In this week’s episode of The Game Informer Show, the crew discusses our Sonic Frontiers cover story and divulges new details about the game’s open zones, combat, and a few returning characters, including Big The Cat. During The Playlist, we chat about our time playing Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course, Overwatch 2’s new tank Junker Queen, and several promising games from Steam Next Fest.
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 around the industry. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.
Check out the timestamps below to jump to a particular point in the discussion:
00:00:00 – Intro 00:01:31 – Sonic Frontiers Cover 00:30:49 – The Playlist 00:32:00 – Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course 00:42:04 – Overwatch 2 Beta 00:53:54 – Steam Next Fest 00:57:24 – Nine Sol 01:03:19 – Blocky Dungeon 01:05:13 – Metal Hellsinger 01:09:22 – Terra Nil 01:15:24 – Steam Next Fest Lightning Round 01:21:46 – Housekeeping 01:25:06 – Listener Emails
Developer Sabotage posted a message on Twitter stating it simply wants to polish up the adventure as much as possible without crunching its staff.
As we are closing in on a very big milestone the road to launch becomes clearer, and we find ourselves here with a large body of text and our logos at the bottom. Keeping in mind our two main priorities – quality of life for our team and quality of the finished game – we can now confirm that Sea of Stars will be released in 2023.
We understand waiting is a big ask, and want to sincerely thank our community for the overwhelming support and positive vibes. In the meantime, we are looking at options to get a playable slice out to everyone this year.
All the love,
While the delay is a bummer, we appreciate the team’s respect for the employee’s work/life balance and strive for quality. The idea of getting a demo this year is certainly enticing too, as Sea of Stars has looked phenomenal every time it’s made an appearance.
The game was first revealed in 2020 after a successful Kickstarter campaign and evokes JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Illusion of Gaia, and Breath of Fire. It even features music contributions by Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda. Despite being a role-playing title, it serves as a prequel to 2018’s The Messenger, a Ninja Gaiden-inspired action game that was well-recieved (here’s our review). Sea of Stars centers on two heroes who wield the power of the moon and the sun to battle an evil alchemist. You can watch the original reveal trailer below.
Every so often, a game development studio comes up with an idea so good other developers insert it into their games. In Pow Wow Entertainment’s newly announced racer, Stuntfest: World Tour, I’m hoping the unique ejector-seat functionality is so jaw-droppingly incredible that it becomes the next craze. In the game’s first trailer, we see drivers rocketing out of their cars to bounce off pads or ignite a jetpack’s thrusters.
Stuntfest: World Tour is in development for PC with publishing duties handled by THQ Nordic sometime in 2022. We don’t have many details yet, but a press release states that the player can assume the identity of a “punker granny” or a “famous streamer” with the hope of winning elimination-style stunt shows featuring 18 drivers. The competitions range from destruction derbies to glider racers. When the player hits the ejector button and their driver launches hundreds of meters into the air, they can be freely controlled and gadgets can be used to gain an edge. When descending, the next car you see can be yours to drive. Progress in the world tour rewards you with vehicle upgrades.
Stuntfest: World Tour has a hell of a hook, but it’s difficult to figure out how these races will unfold. I can’t wait to get my hands on this game to see if this unique gimmick (and the high levels of destruction) add up to something special.
As previously promised, Halo Infinite’s long-awaited campaign co-op takes its first steps towards launch, thanks to a network beta flight scheduled for July.
Much like the multiplayer beta that proceeded Infinite’s launch last fall, this co-op beta, which runs July 11 to July 22, allows registered players to tackle the entire campaign alongside a buddy to ensure everything works as planned for the full rollout. Because this is a new campaign build that players must download, 343 states that no previous story progress carries over, so players will be starting from scratch. Progress made during the beta will also not transfer back to the retail version.
In a Halo Waypoint blog post, 343 lead software engineer Isaac Bender and lead world designer John Mulkey discussed the co-op mode’s features. A fireteam of four players can create separate campaign saves for co-op, and progress – such as completed missions, acquired collectibles, equipment, upgrades, and achievements – count toward both players’ individual saves. That means you don’t need to be the Fireteam leader to retain your team’s accomplishments. For upgrade cores, if one player collects one, then the entire team gets it. However, players spend cores individually.
In terms of how the game accounts for each players’ individual campaign progress, Mulkey states:
“The way we are handling this is through something we internally refer to as ‘No Spartan Left Behind’. When players join the Fireteam and choose their save slots to play on, the game aggregates the states of all missions across those saves and sets up a world state in which any missions completed by all Fireteam members are marked as complete while any missions not completed by all are marked as incomplete.”
Bender then adds:
“You can think of this system as creating a version of the world that’s like the ‘lowest common denominator’ (or ‘intersection,’ if you’re into set theory) of everyone’s Campaign progress. This way, no matter what you do, no one is completing missions out of order.”
Since Halo Infinite unfolds in an open world, 343 confirms that players can tackle various locations separately, governed by a system called Area of Operations. This term refers to the maximum distance Fireteam members can stray from each other; going too far triggers a warning to return to the team, or you’ll die and respawn near everyone else. 343 describes the radius of the AOO as having an 800 ft “warning radius” and a 1000 ft “kill radius.”
Players can redo missions thanks to the return of Mission Replay. Highlighting completed missions in the Tac-Map now displays a Replay option. You can choose the difficulty and activate any Skulls you and your teammates have found. This also allows you to revisit earlier stages using all the upgrades and weapons you’ve collected since then.
New achievements targeting co-op and replaying missions will also be implemented. Co-op also supports crossplay between Xbox, PC, and xCloud, with sessions hosted on dedicated servers. In terms of the characters each player assumes, everyone is Master Chief while playing together.
To participate, you’ll need to be part of the Xbox Insider Program or, if you’re playing on Steam, a Halo Insider. Xbox Game Pass members can join the Insider program by following these instructions. Steam players must sign up for the Halo Insider Program by July 5 to have the best chance of being chosen for the co-op beta. Invites will be sent via email, which will take players to Halo Waypoint to get instructions on how to download the campaign build. Surveys will be sent out after the beta concludes.
You’ll soon have the chance to play EA’s highly anticipated Skate sequel, but not in the way you would expect. Developer Full Circle and publisher Electronic Arts are looking for players who want to playtest the game and provide feedback on its development. You can sign up for this “insider” program here. As EA notes, you cannot share your videos or screenshots from your play sessions.
If you are curious what Skate currently looks like or what you can expect from the gameplay, EA has released a trailer with the appropriate title “Still working on it.” The first few clips focus on bails, which must have been captured early in development given how rough the animations are. As the trailer moves on, the animations smooth out and the series’ skating realism returns and is on display in a handful of awesome sequences. Full Circle also looks to be upping the scale of the challenges through some wild clips featuring impossible grind opportunities and huge ramps. Most of these clips are lack any kind of texturing or lighting and truly give us a look at how games are made.
Regardless of where it is at in development, this trailer gives a fun look at a series that never should have left us. Skate is alsmost back and it looks like it’s going to be a blast.
Cuphead’s long-awaited and aptly named The Delicious Last Course serves up a wonderful final dish that acts more like a satisfying dessert than a full second helping. Though not long, it offers an enjoyable batch of devilish boss battles and a welcomed addition in the now playable Ms. Chalice.
Ms. Chalice sports a unique moveset such as a double-jump, a dodge roll that can safely bypass hazards, and even one extra health point. She’s a blast to use, and I loved taking advantage of her added maneuverability. Does she make Cuphead an easier experience? Somewhat, but she doesn’t turn the game into a cakewalk. Rather, she gives players more options to work with, which in a way makes her a more advanced character because of how I had to alter my playstyle to account for her new tricks.
I like that she subtly encourages aggression by having a dash parry instead of the jumping version, meaning I had to hurtle towards danger to repel offense skillfully. Her ultimate attack, a vertical energy column, requires getting up close and personal with foes, rewarding boldness with big hits. I also enjoyed taking Ms. Chalice through the base game and tackling familiar bosses with her unique traits. She provides newcomers a great alternative from the get-go while giving veterans a new way to topple familiar baddies. Ms. Chalice also makes the base game’s polarizing run-and-gun stages more tolerable.
