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Marcus Stewart
Days before E3 weekend kicks off, Google streamed its Stadia Connect video detailing the pricing and release date for its game streaming service, Stadia. On top of sharing when and how players can get in on the upcoming platform, the tech giant also showed off a line-up of games both new and old coming to the service.
Users can open a basic Stadia account for free which lets them stream games up to 1080p/60fps with stereo sound. Players looking for a premium experience can subscribe to Stadia Pro. For $9.99 a month subscribers can stream in 4K/HDR with 60fps and 5.1 surround sound. Similar to Xbox Gold/PS Plus, Pro users also receive free games and discounts. The big caveat is that neither the free accounts nor Stadia Pro will be available until 2020.
That’s because Google Stadia technically launches this November. However, you’ll need to purchase the Stadia Founder’s Edition to play then. The $129 bundle includes a Chromecast Ultra, a limited edition Night Blue Stadia controller, 3 months of Stadia Pro, a 3-month buddy pass of Stadia Pro to gift to a friend, and a copy of Destiny 2: The Collection. Founders also get to claim their Stadia usernames before anyone else. Players can pre-order the Founders Edition beginning today with Google stressing that the offer only lasts for a “limited time in limited quantities”. 

Google Stadia will first rollout in 14 countries: USA, Canada, UK, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, and Norway. Stadia will become available in more countries beginning next year. Games are purchased the same way as always in that they’re bought individually at prices similar to those on other platforms. Stadia controllers run separately for $70 and come in three colors: white, black, and wasabi (pale green). 
Google also broke down the resolutions various internet speeds allow. The minimum required 10MBps will stream games at 720p resolution. Speeds clocking around 20 Mbps run games at 1080p. Finally, 35 Mbps grants the much-touted 4K/HDR visuals. Resolutions may vary, but Google promises games will run at 60 frames per second no matter what internet speed players fall under. 
On the software side, the reveal of Baldur’s Gate 3 kicked things off on a high note. Fans have waited/begged for a new sequel in acclaimed RPG series since the mid 2000's making its debut a major get for Google (it's coming to PC too and is NOT a Stadia exclusive). A cinematic trailer, posted above, transitioned to a chat about the game's origins from the head of developer Larian Studios. Another new title is GYLT, a Pixar-esque horror adventure title from Rime developer Tequila Works. Party game Get Packed is coming in 2020 and appears to channel the multiplayer insanity of Overcooked but trades hectic cooking for hectic moving.   
The Division 2 and the upcoming Ghost Recon: Breakpoint both received overview trailers confirming their inclusion. Destiny 2: The Collection bundles every piece of DLC including the newly revealed Shadowkeep expansion. Bungie confirmed that players can upload their Guardian's data to the Stadia version of the game (though a disclaimer points out that PS4 transfers are still pending due to Sony, likely due to their slow adoption to cross-play). 
In addition to the games already discussed, the Stadia website lists these additional titles for purchase: 
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Borderlands 3
Darksiders: Genesis
Doom Eternal
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Farming Simulator 19
Final Fantasy XV
Football Manager 2020
Just Dance
Metro Exodus
Mortal Kombat 11
NBA 2K (year not specified) 
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
Rage 2
Samurai Shodown
The Crew 2
The Elder Scrolls Online
Tomb Raider Trilogy
Trials Rising
Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Google seems to be taking a gradual approach with Stadia by rolling the service out for premium members first before opening the floodgates for everyone else next year. That’s probably the best route for testing the service’s stability, though in a way the Founder’s Pack feels like a pricey ticket to a beta test. It all comes down to just how well Stadia lives up to its lofty promise. 
What do you think of Stadia’s details. Does the roster of announced games excite you? 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!

Zak Wojnar
Blizzard is infamous for having high internal quality standards, though these exacting standards sometimes come with a price. It often takes an unbearably long time for sequels and new IP to hit store shelves, but they have traditionally proven worth the wait. Blizzard's titles generally achieve exceedingly strong Metacritic scores, and years-old games like StarCraft 2, Overwatch, and the reigning MMO champion, World of Warcraft, continue to be extremely popular in 2019. Nevertheless, many would argue this ethic translates to a fear of branching out, preventing Blizzard from experimenting with existing franchises and taking chances on edgy offshoots. According to a report from Kotaku, a proposed StarCraft shooter spin-off is the latest casualty of Blizzard's internal review process.
According to the report, the StarCraft spin-off was in development for two years before getting canned. The original StarCraft debuted in 1998, and the series remains one of Blizzard's most popular franchises. Though StarCraft is generally seen a cornerstone in the real time strategy genre, this cancelled title switched gears to provide a first-person shooting experience built on the Overwatch engine. The report's sources describe the cancelled title as StarCraft meets Battlefield, which certainly makes us all wistfully bittersweet regarding what could have been.

