Saturday, 5 September 2020

Giveaway: Take one of our 125 Volta-X keys for Steam

In today's giveaway, we're handing out 125 Steam keys for giant robot strategy title Volta-X!

Who here likes giant robots? What about kaiju? *counts hands*

Yeah, I thought so. Well, you're all in luck! The first 125 people who claim a key get to take a FREE Steam copy of giant robot/kaiju battler Volta-X!

Giveaway: Take one of our 125 Volta-X keys for Steam screenshot

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Stardew Valley's 1.5 update looks so cozy in this screenshot

Stardew Valley is calling my name with each update 1.5 check-in, and today's screenshot – a laid-back beachside scene with ducks floating around some submerged trees – is about as cozy as they come.

To an outsider, it's just a random image hinting at upcoming game content. I won't deny it! But to those of us who have fallen head over heels for Stardew over the years, it's so evocative. It reminds me of small, fuzzy screenshots in old gaming magazines that would sell me on the entire mood of a game.

This is a lovely note to end a Friday news schedule on.

@ConcernedApe [Twitter]

Stardew Valley's 1.5 update looks so cozy in this screenshot screenshot



Finally the answer to the question 'Can your PC run Crysis Remastered?'

We post PC specs all the time, but rarely are we afforded the opportunity to post the PC specs for the most infamous PC game of all-time. It's a special day.

Crytek has published the Crysis Remastered PC requirements on its Epic Games Store page. They doesn't live up to the legacy of the original. Crysis Remastered is here to make friends, not melt your rig. It's a trade-off that most people are probably willing to make.

Without further ado, here are Crysis Remastered's minimum and recommended specs on PC:

Finally the answer to the question 'Can your PC run Crysis Remastered?' screenshot

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Diabotical has the right stuff for arena shooter fans

It's been a tough decade for arena shooters with grand plans to break into the mainstream, but there will seemingly always be a dedicated community of hardcore players to rally around the best of the best. Diabotical – a free-to-play arena shooter with silly-faced Eggbots – is the latest standout.

The game has over 15 modes including 5v5 Instagib, time trials to run, an in-game aim trainer, and 30 maps. You'll know if Diabotical is in your wheelhouse after watching this trailer – there's no mistaking it.

Diabotical launched yesterday on the Epic Games Store and it's supported, in part, with cosmetics.

"We have a two-year dev plan thanks to Epic Games and the Arena FPS community's support," creator The GD Studio tweeted. "So consider [September 3] the start of Season 1! We'll improve the product with your feedback as we go. And drop you some bigger updates each season. Season 2 in December."

Next time you're feeling Quake's call, maybe give this an afternoon. I respect its fundamentals.

Diabotical has the right stuff for arena shooter fans screenshot



You bet jurass X Drake is coming to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4

Bandai Namco has released a trailer for one of the scurvy dawgs headed to its anime brawler One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 and, as previously reported, it's none other than swashbuckling troublemaker X Drake.

Spoilers for the One Piece anime follow.

Captain of The Drake Pirates and a member of the notorious "Worst Generation," this former SWORD member turned his back on his marine status to become a ruthless bandit of the seven seas. Already a dual-weapon fighter of expert skill, X Drake is also capable of transforming himself into a monstrous Allosaurus, devastating armies of men with his primal powers.

You bet jurass X Drake is coming to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 screenshot

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Review: Marvel's Avengers

After some time with the live version of Marvel's Avengers, I realized that it had a lot to prove.

Now that I'm finished with most of the content that the "1.0" edition has to offer, it still has plenty to prove.

Review: Marvel's Avengers screenshot

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You can use a Pro Controller for Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Nintendo has clarified how the controls will work in Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Nintendo Switch, and while we don't have the full picture for every possible setup, it's nice to know that Pro Controllers are supported. After all, some of us were burned before by Pokémon: Let's Go and Super Mario Party.

