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LeaveIt2Beaver
Hey Extra Life Community -
 
We have some exciting news to share! In an effort to help make fundraising more fun, more accessible and ultimately easier, we’ve added a new application to the Extra Life experience. Now you can fundraise through our mobile app made possible by a grant from the ESA Foundation! 
 

 
Extra Life Mobile App
Manage and share your Extra Life experience on the go with our new Extra Life mobile app. This free app lets you fundraise and connect with others through SMS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Email. You can update your Extra Life page and check your fundraising progress all from the palm of your hand. Learn more in our best practices section!

Download the app here: iPhone | Android
 
We’ve also spent the last couple of months improving the mobile experience on the Extra Life website so give the new apps a try. We want to hear what you think so send any feedback and ideas to community@extra-life.org or comment below and let us know!
For The Kids,

Mike Kinney
Team Extra Life
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Jack Gardner
Turtle Rock Studios has revealed that they are in the process of creating a co-operative first-person shooter named Back 4 Blood in a partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive. Not many details have been announced, but we've compiled everything that you need to know right here.
 
Left 4 Dead was created by Valve South back in 2008. The studio had formerly been known as Turtle Rock Studios, but was purchased by Valve in the same year due to the success of Counter-Strike: Source, which Turtle Rock had developed for Valve. The game was incredibly well received for the variable spawning of enemies that responded to how well players were doing. This AI Director meant that each playthrough of a Left 4 Dead level would be a slightly different and continually challenging experience. Due to the co-op focus and tight gameplay, over 11 million copies of the game were sold between its launch and 2011. 2011 saw Turtle Rock separate from Valve and begin working on Evolve, a 2015 multiplayer shooter pitting players against a player-controlled monster. Evolve didn't do well for a lot of reasons, but the game itself was enjoyable. The studio dedicated two years after the game's launch to turning it around, but nothing ever quite stuck. It makes sense, then, that the team is going back to one of the works that helped put the studio on the map: Left 4 Dead.
 
Of course, Back 4 Blood is not Left 4 Dead 3. Turtle Rock Studios is very careful to clarify that this is not the long awaited sequel to the popular co-op zombie shooter. Instead it is an entirely original co-op zombie shooter that brings many elements that were never present in Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2. What exactly those new elements might be, the studio declined to clarify. However, they hinted that they are bringing the design lessons they've learned over the years and seeing what they can do with the framework of a co-op zombie shooter with modern tech. They seem confident that they will be able to stand out from the pack with what they have in mind for Back 4 Blood. 
 
“We are not resting on any past laurels. Our goal is to take all we’ve learned and push forward. We know that’s a tall order,” said Phil Robb, Turtle Rock Studios' co-founder and current creative director. “We’re growing the team considerably because we’re stepping up to the biggest challenge in this studio’s history. We know this title has to stand out and we fully intend to make that happen.”
 
Turtle Rock Studios expect to launch the game in the AAA price range of titles, so customers should see it hitting shelves and digital storefronts with a price tag of anywhere from $40-$60. Of course, one of the biggest issues that plagued Evolves launch was the way the game included micro-transactions. The studio didn't say that there would be no micro-transactions this time around, however they did say that they are open to the idea of adding content the community might want post-launch. At the very least it seems like Back 4 Blood is not being designed with micro-transactions in mind. 
 
As for actual gameplay, there will be no Battle Royale-style conflicts. Back 4 Blood will instead focus on co-op and some form of PvP mode, though what form that might take remains a mystery. The game will also include a story-driven campaign of some kind. Given the unique way the narrative played out in Left 4 Dead and Evolve, how that campaign will look is anyone's guess. Chris Ashton, Turtle Rock Studios' co-founder and design director, gushed a little bit about being able to return to the co-op zombie genre they helped begin saying, “It’s hard to overstate what an awesome opportunity this is. We get to return to a genre that was born in our studio with over ten years of additional experience and zombie ideas racked up in our brains."
 
The announcement was sparse on details as it was designed mostly to begin building a community of excited fans and let professionals across the industry know what Turtle Rock is working on and possibly bring them aboard. However, it's always exciting to see a veteran developer return to their roots after some time away. There's little doubt that the studio will make something incredibly interesting with their skills and dedication. It remains to be seen whether people will flock to what they have to offer as wildly as they once did. 
 
