, vivid magical effects, and endearing character models. Taking pictures, however, amplifies these gorgeous visuals, and a “Say Cheese!” option lets Kena and her friends properly pose for the camera. I’ve never seen this component in a video game before (as I said above, I usually don’t activate in-game photo modes – maybe some of you have seen a feature like this in other games?). Nevertheless, the game’s charm and warmth undoubtedly come through. I can’t wait to see all the photos that players post on social media. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally capture some memories of my own. 

    The trailers are currently buzzing, meaning that you might’ve missed the news that Kena: Bridge of Spirits is also getting a physical deluxe edition in November. Ember Labs partnered with Maximum Games, a sub-publisher on titles like A Plague Tale: Innocence and Minecraft Story Mode. Priced at $50, this deluxe edition will launch with a copy of the game, the digital soundtrack, and cosmetics for The Rot and Kena’s staff. 

    “Our community was extremely vocal about their desire for a physical edition from the moment we first announced the game,” said Ember Labs’ chief operating officer Josh Grier. “It’s an honor to create a game people want to add to their collections, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Maximum Games to make that happen so quickly after the initial launch.”

    Does this news make you even more excited for the game, and do you plan on taking a lot of pictures with the ensemble cast? 


    The Top 25 Diamond and Pearl Pokémon

    Released on the Nintendo DS in 2006 in Japan and 2007 everywhere else, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl started the fourth generation of games, with the third entry, Platinum, coming three years later. This introduction to the region of Sinnoh ushered in a whopping 107 new monsters for trainers to collect, befriend, and battle. 

    With the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes releasing this week (here’s our review), we thought it would be fun to do a casual ranking of the top 25 Pokémon introduced in the fourth generation games.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind while perusing this list: 

    • These rankings are based on factors ranging from power to popularity, rarity, memorability, or just because I happen to think they are neat.
    • Your favorites may differ, and that’s more than okay.
    • With more than 100 monsters to choose from, a lot is missing from this list. Track down copies of these games and discover your own favorites!
    • Have fun, and don’t take it too seriously! 

    With that said, you can call me Professor Carson. Welcome to the region of Sinnoh. 



    Big Eater Pokémon

    Out of the new batch of baby Pokémon introduced in Diamond and Pearl, which include Mime Jr., Happiny, Bonsly, and Mantyke, Munchlax was the one who stole the show for me. A pre-evolution to the route-blocking Snorelax, this food-frenzied kiddo shows the sleepy giant was much more awake and active in its younger years. While not all that powerful, Munchlax has seen some play in the competitive scene due to its obscene health and a fairly good defense against special attacks. Pairing these strengths with the fire and ice dampening Thick Fat ability, there are times where even a baby like Munchlax can fill out a slot on your team as well as it fills its gullet.



    Plump Mouse Pokémon

    They may not be powerful, but what’s not to like about a Bidoof? Taking the honors of being Sinnoh’s regional rodent, this beaver-like Pokémon will find its way into many trainers’ parties early on. While it starts as a normal type, it quickly evolves into Bibarel and adds water to the mix. According to its Pokédex entries, this dopey-looking critter has nerves of steel and can constantly be found chewing on stones and logs to keep its evergrowing chompers worn to an appropriate size.



    Tiger Cat Pokémon

    When I began researching for this list, Purugly wasn’t anywhere near making the cut. Normal Pokémon usually don’t pique my interest much in battle. However, once I started reading into the Pokédex entries, it reminded me of my own cats. It also reminded me that Pokémon aren’t just for battling and collecting, they’re also for friendship and having around as companions. 

    Hopefully you have a Pokémon somewhere that makes you think of a pet you have or know and makes you feel better just having that monster on your team. These may be reflective of a lot of cats, but the Pokédex entries for Purugly and Glameow put a smile on my face and rocketed them onto my personal list:

    “It is a brazen brute that barges its way into another Pokémon’s nest and claims it as its own.”

    “It hides its spiteful tendency of hooking its claws into the nose of its trainer if it isn’t fed.”

    “If it locks eyes, it will glare ceaselessly.”



    Beehive Pokémon

    I was really into Beedrill as a kid. Compared to Butterfree, it was the coolest bug Pokémon in the early game and an actual deciding factor when choosing between Red and Blue. After seeing what the rest of the world had to offer, though, the bee wasn’t stinging like it used to. Cue to Diamond and Pearl and what some consider the queen bee Pokémon.

    Vespiquen is not just the ruler of her hive; she is the hive. Hidden within the honeycomb-like lower half are grubs that will grow into her Combee workers. Vespiquen also uses these grubs in combat with the moves Defense Order, Heal Order, and Attack Order, her signatures. 

    You’ll notice I keep mentioning Vespiquen as a “her.” That’s because only female Combee inherit this monarchal evolution, while the males do not evolve at all and live to serve the queen of all bee Pokémon.



    Continent Pokémon

    Out of the three starters’ final evolutions from Diamond and Pearl, Torterra gets short shrift. Sure, it’s competing with a metal penguin and a flaming monkey, but this tortoise deserves respect for the work it puts in. Not only is it the first Grass and Ground starter, but it’s the only Pokémon with that combination type in existence. Torterra embodies those types so much that it’s literally a landmass with trees growing on its back. 

    You won’t go wrong choosing Torterra’s pre-evolution Turtwig at the start of the game. This Pokémon makes a reliable anchor while your team is coming together throughout your adventures in Sinnoh, and gives you an easy path through at least the first four Gym challenges, if not more.



    Toxic Mouth Pokémon

    Croagunk and its evolution, Toxicroak, are rare breeds in the Pokémon world. As the names imply, these creatures deal in toxicity, being primarily Poison-types, but they’re the only ones that share the Fighting-type as well! Croagunk sports a cool purple and orange color scheme like the poison dart frogs they are inspired by, which drew me in before I even knew what it was capable of.

    Croagunk is said to fight with underhanded tactics, which lines up with how its toxic attacks are administered. It can secrete venom not only from poison sacs near the mouth but also from the tips of its fingers. While it wasn’t part of Croagunk’s potential abilities in the original Diamond and Pearl, its hidden ability is Poison Touch which, you guessed it, can poison enemies with physical attacks and is a perfect representation of its dangerous hands.



    Frost Tree Pokémon

    The name says it all and is even confirmed in the Pokédex entry for Abomasnow, “it is the abominable snowman.” Pokémon games never had a distinctly snowy region before Diamond and Pearl. They may have had frosty caverns where Ice Pokémon would roam, but never a snow-covered area out in the open. So its fitting the pre-evolution to this yeti-like creature can be found in the snow-covered terrain of Route 217, while Abomasnow itself lives atop Sinnoh’s highest point, the peak of Mt. Coronet.

    Diverting from the typical ape-like design of sasquatches, Abomasnow is made to look like shrubbery that’s been through a bad snowstorm; its body is covered with branches weighed down with wet snow and ice. That’s not just a product of its environment, but its own doing. Abomasnow will kick up blizzards to stay hidden in the mountains, adding unneeded accumulation to the cold lands it likes to inhabit.



    Compass Pokémon

    Let’s cut to the chase: Probopass makes this list on looks alone. This cross-generation evolution to Nosepass from Ruby and Sapphire takes the Easter Island aesthetic of its younger self and pairs it with an incredible mustache. Upon evolving, Probopass’ inherent electromagnetism pulls iron shavings into clumps under its big red nose, creating what looks like an impressive set of lip bristles. Considering this Pokémon’s magnetic personality, it does use several electric attacks even though Probopass is firmly made of Rock and Steel.

