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Jack Gardner

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  1. The gameplay reveal of The Last of Us Part II was one of the highlights of Sony's entire lineup during E3. It eased into the return to an incredibly savage world with a lovely, human scene set during a wedding being held in a post-apocalyptic world. Ellie, the young girl from the first game who has since become an adult, shares a dance and some words with an unnamed woman with whom she appears to have a romantic history. After exchanging some smile-inducing banter, the two share a kiss. From there, the reveal transitioned to the actual gameplay with Ellie coming up against a group of survivors. She witnesses them execute a man, brutally ripping out his intestines. They then begin combing the area, and we see how the stealth mechanics work. Players are able to sneak through tall grasses and bushes to elude search parties. On top of that, the apocalypse seems to be lousy with abandoned cars. Players will be able to slide under vehicles to hide from enemies. Players who are able to land killing blows with arrows or melee weapons while avoiding detection are rewarded with continued non-detection. One slip-up immediately ratchets up the drama by turning things into an all-out struggle for survival. We see Ellie battling with multiple enemies at once, each one well realized and different - they don't seem like cookie cutter character models. One of the new additions to combat seems to be the ability to disarm adversaries mid-combat and immediately pick up their gear, smoothly transitioning between weapons in a fight with fluid motion. Crafting seems to have been streamlined, as at one point Ellie crafts an explosive arrow on the fly to take out an enemy and serve as a distraction. Oh, and players can still take enemies hostage to use as human shields. One thing that seems obvious from the combat on display: Players will have to move when things get hairy. Limited ammo and melee weapon durability force players to move to different areas to scavenge supplies to continue the fight. Getting backed into a corner could lead to death if you don't have enough gear to stand your ground. Little details really make the violence that much more visceral and real. While sneaking next to a car, Ellie instinctively puts her hand out to steady her crouch and a small sound effect of putting slight pressure on a car hood plays. Injuries that Ellie takes will persist over time. At one point in the fighting, she took an arrow to the chest. The shaft stuck out painfully as she continued to fight, blood slowly staining her shirt, until she was able to take cover behind a counter a minute later and pull out the arrow. Ellie and enemies react naturally to receiving injuries, grabbing the sites of stab wounds and holding wounds as time goes by and they keep moving. Overall, The Last of Us Part II seems to be shaping up to be Naughty Dog's finest and most detailed work to date. 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!
  2. The gameplay reveal of The Last of Us Part II was one of the highlights of Sony's entire lineup during E3. It eased into the return to an incredibly savage world with a lovely, human scene set during a wedding being held in a post-apocalyptic world. Ellie, the young girl from the first game who has since become an adult, shares a dance and some words with an unnamed woman with whom she appears to have a romantic history. After exchanging some smile-inducing banter, the two share a kiss. From there, the reveal transitioned to the actual gameplay with Ellie coming up against a group of survivors. She witnesses them execute a man, brutally ripping out his intestines. They then begin combing the area, and we see how the stealth mechanics work. Players are able to sneak through tall grasses and bushes to elude search parties. On top of that, the apocalypse seems to be lousy with abandoned cars. Players will be able to slide under vehicles to hide from enemies. Players who are able to land killing blows with arrows or melee weapons while avoiding detection are rewarded with continued non-detection. One slip-up immediately ratchets up the drama by turning things into an all-out struggle for survival. We see Ellie battling with multiple enemies at once, each one well realized and different - they don't seem like cookie cutter character models. One of the new additions to combat seems to be the ability to disarm adversaries mid-combat and immediately pick up their gear, smoothly transitioning between weapons in a fight with fluid motion. Crafting seems to have been streamlined, as at one point Ellie crafts an explosive arrow on the fly to take out an enemy and serve as a distraction. Oh, and players can still take enemies hostage to use as human shields. One thing that seems obvious from the combat on display: Players will have to move when things get hairy. Limited ammo and melee weapon durability force players to move to different areas to scavenge supplies to continue the fight. Getting backed into a corner could lead to death if you don't have enough gear to stand your ground. Little details really make the violence that much more visceral and real. While sneaking next to a car, Ellie instinctively puts her hand out to steady her crouch and a small sound effect of putting slight pressure on a car hood plays. Injuries that Ellie takes will persist over time. At one point in the fighting, she took an arrow to the chest. The shaft stuck out painfully as she continued to fight, blood slowly staining her shirt, until she was able to take cover behind a counter a minute later and pull out the arrow. Ellie and enemies react naturally to receiving injuries, grabbing the sites of stab wounds and holding wounds as time goes by and they keep moving. Overall, The Last of Us Part II seems to be shaping up to be Naughty Dog's finest and most detailed work to date. 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! View full article
