Thousands Of People Called Madden’s Player Rating Hotline In A Single Day

All of the NFL players in Madden NFL 23 have ratings and you can freely look at them on EA’s official site. Is Kenny Pickett ranked high enough at a 68? If you don’t think so, you can call into Madden NFL’s ratings adjustor hotline (at 689-278-3030) to recommend it go up or down. Thousands of people called in within the first day of the hotline launching, and from EA’s snarky Twitter tone, it would appear most of them are complaints, likely about a beloved players rating being too low or a hated players rating being too high.

According to Emma Waldren, Madden’s creator of content strategy and partnerships, over 1,000 people called in within just six hours.

Some NFL players also got involved to joke around about the ratings, clearly with EA’s involvement.

The hotline is a fun way to interact with fans and draw attention to this year’s ratings. Is there a chance a fan called in with a legitimate change that needs to be made to a player’s rating? We’ll have to wait to see, but no matter what, I’d call the hotline a success as it brought out some laughs.

For more on Madden NFL 23, check out our preview that details many of this year’s changes.


The Biggest 2022 Games Delayed To 2023

Game delays are a part of life. You know the old saying, a delayed game is…well, you know. It’s undeniably a bummer to see a title you’re excited about slip into the following year, but it’s generally for the best to ensure a quality product at release. 2022 has had a growing handful of high-profile setbacks, and we’ve assembled them all in one alphabetized list for a handy reference.

EA Sports PGA Tour

First announced in 2021 with a Spring 2022 launch window, PGA Tour marks EA’s return to making golf games after a years-long hiatus. The publisher nabbed exclusive rights to the Masters Tournament and the game even includes the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Unfortunately, we don’t know much more about the game besides a few courses and events, and EA has only offered vague timeframes for launch. It recently pushed the game to Spring 2023, a year after its original projected arrival. 


Luminous Productions’ fish-out-of-water fantasy adventure faced its second delay, moving it from October 11 to January 24. Square Enix states the game is essentially complete and is in the final polishing phase and that the delay was a “strategic decision.” October has quickly become crowded with big releases, so perhaps Square wants to pluck Forspoken from the pack so it can garner more attention in the traditionally lighter month of January. Hopefully, the extra time does this promising action RPG justice. 

Kerbal Space Program 2

Kerbal Space Program 2’s launch has been delayed several times since its reveal in 2019. Developer Star Theory isn’t shy about taking as much time as possible to make sure the space sim is as “breathtaking” as fans expect. Though it’s a bummer to have stay grounded for several months longer, who would want to deny those adorable Kerbals a smooth liftoff? 

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel

In March, Nintendo announced that Breath of the Wild’s yet-to-be-named follow-up will slip out of 2022 to arrive in Spring 2023. While we won’t get the Zelda vs Elden Ring Game of the Year throwdown some gamers salivated over this year, we’ve become increasingly conditioned to waiting around for this game. What’s nearly a year-long delay?


Pragmata’s delay has likely been met with the most indifference because we hardly know anything about its strange premise of an astronaut partnering up with a powerful young girl. It also never came close to approaching its original launch window. Capcom revealed the sci-fi title in 2020 and slapped it with a 2022 release. Two years is plenty of time to forget about Pragmata for a while, but in 2021 Capcom pushed the game to 2023 before we even got married to the idea of it arriving this year. Capcom has been tightlipped on Pragmata so it’s hard to know why it tacked on an extra year of development, but we’re itching to see more of this fascinating title in the near future.


Arkane Studios’ bloodsucking co-op title needs to slumber a bit longer. On its face, Redfall is essentially Left 4 Dead with vampires as you and your crew band together to survive hordes of deadly night creatures. We’re itching to see if and how Arkane applies the immersive sim elements from Dishonored or Deathloop to a completely multiplayer format. We just have to wait until the first half of 2023 now.


Replaced turned heads during the E3 2021 Xbox Showcase thanks to its stunning pixel art and dystopian ’80s aesthetic. Unfortunately, world events have presented a roadblock. Developer Sad Cat is based in Belarus near Ukraine and some of its designers have been caught in the crossfire of Russia’s invasion. Several team members had to relocate for their safety, adversely affecting the game’s development and forcing a delay. Of course, the well-being of the employees is infinitely more important and we hope Sad Cat is able to bounce back sooner rather than later. 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 developer GSC Game World is based in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, which has been heavily bombed in the ongoing Russian invasion of the country. Several of its developers had to flee the city, and some have even taken arms to help defend it. Needless to say, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 wasn’t going to hit its December launch date and will arrive sometime next year, thanks in part to GSC resuming most of the development at a new studio in Prague, Czech Republic. 

Sea of Stars

Sea of Stars comes from Sabotage, the team behind The Messenger, and serves as an RPG prequel to the 2018 action game. Players control two characters who wield the power of the sun and moon to battle an evil alchemist, and the game’s influences include Illusion of Gaia and Chrono Trigger (even sharing the same composer). Though Sea of Stars never had a firm 2022 release date, Sabotage confirmed the game will slip into 2023 in order to avoid crunching the staff while polishing up the experience. 


In June 2021, Bethesda confidently announced Starfield would land on November 11, 2022; the eleventh anniversary of Skyrim’s launch. Unfortunately, the publisher’s new space-faring IP needs more time on the assembly line and was delayed in the same breath as Redfall. Despite the setback, we still expect Bethesda to unveil the first lengthy gameplay demonstration for Starfield at the Xbox/Bethesda Showcase in June.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Rumors had swirled about Suicide Squad’s delay before developer Rocksteady confirmed the worst, so at least the blow was softened a bit. While we won’t get to (hopefully) take down Superman and the League this calendar year, we trust that Rocksteady will take whatever time it needs to do the Suicide Squad justice.


Tchia has been one of the most promising-looking indie titles since its reveal in 2020. The game stars a young girl who has the power to transfer her spirit into the bodies of animals and objects, controlling them from within. The game also takes cues from games like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with its focus on sailing between multiple islands, and you can also explore underwater and soar through the skies on a glider. Developer Awaceb wants to ensure Tchia lives up to its potential and needs the rest of 2022 to pull it off. 

Test Drive Unlimited: Solar Crown

Test Drive Unlimited’s big comeback landed a September 2022 launch date a year in advance, demonstrating KT Racing’s apparent confidence it could cross the finish line in time. Alas, it was not to be. In order to ensure Solar Crown reaches the sky-high bar of quality the team is aiming for, the game was not only delayed, but its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions were canceled. According to the studio, abandoning the last generation will allow Solar Crown to take full advantage of current hardware. 


Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Review | All Things Nintendo

This week on All Things Nintendo, Brian welcomes Game Informer associate editor Jason Guisao to break down his review of Xenoblade Chronicles 3, the massive role-playing game that hit Nintendo Switch today. Before that, the two get caught up on all the biggest Nintendo news from the last two weeks. The show ends with an RPG-focused Definitive Ranking topic before Jason gives his eShop Gem of the Week.

If you’d like to follow the people from this episode on Twitter, hit the following links: Brian Shea (@brianpshea)Jason Guisao (@Jason_Guisao)

The All Things Nintendo podcast is a weekly show where we can celebrate, discuss, and break down all the latest games, news, and announcements from the industry’s most recognizable name. Each week, Brian is joined by different guests to talk about what’s happening in the world of Nintendo. Along the way, they’ll share personal stories, uncover hidden gems in the eShop, and even look back on the classics we all grew up with. A new episode hits every Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to All Things Nintendo on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:23 – First Mario Strikers: Battle League Characters
00:04:00 – New NES and SNES Games for Switch Online

00:14:25 – Nintendo Switch Sports Free Update
00:19:18 – TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection Release Date
00:22:44 – New Mario Kart 8: Deluxe DLC Courses
00:28:11 – New Pokémon Orchestral Version Released
00:29:10 – Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Review
00:53:50 – Definitive Ranking: RPGs on Switch
01:01:41 – eShop Gem of the Week: Ape Out

If you’d like to get in touch with the All Things Nintendo podcast, you can do so by emailing, tweeting to Brian (@BrianPShea), or by joining the official Game Informer Discord server. You can do that by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the All Things Nintendo channel under “Community Spaces.”

