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Get An Ashe Skin During Overwatch's Mardi Gras Event

You want Overwatch 2. We want Overwatch 2. No one knows when that day will be just yet, but for now, Blizzard is making sure we have reasons to keep playing the original game. Today delivers one good reason to boot up the original once again. If you can rack up nine wins, you'll unlock a festive Mardi Gras skin for Ashe (and B.O.B.). If you immediately thought Ashe looks a little bit like Harley Quinn, you are not alone – we had the same takeaway.

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Like all of Overwatch's recent challenges, this Mardi Gras-themed one can be completed by getting wins in any mode. At three wins you'll earn new icons for Ashe, another three wins unlocks a spray for her, and then you just need three more victories to get that awesome new skin. If you want another five sprays for Ashe, you can get one for watching two hours of Overwatch streams on Twitch, two more for another two hours viewed, and yet another two for two more.

Are you still playing Overwatch these days? Whether you are or not, what's your temperature on Overwatch 2?

Batman: The Enemy Within & Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2 Headline March Games With Gold

Microsoft has announced March's Games With Gold titles free for a limited time for Xbox Live Gold members, featuring a range of genres.

Batman: The Enemy Within – The Complete Season kicks things off on Xbox One, and is available March 1 to the end of the month.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, via backward compatibility, runs from March 1 to 15 on Xbox One and the 360.

Sonic Generations, also via backward compatibility, starts on March 16 and goes to the end of the month on Xbox One and the 360.

Finally, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero on Xbox One starts mid-month (March 16), but doesn't end until the following month on April 15.

[Source: Microsoft]

New Gameplay Today – Resident Evil 3 Remake

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Capcom earned the praise of players and critics last year with the release of its Resident Evil 2 remake. How do you follow up something like that? If you were thinking "Resident Evil 3 remake," congrats. In today's episode, Leo and I grill Ben Reeves about what he saw – and played – during a recent event for the upcoming game.

There's a lot to absorb here, including a nice (?) glimpse of Nemesis, a quick walk around Raccoon City and its various shops, and Carlos' weird-looking hair. Seriously. There's a lot more to check out, but that hair is really something that stuck with us.

You can watch the episode above, or in 4K over on our YouTube channel! Resident Evil 3 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 3.

Five Reasons To Be Hyped For The Resident Evil 3 Remake

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release:
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

If you loved being terrified by Mr. X in the Resident Evil 2 remake last year and you’re looking for another pulse-pounding experience, then you’re in luck. Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 remake takes the ideas that worked well in last year’s game and applies them to the next numbered entry in the series. Here are five reasons you shouldn’t be afraid to pick up a controller when Resident Evil 3 releases on April 3. 

The Updated Visual Style Is Great

Since Resident Evil 3 has been completely remade for modern consoles, it should look better than the original. However, Capcom has also taken this opportunity to revisit everything from character designs to environmental art. Capcom has given both Jill and Carlos modern makeovers that feel more realistic. Raccoon City has also been remodeled and is now a sprawling metropolis. Not only will fans see new areas that that weren’t in the original game, but old areas have a much greater degree of detail. The streets shine after evening rain and broken store windows reflect nearby neon street signs. 

This Is More Than A Remake

If you played both versions of Resident Evil 2 then you probably know what to expect with one of Capcom’s RE remakes. This version of Resident Evil 3 is more than a visual overhaul. In fact, Capcom has started using the word “reimagining” to describe its approach to design. The layout of the entire game has been redone. The original Resident Evil 3 was a bit linear when compared to previous entries in the series, but this remake has expanded on the original’s environments, giving players a lot of reason to explore and slowly open up new places in traditional Resident Evil fashion. Another good example of how the game is updated is RE 3’s puzzles, which are completely new. Capcom asked us not to explain these puzzles in detail, but based on what we saw, the new puzzles are much more realistic but still offer a good change of pace from the tense action that happens on the zombie-packed streets. 

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The Dodge Works … And Is A Big Deal

Capcom has called Resident Evil 3 a more action-focused game, but this is still a survival horror experience that will force you to thoughtfully manage your supplies. Thankfully, Jill has a new trick up her sleeve that might make your battle against the undead a little easier. Instead of using defensive weapons to prevent zombie bites, Jill can dodge out of the way of an attack at the last minute. If timed correctly, Jill can sidestep the attack and then slow time, allowing her to quickly squeeze off a few retaliation shots on her attacker’s head. 

The Nemesis Is Terrifying

Mr. X was the breakout star in Resident Evil 2, but Resident Evil 3 has a stalking tyrant of its own, and his name is Nemesis. Much like Mr. X, the Nemesis will relentlessly chase Jill throughout the game, following her from one environment to the next. However, unlike Mr. X, Nemesis is faster, can leap in front of Jill to block her path, or use tentacles to trip her up. Later on, Nemesis gets aggressive with a series of weapons that lead to some epic boss encounters. The music Capcom uses whenever Nemesis shows up really ramps up the tension too, so don’t play this game if you have a weak heart.  

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The Resistance Multiplayer Mode Is Fun

The Resident Evil franchise has dabbled with multiplayer mayhem to varying degrees, but we haven’t played a multiplayer mode that we wanted to come back to in a long time. Resistance could finally break that trend. This asynchronous 4v1 mode tasks a group of survivors with escaping the sadistic machinations of an Umbrella experiment. Each match is split into three stages where four survivors work together to complete a variety of objects, and each hero has their own set of skills. I played as a support hero who could reveal special items on the map as well as a tankier survivor who was skilled in melee attacks. There is a good amount of variety among the survivors so almost anyone should be able to find a character that clicks for them. However, I had the most fun when playing as the Mastermind who works against the survivors, laying traps and unleashing zombies on the team from the safety of a control room. 


There is a lot more to say about Resident Evil 3, but if you’re not excited for this survival horror remake at this point we don’t know what we could say to turn you around. I guess you could start by reading our review for Resident Evil 2 or watching our New Gameplay Today video

New Gameplay Today – Outriders' Trickster Class

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After being exposed to a mysterious force called The Anomaly, humans face a variety of different fates. They might be torn apart, atom by atom. On the other extreme, they might turn into gods. Today, we're focusing on one of the luckier ones, those who become Tricksters. These character archetypes can teleport around the world in People Can Fly's shooter/RPG, turning what might otherwise be a mundane gunfight in an exhilarating game of hide and seek. And then headshot.

