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Found 103 results

  1. Animal Crossing on the Switch remained a relative mystery until a new trailer revealed itself during the Nintendo E3 2019 release conference. Previously, all we had to cling on to was a Tom Nook monologue and a release window of 2019. While that window has been pushed back, we did gain quite a bit of new knowledge on the upcoming game. Dissatisfied with living the life of a small-time salesman, the wiley businessman Tom Nook has positioned himself as head of operations in the Animal Crossing world. He seems to have kept himself busy indeed with the establishment if Nook Inc. and the building of “The Deserted Island Getaway Package.” As the trailer moves along, we see a villager establishing themselves in this new world starting with the basics. They place a tent and get to work gathering resources to build up some sort of townscape. Time progresses and we see the layout getting more and more complicated as new items are crafted, areas are explored, and the world shapes up. More buildings pop up, causing residents to appear. Not only do the adorable furry and fuzzy creatures town denizens pop into existence, but fellow villagers also join the town. The presence of other human villagers firmly suggests multiplayer content exists or is at least planned. As this is Tom Nook, a further cut scene appears where he presents the villager with an itemized bill including everything from airfare to your “NookPhone.” I mean fair is fair. While this little scene acts as a joke making fun of Nooks ever-benevolent character, it does seem to bring up a subtle note of the mobile series Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. There may be a tie-in for the new game to the successful mobile title in some capacity. Maybe that connection will involve linking the social aspect of Pocket Camp into the multiplayer or perhaps a whole new gameplay element. While previously we had a release window, now we have a date. However, that date comes somewhat later than the 2019 timeframe we had up until this point. This upcoming game, fully titled Animal Crossing: New Horizons, will release on March 20, 2020. Further gameplay can be seen via the Nintendo Treehouse live event that aired after the press conference. The demo showcases the early game. Are you excited for Animal Crossing to come to Switch? What do you think of the new island setting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on the Extra Life social channels! 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. Animal Crossing on the Switch remained a relative mystery until a new trailer revealed itself during the Nintendo E3 2019 release conference. Previously, all we had to cling on to was a Tom Nook monologue and a release window of 2019. While that window has been pushed back, we did gain quite a bit of new knowledge on the upcoming game. Dissatisfied with living the life of a small-time salesman, the wiley businessman Tom Nook has positioned himself as head of operations in the Animal Crossing world. He seems to have kept himself busy indeed with the establishment if Nook Inc. and the building of “The Deserted Island Getaway Package.” As the trailer moves along, we see a villager establishing themselves in this new world starting with the basics. They place a tent and get to work gathering resources to build up some sort of townscape. Time progresses and we see the layout getting more and more complicated as new items are crafted, areas are explored, and the world shapes up. More buildings pop up, causing residents to appear. Not only do the adorable furry and fuzzy creatures town denizens pop into existence, but fellow villagers also join the town. The presence of other human villagers firmly suggests multiplayer content exists or is at least planned. As this is Tom Nook, a further cut scene appears where he presents the villager with an itemized bill including everything from airfare to your “NookPhone.” I mean fair is fair. While this little scene acts as a joke making fun of Nooks ever-benevolent character, it does seem to bring up a subtle note of the mobile series Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. There may be a tie-in for the new game to the successful mobile title in some capacity. Maybe that connection will involve linking the social aspect of Pocket Camp into the multiplayer or perhaps a whole new gameplay element. While previously we had a release window, now we have a date. However, that date comes somewhat later than the 2019 timeframe we had up until this point. This upcoming game, fully titled Animal Crossing: New Horizons, will release on March 20, 2020. Further gameplay can be seen via the Nintendo Treehouse live event that aired after the press conference. The demo showcases the early game. Are you excited for Animal Crossing to come to Switch? What do you think of the new island setting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on the Extra Life social channels! 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. A small sneak peek stole the entire show. At the end of the Nintendo Direct for E3 2019, a short trailer revealed the existence of the next installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise. There aren’t many details currently available, but here’s what we know so far. “We have more games in development beyond what you’ve seen today,” said senior managing executive officer at Nintendo Shinya Takahashi after a certain new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character was revealed. After saying no more, the stream cut to a trailer with very ominous tones. The trailer starts out ambiguous with glowing tendrils and two figures exploring what appears to be a dungeon. The music accompanying the imagery builds a sense of doom and sounds oddly familiar, yet distorted. In a strange way, it feels similar to another sequel that set a darker tone than its predecessor: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. A few moments in, we see our heroes, Link and a now short-haired Zelda, exploring the darkness. They seem to be searching for something specific rather than going on a general expedition. It’s then we see some semblance of a terrifying enemy either forming or, perhaps more worryingly, decaying. The figure reaches out into the world with a deadly touch. In flashes, we see bits of moments of the story, and then, we finally get to look into the genuinely disturbing eye of a beast. After these subterranean scenes, the camera cuts to the outer world. Where we once saw the gently rolling lands of Hyrule, we now see the ground greatly disturbed by whatever has awakened from its slumber. Text reading, “The sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now in development,” pops onto the final screen. Since this is very early on in the development, no news of a release date appears. We can gather that the sequel likely takes place in the same universe as Breath of the Wild and continues on with the story. The graphics are very similar to BotW, so we can reasonably conclude that gameplay will be similar and the game may be made using the same engine. Link and Zelda are together in this trailer, so it could be possible that Nintendo heard our cries for a playable Zelda. Being able to switch between the two and explore Zelda’s fighting style and powers would be a catchy hook for newbie players as well as Legend of Zelda franchise veterans. It’s a hook that hasn’t been fully utilized in The Legend of Zelda series since Zelda’s Adventure, one of the terrible Philips CD-i games and could stand out as a redemptive moment for an often underutilized character. The big baddie looks like a dark change of pace for the series, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a grim and harrowing story this time around to match. This new game could focus more on building up characters with a more streamlined story, an aspect many found wanting in Breath of the Wild. “I’m looking forward to the day we can introduce them to you,” said Takahashi. Hey, us too. What do you expect from the next installment in this storied franchise? When do you think we’ll see its release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on the Extra Life social channels. 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. A small sneak peek stole the entire show. At the end of the Nintendo Direct for E3 2019, a short trailer revealed the existence of the next installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise. There aren’t many details currently available, but here’s what we know so far. “We have more games in development beyond what you’ve seen today,” said senior managing executive officer at Nintendo Shinya Takahashi after a certain new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character was revealed. After saying no more, the stream cut to a trailer with very ominous tones. The trailer starts out ambiguous with glowing tendrils and two figures exploring what appears to be a dungeon. The music accompanying the imagery builds a sense of doom and sounds oddly familiar, yet distorted. In a strange way, it feels similar to another sequel that set a darker tone than its predecessor: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. A few moments in, we see our heroes, Link and a now short-haired Zelda, exploring the darkness. They seem to be searching for something specific rather than going on a general expedition. It’s then we see some semblance of a terrifying enemy either forming or, perhaps more worryingly, decaying. The figure reaches out into the world with a deadly touch. In flashes, we see bits of moments of the story, and then, we finally get to look into the genuinely disturbing eye of a beast. After these subterranean scenes, the camera cuts to the outer world. Where we once saw the gently rolling lands of Hyrule, we now see the ground greatly disturbed by whatever has awakened from its slumber. Text reading, “The sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now in development,” pops onto the final screen. Since this is very early on in the development, no news of a release date appears. We can gather that the sequel likely takes place in the same universe as Breath of the Wild and continues on with the story. The graphics are very similar to BotW, so we can reasonably conclude that gameplay will be similar and the game may be made using the same engine. Link and Zelda are together in this trailer, so it could be possible that Nintendo heard our cries for a playable Zelda. Being able to switch between the two and explore Zelda’s fighting style and powers would be a catchy hook for newbie players as well as Legend of Zelda franchise veterans. It’s a hook that hasn’t been fully utilized in The Legend of Zelda series since Zelda’s Adventure, one of the terrible Philips CD-i games and could stand out as a redemptive moment for an often underutilized character. The big baddie looks like a dark change of pace for the series, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a grim and harrowing story this time around to match. This new game could focus more on building up characters with a more streamlined story, an aspect many found wanting in Breath of the Wild. “I’m looking forward to the day we can introduce them to you,” said Takahashi. Hey, us too. What do you expect from the next installment in this storied franchise? When do you think we’ll see its release? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on the Extra Life social channels. 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. Rumors of a game collaboration between Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin and developers FromSoftware and Bandai Namco circulated before it officially revealed during the E3 Microsoft press conference on June 9. The only information available at that time though was the name Elden Ring and some imagery. Leaks revealed themselves via a security issue with the Bandai Namco site where information on Elden Ring, a Ni no Kuni remaster, and new Tales game existed. A leak almost seemed predestined due to the game’s progress, “Development for Elden Ring started just after development for the Dark Souls 3 DLC had ended,” said Hidetaka Miyazaki. During the press conference, the official reveal trailer made its debut. From the trailer, we gather that Elden Ring is a new intellectual property and takes place in a universe created by both Martin and president of FromSoftware Hidetaka Miyazaki. Miyazaki, before becoming the head of the Japanese game dev company joined FromSoftware as a game designer and headed the creation of the Dark Souls series. The trailer itself starts with dramatic footage (complete with eerie sound design) of a figure seemingly presenting a dismembered arm to a whole host of grasping arms with unknown origins. As the camera pans out, it looks like these arms could even belong to the figure, but just as soon as we may be able to piece anything together, we move on to the next scene. “I doubt you could even imagine it,” the looming narrative voice says over this imagery in a moment of metacommentary. The rest of the trailer showcases imagery of what we can presume is a blacksmith forming armor as depictions of battle flash in and out. The blacksmith appears to break in both a literal and physical means as their body begins to crack. Then the trailer cuts out. Further details were released via Microsoft however. Via the game’s page description on the Xbox website we learned that Elden Ring is a fantasy action-RPG adventure. “Danger and discovery lurk around every corner in FromSoftware’s largest game to-date,” says the game page. No release window surfaced with the reveal trailer but we did learn that the game releases to Xbox One and PC. Elden Ring is set to publish via Bandai Namco with FromSoftware heading the development. What do you think Elden Ring will look like? When will we get to play it? Let us know your predictions in the comments and on social! 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!