Back 4 Blood will release for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, though the team is open to additional platforms if the opportunities present themselves. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Today, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing Xbox Live to Android and iOS devices, officially lending its support to the wider world of mobile game development. This move isn't entirely unprecedented. Xbox Live support has been available on mobile before, however it was only included in apps and games developed by Microsoft itself, like Minecraft. This new move will put Xbox Live within reach of any developer who wants to integrate their app or game into the wider Xbox Live ecosystem. 
 
Microsoft initially teased back in February that they might be making an announcement related to mobile soon. The move, revealed today, will allow apps and games across the mobile world to access the suite of services associated with Xbox Live. Developers will be able to use the tools released by Microsoft to connect as many or as few Xbox Life services with their project as needed. 
 
Now we know, thanks to The Verge, the full extent of the program and tools. Microsoft's new mobile development kit (SDK) will enable devs to add Gamerscore, open up clubs, friend lists, and include account family settings. On top of that, developers will be able to implement a single sign-in for Xbox Live and grant devs online protection for their apps and games. The new SDK will come together with Microsoft Game Stack, a collection of tool sets designed to get developers up and running with Microsoft's cloud technology, something the tech giant has been pushing across a wide variety of its services outside of gaming. 
 
A rumor has been going around the industry that Xbox Live integration will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch, though a rep from Microsoft didn't deny that it's in the works. However, even if Xbox Live comes to Nintendo Switch, it's unlikely to make its way onto Sony's flagship platform, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft, for its part, appears to be very willing to partner with companies many might consider to be rivals, but Sony's reticence makes the possible team up all but impossible.  
 
While it might seem like a similar roll out on a rival platform would be impossible, Minecraft on Switch does implement an Xbox Live sign-in. That puts the Switch in a similar position as the mobile market was prior to this announcement. The ability to put Xbox Live on Switch is already out in the wild with Minecraft; all it would take is the okay from Nintendo and some additional fine-tuning of the software for it to work well on Switch. We could very easily see the next battle for gaming supremacy take place not in hardware, but in the realm of software support and service features. If that's the case, Xbox Live just created a huge lead for itself.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Pulled into a strange, dreamlike town by an inscrutable fey creature, Arakiel and Sean begin acquainting themselves with the odd locals while investigating the disappearance of the mayor's daughter.
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 

 
"Shadowlands 1 - Horizon"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Krafton Game Union, formerly Bluehole, has announced their next upcoming game, a stylish rougue-like RPG named Mistover. With an artstyle reminiscent of indie games like Darkest Dungeon and the dungeon-delving of a JRPG, Mistover definitely should be on your radar for Summer 2019 releases.
 
Bluehole made a name for itself with the popular MMO Tera and followed it up with the Battle Royale sensation PlayerUnknown's Battle Grounds. Two years ago, they announced a new MMO with steampunk airship combat, Ascent: Infinite Realm, that has yet to release. Last year, it announced a rebranding effort to dub itself Krafton Game Union, a collection of developers that can tackle a wider variety of game projects. The first fruit of that change seems to be Mistover. Mistover represents a scaled back, focused project that appears to be aimed at a more niche audience than typical for MMOs or competitive shooters. It's definitely an exciting and interesting direction for the South Korea-based company. 
 
Mistover takes place in a world ravaged by a mysterious anomaly called the Pillar of Despair. After wiping out most civilizations, the Kingdom of Arta remains standing as the final holdout against total societal collapse. Heroes from across the world gather in the kingdom to band together and survive. In order to learn more about the enemy, Arta forms heroes into corps and sends them into the Pillar of Despair's mists to fight its monsters, discover its treasures, and perhaps even find a way to survive its terrible onslaught. 
 

 
Described by its creators as a combination of Darkest Dungeon and Etrian Odyssey, surviving in the Pillar of Despair takes quite a bit of strategy and a fair bit of luck. Each foray into the mist poses dangers to the health, sanity, equipment, and supplies of the player's heroes, the potent energies of the Pillar threaten to warp any and everything that it encounters. While adapting to new challenges, players will need to explore new areas in a grid-based expedition mode, fighting only when necessary. Using exploration abilities to keep hidden and obtain loot will be incredibly important during this phase. If, however, combat begins, the turn-based battle system should prove interesting to RPG veterans. While individual characters can perform their own abilities and attacks, choosing the correct formations can allow your heroes to coordinate maneuvers and perform more advanced attacks.      
 