It doesn’t matter how many jumps or hit points you have if you don’t know how to use them. The Delicious Last Course presents a platter of delightful yet demanding boss battles that, in most cases, pushed my skills to the brink. I highly recommend returning players warm up by replaying a boss or two in the base game before jumping into this expansion. Since you can access the DLC early, first-timers should at least complete the first island before tackling the new content.
From evading tennis balls and laser fire atop an airplane in a topsy-turvy dogfight to fending off sentient ice pops while fighting a snow wizard, these entertaining new foes relish in throwing everything everywhere all at once. I’d say they rank with the battles from Cuphead’s final third in terms of difficulty, as the challenge comes in parsing multiple projectiles and weaving between them while unleashing hell yourself. Design-wise, these adversaries match the whimsy of the original rogues gallery, and it’s just as fun (and stress-inducing) watching, for example, a gangster spider take on multiple new forms.
Only one boss has a final twist that felt more cheap than fun since it remaps the controls with little time to adjust. Skill matters most, but trial and error remains an occasionally frustrating element of the experience. Taking damage from a new attack I couldn’t have expected, like having a bad guy drop on my head without any indication on where it could arrive, is still annoying. But each opponent feels conquerable, no matter if you’re Ms. Chalice or Cuphead/Mugman.
Surprisingly, the revamped parry challenges became my favorite encounters of The Delicious Last Course. An evolution of the base game’s mausoleum mini-games, which were decent but one-note, this new take pits players against five unique bosses that can only be defeated by utilizing the parry move in increasingly creative ways. I loved flexing my platforming prowess and timing by carefully bouncing on the weak point of a horse knight or repelling severed heads back at an executioner. Most importantly, these levels forced me to think about how to attack. Any enemy in Cuphead can be dropped by holding down the fire button but figuring out different methods of using a defensive maneuver offensively became an exciting combat puzzle. Since The Delicious Last Course ditches platforming levels, these arena battles offer an awesome break from the primary confrontations. I’d love to see more of them.
Our heroes can outfit themselves with new powers, such as a lightning-flavored version of the spread shot or tornados that fire upwards, ideal for hitting airborne targets. My hands-down favorite became the Crackshot, powerful projectiles that break into smaller bullets that nail the nearest target. They fit well with the existing arsenal.
I’d be remiss not to mention the soundtrack. Cuphead has one of the best scores in modern gaming, and The Delicious Last Course carries that banner with some finger-wagging new tunes. The new main menu theme manages to top the original intro song by a mile.
The Delicious Last Course sends our jolly beverage containers off on a high note. It offers an entertaining final exam of your skills while also freshening up the original adventure by giving players a cool new character to enjoy. It’s more Cuphead at the end of the day, but I had a great time revisiting Studio MDHR’s wonderful animated universe, testing my mettle against its villains, and feeling fist-pumping triumph all over again.
How To Access The DLC: To play The Delicious Last Course, you’ll need to have completed at least one mausoleum stage. You’ll find a new character outside of each mausoleum who takes players to the DLC’s new island. Those playing Cuphead for the first time or with a new save who want to play the new content immediately will need to beat two bosses in Isle 1 (“Botanic Panic” and “Clip Joint Calamity”) to reach the first Mausoleum and, in turn, The Delicious Last Couse.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is getting an expansion called Trials of the Dragon King. The DLC includes new gear, jobs, and enemies to fight. Check out the short trailer below; it’s as deliciously chaotic as you’d expect.
There was once a group of warriors who attempted to defeat the darkness.
— STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN (@fforigin) June 30, 2022
In Stranger of Paradise fashion, it’s hard to parse through what’s happening in the footage, but we see Jack and co. cleaving their way through armored adversaries ranging from shield-holding knights to winged beasts with dazzling blades of their own. In one scene, a kingly figure sits upon a throne – is it safe to assume this is the Dragon King? – and says, “You will die here, and I will live forever.” We’re sure Jack will make him eat his words.
Stranger of Paradise is as bizarre as Final Fantasy gets. Andrew Reiner gave the game a 7 out of 10 and concluded his review by saying, “Stranger of Paradise is the strangest Final Fantasy game yet, bounding wildly between awful and fantastic. If you can tolerate Jack (and that’s a big ask), the excellently crafted combat is worth a look. You may be coming to this game for the story and Final Fantasy experience, but it’s all about combat and little else.”
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin’s first DLC expansion, Trials of the Dragon King, drops on July 20 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
The June 2022 PlayStation Plus lineup of free games has arrived and it’s quite a good one, featuring Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, and Arcadegeddon.
All three of these games will be available to download for free for all three tiers of subscribers to the newly revamped PlayStation Plus – Premium, Extra, and Essential. You can add each to your library starting July 5 and they’ll be available until Aug. 1. That means you have until July 4 (next Monday) to download last month’s free games: God of War (2018), Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, and Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl. You can read more about the June 2022 PlayStation Plus lineup here.
Enough about June, though – it’s old news! Onto July 2022! Here’s what PlayStation has to say about each of this month’s free games:
Crash Bandicoot: It’s About Time (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)
“An all-new Crash adventure awaits! Dr. Neo Cortex and N. Tropy are back at it again and launching an all-out assault on not just this universe, but the entire multiverse. Wield four powerful guardians of space and time that give Crash and Coco the power to bend the rules of reality and conquer dangerous obstacles in exciting new ways. And you’ll not only play as the wumping, jumping, marsupial duo: experience things from different perspectives with the one and only Dr. Neo Cortex. Play as Crash, Coco, Tawna, Dingodile, or Dr. Neo Cortex and battle bosses such as N. Gin, Louise, Nitrus Brio, and Nefarious Tropy.”
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (PlayStation 4)
“In this branching, cinematic horror game from the creator of Until Dawn and The Quarry, five friends set sail on a holiday diving trip that soon changes into something much more sinister. All playable characters can live or die, with the choices you make deciding their fate. Experience your terrifying story alone, with a friend online* or go for safety in numbers with up to five players offline.”
Arcadegeddon (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4)
“Gilly, the owner of a local arcade, is trying to save his business from a faceless mega-corporation, Fun Fun Co. …and what better way to stick it to the man than with a brand-spanking-new super game. Unfortunately, the corp gets wind of Gilly’s plan and launches a cyberattack, injecting a virus into the game. Now it’s up to you to rise up and save both the game and the last remaining local arcade in this ever-evolving co-op multiplayer shooter. Offering a mix of PvE and PvP gameplay, you and up to 3 friends online* to explore multiple biomes, compete in mini games, find hidden chests, and battle a crazy cast of enemies and bosses.”
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.
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.
Round two of the Overwatch 2 beta is finally here, but what can fans look forward to with this latest tech test? Join us on this fresh episode of New Gameplay Today as we check out the title’s latest tank and show off the new map players can get their hands on later this year.
It is important to keep in mind what is going on within Activision Blizzard at this time regarding ongoing allegations about the work culture. The ongoing lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against the company is over-reported toxic workplace culture. The bulk of the suit focuses on “violations of the state’s civil rights and equal pay laws,” specifically regarding the treatment of women and other marginalized groups. To learn more about the proceedings thus far, including details listed in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, please check out our previous coverage here.
The Junker Queen is here, and she means business. The leader of the Junkers is more of an offensive tank than some of her other colleagues within the category. She comes strapped with a shotgun that maybe doesn’t have the power of Roadhog’s but has plenty of damage to dismantle the opposing team. She also comes equipped with a handy throwing knife that can cause quite the commotion. If players land a hit with an electrified weapon, enemy health drops over time. If she misses, the knife can still help as you can call it back, similar to the Leviathan Axe from God of War (2018), and actually pull enemies closer. Pair those abilities with her deadly charge up and a devastating ultimate attack, and she has a chance to really make some waves.