  6. Rumors of a game collaboration between Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin and developers FromSoftware and Bandai Namco circulated before it officially revealed during the E3 Microsoft press conference on June 9. The only information available at that time though was the name Elden Ring and some imagery. Leaks revealed themselves via a security issue with the Bandai Namco site where information on Elden Ring, a Ni no Kuni remaster, and new Tales game existed. A leak almost seemed predestined due to the game’s progress, “Development for Elden Ring started just after development for the Dark Souls 3 DLC had ended,” said Hidetaka Miyazaki. During the press conference, the official reveal trailer made its debut. From the trailer, we gather that Elden Ring is a new intellectual property and takes place in a universe created by both Martin and president of FromSoftware Hidetaka Miyazaki. Miyazaki, before becoming the head of the Japanese game dev company joined FromSoftware as a game designer and headed the creation of the Dark Souls series. The trailer itself starts with dramatic footage (complete with eerie sound design) of a figure seemingly presenting a dismembered arm to a whole host of grasping arms with unknown origins. As the camera pans out, it looks like these arms could even belong to the figure, but just as soon as we may be able to piece anything together, we move on to the next scene. “I doubt you could even imagine it,” the looming narrative voice says over this imagery in a moment of metacommentary. The rest of the trailer showcases imagery of what we can presume is a blacksmith forming armor as depictions of battle flash in and out. The blacksmith appears to break in both a literal and physical means as their body begins to crack. Then the trailer cuts out. Further details were released via Microsoft however. Via the game’s page description on the Xbox website we learned that Elden Ring is a fantasy action-RPG adventure. “Danger and discovery lurk around every corner in FromSoftware’s largest game to-date,” says the game page. No release window surfaced with the reveal trailer but we did learn that the game releases to Xbox One and PC. Elden Ring is set to publish via Bandai Namco with FromSoftware heading the development. What do you think Elden Ring will look like? When will we get to play it? Let us know your predictions in the comments and on social! 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
  7. There are few things in this world more satisfying than killing Nazis, and no video game series handles this task with more righteous vigor than Wolfenstein. Originally created by id Software in the 1980s, it was 1992's Wolfenstein 3D which caused the series to skyrocket in popularity, revolutionizing the first-person shooter genre and changing video games forever. In 2014, developer MachineGames revived the franchise with Wolfenstein: The New Order, shocking audiences with its provocative alternate history story and impactful gunplay. Wolfenstein: Youngblood sees the twin daughters of series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz take the fight to Nazi-occupied Paris after their father goes missing in the region. Set twenty years after the end of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Youngblood follows the next generation of Nazi-killers as they take up the family trade. Co-developed by Arkane Studios (Prey, Dishonored), Youngblood adds two player co-op to the mix, allowing players to team up with a friend to save B.J. from the Nazi menace. Along the way, the sisters will inevitably rack up a massive body count with the series' signature mix of efficiently gory stealth kills and visceral shooting. The Wolfenstein games (especially the latest chapters) have always been exceptionally violent, and Youngblood proudly carries the blood-soaked torch in that regard! The recent Wolfenstein games take place in an alternate history in which the Nazis won World War II due to their use of anachronistic technology developed by The New Order's main villain, General Deathshead.The aesthetic of Youngblood leans heavily on its 1980s setting, and the trailer offers moody synth licks which match nicely with the retro dystopia of a Paris subjugated by fascism. Youngblood ups the ante from its predecessors with even more visibly high-tech weaponry and lasers which fire a decidedly neon-hued stream of flaming light. B.J.'s daughters, Jessica and Sophia, know their way around a battlefield, and they both wear the same type of high-tech body suit which B.J. himself equipped in Wolfenstein II. MachineGames and Arkane promise Youngblood offers the biggest environments yet seen in a Wolfenstein title, encouraging players to use teamwork while still being able to tackle combat scenarios however they choose. The series already shines in this respect, and Arkane's work on such freedom-driven games as Dishonored can only add to this mission statement. Depending on how skillfully the game takes advantage of its co-op potential, Youngblood may prove more than just a stopgap in between "proper" Wolfenstein titles; it could be a fantastic co-op experience for the ages. Wolfenstein: Youngblood releases July 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, 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!
  8. There are few things in this world more satisfying than killing Nazis, and no video game series handles this task with more righteous vigor than Wolfenstein. Originally created by id Software in the 1980s, it was 1992's Wolfenstein 3D which caused the series to skyrocket in popularity, revolutionizing the first-person shooter genre and changing video games forever. In 2014, developer MachineGames revived the franchise with Wolfenstein: The New Order, shocking audiences with its provocative alternate history story and impactful gunplay. Wolfenstein: Youngblood sees the twin daughters of series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz take the fight to Nazi-occupied Paris after their father goes missing in the region. Set twenty years after the end of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Youngblood follows the next generation of Nazi-killers as they take up the family trade. Co-developed by Arkane Studios (Prey, Dishonored), Youngblood adds two player co-op to the mix, allowing players to team up with a friend to save B.J. from the Nazi menace. Along the way, the sisters will inevitably rack up a massive body count with the series' signature mix of efficiently gory stealth kills and visceral shooting. The Wolfenstein games (especially the latest chapters) have always been exceptionally violent, and Youngblood proudly carries the blood-soaked torch in that regard! The recent Wolfenstein games take place in an alternate history in which the Nazis won World War II due to their use of anachronistic technology developed by The New Order's main villain, General Deathshead.The aesthetic of Youngblood leans heavily on its 1980s setting, and the trailer offers moody synth licks which match nicely with the retro dystopia of a Paris subjugated by fascism. Youngblood ups the ante from its predecessors with even more visibly high-tech weaponry and lasers which fire a decidedly neon-hued stream of flaming light. B.J.'s daughters, Jessica and Sophia, know their way around a battlefield, and they both wear the same type of high-tech body suit which B.J. himself equipped in Wolfenstein II. MachineGames and Arkane promise Youngblood offers the biggest environments yet seen in a Wolfenstein title, encouraging players to use teamwork while still being able to tackle combat scenarios however they choose. The series already shines in this respect, and Arkane's work on such freedom-driven games as Dishonored can only add to this mission statement. Depending on how skillfully the game takes advantage of its co-op potential, Youngblood may prove more than just a stopgap in between "proper" Wolfenstein titles; it could be a fantastic co-op experience for the ages. Wolfenstein: Youngblood releases July 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, 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! View full article
  9. We knew that news of Cyberpunk 2077 would reveal itself over the course of E3, but what we didn’t know was that it would come from everyone’s favorite internet crush, Keanu Reeves. The actor's appearance surprised many fans and industry professionals, who had mainly been expecting more information about the dystopian sci-fi action game. News of the upcoming future-based game came out of the mouth of Reeves himself. Reeves took to the stage on June 9 during the Microsoft E3 press conference during their segment dedicated to Cyberpunk 2077. “I gotta’ talk to you about something,” said Reeves in all his aloof charm before revealing that developer CD Projekt Red reached out to him a while back to be a part of their project. “I’m always drawn to fascinating stories,” the actor behind Neo said, confirming that Cyberpunk 2077 met those qualifications for him. “We have a city to burn,” Reeve’s character says, his face concealed under a pair of aviators. He flickers in and out before bending down to look with those soulful brown eyes at the player. That’s all we get in terms of any story connection, but the presence of such a big name in Cyberpunk 2077 indicates that we’ll be seeing much more of him in-game. Keanu aside, the new footage revealed during the Microsoft press conference highlighted a continuation of the story that we saw from the previously released demo footage. The camera follows a version of V and their exploits. The trailer starts with some sort of conversation with “fixer” Dexter DeShawn. Since this game stays at a high-octane pace, we don’t stay stationary long and move on to drama with our old partner Jackie who seems to meet with an unfortunate end. The mantis blades make their return and we see some new powers or augments from a mysterious stranger named Bug. It’s quite a ride to say the least. If Keanu and story details weren’t enough to build the cyber-hype, CD Projekt Red revealed a release date, as well. Cyberpunk 2077 releases on April 16, 2020 with pre-orders available now. The game plays on multiple platforms and will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Are you excited to explore the streets of Night City? What augments would you get in this futuristic and tech-based world? 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!
  10. We knew that news of Cyberpunk 2077 would reveal itself over the course of E3, but what we didn’t know was that it would come from everyone’s favorite internet crush, Keanu Reeves. The actor's appearance surprised many fans and industry professionals, who had mainly been expecting more information about the dystopian sci-fi action game. News of the upcoming future-based game came out of the mouth of Reeves himself. Reeves took to the stage on June 9 during the Microsoft E3 press conference during their segment dedicated to Cyberpunk 2077. “I gotta’ talk to you about something,” said Reeves in all his aloof charm before revealing that developer CD Projekt Red reached out to him a while back to be a part of their project. “I’m always drawn to fascinating stories,” the actor behind Neo said, confirming that Cyberpunk 2077 met those qualifications for him. “We have a city to burn,” Reeve’s character says, his face concealed under a pair of aviators. He flickers in and out before bending down to look with those soulful brown eyes at the player. That’s all we get in terms of any story connection, but the presence of such a big name in Cyberpunk 2077 indicates that we’ll be seeing much more of him in-game. Keanu aside, the new footage revealed during the Microsoft press conference highlighted a continuation of the story that we saw from the previously released demo footage. The camera follows a version of V and their exploits. The trailer starts with some sort of conversation with “fixer” Dexter DeShawn. Since this game stays at a high-octane pace, we don’t stay stationary long and move on to drama with our old partner Jackie who seems to meet with an unfortunate end. The mantis blades make their return and we see some new powers or augments from a mysterious stranger named Bug. It’s quite a ride to say the least. If Keanu and story details weren’t enough to build the cyber-hype, CD Projekt Red revealed a release date, as well. Cyberpunk 2077 releases on April 16, 2020 with pre-orders available now. The game plays on multiple platforms and will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Are you excited to explore the streets of Night City? What augments would you get in this futuristic and tech-based world? 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
  11. To say Fallout 76 failed to meet fan expectations for the multiplayer-focused sci-fi title would be a massive understatement. Upon its initial launch last year, Fallout 76 bombed critically, not unlike the nuclear Armageddon which created the irradiated wasteland that serves as the game's setting. For better or worse, the "games as a service" trend means games are living, breathing experiences which evolve over time; a bad game can turn itself around and become what it should have been from the start. Fallout 76, Bethesda's multiplayer experiment in the Fallout universe, is aiming to turn itself around with a slew of "Year 2" content which has the potential to turn the game's short-term failure into long-term success. The jury's still out on whether or not the game will ultimately succeed in its attempt at course correction, but the early impressions seen at Bethesda's E3 press conference look promising enough for apprehensive gamers to err on the side of cautious optimism. Two new additions are coming to Fallout 76. First up, Nuclear Winter, a battle royale mode which combines the trendy "last person standing" rules of the most popular multiplayer experiences on the market with the particular gunplay and mechanics of Fallout 76. The 52-player mode will become available as a "sneak peek" starting June 10. Conveniently, June 10 also marks the start of a week-long Fallout 76 free trial across all platforms. Further into the future, this fall sees the release of a free, new expansion for Fallout 76, Wastelanders. This expansion includes human NPCs for players to interact with, as well as a brand new main quest. The biggest issues players had with the base game involved its toothless storytelling and anemic quests, devoid of personality and context. The classic Fallout formula, of meaningful player choice, extensive dialogue options, and well-written characters, was completely absent from Fallout 76. If Wastelanders applies these features as well as it promises, the Fallout 76 of the future will be a marked improvement from its current state, to say nothing of its rocky launch. We've seen these "live service" games turn themselves around; The Division had certain issues at launch which were ironed out through multiple patches and content drops. Destiny 2 was seen as a sparse sequel which managed to pad out its content and smooth out its rough edges with remarkable grace. Will Fallout 76 join these games and reverse its initial misfortunes? Or should this nuclear wasteland remain quarantined from the general public? We'll find out as Nuclear Winter and Wastelanders release throughout the remainder of 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!