Players will need to assemble their team out of a number of unique classes. These classes include Witch, Shadow Blade, Grim Reaper, Paladin, Ronin, Sister, Werewolf, and Onmyouji. With the right combination and strategies, players will be able to overcome the dangers of each procedurally generated dungeon. With deadly traps, poisoned food, and the ever constant threat of monsters, it'll take everything players have to survive and uncover the secrets of the Pillar of Despair.
 
 
It looks similar in style to Darkest Dungeon, which recently announced a sequel. However, the addition of dungeon crawling and some more in-depth RPG mechanics definitely seem to be vital additions to the "gloomy, but beautifully aesthetic roguelike" genre. Also, small touch, but I adore that they named the werewolf character Beo. Beo-wolf, heh. Anyway, seeing this developer shift toward something that's focused on a strong single-player experience rather than the multiplayer chaos of an MMO or Battle Royale definitely has my attention more than something like PUBG 2 or an expansion to Tera might. Here's hoping Krafton's first single-player RPG finds its audience.  
 
Mistover will release on Nintendo Switch and PC later this summer. Those who want to get a preview of what Mistover has in store and are attending PAX East March 28-31 will be able to catch Krafton Game Union at the show for a playable demo. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Who is Sam? That's the question at the heart of A Normal Lost Phone a game for PC and mobile devices. Developed by Accidental Queens, A Normal Lost Phone puts players in possession of a phone that they have found on the ground. The game tasks players with using their cyber sleuthing skills to discover who the owner of the phone is and how to get them back their property. The entire thing becomes a literal character study, for better and worse.
 
Could this mobile indie adventure game about snooping be one of the best games of all-time?
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 

 
Outro music:Final Fantasy VIII 'Wanderlust' by ZiSotto (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03864)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
 

Jack Gardner
Way Deep Down's Half Past Fate aims to combine romantic comedy with the adventure game genre with delightful style. Published by Serenity Forge, the company behind games like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and The King's Bird, Half Past Fate tells the story of three relationships, some forming within hours and others maturing over years. 
 
"To answer a big question we've been getting, yes you do get to play a very wide cast of characters. Imagine if you mash Love Actually (film) with To the Moon (game), that's pretty much our main inspiration," said Zhenghua Yang, the founder of Serenity Forge. Half Past Fate follows six different characters as their stories interweave with one another, making connections full of joy, comedy, love, and heartbreak. The story is careful to touch on people from all walks of life; Half Past Fate might rely on some rom-com cliches, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve to give those tropes a unique spin. 
 
Half Past Fate takes place in a gorgeous world that combines the classic look of 2D sprites and charming 3D environments that mesh well together. It basically looks like a game following in the endearing aesthetic footsteps of Paper Mario and Octopath Traveler. Way Deep Down conveys the story via text and adorable pixel portraits that do quite a bit of work characterizing the cast of colorful personalities.
 
 
It's important to clarify that Half Past Fate doesn't appear to be a dating sim. Instead, it is a structured, linear narrative designed to tell a cohesive story, much like To the Moon. The core conceit of the game aims to show how love takes on many forms and can come out in unexpected, heartfelt, and occasionally hilarious ways. With that central ethos, expect the unexpected, especially if it relates to spilling tea or exploding coffee makers. 
 
With a year of development time under it's belt, Half Past Fate will be making its official debut at PAX East at the Indie Megabooth later this month. PAX East will run from March 28-31, so more information is nearly upon us for this intriguing indie game about romance. If you're going to be at PAX East, be sure to check it out!
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The upcoming indie platformer Hoa looks incredible. The hand-painted aesthetic and adorable character design bring a vast amount of charm to the adventure of the titular Hoa, a small spritely creature trying to make her way home.
 