Folks have also wondered how the original Wii pointer controls in Super Mario Galaxy are being adapted for Switch. In a statement to Polygon, Nintendo said the planet-hopping game is "supported in TV, Tabletop, and Handheld Modes. In TV and Tabletop modes, motion controls are required for pointer functionality. In Handheld Mode, pointer functionality has been adapted to use Touch Screen."

Snatching Star Bits with touch controls sounds fiddly, to say the least. As noted on the store listing for 3D All-Stars, Switch Lite players can get a co-op assist from a friend if they have detached Joy-Con.

The master detail-gleaners over at GameXplain have also pointed out that the GameCube controller isn't fully supported in Super Mario 3D All-Stars, so Sunshine die-hards will have to keep that in mind.

This compilation isn't everything I hoped for given its less-than-ideal remastering and unfortunate Super Mario Galaxy 2 omission, but I couldn't resist ordering the physical edition as soon as I saw it pop up on Amazon. The bizarre March 2021 deadline itself didn't push me to action – I'm too much of a fan.

In lighter news, I'm having a hell of a time revisiting Super Mario All-Stars in Nintendo Switch Online's Super Nintendo library. I almost blew through Super Mario Bros. 2 in one night. Two worlds left to go!

Super Mario Galaxy on Switch won't require motion controls [Polygon]

You can use a Pro Controller for Super Mario 3D All-Stars screenshot



Here's how to unlock the Roswell Alien (and other secret characters) in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 will have you grinding rails and manualing flatlands with some of the best to ever ride. You've got your Rune Glifbergs, your Chad Muskas, and, of course, you've got your Birdmans.

There are some more, umm, unconventional, skaters too. A fun staple of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is the stable of secret characters. Officer Dick, a lazy-ass mallcop-lookin' dude, debuted in Tony Hawk 1. Spider-Man swung onto the scene in Tony Hawk 2. (Unfortunately but also predictably, Spider-Man isn't in this game. Given how cagey Sony is about licensing Spidey, no one really expected Activision to pay out the nose for a secret character.)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 seems to have three secret characters to unlock, although only two of them look to be earned in the traditional sense. Let's get the oddball out of the way first.

Here's how to unlock the Roswell Alien (and other secret characters) in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 screenshot

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Square Enix apologizes for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles' busted multiplayer

Three days. For three days, CJ tried to find some online multiplayer friends to run dungeons alongside in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition. He never made a friend. The complete inability to play with others severely affected the review score -- although, it wasn't so much the busted functionality but rather a misunderstanding of how local multiplayer made the original great.

Whether it'll salvage the experience or not, Square Enix is promising to fix the networking problems. Director Araki Ryoma wrote a letter on Square Enix's site that addresses all the persistent issues that have popped up. "First of all, the situation where players were unable to play immediately after launch was caused by our servers going over capacity," Ryoma explained. "We ran maintenance to increase that server capacity on August 29, which has led to comparatively stable running thereafter. Going forward, we will move to address any further server issues as required."

Ryoma also pledged to fix the many bugs that plague the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles remaster, committing to a cadence of updates that will get the game in a better state. However, no specific schedule was divulged.

More functional, yes -- no one argues that the updates will eventually improve the way it works. But will Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles ever make its players happy without undertaking the monumental task of adding local co-op? The quibbles are more fundamental than some broken netcode.

Here are the patch notes for the first Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles which will launch sometime between mid- and late September:

Square Enix apologizes for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles' busted multiplayer screenshot

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Spelunky 2 players will need to wait until September 29 for the Steam release

The Steam release of Spelunky 2 has been upgraded from a vague but hopeful "shortly after PS4" to a locked and loaded September 29 launch. The extra time is needed to "iron out online multiplayer on PC."

As a reminder, the PlayStation 4 version is set for September 15, 2020 – it's nearly here.

The sequel takes the original game's trap-dodging, pattern-learning dungeon exploration formula and expands on it with new NPCs, rideable animals, and fancier physics for water and lava. You'll collect treasure, hoard bombs, and try to uncover loads of secrets across hundreds of failed attempts.

It's not too late to brush up your ocular-patdown skills with Spelunky 1. (Trust me, you'll want to.)