    Probopass has seen some competitive play due to its high defensive stats. One of its abilities, Magnet Pull, keeps Steel-type Pokémon from switching out or running from battle. Depending on the meta, Probopass can trap its opponents while a teammate takes them out. Though it’s worth noting, this mustachioed wonder will fall victim to Ground and Fighting moves, which deal four times the damage.

    Here’s a fun fact about this giant stone head regarding what I used to think were ears. Flanking Probopass’ noggin are up to three “mini-noses,” little satellite creatures the big head commands to hunt for prey. This thing gets weirder and cooler by the minute!


    Glaceon and Leafeon

    Fresh Snow Pokémon and Verdant Pokémon

    Discovering a new Eevee evolution in the world of Pokémon is a rare occurrence and celebrated by the fans when it does happen. Because they were introduced together and evolve similarly, the Diamond and Pearl additions to the Eeveelution pack take this spot on the list together. Glaceon and Leafeon represent the Ice and Grass types, respectively, of the eight elemental versions of Eevee that currently exist. 

    Unlocking the mysteries of turning an Eevee into either of these Pokémon lies in their matching habitats. Unlike previous Eeveelutions that require special stones or befriending and leveling at certain times of day, Glaceon and Leafeon require the trainer to find a place in the world. Leveling an Eevee next to a Moss Rock or an Ice Rock, usually deep in a forest or cave, will turn your unstable pet into one of these new forms. 



    Vine Pokémon

    Some monsters get lost in the shuffle more than others when thinking of the standout Pokémon from the original 151. One that I think got a raw deal was Tangela, the little bundle of vines that had quite the potential. However, Tangela was usually left off my teams because it didn’t evolve, and there were cooler options for the Grass slot on teams. Game Freak certainly didn’t forget about this bush with legs and gave it a much-deserved evolution in Diamond and Pearl.

    Instead of exploring the mystery of what Tangela looks like under that veil of shrubbery, Tangrowth doubles down on its predecessor’s design by adding an even bigger mess of vines. Due to the thickening of its exterior, Tangrowth is great on defense and can take plenty more damage than other Pokémon. It’s not fancy, but I’ll always celebrate monsters like Tangrowth that get another chance to shine. 



    Thunderbolt Pokémon

    Moving from one of the Pokémon I felt was left behind from the original 151 to one that really stood out, Electabuzz was a creature that certainly made a splash in Red and Blue. While I don’t believe it needed to be iterated on anymore, it too got a new evolution in Diamond and Pearl. Ditching its somewhat catlike features (or whatever Electabuzz was supposed to be), Electivire grows out some shaggier fur and takes on a more ape-ish appearance, and sprouts a second tail. 

    Like Tangrowth, Electivire doubles down on its former design, opting to enhance the electricity-focused nature of this beast. When it shoves its tails into an enemy, it can unleash 20,000 volts of electricity. That’s enough power to kill just about anything, really. I’m certainly not an electrician, so I’m not sure how Pokémon actually withstand that kind of power. Regardless, the moral of the story is not to make an Electivire mad and stay away from it altogether to be safe.



    Forbidden Pokémon

    Spiritomb is one of the stranger Pokémon, not just in Diamond and Pearl, but in the entire series. Some work needs to be done to have the chance to catch this Ghost/Dark entity. Diamond and Pearl have a semi-social space called The Underground where trainers can explore, collect items, set up Secret Bases, and connect with other players. The prerequisite to getting a Spiritomb to appear is interacting with 32 players in The Underground, a suitably communal task for a Pokémon made from 108 individual spirits.

    Unlike other Ghost Pokémon, Spiritomb is physically tethered to an item called an Odd Keystone. Using this rock as its base, Spiritomb projects its spectral form through the artifact. When it does appear from the keystone, it doesn’t really have a body and instead looks like a swirling vortex of souls with a face plastered somewhere in the middle. 



    Balloon Pokémon

    At first glance, Driftloon looks like a cute Pokémon to add to the collection. Just a harmless little ghost, right? That’s what it wants you to think. This terror uses its unsuspecting nature to spirit its victims away, and in doing so becomes one of the creepiest Pokémon of all time. Let these Driftloon Pokédex entries sink in:

    “Stories go that it grabs the hands of small children and drags them away to the afterlife. It dislikes heavy children.”

    “Its round body is stuffed with souls and expands each time it leads someone away.”

    “If for some reason its body bursts, its soul spills out with a screaming sound.”

    “These Pokémon are called the ‘Signpost for Wandering Spirits.’ Children holding them sometimes vanish.”



    Flame Pokémon

    Fire starters are never a hard sell for me. I’ve always been drawn to their flashy designs, which usually feature some part of their body set ablaze. But the idea of starting with Chimchar, a flaming monkey of all things, was an instant sell. Even better, its final form is inspired by Journey to the West’s  Son Wukong, complete with golden accents and a fiery crown. There wasn’t a need to consider the other options my first time playing this generation. In my book, there was nothing cooler than this starter, and I set firmly on the path to partnering with Infernape to take on the Pokémon League’s greatest challenges.

    Infernape makes an impression on the battlefield with its high speed and great physical and special attacks. Because it’s also a Fighting Pokémon, it has access to some devastating moves across both types. Whether it’s smashing foes in the face with Close Combat or burning up the competition with a move like Flare Blitz, this monkey king is a strong choice to take on your Diamond and Pearl adventure.



    Emperor Pokémon

    All of the starters in Diamond and Pearl are a hit for me. As you’ve read, Toreterra is my sleeper choice, Infernape was my initial choice, but Empoleon is my go-to favorite of the three. From its sharp design featuring a trident mask and sharp edges on its wings and body to its typing of Water and Steel, the only Pokémon of its kind, Empoleon is a unique starter fitting of its kingly moniker.

    Empoleon is impressive in battle due to a wealth of resistance to over half of the Pokémon types. Considering there are a total of seven types that can do normal or effective damage to it, Empoleon is a partner worth keeping by your side throughout the game.



    Colossal Pokémon

    Given the moniker of the “Colossal Pokémon,” I would have expected the 12-foot tall Regigigas to be even taller. Its colossal nature may be more in its power than size, though. This Legendary Pokémon has a massive Attack stat, making it one of the most powerful strikers in the game. However, this strength comes at a cost. Balancing its immense power is Regigigas’ ability Slow Start which halves both its attack and speed stats for the first five turns it’s in battle. This ability is cleverly shown in its Ghibliesque visual design by having moss growing from its feet and shoulders, a sign Regigigas has been dormant for a long time and is slowly waking up.

    Regigigas was the culmination of the elemental Regi Pokémon cycle from Ruby and Sapphire. To even have a chance at obtaining this gargantuan, a trainer must have Regice, Registeel, and Regirock in their party when traveling to Snowpoint Temple. Once there, you have to adventure through a dungeon to find what looks like a statue of Regigigas, but having the appropriate Regi team will reveal the goliath is the real thing.


    Rotom (and its many forms)

    Plasma Pokémon

    Long before their adorable addition to the Pokédex or powered the Rotom Bike in Sword and Shield, Rotom was introduced as a quirky little electric Pokémon capable of possessing household appliances. Depending on whether Rotom inhabits a fridge, washing machine, lawnmower, fan, or microwave, its secondary type will change based on the object. Having six forms, each with its own type combinations, makes Rotom a wonderful and flexible ally to add to your team.



    Gratitude Pokémon

    One of the few Legendary Pokémon only accessible through an event is the Grass hedgehog, Shaymin. Obtaining it requires a letter from Professor Oak which will grant a trainer access to the Flower Paradise. This shy bushel of flowers has the power to eliminate toxins from an area and allow plants to grow and thrive in desolate lands. Shaymin’s miraculous restoration extends to itself in the form of its ability, Natural Cure, which heals any status condition Shaymin may be afflicted with when it switches out for another Pokémon. All of this may not sound exciting, and I guess it isn’t, but Shaymin holds a secret transformation that’s revealed when it touches the Gracidea flower during daytime hours.