Leo and I visited People Can Fly's studio in Warsaw, and you can hear details about our hands-on experiences in today's episode. Leo played almost exclusively with this class, and he had a lot of thoughts. In addition to learning more about the Trickster, you can get a sense of how missions are structured in Outriders' hub-and-spoke-based world.

Outriders is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox One Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020. For more video features on the game, including our rapid-fire interview, visit our hub page by clicking the banner below.

New Gameplay Today — Totally Reliable Delivery Service

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Sometimes, you just have an appetite for nonsensical mayhem. Totally Reliable Delivery Service fills that void and then some, as you and up to three friends can become the world's worst deliverers. You traverse an open world, drive strange vehicles, and haul packages in the most ridiculous ways.

We're Five Games level designer Brent Boehner joins the show to guide Jeff Cork, Ben Reeves, and Joe Juba through the lunacy while also demonstrating some of the secrets the islands have to offer.

If you and your friends want to cause some chaos together, Totally Reliable Delivery Service comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on April 1, no fooling!

Owners Of Cyberpunk 2077 On Xbox One Get The Xbox Series X Upgrade For Free

All too often players can find themselves picking up a game for current gen only to have to repurchase the game on new hardware when it becomes available. Today, CD Projekt Red announced that Cyberpunk 2077 players on Xbox One will get the upgrade to the Series X when it arrives absolutely free.

This should inspire some purchase confidence for those looking to play the game at its best - you'll get to play it on launch on the Xbox One and then get the more powerful version for free on the Series X when it arrives at no additional cost.

I mean, we're all going to play through the game at least twice anyway, right? 

Singer Grimes Reveals Dark Story For Her Cyberpunk 2077 Character

During a livestream, Canadian singer and songwriter Grimes shared a wild story about her Cyberpunk 2077 character. The archive of the stream has since been removed, but the rough details of what she shared are on Reddit. During the stream, Grimes answered fan questions, and was asked about her role in Cyberpunk 2077. She enthusiastically shared the following (which should be viewed as SPOILERS):

"I did my voice acting for Lizzy Wizzy. That game is going to be f---ing good. I mean I haven’t played it, but I saw someone play an hour of the game. The game was fantastic, and I play a pop star who committed suicide on stage, and they had to quickly come and perform emergency surgery and replace her whole body with cybernetics while she was dead for an hour. Then she finished the show as a cyborg. One of the greatest pieces of performance art ever made."

There's a chance Lizzy Wizzy's story will unfold through a mission, or it could just be backstory. We won't know until the game hits on September 17 for Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Stadia.

Overwatch Ditches A Tank In First Experimental Mode Test

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If you are a Competitive mode player and you want to suit up as a DPS hero, you know you have some time to kill, as a match likely won't be found for five to ten minutes. While it's nice that Blizzard added the ability to practice or play deathmatch as you wait, the real solution we all want to see is faster matchmaking times.

Blizzard has an idea that may lead to a solution, and it completely changes to the hero balancing. Rather than having a team consist of two tanks, two DPS, and two support, Blizzard is removing one tank and filling that spot with a third DPS. This isn't a permanent change, and you'll have a hand in saying whether or not it should be. The test will unfold through Overwatch's new Experimental card, which arrives tomorrow. The test is called "Triple Damage," but it could also be called "No Shield" for teams that have off tanks like Roadhog, D.Va, and Zarya. To counteract the lack of a tank, Blizzard has made huge changes to the hero balancing. We'll find out exactly what they are tomorrow.

Experimental matches still give you progress in leveling up and events, so it may not be a bad idea to jump into the test and contribute to the future of the game. You can learn more about Triple Damage watching the developer video above.

Xbox Series X Shows Off More Specs & Details Backwards Compatibility

Microsoft has pulled back the curtain more on the specs and capabilities of the Xbox Series X, which is coming out at the end of the year, including games backwards compatibility and the continuation of the Game Pass subscription service.

In a blog post, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, quantified the Xbox Series X's graphical power, stating that system's AMD custom processor with an AMD RDNA 2 GPU contains 12 TFLOPS of performance – eight times that of the Xbox One and double the Xbox One X. Spencer says this enables benefits such as higher framerates and "larger, more sophisticated" game worlds.

Other aspects touched on in the blog post, include: Variable Rate Shading (VRS), DirectX Raytracing, and Dynamic Latency Input (DLI). These enable the console to deliver more stable framerates and higher resolution, high-quality lighting and acoustics, and precise controls, respectively.

Spencer also introduced a new feature: Quick Resume. This feature lets you continue multiple games from a suspended state.

On the topic of backwards compatibility, Spencer stated that all existing Xbox One games – including backwards compatible Xbox One titles from Xbox 360 and the original Xbox – will work on the Xbox Series X. These titles on the upcoming console will also "benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times, and improved resolution and visual fidelity," Spencer says. Xbox One accessories can also be used with the Series X.

Microsoft's commitment to the Xbox Game Pass subscription continues on the Series X, meaning all first-party games (including launch title Halo Infinite) will be on the service when they release.

Finally, Smart Delivery is a new cross-console feature that automatically selects the correct version of a game whether you play it on your Xbox Series X or Xbox One after your initial, one-time purchase. All Xbox Game Studios titles will utilize Smart Delivery, and it's available for third-party developers/publishers as well.

The price of the Xbox Series X has not been announced yet, and Spencer closes his post by promising more details in the coming months.

[Source: Microsoft]

Funko Shows Off New Avengers Game Pops At Toy Fair

Toy Fair is ramping up in New York, where tons of new figures and collectibles are being showcased for the first time. Among the exciting additions for game fans, Funko has highlighted an array of fun figures from the upcoming Crystal Dynamics Avengers video game.

Whether you’re looking to help Hulk smash your bookcase, or Thor to call lightning and thunder down on your office desk, the set should offer plenty of superheroic fun.