  3. Ubisoft had a great year at E3 2018. Most of their announcements were interesting, conveying coveted information about highly anticipated titles like Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. It might not have revealed anything completely unknown, but the info it had on upcoming projects was extensive and interesting. The Ubisoft press conference opened with a marching band and dance routine heralding the return of Just Dance 2019. The dancing title will be released later this year on pretty much every console that people might conceivably still use outside of retro enthusiast crowds. That explains why the title will be released for not only the Wii U, but also the original Wii, which is pretty freaking incredible. Beyond Good & Evil 2 made a huge splash at last year's press conference where it finally demonstrated its existence to the world. This year we got to see more pre-rendered cutscenes that doled out information about the pirate crew with whom players will presumably be bouncing around the galaxy. It also revealed that Jade, the hero of Beyond Good & Evil, will serve as the antagonist for this sequel-prequel. How that will work remains unknown, but intriguing. The Beyond Good & Evil 2 presentation didn't stop at cutscenes, though. We were finally show snippets of gameplay demonstrating vehicles and aerial/space combat along with jetpacks and melee combat. And, yes, it looked fantastic. Keen observers might have noted that certain segments of the environment looked suspiciously barren. It turns out this was because Ubisoft has teamed up with Hit Record, a crowd sourced work platform that aims to bring artists together to do collaborative freelance work. The idea for Beyond Good & Evil 2 being that artists could contribute their work to the game, get paid, and have it become part of the in-game universe. This led to something of a backlash from fans and industry pros alike calling out the use of speculative labor (spec work). Ubisoft also took the time to announce new DLC for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Titled Donkey Kong Adventure, players will be able to journey through a tactical adventure with Donkey Kong joining the crew to face off against his ferocious Rabbid counterpart. The music will be composed by Grant Kirkhope with all of the appropriate Donkey Kong flair fans have come to love and expect. It releases later this month on June 26. The popular biking/stunt game Trials will be returning early next year with Trials Rising. Ubisoft worked together with over 20 longtime fans of the original to shape its content. One community member even oversaw the creation of all the tutorial content for Trials Rising. Rising will bring players around the world for wacky stunts and impossible courses. It releases sometime in February 2019. The Division 2 hopes to surpass its predecessor by offering long term support for players who have finished the main campaign. Those who finish the story set in Washington DC will be able to specialize into one of three classes and pick a signature weapon. Over time, these roles will evolve to have special abilities that synergize with the abilities of other players. This will lead players who have mastered everything else into the new eight player raids. In Rainbow Six Siege news, Ubisoft announced that the game would be receiving the documentary treatment. A film crew followed eight members of the Rainbow Six Siege community, including professional Rainbow Six Siege players, as they partake in the game's rich competitive scene. ESports are becoming more and more mainstream, so it's always interesting to see what documentary film crews do with the subject matter. Another Mindset is no exception. The film will release at the Six Major Paris that runs August 13-19. Skull and Bones still looks incredibly polished, but weird. Even though we saw more of it this year than ever before, I can't tell if it's something that stands on its own or if it will live and die by its online community. The gameplay on display this year depicted pirates teaming up to take on a giant warship in the Indian Ocean following the sinking of a merchant vessel. The game emphasizes the accumulation of wealth, but it's a bit cagey on what players can use that wealth on in-game aside from ship upgrades and aesthetic flourishes. Is there more to the game than piracy for piracy's sake? Only time will tell. One of the more fascinating reveals Ubisoft had in store for E3 2018 definitely belongs to SpectreVision's VR horror/thriller title Transference. SpectreVision's founder and creative director Elijah Wood (yes, that Elijah Wood) took the stage last year to announce the game existed. This year, he took the stage to elaborate more about what exactly Transference will be. From the explanation, it seems that Transference tells the story of the Hayes family, a father, mother, and son, who have all had their minds joined and their memories simulated. However, something has gone wrong and the memories are corrupted - players will have to jump between the perspectives of each family member to figure out exactly what happened and discover what entity stalks them through the memories. It looks rad as heck, combining live-action and digital environments very effectively. Oh, and it launches later this fall! Starlink: Battle for Atlas has come a long way since we last saw it. The cartoonish space odyssey seemed to take many people by surprise with gameplay that appears tight, responsive, and more diverse than shooting all the things. Players will be able to construct their spaceships in the real world and bring them into the game world, which is still an amazing feature that doesn't seem to have reached its full potential just yet. In a surprise twist, Starlink will have a Nintendo Switch exclusive: Fox McCloud. Those who pick up Starlink on the Switch will be able to zoom around space in one of the classic Arwings from Star Fox. It's implied that Fox McCloud will be a character within the Starlink universe, too, though to what extent he will affect the game's narrative remains to be seen. Finally, Ubisoft spilled the beans on the upcoming Assassin's Creed. It turns out that it's no longer too expensive to create female character models as Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows players to decide whether they'd like to play through the game as Alexios or Kassandra. Whichever players decide to make their avatar, they will take on the role of a mercenary fighting in the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Using a shattered fragment of a legendary spear, players will navigate the events of ancient Greece, rub shoulders with some of the titans of modern history textbooks, and probably do some assassin stuff. Although, it should be noted that the trailer and gameplay on display distinctly lacked a lot of the sneaky, assassin-y stuff for which the series has been known. Overall, it seems like an interesting and fun direction to take the long running series. What did you think of Ubisoft's E3 showing this year? Let us know in the comments! As always, feel free to watch the entire Ubisoft press conference below. 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!