    After transforming into this deer-like creature, Shaymin’s Sky Form lets it take flight and adds the Flying type to this legend. Becoming one of only six Pokémon to share these two types, not only does Shaymin’s personality change to be bold and confident, but its stats have a similar effect. Land Form’s base stats are roughly equivalent across all categories, while Sky Form boosts attack and speed while taking a small hit to defense. However, trainers who don’t watch the time will find their Shaymin reverting to Land Form when night falls. This will also happen during battle if an ice attack ever freezes Sky Form Shaymin.



    Spatial Pokémon

    Being the face of Pokémon Pearl, meeting and catching Palkia is an inevitable part of the game’s story. These cover legendaries always make for incredible moments while putting a lot of stress on trainers trying to add this powerhouse to the team. Found near the end of Pearl’s main scenario, you can take your first shot at catching Palkia at the summit of Mt. Coronet. Although, if your initial attempt fails, this spatial diety can be found after a trainer defeats Sinnoh’s Elite Four.

    A Dragon-type like its siblings, Palkia also embodies the Water-type, a pairing only shared by Kingdra and the mismatched fossil Pokémon Dracovish from Sword and Sheild. 

    Created by the god-like Pokémon Arceus, Palkia controls the realm of Space, the physical world Pokémon trainers live and interact in. In fact, space can be warped at the whim of this powerful being, and Palkia can even go as far as creating entirely new realities if it wants. Its signature attack is called Spacial Rend, and it’s a move that tears not only at the target but also rips the space around it. The lesson here is to not mess with Palkia because it can literally wipe you and maybe even a chunk of the world around you from existence. 



    Temporal Pokémon

    Second of the Trio of Creation on this list is the master of time itself, Dialga. Like its spatial counterpart, Dialga was the creation of Arceus. When this legendary Pokémon came to life, it’s said time started moving along with it. Also found near the conclusion of the story of Pokémon Diamond, it can be battled and caught atop Mt. Coronet or after becoming the champion of Sinnoh’s Pokémon League.

    Dialga infuses the power of Steel within its Dragon body and is worshiped by denizens of Sinnoh as a deity of metal and time. It can use a signature attack called Roar of Time, a Dragon-type move that distorts time and deals a ton of damage. The move is so powerful that even Dialga has to rest for a turn after unleashing it.

    Because of its typing and just edging out Palkia’s viability in battle, Dialga makes it one slot further in this list. The time diety can take more punishment, though its uses are ultimately up to the individual trainer.



    Renegade Pokémon

    Rounding out the Trio of Creation is the Ghost Dragon, Giratina. While it’s available to catch during the endgame of Diamond and Pearl, Giratina is the face of the third game of this generation, Pokémon Platinum. Upon being created by Arceus alongside Palkia and Dialga, this dragon was placed in charge of antimatter. However, due to its violent nature, Giratina faced banishment to an alternate dimension known as the Distortion World, a plane of existence where it watched the world it was meant to help create. 

    Given its more interesting backstory, it’s not hard to see why Giratina tops its siblings on this list. Diverging from the space and time duo, this dragon has multiple forms, whether it’s inside of the Distortion World or not. Its Origin Forme, shown to the lower left, is more serpentlike in stature. Giratina loses its thick frame and large legs in favor of a rather creepy free-moving body. When given an item called a Griseous Orb, Giratina can remain in Origin Forme outside of the Distortion World without reverting to its Altered Forme like it normally would.

    In terms of combat compared to Dialga and Palkia, Giratina’s viability is a tossup. It does have higher defense and special defense while in Altered Forme than the other two, but the rest really comes down to whether you need Giratina’s type on the team. Shadow Force is a strong point in its favor. This is a Ghost-type signature attack that can hit foes even when using shielding moves such as Protect and Mirror Coat. In team battles, Shadow Force will also hit every member of an opposing team if they happen to be protected.



    Alpha Pokémon

    Said to be the god of all Pokémon, Arceus is, of course, hard to get a hold of. When it hatched, Arceus created the world and, along with it, Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina to mold the universe and watch over their respective dimensions of time, space, and anti-matter. While it’s naturally a normal type, the Alpha Pokémon is able to change its element by equipping Plate items that represent each type. 

    Originally, Arceus would be available via obtaining the Azure Flute during an event scheduled for late in Diamond, Pearl’s life cycle. In 2009, the supposed creator of the universe was unceremoniously given out through a download distribution campaign. Encountering Arceus in these games has only been possible through cheats and glitches. 

    Experimental Pokémon like Type: Null and Silvally from Sun and Moon are attempts at replicating the Pokégod and share type swapping abilities with Arceus. We’re bound to see this celestial being and the Hall of Origins it was supposed to be found in with the impending releases of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, as well as Pokémon Legends: Arceus when it releases next year. Having the game named after Arceus is a good sign of its involvement in the story.



    Mach Pokémon

    Having the honor of being the fourth generation’s pseudo-legendary line, it starts as a cute, stumpy little land shark and takes a grand turn as it evolves into this powerhouse Pokémon. No longer tethered to the ground like Gible and Gabite, Garchomp can fly. Due to its sleek frame and the engine-like horns jutting from the sides of its face, this Ground/Dragon-type can soar at the speed of sound. 

    In battle, Garchomp is an absolute threat by using its quickness and strength to take out enemies. Having the means to use powerful moves like Earthquake and Dragon Rush, and useful abilities such as Rough Skin or Sand Veil, there’s plenty of ways to build around this destructive dragon.



    Aura Pokémon

    Being arguably one of the most popular Pokémon to have ever graced the series, it’s no surprise that Lucario lands so high on this list. Lucario can sense the Auras of living things, which allows it to understand human speech. These Auras are described as energy waves that this Pokémon can use in a way powerful enough to destroy boulders. In battle, its signature move, Aura Sphere, is a useful tool for knocking out evasive threats by ignoring accuracy stats altogether and guaranteeing a hit with this fighting-type attack.

    Lucario is a beneficiary of great typing, being both Fighting and Steel types. While it is still venerable to Fire, Ground, and Fighting attacks, Lucario is resistant to over half of the remaining types and even immune to poison. In the generations since Diamond and Pearl, this Pokémon received a powerful Mega Evolution, and because of its suite of available moves, it is an advantageous weapon against the newer Fairy types. 



    Pitch-Black Pokémon

    Instantly earning the title as the most edge-lord Pokémon on the list, let me introduce Darkrai. It’s also taking the honor of the number one Pokémon from Diamond and Pearl. This ghastly-looking entity isn’t a Ghost but instead deals in all things Dark, as its name suggests. With its tattered body and smokey cowl, Darkrai is set on haunting the thoughts and dreams of its victims. 

    A glass cannon in battle, Darkrai relies on being quicker than its opponents and putting Pokémon into a deep sleep using moves like Hypnosis. Once asleep, Darkrai’s ability Bad Dreams saps an eighth of a slumbering opponent’s health at the end of each turn. Pairing this with attack buffs like Nasty Plot and swinging with powerful attacks can end fights in short order. An effective tool to consider in Darkrai’s arsenal is a move called Dark Void, a sleep-inducing attack specific to this Pokémon that affects all adjacent enemies, but only 50 percent of the time.

    And that’s all of them! How does this list compare to your own? Who’s missing from the list, and why would you nominate them? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to know more about the upcoming" target=”_blank”>Brillant Diamond and" target=”_blank”>Shining Pearl, check out everything we know about it…; target=”_blank”>here.