  12. To say Fallout 76 failed to meet fan expectations for the multiplayer-focused sci-fi title would be a massive understatement. Upon its initial launch last year, Fallout 76 bombed critically, not unlike the nuclear Armageddon which created the irradiated wasteland that serves as the game's setting. For better or worse, the "games as a service" trend means games are living, breathing experiences which evolve over time; a bad game can turn itself around and become what it should have been from the start. Fallout 76, Bethesda's multiplayer experiment in the Fallout universe, is aiming to turn itself around with a slew of "Year 2" content which has the potential to turn the game's short-term failure into long-term success. The jury's still out on whether or not the game will ultimately succeed in its attempt at course correction, but the early impressions seen at Bethesda's E3 press conference look promising enough for apprehensive gamers to err on the side of cautious optimism. Two new additions are coming to Fallout 76. First up, Nuclear Winter, a battle royale mode which combines the trendy "last person standing" rules of the most popular multiplayer experiences on the market with the particular gunplay and mechanics of Fallout 76. The 52-player mode will become available as a "sneak peek" starting June 10. Conveniently, June 10 also marks the start of a week-long Fallout 76 free trial across all platforms. Further into the future, this fall sees the release of a free, new expansion for Fallout 76, Wastelanders. This expansion includes human NPCs for players to interact with, as well as a brand new main quest. The biggest issues players had with the base game involved its toothless storytelling and anemic quests, devoid of personality and context. The classic Fallout formula, of meaningful player choice, extensive dialogue options, and well-written characters, was completely absent from Fallout 76. If Wastelanders applies these features as well as it promises, the Fallout 76 of the future will be a marked improvement from its current state, to say nothing of its rocky launch. We've seen these "live service" games turn themselves around; The Division had certain issues at launch which were ironed out through multiple patches and content drops. Destiny 2 was seen as a sparse sequel which managed to pad out its content and smooth out its rough edges with remarkable grace. Will Fallout 76 join these games and reverse its initial misfortunes? Or should this nuclear wasteland remain quarantined from the general public? We'll find out as Nuclear Winter and Wastelanders release throughout the remainder of 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
  13. E3 is right around the corner, accelerating towards us at an alarming pace that seems to increase every year. But no problem! Extra Life has your back. We collected the games and dlc that we expect to see at this year’s show and the rumors that we’ve heard. E3 runs from Tuesday, June 11 to Thursday, June 13. Before things even start though, plenty of gaming news drops via press conferences and events. It all can add up to a lot to keep track of surrounding gaming's biggest event. During the show, keep your social channels tuned to Extra Life’s social channels for updates from the show floor. Going to E3? Visit the Extra Life booth! The Press Conferences Before and during E3, many companies hold press conferences. These media events are the place for companies to showcase the upcoming year’s releases and build the hype. Many take the whole year right after the previous E3 to plan and offer extravagant and flashy presentations. Some devs/publishers hold them live and some like Nintendo or Devolver opt-in for pre-recordings. If we, the audience, get very lucky, we also experience lovely gems of human awkwardness. The conferences can be viewed on various streaming mediums. All of the times below are U.S. Pacific Time. Sunday, June 9 Microsoft 1:00 PM Bethesda 5:30 PM Devolver Digital 7:00 PM Monday, June 10 PC Gaming Show 10:00 AM Limited Run Games 12:00 PM Ubisoft 1:00 PM Kinda Funny Games Showcase 4:30 PM Square Enix 6:00 PM Tuesday, June 11 Nintendo 9:00 AM No Sony, What about Death Stranding? You might have noticed that PlayStation wasn’t listed above. That’s because Sony made an industry-shaking decision to not attend E3 this year. This marks the first year that Sony won’t attend the conference in the 25 years of the conference. News of the decision broke last year via a Kotaku report. Sony released a statement, “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers.” Sony continued, “as a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.” So about those said plans, it’s speculated that Sony is gearing up for the release of the PlayStation 5 and possibly some next-gen VR hardware. The PS5 has a release window of Spring 2020 or later. An update on The Last of Us 2 and Death Stranding might not come directly from E3, but it’s likely Sony will ride the E3 hype wave with announcements adjacent to the event. On May 29, Kojima Productions released the Official Release Date Trailer for Death Stranding. Through the video, we received a slew of new details on the story, saw more gameplay, and got that coveted release date. The game will release later this year on November 8 exclusively to the PS4. FF7 Remake and The Avengers Project With Square Enix confirmed for E3, the Final Fantasy remake will most likely shine as a highlighted part of the company’s booth. We haven’t gotten a release date for the game. It was previously announced that the game would be released in an episodic format, so we may at least see the release date for that first installment. The latest we’ve seen from the FFVII front came in the form of a new trailer released on May 9. In that trailer, we got a look at more story and gameplay with a focus on Aerith, one of the iconic protagonists of FFVII. In the video description, there was a vague but promising note, “more details coming June 2019.” We got a teaser on a project partnering Marvel with Square Enix back in 2017. Then after some wait, the two companies revealed The Avengers Project announcement trailer. With a name like that, with an unfinalized game title, it was pretty obvious we would be waiting for a while until we’d actually see this game. On May 29, it was confirmed that The Avengers Project would be at E3 via a tweet from account @PlayAvengers. “Tune into Square Enix Live E3 2019 for the worldwide reveal of Marvel’s Avengers,” said the tweet. So hey, we’ve got a name now and confirmation that the game does indeed still exist. Cyberpunk 2077 At E3 2018, Cyberpunk 2077, the newest IP from The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red, kept mystique by remaining behind closed doors. Later on, we were able to see the 48-minute demo trailer that was reserved for select eyes. This year though, CD Projekt Red is ready to bare all on the public floor. https://mobile.twitter.com/AdamBadowski/status/1131468224665706496 Although the game will be presented to the public, the demo won’t be playable. Instead, the audience will see guided live gameplay. We haven’t had solid word on what will be shown in those demos, but CD had this to say in a recent blog post, “We will be taking part in the upcoming edition of E3, which is shaping up to be the most important fair in CD PROJEKT’s history.” Those are some pretty big words so it’s likely we’ll get some significant info on the game. Halo Infinite, Gears 5 and 12 Other Xbox Exclusives You may get deja vu from this quote from Microsoft. “This will be our biggest E3 presence ever and we can’t wait to share more about what we’ve got up our sleeves for the future,” said Will Tuttle, the Xbox Wire Editor in Chief earlier this year. Microsoft reportedly has 14 first-party games for E3. Included in that bunch are Halo Infinite and Gears of War 5. Microsoft announced the next installment of their flagship series last year and said it would be “greatest adventure yet." Halo Infinite deviates a bit from the rest of the games in the franchise, or at least that’s the sense we get from the announcement trailer since it showed off a game engine demonstration instead of straight story. Our prediction from 2018 was that “the new title might be willing to explore beyond the series' traditional linear FPS action, or at least offer a significant new spin.” Gears of War stands out as another storied series that has its roots firmly staked in Xbox. In 2018, we saw the announcement trailer for Gears of War 5 which unlike Halo Infinite seemed to stick to the formula. Except for the deviation of the main character Kait Diaz, who is the first female protagonist of the franchise. We will most likely receive more details on gameplay and a release date at E3. As far as the other 12 games, we don’t have solid details. However, Microsoft acquired some new studios since 2018 and titles are likely to come from there. Pokémon Sword and Shield, Animal Crossing and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Pokémon Sword and Shield is the eighth generation Pokémon game fans have been drooling over. It will be a full main series game on the Switch that explores the new region of Galar. We’ve seen the three starters, Grookey the grass type, Scorbunny the fire bunny, and Sobble the water lizard. We’ve also seen gameplay which doesn’t seem radically different than Sun and Moon from the 3DS era. Luckily we won’t have to wait until E3 because a Nintendo Pokémon Direct happened on June 5. There we got a further look at new Pokémon, Wooloo the precious, Gossifleur and evolution Eldegoss aka walking embodiments of springtime, Corviknight the badass steel taxi and Drednaw our water/rock fanged turtle. Of course, we got to the Sword and Shield based legendaries as well, Zacian the sword puppy and Zamazenta the shield. It was confirmed that the camera would be controllable, a first for the mainline games. We were introduced to some new battle mechanics as well. The biggest (pun intended) being Dynamax which turn the mons into huge versions of themselves. That played into the raid boss feature where teams of local or online players can take on Dynamax Pokémon. Sword and shield comes out this year on November 15. The only news of Animal Crossing has been brief. But hey, at least we know it exists. In the announcement trailer for the game, we see a bleary-eyed Tom Nook gazing at a blinding computer screen in a dark office (a meta note on game dev crunch perhaps?). Nook babbles for a bit about Isabelle’s cameo in Super Smash, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, all his business and such. He says, “I’ve got to make sure everyone has a nice, new place to come home to when they’re ready.” Vague, but then we get an even more vague release schedule of 2019. Hopefully, Nintendo will spare us too much speculation in the meantime and will give us more during their press conference. With the Super Smash Fighter’s Pass we are due new characters to join the Super Smash roster, and what better place to announce the next installments than at E3? We recently got Joker from Persona 5, and Piranha plant back in Feb. Fans are already, understandably, hungry for more. It might be easy to make guesses from some clues about which fighter we’ll see next. And of course, the internet is a flurry of speculation throwing in guesses and fave characters up for nomination. However, some users took that hypothesizing a bit further with what is being dubbed Google Theory. After sifting through Google data people were able to come up with some data. The theory predicts that we’ll get to play as the likes of Banjo & Kazooie, Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden and Artorias from Dark Souls. Doom Eternal On the streets of LA you can spot giant murals of doom, Doom Eternal to be specific. Every year, E3 attendees get a preview of the impending festivities with gigantic painted billboards on the near the Figueroa Hotel. This year, the next in the Doom reboot series is the highlight. “Do you want to see hell on earth? We just teased it,” said creative director of id Software Hugo Martin when Doom Eternal was teased at E3 last year. The developer also said the game would be "the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat." Solid details, but we’re still without a release date. Watch Dogs 3 aka Watch Dogs Legion As of June 3, solid details on Watch Dogs 3 were revealed. Thanks to an Amazon leak, we were able to get a name and game description. The game will be Watch Dogs Legion and the game details read, “Watch Dogs Legion is set in a near-future, dystopian version of London.” it continued, “London makes total sense for WD, as the city has one of the highest surveillance levels in the world making this the perfect playground.” Another line said, “play as anyone, Every individual you meet in the open world, has a full set of animations, voice over, character traits and visuals that are generated & guided by gameplay systems.” The listing is gone of course, but the news was confirmed by Kotaku shortly after. Bonus: Rumors The Witcher 3 might be coming to the Switch. Capcom could be working on a Resident Evil 3 Remake. Netflix is going to be at the E3 Coliseum, do they have games in the works? There are very vague rumors of a new Batman game from Rocksteady. The Extra Life E3 2019 content team will be live at the show June 9-13 and covering all that the show has to offer. 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.