  4. Ubisoft had a great year at E3 2018. Most of their announcements were interesting, conveying coveted information about highly anticipated titles like Beyond Good & Evil 2 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey. It might not have revealed anything completely unknown, but the info it had on upcoming projects was extensive and interesting. The Ubisoft press conference opened with a marching band and dance routine heralding the return of Just Dance 2019. The dancing title will be released later this year on pretty much every console that people might conceivably still use outside of retro enthusiast crowds. That explains why the title will be released for not only the Wii U, but also the original Wii, which is pretty freaking incredible. Beyond Good & Evil 2 made a huge splash at last year's press conference where it finally demonstrated its existence to the world. This year we got to see more pre-rendered cutscenes that doled out information about the pirate crew with whom players will presumably be bouncing around the galaxy. It also revealed that Jade, the hero of Beyond Good & Evil, will serve as the antagonist for this sequel-prequel. How that will work remains unknown, but intriguing. The Beyond Good & Evil 2 presentation didn't stop at cutscenes, though. We were finally show snippets of gameplay demonstrating vehicles and aerial/space combat along with jetpacks and melee combat. And, yes, it looked fantastic. Keen observers might have noted that certain segments of the environment looked suspiciously barren. It turns out this was because Ubisoft has teamed up with Hit Record, a crowd sourced work platform that aims to bring artists together to do collaborative freelance work. The idea for Beyond Good & Evil 2 being that artists could contribute their work to the game, get paid, and have it become part of the in-game universe. This led to something of a backlash from fans and industry pros alike calling out the use of speculative labor (spec work). Ubisoft also took the time to announce new DLC for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Titled Donkey Kong Adventure, players will be able to journey through a tactical adventure with Donkey Kong joining the crew to face off against his ferocious Rabbid counterpart. The music will be composed by Grant Kirkhope with all of the appropriate Donkey Kong flair fans have come to love and expect. It releases later this month on June 26. The popular biking/stunt game Trials will be returning early next year with Trials Rising. Ubisoft worked together with over 20 longtime fans of the original to shape its content. One community member even oversaw the creation of all the tutorial content for Trials Rising. Rising will bring players around the world for wacky stunts and impossible courses. It releases sometime in February 2019. The Division 2 hopes to surpass its predecessor by offering long term support for players who have finished the main campaign. Those who finish the story set in Washington DC will be able to specialize into one of three classes and pick a signature weapon. Over time, these roles will evolve to have special abilities that synergize with the abilities of other players. This will lead players who have mastered everything else into the new eight player raids. In Rainbow Six Siege news, Ubisoft announced that the game would be receiving the documentary treatment. A film crew followed eight members of the Rainbow Six Siege community, including professional Rainbow Six Siege players, as they partake in the game's rich competitive scene. ESports are becoming more and more mainstream, so it's always interesting to see what documentary film crews do with the subject matter. Another Mindset is no exception. The film will release at the Six Major Paris that runs August 13-19. Skull and Bones still looks incredibly polished, but weird. Even though we saw more of it this year than ever before, I can't tell if it's something that stands on its own or if it will live and die by its online community. The gameplay on display this year depicted pirates teaming up to take on a giant warship in the Indian Ocean following the sinking of a merchant vessel. The game emphasizes the accumulation of wealth, but it's a bit cagey on what players can use that wealth on in-game aside from ship upgrades and aesthetic flourishes. Is there more to the game than piracy for piracy's sake? Only time will tell. One of the more fascinating reveals Ubisoft had in store for E3 2018 definitely belongs to SpectreVision's VR horror/thriller title Transference. SpectreVision's founder and creative director Elijah Wood (yes, that Elijah Wood) took the stage last year to announce the game existed. This year, he took the stage to elaborate more about what exactly Transference will be. From the explanation, it seems that Transference tells the story of the Hayes family, a father, mother, and son, who have all had their minds joined and their memories simulated. However, something has gone wrong and the memories are corrupted - players will have to jump between the perspectives of each family member to figure out exactly what happened and discover what entity stalks them through the memories. It looks rad as heck, combining live-action and digital environments very effectively. Oh, and it launches later this fall! Starlink: Battle for Atlas has come a long way since we last saw it. The cartoonish space odyssey seemed to take many people by surprise with gameplay that appears tight, responsive, and more diverse than shooting all the things. Players will be able to construct their spaceships in the real world and bring them into the game world, which is still an amazing feature that doesn't seem to have reached its full potential just yet. In a surprise twist, Starlink will have a Nintendo Switch exclusive: Fox McCloud. Those who pick up Starlink on the Switch will be able to zoom around space in one of the classic Arwings from Star Fox. It's implied that Fox McCloud will be a character within the Starlink universe, too, though to what extent he will affect the game's narrative remains to be seen. Finally, Ubisoft spilled the beans on the upcoming Assassin's Creed. It turns out that it's no longer too expensive to create female character models as Assassin's Creed Odyssey allows players to decide whether they'd like to play through the game as Alexios or Kassandra. Whichever players decide to make their avatar, they will take on the role of a mercenary fighting in the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Using a shattered fragment of a legendary spear, players will navigate the events of ancient Greece, rub shoulders with some of the titans of modern history textbooks, and probably do some assassin stuff. Although, it should be noted that the trailer and gameplay on display distinctly lacked a lot of the sneaky, assassin-y stuff for which the series has been known. Overall, it seems like an interesting and fun direction to take the long running series. What did you think of Ubisoft's E3 showing this year? Let us know in the comments! As always, feel free to watch the entire Ubisoft press conference below. 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! View full article
  5. Jack Gardner

    Assassin's Creed Goes Greek

    Assassin's Creed Odyssey made a huge splash at E3 2018. It seems to be a natural extension of its predecessor with its creative director even straight up describing it as an RPG, which feels like a big step for the series. It also makes the comparison to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt make that much more sense. Which... yeah, there's a pretty strong Witcher 3 influence at play in Odyssey (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all). Players take on the role of a lowly mercenary as either Alexios or Kassandra, a descendant of Spartan King Leonidas. Despite being abandoned as a child, Alexios/Kassandra inherit the broken spear of Leonidas which seems to possess some kind of power all its own. This artifact allows players to pull off arrow barrages, sneaky stealth takedowns, and table-turning melee moves. And this power to beat up dudes is conveniently bestowed upon the main character when Greece found itself embroiled in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a perfect time period for assassin shenanigans. In short, Assassin's Creed Odyssey looks cool, fun, and good. And it's great that we won't have to wait too long to see if it lives up to its initial impression. Assassin's Creed Odyssey will release on October 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
  6. Assassin's Creed Odyssey made a huge splash at E3 2018. It seems to be a natural extension of its predecessor with its creative director even straight up describing it as an RPG, which feels like a big step for the series. It also makes the comparison to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt make that much more sense. Which... yeah, there's a pretty strong Witcher 3 influence at play in Odyssey (and I don't mean that in a bad way at all). Players take on the role of a lowly mercenary as either Alexios or Kassandra, a descendant of Spartan King Leonidas. Despite being abandoned as a child, Alexios/Kassandra inherit the broken spear of Leonidas which seems to possess some kind of power all its own. This artifact allows players to pull off arrow barrages, sneaky stealth takedowns, and table-turning melee moves. And this power to beat up dudes is conveniently bestowed upon the main character when Greece found itself embroiled in the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a perfect time period for assassin shenanigans. In short, Assassin's Creed Odyssey looks cool, fun, and good. And it's great that we won't have to wait too long to see if it lives up to its initial impression. Assassin's Creed Odyssey will release on October 5 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. View full article
  7. Elijah Wood's company SpectreVision reminded everyone at E3 that their strange VR project Transference still exists and will be releasing later this year. While we didn't know much about it when it debuted in 2017, this year's showing revealed quite a bit about the game Wood described as a darkly twisted psychological thriller. Transference will tell the story of the unfortunate Hayes family whose minds have been linked by an experiment conducted by the father, Raymond Hayes. Players will flit between the three consciousnesses to see the perspective of each family member, but it rapidly becomes apparent that the data, their memories, are corrupted - and there's something else stalking through their minds. The darkly unsettling narrative hopes to achieve a disturbing atmosphere at least in part with its blended use of live-action and digital scenes. That's still not a ton of information to go on, but we will certainly learn more when Transference launches this fall for VR devices (PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) and the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sans VR.