    343 Is Investigating Halo Infinite Battle Pass Progression

    343 community director Brian Jarrard took to Twitter yesterday to address something that’s getting a lot of chatter as players begin to jump into the free-to-play Halo Infinite multiplayer experience. The topic might surprise you, as it’s not about any weapon being overpowered or a map being weak but rather something else entirely. So what is all the discourse about? The battle pass, of course!

    Players progress through the battle pass by completing challenges, which can consist of all kinds of things from playing games to landing different shots. On forums, Twitter, and a multitude of other places where the conversation is happening, people have noted that unlocking things on the battle pass can feel quite slow compared to reward tracks in other games. The battle pass provides a large supply of cosmetics that you can use on your player avatar as you continue through the season.

    Is it actually too slow? Are the rewards desirable enough to put in the time to complete the pass? Time will tell, but 343 is investigating the battle pass now so hopefully, the community will have a response sooner rather than later. There’s a greater conversation to be had here as well regarding battle passes and how they have added an almost mandatory progression track to games-as-service, where players have to see numbers go up and things unlocked at a fast pace in order to feel like they’re getting something for their time. Remember when we just played games because they were fun or good? Yeah, me either – if you’ll excuse me I need to go unlock levels 7-10 on my battle pass to get some sweet loot. 

    What are your thoughts on battle passes? Have you tried Halo Infinite yet? What do you think about the battle pass progression? Let us know in the comments!


    Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Patch Adds Ray-Tracing, Other Improvements Across Multiple Platforms

    Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

    Eidos Montreal dropped an update for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy today that makes the space-faring comic book adventure look and run even better. 

    On PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the game now features ray-tracing, meaning the lighting is more realistic than ever. You can activate the feature in the Video Settings menu.

    On Xbox Series S, players have the option to uncap the framerate to run between 30 and 60 frames-per-second. Eidos recommends this feature to users with a VRR (variable refresh rate) display and warns that some framerates may be unstable in certain areas. 

    Meanwhile, base PlayStation 4 players can enjoy an overall performance boost. Eidos even tweaked the sensitivity for the visor to register inputs from older, more worn-down controllers. 

    The patch also adds the following improvement across all versions of the game:

    • Save Rollback: A hidden Save Rollback feature was added to allow users who have encountered blocking issues to rollback to the start of the chapter of their choice
    • General stability improvement on all platforms
    • Multiple stability improvements with Ray Tracing enabled
    • General improvements to objective markers
    • Additional improvements to world boundaries

    PC players can expect the patch as early as Friday, November 19. Furthermore, Eidos has also squashed several bugs, the full list of which you can view on the developer’s Reddit post

    For more on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, be sure to check out our full review of the game here. The title is nominated in a few categories for The Game Awards 2021


    Activision Blizzard Shareholders Call On Bobby Kotick, Board Members To Resign

    Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published an extensive report detailing evidence that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was aware for years of the company’s long history of sexual misconduct. The report also points to Kotick withholding information about these events from the board of directors and surfaces abuse allegations levied at Kotick himself. You can read the full story here, but the revelations sparked an industry-wide outcry that resulted in over 100 Activision Blizzard employees staging an impromptu walkout yesterday demanding Kotick’s resignation. It now appears that a group of shareholders is echoing the same sentiment. 

    The Washington Post published a story revealing that several shareholders, led by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group, have penned a joint letter to Activision’s board of directors requesting Kotick to step down. The letter also asks for the resignation of two of the board’s longest-tenured members, Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado. Kelly, who joined the company in 1995, serves as chairman of the board. Morgado has been with Activision since 1997 and acts as lead independent director. 

    These shareholders have requested Kotick, Kelly, and Morgado resign by December 31. If they do not, the group vows not to vote for the reelection of current board members during next June’s annual shareholder’s meeting. The SOC tells the Post that current Activision leadership has repeatedly failed to foster a safe working environment for all employees and that the company needs “a reset button on the board.” Among their replacements, the group wishes to appoint at least one non-executive Activision Blizzard employee and wants a more diverse board overall.

    Several investment groups have signed the letter and, as a whole, account for $4.8 million owned shares of Activision’s nearly $779 million total outstanding shares.  SOC Investment Group is a firm that works with union-sponsored pension funds and, in its own words, “holds corporations and their leadership accountable for irresponsible and unethical corporate behavior and excessive executive pay”. The SOC has previously opposed Kotick’s substantial income, which is one of the highest among U.S. executives. 

    It’s worth noting that Activision’s board of directors issued a statement yesterday in response to the WSJ’s report, saying it “remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.” Kotick himself sent a transcribed video message to Activision Blizzard employees calling the WSJ‘s report “inaccurate and misleading.”

    [Source: The Washington Post]


    Street Fighter V’s Final Digital Event Airs Next Week

    Newcomer Luke will be the focus of Street Fighter V’s Fall Update next week, which is also being branded as the final event for the long-supported game.

    In a tweet this morning on the Street Fighter Twitter account, the streaming event is set for Tuesday, November 23, and promises a gameplay showcase for Luke and a behind-the-scenes look at the character. In previous updates, Capcom has shown footage of mocap sessions, shared design insights, and music/merch collaborations, along with the gameplay breakdowns.

    Luke was revealed in August to be the last addition of the Season 5 character pass and Street Fighter V as a whole, following a parade of returning favorites from Street Fighter and adjacent series Rival Schools. In the event where he was revealed, Street Fighter V’s developers described Luke as a glimpse at the future of the series. He’s dressed for a fight with MMA gear, including lightweight gloves and sponsor-laden trunks. His move set featured quick strikes and speedy, impactful projectiles, though we’ll have to see how this has changed in the time since the reveal. Hopefully, we’ll also get more hints at what to expect in an upcoming Street Fighter game.

    If you’re itching to get into a virtual fight, why not check out our Top 10 Fighting Games To Plat Right Now

    What would you like to see in the Street Fighter V Fall Update? Let us know in the comments!


    Sonic And Tails Are Coming To Monster Hunter Rise, Kinda

    If you’ve ever wanted your palico or palamute in Monster Hunter Rise to look like Sonic and Tails, now’s your chance. 

    That’s because Sonic and Tails are (kinda) coming to Monster Hunter Rise in a new collaboration that goes live on November 26. The official Monster Hunter Twitter account posted a one-minute video today featuring the groovy basslines you’ve come to expect from Sonic music alongside footage of palico Sonic and palamute Tails in-game. 

    Look, I’m not Sonic expert but I have to be honest: palico Sonic works so much better than palamute Tails. The palico actually looks like the blue dude who likes to go fast – you could convince me that’s just actually him. The palamute, however, looks like a dog that someone’s dressed up to be like Tails. I don’t know if any of this matters to players – it probably doesn’t – but if I’m going for the full gold rings experience, I’m rolling with Sonic. 

    It’s cool regardless that both are in-game; it’s even cooler that the palico can seemingly turn into Super (Saiyan) Sonic too. 

    As noted in the announcement video, this Monster Hunter Rise x Sonic The Hedgehog collaboration will go live on November 26. That day, an event quest will go live and it yields not just the palico and palamute armor pieces as rewards, but some Hunter armor as well. Complete this quest and your entire squad can roll out at the speed of sound in style. This collaboration will hit the PC version when it launches in January. 

    While waiting for this collaboration to go live, check out Game Informer’s Monster Hunter Rise review and then read where Monster Hunter Rise ended up on this year’s Game Awards nomination list. Read about how Monster Hunter Rise won’t have cross-save or crossplay with Switch when it hits PC this coming January.

    Will you be jumping back into Monster Hunter Rise to check out this collaboration? Let us know in the comments below!