For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out The Game Informer Show with host Alex Van Aken, which covers the weekly happenings of the video game industry, and Video Gameography with host Marcus Stewart, which explores the history of video games – one series at a time! We also have From Panel to Podcast from host Andrew Reiner, covering everything from the world of comic books, including the shows, movies, and games that spawn from them!


Build Redux Review: Beautiful Power

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<p>One of the allures of PC gaming is building your rig to the specs you need. Last year, while I didn’t pick my components, I built a machine using <a href=””>NZXT’s streaming PC</a> package, which comes with all the parts you need and a handy guide to walk you through the steps. The build took us about three hours, with only a few hiccups along the way.</p>

<p>If you don’t want to dedicate time to the build and would rather have someone else put it together, there are plenty of pre-built PC options on the market. One of the newest companies exploring this space is Build Redux, a sister company of Digital Storm, the longtime boutique PC manufacturer.</p>

<p>When you go to Build Redux’s <a href=””>website</a>, you see the option to build your PC, but not in the way you would expect. You pick your top three games from a preset list of fifteen titles. The options include many reflex-based shooters like Call of Duty Warzone, Overwatch, and Apex Legends. When you click a game, a framerate appears over the box art. Clicking Apex Legends reveals a reading of 70 frames per second for Build Redux’s “good” PC model. The “better” model raised the framerate to 110, and “best” jacked it to 145.</p>

<p>The difference in price at this point is good at $1,415, better at $1,879, and best at $2,259. After selecting the option you want to explore, a screen shows all the components in your tower. In my “best” option, I see I’m getting an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB graphics card. That’s a nice card, but I could upgrade it to something better like the 3090 Ti 24 GB, but it would raise my cost by $888. You can tweak most options, from the memory and cooler to storage and power supply.</p>

<p>Once my build is complete, I see a $99 build fee. Additionally, I learn all machines come with a two-year parts and labor warranty to replace or repair any malfunctioning hardware, just as long as it wasn’t physically damaged.</p>

<img src=”” typeof=”foaf:Image” alt=”” class=”image-style-body-default” />

<p>Build Redux sent me a default “best” model for review. The cardboard shipping container is sizable, consisting of thick padding for the formidable foot-and-a-half tall tower. At the top of the box sits a long black container reading “Welcome to PC gaming.” Inside, I first see a quick-start guide that consists of just a handful of steps, such as removing padding inside the tower, ensuring the cables look good, and learning where to plug in the peripherals.</p>

<p>After just a minute or two, I boot the machine to a symphony of color. Rainbow hues spin and rotate brightly from three circular LED lights on the machine’s face. Turning the unit slightly to my right, a glow emits from another light behind a glass panel, giving me a good view of the hardware on display. It’s a beautiful sight, and I can freely change what colors I see and how intense they are using a small remote in the box.</p>

<p>Seconds later, I see the machine’s desktop, and moments later, I’m downloading Steam, followed by several games I want to use to check out the hardware’s capabilities. The only sound I hear at this point is the clanking of my keyboard; the machine is ghostly quiet when doing basic web surfing and app interactions. Build Redux delivers a pug-and-play experience right out of the box that is just as easy to set up as a console.</p>

<p>Here are the review units specs:</p>

<p><strong>CPU: </strong>Intel Core i7 – 12700K – 12 Core<br />
<strong>GPU:</strong> NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founder’s Edition<br />
<strong>Memory:</strong> Patriot Viper Elite II 16GB 3200mhz BULK (32BG Kit 2x16GB)<br />
<strong>SSD: </strong>Kingston NV1 NVMe M.2<br />
<strong>Cooling: </strong>Cooler Master CN REDUX 240mm<br />
<strong>Motherboard:</strong> ASUS Prime Z690-P WIFI D4<br />
<strong>PSU: </strong>HighPower HP1-H 850W Gold Fully Modular<br />
<strong>Case: </strong>Redux TD500</p>

<p>When asked what people can expect from the specific hardware, a Build Redux representative tells me that my configuration is a bit old and has now been updated slightly with different tech, but assures me it is in the same ballpark as what people can get today. The company doesn’t post the brands for each component, as they often change based on supply. This latter point is a bit concerning, as the consumer should know what’s in there. There’s a bit of blind faith, but Build Redux is ensuring compatibility. </p>

<p>The first game I test is Elden Ring, as I have recently seen it roaring on another high-end machine with maxed-out settings. The RTX 3080 handles it easily, delivering a silky smooth framerate at 2560×1440 resolution and all settings at the highest levels. The only change is a slight elevation in fan noise. The fan is quiet but noticeable from beneath my desk, just a few feet from me. I also checked out Stray with an uncapped framerate, and it looks fantastic.</p>

<p>I then spend time with some of this generation’s more graphically demanding titles. Cyberpunk 2077 ran without a hitch on the ultra ray tracing setting, with all other fields set to the highest levels. Horizon Zero Dawn also looked incredible with maxed-out settings. This machine has the horsepower to bring out the best in the current generation of games and should be fairly future-proof for the next few years of new releases.</p>

<p>The high-end model is a bit spendy yet delivers in performance and external beauty. It looks like a machine someone would custom build and should be great for streaming purposes, given its customizable lighting. Build Redux’s best foot forward impresses and is a great starter unit for people getting into PC gaming that roars with power at a reasonable price.</p>

Enter For A Chance To Win Game Informer Gold – Sonic Frontiers Issue

High-gloss paper. Gold-foil covers. Uniquely-numbered issues. Ridiculously-low print runs. This is Game Informer Gold, an ultra-rare collectible that one of you can win through this sweepstakes. You need to get your hands on Game Informer Gold to truly understand how big of an upgrade it is over our standard edition. From its increased thickness to the gold shine on the cover, this is as high-end as magazines get.

This month, the copy of Game Informer Gold that is up for grabs is issue 347, featuring Sonic Froniters. Not only can you read our massive cover story on the best paper and print quality we provide, but there’s also a feature on Open Roads and an early look at Stormgate, the new RTS from developers that worked on Warcraft III and Starcraft II. The issue boasts a huge preview section with new looks at games like Marvel’s Midnight Suns, A Plague Tale: Requiem, Saints Row, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Final Fantasy XVI, Redfall, and Street Fighter 6.

For more info on Game Informer Gold, watch this short video featuring our first Game Informer Gold issue #340:

Enter below by August 8, 2022 for your chance at this unique exclusive collectible. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Daily entry options available so come back often for your best chance. Full rules are available below. Many will enter, but only one will win! Good Luck!

Enter for a chance to win Game Informer Gold – Sonic Frontiers Issue

Take Your First Look At NBA 2K23’s Gameplay

Our brief first look at NBA 2K23’s on-court action shows off the fluidity of play and attention to detail that unfolds even after the whistle is blown. For years, this series has been lauded as a graphical powerhouse, and this teaser sizzles in this way.

We’ll have to see how the footage shown breaks down as far as new gameplay features, but it would appear perimeter play is getting some of the spotlight this year. The realism in the superstars is also on display, both on the court and in how they celebrate and interact with fans.

NBA 2K23 will have three different looks on retail stands with NBA Legend Michael Jordan on one cover, Phoenix’s Devin Booker on another, and the WNBA’s Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi on the third. Michael Jordan’s return unfolds through 15 different Jordan Challenge scenarios that recreate key moments from his career.

More details should be coming soon, as 2K Sports aims to ship NBA 2K23 on September 9 for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC.


Genshin Impact Reveals New Characters And Region In Teaser Trailer

“A new chapter is about to begin amidst a tangled web of factions.” This line accompanies the latest teaser trailer for Genshin Impact, the incredible free-to-play RPG from miHoYo. The trailer dives into the game’s fourth region, Sumeru, which is home to people who can’t dream and worship the God of Wisdom.

Suermu looks lush in foliage, with mushroom creatures scurrying about the trunks of sizable trees. It also contains a desert area and looks to be just as sizable as the game’s other areas.