On top of a deep dive into Junker Queen and her moveset, we’re also showing off the Push game type and Colleseo, a brand new map for Overwatch players to explore and dominate in. Is all this enough to get players to jump back into Overwatch? You’ll just have to watch for yourself to find out!
We recently sat down with Takayuki Nakayama and Shuhei Matsumoto, Director and Producer of Street Fighter 6, respectively, for an interview about Capcom’s upcoming fighting game. We learn about how they’re pulling inspiration from the worlds of Final Fight and Third Strike, why Modern Control Type “is not an ‘Easy Mode'” and should be used in tournament play, and finally, how the team is learning from Street Fighter 5’s mistakes to ensure a vibrant future for the series.
Monster Rancher was revived late last year with the release of the Monster Ranger 1&2 DX collection, and Bandai Namco isn’t going to stop there. In fact, the series is going bigger. Much bigger!
The first trailer for Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher asks a crucial question, “How would you like to raise your very own Ultra Kaiju?” To which I responded, “Yes, please. I’d very much like that. Give it to me now.” Foregoing the dull, average-sized creatures you used to raise in Monster Rancher, Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher lets you take care of some colossal sweet boys. You’ll raise the likes of Zettan, Gomora, and Alien Baltan – all licensed Kaiju from the Ultraman franchise. Many other existing Kaiju appear in the game, and you’ll take them to help townsfolk in ways only a giant monster could. You can also participate in massive monster battles or watch the colossal beings waddle like big clumsy babies. As a fun bonus, the Kaiju can be bred, making wild combinations of their attributes appear in their children. It all seems like a lot of goofy fun.
We’re not sure if Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is coming to North America, but it’s slated to hit Japan and Southeast Asia this year. At the very least, a version will be translated into English for those looking to import.
2017’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle pleasantly surprised players by deftly combining two very different universes and utilizing the unexpected template of a turn-based tactics game. Five years later, a sequel, Sparks of Hope, launches on October 20 and builds upon the winning formula while also shaking up the foundation to make it more than a retread.
Speaking to the game’s associate producer Christine Nova, Ubisoft was pleased as punch at Kingdom Battle’s success and how it entertained turn-based strategy fans and non-fans alike.
“We were particularly happy by the fact that we saw many players who were not too used to the tactical genre tackling the genre and enjoying it, even if at first they wouldn’t have believed that,” says Nova.
To that end, Ubisoft wants to widen the net further with Sparks of Hope by ensuring its mechanics appeal to even more players. The game ditches grid-based movement. Players can now navigate characters freely around the battlefield in real-time, though a hero’s movement range still limits them, and Sparks of Hope remains turn-based. Nova says the experience sticks to its strategy roots and that the new system adds dynamism to encounters while making it easier for newcomers to grasp. Additionally, players can now have any combination of characters for their team. Kingdom Battle forced players to have at least one unit representing both franchises, but now you can have an entire party of Mario all-stars, a gang of Rabbids, and any mix between.
The story finds Mario, Luigi, and Peach traveling through space alongside their Rabbid counterparts, only to find the galaxy in peril. An evil entity called Cursa has begun taking over the cosmos. Its malevolent reach plays no favorites, brainwashing Bowser’s army to use as its own. Because of this, Mario’s arch-nemesis begrudgingly joins your ranks alongside two other newcomers: Rabbid Rosalina and Edge, an original Rabbid shrouded in mystery.
Nova wasn’t willing to share many story details (especially regarding Edge) but did open up about what these new faces bring to the battlefield. The not-so-enthusiastic Rabbid Rosalina, whom Nova describes as being “really jaded and exhausted all the time,” wields a plushie that fires bullets, making her a good ranged fighter. Her signature technique unleashes a wide-reaching status aliment called stasis, which immobilizes enemies within its radius and prevents them from attacking or using techniques.
Bowser sports destructive explosion-based abilities. For example, he creates a shockwave when he lands from a jump and comes armed with a rocket launcher-style gun dubbed the “Bowzooka.” This weapon fires magma rocks that incinerate targets. Bowser can also summon Rabbid Koopa minions that swarm targets until they blow up.
The swordswoman Edge is a pure fighter, meaning she’s not capable of healing or protecting other units. Her large sword allows her to slice multiple enemies in one swing (provided they’re close enough). Her Storm Blade technique essentially functions as an overwatch; any foe approaching Edge while Storm Blade is active causes her to strike them instantly.
The game’s namesake Sparks serve as the game’s other significant addition. Equipping these Rabbid-infused Lumas bestows various effects on heroes, and characters can hold up to two of them. Sparks can raise defenses, and augment attacks with elements such as shock, burn, freeze, or even a health-leeching vampiric trait, among other powers. Given their might, the Sparks also play an important, unknown role in the game’s narrative.
“[Sparks] really allow the players to experiment on the battlefield with different combinations,” Nova explains. “Especially by analyzing the battlefield and seeing which kind of heroes and enemies are there. And so, playing with the weaknesses and strengths of the enemies, you can choose the right combos and more efficiently defeat [them].”
Sparks of Hope goes cosmic by letting players explore multiple planets, the scale Nova describes as “an open-world within each planet.” The worlds we glimpsed had familiar themes, such as a lava-laden fire world, a snow-covered frost planet, and a lush tropical jungle. Players can freely roam each destination, and each planet sports plenty of side quests and other activities to tackle at your leisure.
“You will find mysteries, and you will solve the environmental puzzles,” says Nova. “You will find secret caves and vaults where you will find new items and weapons. So there is really, really plenty to do even outside of combat.”
The footage we watched showed the gang solving various puzzles; one involved the constellation of the night sky. Another had players manipulating water levels in a temple. The classic blue coin minigames from the Mario series return as well. You can also directly interact with the world in more minor ways, such as shaking trees to drop star bits.
Ubisoft also touted the game’s soundtrack, composed by an all-star trio of Grant Kirkhope, Gareth Coker, and Yoko Shimomura. Good tunes offer another promising feather in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope’s cap, and we’re pleased to see Ubisoft take chances instead of resting on its laurels. We’re excited to see how the more dynamic movement affects combat, mix up different Sparks abilities, and watch the sure-to-be goofy narrative unfold.
Tri-Ace and Square Enix have largely kept quiet about Star Ocean The Divine Force since its reveal last fall, but that changed in a big way today. In addition to dropping not one, not two, but three videos fleshing out the game’s narrative, characters, and combat, we now know the JRPG launches in October.
The Divine Force arrives on October 27, exactly one year after it was first announced. The first trailer showcases the plot with a montage of out-of-context story clips that sets the tone for what’s to come in the sci-fi action RPG.
The second video provides a more thorough walkthrough of Star Ocean’s characters and combat. Players assume the role of one of two protagonists: Raymond Lawrence, a hot-headed merchant ship captain searching for his lost crew, and Laeticia Aucerius, a princess fighting to save her kingdom from destruction. The story unfolds differently depending on your chosen hero, and a ragtag party of allies accompanies each. The action-focused combat utilizes four party members players can swap between on the fly. You can battle in real-time or pause the action using Stop Mode to allow time to change tactics.
Lastly, you watch the entire 8-minute opening cinematic for Raymond’s campaign to see how the adventure kicks off for the young captain.
Tri-Ace promises to share more information in a future Mission Report video. Star Ocean The Divine Force will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Matrioshka Games and V Publishing’s fast-paced action RPG, Fallen Angel, hits Switch next month after a successful launch on Steam in 2020.
More specifically, Fallen Angel will hit Switch on July 19, meaning there’s already less than a month left until you can take the archangel experience with you on the go. If you aren’t familiar with Fallen Angel, you can get a look at what awaits you in it in the special Switch announcement trailer below:
As you can see in the trailer above, there are a lot of hellacious things going on, which makes sense considering you control Lucifer as he attempts to ascend from hell to get revenge on those who banished him from heaven.