The new figures are expected to begin hitting shelves in early March.

 

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Upcoming PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Patch Enables PS4 And Xbox One Party Crossplay

Ready to party up with your friends across the great console servers? It's almost time! PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds patch 6.2 is expected to allow for players to group up across Xbox and PS4 to play matches together.

Finally, Xbox Jim can team up with PlayStation Pete, take a car across Erangel, and have an epic shootout on a hill. Or just drop into a hotspot and go for the instant action. Whatever you're into, that option is coming to console "live" on March 3, but you can test it out right now on the test server if you're into that!

 

Top Of The Table – Wonder Woman: Challenge Of The Amazons

Ask anyone who plays a lot of cooperative board games (or designs them), and they’ll reveal one big problem that always seems to crop up. In a game where everyone is working together toward a common goal, it’s often far too easy for a single player to become the “alpha,” directing the action and extending his or her control over the game by dictating what everyone should do in each round. It’s not always malicious and selfish – after all, everybody wants to win, and maybe that one player really does know best – but it has the unfortunate side effect that everyone else starts to feel left out and without agency, and that’s no fun.

Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons is a game I like for a lot of reasons. At its core, it’s all about taking on the role of Wonder Woman and her friends, and then ranging out across the island of Themyscira to cooperatively confront one of the familiar foes from the comic book fiction – Ares, Circe, or Cheetah. The board game features some beautiful components, a smart sense of pacing, and the multiple supervillains lend replayability. But without a doubt, the thing that most impresses me is the game’s approach to the alpha player problem.

Adopting the role of the peerless Amazonian warrior women, the game bakes in a period of strategizing and planning into the start of each turn, which does indeed give outspoken players a chance to lay out their grand plans, based on available cards and actions that each player can see. But after that, as the battle begins, additional cards come into play for all the players. And at this point, all the group strategizing must end, and each player’s combat instincts must kick in. To reflect that idea, everyone gets to look at that broader array of available action cards that were not available during the strategy phase, and then make their own plan, even if that means going rogue from the original strategy. It’s an idea that provides tremendous agency to each player, and also results in awesome surprises as the battle moves in different directions than expected. It’s a brilliant solution to a stubborn dilemma.

Action resolution is deterministic, with clear outcomes to actions. There’s very little randomness inserted since there are no dice for combat or other luck-based elements. Instead, you can have high confidence that your actions around the board will have the desired result. Every action’s outcome is resolved by having enough of a designated icon for traits like leadership and agility. Need to take out bad guys? You need a certain number of vigor icons on your cards. Is there a blockade preventing you from reaching a desired destination? Then hopefully you have enough agility. Because of this dynamic, the appeal of turn-to-turn gameplay is about relatively pure strategy and planning and trying to predict the flow of enemy forces. The only thing you can’t confidently plan on is the villain’s card draws, which deploy new problems onto the board.

I really enjoy the distinct traits of each hero character. Diana’s take-charge nature gives her the chance to move a space during the strategize phase. Meanwhile, Nu’bia’s honed instincts for combat are reflected by two additional face-down cards in your battle plan, giving her increased flexibility to call audibles once the conflict begins. Artemis gets to start the game with one of the powerful relics of the island already in hand. In each case, it’s just enough to give each character a distinct identity within the gameplay. If I have a complaint, it’s that the broader flavor text and components do a poor job of introducing and selling each of these powerful protagonists. Even some devoted comic fans will have trouble recalling characters like Mala and Philippus, and just a bit more description would have gone a long way to enriching the thematic immersion.

The three “big bads” each offer amusingly divergent scenarios. Cheetah demands big coordinated attacks, as she slips away after each encounter to an entirely different place on the island. Circe circles Themyscira, transforms your fellow Amazons into animals, and sets up magical beacons that must be pulled down to drop her magical shielding. And the final blow against Ares can only be struck by a hero who has toured the island and charged up the Sword of Hephaestus at important monuments and temples. While I’d be more than happy to see even more enemy scenarios in this core box, the initial three are all fun and challenging in their own right, and should maintain your attention for lots of runs.

While I don’t always feel compelled to highlight a game’s components, I was especially pleased with the clean presentation, stylish art, and cool miniatures that are included within Challenge of the Amazons. The cover art talents of Jenny Frison (who has an established history with envisioning the character for comic book covers) captures the stoic and heroic vibe of the Amazons. Internal cards and board components feature a soft white undertone that calls to mind marble columns. And the well-sculpted miniatures of the heroes are all painted in a deep bronze color, suggesting the classic statuary styles of Ancient Greece, and further accentuating the mythological vibe.

Two to five players can enjoy a run at defending Wonder Woman’s home, and my playthroughs suggest a playtime of between one and two hours, at least after you grasp the basics, and depending on how long your gaming group likes to sit around and strategize each round. The game has only just been announced, and if you’re reading this at publication, you may have a few weeks to wait until it shows up to purchase.

If your group likes cooperative challenges and mythological overtones, it’s well worth tracking down. It also features another potent distinction that might mean a lot to certain players – it’s one of the very few games I can think of with an all-female cast of playable characters, and does a great job of reflecting that branch of the DC comics fiction in a way that feels both empowering and appropriate to the setting.

For many players, the cooperative experience can be a game-changer to being able to enjoy a night of gaming; if you haven’t yet tried that playstyle out, Wonder Woman offers an excellent foray into teamwork and personal moments of triumph that benefit everyone at the table.

If you’re looking for other board games to fill your table on your next game night with friends or family, don’t forget to click into the Top of the Table hub from the banner below. You’ll find years of recommendations and suggestions for the best in the board, card, miniature, and role-playing game field, including round-ups of some of the best releases from any given year. If sifting through those articles is intimidating, you can also always reach out directly via email; I’m always happy to hear what you’re looking for, and hopefully pinpoint the next great game you can share with your group.