The trailer also introduces a host of companion characters that players will meet as quests are completed. The first new character is Tighnari, a forest watcher who we see holding a magical firefly. In Port Ormos, players will run into Alhaitham from the Haravatat in the Akademiya. Further into the game, players meet Dehya of the Desertfolk, who is also a mercenary for the Emerites. There are also Nilou, a character who is pursuing art and dance, Nahida, a mysterious being, and Cyno, the General Mahamatra.

All of this content is a part of Genshin Impact’s 03 update, which doesn’t have a release date yet, but appears to be close, given how much miHoYo has revealed. Genshin Impact is currently available on PlayStation consoles and PC, and works just as well on Android, and iOS.

Are you still invested in Genshin Impact? If so, what do you hope to see from the new update?


Round Up Of Game Updates From The Annapurna Showcase

Today’s Annapurna Showcase brought several platform changes and new-gen updates for many well-received indie games. It also gave us a release date on a particular indie that’s been radio silent for some time. We’ve gathered these smaller announcements into one convenient spot, so scroll through to see which Annapurna joint is getting a new home with fresh bells and whistles. 

The Pathless

Giant Squid’s high-speed action platformer and PS5 launch title is migrating to Xbox and Switch this winter.


This narrative adventure game about exploring a woman’s entire life through her memories finally has a release date: August 4. It will be available on Switch, PC, and iOS.

Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds is blasting off to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S on September 15. This version sports 4K graphics and 60 fps performance. Existing owners will also get these enhancements thanks to a free upgrade. Developer Mobius Digital also provided an update on the previously announced Switch port, which is still in the works despite not having a release date.

Solar Ash

Heart Machine’s trippy platformer is heading to Steam on December 6 and will make its debut on Xbox via Game Pass this winter.

What Remains of Edith Finch

One of the best narrative adventure games of the last decade is available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S today. This improved version boasts 4K resolution and 60 fps gameplay.


Narrative perspective puzzler Maquette finds new homes on Xbox (including Game Pass) and Switch this winter.


Remember Hohokum? The colorful, surreal, and relaxing flying snake game makes a surprise jump to Steam, and you can buy it today!


Dinosaur Survival Game The Lost Wild Gets Suspenseful New Trailer

Annapurna Interactive concluded its showcase today by debuting The Lost Wild, Great Ape Games dinosaur-laden survival game.

The Lost Wild was first announced last October with a pre-alpha trailer and is described as a first-person survival horror game. Players control an investigative reporter guided by a mysterious voice over the radio to explore abandoned Japanese facilities nestled within an island forest teeming with prehistoric wildlife. These dinos are highly intelligent and realistically behave like animals, featuring what Great Ape describes as self-preservation and reactive systemic AI behaviors. 

Players can use stealth to avoid detection while exploring, create distractions, or repel dinos using items like flares and makeshift, non-lethal weaponry. You’ll spend much of the game scrounging for materials as you traverse ruins for clues about the island’s history and how you ended up in this dire situation. 

According to the game’s FAQ, The Lost Wild won’t be arriving until late 2024 or early 2025. It has been confirmed for PC via Steam but will also come to unspecified consoles. 


Katamari Creator Teases His Next Project

Keita Takahashi, the creator of the Katamari series, has a new game in the works. Unfortunately, it’s tough to know exactly what it is.

A teaser trailer premiered during today’s Annapurna Showcase showed a few seconds of close-up footage of an animated child snoring in his sleep. What does it mean? Your guess is as good as ours, but we fully expect it to be weird given Takahashi’s history.

Takahashi’s last big title was the colorful Wattam, released in 2019 and published by Annapurna. This new title looks to continue the relationship between the two partners.


Bounty Star Lets You Pilot A Mech In A Post-Apocalyptic Southwest

Annapurna Interactive revealed an eye-brow-raising new shooter called Bounty Star: The Morose Tale of Graveyard Clem. The title blends mech gameplay and farming with a wild west aesthetic, and it’s coming next year. 

Players control Clementine McKinny, a bounty hunter and former soldier looking to atone for her past by keeping the peace in the Red Expanse, a post-apocalyptic version of the American Southwest. She uses her trust mech suit to keep the bad guys at bay, which players can customize with various offensive and defensive components. These include various guns, a laser sword, missile launchers, riot shields, boosters, and more. 

When you’re not blasting apart enemies, you’ll take care of your homestead. This rundown garage can be upgraded with new supply and water lines, and you can grow food, raise animals, and manufacture ammo for your mech.

Bounty Star will arrive on PlayStation and Xbox platforms (launching day one on Game Pass), Switch, and PC and launches in 2023.


Thirsty Suitors Gameplay Trailer Highlights Wacky Turn-Based Battles And Skateboarding

Thirsty Suitors kicked off the Annapurna Showcase with a new gameplay explainer breaking down its uniquely presented battle system and a surprising exploration segment. 

The game, which premiered during last year’s Game Awards, centers on Jala, a young woman who must reconcile with her exes and friends while dealing with ( or, more specifically, disappointing ) her demanding parents before her sister’s wedding. The game revolves around a turn-based battle system where Jala faces a former lover, which reimagines their attempts to find common ground as an RPG battle.

The trailer showed off moves such as Thirsty Taunts to manipulate an ex’s emotions. Your old flames can manifest their inflated egos into alternate realities, where they reign supreme as the exaggerated versions of their self-perceptions. Thankfully, you knock them down a peg by enlisting the help of family members as if they were Final Fantasy summons, such as a giant version of Jala’s mother dishing out significant damage. Battles conclude not with a knockout but with Jala and her adversary working out their issues.

Thirst Suitors features a variety of gameplay mechanics outside of battles, namely skateboarding. Certain segments allow Jala to skate and grind rails, build combos, and execute stunts to build up a score. It’s a surprising addition that harkens to Tony Hawk or Jet Set Radio, and the game also features other unique gameplay shifts. 

A Steam demo goes live later today if you’re still on the fence about Thirsty Suitors. The game has only been confirmed for PC so far and has no release window.


Kentucky Route Zero Developer Discuss Its New Title

Kentucky Route Zero has become one of the last decade’s most celebrated narrative adventure games. As such, fans will be happy to know that developer Cardboard Computer is hard at work on its next title.

A dev diary during today’s Annapurna Showcase doesn’t reveal much about the game, including its title. We get shots of the team members animating a dog’s face, with the designers saying the next game will feature fully-animated characters. It also explains the project has a faster tempo and sports funnier writing than KRZ but will ultimately be a tragedy. 

Whatever this game is, it has no release window or announced platforms. You can read our review of Kentucky Route Zero here


Skull And Bones Cover Story And Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Review | GI Show

skull and bones

In this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, the crew shares exclusive details from our Skull And Bones cover story and discusses our Xenoblade Chronicle 3 review. During The Playlist, Van Aken raves about Rollerdrome and shares why it’s one of his most anticipated games after playing it. To round out the show, we answer a few listener questions about how the Steam Deck compares to the Nintendo Switch and which portable games we’d like to re-release onto home consoles. 

Follow us on social media: Alex Van Aken (@itsVanAken), Wesley LeBlanc (@LeBlancWes), Jay Guisao (@Jason_Guisao), Marcus Stewart (@MarcusStewart7)

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

Editor’s Note: Please welcome Matt Storm, our new freelance audio editor for The Game Informer Show. Matt is an experienced podcast host, editor, and producer who’s been podcasting for over a decade. You should listen to Matt’s shows like the “Fun” And Games Podcast, and Reignite, a Mass Effect podcast. 