    Ryu Ga Gotoku Developing New Franchise Not Connected To Yakuza And Judgment

    The studio behind the Yakuza series and the Judgment series, Ryu Ga Gotoku, is working on a new franchise, but it won’t be connected to either of their beloved crime-related series. 

    This news comes from Video Games Chronicle, which reports that studio director Masayoshi Yokohama told Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu that RGG is planning a new game separate from the Yakuza or Judgment series. 

    “We’re also working on unannounced titled outside of [Yakuza and Judgment],” Yokoyama told Famitsu. 

    If you’re worried about not getting more Yakuza as a result, though, don’t fret – RGG has already confirmed that a sequel to Yakuza: Like a Dragon is in the works, even though series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has departed from Sega. The future of the Judgment series, however, is not so guaranteed. As noted by VGC, after an alleged dispute between Sega and lead actor Takuya Kimura’s talent agency, it’s unclear if the series even has its leading actor to rely on for the role of Takayuki Yagami. 

    Yokoyama said RGG “will continue to cherish the Judgment series” when talking to Famitsu, so that’s something. Only time will tell what comes of it, but now we know a new franchise is in the works at the studio.

    While waiting to learn more about it, check out Game Informer’s Lost Judgment review and then read Game Informer’s Yakuza: Like a Dragon review. Check out this story about Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi’s departure from Sega after that.  

    [Source: VGC]

    Are you excited about a new franchise from RGG? Let us know in the comments below!


    Pokémon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl Review – Refurbished Gems

    Click to watch embedded media

    Publisher: The Pokémon Company
    Developer: Ilca, Game Freak

    November 19, 2021

    Rating: Everyone
    Reviewed on: Switch

    Originally released in 2006, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl ushered in a new generation of Pokémon games onto the Nintendo DS. With the themes of evolution and creation woven throughout the story, the upgraded designs of the new Pokémon found throughout the Sinnoh region, as well as newly discovered evolutionary lines of fan-favorite monsters, these games felt like a notable step forward for the franchise. In remaking these classics new Pokémon developer ILCA proves it can handle recreating the crucial tenants of the franchise.

    For the most part, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are “faithful remakes” – as The Pokémon Company likes to call them – of their namesake DS games. The skeleton is there, with the same towns, routes, trainers, and Pokédex of monsters found throughout the adventure. You still start from humble beginnings in Twinleaf Town, where starry-eyed trainers receive a Pokédex from Professor Rowan and their choice of starter Pokémon. From there, you meet your friends and rivals, Dawn and Barry, and set off along your journey to conquer eight Gyms and become champion of the region. You’ll also uncover Team Galactic’s plans to harness the energy of evolution and the legendary creation duo of Dialga or Palkia. Nothing in the story is new or surprising, but I found that acceptable – and preferable – after being away from Sinnoh for over a decade.

    ILCA opted to recreate the DS games’ chibi characters in 3D and keep the world’s top-down perspective, which accentuates the feeling of these remakes remaining faithful to the source material. This is a deviation from how previous remakes have modernized their graphical styles and feature sets. That’s not to say the visuals look dated. New graphical enhancements to lighting, shadows, and water look great. The abundance of reflections on surfaces throughout the world and especially during Pokémon battles is also impressive. Unlike characters in the overworld, fights utilize full-size Pokémon and trainer models with unique environments determined by your location in the world. These scenes look great and are mostly free of framerate drops or the slowdown that plagues other 3D entries in the series.

    Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl deviate from the mechanical blueprint, with varying degrees of success. Newer innovations like autosave or the ability to view the strength and weaknesses of moves in battle are great additions, which I always like to see.  Pokémon also no longer need to be taught HMs to utilize moves like Rock Smash or Cut to navigate puzzles or obstacles in the world, something that would have taken up a move slots in the original titles. EXP Share is, on its face, a great way to cut down on unnecessary grinding to ensure your lesser-used Pokémon are battle-ready. However, the developers haven’t taken any measures to balance this feature, and there isn’t a way to turn EXP Share off. As a result, my teams felt over-leveled as the game progressed, making big matches against Team Galactic or any of the Gym leaders feel easy and insignificant. I steamrolled through challengers on the surface of Sinnoh and had to find more formidable foes elsewhere.

    My favorite place to explore has been the Grand Underground, a massive subterranean cave system lying beneath the surface of Sinnoh. I mean it, this place is enormous and spans just about the size of the main map. Here you dig for countless gems, fossils, and statues in the walls and Hideaways. These Hideaways are larger areas found within the Grand Underground, complete with biomes and higher-leveled Pokémon you wouldn’t normally find above ground, many of which aren’t a part of the standard Sinnoh Pokédex. I found the challenge I craved above ground in these Hideaways as I captured new, exotic creatures to diversify my team. Players can create Secret Bases by digging customizable rooms in the cavern wall. Placing special Pokémon statues inside these rooms altered which monsters I found within the Hideaways. Those looking to catch ‘em all should spend a lot of time in the Grand Underground, excavating precious items and tweaking statue combinations to fill out the Pokédex.

    Other activities include the Pokémon pageants called Super Contest Shows, which I liked more than I thought I would. You’ll wow judges with a simple rhythm game and unleash a pre-chosen attack at the perfect moment to score points. I also loved customizing my Pokéballs with the Ball Capsule system. With an expanded system from Diamond and Pearl, you can slap various stickers on the capsules to create unique animations and earn extra points when tossing a Pokémon into these Super Contest Shows. Stickers add cool flames, bubbles, sparks, or musical notes to give an extra bit of flash and flourish, granting a level of personalization absent in the DS games. Even better, your Ball Capsule animations show up in battle but won’t affect how fights play out in any way.

    Click image thumbnails to view larger version



    While Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl don’t move the needle in terms of what Pokémon games will look and play like moving forward, they mostly hit the mark in being faithful to the originals. I’ve really enjoyed my time re-exploring Sinnoh, despite my qualms with the lack of critical path difficulty. They’re a welcome throwback to a simpler time when I felt completing a Pokédex was a somewhat realistic task to undertake. Veteran trainers will find plenty here to scratch a nostalgic itch, and new trainers who missed out the first time around have a solid adventure to embark on.

    Score: 8.5

    Summary: Pokemon’s debut DS games have been remade on Switch with welcomed quality of life changes while staying close to the vision of the originals.

    Concept: Pokémon’s fourth-generation games, Diamond and Pearl, are recreated with new visuals and modern conveniences while retaining the core story and world of the originals

    Graphics: Pokémon, trainers, and environments in head-to-head conflicts look great, using detailed models you’d expect from a modern Pokémon game

    Sound: The remastered and rearranged soundtrack is as catchy as ever. Minor additions and changes to the sounds and cries Pokémon make are also neat touches

    Playability: EXP Share makes the main-line fights a tad too easy over time, but other quality of life changes like constant access to Pokémon storage boxes and adjustments to the HM system are welcome improvements

    Entertainment: Catching, training, and trading Pokémon remains a blast, and Sinnoh is a great region to explore

    Replay: Moderately High

    Click to Purchase


    Saints Row Reboot Delayed To Summer 2022

    Saints Row

    Saints Row graced the cover of Game Informer magazine last month and looks to be a modern reboot of the GTA-inspired and wildly/hilariously inappropriate franchise from over a decade ago. And with Deep Silver Volition developing the title, the nostalgia factor is at an all-time high. Saints Row was originally slated for a February 25 release, but a new statement from Volition chief creative officer Jim Boone weaves a different, more deflating story. Sadly, the Saints Row reboot is being delayed to summer 2022. 