@mossmouth [Twitter]

Spelunky 2 players will need to wait until September 29 for the Steam release screenshot



Nintendo confuses everyone by putting Pikmin 3 back on the Wii U eShop

Nintendo did frustrating Nintendo Things last month when it delisted the Wii U version of Pikmin 3 alongside the announcement of the new Pikmin 3 Deluxe for Switch. That's just kind of how Nintendo rolls, though. The same thing happened with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze when it was due to get a Switch re-release.

Now, because there are no rules and nothing makes sense, Pikmin 3 is back on the Wii U eShop. It's one of the $20 Nintendo Selects just like it was before. Everything is back to normal, save for the 30 days when you couldn't actually buy a digital version of it for an old console.

Kind of a weird development considering how games in similar situations (like the aforesaid Tropical Freeze) were never relisted. Good news for the very small number of people this affects -- seriously, I'm sure there will be more comments on this article than Pikmin 3 Wii U sales today -- as they again have the opportunity to buy the game seven years later. It's better news for anyone scratching their head at nonsensical anti-consumer business moves.

Pikmin 3 [Wii U eShop]

Nintendo confuses everyone by putting Pikmin 3 back on the Wii U eShop screenshot



Review: Moon

I came into gaming in a time when Japan was king. All the biggest and best games created in the '80s and '90s came from development studios and publishers operating across the Pacific. This is back in a time when Mega Man was a top-tier franchise for Capcom, and Konami hadn't yet discovered pachinko machines.

And yet despite Japan's near-complete domination of the industry, there are many games from the era that have existed only as folklore to those of us in the west. These unlocalized titles, supposed gems that "western audiences just wouldn't understand," became the stuff of legend to the dweebs and geeks of the time who hit up gaming chatrooms on AOL.

We didn't have Xseed or NIS America or any of these other small publishers that cater to the whims of niche audiences the way we do now. We had to make do with what was given to us and daydream about what wasn't. And there is no game I daydreamed more about than Moon: Remix RPG Adventure. This game has been such a long time coming, I knew I shouldn't do this review alone. So I asked Adzuken to help me see if this un-RPG was worth the love I had given it from afar for so many years.

Review: Moon screenshot

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Doom and Doom II just got gyro aiming on Switch

While the trio of Doom games were in rough shape on Switch when they first arrived (yikes, Bethesda logins!), that lunacy has been patched out, and Bethesda has continued to patch the series. This time around, we're getting a hefty update for Doom and Doom II.

All versions now have access to the community mod BTSX Episodes 1 and 2, Nightmare mode "has been restored" to make enemies twice as fast, widescreen rendering support is in, a crosshair can be enabled for more precise aiming, just like the original and a ton of bugs have been squashed.

In an interesting turn of events, the iOS port is getting a new touch scheme and controller support, but more importantly, the PC/Switch/PS4 editions are getting gyro aiming. Bethesda calls it an "additional amount of precision," and you can either set it to the controller's pitch or yaw. Or, you can turn it off. Bethesda notes that on PC, the only way to currently use gyro aiming is to hook up a DualShock 4.

Doom and Doom II Update [Slayer's Club]

Doom and Doom II just got gyro aiming on Switch screenshot

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Mad Rat Dead shows off its unique rhythm-platforming action

Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) has released a lengthy gameplay trailer for its upcoming release Mad Rat Dead, the rhythm-action platformer headed to PS4 and Nintendo Switch next month.

As a reminder, (just in case this is your first time seeing this screwy new title), Mad Rat Dead tells the story of a miserable lab rat who has reached the end of his crappy existence. Visited by the super-cute Rat God on his final night, our hero is given one last day on his rodent coil, with which to escape his cage and seek revenge on those who assigned him his shoddy spin on planet Earth.

Mad Rat Dead shows off its unique rhythm-platforming action screenshot

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Third episode of Danganronpa's 'Dangan TV' looks at series spin-off Ultra Despair Girls

You wait months for a localisation of Dangan TV, and then two episodes come along at once! Spike Chunsoft has added English subtitles to the third episode of its in-depth web series, looking at the creation and development of the cult murder-mystery series, Danganronpa.