“With no god in place, heaven is up for grabs, and it’s up to Lucifer to reclaim his birthright and battle fearsome archangels,” a press release reads. “The pearly gates aren’t what they seem, as Lucifer must venture through a variety of 2D locations from cyberpunk nightclubs to crumbling ruins. Utilize a vast arsenal of weapons in fast-paced combat from chain claws, blades, and guns.”
The Switch version of Fallen Angel will contain all of the modes from the Steam version, including recent additions like Turbo Mode, which “offers a remixed experience where the game can be played at different speeds, impacting spells, attacks, movement, and more.” Plus, there’s the Punishment Mode, which makes standard enemies larger and stronger, and bosses more challenging and deadly, too.
Here are some Fallen Angel features highlighted by Matrioshka Games and V Publishing:
Slash your way to Heaven’s throne with colorful 2-D pixel art, flashy animation, and an immersive soundtrack
Explore a fearsome portrayal of Heaven inspired by the Old Testament and Biblical Apocrypha
Use strategy to survive brutal and challenging boss battles with archangels, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and unique design
Claw your way through the strange lands of Heaven, including high-tech constructs, idyllic earth-like plains, and floating islands
Upgrade Lucifer’s abilities to complement a range of playstyles from parrying to brute force melee to ranged aerial combat
Challenge friends, if you dare, in Co-op modes
Have you already played Fallen Angel on PC? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below!
Yesterday, Spellbreak developer Proletariat released a blog post detailing the future of its spell-based battle royale that launched years ago. In it, the studio revealed that the servers for Spellbreak will shut down in early 2023, effectively ending the run of this battle royale.
This shutdown likely had to do with the game’s low player count. Still, there might be more to it than that: Blizzard Entertainment, the studio behind franchises like Overwatch and Warcraft, is acquiring Proletariat and using its force of roughly 100 employees to staff up its World of Warcraft team, according to a new report from GamesBeat.
“We are putting players at the forefront of everything we do, and we are working hard to both meet and exceed their expectations,” Blizzard president Mike Ybarra told the publication in a statement. “A big part of caring for our teams is making sure we have the resources to produce experiences our communities will love while giving our teams space to explore even more creative opportunities within their projects. Proletariat is a perfect fit for supporting Blizzard’s mission in bringing high-quality content to our players more often.”
This news comes just months before the launch of the newest World of Warcraft expansion, Dragonflight, which you can read more about here. As noted by GamesBeat, this acquisition is one of the largest in recent memory for Blizzard. This purchase means that the Proletariat team will be under the Microsoft-Xbox umbrella soon following the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
According to the GamesBeat report, the purpose of this acquisition is to beef up World of Warcraft staff numbers so “that it can hit quality and timing goals for expansions.” Neither of the involved parties has publicly released a price for this transaction.
With Atari’s 50th anniversary happening this week, the company has revealed Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration. This classic compilation of games stretches beyond the standard game-collection bundles we’ve seen in the past, with aspirations of serving as a virtual, interactive museum to paint a picture of just how influential and important Atari was, particularly through the nascent years of the video game industry. I went hands-on with Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration to see how well it accomplishes that lofty goal.
At its core, Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration delivers more than 90 playable games in one $40 package. Players can expect classic and retro titles from six hardware platforms (Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, ST, Jaguar, and Lynx), all with emulation created by renowned retro revivalists Digital Eclipse; this is the first time Jaguar and Lynx games will be playable on modern consoles. The team at Digital Eclipse, best known recently for its work on Mega Man Legacy Collection, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, The Disney Afternoon Collection, and the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, has plenty of experience bringing forward the classics of yesteryear.
Atari touts that Digital Eclipse will provide best-in-class emulation and modern quality-of-life enhancements for the enormous number of retro Atari mainstays present in Atari 50. “When it comes to emulation or bringing classics back or doing really any sort of remastering or reimagining, I don’t know if there’s anybody who does it better than Digital Eclipse, so they were always our first choice,” Atari CEO Wade Rosen says. “[Digital Eclipse president] Mike Mika is a savant when it comes to Atari history and gaming history in general, so they always take great care to not just provide the games, but provide a really innovative way to experience them and the history around them. For something as big as the 50th, it was the only studio that we felt could properly capture all of that.”
With so many games at your fingertips, trying to find the one you’re looking for (or even just browsing in general, for that matter) could potentially be a daunting task. Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration combats this by providing various sorting options. When you enter a game in the collection, you can choose to learn more about the title or jump right into the action. You can apply filters, borders, and different screen options, read the instruction manual, and even remap the buttons.
But the collection doesn’t stop there, as Digital Eclipse also created six new games that pay homage to or revisit classics from Atari’s past. For example, the developer created the fourth chapter of Swordquest, Airworld, and made a modern 3D isometric adventure based on Haunted House. Atari 50 will also include Vctr Sctr, a title that celebrates the vector era of gaming with combinations of various arcade classics including Asteroids and Tempest in one experience, Neo Breakout, a two-player competition that combines Breakout and Pong, Quadratank, a new four-player entry in the Tank series, and Yars’ Revenge Reimagined, which applies modern graphics to the best-selling first-party Atari 2600 game. Yars’ Revenge Reimagined is a ton of fun, and I love how you can swap between the original and modern graphics with a push of a button, but Vctr Sctr is perhaps my favorite new game of the bunch with how it seamlessly transitions you from one game style to the next.
On top of the playable games, Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration aims to give players unprecedented access to many of the people who helped Atari become one of the biggest names in gaming in the industry’s early days. Atari 50 includes more than 60 minutes of exclusive interviews with important people in the video game industry; Atari alumni like the creator of Pong Al Alcorn and Yars’ Revenge creator Howard Scott Warshaw are joined by other games industry members to give insight into the company’s biggest successes, struggles, and overall impact on the industry. You can also view other historical assets, like photographs from the early days of the company, design sketches and memos, and even ads that ran in magazines.
From my time sifting through the robust offerings of this new compilation, it feels like a fitting tribute to the importance of one of gaming’s most influential and important companies. It’s no secret that many of these Atari titles haven’t aged as well as games from the subsequent eras, but that’s perhaps the biggest reason why I’m looking forward to this collection: It provides small quality-of-life improvements to make these games slightly more enjoyable in 2022. I’m excited to dig deeper into the history and nostalgia when Atari 50: The Celebration comes to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, Atari VCS, and PC this holiday season.
You’ve probably heard of or played Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, the character-collecting adventure set in a galaxy far, far away. The mobile game launched in 2015 and, in the years that followed, amassed a substantial fanbase that continues to get support from sizeable roster updates. The creators behind Galaxy of Heroes recently formed Azra Games. And the studios’ debut title will appropriately be a collectible and combat RPG called Legions & Legends.
Azra Games CEO and co-founder Mark Otero excitedly spoke about the announcement of the new game:
“This will be my ninth collectible and combat RPG, one that builds upon and perfects the genre I’ve spent my entire career developing. I truly believe that we’ve cracked the code for a captivating gameplay experience built around the joys of collecting toys and taking them to battle against each other, just as we used to do when we were kids. At Azra, we’re looking to bring back that excitement of the toy box and playing with friends – remastered for a new generation of players.”
Azra Games is a blockchain games company. Legions & Legends launches this summer (an exact date wasn’t specified) with the release of the “Genesis Collection” NFTs which generate in-game resources through Ethereum. But what exactly is Legions & Legends? A press release/blog post penned by Otero gives us a brief look into the Legions & Legends’ “uncharted galaxy where magic and technology collide.”
Civilizations unknown to humankind are at war, and players will be at the forefront of the bloody conflict to claim the galaxy. Three character types can be deployed on the battlefield – Legionnaires, best used in large numbers, Commanders, known for special attacks/buffs, and Behemoths, slow and tanky creatures with devastating power. The aforementioned NFT collection introduces Genesis Explorers, which players can send on Exploration Missions for craftable parts.
As Otero put it, “Your journey deep into the Corvus Galaxy awaits.”
The Mighty Thor, Jane Foster’s godly alter ego, swoops into Marvel’s Avengers today. Crystal Dynamics released a pair of videos showcasing her thunder-based abilities, giving fans a look at how she compares to her original male counterpart.