Tony Stewart's Sprint Car Racing Review – Strapping In For A New Ride

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Publisher: Monster Games
Developer: Monster Games
Release: (PlayStation 4, Xbox One), (PC)
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Also on: PlayStation 4, PC

Dirt racing has value for developer Monster Games. Since it hasn’t always been included in the studio’s titles through the years, fans have demanded it. Dirt racing also has cred. Many famous drivers got their starts on dirt, tearing it up at local tracks throughout the country on a Friday night. So, it makes sense that Monster would partner with NASCAR star Tony Stewart – who has always supported dirt racing – for a sprint car racing game on dirt.

Racing is naturally more slippery on dirt, but I’m glad this title has more gameplay nuance than just slopping through the corners. It’s more about finesse than aggression, and you must consider your car’s HP and the banking and arc of the turns. The fact that the tracks are ovals might seem boring, but the shortness of the straightaways relative to a NASCAR track creates a fun rhythm; it feels like you’re perpetually turning the wheel in preparation for the next corner. The flow feels different than a regular offroad or rally game. I was often on the gas the whole race, managing the car simply through careful and timely steering inputs, tearing around the track and scissoring between the other cars. Unfortunately, this is negated during online races, where lag can cause cars to visually appear to teleport around.

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Starting out in the career mode, I gained an appreciation for what it takes to even eke out a mid-place finish through disciplined racing and avoiding contact with other cars. The mode contains three tiers of cars of escalating HP corresponding to the three racing series (midgets, 305s, and 410s), as well as upgradeable parts within each which you buy with your winnings and sponsorship payouts.

Progress through the mode is gradual, which I like. I didn’t win my first race until my second season in midgets, by which time I not only had better equipment, but I was also simply a better racer. Accordingly, I began to deal more with lapped traffic (on 50-percent race length) – another gameplay wrinkle that takes skill and patience to navigate. Eventually you can own more than one race car across each series and use your success in lower tiers to fuel your progress in the higher ones.

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The game’s career mode is appropriately wedded to the experience on the track, but it’s locked in a linear inevitability that puts a cap on the mode’s ultimate payoff. Eventually you can get enough money to buy the parts you need to simply outmuscle opponents. This isn’t necessarily bad; it works, but it also makes your progress through the mode predictable and without consequence. It doesn’t match the tension and excitement occurring on the track itself.

Dirt racing may be a sort of minor league to the big-time stock cars, but this game – while limited in some areas – taps into its own enjoyable racing rhythm and buzz.

Score: 7

Summary: Monster Games' latest racer contains some elements similar to its NASCAR series, but the sprint cars have a gameplay feel all their own.

Concept: NASCAR developer Monster Games takes you back to the roots of racing – sprint cars on dirt tracks, complete with real drivers and a multi-series career mode

Graphics: Frame stutters occur every couple of laps

Sound: The local track announcer is a nice touch, but he’s not used much

Playability: Maintaining optimal control and speed is a subtle task, making the simple dirt tracks trickier than they might appear

Entertainment: I enjoyed racing spring cars on dirt ovals more than I thought I would

Replay: Moderate

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Replay — Halo 2

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In Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie proved to the world that a console first-person shooter could not only work, but could elevate the medium past what many thought possible. In Halo 2, the team refined that formula and produced one of the greatest shooters of all-time.

Join Andrew Reiner, Brian Shea, Matt Miller, and me as we revel in the swelling score from Marty O'Donnell and his amazing team, bask in the glow of the energy sword, and play one of the best multiplayer matches you'll ever lay eyes on at the end of the show.

If you liked this week's show, be sure to tune in each Friday at 2 p.m. CT for a new episode of Replay. Remember to also subscribe on YouTubeTwitchMixerTwitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live each week! Thanks and enjoy the show!

Choose Our Fate in Streets Of Rogue — Game Informer Live

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As I discovered earlier this week, games with Twitch integration can be pretty fun. So much so that Leo Vader and Jeff Cork also wanted to get in on the action. What's a better way to do so than by playing one of Leo's favorite games of last year?

We were live earlier, but fear not as you can watch the archive above. Enjoying the streams? You can subscribe over on YouTubeTwitchMixerTwitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live in the future! Thanks for watching!

Coronavirus Convention Impact Continues

PlayStation cancelled its PAX East presence completely a few days ago, and now other consequences of COVID-19, aka coronavirus, are rippling across the industry.

Square Enix has announced that many of their developers are no longer making the journey to PAX, via a post on the Final Fantasy XIV lodestone website. Some of Capcom's developers have pulled out as well, with a tweet mentioning their Monster Hunter event planned for PAX East.

While both these companies are still expected to have a presence at or around the show, it looks like their staff from Japan won't be making the journey.

In addition, per reporting via Gameindustry.biz, Playstation and Facebook/Oculus have canceled their plans to attend GDC, with the planned Oculus reveals moving to a digital format.

Outside of conventions, UploadVR has reported that production of the Valve Index may also be impacted, with less unit availability than previously expected in the immediate future.

Eli Roth Set To Direct Borderlands Movie

Borderlands is coming to a movie theater near you, and it has some big names attached to it. The upcoming film, which Lionsgate teased five years ago, will be directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel). It's based on a script from Craig Mazin, the writer behind The Hangover Part II and HBO's Chernobyl miniseries.

Gearbox president Randy Pitchford, who is also an executive producer on the project, revealed Roth's involvement in a tweet, in which he also said more info was coming in a week at PAX.

https://twitter.com/DuvalMagic/status/1230567293324795904

“I’m so excited to dive into the world of Borderlands and I could not be doing it with a better script, producing team, and studio,” Roth said in a statement. “I have a long, successful history with Lionsgate — I feel like we have grown up together and that everything in my directing career has led to a project of this scale and ambition. I look forward to bringing my own energy, ideas, and vision to the wild, fun, and endlessly creative world of the game. Randy Pitchford and everyone at Gearbox have been incredibly supportive of my ideas — it really feels like a perfect storm of creators coming together. We are out to make a new classic, one which the fans of the game will love, but also one which will find new audiences globally."

GI Show — What We Want From The Next Generation

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On this week's episode of The Game Informer Show, I am joined by Joe Juba, Matt Miller, and Alex Stadnik to discuss what we want from next-generation hardware. After we handle some hot topics, we jump into the always entertaining and enlightening community emails, including a new game experiment that we hope you all enjoy.