  14. E3 is right around the corner, accelerating towards us at an alarming pace that seems to increase every year. But no problem! Extra Life has your back. We collected the games and dlc that we expect to see at this year’s show and the rumors that we’ve heard. E3 runs from Tuesday, June 11 to Thursday, June 13. Before things even start though, plenty of gaming news drops via press conferences and events. It all can add up to a lot to keep track of surrounding gaming's biggest event. During the show, keep your social channels tuned to Extra Life’s social channels for updates from the show floor. Going to E3? Visit the Extra Life booth! The Press Conferences Before and during E3, many companies hold press conferences. These media events are the place for companies to showcase the upcoming year’s releases and build the hype. Many take the whole year right after the previous E3 to plan and offer extravagant and flashy presentations. Some devs/publishers hold them live and some like Nintendo or Devolver opt-in for pre-recordings. If we, the audience, get very lucky, we also experience lovely gems of human awkwardness. The conferences can be viewed on various streaming mediums. All of the times below are U.S. Pacific Time. Sunday, June 9 Microsoft 1:00 PM Bethesda 5:30 PM Devolver Digital 7:00 PM Monday, June 10 PC Gaming Show 10:00 AM Limited Run Games 12:00 PM Ubisoft 1:00 PM Kinda Funny Games Showcase 4:30 PM Square Enix 6:00 PM Tuesday, June 11 Nintendo 9:00 AM No Sony, What about Death Stranding? You might have noticed that PlayStation wasn’t listed above. That’s because Sony made an industry-shaking decision to not attend E3 this year. This marks the first year that Sony won’t attend the conference in the 25 years of the conference. News of the decision broke last year via a Kotaku report. Sony released a statement, “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers.” Sony continued, “as a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.” So about those said plans, it’s speculated that Sony is gearing up for the release of the PlayStation 5 and possibly some next-gen VR hardware. The PS5 has a release window of Spring 2020 or later. An update on The Last of Us 2 and Death Stranding might not come directly from E3, but it’s likely Sony will ride the E3 hype wave with announcements adjacent to the event. On May 29, Kojima Productions released the Official Release Date Trailer for Death Stranding. Through the video, we received a slew of new details on the story, saw more gameplay, and got that coveted release date. The game will release later this year on November 8 exclusively to the PS4. FF7 Remake and The Avengers Project With Square Enix confirmed for E3, the Final Fantasy remake will most likely shine as a highlighted part of the company’s booth. We haven’t gotten a release date for the game. It was previously announced that the game would be released in an episodic format, so we may at least see the release date for that first installment. The latest we’ve seen from the FFVII front came in the form of a new trailer released on May 9. In that trailer, we got a look at more story and gameplay with a focus on Aerith, one of the iconic protagonists of FFVII. In the video description, there was a vague but promising note, “more details coming June 2019.” We got a teaser on a project partnering Marvel with Square Enix back in 2017. Then after some wait, the two companies revealed The Avengers Project announcement trailer. With a name like that, with an unfinalized game title, it was pretty obvious we would be waiting for a while until we’d actually see this game. On May 29, it was confirmed that The Avengers Project would be at E3 via a tweet from account @PlayAvengers. “Tune into Square Enix Live E3 2019 for the worldwide reveal of Marvel’s Avengers,” said the tweet. So hey, we’ve got a name now and confirmation that the game does indeed still exist. Cyberpunk 2077 At E3 2018, Cyberpunk 2077, the newest IP from The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red, kept mystique by remaining behind closed doors. Later on, we were able to see the 48-minute demo trailer that was reserved for select eyes. This year though, CD Projekt Red is ready to bare all on the public floor. https://mobile.twitter.com/AdamBadowski/status/1131468224665706496 Although the game will be presented to the public, the demo won’t be playable. Instead, the audience will see guided live gameplay. We haven’t had solid word on what will be shown in those demos, but CD had this to say in a recent blog post, “We will be taking part in the upcoming edition of E3, which is shaping up to be the most important fair in CD PROJEKT’s history.” Those are some pretty big words so it’s likely we’ll get some significant info on the game. Halo Infinite, Gears 5 and 12 Other Xbox Exclusives You may get deja vu from this quote from Microsoft. “This will be our biggest E3 presence ever and we can’t wait to share more about what we’ve got up our sleeves for the future,” said Will Tuttle, the Xbox Wire Editor in Chief earlier this year. Microsoft reportedly has 14 first-party games for E3. Included in that bunch are Halo Infinite and Gears of War 5. Microsoft announced the next installment of their flagship series last year and said it would be “greatest adventure yet." Halo Infinite deviates a bit from the rest of the games in the franchise, or at least that’s the sense we get from the announcement trailer since it showed off a game engine demonstration instead of straight story. Our prediction from 2018 was that “the new title might be willing to explore beyond the series' traditional linear FPS action, or at least offer a significant new spin.” Gears of War stands out as another storied series that has its roots firmly staked in Xbox. In 2018, we saw the announcement trailer for Gears of War 5 which unlike Halo Infinite seemed to stick to the formula. Except for the deviation of the main character Kait Diaz, who is the first female protagonist of the franchise. We will most likely receive more details on gameplay and a release date at E3. As far as the other 12 games, we don’t have solid details. However, Microsoft acquired some new studios since 2018 and titles are likely to come from there. Pokémon Sword and Shield, Animal Crossing and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Pokémon Sword and Shield is the eighth generation Pokémon game fans have been drooling over. It will be a full main series game on the Switch that explores the new region of Galar. We’ve seen the three starters, Grookey the grass type, Scorbunny the fire bunny, and Sobble the water lizard. We’ve also seen gameplay which doesn’t seem radically different than Sun and Moon from the 3DS era. Luckily we won’t have to wait until E3 because a Nintendo Pokémon Direct happened on June 5. There we got a further look at new Pokémon, Wooloo the precious, Gossifleur and evolution Eldegoss aka walking embodiments of springtime, Corviknight the badass steel taxi and Drednaw our water/rock fanged turtle. Of course, we got to the Sword and Shield based legendaries as well, Zacian the sword puppy and Zamazenta the shield. It was confirmed that the camera would be controllable, a first for the mainline games. We were introduced to some new battle mechanics as well. The biggest (pun intended) being Dynamax which turn the mons into huge versions of themselves. That played into the raid boss feature where teams of local or online players can take on Dynamax Pokémon. Sword and shield comes out this year on November 15. The only news of Animal Crossing has been brief. But hey, at least we know it exists. In the announcement trailer for the game, we see a bleary-eyed Tom Nook gazing at a blinding computer screen in a dark office (a meta note on game dev crunch perhaps?). Nook babbles for a bit about Isabelle’s cameo in Super Smash, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, all his business and such. He says, “I’ve got to make sure everyone has a nice, new place to come home to when they’re ready.” Vague, but then we get an even more vague release schedule of 2019. Hopefully, Nintendo will spare us too much speculation in the meantime and will give us more during their press conference. With the Super Smash Fighter’s Pass we are due new characters to join the Super Smash roster, and what better place to announce the next installments than at E3? We recently got Joker from Persona 5, and Piranha plant back in Feb. Fans are already, understandably, hungry for more. It might be easy to make guesses from some clues about which fighter we’ll see next. And of course, the internet is a flurry of speculation throwing in guesses and fave characters up for nomination. However, some users took that hypothesizing a bit further with what is being dubbed Google Theory. After sifting through Google data people were able to come up with some data. The theory predicts that we’ll get to play as the likes of Banjo & Kazooie, Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden and Artorias from Dark Souls. Doom Eternal On the streets of LA you can spot giant murals of doom, Doom Eternal to be specific. Every year, E3 attendees get a preview of the impending festivities with gigantic painted billboards on the near the Figueroa Hotel. This year, the next in the Doom reboot series is the highlight. “Do you want to see hell on earth? We just teased it,” said creative director of id Software Hugo Martin when Doom Eternal was teased at E3 last year. The developer also said the game would be "the next leap in push-forward, first-person combat." Solid details, but we’re still without a release date. Watch Dogs 3 aka Watch Dogs Legion As of June 3, solid details on Watch Dogs 3 were revealed. Thanks to an Amazon leak, we were able to get a name and game description. The game will be Watch Dogs Legion and the game details read, “Watch Dogs Legion is set in a near-future, dystopian version of London.” it continued, “London makes total sense for WD, as the city has one of the highest surveillance levels in the world making this the perfect playground.” Another line said, “play as anyone, Every individual you meet in the open world, has a full set of animations, voice over, character traits and visuals that are generated & guided by gameplay systems.” The listing is gone of course, but the news was confirmed by Kotaku shortly after. Bonus: Rumors The Witcher 3 might be coming to the Switch. Capcom could be working on a Resident Evil 3 Remake. Netflix is going to be at the E3 Coliseum, do they have games in the works? There are very vague rumors of a new Batman game from Rocksteady. The Extra Life E3 2019 content team will be live at the show June 9-13 and covering all that the show has to offer. 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