00:00:00 – Intro

00:03:22 – News

00:04:33 – Cover Story – Skull And Bones

00:21:44 – Xenoblade Chronicles 3

00:34:48 – Rollerdrome

00:52:14 – Stray

01:06:12 – Housekeeping and Listener Mail


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass Wave 2 Races Into Action Next Month

Mario Kart New Tracks

During February’s Nintendo Direct, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe got a lot of overdue attention with the announcement of 48 race tracks – new and old – coming to the arcade racer by 2023. The first wave dropped in March alongside a 2.0 update. Wave 2 is just around the bend and promises the Turnip and Propeller Cups next month. This means we’re getting some familiar courses across multiple consoles, including the Super NES, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Mario Kart Tour games. Here are the details for each cup based on a recent press release:

Turnip Cup 

  • Tour New York Minute – Zip past towering skyscrapers and enjoy a scenic drive through the park in this Big Apple-inspired course originating from the mobile game Mario Kart Tour. 
  • SNES Mario Circuit 3 – Drift your way around tight corners and avoid the Warp Pipes in this classic course that originated in Super Mario Kart on Super NES. 
  • N64 Kalimari Desert – This desert race features frequent run-ins with an old-fashioned steam locomotive that crosses the course – be careful not to cause any delays! 
  • DS Waluigi Pinball – Launch, bump and weave across this course themed after a giant pinball table, complete with colorful lights and sounds. Just try not to tilt! 

Propeller Cup 

  • Tour Sydney Sprint – Soak up the sunshine as you soar above the bay and cruise around the sights in this course that originated in Mario Kart Tour. 
  • GBA Snow Land – Try not to slip and slide on this wintry course from Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Just remember: Cooler heads will prevail. 
  • Wii Mushroom Gorge – This course features an underground cavern, deep chasms and giant mushrooms to spring off of – make sure you land safely! 
  • Sky-High Sundae – The competition may heat up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t chill out in this sweet race, which is filled with larger-than-life desserts at nearly every turn. Prove you’re number one under the sun(dae) in this debut course! 

All courses can be played locally or online starting on August 4, so strap in, buckle up, and take to the roaring circuits of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with family and friends.


Eight Yakuza Games Come To PlayStation Plus Starting Next Month

Yakuza PlayStation Plus

Now’s the time to claim Japan’s seedy underbelly for yourself. Yakuza: Like A Dragon is packaged into the free PlayStation Plus August catalog. However, eight other Yakuza are coming to the subscription service starting this month.

According to the official PlayStation blog, Extra and Premium members can download/play Kazuma Kiryu’s classic, crime-riddled journeys in Yakuza 0, Kiwami, and Kiwami 2 next month. Later this year, those same subscribers get access to Yakuza 3 Remastered, Yakuza 4 Remastered, Yakuza 5 Remastered, and Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. That’s hundreds of hours of fantastic Ryu Ga Gotoku content. Be sure to check out our reviews or previews for the games below:

Last week, screenshots of the next Yakuza game surfaced. Whether we’re in for a numbered entry or sequel to Like A Dragon remains to be seen. But we know that the lovable Ichiban Kasuga and co. are making their triumphant return.


My Rollerdrome Preview Is Late Because I Can’t Stop Playing It


PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC

Private Division


August 16, 2022

It’s Tuesday morning. I’m late. I’ve missed the embargo deadline for Rollerdrome. Across the games press, website authors have already published previews and stories about their time playing Roll7’s blood-packed sports title. 

But I can’t stop playing Rollerdrome. 

Instead of writing, I once again queue the Barbican Arena competition, the last leg in my six-level demo. The level begins in a long, claustrophobic tunnel lit in red light. I have everything I need – rollerskates and a shotgun – to put on the show of a lifetime. Ahead of me are echoes of a crowd clapping in unison, an ominous metronome inviting me further past the steel-latched mouth of the arena. They paid for a show, and I’m going to give it to them.

Rollerdrome is a bloodsport funded by a mega-corporation in a near-future dystopia. Challengers travel the globe, competing in industrial arenas to climb the ranks of a televised competition – all to distract the public from a grim reality. Each match-up shares a simple-but-effective formula: drop into an arena, kill corporate-owned militia units, and skate for your life. It’s like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater but with guns. It’s great. 

Everything in the arena wants to kill you. Snipers, rocket-wielding commanders, riot guards, and even mechs are all constantly targeting you. One of the game’s challenges is to know when to strike or evade, a hard lesson I learned after a few deaths. If you run out of ammunition, you must perform skate tricks to generate more. Low on health? Kill enemies to regenerate or quickly escape by grinding a nearby rail. If a sniper nest is out of reach, gain some air on a nearby half pipe to close the distance. 

Rollerdrome is fast-paced and full of spectacle, but it’s never unmanageable, thanks to the game’s bullet-time feature. Upon entering bullet time, which you can trigger almost any time, everything slows down, giving time to line up cinematic kill shots easily. Certain weapons have unique secondary mechanics that activate while in slow motion. The shotgun, in particular, has a fatal slug shot requiring an additional timed button press similar to an active reload, and it’s delightful to wield. Bullet time makes it easy to switch between slow motion and real-time while stringing together combos, creating a hypnotic flow state I never want to end.  

“Kara Hassan: Match Victory,” a faceless commentator announces after I extinguish the last of my opponents in the arena.

It’s too early to share a final judgment – I’ve only played a small demo of a larger project – but Rollerdrome could be in the running for the best-feeling game of the year. We’ll have to wait to find out when it releases on August 16.



We’re Playing Bayonetta And Finishing Our Gundam | Game Informer Live

In these trying times, the only thing keeping me going is knowing I will play a new Bayonetta game in just a few short months. But hey, let’s not forget the classics, either. 

Today on Game Informer Live, we’re revisiting the original Bayonetta, which most intelligent and attractive people will say is one of the best games of all time. 

But that’s not all! A couple of weeks ago, we started building a Real Grade Wing Gundam Gunpla kit. You can check out the first and second archives right here. I recommend getting caught up because today is the day we’re finally finishing our build. Come Hell or high water; we are piecing this robot together. 

We’re going live on our Twitch page at 3:30 PM Central Time (4:30 PM Eastern Time/1:30 PM Pacific). Hope to see you there!


Report: Grand Theft Auto 6 Co-Stars A Female Protagonist, Rockstar Adopts More Progressive Studio Culture

Bloomberg posted a new report about Grand Theft Auto 6’s development, based on sources close to or within Rockstar Games. The details discuss how a revamped and improved studio culture has influenced the game’s design, including its playable protagonists, writing, and tone. 

GTA 6, which Rockstar confirmed was in active development in February, will reportedly star two playable bank robbers in a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired tale, and the female protagonist, a first for the series, will be Latina. The game is set in a modern-day, fictionalized Miami and its surrounding areas, which signals a return to Vice City. Despite being set in a single city, the game is said to already have more interior locations than any GTA game. Still, the studio plans to regularly update GTA 6 over time to add more missions and even cities. Bloomberg reports that GTA 6 may arrive sometime before March 2024. However, sources tell the publication that some developers within Rockstar are skeptical that the game will hit that timeframe.  

The report also states that GTA 6 was initially codenamed Project Americas and has been in the works in some form since 2014. However, development proceeded slower than usual, partly due to Rockstar’s desire to adopt healthier work schedules to avoid crunch, especially in the wake of workplace abuse reports that arose during Red Dead Redemption 2’s development. Rockstar has enacted policies such as converting contractors to full-time employees, hiring more producers to reduce workloads, improving mental health benefits, and has weeded out problematic staff members. Studio morale has reportedly been very high as a result of these changes. 

Grand Theft Auto Online

This move is part of a larger, more progressive restructuring at the studio to erase what one source described to Bloomberg as a “boy’s club” culture. This reframing has reportedly influenced the content of its games, especially in the wake of American culture in the past few years. Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser spoke in 2018 about the challenges of lampooning the distressing absurdity of modern America. Bloomberg reports that Rockstar has reexamined the type of writing and humor it’s criticized for in the past to be more culturally sensitive. That includes avoiding misogynistic portrayals of women and jokes that ridicule marginalized communities. 

Bloomberg’s story reveals one example of this new mindset. Rockstar had developed a team-based Cops and Robbers-inspired mode for GTA Online called Cops’ n’ Crooks. However, the studio decided to shelve this mode in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a police officer and has not made plans to release it since. 

If these reports are accurate, Grand Theft Auto 6 may be a very different game from a tonal standpoint compared to previous entries. The departure of lead writer Dan Houser in 2020 has undoubtedly had an impact, and it will be curious to see a GTA game without his narrative touch (or, perhaps, less of it). Rockstar valuing a healthier work/life balance is undoubtedly good to hear. Time will tell how these new changes affect the hotly anticipated game and the studio’s future. 