Thanks for listening! Please make sure to leave feedback below, share the episode if you enjoyed it, and follow me @therealandymc to let me know what you think. 

You can watch the video above, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Playlisten on SoundCloudstream it on Spotify, or download the MP3 at the bottom of the page. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show.

Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show's intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below.

What We Want From Next-Gen: 2:18
Coronavirus Hurting The Game Industry: 43:09
What We're Playing: 46:43
THQ Nordic Buying Saber
 Interactive: 59:18
Community Question 1: Ever Got Hacked?: 1:09:42
Community Question 2: AAA Games We Like But Others Don't: 1:20:45
Community Question 3: GI Town Army: 1:34:16
New Mystery Game: 1:50:27

Outriders’ Weirdest Legendary Weapons In Action

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A loot game is only as good as its loot, so for today's exclusive Outriders video we're showing off three of the game's unique legendaries. Warped by The Anomaly, these almost organic-looking weapons are as fun to look at as they are to play with. Watch the video above for an up close view of three of them, as well as a showcase of the weapons in action.

Click the banner below for more exclusive coverage of Outriders, including our rapid-fire interview and the full cover story available for free!

Visit the Outriders Hub

Deadpool Joins Fortnite For Spy-Themed Next Season

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The latest season of Fortnite has started, and the spy-themed Top Secret backdrop for battle royale includes ways to change the island permanently.

Players choose sides and complete missions as part of the Ghost or Shadow sides. The Battle Pass contains agents such as Meowscles, skin-changing Maya, Marvel's Deadpool, and others, and you'll complete weekly missions for each character for variant skins.

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Hands-on With Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing is one of those series without much middle ground; people are either really into it, or they struggle to see the appeal. I’ve been a fan of the weird little village simulators since the GameCube days, and have been looking forward to a fully realized new entry for years. New Horizons is almost here, and I got about 40 minutes of hands-on time with it, from the opening until the moment the Nintendo reps wrenched the controller from my hands. Here’s a small slice of what you can expect to see for yourself in about a month.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons starts off as you’re preparing to book your trip via Tom Nook’s Island getaway service. Timmy and Tommy Nook ask you for your name and birthday, and then have you pose for your passport photo. In a departure from past games, I’m then dropped into a simple character creator, where I’m able to pick my hair style and color, skin tone, and eye shape and color. The options are limited, but it’s nice to be able to choose exactly what I want instead of being surprised with how I look after answering a series of questions, as has been the case in the past.

Then I’m asked if I want to visit an island in North America or elsewhere. If you’re new to the series, Animal Crossing games are tied directly to your console’s date and time, with seasons that change according to the time of year. If you live in Australia, for example, your in-game island’s seasons will match what you’re experiencing outside. Regardless of your hemisphere, the next step is picking what island you’ll be visiting from four randomized selections. You can see the layouts of the rivers as well as where Tom Nook’s HQ will be. If you don’t like the selections, you can keep cycling through new ones until something strikes your fancy. I choose one with a winding river that doesn’t seem especially intrusive.

As a quick aside, the Direct showed off some of New Horizons’ terraforming elements. Don’t like the flow of a river? Put on your hard hat and change it. That ability, coupled with the option of building bridges and staircases, will let you transform your routes if you decide the layout isn’t to your liking anymore. You can also build a vaulting pole and ladder to cross gaps and scurry up cliffs if you don’t want to make any permanent changes to your layout.

All right, back to my game. There are a few more jokey bits of dialogue to go through, and then I’m off. The screen goes black, and I hear then whirring of a propeller and some in-flight announcements. In a nice little touch, the warbly little animal sounds have an added layer of static to better emulate the kind of audio you hear on a plane’s overhead speaker system. The charter company, Dodo Airlines, is run by a pair of bird brothers (Orville and Wilbur, naturally), and their offices later serve as a place to access multiplayer and send letters. You can also depart on mini adventures to random islands to find and collect items.

After landing, I watch a brief orientation video with clips of villagers and animals going about their day doing typical Animal Crossing things. The level of detail is phenomenal, and everything looks great. Characters have the same general art design and style, but they’re brimming with little visual flourishes. My animal companions (chosen randomly from a large roster of critters) are Mac the dog and a bunny named Mira. They’re not exactly furry, but they have a pseudo-flocked texture on them, giving them the appearance of looking like living toys. Bugs like cicadas and bees have iridescent wings, though they’re not likely to stick around long enough for you to admire them.

Since we’re on a deserted island, the first order of business is to claim our site. Tom Nook has already staked his claim for his Resident Services tent, but everything else is fair game. I start wandering around, looking for the perfect place to pitch my tent. I find a great spot a bit north, between a pair of orange trees and overlooking a waterfall. What could be better than falling asleep with nature’s own white-noise generator? I try to plop my tent down, and I’m told it’s a little too close to the water. After backing up a few steps, I’m able to set down what will be my new home. Don’t worry; if you regret where you’ve set up camp, you can move it later. As with a lot of things in New Horizons, Nintendo is aiming to eliminate the pain points from past games.

Before heading back to Nook, I decide to do a little exploration. There’s not a lot to see in these early days, but since it’s winter I’m able to shake trees without having to worry about getting stung by bees. As I run, arms stretched behind me, the sounds of my footsteps are muted in the snow. I see a few snowballs – perfect for rolling into snowmen. In the rivers, I spy a few shadowy fishy figures. They disappear in a flash as I zoom past to report my success to Mr. Nook.

Tom is impressed with how quickly I’ve set up, so he tells me to help my fellow campers. I find Mira a ways south, and she’s struggling to find the perfect spot. She says that she threw a stick and was determined to set up wherever it landed, but now she’s not so sure. I tell her it’s a perfect location, and she feels better about the situation. A few moments later, she’s got a place to call home. Mac is similarly stuck. I tell him I’ve got the perfect place, and he enthusiastically goes along with my plan. I run back to my tent, and try to put his tent as close to mine as possible. Hey, I like having neighbors, and Mac is a cool guy. Unfortunately, I’m told that our tents must have a little more real estate between them. So much for that plan. I manage to have him fairly close, but it’s not the tent-to-tent setup I was hoping for.