  8. Elijah Wood's company SpectreVision reminded everyone at E3 that their strange VR project Transference still exists and will be releasing later this year. While we didn't know much about it when it debuted in 2017, this year's showing revealed quite a bit about the game Wood described as a darkly twisted psychological thriller. Transference will tell the story of the unfortunate Hayes family whose minds have been linked by an experiment conducted by the father, Raymond Hayes. Players will flit between the three consciousnesses to see the perspective of each family member, but it rapidly becomes apparent that the data, their memories, are corrupted - and there's something else stalking through their minds. The darkly unsettling narrative hopes to achieve a disturbing atmosphere at least in part with its blended use of live-action and digital scenes. That's still not a ton of information to go on, but we will certainly learn more when Transference launches this fall for VR devices (PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive) and the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sans VR. View full article
  9. With the words, "Piracy Is Dead, Long Live Piracy," Justin Farren, the creative director of Skull and Bones, put pirating back into the limelight at E3. The world has changed and piracy in the west has been all but shut down. The east, however, still presents intrepid pirate captains with opportunities. Skull and Bones puts players at the helm of a pirate ship sailing the Indian Ocean, turning it into one wide open hunting ground. Will you be the one who climbs the ranks of the infamous and bloodthirsty to be remembered as one of the most successful pirates of all-time? The central premise of Skull and Bones seems hard to pin down, aside from all of the pirating of course. Players sail the seas in search of treasure and adventure. By various means, players can uncover clues or tips that hint at locations of interest where treasure might be or the route of a vessel worth plundering. Be warned, however. The seas are also home to other players who are also on the hunt for gold and glory. This, I believe, is the central tension around which Skull and Bones has built its gameplay. When players will encounter one another on the high seas - will they ally to take on bigger missions or will they start a fight to the death for one another's booty? Seeing some gameplay helped to give the game a bit more substance. Players will be able to disguise their ships and essentially enter stealth mode by flying the colors of friendly vessels. This will give the advantage of surprise to wily captains or be necessary to sneak by imposing, land-based fortifications. Each ship can be outfitted with a variety of equipment for aesthetic or functional purposes. Some examples include anti-boarding armor, a variety of cannons, and even a ship-based battering ram. Attacking weak trading ships will alert nearby warships that will attempt to corner players and sink them to reclaim stolen property. The largest of these will require the assistance of several players to fight off successfully. Different ships have different special abilities, which will make cooperation all the more important if players wish to survive.... it will also make backstabbing after cooperation has ended more appealing to the more mischievous out there. Skull and Bones will release sometime in 2019. 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!
  10. With the words, "Piracy Is Dead, Long Live Piracy," Justin Farren, the creative director of Skull and Bones, put pirating back into the limelight at E3. The world has changed and piracy in the west has been all but shut down. The east, however, still presents intrepid pirate captains with opportunities. Skull and Bones puts players at the helm of a pirate ship sailing the Indian Ocean, turning it into one wide open hunting ground. Will you be the one who climbs the ranks of the infamous and bloodthirsty to be remembered as one of the most successful pirates of all-time? The central premise of Skull and Bones seems hard to pin down, aside from all of the pirating of course. Players sail the seas in search of treasure and adventure. By various means, players can uncover clues or tips that hint at locations of interest where treasure might be or the route of a vessel worth plundering. Be warned, however. The seas are also home to other players who are also on the hunt for gold and glory. This, I believe, is the central tension around which Skull and Bones has built its gameplay. When players will encounter one another on the high seas - will they ally to take on bigger missions or will they start a fight to the death for one another's booty? Seeing some gameplay helped to give the game a bit more substance. Players will be able to disguise their ships and essentially enter stealth mode by flying the colors of friendly vessels. This will give the advantage of surprise to wily captains or be necessary to sneak by imposing, land-based fortifications. Each ship can be outfitted with a variety of equipment for aesthetic or functional purposes. Some examples include anti-boarding armor, a variety of cannons, and even a ship-based battering ram. Attacking weak trading ships will alert nearby warships that will attempt to corner players and sink them to reclaim stolen property. The largest of these will require the assistance of several players to fight off successfully. Different ships have different special abilities, which will make cooperation all the more important if players wish to survive.... it will also make backstabbing after cooperation has ended more appealing to the more mischievous out there. Skull and Bones will release sometime in 2019. 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! View full article
  11. In The Division 2, life has moved on. Civilians and military forces have begun rebuilding and consolidation power. With that reconstruction comes new life and the spark of hope, as well as new systems of oppression. The sequel to the 2016 online scavenge-craft-n-shoot hopes to offer players a more nuanced narrative about overcoming authoritarianism in a post-apocalyptic future version of Washington DC. The trailer takes viewers through a seemingly thriving community being rebuilt in the middle of Washington DC. The community grows food, pursues music and art, and everyone seems to be contributing to the greater good. However, only a block away scavengers kill a man in the streets while innocents hide in the nearby ruins of society. Nearby, we are shown a large, makeshift graveyard that slowly melts into an execution square hung 'round with tattered American flags. Someone in a position of authority lectures struggling prisoners about breaking the rules before the camera turns away and a gunshot sounds. Amid all of this, a little girl runs through the settlement, seemingly playing. She throws a paper airplane that's glimpsed throughout the trailer. Its flight finally comes to its end at the feet of characters bearing the emblems of The Division. On the paper is written one word: "Help." Though the single player experience was strongly implied to be more robust than in the first game, Ubisoft was careful to make sure everyone knows that they plan to support The Division 2 for years to come. Specifically, finishing the main campaign will unlock the ability to specialize into one of three classes and pick a unique weapon. These roles will come with new abilities that will unlock as players progress through the endgame. And, oh boy, does Ubisoft plan on paving the road to endgame content. Following The Division 2's release next year, Ubisoft will release three separate content packs to all players for free that will add all manner of new things to the game. On top of that, players who reach the endgame will be able to participate in raids that team up to eight players together to tackle challenging encounters unlike anything else in the game up until that point. The Division 2 releases March 15, 2019 for PlayStaiton 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players who want a head start on the action can register for the beta on The Division website. 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!