Though there are a million reasons any game could get cancelled, the report suggests the entire team moved to development of Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, two games which are not yet officially announced; this also means nobody lost their jobs as a result of the StarCraft cancellation. As for the prospective Diablo and Overwatch sequels, fans expecting to see either game at E3 shouldn't hold their breath; they are instead rumored to make their debut at BlizzCon in November, at the earliest.
Countless video games get cancelled every year, but this one, in particular, hurts more than most. This isn't the first StarCraft spin-off to bite the dust; back in 2002, issue #115 of Game Informer announced StarCraft: Ghost, a PlayStation 2/Xbox/Gamecube spin-off of the ever-popular sci-fi RTS franchise. Sadly, after years of delays and development troubles, the game all but disappeared by the end of the decade. Still, it wasn't until 2014 that Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime confirmed the game had been, indeed, cancelled.

Despite being cancelled, StarCraft: Ghost remains canon in the larger StarCraft storyline, and the novelization of the game, written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, was published in 2006. It's unclear if the cancelled StarCraft shooter was far enough into development to have a comprehensive storyline yet, but one has to wonder if any ideas from the game will make their way into future projects from Blizzard.
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
Product placement in games is something that happens more often than one might think. This week we dive into the phenomenon to look past the surface level examples that might come to mind. How exactly are the CIA and Gatorade related with the Yakuza series? You can find out on this special episode of The Best Games Period.
Of course, anything even tangentially related to Yakuza means that we need to turn to friend of the show and series expert Kazuma Hashimoto! You should make sure you follow him over on Twitter: @JusticeKazzy_
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: Cool Spot 'Smileyspot' by Mazedude (
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
From the beginning, Extra Life has been about helping children. Every day almost 90,000 kids enter facilities supported by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. A significant number of them identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, or any one of the colorful label used to describe the complicated workings of the human heart. These kids often need specialized care, or sometimes just the support of hospital staff, to ensure they can live happy and healthy lives.
Extra Life’s central mission has brought together people with different backgrounds, beliefs, genders, and sexualities to make sure kids, all kids, get the care they need. And the kids aren’t alone. Extra Life has a thriving community of people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and participate every year to raise money for the kids. So, this Pride Month we want to make sure that everyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+, from the kids to the people who fundraise for them, know that they have the support of everyone here at Extra Life.
If we haven’t said it loudly enough before, let us say it now: Extra Life unequivocally supports the LGBTQIA+ community.

Healthcare facilities like St. Louis Children’s Hospital have been improving the quality of care for LGBTQIA+ patients over the past decade and Extra Life is honored to be a small part of that. Last year, St. Louis Children’s Hospital earned the “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation from the Human Rights Campaign. That label means that the hospital scored a perfect 100/100 on the HRC’s evaluations of the quality of care, support for patients, inclusive staffing policies, and engagement with patients and the surrounding community.
There’s also Children’s National Health System’s Youth Pride Clinic that seeks to address the unique health problems that occur within the LGBTQIA+ community. These sometimes life threatening issues include depression, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV, just to name a few. The clinic specializes in providing both primary and mental health services to LGBTQIA+ youth and treats anyone ranging in ages 12 to 21. Additionally, the clinic is able to offer the support and medical assistance needed by transgender and gender non-conforming young adults. While this includes hormone replacement therapy or hormone blockers to delay puberty for questioning adolescents, the Youth Pride Clinic also offers specialized therapy for individual kids as well as their families.
The relatively recent inclusion of services centered on transgender youth helps to reduce the risks that accompany the particularly elevated risks of depression, anxiety, and attempted suicide in the community. That’s why places like the Transgender Health Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center become so important. The facility helps kids and young adults from 5 to 24, as well as their families, to navigate the sometimes confusing world of genders. Their services help parents to understand their child’s experiences and find a path toward acceptance and, if necessary, transition care.

One of the kids who has experienced Cincinnati Children’s Transgender Health Clinic for herself is one of Extra Life’s newest ambassadors, Allison. Allison lives with polycystic kidney disease and she will need lifelong care to deal with the complications. It also means that she will likely need a kidney transplant when she gets older. Right now, however, she’s more focused on attending this year’s E3, a show she’s been experiencing via livestreams since she was 10 years old. She’s also active in being a visible supporter of the transgender community. Allison, with the support of her family, marched in last year’s Cincinnati Pride Parade, helping to represent Cincinnati Children’s Transgender Clinic. Allison stands as Extra Life’s first transgender national champion and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her with us.
Extra Life has never been about celebrating and supporting one particular kind of child. From the beginning, Extra Life has been bringing people from all walks of life together to help every kid who enters a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Kids like Allison represent everything we’ve all worked for; giving children and young adults the care they need to live healthy and happy lives. We hope you’ll join us this Pride Month to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of genders and sexualities that have made Extra Life possible and are represented in the kids who need our help.   
Have a happy Pride Month!
If you haven’t yet, we encourage you to sign up to participate in Extra Life this year. If you are looking for a team to join or just want to make a contribution, be sure to check out Team Allison. Allison’s team will be dedicating June 22-23 to play games and bring in donations from supporters and friends. Maybe even a friend like you?

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