Jane arrives as a free character in all versions of Marvel’s Avengers. The narrative explains that Jane was torn from an alternate reality in which she is the one and only Thor. Odinson renounced Mjolnir following A-Day, and though Jane developed cancer, her transformation into the Goddess of Thunder halted the disease as she battled to protect Inhumans from persecution. One day, a Tachyon Strom caused by AIM opened a portal that dropped Jane into the game’s universe. She joins up with the Avengers to uncover the cause of the rifts and figure out how to return home.
The Mighty Thor wields Mjolnir with more precision than Odinson and sports new abilities that highlight her increased finesse. You can watch the War Table video below for a complete breakdown of her skills or watch the video below for a non-commentary gameplay demonstration.
Jane’s addition brings the game’s total roster of heroes to 10 on most platforms and 11 on PlayStation, thanks to Spider-Man’s exclusivity. You can catch up on the roster by checking out our list of every playable hero in Marvel’s Avengers.
Harvestella is Square Enix’s new RPG meets farming sim announced during today’s Nintendo Direct Mini.
The game takes place in a world where the four seasons are dictated by four giant crystals called Seaslight. But the cycle is interrupted due to an abnormal event that creates a “season of death” called the Quietus, which causes crops to wither and threatens all life.
Harvestella’s gameplay splits time between action-focused dungeon crawling and laid-back farm management. Players globetrot to areas representing the four seasons to battle monsters and explore dungeons. You can even hop in a submarine to traverse the oceans. Combat involves executing team maneuvers with party members, and each character can be outfitted with different jobs that grant unique characteristics, skills, and combat styles.
When you’re not fighting for the world’s survival, you’ll return to your village to tend to your farm. Raising crops and livestock lets you harvest ingredients for crafting. When the work is done, socializing with townsfolk is another key diversion. Along the way, you’ll meet a cast of characters such as a time traveler from the future, and completing tasks for them grants rewards and improves your bonds with them.
Harvestella looks intriguing and we can’t wait to see more of it. It’s also not terribly far away, launching November 4 for Switch and PC via Steam.
With Gotham Knights exploring what life is like in a post-Bruce Wayne world, his iconic sidekick is wondering what a Robin is without a Batman. Apparently, he’s unleashing his full potential and hacking advanced superhero bases to level up his vigilanteism.
In a new character trailer, Robin shows off how he disposes of Gotham’s thugs. His standard melee combat is centered around quick attacks and the use of his quarterstaff for leverage and mid-range beatdowns. Robin also has a stealthy element, enabling active camouflage to mask his presence and sneak up on unsuspecting suspects. The most surprising reveal in the trailer is that the Boy Wonder has tapped into the Justice League satellite to enable short-range teleportation to zip around Gotham to get the drop on enemies or make impossible leaps a reality. He’s also using holograms to deploy decoys to deceive dummies in combat.
Gotham Knights is looking great after the last couple of trailers, and I’m looking forward to seeing this team take on the Court of Owls when it releases on October 25.
Over the last 31 years, the Sonic the Hedgehog fan base has dashed through several distinct eras. The Classic Era let fans platform through brilliantly designed 2D stages, while the Modern Era gave us the Adventure games and Boost games, and that’s not even counting the Sonic Boom titles. Now, with the movies setting box office records and reinserting everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog back into the mainstream consciousness, a new era for Sonic the Hedgehog games could very well be upon us. With Sonic Frontiers, Sega and Sonic Team could hope to welcome fans to the Open-Zone Era of the franchise.
Game Informer Issue #347 main cover art
For this issue’s cover story, I traveled to Burbank, California to Sonic Team’s U.S. headquarters to play hours of Sonic Frontiers. I spent that time exploring Kronos Island, fighting enemies, solving puzzles, uncovering secrets, and helping friends. I also got to speed through several of the recently announced Cyber Space stages. Within this massive 16-page cover story, I talk to members of Sonic’s past and present to learn about how the franchise bounced back from its more challenging years to once again aim for a spot as video game royalty. You’ll learn more about the history of Sonic, the brand’s recovery efforts after a string of less-than-satisfactory titles, how the movies and TV shows fit into the broader brand picture, and where the Sonic franchise goes from here. Of course, that’s on top of my full hands-on impressions of Sonic Frontiers.
However, there’s so much more within the pages of this issue. Kimberley Wallace provides an excellent feature on how Open Roads changed direction during its tumultuous development cycle, Matt Miller gets an early look at Stormgate, the new RTS from talent that previously worked on games like Warcraft III and Starcraft II, and I go deep with the development and improvements of Madden NFL 23. Meanwhile, Blake Hester went spelunking with Spelunky creator Derek Yu and lived to tell the tale. We also have a big previews section, full of new looks at games like Marvel’s Midnight Suns, MultiVersus, A Plague Tale: Requiem, Saints Row, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Final Fantasy XVI, Redfall, and Street Fighter 6. You can expect all that and more in this stacked issue of Game Informer.
Our cover art this month is created by Evan Stanley, a Pacific Northwest illustrator and writer, who has worked on the official Sonic the Hedgehog comics, TV shows, and more over the last decade. She has worked on both the IDW and Archie Comics runs and worked with Sega and Game Informer to create two unique pieces of art. The main cover art for this issue features Sonic running through the open-zone setting of Sonic Frontiers, while the collectible Game Informer Gold cover pays homage to the first issue of Game Informer, which featured Sonic’s debut game on the cover. Limited to a numbered print run per issue, this premium version of Game Informer isn’t available for sale. To learn about places where you might be able to get a copy, check out our official Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks. Click here to read more about Game Informer Gold.
Print subscribers can expect their issues to begin arriving in the coming days/weeks. The digital edition of this issue launches on June 29 for PC/Mac, iOS, and Google Play. To subscribe to either the digital or print version, click here.
Sonic Frontiers’ “open zone” format has been the centerpiece of discussion, and for a good reason. Dropping Sonic in an open-world style environment gives fans a new, bigger arena to roam around and go fast in. However, traditionalists may be happy to learn that Frontiers includes standard, linear platforming stages hidden in unlockable areas called Cyber Space. I got to play one of these stages during my demo during Summer Game Fest Play Days a couple of weeks ago to get a handle on how these self-contained levels compliment Frontiers’ exploration-heavy gameplay.
As seen during today’s Nintendo Direct Mini, while exploring the open world (which you can read about in my previous preview), I collected special items called Portal Gears. You can obtain these gears by solving puzzles and completing other types of challenges throughout Starfall Islands. Presenting them at stone landmarks resembling a throne establishes a connection to the Cyber Space, a digital dimension Sega describes as a “game within a game.” Cyber Space treats players to fast-paced platforming stages fans of 3D Sonic games will be intimately familiar with, providing a more focused diversion to open zone wandering.
The futuristic stage I visited featured the same platforming trappings fans would come to expert. As I sprinted down the linear lane, I hopped on bounce pads, used my homing attack to ricochet off objects, and surfed rails until I reached the finish line. Completing a Cyber Space level rewards Vault Keys used to unlock new areas throughout Starfall Islands. This particular Cyber Space stage didn’t offer anything 3D Sonic veterans haven’t seen before. Still, Frontiers’ improved controls meant that it at least played a bit better than the Hedgehog’s recent outings. If nothing else, Cyber Space gives fans pockets of familiarity while providing another diversion in Frontiers’ world, which may assuage some fans’ concern about the game’s perceived lack of activities.
Sonic Frontiers launches for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC this fall. Sonic’s next big outing is also our cover story for the month of July. Click the banner below to keep up with a month’s worth of exclusive interviews, videos, and features as they begin rolling out in the coming weeks.
Persona 5 Royal, the 2020 upgraded version of the 2017 base game, comes to PlayStation 5, Xbox, Switch, and PC on October 21. Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden are also coming to PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, though they’ll do so later.
Only Persona 5 Strikers, the spin-off/follow-up to Persona 5, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, a fighting-game follow-up to Persona 4, have appeared on Switch platforms. For our review of Persona 5 Royal, head here. To learn more about Persona 5 Strikers, head here.