Following on from previous episodes on original entry Trigger Happy Havoc and first sequel Goodbye Despair, episode three focuses on the series' first spin-off entry, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, which first launched on PS Vita in 2014, before ported to PS4 and PC later in 2017.

For the first time to date in the Dangan TV webseries, creator Kazutaka Kodaka does not put in an appearance. The panel for this episode consists of series producer Yoshinori Terasawa, game director Shun Sasaki, and voice actor Aya Uchida, who portrays Ultra Despair Girls' ass-kicking protagonist Komaru Naegi. As always, the episode is hosted by Megumi Ogata, channeling the spirit of Monokuma in a delightful black/white jacket.

Third episode of Danganronpa's 'Dangan TV' looks at series spin-off Ultra Despair Girls screenshot

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Fallout 76's new season is heavy on the G.I. Joe theme

I wasn't really digging the whole "campy space" vibe of Fallout 76's first season (or the whole seasonal model at all really) as they didn't go far enough with it; but it looks like Bethesda got that message loud and clear as they're going a bit crazier this time around.

As revealed on the game's official blog, season 2, titled "Armor Ace and the Power Patrol," is oozing with cheese. With the Power Armor serving as an analog to G.I. Joe, the art is much more enticing, as is the wacky new seasonal board (this one goes to rank 100) that you can view below. It's a little on the nose, but the motif of fighting the "Red Viper" menace kind of gives it away.

In terms of brass tacks, Bethesda is adding new daily and weekly quests, with a focus on the latter to avoid giving players FOMO for having to play every day to rank up efficiently. Double XP (S.C.O.R.E.) events are also returning. Oh, and they finally announced what we all knew would happen: you can buy ranks "immediately" instead of waiting for a grace period. Microtransactions: they rule the world!

Speaking of double XP events, the first one kicked off earlier this week and ends at 12PM ET on September 8. That's when the first season ends, so get cracking if you're trying to finish your first seasonal board.

Inside the Vault [Bethesda.net]

Fallout 76's new season is heavy on the G.I. Joe theme screenshot

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Here's how to get the new Super Mario Bros. collectible pin set

In case you missed it, Nintendo unveiled a ton of Mario stuff yesterday.

But buried inside all of the new announcements was an offer for a free pin set in the US. There are provisos of course, but here's how to get it.

Here's how to get the new Super Mario Bros. collectible pin set screenshot

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Immortals: Fenyx Rising seems to be arriving in December, and it looks a lot less cartoony

Just a few days ago we learned that the fun-sounding Gods & Monsters was torn to shreds and built back up by Ubisoft as "Immortals: Fenyx Rising." Now, thanks to a new Microsoft Store listing, it seems as if the game is getting a new look, too.

Thanks to the classic Microsoft Store leak, we know that the game is tentatively scheduled for release on December 3, and the new screens are decidedly (and sadly) less cartoony in nature. Oh, and it has a pre-order bonus quest (A Tale of Fire and Lightning): of course. We'll clearly learn more about the game and its release date on September 10 at the next Ubisoft Forward stream.

According to the listing, Immortals: Fenyx Rising will be coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Stadia on December 5, while an Xbox Series X and PS5 launch are also planned. Ubisoft specifically calls out the Smart Delivery system for providing a cross-Xbox-One-to-Series-X copy, but does not mention the situation between the PS4 and PS5.

This seems to be a trend, and the new "all-in-one-entertainment-system" marketing move.

Immortals: Fenyx Rising [Microsoft Store via Gematsu]

Immortals: Fenyx Rising seems to be arriving in December, and it looks a lot less cartoony screenshot

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(Update) World's End Club is a new dose of weirdness from Danganronpa creator

[Update: Kotaro Uchikoshi has taken to Twitter to clarify that the Apple Arcade edition of World's End Club does not feature the complete story. While the director says the game in its current state has around 10 hours of playtime, it has a clear "cliffhanger" moment. Uchikoshi states that the concluding chapter will launch around the time of the Switch release in 2021.]