  15. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order made its grand debut at yesterday's EA Play event, but Microsoft still managed to score an exclusive new trailer for their E3 2019 press conference. Fans spent years complaining that publisher Electronic Arts has squandered their exclusive access to the legendary Star Wars license, with multiple high-profile cancellations upsetting fans to no end. Meanwhile, games that actually manage to see release, like Star Wars: Battlefront and its sequel, find themselves lambasted for a dearth of content and aggressive microtransactions, respectively. To their credit, EA is pushing hard to make Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order the definitive Star Wars game for this generation. Developed by Respawn (Titanfall, Apex Legends), Fallen Order tells a brand new story set in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, showcasing a galaxy on the wrong side of the brutal subjugation of the Empire. The Jedi have been hunted to the brink of extinction, and the few survivors carve out a meager existence while hiding from Emperor Palpatine's oppressive regime. Player character Cal Kestis was a Jedi-in-training when the Jedi were decimated by the iron hand of the Emperor, but finds himself dragged into the rebellion when he exposes himself as a user of The Force. Microsoft's E3 press conference saw the debut of a new trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Comprised entirely of in-game assets, the clip showed off an exciting mix of story sequences, tactical combat, and exploration. In a show-stopping moment evocative of Shadow of the Colossus, Kestis scaled the outside of an AT-AT imperial walker before dispatching the pilots with a single blow and commanding the powerful weapon to his own ends. The video takes an unexpected turn when a familiar face reveals himself to Cal; Saw Gerrera, the infamous rebel fighter featured in The Clone Wars, Rebels, and Rogue One. Actor Forest Whitaker reprises his role from the latter two projects, while also lending his likeness to the character, who appears visibly younger than his battle-broken visage in Rogue One. The extent of Saw's role in Fallen Order remains a mystery, but it seems Gerrera will serve as something of a mentor figure to Cal, guiding him as the young would-be Jedi fights alongside the desperate, but scrappy, Rebel Alliance. Between EA Play and this Microsoft trailer, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has the potential to win over any and all Star Wars fanatics who remain skeptical of EA's handling of the iconic license. We'll find out for sure when the game launches on November 15, 2019, just one month before Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. 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
  16. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order made its grand debut at yesterday's EA Play event, but Microsoft still managed to score an exclusive new trailer for their E3 2019 press conference. Fans spent years complaining that publisher Electronic Arts has squandered their exclusive access to the legendary Star Wars license, with multiple high-profile cancellations upsetting fans to no end. Meanwhile, games that actually manage to see release, like Star Wars: Battlefront and its sequel, find themselves lambasted for a dearth of content and aggressive microtransactions, respectively. To their credit, EA is pushing hard to make Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order the definitive Star Wars game for this generation. Developed by Respawn (Titanfall, Apex Legends), Fallen Order tells a brand new story set in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, showcasing a galaxy on the wrong side of the brutal subjugation of the Empire. The Jedi have been hunted to the brink of extinction, and the few survivors carve out a meager existence while hiding from Emperor Palpatine's oppressive regime. Player character Cal Kestis was a Jedi-in-training when the Jedi were decimated by the iron hand of the Emperor, but finds himself dragged into the rebellion when he exposes himself as a user of The Force. Microsoft's E3 press conference saw the debut of a new trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Comprised entirely of in-game assets, the clip showed off an exciting mix of story sequences, tactical combat, and exploration. In a show-stopping moment evocative of Shadow of the Colossus, Kestis scaled the outside of an AT-AT imperial walker before dispatching the pilots with a single blow and commanding the powerful weapon to his own ends. The video takes an unexpected turn when a familiar face reveals himself to Cal; Saw Gerrera, the infamous rebel fighter featured in The Clone Wars, Rebels, and Rogue One. Actor Forest Whitaker reprises his role from the latter two projects, while also lending his likeness to the character, who appears visibly younger than his battle-broken visage in Rogue One. The extent of Saw's role in Fallen Order remains a mystery, but it seems Gerrera will serve as something of a mentor figure to Cal, guiding him as the young would-be Jedi fights alongside the desperate, but scrappy, Rebel Alliance. Between EA Play and this Microsoft trailer, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has the potential to win over any and all Star Wars fanatics who remain skeptical of EA's handling of the iconic license. We'll find out for sure when the game launches on November 15, 2019, just one month before Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. 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. Whether you loved it or hated it, World War Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, was one of the biggest box office hits of 2013. A sequel, to be directed by David Fincher, has been languishing in development limbo for a stint but is expected to finally begin shooting in 2019. In the meantime, Saber Interactive is deep in development on a video game adaptation of the franchise. I got a chance to sit down and take an extended look at the E3 demo, and I came away feeling incredibly optimistic. Saber Interactive cut their teeth on some cult favorite shooters, including Inversion and – one of my personal all-time favorites – TimeShift. Their pedigree shows with World War Z, a high-octane co-op shooter with gravitas, atmosphere, and some truly incredible visuals. Game designer Oliver Hollis supervised the demo and would serve as my guide through the bombed-out streets of New York City. For the purposes of the demo, all four characters felt similar, but Hollis promises that the final game will include multiple classes, each with their own unique skill trees on which to spend hard-earned XP. Surprisingly, he also stresses the importance of storytelling to the Saber team, suggesting that the game will have moments for players to learn about their characters' backstories and motivations. Still, the story of WWZ remains a big question mark at this point. All we know is that the game unfolds over three episodes, each consisting of three chapters. Each episode is set in a distinct metropolitan setting – New York, Jerusalem, and Moscow – and features a unique cast, though upgrades will be tied to the player, not their avatar. While Hollis intimates that story context would be key in making this version of the zombie apocalypse believable for players, he also clearly takes pride in selling World War Z as a straightforward arcade-style shooter. Based on my impressions of the game thus far, Hollis and the Saber crew are well on their way towards succeeding. Fast, frantic gunplay permeates my demo, and weapons deliver a satisfying impact; a stream of automatic rifle fire or a close-range shotgun blast would send zombies flying across the room, often in multiple pieces. Unlike the film, which had a surprisingly tame PG-13 rating, the game is definitely shooting for a hard M for Mature. The demo begins in an office building. My group fights our way through the corridors, mowing down the undead with ruthless efficiency. The zombies behave like their motion picture counterparts, running and jumping like rabid animals, a far cry from the slow shamblers of most zombie media. This creative decision pays off when the party goes to an elevator which takes us to the lobby of the massive building. As fun as the corridor shooting has been, it's far from the main draw of WWZ. As we emerge into the second floor of a wide open foyer, we can see the ground level, covered with what looks to be hundreds of zombies. According to Oliver Hollis, WWZ can feature up to five hundred enemies on screen at once. Our objective made clear, I can't help but flash a wicked grin as I read the words, "Kill all the zombies in the atrium." My team and I happily oblige. One of the biggest "wow" moments of the demo came when the zombie horde reacted to our peppering of their numbers with large caliber potshots. Just like in the movie, they scramble across each other, building insect-like walls out of their own bodies. A giant mass of flesh rapidly makes its way up the wall, creating a visual sight unlike anything I'd ever seen, especially as gunfire knocks individual zombies from the pile and tumbling to the ground below. I toss my entire cache of grenades at the base of the 'zombie pyramid,' and the whole horde collapses, though some stragglers make it up to the second floor. Instead of shooting them, I dispatch them with quick melee swings, triggered with the right bumper on the Xbox controller. Fast, powerful, and satisfying, the melee combat nonetheless remains simple and easy to implement. It takes but a single hit to defeat a zombie, and follow-up swings are nigh-instantaneous. The sheer number of enemies keeps it from being a viable tactic, but it's certainly a useful tool at players' disposal. After killing off every single zombie in the area, we tasked with shoring up defenses for a looming undead counterattack, so we start placing turret guns and barbed wire fences. According to Hollis, these defensive tools are generated based on our performance in the level; if players steamroll the opposition, they get fewer defenses, but if they're barely holding on, survivors receive more destructive tools to wreak havoc and scrape back a measure of control. We also have access to ammo caches which provide a free refill on supplies, as well as the opportunity to switch guns and even pick up some limited-use power weapons. These all-powerful harbingers of bloody death include rocket launchers, automatic shotguns with massive destructive potential, and sniper rifles which fire explosive bullets. The demo continues on for a bit, bringing the action out onto the street and then into a New York City subway station, which looks decently authentic, if more spacious than the real thing. The next segment tasks us with a bit of exploration, recovering items for a survivor who has taken over a subway car. After some more corridor shooting and teamwork, we must defend the subway car from a zombie attack. Huddling together in the middle of the train, shooting through the windows at the horde has a distinctly claustrophobic feel, different from corridor shooting or the comparatively wide open atrium. After surviving a set amount of time, the train departs and the demo ends. Hopefully, the other levels will maintain the demo's full-tilt momentum and constant variety. Comparisons to Left 4 Dead are inevitable, but such a reductive comparison downplays the sense of power, satisfying action, and unmatched animation work present in the zombie hordes created by Saber Interactive. While WWZ should scratch the itch of anyone who has been waiting for a third chapter in Valve's zombie shooter series, it definitely feels like a whole other beast from L4D. The build we played ran on PC hardware at a smooth 60 FPS. Console players will only receive a 30 FPS experience, but hopefully that's the only compromise in bringing this game to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Overall, World War Z is shaping up be the next truly great co-op shooting experience, and it was easily one of the best games I played at E3. It may lack the survival mechanics which are all the rage these days, but WWZ more than makes up for it with non-stop kinetic action, atmospheric locales, and finely-tuned pacing thanks to its linear level design. World War Z is a passion project for Saber. According to Oliver Hollis, Paramount Pictures did not approach Saber with the World War Z brand; the developer wanted to make a WWZ game, so they asked for the rights, and got permission to use the license. WWZ is self-published, and therefore a product of Saber's vision, unadulterated by external publisher demands and the type of executive meddling which so often sinks licensed games. We'll know for sure if World War Z becomes the next smash hit movie tie-in video game when it releases sometime in 2019 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!