  12. In The Division 2, life has moved on. Civilians and military forces have begun rebuilding and consolidation power. With that reconstruction comes new life and the spark of hope, as well as new systems of oppression. The sequel to the 2016 online scavenge-craft-n-shoot hopes to offer players a more nuanced narrative about overcoming authoritarianism in a post-apocalyptic future version of Washington DC. The trailer takes viewers through a seemingly thriving community being rebuilt in the middle of Washington DC. The community grows food, pursues music and art, and everyone seems to be contributing to the greater good. However, only a block away scavengers kill a man in the streets while innocents hide in the nearby ruins of society. Nearby, we are shown a large, makeshift graveyard that slowly melts into an execution square hung 'round with tattered American flags. Someone in a position of authority lectures struggling prisoners about breaking the rules before the camera turns away and a gunshot sounds. Amid all of this, a little girl runs through the settlement, seemingly playing. She throws a paper airplane that's glimpsed throughout the trailer. Its flight finally comes to its end at the feet of characters bearing the emblems of The Division. On the paper is written one word: "Help." Though the single player experience was strongly implied to be more robust than in the first game, Ubisoft was careful to make sure everyone knows that they plan to support The Division 2 for years to come. Specifically, finishing the main campaign will unlock the ability to specialize into one of three classes and pick a unique weapon. These roles will come with new abilities that will unlock as players progress through the endgame. And, oh boy, does Ubisoft plan on paving the road to endgame content. Following The Division 2's release next year, Ubisoft will release three separate content packs to all players for free that will add all manner of new things to the game. On top of that, players who reach the endgame will be able to participate in raids that team up to eight players together to tackle challenging encounters unlike anything else in the game up until that point. The Division 2 releases March 15, 2019 for PlayStaiton 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players who want a head start on the action can register for the beta on The Division website. 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! View full article
  13. Trials Rising takes the classic Trials formula and expands the courses around the world. Players should expect revamped and updated courses with plenty of opportunities for sick flips and competition. Antti Ilvessuo, creative director of Trials Rising, took the stage dressed as a Trials character in expert comedic fashion to talk a bit more at length about the arcade-y title. "In Trials Rising, we work with our players more than ever," Ilvessuo stated to the gathered press and fans. The statement, typical of E3 hyperbole, seems to be accurate. Ilvessuo brought out YouTuber Professor FatShady, a prominent figure in the online Trials community, to explain how Trials Rising demonstrates Ubisoft's commitment to its biggest fans. The professor made a name for himself after making videos about Trials for years. That attention put him on Ubisoft's radar, leading them to invite him to work with the development team to create all of the tutorial content for Trials Rising. He's not an isolated case, either. Some twenty community members have been involved in Trials Rising's development over the past two years. A close beta will launch for Trials Rising later this fall, which interested fans can register for on the Trials website. Not only that, but the release window was revealed to be February 2019. Trials Rising will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
  14. There's no getting around it; the biggest reveal of Ubisoft's E3 show had to be Jade as the antagonist of Beyond Good & Evil 2. The flashy trailer takes its time to introduce each member of the lovable space pirate crew, with special attention paid to series staple Pey'j and two new characters. We're given a brief insight into the life of the holistic chief medical officer Uma as she works on crewmen affected by Pey'j's cooking. The camera lingers on an interaction between chief engineer Callum and his loving engine. And then everything blows up. Gabrielle Shrager, narrative director on Beyond Good & Evil 2, described the game as a space opera. That label might have been hard to see for a game from the early 2000s about an adventurous photographer, but the sequel (which is confusingly a prequel) seems primed to live up to that term. Players take on the role of a space pirate captain in the 24th century that has somehow, probably with some kind of botched heist, earned the ire of the DomZ, the powerful alien race from the first game. Following the explosive trailer, the world was treated to the first look at Beyond Good & Evil 2 in action. The scenes shown took place largely in or around the ancient city of Ganesha. It offered brief, tantalizing snippets of gameplay showing an expansive world, multiple modes of travel including aircraft and jetpacks, and both aerial and ground combat. It was difficult to get a sense of how the game actually plays, but the general impression given was that the world will be colossal in scope. The universe of Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be so big, in fact, that Ubisoft has partnered with an open platform called Hit Record to help fill it with art via the Space Monkey Program. Ostensibly, they are doing this because there's more work to be done than can be feasibly done in-house and Hit Record will allow them to meet their perceived needs. The company, run by Joseph Gordon Levitt, will be paying collaborators for their contributions to Beyond Good & Evil 2, though that hasn't stopped some industry watchdogs from crying foul. Critics say that, while the idea of more opensource development for huge projects might be an interesting one, it will ultimately be a way of hiring freelancers to avoid paying for things like employee benefits or committing to contracts. This move has become more common in the game industry over the last few years, putting specialized creators into the unpredictable position of constantly moving from one job to the next with no stability and no guaranteed payment. This is called speculative work or spec work and spawned the hashtag #NoSpec on Twitter where various voices from around the industry gave their thoughts on the subject. While we don't have any hard release date for Beyond Good & Evil 2, we do know that there will be an event later this fall dedicated to the game and its community. BGE Fest will take place in Montpellier, France where we will likely present more details on what kind of creative community they aim to foster around Beyond Good & Evil as well as the game itself.
