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Jack Gardner
Today, Apple announced Apple Arcade, the company's new multiplatform gaming subscription service. Apple Arcade will enable people who subscribe to play a large selection of games unique to the service across mobile devices, desktop computers, and televisions. The service will launch on a date yet to be determined sometime this fall.
 
 
Apple's reveal comes close on the heels of Google's Stadia announcement, which proposed a future where video games are streamed rather than played locally. Apple Arcade, on the other hand, will allow players to download games and play them on their various devices. That's not the only difference, either. While both services are expected to roll out later this year, Apple seemed willing to provide a great deal more information. Google touted their in-house studio and a nebulous number of partnerships that will draw players to Stadia. Apple, however, revealed a long list of developers working on exclusive games for Apple Arcade. You can see the full list below:
 
Annapurna
Aquiris
Blowfish 
Bossa
Cartoon Network 
Cornfox & Bros.
Devolver
Disney
Finji
Gallium Artists
Gameloft
Hipster Whale
Klei
Konami
KO-OP
Kunabi Brother
Lego
Mistwalker
Mountains
Night School
Noodlecake Studios
Platinum Games
Rac7
Raw Fury
Sega
Skybound
State of Play
Sumo Digital
The Chinese Room
ustwo
Versus Evil
WayForward
 
 
As you read this many of these developers are revealing the first look at the projects they have been working on that will be exclusive to Apple Arcade. in the teaser Apple put together for the main announcement, they revealed a selection of truly unique and interesting games.The first, is Beyond a Steel Sky, a game that melds the aesthetics of Borderlands with the designs of Dave Gibbons, co-creator of Watchmen, and is actually a sequel to the 90s adventure game Beneath a Steel Sky. It offers players a chance to explore the beautiful dystopia of Union City, a sprawling techno city of the future that offers opportunities and scale that players might not expect from a mobile game. 
 
Where Cards Fall is a coming of age story about a young boy dealing with the challenges of growing up and fitting in, complete with the entire spectrum of wonderful, awkward, and painful experiences that come with growing up in the modern world. It's a game driven by choice and drama rather than explosions and guns. One of the co-creators claims that it's the kind of game that couldn't find an audience without the support of Apple Arcade. 
 
The most exciting game, at least to me, comes courtesy of Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. His latest project, Fantasian, uses literal, hand-made dioramas that the team photographs and then uses as the backgrounds for their game. It adds a fantastic, solid and surreal look to a game made by one of the master game designers of our time. I'm a sucker for cool, outside-the-box thinking like this, and that's not just one scene or for cutscenes; the entire game uses practical effects for its background shots. 
 

 
Inspired by the zen-like motion of schools of fish or murmurations of starlings, Lifelike aims to be a contemplative, relaxing experience. "We simply don't want to be responsible for adding another layer of cares to the world," says creator Denis Mikan. It relies on the coordinated movement of its swarming characters as a way to enthrall and delight players. 
 
Finally, Overland is described as a post-apocalyptic real-time strategy game. It contains roguelike elements to shake up the action and scenarios every time players begin a new game. Each adventure will bring players to new places, put them in contact with new characters, and pit them against a large array of different combat situations. 
 
2019 has become the year we see gaming more cleanly split between all of the gaming and tech giants. If all of these services prove to be long-term contenders for their various shares of the market, players will have to start making hard choices between which platforms and services can provide them with the most bang for their buck. A service like Apple Arcade full of games that can't be played any other way and can work even if a user's internet speed isn't the best would have a huge advantage over a service like Stadia that's so heavily reliant on internet infrastructure to function. The only real sticking point for Apple will be the price point of its subscription model, which has yet to be revealed. This is the future we were always going to get once digital storefronts became a more widespread phenomenon and subscription services like Netflix took off. The console wars are slowly fading and are being replaced by the service wars.
 
What do you think? Is this good? Bad? Neutral? 
 