The previously announced Portal: Companion Collection gathers the two acclaimed first-person puzzle games into one bundle for Switch. While we already knew it was coming sometime this year, today’s Nintendo Direct Mini presentation news revealed that we’ll be able to play two of the greatest puzzle games of all time on Switch beginning today.
Portal was released in 2007 as a part of The Orange Box, a bundle that gathered Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. Initially considered a unique side dish to the main courses that populated the rest of the bundle, Portal quickly gained popularity for its clever design, mind-bending puzzles, and dark humor. In 2011, Valve released a full-fledged sequel, Portal 2. This standalone title added several new mechanics, extended playtime, a more involved story exploring the backstories of Aperture Science and GlaDOS, and a separate co-op multiplayer campaign.
Both Portal titles are considered among the greatest video games ever made and are available today on Nintendo Switch.
Square Enix has pulled back the curtains on Dragon Quest Treasures, a new spin-off entry in the legendary Dragon Quest franchise that was first teased in May 2021. This game focuses on the childhoods of Mia and Erik, two siblings from Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. As these two characters, players embark on hunts for treasure in Draconia before the events of Dragon Quest XI.
As Mia and Erik travel through Draconia, they can recruit monsters to locate loot, explore the world, and fight enemies. Your recruited monsters are more helpful than just battling, it turns out: Using Slimes, you can bounce up to higher ledges, while grabbing onto a Dracky while you’re exploring can allow you to glide like Breath of the Wild’s paraglider. Once you complete your treasure hunt and obtain your prize, you can bring it back to your base to see how much it’s worth. Using the funds you obtain from your hunts, you can improve your base and increase your treasure hunting level.
Live A Live is just over three weeks from release, but Nintendo and Square Enix are ready to rev the hype engine. During today’s Nintendo Direct Mini, we received an update on the exciting, beautiful HD2D title that remakes the 1994 Super Famicom RPG that never came to Western markets. However, the big news from the presentation is that if you want to see what the buzz is all about, you can get a taste starting today.
The game puts you in the roles of multiple stories and multiple protagonists across different eras. The demo that hits the eShop today allows you to play three chapters from three different eras to get an idea of what to expect. Not only that but the save data transfers to the full game if you decide to buy it; it’s always nice to know your time in a demo is productive when it comes to the final release.
When Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle arrived on Switch in 2017, it was an unlikely success that blended the worlds of Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise with Ubisoft’s zany Rabbids. The result was a turn-based tactical title starring the Mushroom Kingdom’s finest and the most unpredictable characters in Ubisoft’s stable. Announced during Nintendo’s E3 2021 Direct, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope promises to carry forward the legacy of that fan-favorite title, but it’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about that game. That changed today during the Nintendo Direct Mini, which shined the spotlight on the company’s third-party partners.
Otherworldly enemies have suddenly appeared, trying to take the energy possessed by Sparks, who appear to be Rabbid versions of the Lumas from Super Mario Galaxy; this would make sense seeing as how Rosalina appears to play a big role in this sequel. To combat this, Mario and his friends once again join forces with the Rabbids.
Like its predecessor, Sparks of Hope battles play out in turn-based fashion, with positioning and attack order playing key roles in determining the outcomes of battles. Prior to firing your characters’ weapons, they can move freely across the battlefield. In a short gameplay demo, we were able to watch a simple battle unfold. Mario, Rabbid Rosalina, and Rabbid Luigi worked together to defeat a group of enemies. By having each character dash into and stun several enemies, Rabbid Luigi was able to take out several opponents at once before Mario blasts two enemies away during his turn. Then, Rabbid Rosalina bounces off a teammate to reach an area further away than she would have gotten to over the course of a single turn. When the enemies take their turn, all the heroes are in cover but Rabbid Luigi, who unfortunately receives the wrath of the enemy fire. When the turn comes back around to Mario, he chucks a Bob-omb to secure the victory.
The trailer ends showing that this time around, Bowser is joining your team. I’m excited to see what powerful attacks and abilities he brings to the table in future demonstrations. We might not have to wait long, though, as if this update wasn’t enough, Nintendo says fans can look forward to learning more through a special Ubisoft showcase, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. Pacific/12 p.m. ET tomorrow. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope comes to Switch on October 20.
Bandai Namco has announced a new remake of Pac-Man World called Pac-Man World: Re-Pac. This throwback to the 1999 PlayStation 1 title features revamped graphics and more, and is scheduled to release this August.
Pac-Man World puts you in the shoes of Pac-Man as he platforms through six worlds on Ghost Island to rescue his friends. Each world consists of five levels, with each world’s final level featuring a boss battle. In the game, Pac-Man can use a variety of skills, including the ability to Rev Roll, Butt Bounce, and turn into Giant Pac-Man. When the original title was first released on PS1, Game Informer liked the title, scoring it an 8 out of 10 in 1999.
This is the second remake the original 1999 title has received, the first of which was in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. The game also appeared on PlayStation Network beginning in 2013 under the PSOne Classics branding. However, the original PS1 version is not among the classic titles currently included in the PlayStation Plus Premium tier’s classic catalog.
Pac-Man World: Re-Pac launches on August 26 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.
When the first Mega Man Legacy Collection launched in 2015, players hoped there was more to follow. Sure enough, there was, as Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, Mega Man X Legacy Collection, Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2, and Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection followed in subsequent years. However, one pain point among the fan base is the lack of a modern way to enjoy the myriad Mega Man Battle Network titles.
Today, Capcom finally gave that segment of the fan base what it’s been clamoring for with the Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection. Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection gathers 10 games from the series, along with over 1,000 illustrations and a music mode featuring more than 150 songs. The collection includes:
Mega Man Battle Network
Mega Man Battle Network 2
Mega Man Battle Network 3 White
Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue
Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun
Mega Man Battle Network 4 Blue Moon
Mega Man Battle Network 5 Team Protoman
Mega Man Battle Network 5 Team Colonel
Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Gregar
Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Falzar
Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection is slated for PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC and launches and 2023.
Konami announced Super Bomberman R 2, a successor to the Switch launch title Super Bomberman R. In addition to announcing the game, we also got our first look at a promising new way to play called Castle Mode and a release window.
In the asymmetric multiplayer Castle Mode, a team of 15 players must blast their way to treasure chests scattered across the battlefield. Meanwhile, a solo player tries their best to hold them off. On top of what sounds like a wild mess of action, players can create and share their own battle stages for the mode, adding a ton to the replayability potential of this new form of play.
When the first Super Bomberman R launched in 2017, I heavily criticized it for poor network performance, frustrating level design, and an overall lack of content. However, in the years since, the developers have improved the title through various updates and expanded the Switch-exclusive game to also appear on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. Hopefully, the development team learned from its mistakes with Super Bomberman R 2 and delivers a stronger product at launch. The aforementioned Castle Mode looks like a good time, so I’m hopeful. Super Bomberman R 2 arrives in 2023.
One of the most requested titles is finally coming to Switch later this year. Nier: Automata quickly found a large fan base when it launched in 2017, with many praising the storytelling, action, and soundtrack of the Platinum Games-developed title. Now, more than five years later, the heartfelt story of 2B and 9S comes to Nintendo Switch.
Nier: Automata The End of Yorha Edition includes previously released content and new costumes that will be available at launch. We don’t know much else about what appears to be an “ultimate” or “game of the year” edition of the title, but the game’s inclusion in the Switch library is noteworthy. When Nier: Automata launched in 2017, it received critical and fan acclaim, with the PlayStation 4 version garnering an 88 out of 100 score on reviews aggregate website Metacritic.
Nier: Automata The End of Yorha Edition arrives on Nintendo Switch on October 6. For one Game Informer‘s opinion on why you need to play Nier: Automata in some form, head here.
Nintendo kicked off its Direct Mini presentation today with a new trailer for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. The expansion, available this week, delivers a hearty amount of content by adding new biomes to explore and creatures to track down/battle. However, Capcom isn’t stopping there, as the new trailer gave way to a roadmap of free title updates for players over the next several months.