  15. Ubisoft kicked off their E3 2018 press conference with a big marching band performance led by a dancing panda bear and a troop of equally eclectic companions. The whole production was ostensibly to promote Just Dance 2019, but we learned next to nothing about the game from the announcement itself. However, we were able to learn a few tidbits from some sources aside from the conference. We know Just Dance 2019 will be released sometime this October for pretty much ever console a person might conceivably have in their home. It will be hitting the big three, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4, but it will also be released on Xbox 360, Wii U, and even the Wii. That's right - the Wii, which was discontinued in 2011, will have its own brand new release of Just Dance 2019. That's pretty incredible. The song list will span 40 tracks, but can be expanded to 400 songs with a subscription to Just Dance Unlimited. 2019 will also include the ability to use a smart phone in place of a PlayStation Move or a Kinect accessory. Whatever method players use to interact with the game world and bust their moves, up to six players can dance together at one time.
  16. Jack Gardner

    Extra Life E3 2018 - Day 1

    E3 2018 was a wild ride, to be sure. Last year, we brought you audio and video recaps of each day we spent at the show. This year, we tried to do that, but ran into some technical hurdles that made video impractical and audio tricky. We still recorded our impressions of the show each day, but we couldn't upload them to share with all of you... until now! Our first episode features Jack Gardner, Naomi Lugo, Marcus Stewart, and Zak Wojnar discussing the initial E3 press conferences and their surprises (or lack thereof). We'll have a few more of these and one final breakdown of the entire show releasing throughout the week. Outro music: Super Castlevania IV 'Tema de Simón' by Mighty Bear 7, Austin DiPietro, Martin Schiller, Stu Kennedy, and Theodore Hogan (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03734) 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!
  17. Jack Gardner

    Podcast:Extra Life E3 2018 - Day 1

    E3 2018 was a wild ride, to be sure. Last year, we brought you audio and video recaps of each day we spent at the show. This year, we tried to do that, but ran into some technical hurdles that made video impractical and audio tricky. We still recorded our impressions of the show each day, but we couldn't upload them to share with all of you... until now! Our first episode features Jack Gardner, Naomi Lugo, Marcus Stewart, and Zak Wojnar discussing the initial E3 press conferences and their surprises (or lack thereof). We'll have a few more of these and one final breakdown of the entire show releasing throughout the week. Outro music: Super Castlevania IV 'Tema de Simón' by Mighty Bear 7, Austin DiPietro, Martin Schiller, Stu Kennedy, and Theodore Hogan (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03734) 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! View full article
  18. It has been long requested and finally done: The Life Is Strange episode is here! Naomi and Jack dive into all things Life Is Strange, from the theories to the story and how meaningful it can be, warts and all. Dontnod, the creators of Remember Me and the recently released Vampyr, really did well with their sophomore effort - did they do well enough to make a game that transcends greatness to be considered one of the best games of all-time? Play it, listen to the show, and judge for yourself. 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: Undertale 'Glitterbomb' by LongBoxofChocolate and Philippe Delage (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03734) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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!
  19. It has been long requested and finally done: The Life Is Strange episode is here! Naomi and Jack dive into all things Life Is Strange, from the theories to the story and how meaningful it can be, warts and all. Dontnod, the creators of Remember Me and the recently released Vampyr, really did well with their sophomore effort - did they do well enough to make a game that transcends greatness to be considered one of the best games of all-time? Play it, listen to the show, and judge for yourself. 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: Undertale 'Glitterbomb' by LongBoxofChocolate and Philippe Delage (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03734) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 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! View full article
  20. Jack Gardner

    Everything EA Brought to E3 2018

    As usual, Electronic Arts got the jump on everyone this year with a press conference held a full day before any of the other major companies. The presentation itself held very few surprises. As expected, we were shown new footage of Battlefield V in action, given more information about this year's upcoming FIFA title, and were finally given a more in-depth look at Anthem, Bioware's newest sci-fi adventure. Less expected were the handful of joyous indie games that felt like a welcome breath of fresh air and the revival of the Command & Conquer franchise. Battlefield V kicked things off with explosive gameplay taken from the title's multiplayer mode. The emphasis this time seems to be giving players more mobility options with plenty of sliding and angled shots. Battlefield V players will be able to blow massive holes in fortifications and buildings with blasting weapons like rockets or grenades to open new routes. Alternatively, Battlefield V presents piloting tanks straight through structures as a viable strategy. The trailer depicts players being able to move large anti-aircraft guns and canon emplacements around by hitching them to trucks, which hints at a battlefield that might be more in motion than ever before. In a pleasant surprise, Vince Zampella, co-founder of Respawn Entertainment and co-creator of the Call of Duty franchise, took a minute on camera to announce that his company was in the process of creating a new Star Wars game called "Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order." Aside from a few details, not much more is known about the mysterious announcement, not even a teaser or a trailer. FIFA 19 made its predictable appearance. It will have some minor improvements over the previous entry in the series, notably tweaks to the Active Touch system will give players more control over the ball then ever before. The biggest addition, though, has to be the UEFA Champion's League which will be integrated across the entire game, including the returning story mode. Of course, EA took time in its press conference to talk about its upcoming Origin Access Premier service. Premier will allow players to access upcoming EA games on PC days before they're commercially available to anyone else. Star Wars Battlefront 2 also made an appearance. Flying in the face of predictions that the company would be abandoning support for the multiplayer shooter, EA announced that the Clone Wars would be coming to