[Source: Bloomberg]


PlayStation Plus Members Kickflip Into August With Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 And Other Free Games

PlayStation Plus August

This month’s catalog for PlayStation Plus was announced today on the official PlayStation blog. Subscribers will be able to skate into August with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, Yakuza: Like A Dragon, and Little Nightmares.

The three games will be available on August 2, which means July’s titles – Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, and Arcadegeddon – are leaving. You have until August 1 to download last month’s free games. In any case, here’s what you can expect from this month’s three titles:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 And 2

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Cross-Gen Deluxe Bundle | PS4, PS5

“Drop back in with the most iconic skateboarding games ever made. Play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater & Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 in one epic collection, rebuilt from the ground up in incredible HD. All the pro skaters, levels, and tricks are back and fully remastered, plus more. Skate to songs from the era-defining soundtrack along with new music, hit insane trick combos, or shred all the original game modes by going head-to-head with local 2-player modes! Strengthen your skills by taking your sessions online and competing against players from around the world in multiplayer modes and live leaderboards. Play as skaters from the original roster (Tony Hawk, Kareem Campbell, Bucky Lasek, and more) or slide into the new roster made up of Olympian skaters (Nyjah Huston, Aori Nishimura, Leticia Bufoni, and more.).”

In his review, Brian Shea awarded Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 an 8.75 out of 10. 

Yakuza: Like A Dragon | PS4, PS5

“Immerse yourself in Little Nightmares, a dark whimsical tale that will confront you with your childhood fears! Help Six escape The Maw – a vast, mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking for their next meal. As you progress on your journey, explore the most disturbing dollhouse offering a prison to escape from and a playground full of secrets to discover. Reconnect with your inner child to unleash your imagination and find the way out!”

In his review, Jeff Cork awarded Yakuza: Like A Dragon a 9.25 out of 10. 

Little Nightmares | PS4

“Immerse yourself in Little Nightmares, a dark whimsical tale that will confront you with your childhood fears! Help Six escape The Maw – a vast, mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking for their next meal. As you progress on your journey, explore the most disturbing dollhouse offering a prison to escape from and a playground full of secrets to discover. Reconnect with your inner child to unleash your imagination and find the way out!”

In his review, Jeff Cork awarded Little Nightmares a 9 out of 10.


Everything Great In The World Of Comic Books | From Panel To Podcast

On this episode of From Panel to Podcast we dive into last week’s books, giving you a rundown of the best stories that you should add to your pull list. We also highlight the comics that are releasing this week and provide insight into why you may want to pick them up.

If you would like to follow us on Twitter: Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner) and Philip Hoff (@bnow23).

From Panel to Podcast is a weekly show created by two lifelong comic book readers who offer suggestions on which comic books you should be reading each week. Each episode also dives into the latest developments for comics in video games, movies, and television shows. We’ll even discuss comic book collectibles and anything we think you should know about that pertains to this entertainment medium.

Be sure to subscribe to From Panel to Podcast on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


Report: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic Remake On Hold

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake

The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remake, teased initially with a brief trailer back in 2021, is reportedly on indefinite development hold. That’s the news as reported by Bloomberg earlier today, which cited unnamed sources close to its development, relaying that the project has been paused.

The problems reportedly stem from major staff departures at developer, Aspyr Media. Specifically, both the art director and the design director were unexpectedly let go from the company. A recent vertical slice demo of the game was well received by license holders. However, later messaging to the rest of the development team suggested that the project wasn’t where studio leadership wanted it to be.

Developers at Aspyr are reportedly now stating that 2025 would be a realistic time frame to expect the project to release. 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic holds a special place in video game history. The original 2003 game was a significant milestone in successful and original video game storytelling in the Star Wars franchise and featured a memorable twist regarding a main character’s identity. The game also helped popularize some of the choice-driven and moral decision-making that became so popular in later games like Mass Effect.

The remake is highly anticipated by longtime fans, but its future now appears murky.

[Source: Bloomberg]


The Skull and Bones Digital Issue Is Now Live

If you subscribe to the digital edition of Game Informer, you can now learn all about Skull and Bones. Following the cover reveal, our digital issue is now live to subscribers on web browsers, iPad/iPhone, and Android devices. Individual issues will be available for purchase this afternoon.

You can download the apps to view the issue by following this link. All of these digital options are included in a PowerUp Rewards Membership.


Cover Reveal – Skull And Bones

Skull and Bones was first revealed in 2017. As a major fan of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, I was thrilled to see Ubisoft dive back into piracy, this time with a new IP. At that point, Skull and Bones was a 5v5 multiplayer arena battler where you played solely as the ship. It wasn’t exactly the Black Flag follow-up many, including myself, had anticipated, but with Ubisoft Singapore, the studio behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s excellent naval combat, at the helm, I wanted to see more. 

After another look at it in 2018, Skull and Bones went dark, and Ubisoft remained mostly silent on the title for years. Then, this month, the publisher announced that it would be re-revealing Skull and Bones on July 7. That return brought with it a brand new look at gameplay and new details about how Skull and Bones was no longer the 5v5 arena game it was when it debuted years ago. Now, it’s an expansive live-service game set in an open-world Indian Ocean where your goal is to rise from pirate outcast to kingpin. While we learned a lot that day, I still had questions, and for this cover story, I was able to ask them all (and then some) to key developers such as game director Ryan Barnard and creative director Elisabeth Pellen. 

For this issue’s cover story, I spoke virtually with Barnard, Pellen, and other team members at Ubisoft Singapore. I spent those hours asking them about the game’s new direction, its art, its music, its progression mechanics, the endgame of Skull and Bones, how it will keep fans playing for years to come, and how the game will differentiate itself from other pirate mainstays in gaming such as Rare’s Sea of Thieves. You’ll learn about all of that and more, including how Skull and Bones’ Infamy system works, how the game handles PvE and PvP servers, and the importance of multiplayer in this cover story. I was already excited about Skull and Bones before this – if you know me at all, you know that if pirates are involved, I’m on board (excuse the pun) – but talking to the team has me even more stoked for November 8. 

Of course, as usual, there’s plenty more treasure within Issue #348. We’ve got a robust look at 60 of the most exciting game reveals of the summer, a deep dive into the new revival of Saints Row, a feature-length look at Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, reviews for games you don’t want to miss, and an E3-focused retrospective about its place in gaming. You can expect all that and more in this upcoming issue of Game Informer. 

Print subscribers can expect their issues to arrive in the coming days/weeks. The digital edition of this issue launches later today for PC/Mac, iOS, and Google Play. To subscribe to either the digital or print version, click here


You Can Actually See John Cena In Fortnite This Week


WWE’s SummerSlam event takes place this Saturday, and Epic is getting in the mood by announcing that 16-time world champion John Cena will five-knuckle shuffle his way into Fortnite.

Cena arrives on July 28 and comes outfitted in his full-on entrance gear as well as his shirtless in-ring gear. You can pick up a set that includes a “you can’t see me” emote, WWE Championship Title Back Bling, and Five Digit Slapper pickaxe. Personally, I’m chuckling at the idea of the PG-friendly Cena adjusting attitudes with guns instead of bodyslams. 

While Cena isn’t the first wrestler to appear in Fornite – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has him beat there – it’s cool to see regardless, and, as a wrestling fan, I hope this trend continues. Fortnite already acts as the ultimate “forbidden door” for various media properties, so let’s throw more sports entertainment into the mix by adding stars from WWE, AEW, Impact, New Japan, and other promotions. That would certainly entice me to dive back into action. 

Do you plan on chasing victory royales as Big Match John? Let us know in the comments! 


PlayStation VR2 See-Through View And Other Features Detailed In New Blog Post

PlayStation VR2

Sony released a PlayStation Blog post fleshing out some of the new features for its upcoming PlayStation VR2 headset. 