Izanagi Games launches a brand new title today on Apple Arcade. World's End Club has been created by Zero Escape director Kotaro Uchikoshi and is written by Danganronpa head honcho Kazutaka Kodaka.

(Update) World's End Club is a new dose of weirdness from Danganronpa creator screenshot

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X, bringing visual and technical improvements

CD Projekt RED has announced that an "enhanced" edition of its acclaimed 2015 RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming to next-gen platforms PS5 and Xbox Series X.

According to a statement posted on the official Witcher site, the new edition of Wild Hunt will feature improved, ray-traced visual effects and faster load times. It will also come bundled with all previous DLC and story expansions.

While the next-gen edition will be made available as a standalone release, CDPR has stated that it will be offering free upgrades to all owners of The Witcher 3 on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch edition, however, was not referenced in the statement.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is available now on PS4, PC, and Xbox One. No date was revealed for the PS5 and Xbox Series X edition.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X, bringing visual and technical improvements screenshot

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(Update) Lab Zero Games has laid off all staff, claims former employee

[Update: Mike Zaimont released a statement, confirming that Lab Zero Games has laid off its remaining workforce.

"Unfortunately, Lab Zero was forced into layoffs because we were no longer able to meet our payroll obligations," said Zaimont in an email to Kotaku. "It is not a decision I made lightly. I personally know how hard it can be to find employment in a poorly performing economy, but we have more debt than cash, and the last thing I would ever do is not pay my hard-working colleagues or our partners for their work. We are exploring all funding options in hopes of bringing those team members back, but right now that's the reality."]

Original article:

According to one of its former employees, Lab Zero Games has laid off its remaining staff. The news follows an employee exodus that took place at the end of August, with resignees citing a culture of toxic behaviour within the former Skullgirls' studio.

The reported layoff was referenced on Twitter by ex-Lab Zero animator Jonathan Kim (aka "Persona") who claims that studio owner Mike Zaimont has "laid off everyone who didn't quit LZ, but hasn't agreed to a severance for them yet." Zaimont had previously given Lab Zero staff the option of leaving the studio before August 31, after being confronted by the team with a request that he step down from the company, following accusations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.

(Update) Lab Zero Games has laid off all staff, claims former employee screenshot

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Contest: Win Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition on Switch from Super Rare Games

In today's contest you can win a Switch copy of Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition from Super Rare Games!

Y'all know my undying love for Super Rare Games and everything they put out, so I'm not going to sing their praises this time around. Let's keep it nice and simple: The awesome dudes and dudettes over at Super Rare Games gave us a copy of Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition to give away! Only 5,000 copies will ever be produced, so get yours before it's gone!

Contest: Win Dandara: Trials of Fear Edition on Switch from Super Rare Games screenshot

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Splatoon 2 gets a Splatfest themed around Mario power-ups

Splatfests are exceedingly rare nowadays. We just saw one wrap up in late August (eggs rule, chickens drool) but that was only the second in all of 2020. However, there are two more planned by the end of March 2021.

In a low-key rush-job section of this morning's knockout Mario Direct, Nintendo revealed one of those two Splatoon 2 Splatfests. In January, players will fight for their favorite Mario power-up. As Nintendo frames it "Which Super Mario power-up do you prefer? Supersize with a Super Mushroom or become invincible with a Super Star?"

It's not as slapdash as it may seem at first. Whichever side you choose says a lot about you. The star is for the reckless and the confident. It is for those who will bowl through everything now without an insurance policy for 10 seconds later. The mushroom, however, is for the responsible. It's for the person who adds to their 401(k) instead of buying a Porsche. Your mom would want you to be a mushroom person. (Well, you know what I mean.)

Like all of life's important questions, it'll be settled on the battlefield. Get your Rocky montage training sessions in now. Come January, we fight.

Splatoon 2 gets a Splatfest themed around Mario power-ups screenshot



Ys Origin hits the Nintendo Switch eShop on October 1

Ys Origin has been making the rounds for years, and the next stop on the list is Nintendo Switch.