Battlefront 2 sometime after the Solo movie tie-in content launches. Players will finally be able to play as Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grevious, and a host of other heroes and villains from the prequel films. One of the more surprising reveals of the conference was the abrupt reveal that Unravel Two both existed and was currently available. The physics-based platformer supports co-op play with two Yarneys as they journey together sharing the same spark. It looks as adorable, if not more so, than the first game. By far the best indie showing of EA's conference was Sea of Solitude. This adventure game combines The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker with the sensibilities of Hayao Miyazaki to create something special. From Studio Jo-Mei comes the tale of Kay, a young girl in a flooded world of people who have been turned into monsters. It's a symptom of a curse that Kay herself is slowly succumbing to, as well. Players join her on a journey to uncover the cause of the curse and what, if anything, can lift it. Another surprise came in the form of a resurrection of sorts. Command & Conquer has been an RTS series long dormant, but EA hopes to change that. Unfortunately, they have decided to bring it back as a mobile strategy title that condenses the RTS genre into a short, competitive experience a la Clash Royale. It even has a snazzy trailer with Yuri from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 in it! Anthem delivered the moment for which most people viewing the press conference were waiting. The Iron Man-like suits in action against the backdrop of a mysterious, unfamiliar world unfinished by the gods brought the excitement. It's far outside of Bioware's wheelhouse, but the results of their efforts are undeniably impressive. Bioware aims to straddle the line between a shared online world with a strong narrative component that exists in the single-player hub area that changes with player decisions. Overall, EA's press conference stood as a middling showing. We didn't see much that was new, but even the familiar games on display had interesting aspects designed to get certain segments of the gaming population excited. There was a bit in there for everyone, sports fans, indie aficionados, twitch shooters, and nerdy nerds. Nothing that was completely mind-blowing, but a pleasantly acceptable series of titles ranging from interesting to dull. You can watch the full press conference below. What did you think? 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!
  21. As usual, Electronic Arts got the jump on everyone this year with a press conference held a full day before any of the other major companies. The presentation itself held very few surprises. As expected, we were shown new footage of Battlefield V in action, given more information about this year's upcoming FIFA title, and were finally given a more in-depth look at Anthem, Bioware's newest sci-fi adventure. Less expected were the handful of joyous indie games that felt like a welcome breath of fresh air and the revival of the Command & Conquer franchise. Battlefield V kicked things off with explosive gameplay taken from the title's multiplayer mode. The emphasis this time seems to be giving players more mobility options with plenty of sliding and angled shots. Battlefield V players will be able to blow massive holes in fortifications and buildings with blasting weapons like rockets or grenades to open new routes. Alternatively, Battlefield V presents piloting tanks straight through structures as a viable strategy. The trailer depicts players being able to move large anti-aircraft guns and canon emplacements around by hitching them to trucks, which hints at a battlefield that might be more in motion than ever before. In a pleasant surprise, Vince Zampella, co-founder of Respawn Entertainment and co-creator of the Call of Duty franchise, took a minute on camera to announce that his company was in the process of creating a new Star Wars game called "Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order." Aside from a few details, not much more is known about the mysterious announcement, not even a teaser or a trailer. FIFA 19 made its predictable appearance. It will have some minor improvements over the previous entry in the series, notably tweaks to the Active Touch system will give players more control over the ball then ever before. The biggest addition, though, has to be the UEFA Champion's League which will be integrated across the entire game, including the returning story mode. Of course, EA took time in its press conference to talk about its upcoming Origin Access Premier service. Premier will allow players to access upcoming EA games on PC days before they're commercially available to anyone else. Star Wars Battlefront 2 also made an appearance. Flying in the face of predictions that the company would be abandoning support for the multiplayer shooter, EA announced that the Clone Wars would be coming to Battlefront 2 sometime after the Solo movie tie-in content launches. Players will finally be able to play as Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grevious, and a host of other heroes and villains from the prequel films. One of the more surprising reveals of the conference was the abrupt reveal that Unravel Two both existed and was currently available. The physics-based platformer supports co-op play with two Yarneys as they journey together sharing the same spark. It looks as adorable, if not more so, than the first game. By far the best indie showing of EA's conference was Sea of Solitude. This adventure game combines The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker with the sensibilities of Hayao Miyazaki to create something special. From Studio Jo-Mei comes the tale of Kay, a young girl in a flooded world of people who have been turned into monsters. It's a symptom of a curse that Kay herself is slowly succumbing to, as well. Players join her on a journey to uncover the cause of the curse and what, if anything, can lift it. Another surprise came in the form of a resurrection of sorts. Command & Conquer has been an RTS series long dormant, but EA hopes to change that. Unfortunately, they have decided to bring it back as a mobile strategy title that condenses the RTS genre into a short, competitive experience a la Clash Royale. It even has a snazzy trailer with Yuri from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 in it! Anthem delivered the moment for which most people viewing the press conference were waiting. The Iron Man-like suits in action against the backdrop of a mysterious, unfamiliar world unfinished by the gods brought the excitement. It's far outside of Bioware's wheelhouse, but the results of their efforts are undeniably impressive. Bioware aims to straddle the line between a shared online world with a strong narrative component that exists in the single-player hub area that changes with player decisions. Overall, EA's press conference stood as a middling showing. We didn't see much that was new, but even the familiar games on display had interesting aspects designed to get certain segments of the gaming population excited. There was a bit in there for everyone, sports fans, indie aficionados, twitch shooters, and nerdy nerds. Nothing that was completely mind-blowing, but a pleasantly acceptable series of titles ranging from interesting to dull. You can watch the full press conference below. What did you think? 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! View full article