    Posted on Twitter and the official Saints Row website, Boone explains the reason behind the tough decision (seen above) and mentions key setbacks that primarily stem from the negative effects of COVID-19. That excerpt reads as follows:

    “In all honesty, we underestimated the impact COVID would have on our schedule, although everyone adapted very quickly to the working from home arrangement and continued to be incredibly productive.

    However, due to the size and scope of our new Saints Row, it’s become apparent that to create the best game possible, we need to give our team longer to perfect their craft.”

    Boone also mentioned how this upcoming version of Saints Row will be the biggest, most ambitious story in the series and so the team needs a chunky amount of time to realize their exciting goals. However, the central narrative, ensemble cast, and anything else that was shown since Saints Row’s first reveal announcement this past summer will remain unchanged:

    “Our priority is to create the best Saints Row game yet and, if we released on the original date, it wouldn’t be up to the standards we’ve set ourselves, and that you’re expecting and deserve. The team just need more time to do our vision justice; we’re doing some fine tuning and there won’t be much change in the game outside of overall quality and polish.”

    Saints Row takes place in the city of Santo Illeso as you and your underdog crew of deviants hustle your way to the top while keeping law enforcement and other criminal factions at bay. Head over to our Saints Row hub to learn exclusive info about the game’s characters, the available side hustles in the open world, and more. 

    Saints Row will now launch on August 23, 2022, for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


    Stranger Of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Reveals More Characters And Locations

    Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin has already graced us with several demos and a look at what’s to come ahead of its March 2022 release, and today Square has unveiled some more locations and characters from the world. As we have already seen, this action RPG that’s packed with elements from the Nioh titles also draws quite heavily from the world of Final Fantasy. Specifically, the world, music, characters, enemies, and more are all quite rooted in the original NES title. Of course, these aspects all look quite different today and have been massively altered to fit an action game, but you can absolutely see it.

    Today, we get a look at a town and a character from early on in Final Fantasy, right before players obtain the boat and can begin enjoying ocean travel. In Final Fantasy, your first stop in the town of Pravoka has you battling Captain Bikke’s band of pirates in order to wrestle the seafaring shop from his grasp. Here, it looks like the character is going to have a bigger presence than just a few lines of dialogue and a horde of minions.

    Captain Bikke’s new look is a pretty extreme extrapolation from his original sprites, and that’s really par for the course for Stranger of Paradise, which seems to take Final Fantasy and just go wild with all of its components. It’s a strange mix for a strange game, but it works in everything I’ve played so far. It’s unknown exactly where this encounter will fit in to the Stranger of Paradise tale, but if it follows the standard route, it is likely quite early in the game – shortly after the demo segment where our characters take on Garland. However, with a mission-based structure and map where players can repeat content to gather resources, gain levels, and maximize equipment, this could still be a good hour count into the experience.

    Square has posted an article with some more details over at the official site today, which goes into a little more about some of the characters in the game and some combat details that we’ve already seen during other stages of gameplay thus far. 

    Are you interested in this sort of bizarre amalgamation of 90’s edge, Nioh, and Final Fantasy? It’s working for me. How about you?


    Far Cry 6 Gets Breaking Bad And Vaas Insanity DLC Today

    Click here to watch embedded media

    After announcing Rambo and Stranger Things would eventually become a part of Far Cry 6, Ubisoft added yet another license to the mix. This one has a great tie to antagonist Antón Castillo, who is brought to life by actor Giancarlo Esposito. Players can now download Breaking Bad-inspired bundles to bring Los Pollos Hermanos restaurants and trucks to the world.

    Esposito won’t be in character as Breaking Bad‘s Gus Fring, but his eateries will certainly remind you of him. You can also wear Heisenberg-themed gear to further blend the game and TV show universes.

    This new content also ties into today’s new DLC, Vaas’s Insanity. Vaas’ look and voice are from actor Michael Mando, who just happens to play Nacho Varga in Breaking Bad‘s prequel series, Better Call Saul. Vaas is the villain from Far Cry 3, and this DLC gives you the chance to play as him and learn more about his backstory.

    This DLC is the first part of a villain-focused season pass that retails for $40. The second and third acts give players control of Pagan Min from Far Cry 4 and Joeseph Seed from Far Cry 5.

    The trailer above gives you a look at what you can expect from Vaas’ return, which is supposedly designed like a roguelite.

    Are you still playing Far Cry 6? Do you have any interest in the villain’s gameplay? Let us know in the comments section below!


    Far Cry 6 Gets Breaking Bad And Vass Insanity DLC Today

    Click here to watch embedded media

    After announcing Rambo and Stranger Things would eventually become a part of Far Cry 6, Ubisoft added yet another license to the mix. This one has a great tie to antagonist Antón Castillo, who is brought to life by actor Giancarlo Esposito. Players can now download Breaking Bad-inspired bundles to bring Los Pollos Hermanos restaurants and trucks to the world.

    Esposito won’t be in character as Breaking Bad‘s Gus Fring, but his eateries will certainly remind you of him. You can also wear Heisenberg-themed gear to further blend the game and TV show universes.

    This new content also ties into today’s new DLC, Vaas’s Insanity. Vaas’ look and voice are from actor Michael Mando, who just happens to play Nacho Varga in Breaking Bad‘s prequel series, Better Call Saul. Vaas is the villain from Far Cry 3, and this DLC gives you the chance to play as him and learn more about his backstory.

    This DLC is the first part of a villain-focused season pass that retails for $40. The second and third acts give players control of Pagan Min from Far Cry 4 and Joeseph Seed from Far Cry 5.

    The trailer above gives you a look at what you can expect from Vaas’ return, which is supposedly designed like a roguelite.

    Are you still playing Far Cry 6? Do you have any interest in the villain’s gameplay? Let us know in the comments section below!


    Report: Bobby Kotick Knew Of Activision Blizzard’s History Of Sexual Misconduct, Employees Walk Out Demanding His Resignation

    Activision Blizzard has spent the last several months embroiled in a series of state and federal lawsuits regarding allegations of its toxic work culture. The controversies primarily stem from Blizzard specifically due to numerous stories of how the studio fostered a “frat boy” culture hostile to women and marginalized employees, along with accounts of sexual abuse and a gender wage gap. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick initially downplayed the claims, saying he was unaware of many of them before promising the company would do better, even cutting his salary to a “minimum wage” of $62,500 until “transformational goals” were met. However, a report by the Wall Street Journal reveals additional stories of employee misconduct and evidence that Kotick was not only aware of these controversies but that he neglected to inform Activision’s board of directors of several of them. The report also alleges that Kotick himself has been accused of mistreating women over the years. 

    We highly encourage you to read WSJ’s report (there is a paywall, however) or writer Ben Fritz’s Twitter thread highlighting its core details. Trigger warning for both their stories and ours as they contain references to sexual assault including rape. 

    WSJ’s report sheds light on misconduct taking place at Activision-owned studios Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. In the article, evidence stemming from internal documents, memos, and interviews with people close to the situations reveal several examples that Kotick had reportedly always been aware of these issues and did not inform Activision’s board of directors, instead opting to settle the matters as quickly and quietly as possible. 

    One instance was the allegations against Treyarch co-head, Dan Bunting. Bunting, who helped spearhead the production of several Call of Duty titles, was accused of sexual harassment by a female employee after a night of drinking in 2017. According to WSJ’s sources familiar with the situation, a 2019 internal investigation concluded with a recommendation for Bunting’s termination until Kotick intervened on his behalf, keeping him with the company while he underwent counseling. Polygon reports that Bunting resigned from Treyarch today after WSJ’s report was published.  