If you've thought about jumping into Nihon Falcom's enduring RPG series and you like the sound of getting cozy with this prequel adventure on your Switch, the date to remember is October 1, 2020.

Apart from the Nintendo Switch eShop release, there will also be a physical collection from Limited Run Games – a standard version ($29.99) and a collector's edition ($69.99) with a boxed copy, soundtrack, art book, poster, and special case. The former is available to pre-order now but the latter is sold out.

Not that I need any extra oomph this afternoon after my third cup of coffee, but if I did, the energetic song in this release date trailer sure would do the trick. "Unhinged beats to slay demons to."

Ys Origin hits the Nintendo Switch eShop on October 1 screenshot



The indie game party fighter Bounty Battle releases next week

I've been a fan of Super Smash Bros. since the original Nintendo 64 release way back in 1999. Ever since then I've wavered in and out of being obsessed with the game to dropping it completely at times (thank you tripping in Brawl). But as I've grown older and gotten more into indie games, I've always felt that there was an untapped market for taking the Smash Bros. concept and giving it an indie skin. It almost worked with Rivals of Aether, but the itch was still there. Enter Bounty Battle.

Bounty Battle looks to stay in the vein of party fighters with an eclectic cast of characters and unique fighting styles. The catch is that Bounty Battle will feature faces from popular indie games from the past decade. It's an exciting and extensive list of games that the characters will be pulled from and there's sure to be something for everyone here.

The games include: Guacamelee!, Darkest Dungeon, Dead Cells, Awesomenauts, Nuclear Throne, Owlboy, Axiom Verge, SteamWorld Dig, Jotun, Battle Chasers Nightwar, Death's Gambit, EITR, Super Comboman, Pankapu, Flinthook, Doko Roko, Tower of Samsara, Blubber Busters, Ruin of the Reckless, The Bug Butcher, Blasphemous, and Blocks That Matter.

I told you there was something for everyone! The real outlier and frankly stab in the gut for me in that lineup is EITR, which I'm still waiting on years after it was supposed to be released. It's going to be interesting to see how the developers handle dealing with characters and playstyles that other developers created. It's a daunting task and one that I hope Dark Screen Games is up to.

Bounty Battle will release on September 10 for Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.

The indie game party fighter Bounty Battle releases next week screenshot

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Harmonix's Fuser is comin' in November and everybody's jumpin'

Harmonix has never been left wanting for cool and innovative ideas that meld music and games. One such example went a bit under the radar in 2017 when Harmonix created some legitimately neat tech that allowed players to mash songs together on the fly. That was DropMix and it impressed most everyone who played it, but the expensive peripherals made it a tough sell for some.

Come November, Harmonix is basically releasing DropMix in video game form without the need for any additional devices. It's Fuser, a DJ mixing game where players take individual sections of popular songs and remix them against other songs, with options to change the tempo and key too. The possibilities are endless, and it seems like the kind of thing where Harmonix's tech will make even the most ridiculous mashup sound better than it has any right to.

Today, Harmonix announced that Fuser launches on November 10 on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Two months until the party kicks off. That's when you find out whether you can subvert Harmonix's intentions and come up with a creation that truly sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

Harmonix's Fuser is comin' in November and everybody's jumpin' screenshot



Chivalry 2 is launching on next-gen consoles (but only because it's been delayed)

Some good news, bad news-type stuff out of Torn Banner Studios recently. Ironically, we'll have to wait longer into the future to step very far back into the past.

Chivalry 2 has been delayed out of 2020 and into 2021. In an update on the game's site, Torn Banner explains that COVID has mucked up the developer's plans (literally everyone can empathize), forcing Chivalry 2 to be pushed back to next year.

However, this means that it'll launch on both new and old consoles. Chivalry 2 is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, an Xbox Series X. As noted during last year's reveal, the PC version will be a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store.

The delay allows Torn Banner to include more features at launch, but your cavalry will have to stand on their own two feet for all the first-person medieval melee. Horses gallop onto the scene sometime post-launch. They'll be much needed reinforcements.