The first title update hits in August, adding Seething Bazelgeuse, Lucent Nargacuga, and several other monsters. That update also adds rare species monsters, special species monsters, and a new locale in the Forlorn Arena. Later this fall, a second free title update adds more rare species monsters, subspecies monsters, and powered-up monsters. A third free title update is scheduled for this winter, promising several special species monsters and powered-up monsters. Finally, Capcom says a fourth free title update will arrive in 2023, but it isn’t ready to say anything about what to expect with that one.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is available June 30 on Switch and PC. For more on the base game, check out our review from 2021 when it first hit Switch. For more on the Sunbreak expansion, get caught up on every monster confirmed right here.
Last year, the team behind Fallout: London, a “DLC-sized mod” for Bethesda’s Fallout 4, released a reveal trailer that showcased what to expect across the pond in the world of Fallout, and it looked great. Today, the team released another video spanning almost five minutes that highlights some of the well-worn and lesser-known locales of London that players can visit when the mod is released.
And speaking of release, today’s trailer revealed that Fallout: London will be released in 2023, as reported by IGN. The release window comes after a stunning four minutes of in-game footage. Had I not known Fallout: London was a mod, I probably would have assumed it was a brand-new chapter in the franchise – that’s how good this looks! Check it out for yourself below:
As you can see in the trailer, players can expect to see Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and more. Plus, the trailer hints that players won’t win every battle with bullets – they might be going medieval in some quests, donning a knight’s armor and taking down enemies with a sword. Everything about this trailer is exciting. Fortunately, Fallout: London is releasing sometime next year.
Here’s some more information about the mod straight from the team:
“Fallout: London is a DLC-sized mod for Bethesda’s Fallout 4. As a continuation of the base game, the mod will allow the player to visit the previously unexplored post-apocalyptic environment of London. As a divergence from previous official titles in the series, Fallout: London is not set in America. Visiting a totally new setting allows for us to explore totally new cultures which have not yet homogenized with their American counterparts. It also allows us to explore pre-war European history, and the effects the Resource Wars had on the class structured society of pre-war Britain.”
Hearthstone is taking a trip to the Shadowlands for a fancy dinner party hosted by the definitely-not-nefarious Sire Denathrius. “Hosted” is appropriate in the past tense because someone has murdered the now-former leader of Revendreath and the Venthyr. Now there’s a soiree full of suspects and locations to investigate to find out who did the dirty deed in Murder at Castle Nathria.
Murder at Castle Nathria has three key aspects to the set, including a couple of new mechanics to the digital card game. First are ten Legendary Suspects, new legendary minions with one representing each Hearthstone class. These legends include fishy detective Murloc Holmes which allows you to copy cards from your opponent’s deck by guessing three questions about cards in their hand or deck correctly and Decimator Olgra who can be buffed by counting the number of damaged minions and then attacks all enemies on the board. As a log-in bonus right now, you can get a copy of Prince Renathal for free, which, when included in your deck, increases your starting health to 30 and your deck size to 40.
Locations are a new card type that can be cast onto the battlefield. They don’t have health or attack stats and cannot be targeted by Minions or Spells unless that card specifically says so. Despite the lack of interaction, they’ll still have quite the effect on a game. Locations have abilities that can be activated by the player once per turn and, like Equipment, have a set amount of uses, with each activation consuming one durability and triggering a cooldown for one turn. Once a Location card is used up, it will leave the battlefield.
Finally, Infuse rounds out the new mechanics in Murder at Castle Nathria. Cards with the Infuse keyword will gain strength while sitting in your hand when friendly minions on the battlefield die, absorbing the Anima or life essence from that entity. Once the Infuse cost is satisfied, that spell or minion will grow in power or cause an effect that will change the card in some way, creating a stronger card to be cast.
Murder at Castle Narthria is coming to Hearthstone on August 2 and will include a total of 135 new cards. You can check out a handful of new cards in the gallery above and watch the announcement video at the top of the page.
During its annual Spark 2022 conference, Tencent Games unveiled Code: To Jin Yong, a new open-world action title steeped in wuxia literature and created in Unreal Engine 5.
The upcoming game comes from LightSpeed Studio, a Chinese team most notable for developing Apex Legends Mobile and PUBG Mobile. Code: To Jin Yong is an adaptation of a series of wuxia (a genre of fantasy martial arts) novels by acclaimed author Jin Yong, whose works have been extremely popular in China since the 1950s. The game features heroes from Yong’s novels and leverages Unreal 5’s power, such as photogrammetry technology, to create dazzling martial arts combat and physics that fans of wuxia films should appreciate. Check out the gameplay demo below to see it in action.
Code: To Jin Yong has no release date or confirmed platforms, but Tencent’s press release states it will be available globally “in the near future.” What do you think of this first look at the title? Let us know in the comments!
Gamescom returns as a hybrid in-person/online event this August, and the pieces have begun falling into – and in several cases, out of – place. Although several big publishers have already pulled out of what’s arguably the biggest convention in gaming, Ubisoft has confirmed it will have a presence at the show.
Ubisoft’s attendance is noteworthy because other heavy-hitters such as Nintendo, Sony, Take-Two, and Activision are skipping the show this year. Although there’s no confirmed list of attendees, THQ Nordic will also attend and plans to reveal four unannounced games.
As for what Ubisoft has in store, we know that it plans to discuss the future of Assassin’s Creed during its own special event in September, so we probably won’t learn anything substantial about the next mainline entry at Gamescom. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake recently shifted development teams, so it also seems unlikely to reappear. Do we see Skull & Bones, the development of which Ubisoft described as proceeding “well” earlier this year? Splinter Cell Remake? Beyond Good & Evil 2? We’ll have to tune in to find out.
Gamescom takes place from August 24 to 28 in Cologne, Germany, at the Koelnmesse Convention Centre. The event kicks off on August 23 with Opening Night Live, the big showcase of game trailers, reveals, and announcements hosted by Geoff Keighley.
Valve’s handheld PC and most successful Steam Machine to date is wrapping up its Q2 2022 reservation fulfillment today and will be moving on the Q3 preorders starting next week. The devices will also be manufactured at an increased pace, so those who thought they might have to wait a while longer to pick one up may be in luck.
Valve tweeted today from its Steam Deck account that those who preordered the Steam Deck and have an expected Q3 2022 fulfillment date should check their email inboxes starting on June 30. The announcement of the latest group of preorder shipments comes paired with the reveal that Valve is increasing production of the handheld, essentially doubling the previous quarter’s output.
“Hello! Some great news on the production front. We just sent the last batch of Q2 emails, and we’ll start sending Q3 reservation emails on the 30th,” says the @OnDeck tweet. “Production has picked up, and after today we’ll be shipping more than double the number of Steam Decks every week!”
Hello! Some great news on the production front. We just sent the last batch of Q2 emails, and we’ll start sending Q3 reservation emails on the 30th. Production has picked up, and after today we’ll be shipping more than double the number of Steam Decks every week! pic.twitter.com/kAHE0zRrV7
This is excellent news for folks waiting to get their hands on a Steam Deck and might be a positive sign to those who have yet to pull the trigger on a reservation. I just got the go-ahead to purchase my Deck last week and can’t wait to get my hands on it to play all the hottest JRPGs from the ’90s and early 2000s instead of new releases like Elden Ring or DNF Duel. Who am I kidding? I’ll be playing those as well.
Former Sega of America president and Sony Computer Entertainment America founder Bernie Stolar has died at 75.
Below is an obituary written by Steven L. Kent, author and gaming journalist, sent to Game Informer for use, in full:
Bernard “Bernie” Stolar, a former top executive at Atari, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Sega of America, passed away at the age of 75.
“Bernie was a low-key guy. He kept his ego in check,” remembers Vince Desi, founder of Running with Scissors. “I’ve known Bernie for a long time, and I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He was a gentleman in an industry where there really aren’t many.”