PS VR2 now sports a see-through view. By hitting a button or using the Card in the Control Center, you can disable game footage and see your surroundings without removing the headset. This is thanks to the device’s embedded front cameras, making it less of a hassle when you need to check on something in the real world. Sony also notes that this mode is for viewing only; you can’t use it to record. You can, however, broadcast yourself while playing PS VR2 games by connecting a PS5 HD camera to the consoles. 

The play area, as in the virtual boundaries allotted for VR play, can now be customized. You can use the headset cameras and Sense controllers to scan the room and dynamically map out the play space to your liking. These settings are then saved until you move to a different play area. 

Lastly, PS VR2 sports two viewing modes: VR and Cinematic. VR mode displays VR content in a 360 degree view in 4000 x 2040 HDR video format (2000 x 2040 per eye) and 90Hz/120Hz frame rate. Cinematic Mode lets players view non-VR media and the PS5 interface in 1920×1080 HDR video format with 24/60Hz and 120Hz frame rate.

PlayStation VR2 still doesn’t have a release window, but Sony promises to share more information “soon.” That includes its launch line-up, which is said to consist of at least 20 games. Titles being developed for the headset include Horizon: Call of the Mountain, ports of Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky, and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Ch. 2.

What do you think of these features for PlayStation VR2? Share your thoughts in the comments! 


Nier: Automata Player Discovers Secret Room Leaving Dataminers Baffled

Nier Automata Secret Room

Nier: Automata is my favorite game of all time, renowned and criticized for its unconventional narrative design and eccentric characters. Years after seeing the action JRPG’s numerous endings and earning the platinum trophy, I never expected to miss out on so many well-kept mysteries. However, an Automata player recently discovered a secret room leaving hardcore dataminers baffled and excited. 

Randomly uploaded to Reddit by user sadfutago (thanks, Eurogamer!), the video in the tweet above shows them sprinting past droids in the Copied City and interacting with an inconspicuous section of the back wall. After sliding down a ladder and whooshing through distorted corridors, sadfutago enters a “holy” site. I’ll let you see what that is for yourself.  There are unimportant items along the way, and there’s not much to do other than look around. Still, the community is shocked that something of this nature remained hidden for so long. 

Famed dataminer Lance McDonald – you might remember them as the player who unearthed Automata’s best-kept secret – spoke for everyone when they said, “So far no one else has worked out how [sadfutago] managed to make this secret door appear. Literally 1 person on earth has accessed this room and we are utterly mind blown.” McDonald also said that it’s impossible to mod the game this way, refuting the claims of swaths of naysayers. 

Is this an area Platinum Games intended, or is it a ruse designed and implemented by players? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below! 

[Source: Eurogamer]


Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Review – A Dull Knife

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Review

Reviewed on:



Monolith Soft

July 29, 2022

Monolith Soft has struggled to recreate and magnify the novelties of the first Xenoblade Chronicles adventure since its 2012 release. The third chapter in the science-fantasy JRPG series suffers the same frustrating fate as XC X and XC 2. Despite its first-rate combat and character progression features, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a bloated trek across vast but lifeless environments further diminished by an unaffecting narrative with one of the worst ensemble casts in the franchise.

XC 3 employs a real-time battle system where “Arts,” advanced skills mapped to the controller’s face buttons, give fights a natural, straightforward cadence. By canceling auto-attacks into Arts while balancing cooldown timers, I made quick work of most early-game enemies. However, seeking stronger challengers defending rare treasures or simply grazing off the beaten path forced me to reconsider conventional attack patterns and interact with every mechanic. From taking control of a healer and issuing a “group up” tactic so I could save my team with wide-reaching AoE Arts to toppling staggered enemies with combos, every decision I made felt valuable and rewarding. 

Classes add more excitement to the loop. The six playable party members can learn any class, encouraging me to experiment with combinations. Even seventh “hero” characters, recruited from main and side quests, offer rarer, hybrid classes to choose from. Some of my fighters touted robust health and defensive stats, making them shoo-ins for tank classes, while the dexterous were better suited for DPS roles. Each class came equipped with its own set of Arts/passive skills and was a joy to play. I liked drawing aggression with heavy guard taunts and then switching to a dual-sword attacker to pierce the preoccupied foe in the back. Healing the squad moments before a devastating strike made mid- to late-game engagements invigorating.

My favorite combat features were Interlinks and Chain Attacks. Both are activatable after filling gauges by performing class abilities, with the former allowing two party members to fuse into a humanoid robot called Ouroboros. These gargantuan deities eliminate swaths of opponents in one fell swoop or even the odds with mighty bosses. Chain Attacks are team-wide specials that dramatically slow the action, allowing a sequence of character Arts to not only dole out severe damage but also enable bonuses like reduced aggression and high evasion. Interlinks and Chain Attacks were power trips that always made me smile, even when my patience with the plot and exploration wore thin.

The Keves and Agnus nations are locked in perpetual conflict, with both sides suffering tremendous losses. Soldiers are subject to morbid, bloody 10-year lifespans. So, when Noah, Eunie, and Lanz join forces with Agnus operatives Mio, Taion, and Sena, the crew settles on new goals: end the intercultural violence, defeat the “true” enemy, and find a righteous reason to live. This premise is eerily similar to last year’s Tales of Arise. Where infectious, likable personalities remedied that game’s occasional thematic blunders, XC 3’s protagonists are forgettable caricatures that lack the emotional complexity a story of this nature requires. Stiff cutscene animations coupled with mind-numbingly repetitive barks – “I’m the MVP!” or “That’s a rare doodad!” – do the six champions no favors.

This superficiality extends to the explorable backdrops, which lack the awe-inspiring points of interest and vistas from previous Xeno entries. These open-world zones are chockful of dangerous creatures, from flying stingrays to ferocious, kaiju-sized apes and collectible items which can be sold for a profit or submitted to fetch quest NPCs. Beyond challenging monsters, collecting respawnable drops, and recruiting heroes at Keves or Agnus settlements, there’s not much to do or see. The generic locales – forests, deserts, mountains; you can probably guess the rest – were barren spaces I’d navigate for hours to arrive at the next underwhelming story checkpoint.


Thankfully, character progression systems helped alleviate the monotony. XC 3 offered an impressive number of ways to amplify the strength of my party. At camps scattered throughout each biome, I’d level everyone up, craft gemstones that increase specific stats, and cook meals that affect XP and CP (Class Point) gains. There’s even an Interlink skill tree that let me augment the combat prowess of my Ouroboros. Smaller-scale upgrades, like improved running speed or meal effect duration, came from completing fetch quests, speaking with NPCs, and freeing Keves or Agnus settlements – this usually amounted to working alongside a hero to beat a powerful adversary. The customization depth made gameplay more enjoyable, but after dozens of hours doing the same activities to bolster my combat efficiency, the sheen wore off.  

My party of seven felt like a little army when explosive Arts and flashy Ouroboros combos lit up an already-chaotic battlefield. And the quality-of-life improvements like customizable shortcut hotbars and in-game GPS streamlined menu-surfing and traversal. Still, the narrative and world designs left much to be desired as critical plot twists are frustratingly obvious, character growth is virtually nonexistent, and navigation in each uninspired environment proves to be a tiring exercise. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a double-edged sword that needs a bit more sharpening.


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Let’s Play Neon White And Build Some Robots

Hey, I don’t want to go to work today. I want to stay home and play all my video games. Luckily, I can do just that. Care to join?

Today at 2:30 PM Central Time (3:30 PM Eastern/12:30 PM Pacific), I’ll be playing Ben Esposito and Angel Matrix’s fantastic Neon White on our Twitch channel. I reviewed the game a while back – and gave it my highest score ever, if you’re wondering – but I’m starting a fresh save today, so spoilers should be minimal. 

After that, I’ll be picking up where I left off on our ongoing Gunpla build from last week. We’re building the Real Grade Wing Gundam, and there’s still lots to work on. Come watch these little hands cut, sand, and assemble.

Hope to see you there! 


The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Has Been Delayed

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum has been delayed. The upcoming adaptation was scheduled to launch on September 1 (with a Switch port coming sometime later). However, developer Daedalic Entertainment is taking a few more months to polish up Gollum’s solo adventure. 