The island seems to have ample room for growth, which is key. In addition to serving as home to all the various animals and services that will move in over time, it must sustain multiple players. Up to eight players can live on an island, with one character (and home) for each registered user. Online, eight players can inhabit an island simultaneously. If you want to play locally, up to four can play together, with one player serving as leader and determining where the screen scrolls. I didn’t get to play that mode, but looking at the Direct it seemed like a serviceable (if cramped) way to play together. Items that the followers find will be deposited in the recycle bin for the host to collect later.

I have to run a few more errands for Tom Nook, including gathering wood for a bonfire and fruit for a party. I can’t spoil what happens at the party, but it’s funny and heartwarming in the familiar Animal Crossing ways.

Reality sets in when I wake up. Tom swings by my tent and gives me a NookPhone, which is a fancy new piece of tech. He says it’s easy to use, because he removed most of the features. He also brings up the matter of payment, which is something I’d been waiting for. All told, I’m indebted to him to the tune of 49,800 bells. Things are different in New Horizons, thanks in no small part to the NookPhone. Rather than pay solely in cash, I’ll be able to work off my debt using a new mileage program he’s cooked up. The scheme is actually pretty cool: You earn “Nook Miles” by completing in-game tasks you’d likely be doing naturally. Things like picking up shells, talking to neighbors, snapping photos, catching fish and bugs, and planting flowers all earn you miles. In addition to paying off your debt, you can use those miles to pick up cosmetic items for your character. These tasks have different tiers, too, and I scrolled past tons of empty slots. It looks like there’s going to be plenty to do, and now you’ll actually get rewarded for doing it.

In the Direct, we saw permanent structures such as the museum and the Able Sisters moving to the island, as well as an actual player home that replaces the tent. Though the first debt can be paid off with miles, that doesn’t necessarily make bells an obsolete currency; further upgrades down the road might require bells, but I didn’t play long enough to test that theory. Either way, the mileage program seems designed as a way to acclimate players to the various activities and steer them toward the big beats.

My first mileage-earning opportunity comes when I use the new DIY workshop for the first time. Crafting appears to be a big part of the game now. Before, you could design patterns for use as flags and clothing. Now, you’re making things like furniture and tools. As you get new recipe cards, you can make more sophisticated items and even further customize things you already know how to make.

Nook gives me the recipe for a flimsy fishing pole and tells me to gather the materials to craft it. In this case, it’s several sticks. It’s flimsy, after all. After clicking into the workshop, I’ve got my own fishing pole. Not too bad! Well, sort of. In what’s bound to be a controversial move, New Horizons’ tools break over time – and not just the ax, as has been the case in previous entries. I don’t have a sense of how long they last, but the “flimsy” part doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. This is a case where it could be much ado about nothing for some players and a real issue with others, the way the weapons in Breath of the Wild polarized Zelda players.

Will larger fish wear out poles faster? Do failed attempts carry an additional ding to the pole’s overall durability? Again, it’s too early to know from this short demo, but I’m definitely curious, and more than a little apprehensive about how it all works. All I know is my fishing pole was strong enough to let me catch a horse mackerel from the ocean, which I proudly displayed in my tent next to my lantern, radio, and camo-patterned cot.

And with that, my demo ended. Animal Crossing is a tough game to appreciate in such a short session, but I can already feel myself getting drawn into its laid-back loops. These games are meant to be savored over long periods of time, when you’re able to get to know the animal residents and make your own place in the world. Mac and Mira were very kind (Mac gave me a nice denim cap, and Mira passed along a recipe for turning weeds into an umbrella), but it was a brief introduction. Hopefully, I’ll see them again someday. Maybe I’ll run into them on Bunny Day in April, which is the game’s first post-launch festival?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming to the Nintendo Switch on March 20.

New Gameplay Today — Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition

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While there have been other entries in the series since its 2005 release, Devil May Cry 3 remains a fan favorite and thus has received a plethora of different ports throughout the console generations. Now it's the Nintendo Switch's turn and we have (mostly) good news for fans of the long-running franchise. Join Joe Juba, Leo Vader, Matt Miller, and me as we explore all the newest additions to Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition, including its co-op mode, made exclusively for the Switch.

If you're watching this and feel the urge to jump back into the Capcom classic, you're in luck as the game is out now on Nintendo Switch. Happy demon-hunting!

Yacht Club Games Revealing New Stuff Next Week

If you're like me, you probably go back and play Shovel Knight all the time. It's pretty fun! But hey, we like new stuff too, so Yacht Club Games is potentially revealing some shiny, fun things next Wednesday at 12 PM EST.

The new info is going to be livestreamed on both YouTube and Twitch, so you can watch for new info on Shovel Knight, Cyber Shadow, and "some surprises we promise you've never seen!"

If you missed our review of Shovel Knight, you can check it out here

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ Cindered Shadows Is A Challenging Good Time

Fire Emblem: Three Houses went big by providing three different perspectives to see its larger story unfold. Now we have one more in the Ashen Wolves, but it comes with its own self-contained story. Cindered Shadows is the final piece of the Fire Emblem: Three Houses expansion pass, providing the most substantial piece of content (previously, we got smaller scale updates, such as new attire, items, and adding everyone’s favorite secret shopkeeper, Anna, as a recruitable character). The new DLC provides an interesting story and characters, but holds the most allure in the new missions and classes.

New Cast Members Keep Things Interesting 

Cindered Shadows introduces you to a new secret house called the Ashen Wolves, who live in an underground city called the Abyss. Its inhabitants mostly keep to themselves, but a recent spike in attacks has its members concerned and questioning the cause. After another threat, they come face-to-face with professor Byleth and house leaders Edelgard, Claude, and Dmitri, asking for help to get to the bottom of things. The story takes a while to get going and can be a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed it as it sheds more light on Byleth’s background and connects the new faces to the three other houses in interesting ways. I also like that the expansion brings back fan-favorite characters, such as Hilda and Ashe, in addition to the main house leaders. 