  18. Whether you loved it or hated it, World War Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, was one of the biggest box office hits of 2013. A sequel, to be directed by David Fincher, has been languishing in development limbo for a stint but is expected to finally begin shooting in 2019. In the meantime, Saber Interactive is deep in development on a video game adaptation of the franchise. I got a chance to sit down and take an extended look at the E3 demo, and I came away feeling incredibly optimistic. Saber Interactive cut their teeth on some cult favorite shooters, including Inversion and – one of my personal all-time favorites – TimeShift. Their pedigree shows with World War Z, a high-octane co-op shooter with gravitas, atmosphere, and some truly incredible visuals. Game designer Oliver Hollis supervised the demo and would serve as my guide through the bombed-out streets of New York City. For the purposes of the demo, all four characters felt similar, but Hollis promises that the final game will include multiple classes, each with their own unique skill trees on which to spend hard-earned XP. Surprisingly, he also stresses the importance of storytelling to the Saber team, suggesting that the game will have moments for players to learn about their characters' backstories and motivations. Still, the story of WWZ remains a big question mark at this point. All we know is that the game unfolds over three episodes, each consisting of three chapters. Each episode is set in a distinct metropolitan setting – New York, Jerusalem, and Moscow – and features a unique cast, though upgrades will be tied to the player, not their avatar. While Hollis intimates that story context would be key in making this version of the zombie apocalypse believable for players, he also clearly takes pride in selling World War Z as a straightforward arcade-style shooter. Based on my impressions of the game thus far, Hollis and the Saber crew are well on their way towards succeeding. Fast, frantic gunplay permeates my demo, and weapons deliver a satisfying impact; a stream of automatic rifle fire or a close-range shotgun blast would send zombies flying across the room, often in multiple pieces. Unlike the film, which had a surprisingly tame PG-13 rating, the game is definitely shooting for a hard M for Mature. The demo begins in an office building. My group fights our way through the corridors, mowing down the undead with ruthless efficiency. The zombies behave like their motion picture counterparts, running and jumping like rabid animals, a far cry from the slow shamblers of most zombie media. This creative decision pays off when the party goes to an elevator which takes us to the lobby of the massive building. As fun as the corridor shooting has been, it's far from the main draw of WWZ. As we emerge into the second floor of a wide open foyer, we can see the ground level, covered with what looks to be hundreds of zombies. According to Oliver Hollis, WWZ can feature up to five hundred enemies on screen at once. Our objective made clear, I can't help but flash a wicked grin as I read the words, "Kill all the zombies in the atrium." My team and I happily oblige. One of the biggest "wow" moments of the demo came when the zombie horde reacted to our peppering of their numbers with large caliber potshots. Just like in the movie, they scramble across each other, building insect-like walls out of their own bodies. A giant mass of flesh rapidly makes its way up the wall, creating a visual sight unlike anything I'd ever seen, especially as gunfire knocks individual zombies from the pile and tumbling to the ground below. I toss my entire cache of grenades at the base of the 'zombie pyramid,' and the whole horde collapses, though some stragglers make it up to the second floor. Instead of shooting them, I dispatch them with quick melee swings, triggered with the right bumper on the Xbox controller. Fast, powerful, and satisfying, the melee combat nonetheless remains simple and easy to implement. It takes but a single hit to defeat a zombie, and follow-up swings are nigh-instantaneous. The sheer number of enemies keeps it from being a viable tactic, but it's certainly a useful tool at players' disposal. After killing off every single zombie in the area, we tasked with shoring up defenses for a looming undead counterattack, so we start placing turret guns and barbed wire fences. According to Hollis, these defensive tools are generated based on our performance in the level; if players steamroll the opposition, they get fewer defenses, but if they're barely holding on, survivors receive more destructive tools to wreak havoc and scrape back a measure of control. We also have access to ammo caches which provide a free refill on supplies, as well as the opportunity to switch guns and even pick up some limited-use power weapons. These all-powerful harbingers of bloody death include rocket launchers, automatic shotguns with massive destructive potential, and sniper rifles which fire explosive bullets. The demo continues on for a bit, bringing the action out onto the street and then into a New York City subway station, which looks decently authentic, if more spacious than the real thing. The next segment tasks us with a bit of exploration, recovering items for a survivor who has taken over a subway car. After some more corridor shooting and teamwork, we must defend the subway car from a zombie attack. Huddling together in the middle of the train, shooting through the windows at the horde has a distinctly claustrophobic feel, different from corridor shooting or the comparatively wide open atrium. After surviving a set amount of time, the train departs and the demo ends. Hopefully, the other levels will maintain the demo's full-tilt momentum and constant variety. Comparisons to Left 4 Dead are inevitable, but such a reductive comparison downplays the sense of power, satisfying action, and unmatched animation work present in the zombie hordes created by Saber Interactive. While WWZ should scratch the itch of anyone who has been waiting for a third chapter in Valve's zombie shooter series, it definitely feels like a whole other beast from L4D. The build we played ran on PC hardware at a smooth 60 FPS. Console players will only receive a 30 FPS experience, but hopefully that's the only compromise in bringing this game to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Overall, World War Z is shaping up be the next truly great co-op shooting experience, and it was easily one of the best games I played at E3. It may lack the survival mechanics which are all the rage these days, but WWZ more than makes up for it with non-stop kinetic action, atmospheric locales, and finely-tuned pacing thanks to its linear level design. World War Z is a passion project for Saber. According to Oliver Hollis, Paramount Pictures did not approach Saber with the World War Z brand; the developer wanted to make a WWZ game, so they asked for the rights, and got permission to use the license. WWZ is self-published, and therefore a product of Saber's vision, unadulterated by external publisher demands and the type of executive meddling which so often sinks licensed games. We'll know for sure if World War Z becomes the next smash hit movie tie-in video game when it releases sometime in 2019 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! View full article
  19. One of the biggest surprises of E3 2018 was the long-awaited formal reveal of the remake of Resident Evil 2. Twenty years after the launch of the original game back in 1998, and the time has come to rebuild one of the most legendary games of all time, from the ground up. In addition to a cinematic in-engine trailer, the game was also playable on the show floor. There are still a lot of questions about the game, how it feels, how it plays, and from which entries in the series' past it takes the most inspiration. After spending significant hands-on time with the game, I have some answers. Obviously, the first and most immediately apparent inspiration for this remake is the original Resident Evil 2. The E3 demo begins with Leon Kennedy in the lobby of the Raccoon City Police Station, early in the game, but after the original's explosive opening sequence on the streets of Raccoon City. Presumably, that chaotic scene will be represented in the remake, but it was not present at E3. Visually, I was surprised at how easily I recognized the iconic locations from the original game. Everything, from the lobby's maiden statue, to the white and green walls of the station's hallways, and individual rooms within the station, were all distinctly recognizable. However, rather than resting on nostalgia and being a copy-paste HD remaster of the original, the remake shifts the perspective to behind Leon's camera, as seen in Resident Evil 4, 5, 6, and the Revelations games. Don't be fooled, though: the feeling is nothing like those titles. To casual observers, RE2 looks like a slower version of Resident Evil 6, or even akin to Revelations 2, but it feels totally different, more akin to a much more recent entry in the long-running saga. In terms of tone and gameplay, this remake borrows the most from the latest entry in the series, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. From the looks of things, RE2 is going for a full-on horror experience; even the HUD is taken straight out of RE7. While the environments are recognizable from the original game, the remake runs on the RE Engine created for RE7, and thus supports its filmic, photorealistic style. The police station is no longer well-lit; it's almost pitch black at times, meaning Leon has to make use of his flashlight to see anything more than two feet away from his face. This creates a palpable tension and an overwhelming – but welcome – sense of dread. After a section of deliberately-paced exploration, I finally came face-to-face with a zombie, and was not disappointed. My immediate, visceral reaction was one of fear, and I was surprised and how I welcomed the terror. Much has been made of Resident Evil's infamous straying from its survival horror roots. After RE7 brought things back to basics with a straightforward horror title, many fans were skeptical that RE2 would be a step backwards due to its over-the-shoulder camera lending it a superficial resemblance to Resident Evil 5 and 6. Fortunately, this is not the case. The controversial over-the-shoulder, third-person camera from the series' most divisive era returns, but it's not here to facilitate high-octane shooting action and breakneck pacing; instead, it's here to offer a cinematic perspective with kinetic movements and dynamic zooms. At first, I chose to stand my ground and fight the zombie, and was surprised by just how intense the encounter truly was. Leon's Matilda sidearm has a slow rate of fire, the undead take a ton of bullets to bring down, and Leon lacks the martial arts prowess he exhibits in later titles. Lining up headshots isn't easy, but it's certainly rewarding, even if they're not an instant kill as they often are in zombie-focused media. Zombies are an irrepressible bunch, and I ultimately wind up opting to flee, rather than fight, which brings us to another significant change from the original game: since the environments are all interconnected, rather than separated by loading screens, zombies can follow Leon throughout the police station, although it seems the main lobby area is a safe space... During the demo, at least. The slow, deliberate pacing is akin to RE7, and the combat truly feels like every bullet has value. The final game will have an ammo crafting component, though I didn't get the chance to fiddle with it during my time with the game. I did, however, get to use the combat knife. While it's unclear whether the weapon has limited durability or if there are multiple knives to collect throughout the game, this new feature combines the defensive weapons from the 2002 Resident Evil remake with the classic combat knife fans have known and loved since the beginning. The knife can be used to open objects locked with heavy duty tape, from doors to cabinets. It can also be used in combat, either RE4-style or as a defensive item. Upon being grabbed by a zombie, Leon can counter their bite by plunging the knife into his attacker's head, which looks fantastic, but leaves Leon without a knife. Fortunately, it can be recovered by killing off the zombie and retrieving the blade from their corpse. One change which some fans have not enjoyed is the new faces and voice actors for the entire cast. While Leon sports his trademark "beautiful boy bangs" hairstyle, his face is noticeably different from what we've seen in the past, although it's certainly not as drastic a change as Chris Redfield's unexpectedly svelte appearance in RE7 and its "Not a Hero" DLC. Likewise, Marvin Branagh, who had only a minor role in the original game, seems to behave more like an ill-fated mentor here, giving Leon his combat knife, dispensing advice, and acting as something of a guide during the early stages of a game... Still, he's already bitten by the time Leon finds him, and he knows he's not long for this world. A few other changes include the reworking of famous "moments" from the original game, at least for the demo. In my time with RE2, I didn't encounter a single Licker enemy, though I did see its giant claw marks, and I also crossed paths with at least two of its unlucky victims, who had been violently torn apart. There's no doubt this game will earn the decidedly family-unfriendly M for Mature rating. There's also a new item, "Wooden Boards," which Leon can use to block enemies from breaking in through the police station's windows. Likewise, the game seems to be riddled with all new puzzles, as well as new twists on familiar tasks, offering new challenges to RE2 fans who think they'll be able to breeze through the new game just because they've spent 20 years mastering the original. This new take on Resident Evil 2 is not the game you knew. To call it a remaster would be extremely reductive, but it's not a straightforward remake, either. The 2002 Gamecube version of Resident Evil added new scenarios, characters, enemies, and twists to the classic Mansion incident of the original 1996 game, but it still retained the fixed camera angles, tank controls, 2D backgrounds, and most of the basic gameplay of the original. By comparison, RE2 is aiming to be an even more radical departure from its source material than the previous Resident Evil remake. Resident Evil 2 isn't a stop-gap release meant to hold over fans until the next game. It isn't an extended piece of obligatory fan service to act as counterprogramming to RE7. No, Resident Evil 2, despite being a remake which returns to an established place on the timeline, is the next Resident Evil game. RE2 is the next evolution for the series, combining the jaw-dropping terror of RE7 with the established story of RE2, creating a whole new beast. There's certainly an element of nostalgia at play here, but RE2 is clearly aiming to an unrelenting horror masterpiece without peer. It's not "Resident Evil for a new generation," but the latest evolution for a series which is constantly growing, changing, looking back, and moving forward. We'll find out for sure when Resident Evil 2 launches, on January 29, 2019, 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! View full article