  22. Trials Rising takes the classic Trials formula and expands the courses around the world. Players should expect revamped and updated courses with plenty of opportunities for sick flips and competition. Antti Ilvessuo, creative director of Trials Rising, took the stage dressed as a Trials character in expert comedic fashion to talk a bit more at length about the arcade-y title. "In Trials Rising, we work with our players more than ever," Ilvessuo stated to the gathered press and fans. The statement, typical of E3 hyperbole, seems to be accurate. Ilvessuo brought out YouTuber Professor FatShady, a prominent figure in the online Trials community, to explain how Trials Rising demonstrates Ubisoft's commitment to its biggest fans. The professor made a name for himself after making videos about Trials for years. That attention put him on Ubisoft's radar, leading them to invite him to work with the development team to create all of the tutorial content for Trials Rising. He's not an isolated case, either. Some twenty community members have been involved in Trials Rising's development over the past two years. A close beta will launch for Trials Rising later this fall, which interested fans can register for on the Trials website. Not only that, but the release window was revealed to be February 2019. Trials Rising will release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. View full article
  23. There's no getting around it; the biggest reveal of Ubisoft's E3 show had to be Jade as the antagonist of Beyond Good & Evil 2. The flashy trailer takes its time to introduce each member of the lovable space pirate crew, with special attention paid to series staple Pey'j and two new characters. We're given a brief insight into the life of the holistic chief medical officer Uma as she works on crewmen affected by Pey'j's cooking. The camera lingers on an interaction between chief engineer Callum and his loving engine. And then everything blows up. Gabrielle Shrager, narrative director on Beyond Good & Evil 2, described the game as a space opera. That label might have been hard to see for a game from the early 2000s about an adventurous photographer, but the sequel (which is confusingly a prequel) seems primed to live up to that term. Players take on the role of a space pirate captain in the 24th century that has somehow, probably with some kind of botched heist, earned the ire of the DomZ, the powerful alien race from the first game. Following the explosive trailer, the world was treated to the first look at Beyond Good & Evil 2 in action. The scenes shown took place largely in or around the ancient city of Ganesha. It offered brief, tantalizing snippets of gameplay showing an expansive world, multiple modes of travel including aircraft and jetpacks, and both aerial and ground combat. It was difficult to get a sense of how the game actually plays, but the general impression given was that the world will be colossal in scope. The universe of Beyond Good & Evil 2 will be so big, in fact, that Ubisoft has partnered with an open platform called Hit Record to help fill it with art via the Space Monkey Program. Ostensibly, they are doing this because there's more work to be done than can be feasibly done in-house and Hit Record will allow them to meet their perceived needs. The company, run by Joseph Gordon Levitt, will be paying collaborators for their contributions to Beyond Good & Evil 2, though that hasn't stopped some industry watchdogs from crying foul. Critics say that, while the idea of more opensource development for huge projects might be an interesting one, it will ultimately be a way of hiring freelancers to avoid paying for things like employee benefits or committing to contracts. This move has become more common in the game industry over the last few years, putting specialized creators into the unpredictable position of constantly moving from one job to the next with no stability and no guaranteed payment. This is called speculative work or spec work and spawned the hashtag #NoSpec on Twitter where various voices from around the industry gave their thoughts on the subject. While we don't have any hard release date for Beyond Good & Evil 2, we do know that there will be an event later this fall dedicated to the game and its community. BGE Fest will take place in Montpellier, France where we will likely present more details on what kind of creative community they aim to foster around Beyond Good & Evil as well as the game itself. View full article
  24. Ubisoft kicked off their E3 2018 press conference with a big marching band performance led by a dancing panda bear and a troop of equally eclectic companions. The whole production was ostensibly to promote Just Dance 2019, but we learned next to nothing about the game from the announcement itself. However, we were able to learn a few tidbits from some sources aside from the conference. We know Just Dance 2019 will be released sometime this October for pretty much ever console a person might conceivably have in their home. It will be hitting the big three, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4, but it will also be released on Xbox 360, Wii U, and even the Wii. That's right - the Wii, which was discontinued in 2011, will have its own brand new release of Just Dance 2019. That's pretty incredible. The song list will span 40 tracks, but can be expanded to 400 songs with a subscription to Just Dance Unlimited. 2019 will also include the ability to use a smart phone in place of a PlayStation Move or a Kinect accessory. Whatever method players use to interact with the game world and bust their moves, up to six players can dance together at one time. View full article
  25. Bethesda swore they weren't going to talk about it. The official sequel to Skyrim was supposedly so far away that they couldn't even conceive of talking about it. Turns out, that was at least a little bit misleading. The Elder Scrolls VI has been confirmed to be in the works by Todd Howard himself. The trailer rolled quickly and unexpectedly after the closing reveal of Starfield, an upcoming sci-fi adventure set in a completely new IP. We don't see much, but we can glimpse the general landscape - hills, valleys, mountains, and a roaring sea in the distance. The brief look at the new lands waiting to be discovered heralded by the blaring of the familiar, remixed tones of the Elder Scrolls theme. It's exciting, interesting to speculate on, but that's about it. No concrete information is known about The Elder Scrolls VI, but we won't be learning more until next year. In fact, it's very likely that we won't be seeing VI on store shelves until 2020. Still, that's one heck of a way to close an E3 press conference.
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