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
Life Is Strange 2 has been in a bit of a limbo following the release of its first episode. Dontnod Entertainment, the developers of the Life Is Strange series as well as Vampyr, held the projected release dates of its subsequent episodes close to the chest. Episode 2 - Rules released on January 24 before the company returned to being quiet about the episodic game.
 
However, now we know when to expect the remaining episodes of Life Is Strange 2 as well as a tiny glimpse at what Episode 3 has in store for players.
 
Life Is Strange 2 diverges from what players might expect after finishing the first Life Is Strange, following the Diaz brothers as they begin a long and arduous journey from their once safe American hometown to a magical place they have only ever heard of from their father down in Mexico. Their pilgrimage puts them in a great deal of danger and becomes more complicated when its revealed that one of them possesses supernatural abilities.  
 
Life Is Strange 2: Episode 3 will be titled Wastelands. It is currently on track to release on May 9 on all platforms. It sees brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz continuing their journey across America. The two find themselves wrapped up in the life of a drifter community and exposed to a variety of new experiences and challenges. They have some things to figure out among the redwood forests of California before they press on toward the safety of Mexico. 
 
Episode 4 will follow at the tail end of summer on August 22. Finally, the series will conclude on December 3 with Episode 5. The first episode of the series is available through Xbox Game Pass, making it likely that the rest of the episode will be releasing via the service, too. 
 
 
Life Is Strange 2's episodes release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. 
 
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
Pribi joins Sean, and Arakiel in Dub-Lin travel out into the Fey Wild and encounter some of its strange wildlife while searching for the missing daughter of Mayor Grimfast.
 
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
Despite the divisive release of No Man's Sky that saw user numbers plummet rapidly, accuse Hello Games of false advertising, and scathing critiques, Sean Murray and his team have been hard at work over the past three years improving the game with free updates for a hopeful base of remaining fans. Recently, Murray revealed the next free expansion to No Man's Sky. Titled Beyond, the new, free expansion will expand the multiplayer options for players among other additions and refinements. 
 
Here is a compiled list of some of the biggest changes made to No Man's Sky since its launch:
 
The Foundation Update allowed players to begin building bases, new game modes, mobile saving, and tweaks to vital aspects like inventory, and limited communication abilities with other players.  Path Finder brought ground vehicles to No Man's Sky, more robust base-building options, and a graphical overhaul. Atlas Rises brought a new story line to the game, doubling the game's background content, a Stargate-like network of portals for fast travel, overhauled missions, and more.  Then No Man's Sky NEXT released, allowing players to band together in-game for the first time, freed base-building in any location, third-person perspective, and character customization. The Abyss update allowed players to explore planets with oceans, build bases underwater, interact with a more vibrant ecosystem of marine life, and discover a new oceanic narrative. Finally, the most recent update, Visions, added archaeology, the ability to salvage ancient technology, and community missions.   
The past year has seen Hello Games observing how players are interacting in-game and listening to players. While The Abyss and Visions released with a variety of additions and improvements, more are in store for No Man's Sky Beyond. Beyond will be a compilation of three major, interconnected updates to No Man's Sky.
 
Due to concerns about overhyping their game, Hello Games has opted to keep much of the information about Beyond under wraps until it becomes finalized. However, the biggest major component of Beyond will be No Man's Sky Online, an overhaul to the online features offered by No Man's Sky. This will, in some ways, turn the game into a true MMO, though Hello Games shies away from the label. It will not have a subscription or microtransactions, but it will support a vast number of players. both the social and multiplayer components of it's online world will get new features and tweaks. 
 
 
"Beyond will be our most ambitious chapter so far, and something we’ve been working ridiculously hard on. We’ll continue to support No Man’s Sky in this way for the foreseeable future," Sean Murray said in his official announcement. "To some NEXT may have felt like a natural end-point for our journey, but for us it was another step on a longer voyage."
 
No Man's Sky Beyond will release sometime this summer.
 
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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