  20. One of the biggest surprises of E3 2018 was the long-awaited formal reveal of the remake of Resident Evil 2. Twenty years after the launch of the original game back in 1998, and the time has come to rebuild one of the most legendary games of all time, from the ground up. In addition to a cinematic in-engine trailer, the game was also playable on the show floor. There are still a lot of questions about the game, how it feels, how it plays, and from which entries in the series' past it takes the most inspiration. After spending significant hands-on time with the game, I have some answers. Obviously, the first and most immediately apparent inspiration for this remake is the original Resident Evil 2. The E3 demo begins with Leon Kennedy in the lobby of the Raccoon City Police Station, early in the game, but after the original's explosive opening sequence on the streets of Raccoon City. Presumably, that chaotic scene will be represented in the remake, but it was not present at E3. Visually, I was surprised at how easily I recognized the iconic locations from the original game. Everything, from the lobby's maiden statue, to the white and green walls of the station's hallways, and individual rooms within the station, were all distinctly recognizable. However, rather than resting on nostalgia and being a copy-paste HD remaster of the original, the remake shifts the perspective to behind Leon's camera, as seen in Resident Evil 4, 5, 6, and the Revelations games. Don't be fooled, though: the feeling is nothing like those titles. To casual observers, RE2 looks like a slower version of Resident Evil 6, or even akin to Revelations 2, but it feels totally different, more akin to a much more recent entry in the long-running saga. In terms of tone and gameplay, this remake borrows the most from the latest entry in the series, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard. From the looks of things, RE2 is going for a full-on horror experience; even the HUD is taken straight out of RE7. While the environments are recognizable from the original game, the remake runs on the RE Engine created for RE7, and thus supports its filmic, photorealistic style. The police station is no longer well-lit; it's almost pitch black at times, meaning Leon has to make use of his flashlight to see anything more than two feet away from his face. This creates a palpable tension and an overwhelming – but welcome – sense of dread. After a section of deliberately-paced exploration, I finally came face-to-face with a zombie, and was not disappointed. My immediate, visceral reaction was one of fear, and I was surprised and how I welcomed the terror. Much has been made of Resident Evil's infamous straying from its survival horror roots. After RE7 brought things back to basics with a straightforward horror title, many fans were skeptical that RE2 would be a step backwards due to its over-the-shoulder camera lending it a superficial resemblance to Resident Evil 5 and 6. Fortunately, this is not the case. The controversial over-the-shoulder, third-person camera from the series' most divisive era returns, but it's not here to facilitate high-octane shooting action and breakneck pacing; instead, it's here to offer a cinematic perspective with kinetic movements and dynamic zooms. At first, I chose to stand my ground and fight the zombie, and was surprised by just how intense the encounter truly was. Leon's Matilda sidearm has a slow rate of fire, the undead take a ton of bullets to bring down, and Leon lacks the martial arts prowess he exhibits in later titles. Lining up headshots isn't easy, but it's certainly rewarding, even if they're not an instant kill as they often are in zombie-focused media. Zombies are an irrepressible bunch, and I ultimately wind up opting to flee, rather than fight, which brings us to another significant change from the original game: since the environments are all interconnected, rather than separated by loading screens, zombies can follow Leon throughout the police station, although it seems the main lobby area is a safe space... During the demo, at least. The slow, deliberate pacing is akin to RE7, and the combat truly feels like every bullet has value. The final game will have an ammo crafting component, though I didn't get the chance to fiddle with it during my time with the game. I did, however, get to use the combat knife. While it's unclear whether the weapon has limited durability or if there are multiple knives to collect throughout the game, this new feature combines the defensive weapons from the 2002 Resident Evil remake with the classic combat knife fans have known and loved since the beginning. The knife can be used to open objects locked with heavy duty tape, from doors to cabinets. It can also be used in combat, either RE4-style or as a defensive item. Upon being grabbed by a zombie, Leon can counter their bite by plunging the knife into his attacker's head, which looks fantastic, but leaves Leon without a knife. Fortunately, it can be recovered by killing off the zombie and retrieving the blade from their corpse. One change which some fans have not enjoyed is the new faces and voice actors for the entire cast. While Leon sports his trademark "beautiful boy bangs" hairstyle, his face is noticeably different from what we've seen in the past, although it's certainly not as drastic a change as Chris Redfield's unexpectedly svelte appearance in RE7 and its "Not a Hero" DLC. Likewise, Marvin Branagh, who had only a minor role in the original game, seems to behave more like an ill-fated mentor here, giving Leon his combat knife, dispensing advice, and acting as something of a guide during the early stages of a game... Still, he's already bitten by the time Leon finds him, and he knows he's not long for this world. A few other changes include the reworking of famous "moments" from the original game, at least for the demo. In my time with RE2, I didn't encounter a single Licker enemy, though I did see its giant claw marks, and I also crossed paths with at least two of its unlucky victims, who had been violently torn apart. There's no doubt this game will earn the decidedly family-unfriendly M for Mature rating. There's also a new item, "Wooden Boards," which Leon can use to block enemies from breaking in through the police station's windows. Likewise, the game seems to be riddled with all new puzzles, as well as new twists on familiar tasks, offering new challenges to RE2 fans who think they'll be able to breeze through the new game just because they've spent 20 years mastering the original. This new take on Resident Evil 2 is not the game you knew. To call it a remaster would be extremely reductive, but it's not a straightforward remake, either. The 2002 Gamecube version of Resident Evil added new scenarios, characters, enemies, and twists to the classic Mansion incident of the original 1996 game, but it still retained the fixed camera angles, tank controls, 2D backgrounds, and most of the basic gameplay of the original. By comparison, RE2 is aiming to be an even more radical departure from its source material than the previous Resident Evil remake. Resident Evil 2 isn't a stop-gap release meant to hold over fans until the next game. It isn't an extended piece of obligatory fan service to act as counterprogramming to RE7. No, Resident Evil 2, despite being a remake which returns to an established place on the timeline, is the next Resident Evil game. RE2 is the next evolution for the series, combining the jaw-dropping terror of RE7 with the established story of RE2, creating a whole new beast. There's certainly an element of nostalgia at play here, but RE2 is clearly aiming to an unrelenting horror masterpiece without peer. It's not "Resident Evil for a new generation," but the latest evolution for a series which is constantly growing, changing, looking back, and moving forward. We'll find out for sure when Resident Evil 2 launches, on January 29, 2019, 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!
  21. One year ago, publisher Activision released the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a remake of the original three PlayStation classics with next-gen graphics. Gameplay-wise, the Crash Trilogy attempted to perfectly replicate the original games, and it came extremely close, but ultimately fell short of making the PlayStation 1 originals completely obsolete. A few seemingly minor changes – such as adjustments to enemy hitboxes and the ill-advised choice to use the jump physics from Crash 3 in all three games – kept the remake from fully living up to its potential. Still, developer Vicarious Visions put in a ton of work to make the game feel authentic to the hardcore fans, and for the most part, they succeeded. Sony's other big 1990s franchise was Spyro the Dragon. Like Crash, Spyro starred in a trilogy of universally acclaimed PlayStation games (Spyro, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon) before fading into obscurity during the PS2 era. In the long run, the little purple dragon is arguably more successful than Crash; while the plucky marsupial had been largely absent from the gaming scene following the failure of 2008's Crash: Mind over Mutant, Spyro managed to eke out a measure of success in the cult favorite Legend of Spyro trilogy and as a key player in the best-selling Skylanders series. Now, Activision is wisely bringing the character back to his roots with a remake of Insomniac's original titles, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, developed by Skylanders developer Toys for Bob. Like with Crash, old-school fans have significant questions about the gameplay of this new take on Spyro's classic adventures. Will it feel absolutely perfect to the PS1 originals? At E3 2018, I got extensive hands-on time with two levels from the original 1998 title, remade for PS4, and came away with some distinct impressions which may be surprising to longtime fans of the franchise. As a lifelong fan of Spyro's original adventures by Insomniac (I can proudly say I never played anything after 2000's Year of the Dragon, the third and final game on this collection), I knew that I would notice if everything wasn't absolutely perfect, just like how I noticed when the Crash Bandicoot trilogy was good, or even great, but not quite perfect compared to its progenitor. Upon getting my hands on the controller and booting up Toasty, the first boss level from Spyro's original adventure, the first thing I noticed was how gorgeous it all looked. Spyro's character model, in particular, is a sight to behold. Stylishly angular and youthfully emotive, the pint-sized dragon, simply put, has never looked better. Similarly, the environments, while apparently geometrically identical to their PS1 counterparts, are full of tiny visual details which add up to a fully believable environment. With a tap of the circle button, Spyro shoots a short geyser of fire from his mouth. The flames, while still as cartoonishly stylized as the rest of the revamped visuals, have a deviously visceral impact; they light the environment in a way which was simply impossible back in 1998, and they even scorch the grass in front of Spyro, to say nothing of what a plume of flame can do to his numerous and dangerous enemies. Of course, Spyro's newfound visual flair doesn't mean much if the gameplay doesn't stack up to the original. In that respect, unlike Crash Bandicoot, Spyro Reignited Trilogy doesn't attempt to play exactly like the original. Back in the PS1 days, Spyro felt very heavy, a bit slow, and had a noticeably wide arc when it came to turning, making sudden changes in direction a bit difficult. It wasn't insurmountable, and shouldn't even be described as a fault; it was just the way Spyro moved. He was different from Crash, from Mario, from Banjo, and all the other 1990s platforming heroes, who each had their own respective and distinct "feel." Immediately upon nudging the analog stick forward, I noticed how different Spyro feels from his heyday. At first, it was a bit distracting, being able to turn on a dime and run circles around enemies, but I quickly realized a shocking truth: Spyro Reignited doesn't play like the original game; it plays better. Back in the day, camera control was mapped to the shoulder buttons, which was the standard, but would be downright archaic today. Now, the camera is controlled with the right analog stick, which lets the player see more of the environment, and see it more quickly than ever before. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I could sense my enhanced control as I tackled the enemies in the Toasty stage. As I looked around me, I saw other E3 attendees getting mauled by the big grey dogs who populate the levels. I don't blame them, since those enemies are notoriously pesky, especially to untrained players who haven't yet realized that it takes two bursts of flame to bring them down, and they always counterattack after the first hit. On the PS1, it took a while to figure out the rhythm of the movement, and it was always tough to get out of range of their counter. Here, it was as easy as pulling back on the left analog stick. Spyro's movement is stunningly smooth and I was weaving through the level with a newfound fluidity and speed which is entirely different from the much heavier motion of the original. It's a bold change, but having played it myself, I must admit, it was the right move. After making short work of Toasty, I moved on to Tree Tops, one of the more infamous levels in the first game, due to its supercharge ramps and tough-to-reach secret areas. In this level, the visual acuity of this next-gen remastering is even more apparent than in Toasty. The dark, earthy palette of the level, which left much to the imagination in the original, really comes alive in this remake. In particular, the enemies, originally rendered as somewhat nondescript blobs of polygons, look like actual creatures this time around. Testing out the supercharge ramps, it only took me a couple of tries to make it to the secret area on top of the final island, and I was pleased by how smooth the controls felt... Although I had a bit of trouble knowing when to transition from the jump to a glide, leading to a couple of deaths before I found the precise moment to get the most distance out of the supercharge jump. The main collectable in the game is trapped Elder Dragons. Trapped in cages of green crystal, Spyro breaks them out of their prison, at which point they give him a brief word of advice before disappearing. While the original game had a degree of variety in dragon designs, assigning different body types to each of the first five worlds (the sixth, Gnasty's World, features a mixture from the previous settings), Reignited appears to be taking things a step further, making every single dragon unique and full of character. In the original, some of the dragons lacked fun dialogue, instead offering a simple "Thank you for releasing me!" It's unclear if that will be retained in this remake, or if any new interactions will be written for those dragons. At this point, I'm happy to report that Spyro Reignited Trilogy feels good, and I can't wait to get my hands on the complete game. I'm eager to embark on an odyssey through the worlds of Spyro, Ripto's Rage, and Year of the Dragon, combining my nostalgic memories of classic settings and enemies with the remake's significantly revamped gameplay mechanics. Of course, there are still questions remaining to be answered. Will Year of the Dragon's additional playable characters be as smooth to play as Spyro? Agent 9's first person shooter levels, notably, haven't aged very well. What about the numerous minigames from parts two and three, like Ice Hockey, boxing with Bentley the Yeti, and the numerous attractions in Dragon Shores, the bonus level from Ripto's Rage? Will these all be preserved/remastered for this new release? Spyro 2 opened and closed each level with a brief cutscene. Will they be remastered here? Year of the Dragon suffered from lacking these fun vignettes. Will developer Toys for Bob be bold enough to unify the sequels by creating brand new cutscenes for Year of the Dragon? One can only hope. One final question involves Year of the Dragon's main collectable, Dragon Eggs, which would hatch upon being rescued. While they each possessed unique names, many designs and animations were frequently repeated, robbing the baby dragons of their individuality. Will this HD remake go the extra mile and make sure every baby dragon feels like a unique character with their own custom animations? So far, all of Spyro Reignited Trilogy's marketing has focused on the original game, with only brief, fleeting glimpses of the sequels. Hopefully, they'll peel back the curtain soon. They have to; after all, the game is slated for release on September 21 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 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. One year ago, publisher Activision released the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, a remake of the original three PlayStation classics with next-gen graphics. Gameplay-wise, the Crash Trilogy attempted to perfectly replicate the original games, and it came extremely close, but ultimately fell short of making the PlayStation 1 originals completely obsolete. A few seemingly minor changes – such as adjustments to enemy hitboxes and the ill-advised choice to use the jump physics from Crash 3 in all three games – kept the remake from fully living up to its potential. Still, developer Vicarious Visions put in a ton of work to make the game feel authentic to the hardcore fans, and for the most part, they succeeded. Sony's other big 1990s franchise was Spyro the Dragon. Like Crash, Spyro starred in a trilogy of universally acclaimed PlayStation games (Spyro, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon) before fading into obscurity during the PS2 era. In the long run, the little purple dragon is arguably more successful than Crash; while the plucky marsupial had been largely absent from the gaming scene following the failure of 2008's Crash: Mind over Mutant, Spyro managed to eke out a measure of success in the cult favorite Legend of Spyro trilogy and as a key player in the best-selling Skylanders series. Now, Activision is wisely bringing the character back to his roots with a remake of Insomniac's original titles, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, developed by Skylanders developer Toys for Bob. Like with Crash, old-school fans have significant questions about the gameplay of this new take on Spyro's classic adventures. Will it feel absolutely perfect to the PS1 originals? At E3 2018, I got extensive hands-on time with two levels from the original 1998 title, remade for PS4, and came away with some distinct impressions which may be surprising to longtime fans of the franchise. As a lifelong fan of Spyro's original adventures by Insomniac (I can proudly say I never played anything after 2000's Year of the Dragon, the third and final game on this collection), I knew that I would notice if everything wasn't absolutely perfect, just like how I noticed when the Crash Bandicoot trilogy was good, or even great, but not quite perfect compared to its progenitor. Upon getting my hands on the controller and booting up Toasty, the first boss level from Spyro's original adventure, the first thing I noticed was how gorgeous it all looked. Spyro's character model, in particular, is a sight to behold. Stylishly angular and youthfully emotive, the pint-sized dragon, simply put, has never looked better. Similarly, the environments, while apparently geometrically identical to their PS1 counterparts, are full of tiny visual details which add up to a fully believable environment. With a tap of the circle button, Spyro shoots a short geyser of fire from his mouth. The flames, while still as cartoonishly stylized as the rest of the revamped visuals, have a deviously visceral impact; they light the environment in a way which was simply impossible back in 1998, and they even scorch the grass in front of Spyro, to say nothing of what a plume of flame can do to his numerous and dangerous enemies. Of course, Spyro's newfound visual flair doesn't mean much if the gameplay doesn't stack up to the original. In that respect, unlike Crash Bandicoot, Spyro Reignited Trilogy doesn't attempt to play exactly like the original. Back in the PS1 days, Spyro felt very heavy, a bit slow, and had a noticeably wide arc when it came to turning, making sudden changes in direction a bit difficult. It wasn't insurmountable, and shouldn't even be described as a fault; it was just the way Spyro moved. He was different from Crash, from Mario, from Banjo, and all the other 1990s platforming heroes, who each had their own respective and distinct "feel." Immediately upon nudging the analog stick forward, I noticed how different Spyro feels from his heyday. At first, it was a bit distracting, being able to turn on a dime and run circles around enemies, but I quickly realized a shocking truth: Spyro Reignited doesn't play like the original game; it plays better. Back in the day, camera control was mapped to the shoulder buttons, which was the standard, but would be downright archaic today. Now, the camera is controlled with the right analog stick, which lets the player see more of the environment, and see it more quickly than ever before. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and I could sense my enhanced control as I tackled the enemies in the Toasty stage. As I looked around me, I saw other E3 attendees getting mauled by the big grey dogs who populate the levels. I don't blame them, since those enemies are notoriously pesky, especially to untrained players who haven't yet realized that it takes two bursts of flame to bring them down, and they always counterattack after the first hit. On the PS1, it took a while to figure out the rhythm of the movement, and it was always tough to get out of range of their counter. Here, it was as easy as pulling back on the left analog stick. Spyro's movement is stunningly smooth and I was weaving through the level with a newfound fluidity and speed which is entirely different from the much heavier motion of the original. It's a bold change, but having played it myself, I must admit, it was the right move. After making short work of Toasty, I moved on to Tree Tops, one of the more infamous levels in the first game, due to its supercharge ramps and tough-to-reach secret areas. In this level, the visual acuity of this next-gen remastering is even more apparent than in Toasty. The dark, earthy palette of the level, which left much to the imagination in the original, really comes alive in this remake. In particular, the enemies, originally rendered as somewhat nondescript blobs of polygons, look like actual creatures this time around. Testing out the supercharge ramps, it only took me a couple of tries to make it to the secret area on top of the final island, and I was pleased by how smooth the controls felt... Although I had a bit of trouble knowing when to transition from the jump to a glide, leading to a couple of deaths before I found the precise moment to get the most distance out of the supercharge jump. The main collectable in the game is trapped Elder Dragons. Trapped in cages of green crystal, Spyro breaks them out of their prison, at which point they give him a brief word of advice before disappearing. While the original game had a degree of variety in dragon designs, assigning different body types to each of the first five worlds (the sixth, Gnasty's World, features a mixture from the previous settings), Reignited appears to be taking things a step further, making every single dragon unique and full of character. In the original, some of the dragons lacked fun dialogue, instead offering a simple "Thank you for releasing me!" It's unclear if that will be retained in this remake, or if any new interactions will be written for those dragons. At this point, I'm happy to report that Spyro Reignited Trilogy feels good, and I can't wait to get my hands on the complete game. I'm eager to embark on an odyssey through the worlds of Spyro, Ripto's Rage, and Year of the Dragon, combining my nostalgic memories of classic settings and enemies with the remake's significantly revamped gameplay mechanics. Of course, there are still questions remaining to be answered. Will Year of the Dragon's additional playable characters be as smooth to play as Spyro? Agent 9's first person shooter levels, notably, haven't aged very well. What about the numerous minigames from parts two and three, like Ice Hockey, boxing with Bentley the Yeti, and the numerous attractions in Dragon Shores, the bonus level from Ripto's Rage? Will these all be preserved/remastered for this new release? Spyro 2 opened and closed each level with a brief cutscene. Will they be remastered here? Year of the Dragon suffered from lacking these fun vignettes. Will developer Toys for Bob be bold enough to unify the sequels by creating brand new cutscenes for Year of the Dragon? One can only hope. One final question involves Year of the Dragon's main collectable, Dragon Eggs, which would hatch upon being rescued. While they each possessed unique names, many designs and animations were frequently repeated, robbing the baby dragons of their individuality. Will this HD remake go the extra mile and make sure every baby dragon feels like a unique character with their own custom animations? So far, all of Spyro Reignited Trilogy's marketing has focused on the original game, with only brief, fleeting glimpses of the sequels. Hopefully, they'll peel back the curtain soon. They have to; after all, the game is slated for release on September 21 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 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!
  23. One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel. Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up. By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better. The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light. Dying Light 2 is currently in development.
  24. One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel. Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up. By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better. The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light. Dying Light 2 is currently in development. View full article
  25. Rico Rodriguez is one of gaming's most bombastic heroes. Each game in the series puts Rico in a new territory taken over by some bad guys. his job is to take it back, by any means necessary. Usually, that involves making everything explode using his iconic grappling hook and parachute, his crack driving skills, and a whole lot of explosive ordinance. As revealed in Microsoft's E3 press conference, Rico is back to cause more explosions in Just Cause 4. This time around, Rico has been dispatched to Solis, a region with a wide variety of geographic diversity, from arctic tundra to sandy desert and everything in between. Here, he will do battle with the Black Hand, a mercenary organization which appeared way back in the original 2006 game, as well as 2015's Just Cause 3. For the most part, Just Cause 4 looks like it's aiming to be more of the same, but bigger and better in every way. The game's E3 trailer showed off an insane level of destruction and over-the-top stunts that would make James Bond blush, like flying a jet fighter into a glass dome, crashing a motorbike into a flying helicopter, and, craziest of all, driving a muscle car into a whirling tornado. Indeed, Just Cause 4 features dynamic weather events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and more. A brief snippet of gameplay shows Rico driving a snowmobile across a snowy winter wonderland. Could avalanches pop up as an extreme environmental disruption? Considering the game is developed by Avalanche Games, it should be a no-brainer, right? The Just Cause series is an unmatched playground of blockbuster action. In terms of environmental destructibility, nothing else comes close to matching the grand scale of Just Cause's explosive gameplay. If all goes well, Just Cause 4 will be the biggest and best entry yet. We'll know for sure when the game launches on December 4.
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