Fans have been critical of Gollum’s perceived lack of quality, especially after a recent gameplay trailer where the game looked rough around the edges. Daedalic seems to have taken those concerns to heart. The studio didn’t reveal a new release date, only saying it’s delaying the game “by a few months.” 

Here is the complete delay statement: 


First of all, we would like to thank all of you for your patience and support so far. Over the last few years, our team has been working hard to bring you a remarkable story in a breathtaking world, fill with magic and wonder.

We are dedicated to meeting our community’s expectations and uncovering the untold story of Gollum in a way that honors the vision of J.R.R. Tolkien.

That being said, in order to deliver the best possible experience, we have decided to push the release of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum by a few months. We will update you with an exact timing in the near future.

We are grateful for our passionate community and we cannot wait to share this unique adventure with you soon!

Daedalic Entertainment

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was announced in 2019 and chronicles Gollum’s life after he loses the One Ring during the early chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. The game emphasizes platforming and stealth as players climb and sneak across environments. Players can attack enemies depending on if they side with the character’s Gollum or Smeagol personalities. 

Do you think The Lord of the Rings: Gollum needs a delay? Let us know in the comments!


Xbox Series X/S Boot-Up Time Just Got Faster

Xbox Faster Boot-Up

Xbox Insider testers noticed a faster boot-up time for their consoles, revealing Microsoft’s recent initiatives to get players into their games quicker. According to The Verge, the cold boot-up time is now estimated to be around 5 seconds. The trick to the faster time lies in a shorter animation. 

The director of Integrated Marketing at Xbox stated (see above) worked alongside the principal product manager for connected TV apps, Harrison Hoffman, and senior product manager lead Jake Rosenberg to “create a shorter boot up animation (~4s) from the original boot up animation (~9s), helping to reduce the overall startup time.” However, there is a catch. You’ll have to set your Series X/S to Energy Saver mode to benefit from the faster boot-up. This means the console will completely power off when you decide to put the controller down and do something else. Nevertheless, this benefits the environment and helps drop the monetary load of electricity bills. 

Ultimately, the boot-up is down from 20 seconds to 15 seconds. That might seem negligible at first glance, but perhaps we’ll reach a period when wait times are nonexistent. 

[Source: The Verge]


Annapurna Showcase Scheduled For This Week

Annapurna Interactive

Annapurna Interactive will hold a livestream showcase of upcoming titles on Thursday, July 28. 

A message shared by the publisher’s Twitter account yesterday states that the presentation begins at 12 p.m. Pacific/3 p.m. Eastern. Other than that, it offers no hints as to what games will appear. Annapurna’s last showcase took place just over a year ago, where it highlighted a variety of new titles and game updates, such as Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye, The Artful Escape, and more. 

Annapurna has been riding a nice wave of momentum lately due to the well-received launches of Stray, the cat-focused post-apocalyptic adventure game developed by BlueTwelve, and Neon White, the anime-inspired platforming action game developed by Angel Matrix. The publisher has several noteworthy titles in its portfolio that could get a spotlight on Thursday, some of which haven’t been heard from in a good while. There’s a good chance we’ll see more games such as Cocoon, Open Roads, Thirsty Suitors, Storyteller, and Skin Deep. And those are just the games that we know about. 

What do you expect or hope to see at the Annapurna Showcase? Let us know in the comments!


Lucent Nargacuga Unleashed In New Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Trailer

A flying wyvern known as the Lucent Nargacuga will soon nest within a ruined society in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. This creature arrives on August 1 within a free title update for players on Switch and PC.

Capcom released a minute-long trailer that shows a battle against the Lucent Nargacuga within the Forlorn Arena, backed by beautiful moonlight. The wyvern can cloak to evade its attackers and spin within the blink of an eye to knock them back.

In our review for Sunbreak, John Carson said the game needs more threats. “The lack of new monsters plagues the early hours, but there’s plenty to love if you keep at it,” he wrote. “The added flexibility of the Switch Skill Swap system is a freeing and fun expansion to combat for hardcore hunters and the new creatures in the Master Rank quests – when you get to them – breathe life into the experience. For someone already invested in Monster Hunter, there’s plenty to love in Sunbreak.”

This title update brings at least one new beast to hunt. Here’s hoping players stumble upon more as the world opens up and the new content is unearthed.


‘AAA Action Platformer’ Game For Console And PC Announced By Funko And 10:10 Games

Funko, the collectibles manufacturer behind the wildly popular Pop line of toys, is partnering with 10:10 games to create a “AAA action platformer” for console and PC. The game is slated to release in 2023 and is spearheaded by video game developer veterans  Jon Burton and Arthur Parsons, who worked together on several Lego games at Traveller’s Tales and are now at 10:10 Games.

“Creating iconic products that emotionally connect fans to their favorite fandoms is critical to each product portfolio decision,” said Andrew Perlmutter, CEO of Funko. “By partnering with 10:10 Games and utilizing the best creators in the business, we will have the talent to deliver games that reflect Funko’s unique look and feel across its lines and varied products.”

This quote implies Funko’s stylistic characters with large heads and black eyes could be used for the game. Given the developers’ track record of making games that feature hundreds of playable characters, it’s not unreasonable to think this title may unite many popular brands that have gotten the Funko treatment. For now, all we have is a teaser trailer, which you can view above.


Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Action Figures Hint At Gunplay In The Sequel

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is the highly anticipated sequel to Fallen Order that brings back Cal Kestis likely in a Jedi Knight role. The game doesn’t have a release date yet and was only shown once in a trailer, but will soon get its first action figure. Hasbro just revealed a six-inch Black Series action figure for the KX Security Droid, which will make its debut in the sequel game.


The Security Droids were a big threat in Fallen Order and look even more imposing now with a weapon that appears to be fuel-based. The tank on the droid’s back has to be a weak spot. This figure falls into Hasbro’s long-running Gaming Greats line and will be sold exclusively at GameStop and can be preordered starting July 28 at 1 p.m. ET.

Hasbro also announced a Cal Kestis Vintage Collection figure is on the way and it gives us a clear look at the protagonist’s new attire. Standing in at 3.75 inches in height, this figure features a nice range of articulation and comes with a blue lightsaber and BD-1, his companion. As you can see, Cal no longer wears a poncho and has some facial hair. You can preorder Cal from most retailers, including Hasbro Pulse, starting on July 23 at 5 p.m. ET.


The most interesting aspect of the Cal figure is the blaster accessory. Is this a hint at Survivor featuring running and gunning along with the expected Jedi action? Or could it be a weapon that he uses in a story sequence? We’ll have to wait to find out, but it is a strange item to be included with the action figure.

Hasbro also announced a new Battle Droid, which Cal will likely chop to bits (or blast) within seconds. The B1 Battle Droid is articulated to the point that it can collapse into dropship delivery form. This figure will be sold exclusively at GameStop and can be preordered on July 28 at 1 p.m. ET.


This is a wonderful start of a collection for a game I can’t wait to get my hands on. Here’s hoping Hasbro adds more figures in the months ahead. Who are the villains? That’s the big question I want answered.

Disclaimer: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer


Reader Discussion: What Did You Name The Cat In Stray?

Stray has been out in the wild for a couple of days now, which means players have had plenty of time to answer one burning question: what did you name the cat?

The game’s furry protagonist lacks an official name. As you explore the post-apocalyptic world, have you given it one yourself? If so, what name have you settled on? 

Admittedly, I’m still figuring that out myself. I still have a good ways to go in Stray, and I’ve batted around a few options as I hopped across rooftops and meowed at robots. Some are more elaborate, like “Chester A. Tabby II” (the successor to my Palico’s name in Monster Hunter: World); others are more simple, like “Creamsicle,” which has been growing on me. I’m hoping your responses inspire me to concoct the purr-fect moniker. I’m sorry. 

So let’s hear it: what do you call the cat in Stray? There are no wrong answers. Well, unless you named it “Dog.” Then we’ll have to snitch on you to the Cat Police. The Cats-apo? I’m going to stop now. Share your responses below!