Stolar’s introduction to the video game business came with the 1981 release of an arcade game called Shark Attack. Created by Pacific Novelty and manufactured by Game Plan—an Illinois-based pinball manufacturer, Shark Attack was a game in which players controlled a white shark as it ate its way through groups of skindivers.
Stolar was given the unenviable task of informing Universal Studios CEO Sid Sheinberg about the project. After released the movie Jaws in 1975, Universal claimed a certain ownership on shark-themed entertainment, and Sheinberg was notorious for suing companies he felt had infringed on his studio’s intellectual properties. (In 1982, Sheinberg would unsuccessfully take Nintendo to court claiming Donkey Kong infringed on his studio’s version of the movie King Kong.)
After negotiating for permission to manufacture 1,000 Shark Attack machines without paying royalties, Stolar built 990 machines and pulled the plug on the project.
Over the next decade, Stolar never strayed far from games. He opened a successful San Francisco arcade called the State Street Arcade then took a job with Atari’s coin-op. division. He was still at Atari in 1984 when deposed Commodore Computers founder Jack Tramiel purchased the company.
Tramiel, a Polish-born Jew who survived a Nazi concentration camp, was well known for his mercurial personality and ruthless business practices. He openly derided any show of weakness, cycled through executives, and alienated almost everybody who worked for him. Despite Tramiel’s reputation as a “boss from hell,” Stolar thrived under his leadership becoming the president of Atari from 1990 through 1993 when he decided to risk his career by taking a job with a relative lightweight in the video game industry named Sony.
Hard as it is to imagine today, Sony Computer Entertainment looked like a longshot in the early 1990s. Sony’s early efforts at publishing games, generally sold under its Imagesoft label, included such forgettable games Super NES, Genesis, and SegaCD as Cliffhanger, Bran Stoker’s Dracula, and the poorly regarded ESPN sports series. Sony’s most notable game. prior to the 1995 PlayStation launch, was a Disney-licensed adventure called Mickey Mania.
It was during his three-year tenure as Sony Computer Entertainment America’s executive vice president in charge of business development and third-party relations that Stolar took on a more public persona. Small-time coin-op. manufacturers and arcade owners may fly under the proverbial radar, but both the gaming press and the mainstream media kept a careful watch eye on console manufacturers like Nintendo, Sega, and eventually Sony.
“I met Bernie in 1995,” remembers Rob Dyer, chief operating officer at Capcom U.S.A., Inc. “I was the vice president of international operations (at Crystal Dynamics) doing deals, selling products, and getting Crystal Dynamics products placed with distributors overseas, and Bernie had just started as the head of third-party for PlayStation here in the U.S.”
“Bernie was larger than life. At the time, PlayStation was nothing, but he came in with his larger-than-life attitude that said PlayStation was going to be something. He told us that we needed to make games for Sony.
“We had failed on 3DO. We had failed on Saturn. Then we made it on PlayStation.
“I did a ton of deals with Bernie over the years… especially when I became president of Crystal. He was a mentor of mine.”
A lot of noise has been made about Stolar’s decision not to pursue role-playing games for PlayStation. In truth, Stolar focused on creating the launch lineup that would lure the biggest possible market share away from Sega and Nintendo as quickly as possible. With that in mind, Stolar likely made the right short-term decision.
Despite a few notable exceptions, RPGs were not particularly big sellers in the U.S. market. Stolar elected to concentrate on fighting games and other genres with a bigger following. The six-month exclusive he arranged with Williams for the highly anticipated Mortal Kombat III helped Sony establish an early lead in the U.S. console market.
Stolar’s indifference toward RPGs remains controversial. Critics point to the 1997 release of Final Fantasy VII as proof he was wrong. While FFVII would become the best-selling game of 1997, Sony and Square spent a combined $100 million marketing the game to insure its success.
During Stolar’s tenure at Sony, the company’s marketing budget was focused on launching the PlayStation itself. At the time, Sony didn’t have $100 million to spend on one particular game.
In July, 1996, Stolar replaced famed console warrior Tom Kalinske as the president and COO of Sega of America.
Stolar’s critics have unfairly accused him of killing the Sega Saturn—Sega’s fifth generation game console. In truth, Saturn was ill-conceived from the start. Hard to program and designed to specifically to support arcade ports, Saturn took an early lead over PlayStation in Japan based on the popularity of an arcade port-Sega’s Virtua Fighter.
While Virtua Fighter was a hit in U.S. and European as well, the arcade business was dwindling outside Japan, and western consumers weren’t nearly as excited about game. Sega further alienated retailers and customers alike by quietly launching Saturn in a few select stores five months ahead of schedule with only a handful of games and a price of $399.
By the time Stolar joined Sega, Sony had already knocked Saturn out of the way and was preparing to overwhelm Nintendo. Some of that success came from plans Stolar had put into place such as the Mortal Kombat-exclusive.
When Sega pulled the plug on the Saturn in 1998 and announced new hardware, Stolar worked feverishly to create an aggressive marketing campaign that would cut into Sony’s growing grip on the U.S. market. Under his leadership, Sega teased its new Dreamcast game console, arranged an unprecedented 18-game launch line up, and hired Reebok’s senior vice president of sports marketing, Peter Moore.
“I thank Bernie for my start in this industry, a career that has lasted 20-plus years,” says Moore. “None of that would have happened without Bernie believing in some shoe guy who could take skills for marketing sneakers and use them to market video games.
Asked what impressed him about Stolar, Moore said, “He was feisty, combative for all the right reasons, and wanted to do the right thing all the time for the customer.”
Moore would go on to run Xbox, EA Sports, and Sega of America. In August, 1999, with the Dreamcast launch just one month away, Sega sent Stolar packing and replaced him with Moore. With Stolar’s plans in place and Moore at the helm, the September 9th, 1999 U.S. launch of the Sega Dreamcast’s was an incredible success even though the console itself was doomed from its inception.
Electronic Arts, the most influential game publisher in the United States refused to make games for it. Square refused in Japan. Without the two EA and Square, Sega scrambled to create games that could compete with the likes of Madden NFL and Final Fantasy. Sega couldn’t compete with well-oiled Sony’s hype machine and the public’s fascination with the PlayStation brand. By the time Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft had launched their new systems as well, the market all but forgot about Dreamcast.
As for Stolar, he remained a game industry icon. He ran Mattel Interactive for three years, worked as an advisor for such heavy hitters as Cisco and Golden Gate Capital, and was the interim CEO of a company that marketed digital advertising space in video games called Adscape Media which launched in February 2006. When Google purchased Adscape one year later, Bernie became the net giant’s games evangelist.
“My first impressions of Bernie were that he was arrogant and rude,” recalls Eva Woo Slavitt, who worked with him at Adscape Media and continued working with him after the company was purchased by Google. “Underneath that external persona was a genuinely kind and caring gentleman.
“Bernie was a relationship builder, and I cherish the time that we worked together.”
Stolar remained active in games right up to his death. In 2014, he was named the executive chairman of Zoom Platforms and became a personal mentor for Jordan Freeman, the company’s young founder.
“I shouldn’t have been able to reach a person like Bernie,” remembers Freeman, “but he took my call and asked to look at a business proposal.”
Sherry McKenna, the CEO of Oddworld Inhabitants, describes Stolar as gruff, honest, and unfalteringly loyal. Having first met him in the 1970s, McKenna had lost touch with Stolar until she left a successful career in the movie business to co-found Oddworld Inhabitants.
“Lorne (co-founder, Lorne Lanning) and I were just starting out at Oddworld Inhabitants and had just moved to new offices in Los Osos (California) when I get this message across my desk that says ‘Vice President of Sony Bernie Stolar.’”
Like Freeman, McKenna phoned Stolar not expecting him to take her call. Instead, he took her call and mentored her, enabling her and Lanning to sign a deal with Sony Computer Entertainment America.
“When Bernie believed in you, he absolutely believed in you. There weren’t any questions, he just helped you succeed.”
The staff at Game Informer extends their condolences to Stolar’s family.
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