    Additionally, former Sledgehammer employees were indicted in sexual misconduct investigations, according to internal information pulled by WSJ. One story centers on a supervisor who allegedly raped a female employee in 2016 and 2017 after pressuring her to drink heavily during work events. According to the victim’s lawyer, this now-former employee reported both cases to other leaders, Sledgehammer’s HR, and the police, but nothing happened. Activision reportedly dealt with the perpetrator internally and apparently settled with the victim out of court, but Kotick, again, did not report the allegations to the board of directors, according to those knowledgeable of the situation. 

    WSJ has also spoken to sources and reviewed documents revealing Kotick himself has been accused of mistreating women in and out of the workplace for years. These allegations include a 2006 story of an assistant who claimed Kotick harassed her and left a voice mail threatening to have her killed. In 2007, a flight attendant on a private jet co-owned by Kotick said she was fired by him after she told the jet’s other owner that the pilot sexually harassed her. Kotick settled both matters out of court.

    WSJ also found internal documents revealing Kotick as the person who wrote the controversial email (as shared by Kotaku) sent to employees saying California’s initial lawsuit contained “factually incorrect, old and out of context stories”. The information states he ordered Fran Townsend, a controversial female senior executive and former Bush administration official, to send it out to workers, where she garnered heavy criticism from employees and fans on social media. Townsend later resigned as the head of the Activision Blizzard Women’s Network.

    Furthermore, an internal email by Jen O’Neal, Blizzard’s first female co-lead who announced her resignation earlier this month, revealed her lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to correct its culture issues. O’Neal, along with former Bioware lead Mike Ybarra, assumed co-leadership of Blizzard following the resignation of former president J. Allen Brack in August. O’Neal will depart Blizzard by the end of the year, which will give Ybarra full leadership of the studio. 

    In light of this report, Activision Blizzard employees have staged an impromptu walkout today while calling on Kotick to resign as CEO. The Washington Post states this includes physical walkouts and remote employees refusing to work. The group also demands that the employees be allowed to appoint a third party to investigate the company. The walkout, which reportedly began at 12:00 p.m. Pacific time in front of Blizzard’s Irvine California headquarters, is estimated to include over 100 people. This marks the second company walkout in just four months

    Activision’s board of directors has issued a response to WSJ’s report, which you can read in full here. It opens with the following: 

    “The Activision Blizzard Board remains committed to the goal of making Activision Blizzard the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry. Under Bobby Kotick’s leadership the Company is already implementing industry leading changes including a zero tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent. The Board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention. The goals we have set for ourselves are both critical and ambitious. The Board remains confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment and ability to achieve these goals.”

    This is a developing story and we will keep you updated as more information comes to light.

    [Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Polygon, KotakuThe Washington Post]

    If any employees at Activision Blizzard or its many studios would like to speak with Game Informer about today’s report, share their own stories, or speak about what changes they would like to see within the company, you can reach out to the reporter of this piece via email: You can also reach out to senior associate editor Blake Hester via email: Hester can also be reached confidentially via Signal. Direct message him on Twitter for his Signal number. Game Informer can guarantee anonymity to anyone requesting in exchange for telling their stories. 


    Transformers Arrive In Smite Today

    Collaborations are everywhere! Naruto in Fortnite. Ed Sheeran in Pokémon Go. Anime in World of Warships. The world is more fun when these things collide, isn’t it? They’re everywhere!  Today, the Transformers come to Hi-Rez moba Smite. Smite has had a notable amount of crossover material over the years, everything from The Legend of Korra to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Today, the roster of brands gets bigger as the Autobots roll out into the land of the gods. As with other collaborations, the new skins layer over existing gods, so don’t expect to actually get a tailored Optimus Prime moveset or anything, though you will look quite stylish.

    The skins you can acquire consist of Optimis Prime for Geb, Megatron for Ra (!), and Starscream for Jing Wei. Of the three, you definitely want the Megatron one, right? Ra is a lot of fun anyway, so doing him up as Megatron is sure to be a blast. You can check out a lot more at the trailer right here!

    Click here to watch embedded media



    Tequila Works Announces Song Of Nunu: A League of Legends Story

    Remember Rime? Tequila Works is back, and they’re working on a game set in the League of Legends universe! The tale of a boy and a yeti is coming in 2022 with Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story. Lovable moments and snowball fights are sure to happen in this title, which is scheduled to land on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Switch, and PC. You can learn a lot more about the game and even see it in action a bit in the trailer below!

    Click here to watch embedded media

    In case you’re wondering who’s who, Nunu is the child, and he’s looking for his mom. Willump is the yeti and will help Nunu make his way through the frozen wastes and hopefully find his mom! Nunu also has a magic flute that can alter the environment in a number of ways. Or you can just make Willump dance, which is always nice. A mix of puzzling challenges and journeying through icy environs, the adventure is marked with story beats and relationship building as well, as Nunu and Willump form an unbreakable friendship. According to the developers, it’s a game about friendship, family, and joy. Hard to argue with that, really. We look forward to seeing just where this warm story in frigid lands takes us in 2022.

    Are you looking forward to Song of Nunu: A League of Legends story or any of the other announcements from the Riot Forge showcase today? Let us know in the comments!


    Here Are The Nominees For The Game Awards 2021

    The Game Awards (hosted by Geoff Keighley) airs on December 9 live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. We already know the in-person event will showcase a significant number of new and upcoming titles, but celebrating 2021’s most outstanding games remains the heart of the show. Today, we learned the nominees for each category, which you can vote on right now at the Game Awards official website.

    The nominees are: 

    Game of the Year

    • Deathloop
    • It Takes Two
    • Metroid Dread
    • Psychonauts 2
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
    • Resident Evil Village

    Best Game Direction

    • Deathloop
    • It Takes Two
    • Returnal
    • Psychonauts 2
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

    Best Narrative

    • Deathloop
    • It Takes Two
    • Life is Strange: True Colors
    • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Psychonauts 2

    Best Performance

    • Erika Mori (Alex Chen/Life is Strange: True Colors)
    • Giancarlo Esposito (Anton Castillo/Far Cry 6)
    • Jason Kelly (Colt Vahn/Deathloop)
    • Maggie Robertson (Alcina Dimitrescu/Resident Evil Village)
    • Ozioma Akagha (Julianna Blake/Deathloop)

    Best Multiplayer

    • Back 4 Blood
    • Knockout City
    • It Takes Two
    • Monster Hunter Rise
    • New World
    • Valheim


    Best Ongoing Game

    • Apex Legends
    • Call of Duty: Warzone
    • Final Fantasy XIV
    • Genshin Impact
    • Fortnite

    Best Art Direction

    • Deathloop
    • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
    • Psychonauts 2
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
    • The Artful Escape

    Best Score & Music

    • Cyberpunk 2077
    • Deathloop
    • Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139
    • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
    • The Artful Escape

    Best Audio Design

    • Deathloop
    • Forza Horizon 5
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
    • Resident Evil Village
    • Returnal

    Innovation in Accessibility

    • Far Cry 6
    • Forza Horizon 5
    • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
    • The Vale: Shadow of the Crown

    Chicory: A Colorful Tale

    Games for Impact

    • Before Your Eyes
    • Boyfriend Dungeon
    • Chicory: A Colorful Tale
    • Life is Strange: True Colors
    • No Longer Home

    Best Independent Game

    • Death’s Door
    • Kena: Bridge of Spirits
    • Inscryption
    • Loop Hero
    • Twelve Minutes

    Best Mobile Game

    • Fantasian
    • Genshin Impact
    • League of Legends: Wild Rift
    • Marvel Future Revolution
    • Pokémon Unite

    Best Community Support

    • Apex Legends
    • Destiny 2
    • Final Fantasy XIV
    • Fortnite
    • No Man’s Sky