Hoa is being made by a group of university graduates based in Singapore. The team currently includes four members working in their spare time to bring their vision to life. The devs wish to follow in the footsteps of  classic, visually interesting platformers like Limbo and Rayman. To that end, the team experimented with a variety of different designs and discovered that their work meshed nicely with the distinctive look of Japanese animation. Much like Limbo, the entire game has been designed to only encompass a few hours, bringing players on a memorable and moving journey as they struggle with being a little being in a big world.
 
 
Deciding to emulate the style of a masterful animation outfit like Studio Ghibli proved to be difficult to follow through on. In a recent interview with 80 Level, the game's director Ryo Cao Son Tung said:
 
 
 
Though Hoa remains a long way off from being completed, a playable demo should be finished within the next several months. Based on community feedback the team plans to refine the demo into a proof of concept to entice their investors to stick around. If they succeed in wrangling the financial backing, they expect Hoa to ship sometime next year for PC and Nintendo Switch. If it proves to be popular, they're even open to considering a mobile port.  
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
With 43 days left in the Kickstarter campaign, Critical Role has raised almost $5.5 million to produce their animated special The Legend of Vox Machina. The original stretch goals for the project only went up as high as $3 million, so the team had to come up with additional goals for the campaign. To that end, Critical Role has announced that if they reach $5.75 million, they will begin animating the Briarwoods arc from Critical Role Season 1.
 
The original Kickstarter campaign, which began earlier this week, set out to create a 22-minute animated special. However, upon reaching $3 million, that 22-minute special had grown into a four episode series, with each episode containing 22 minutes of animation. Those four episodes contain The Legend of Vox Machina, a prequel series to the main events of the first season of Critical Role. The original cast will return to reprise their roles along with a slew of recognizable voice talent to fill out the world of Exandria's colorful characters. 
 
With over a month remaining in the campaign, there's little doubt that the campaign will reach its next goal of $5.75 million (in fact, it would be shocking if it didn't make that goal in the next few days). Once the Kickstarter begins breaking new stretch goals, the team will begin work on animating two additional episodes that will make up the beginning of the Briarwoods arc. This arc centers on the events that transpired in the town of Whitestone. Percy, one of the recurring members of the Vox Machina brings the party to the village to avenge the deaths of his family at the hands of the vile Briarwoods. If you want to watch the gameplay for this arc, it begins in Episode 24 of Critical Role.
 

 
Two additional stretch goals after $5.75 million will allow the team to cover the entirety of the arc with six animated episodes in addition to the four The Legend of Vox Machina episodes. On top of that, each goal will come with an additional on-shot campaign. The first will be a battle royale between guests that have appeared alongside the Vox Machina, and the second will be a game run by Ashley Johnson instead of Matt Mercer. The goals for these additional rewards haven't been revealed yet.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Animal Crossing has a strange hold on people. It seems to appeal to those across a wide range of demographics, young and old. What makes the series about moving to a new town full of friendly cartoon animals so attractive to so many people that Nintendo has an army of fans ready to kick in its door for a Nintendo Direct about the upcoming Animal Crossing coming to Switch? Jack and Naomi try to get to the bottom of it and maybe discover whether Animal Crossing: New Leaf stands as one of the best games of all-time.
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 

 
Outro music: Animal Crossing: New Leaf 'Morning Jazz' by AJ DiSpirito (https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03623)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
After years of requests from fans, the team behind the popular Dungeons & Dragons live role-playing show Critical Role has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create The Legend of Vox Machina an animated special based on the characters that starred in the first season of the show. Despite being up for less than a day, the Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its primary goal and several stretch goals with over $2.5 million in the first day, moving closer toward making The Legend of Vox Machina a feature-length film.
 
Critical Role began in 2015 as a collaboration between voice actor Matt Mercer and Geek & Sundry, though the series has amicably split from Geek & Sundry in the years since. The show stars a team of voice actors and actresses who gather together to play Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition while broadcasting live across the internet. The central cast of Season 1, who will reprise their roles in the upcoming animated special, consists of Matt Mercer (Dungeon Master), Ashley Johnson (Pike Trickfoot), Laura Bailey (Vex'ahlia "Vex" Vessar), Liam O'Brien (Vax 'ildan "Vax" Vessar & Lieve'tel Toluse), Marisha Ray (Keyleth of the Air Ashari), Sam Riegel (Scanlan Shorthalt & Taryon "Tary" Darrington), Taliesin Jaffe (Percival "Percy" Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III), Travis Willingham (Grog Strongjaw & Sir Bertrand Bell), and Orion Acaba (Tiberius Stormwind). Each episode consists of  a full Dungeons & Dragons session, meaning that they can frequently run between 3-6 hours apiece. There have been two seasons thus far as well as many efforts across the series' history to raise money for numerous good causes, Extra Life among them! 
 