As for the Ashen Wolves, they all are interesting in their own right. Hapi, for instance, can bring forth monsters by sighing, and Constance’s personality changes drastically depending on if she’s in the sun. My favorite is Balthus, “the king of grappling,” not only is he a powerhouse on the battlefield, but he’s also extremely likable due to his big heart. Just don’t expect this side story to dig too deep into the new members’ personalities; you get the basic gist of each character, but they’re not expanded upon until you bring them into the main game and engage in support conversations.

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A Great Challenge

Cindered Shadows’ main attraction is the battlefield. The missions are difficult and chock-full of surprises. This DLC isn’t for beginners, and for those playing with permadeath on, keeping your entire alive is quite the feat. If you thought the base game was too easy, this DLC is what you’ve been waiting for. I was constantly on my toes and my head was always spinning due to unexpected reinforcements, turn-limited objectives, and a daunting amount of enemies on the battlefield at all times. 

Some missions made me face off against giant, deadly golems; others had foes so nasty that they would damage all my characters with a single attack. In one, I had to ensure all my team got past doors by a certain turn, which meant factoring in movement radius, when to engage enemies, and who to send to pull far-off levers. This is the most I’ve ever used healing magic or items to get through stages in Three Houses. The final boss has its own annoying attacks, spawning clones that can regenerate its health and a move that changes the boss' position and all your characters, potentially putting them in precarious situations. 

At times, it felt like the game was doing everything in its power to make me lose a combatant; usually just when I felt like I was safe, new foes or objectives came at me. Cindered Shadows constantly raises the stakes. This does come with some frustrations, but getting through these battles is so rewarding and such an adrenaline rush that I didn’t mind the challenge. You can still turn back time to fix a mistake, which is great, considering most missions are laborious affairs. 

Thankfully, you also have some new classes to help you through the increased difficulty. The Trickster, War Monk, Dark Flier, and Valkyrie all add extremely valuable skills. Having a War Monk like Balthus meant I could be aggressive when need be, but also double down as a healer to keep my team in top form. I also loved using Dark Flier, which has powerful magic and great moveability, providing plenty of options for targets. The best part is that both the characters and the classes make their way into the main game.  

Final Thoughts…

If you enjoyed Three Houses, pined for a greater challenge, or wanted some new content to carry into the base game, Cindered Shadows is worth your time. I am hesitant to recommend it to beginners or those who aren’t die-hard fans, though. Only the most devoted are bound to get the most value out of it and appreciate its smaller additions to the base game. I was pretty meticulous and it took me around eight hours to complete Cindered Shadows, which felt like a solid offering. I admire how this DLC doesn’t just give you one new arc (which is entertaining in its own right) and brings new things into the larger Three Houses’ story. My time with the Ashen Wolves was well spent and now I’m exploring more of their role in the main game. It made me want to go back to Three Houses, which I already invested a great deal of time in, and that says something.  

Cindered Shadows is out now. You can access it by purchasing the Three Houses' expansion pass.

PlayStation Cancels PAX East Attendance Due To Coronavirus Concerns

PlayStation has announced it is withdrawing from its scheduled appearance at PAX East next week due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 (known as novel coronavirus). The slate of playable games was originally set to include The Last of Us Part II, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Persona 5 Royal, Iron Man VR, and more.

You can see PlayStation's full statement surrounding its decision below as posted on PlayStation Blog.

"Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment made the decision to cancel its participation at PAX East in Boston this year due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”). We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."

The Last of Us Part II developer Naughty Dog also released the following statement on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Naughty_Dog/status/1230191340719235072

This isn't the first instance of coronavirus impacting the games industry. Earlier this month, Private Division announced a delay in the Switch version of The Outer Worlds, and Bloomberg reports Nintendo may be facing Switch shortages due to the virus.

PAX East is set to take place in Boston, Mass. from February 27 to March 1.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

World War Z Developer Saber Interactive Acquired By THQ Nordic Parent Company

Embracer Group, the parent company of THQ Nordic, has purchased Saber Interactive – the studio behind World War Z and the Switch port of The Witcher 3.

The deal could hit a maximum of $375 million, and Saber's past success as an independent studio – World War Z sold more than three million units according to Embracer – was one of the reasons Embracer purchased the New Jersey studio.

Embracer founder and CEO Lars Wingefors says that Saber will remain independent, which he notes has been a key ingredient in the developer's story so far. "Their ambitious moves towards self-funding projects in recent years have been particularly impressive," he says.

Tim Willits, former id Software studio director and current CCO of Saber, in a tweet said he is "thrilled" at the move, adding it "puts Saber on a much bigger world stage. Good times ahead."

[Source: Embracer Group, (2)Tim Willits]

101 Rapid-Fire Questions About Outriders

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In the first exclusive video from our month of Outriders coverage, Game Informer's Jeff Cork sits down with game director Bartek Kmita and lead writer Joshua Rubin for repeated shallow dives into looting, shooting, Polish history and more. If anyone out there has any leads as to where Cork has been, please let us know.

Click the banner below for more exclusive coverage of Outriders, including the full cover story available now for free!

Visit the Outriders Hub

Baldur's Gate 3 Gameplay To Be Unveiled At PAX East 2020

If you're like me, you've been wondering what shape Baldur's Gate 3 is going to take. Will it be a traditional isometric PC-oriented RPG like the classic titles of ages past, much like the games that inspired Divinity: Original Sin 2?

Or will it be something else? Third-person action perhaps? Well, we're going to get our first look at actual gameplay quite soon, on February 27.

The reveal kicks off at 3:30 PM ET, with Larian creative director Swen Vincke taking the stage at PAX East. Not going to be in Boston? No problem - the reveal will be streamed on YouTube. Check out the announcement trailer below and feel free to wonder what shape this next exciting iteration of one of gaming's most revered franchises will take!

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Fortnite's Upcoming Season Is Currently All About Gold

Fortnite chapter 2 – season 2 is fast approaching, and Epic Games isn't wasting time giving players a taste of what to expect. The teases began on Fortnite's official Twitter feed today with a series of images that embrace the color gold and a February 20 launch date.

Players are now noticing that ordinary items within the game world – be it a couch or filing cabinet – are made entirely of gold, almost like someone is walking around with the Midas touch. The teases will likely continue from now up until the season's official start.