Live A Live Review, Inbox Q&A | All Things Nintendo

<p><img src=”” width=”800″ height=”450″ alt=”” typeof=”foaf:Image” class=”image-style-body-default” /></p>

<p>Brian’s on vacation this week, so on this episode of All Things Nintendo, he’s&nbsp;joined by editor-in-chief Andrew Reiner to answer listener questions. Then, after the break, Brian gets the final verdict on Live A Live, Square Enix’s the new HD-2D remake of the cult favorite RPG. Finally, Jill Grodt joins All Things Nintendo for the final time as a member of the&nbsp;<i>Game Informer </i>staff&nbsp;to give us some indie games to keep our eyes on in the near future.</p>

<p>If you’d like to follow the people from this episode on Twitter, hit the following links:&nbsp;<a href=””>Brian Shea (@brianpshea)</a>,&nbsp;<a href=”” target=”_blank”>Andrew Reiner (@Andrew_Reiner)</a>, <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Jill Grodt (@finruin)</a></p>

<p>The All Things Nintendo podcast is a weekly show where we can celebrate, discuss, and break down all the latest games, news, and announcements from the industry’s most recognizable name. Each week, Brian is joined by different guests to talk about what’s happening in the world of Nintendo. Along the way, they’ll share personal stories, uncover hidden gems in the eShop, and even look back on the classics we all grew up with. A new episode hits every Friday!</p>

<p>Be sure to subscribe to All Things Nintendo on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on&nbsp;<a href=”″ target=”_blank”>Apple Podcasts</a>,&nbsp;<a href=”;dl_branch=1&amp;nd=1″ target=”_blank”>Spotify</a>, and&nbsp;<a href=”″ target=”_blank”>Google Podcasts</a>.</p>

<p><em>00:00:00 – Introduction<br />
00:02:27 – Why Doesn’t Nintendo Have Trophies?<br />
00:07:30 – Will Success Cause Nintendo to Play it Safe?<br />
00:13:16 – What Nintendo Games Need More Power?<br />
00:16:55 – Non-Pokémon Game Freak Games<br />
00:21:16 – What&nbsp;Would Be Your Pokémon Party?<br />
00:24:43 – What Characters Should Come to Mario Strikers?<br />
00:31:45 – Future of Top-Down Zelda Games<br />
00:36:58&nbsp;– Under the Radar Nintendo Games<br />
00:39:41 – Our Musical Tastes<br />
00:44:14 – Will We Get a New Star Fox or F-Zero First?<br />
00:48:42 – Live A Live Review<br />
01:02:10 – Personal News from Jill<br />
01:03:27 – Definitive Ranking: Jill’s Indie Games on the Horizon<br />
01:18:37 – eShop Gem of the Week: Apico</em></p>

<p>If you’d like to get in touch with the All Things Nintendo podcast, you can do so by emailing&nbsp;<a href=””></a>, tweeting to Brian (<a href=”” target=”_blank”>@BrianPShea</a>), or by joining the official&nbsp;<em>Game Informer</em>&nbsp;Discord server. You can do that by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the&nbsp;<a href=”” target=”_blank”><em>Game Informer</em>&nbsp;Twitch channel</a>. From there, find the All Things Nintendo channel under “Community Spaces.”</p>

<p><em>For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out&nbsp;<a href=”” target=”_blank”>The Game Informer Show</a>&nbsp;with host Alex Van Aken, which covers the weekly happenings of the video game industry, and&nbsp;<a href=”” target=”_blank”>Video Gameography</a>&nbsp;with host&nbsp;Marcus Stewart, which explores the history of video games – one series at a time! We also have&nbsp;<a href=””>From Panel to Podcast</a>&nbsp;from host Andrew Reiner, covering everything from the world of comic books, including the shows, movies, and games that spawn from them!</em></p>

LeBron James, Rick and Morty Confirmed For MultiVersus

The MultiVersus roster expands today with the news that LeBron James, Rick Sanchez, and Morty Smith are stepping into the ring. 

King James joins the roster on July 26, the launch of the open beta, as the version of himself that appeared in Space Jam: A New Legacy. That means he’s rocking his Toon Squad jersey and unleashing all manner of over-the-top basketball moves. You can check him out in action in the gameplay trailer above. 

Mad scientist Rick Sanchez joins the roster when Season 1 begins on August 1. He’ll be rocking his portal gun and can summon Meeseeks, among other zany abilities. Morty joins him during the season, but his arrival date has not yet been confirmed. The young sidekick focuses on using projectiles such as grenade weapons, and he can whip himself at targets. 

The MultiVersus open beta begins July 26 and will be available on PlayStation and Xbox consoles and PC. Though if you played the closed alpha, you’re already playing the game right now. 

What do you think of LeBron, Rick, and Morty joining the roster? Who else would you like to see join in? Let us know in the comments!


Super Replay | Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Episode XII

A not-so-long time ago in the same galaxy we all reside in, Respawn Entertainment deviated from its first-person shooter roots to create Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. This third-person action game was the studio’s first stab at tackling the coveted Star Wars license, crafting an original adventure set five years after Revenge of the Sith. It stars Cal Kestis, a padawan turned junker (played by Shameless star Cameron Monaghan) that managed to evade the Jedi purge of Order 66. After he’s outed by the Sith, he embarks on a quest to recover an artifact capable of locating force-sensitive children while also avoiding capture by the Inquisitors, who are elite Jedi hunters. 

The game features a blend of lightsaber combat and a suite of Force abilities. Borrowing inspiration from FromSoftware’s Soul series, encounters are challenging, requiring a strategic blend of blocks and parries to outduel opponents. Meanwhile, the various planets take on a Metroid-inspired progression with players unlocking abilities to backtrack to previously inaccessible areas. 

Watch on Twitch!

Fallen Order was released on November 15, 2019, and was a critical and financial success. It also served as a saving grace for single-player fans, providing proof to an increasingly multiplayer-focused EA that linear story-driven experiences can still make the big bucks. With a sequel reportedly in the works, we’re revisiting this gem of the Star Wars video game pantheon. 

Join Marcus Stewart, Andrew Reiner, and, making his Replay debut, GI web designer/programmer Jon Woodey on Twitch today at 2 p.m. Central as we journey through the entirety of Cal Kestis’ adventure. Expect plenty of laughs, deaths, and general nerding out over all things Star Wars. We encourage you to hang out with us in chat. Just as a reminder, subscribing to Game Informer on Twitch rewards access to the official Game Informer Discord channel where you can interact with our lovely community as well as the editors. See you in chat!


You Can Toss Furniture As Lady Dimitrescu In Resident Evil Village’s Mercenaries Update

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village Gold Edition arrives in October and introduces the Winters’ story expansion. This content update includes an expanded version of the game’s Mercenaries mode, introducing Chris Redfield, Karl Heisenberg, and Lady Dimitrescu as playable characters. A new trailer shows off each of their abilities and how players can tear through hordes of monstrosities as this powerful trio. 

The update, called The Mercenaries Additional Orders, adds two new stages, Bloody Village and Bloody River, and lets players mow down adversaries such as the weapon-strapped Chris Redfield. When his arsenal of guns isn’t enough, the former BSAA agent packs a powerful punch that can have foes reeling, and activating his Onslaught gauge grants him an absurd speed boost, letting him move and reload in the blink of an eye. When all else fails, Chris can call in support strikes by pinpointing targets with his locator. 

If you want to get your Magneto on, Heisenberg can use his electromagnetic powers to toss buzzsaws and other objects, channel lightning, and smash foes with his massive hammer. He can also call in his Soldat Jets to lend a hand. 

The towering Lady D handles threats by slicing them to bits with her intimidating claws, which builds up a Thrill meter. Spending this meter allows her to use special moves such as summoning her psychotic daughters. Hilariously, the trailer even shows Dimitrescu tossing her bedroom dresser at a mob, a goofy callback to when she destroyed the same piece of furniture during the main campaign. 

If you already own Resident Evil Village, you can purchase the Winter’s Expansion standalone to access the new Mercenaries content. Resident Evil Village Gold Edition is an all-in-one package that includes the base game and the expansion. Both will launch on October 28.