The adventure this colorful cast of voice actors has been on for the last several years has included spin-offs, partnerships with Wizards of the Coast, and even comic books. Now they've taken to Kickstarter to bring their characters to life on-screen in the animated adventure The Legend of Vox Machina. The animation for the special will be handled by Titmouse, a well-known and beloved studio in the realm of animated television. It's most recognizable works include The Venture Bros., Metalocalypse, and Big Mouth. On top of that, Critical Role has obtained the services of Jennifer Muro, the writer behind Star Wars: Forces of Destiny and Spider-Man, to pen the upcoming special. In addition to the voice actors already attached to Critical Role, additional talent that has yet to be announced will include voices from shows like Attack on Titan, Dragon Ball Z, Duck Tales, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
 
 
At the time of writing this, The Legend of Vox Machina has raised over $2.5 million from over 19,000 people to produce the animated special. Initially, the pitch was for a 22-minute special for $750,000. However, fans quickly demolished that goal. At $1 million raised, a one-shot called The Search for Grog Epilogue: The Search for Bob will be played. At $1.5 million, the length of the special doubled to 44 minutes and those who pitched in over $100 will receive a special beanie. At $2 million, fans unlocked another one-shot called Vox Machina's Summer Reunion at Dalen's Closet. At $2.5 million, the length of the special shot up to 66 minutes. If the special raises over $3 million, fans of Critical Role will unlock an 88 minute special along with a third one-shot which will see Season 1 and Season 2 characters colliding. There are still 45 days in the fundraising campaign.  
 
If you've never seen Critical Role before, you can watch all 150+ episodes of it for free over on the Critical Role YouTube channel. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Dead or Alive 6 hits stores today and while fans of the long-running fighting game series can pick it up the base version for $60, there's over $100 of additional content locked off from the main game. As deep as we all are in the age of microtransactions and loot boxes, the price point for Dead or Alive 6's downloadable content has caused many to do double-takes. 
 
It's a pretty incredible price point to charge for additional content at launch, but maybe it's worth it? Those who purchase the deluxe edition of Dead or Alive 6 will have to shell out an extra $20. The deluxe edition comes with another character, Phase 4, an exclusive costume for series' mainstay Kasumi, 25 additional costumes, and three more tracks for the game's soundtrack.
 
If, however, you happen to be a super fan of Dead or Alive 6, you can opt to buy the game's Season Pass 1, which will cost $93. This season pass contains 52 costumes consisting of the Happy Wedding Costumes and the full Costume Pack, two new playable characters (one of which is Mai Shiranui), five costumes for each new character, and two costumes exclusive to Season Pass 1, NiCO's technomancer gear and a wrestling costume for Nyotengu. Whether or not that will all be worth it to someone who loves Dead or Alive 6 remains to be seen. Almost every negative user review posted so far lists the DLC pricing as a major part of their distaste for the fighting game. 
 
All told, to get everything available in-game for Dead or Alive 6 at launch will cost $113 on top of the $60 for the base game itself. And you see the number 1 in Season Pass 1? Koei Tecmo plans to release more season passes in the future. If this pricing is indicative of where Dead or Alive is going in the future, then fighting game fanatics could be looking at spending $266 for a second season pass if they want to own all of the game they love. 
 
 
On top of all that, there's the distinct possibility that Koei Tecmo will release more than a couple season passes, meaning fans could be asked to spend far more. Taking DLC pricing to the extreme isn't that far out of the norm as the free version of Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive 5 Last Round: Core Fighters, on Steam currently lists all of its DLC for nearly $1,300. That's, quite frankly, absurd and has some fans worried about the future of the venerable fighting series.  
 
What do you think? Is the DLC price point to high? Does the existence of DLC change how you think about a game? Let us know in the comments!
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

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