Until we learn more, behold a gold couch viewed by a banana:

 

Choose Our Fate

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With the advent of Twitch streams comes a way for chat to influence the game a streamer is playing, and we're giving you that opportunity today. Join me as I play through a collection of Dead Cells, Clustertruck, and Choice Chamber and try to outwit the GI Community!

In order to help change the direction of the games I'm playing, be sure to join us in the Twitch chat and follow the prompts.

We went live earlier, but be sure to check out the stream archive above. Enjoying the show? You can subscribe over on YouTubeTwitchMixerTwitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live in the future! Thanks for watching!

Overwatch And Diablo Animated Series May Be In Development

Nick van Dyk, the president of Activision Blizzard's film and television division, may have leaked the development of Overwatch and Diablo animated series on his LinkedIn profile, which GameSpot uncovered. According to his profile, the Diablo animated series is "rendered in anime style" and is in pre-production for Netflix. The Overwatch information isn't as detailed, and simply reads, "With my creative partner, developed and sold an animated series based on Blizzzard's Overwatch franchise." The buyer of the rights for this popular competitive shooter is not listed. You can see the profile listing below:

Since Overwatch's release in 2015, fans have wanted to learn more about the game's story. Blizzard hopes to deliver on this request in Overwatch 2's new story modes. Hearing a show is on the way too lessens the excitement for the mode a little bit, but this game's universe is overflowing with plot threads and there's likely room for both of them to exist. Here's hoping the show is done by Blizzard's team behind the awesome animated shorts.

[via GameSpot]

New Gameplay Today – Persona 5 Royal

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The expanded version of Persona 5 is coming to North America next month, and Brian Shea recently got a chance to sit down and play this stylish RPG ahead of release. In today's NGT, he shows off some of the new moves, features, and more.

Shea is joined by fellow Persona fan Joe Juba, as well as me and Alex Stadnik. There's a lot to unpack, but you'll be able to see a new grappling-hook mechanic (okay), one of the revamped boss battles (hmm!), and a look at the new customizable Thieves Den (huh?!). Check it out, OK?

Persona 5 Royal is coming to PlayStation 4 on March 31.

New Mythical Pokémon Teased For Sword And Shield

Pokémon's anniversary is February 27, a day that will likely be filled with news and events for most of the active Pokémon games. For Sword and Shield, Game Freak has stated that it will reveal a new mythical Pokémon that will likely appear in the game at the same time. The official Pokémon Twitter account shared what is believed to be the silhouette of this new critter.

Siege's Operation Void Edge – New Gameplay Today

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I've been incredibly lucky to be flown out by Ubisoft to some excellent Siege preview events over the last two years. I always have a good time, but I can say with complete confidence that they've never given me more exciting content to look forward to then they have here at the Six Invitational.

Join me and some very special guests in the video above as I show off the two new operators, the Kool-Aid Man defender and the astral-projecting attacker. This incredibly strong duo are just a taste of what's to come, so come back tomorrow for more big reveals about the next year of Siege!

Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Spoilercast

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For as long as there have been video games, fans of the medium have been clamoring for a hot, horrible representation of their favorite characters on the big screen, and lovers of Sonic the Hedgehog are no different (Looking at you, Brian Shea).

After a complete design overhaul of the titular character, the Sonic movie is finally here, but is it any good? Join Andrew Reiner, Brian Shea, and me as we dissect the Blue Blur's film debut and discuss what the future holds for the future of Sega on the silver screen.

If you enjoyed this debate, be sure to check out our Spoiled discussion on Star Wars Episode IX, and how you can grab some official Sonic merchandise from the new movie.

Replay — Fable

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At one time not long ago, Fable was synonymous with video game excellence and was a staple of Microsoft's first-party lineup. While I pray those days return soon, Fable fans such as myself still have the old games to look back on for a shot of quirky British humor, simple and fun combat, and the amazing fantasy world of Albion. Join Andrew Reiner, Joe Juba, Ben Reeves and me as we return to Fable and rediscover what made this fantasy world so enticing.

We went live earlier today, but be sure to check out the archive of the stream above. If you can't get enough Replay and our other shows, remember to subscribe on YouTubeTwitchMixerTwitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live each week! Thanks and enjoy the show!

Stranger Things Season 4 Teaser Goes Exactly Where You Would Expect

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With the tagline "From Russia with love," Netflix's teaser for Stranger Things' upcoming fourth season gives fans a reveal that will warm their hearts. We don't know exactly where this season is going yet, but part of it will be set outside of Hawkins, Indiana. We expect to return to Hawkins to catch up with the kids, but it looks like we'll be spending some time in Russia as well. There's also that pesky Upside Down that will probably become a factor again. The teaser sadly doesn't give us the one thing we want most: a start date.

Bleeding Edge Closed Beta — New Gameplay Today Live

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After the success of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, many wondered what Ninja Theory had up its collective sleeves next. Most of us wouldn't have said a team-based multiplayer game in the same vein as Overwatch, but that's what makes life fun, right? Join Andrew Reiner and me as we dive headfirst into the Bleeding Edge beta and finally get our hands on this colorful character brawler.

We went live earlier, but if you missed it you can watch the replay of the show in the archive above. Enjoying the streams? You can subscribe over on YouTubeTwitchMixerTwitter, or Facebook to get notified when we go live in the future! Thanks for watching!

Watch The Opening Five Minutes Of Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Square Enix today released the opening cinematic for Final Fantasy VII Remake. This gorgeous sequence takes you on a tour of Midgar and also gives you an idea of how the narrative is going to kick off. Final Fantasy VII Remake is right around the corner with an April 10 release date exclusively for PlayStation 4.

Square Enix is expanding greatly on the content from the original 1997 PlayStation game, and is turning Final Fantasy VII into a series of games. This first game is mostly contained within Midgar, and while the main story beats will likely be the same, Square is expanding on them and will give fans a deeper look at this world. We don't know how many games Square is planning or what the release schedule will be like, but there's a chance we'll be playing Final Fantasy VII for years to come.

Are you excited for this remake? Let us know in the comments section below.

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