    Best Debut Indie Game

    • Kena: Bridge of Spirts
    • Sable
    • The Artful Escape
    • The Forgotten City
    • Valheim

    Psychonauts 2

    Best AR/VR Game

    • Hitman III
    • I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar
    • Lone Echo II
    • Resident Evil 4 VR
    • Sniper Elite VR

    Content Creator of the Year

    • Dream
    • Fuslie
    • Gaules
    • Ibai
    • The Grefg

    Best Action Game

    • Back 4 Blood
    • Chivalry II
    • Deathloop
    • Far Cry 6
    • Returnal

    Best Action/Adventure Game

    • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Metroid Dread
    • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
    • Resident Evil Village
    • Psychonauts 2

    Best Role-Playing Game

    • Cyberpunk 2077
    • Monster Hunter Rise
    • Scarlet Nexus
    • Shin Megami Tensei V
    • Tales of Arise

    Tales of Arise

    Most Anticipated Game

    • Elden Ring
    • God of War Ragnarok
    • Horizon Forbidden West
    • The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    • Starfield

    Best Fighting Game

    • Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles
    • Guilty Gear -Strive-
    • Melty Blood: Type Lumina
    • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl
    • Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown

    Best Family Game

    • It Takes Two
    • Mario Party Superstars
    • New Pokémon Snap
    • Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
    • Warioware: Get It Together!

    Best Sim/Strategy Game

    • Age of Empires IV
    • Evil Genius 2: World Domination
    • Humankind
    • Inscryption
    • Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Best Sports/Racing Game

    • F1 2021
    • FIFA 2022
    • Hot Wheels Unleashed
    • Forza Horizon 5
    • Riders Republic


    Best eSports Game

    • Call of Duty
    • CS:GO
    • Dota 2
    • League of Legends
    • Valorant

    Best eSports Athlete

    • Collapse
    • S1mple
    • Showmaker
    • Tenz
    • Simp

    Best eSports Team

    • Atlanta Faze (Call of Duty)
    • DWG KIA (League of Legends)
    • Natus Vincere (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
    • Sentinels (Valorant)
    • Team Spirit (Dota 2)

    Best eSports Coach

    • Airat “Silent” Gaziev
    • Andrey “Engh” Sholokhov
    • Andreii “B1AD3” Horodenskyi
    • James “Crowder” Crowder
    • Kim “KKoma” Jeong-Gyun

    Best eSports Event

    • 2021 League of Legends World Championships
    • The International 2021
    • PGL Major Stockholm 2021
    • PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2020
    • Valorant Champions Tour: Stage 2 Masters

    For more on The Game Awards, you can read the full list of winners from last year’s show here. For a look at our own opinions on the year’s best and brightest, be sure to also check out Game Informer’s evolving list of the top-scoring games of 2021


    Ed Sheeran Is Coming To Pokémon Go

    Today, musical artist Ed Sheeran announced on Twitter that an upcoming collaboration is happening with Pokémon Go. In this day and age when Naruto is in Fortnite and celebrities are tied to all kinds of products via these projects, it’s actually not that surprising. 

    Pokémon has had a deluge of crossovers and collaborative projects over its long lifetime, and seeing Ed Sheeran make the jump from Game of Thrones (and other media!) over to Pokémon is sure to be interesting. With Pokémon being one of the world’s most powerful entertainment brands, extending well outside of the gaming sphere into movies, merch, and much more, this partnership is hardly unusual. But how will it play out, exactly?

    The exact nature of this collaboration is anyone’s guess, what do you think the artist has in store for the mobile Pokémon game? Are we going to spin magical Ed Sheeran Pokéstops or gyms? Who knows. Maybe we can click to get the new album while we play with our Bulbasaurs. What do you think the collaboration will look like? Perhaps Sheeran will actually become a canonical Pokémon. I mean, it’s not that far off in a world where we have Pokémon that are ya know, keychains. So, what do you think this is going to be? Let us know in the comments!


    League of Legends Rhythm Game Hextech Mayhem Launches Today

    Earlier this month, Riot Games announced Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story, a beat-matching game with some serious side-scrolling/platforming gameplay. Riot calls it a “fast-paced rhythm runner,” and that phrase was personified in Hextech Mayhem’s explosive (literally) launch trailer that premiered during today’s Riot Forge Showcase with Nintendo Switch. You can watch the gameplay footage below.

    Click here to watch embedded media

    Piltover, Valoran’s cultural center with a gorgeous steampunk aesthetic, serves as the primary backdrop for Hextech Mayhem. You star as Ziggs, a zany yordle (a spirit that takes the form of a mammal) with a deep love and appreciation for big bombs. Instead of using his explosives to take down other champions in the arena, this time around, Ziggs embarks on a journey to build the one bomb to rule them all while avoiding his strict and rigid nemesis Heimerdinger. 

    As Ziggs, you’ll “bomb to the beat,” running over floating icons that change your orientation (e.g., launch you in the air, drop you back down to the ground, etc.) across a horizontal map of Piltover while simultaneously decimating waves of foes and large-scale bosses with fiery explosions. Heimerdinger is the resident party pooper and his armed troopers and weaponized machinations stand between you and your musical escapades. 

    It seems as if the challenge of Hextech Mayhem derives from its utilization of sensory overload. You’ll be moving in tandem with the music, but balls of fire emitted after hitting enemies and objects alike with bombs fill the screen and make navigation a disorienting activity. You’ll have to pay attention and try your best to disregard the colorful carnage to stay alive. 

    Click image thumbnails to view larger version



    If this gameplay loop excites you, then you’re in luck. Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story launches today on Nintendo Switch and PC. 

    Are you excited to sprint down the streets of Piltover, laying waste to everything and everyone you encounter?


    Evil Genius 2, Fae Tactics, And More Join Xbox Game Pass This Month

    Microsoft is rolling out the last batch of Xbox Game Pass games for the month of November. Do you enjoy vibrant tactics games, supervillain simulators, or interplanetary flight experiences? If so, then this is your month.

    In terms of brand-new releases, Exo One and Undungeon launch this month. Exo One puts you in the cockpit of an alien saucer-like spacecraft to soar across expansive landscapes. Undungeon is an action RPG that has you battling across a multiverse. For strategy fans, Fae Tactics is a colorful love letter to games like Final Fantasy Tactics. Evil Genius 2: World Domination, which launched for PC earlier this year (read our review), heads to consoles and lets players build the booby-trapped supervillain lair of their dreams. Meanwhile, EA classics Dead Space and Dragon Age: Origins are available on the cloud. Check out the full list of games and the dates they join the library below. 

    What’s Coming To Xbox Game Pass

    • Dead Space (Cloud) – Today
    • Dragon Age: Origins (Cloud) – Today
    • Next Space Rebels (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 17
    • Exo One (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 18
    • Fae Tactics (Console, Cloud, PC) – November 18
    • My Friend Pedro (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 18
    • Undungeon (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 18
    • Deeeer Simulator (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 23
    • Mortal Shell (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 23
    • Evil Genius 2 (Console, PC, Cloud) – November 30

    DLC/Game Updates

    • Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition – November 18

    What’s Leaving Xbox Game Pass

    Leaving November 30

    • Call of the Sea (Console, Cloud, PC)  
    • FIFA 19 (Console, PC)
    • Football Manager 2021 (PC)
    • Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition (Console, PC)
    • Haven (Console, Cloud, PC)
    • Hello Neighbor (Console, Cloud, PC)
    • Morkredd (Console, Cloud, PC)
    • VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action (PC)

    Leaving December 8

    • Destiny 2: Beyond Light (Console, PC)

    In case you missed it, here’s the list of games to hit Game Pass during the first half of the month

    What do you think of the new additions? Let us know in the comments!