[Update: The developer has reached out and wants to make it super-extra-clear that the delay isn't the reason Chivalry 2 is coming to next-gen consoles. Those plans were already announced in June. However, it probably is the reason that it's launching on PS5 and Xbox Series X rather than getting ports a little while later -- but that's my read on the situation, not Torn Banner's official word.] 

Chivalry 2 Development Update -- August 2020 [Chivalry 2]

Chivalry 2 is launching on next-gen consoles (but only because it's been delayed) screenshot



Microsoft Flight Simulator broke a Game Pass record with one million PC players

Microsoft is calling Microsoft Flight Simulator the "biggest game launch in Xbox Game Pass for PC history," and there's a concrete figure to back up that hazy milestone: over a million unique players.

The most popular airport? JFK. The longest flight? 10.39 hours.

It's been tough to gauge if existing fans are just that into the game and super vocal about it on social media or if Flight Simulator has tapped into a wider audience of players who haven't tried the series before or haven't touched it in many years. Either way, their jolly travels are begging to be shared.

I've considered Flight Simulator to be perfect fodder for Game Pass since it was announced, but to see it climb to the top is still impressive. Even though the sim is intriguing as a subscription inclusion, it's not necessarily an impulse decision – you've gotta set aside a lot of space and time to fully download it.

The real question, though, is how will it fare on Xbox One? We still don't have a release date. More niche games with wider audience potential will be greatly appreciated on Game Pass. Bring 'em on.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is the biggest game launch in Xbox Game Pass for PC history with over 1 million players to date [Xbox]

Microsoft Flight Simulator broke a Game Pass record with one million PC players screenshot



Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater left its mark on history...I want to say...within minutes of its release in 1999.

It didn't matter if you skated or not, it was a cultural touchstone, a sign that skating had arrived. While it's faltered through the years (Tony Hawk himself dates it around 2006, when Project 8 was released), it's back now: for real this time.

Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 screenshot

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Into the Breach is free again on the Epic Games Store and you shouldn't skip it

If you missed grabbing Into the Breach before, you don't need to try again in another timeline – the turn-based tactical mech game from FTL creator Subset is free today on the Epic Games Store.

You have until Thursday, September 10 to claim Into the Breach, and I can't recommend it enough.

We've been through this before, so I'll keep it brief. Unlike many other rogue-leaning games, it feels like your fate is always in your hands, even from the first hopeful run. You don't have to sweat bad RNG.

Longer-term, as you settle into the kaiju-infested world and uncover bulletproof strategies, you'll unlock a bunch of different mechs that work in drastically different ways – some of which you'll find easier than others – and there are fun challenges to shake up your tried-and-true playstyle. Such a cool game.

Next week, from September 10 to September 17, the Epic Games Store will give out the folklore narrative adventure Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and the train management sim Railway Empire.

Into the Breach is free again on the Epic Games Store and you shouldn't skip it screenshot



The Division 2 is getting a PvE challenge mode similar to Final Fantasy XIV's Heaven-on-High

A 100-floor tower. A long, arduous climb that gets tougher the higher you go. Sound familiar?

The Division 2 is getting a new mode that's reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIV's Heaven-on-High or maybe even Grasshopper Manufacture's Let It Die. It's a PvE experience called "The Summit" where solo players or teams ascend a 100-story skyscraper. A cleaner analog for seasoned Division players would be the Underground expansion from the original game.

It's structured so that 10 floors are grouped together in terms of difficulty and every tenth floor has a boss. Ubisoft says it takes about as long to clear 10 levels as it would to clear one of the strongholds. However, Summit is a roguelike in a sense, as the floors don't have set factions or objectives. They change every time you come back.

It's a challenge that Ubisoft doesn't expect you to knock out in one go. Progress is retained every 10 floors, so that's where you'll start if you decide to shut the game off. There are also elevators every three floors, and that's your checkpoint in case your squad wipes. You'll probably need the lift because Summit works through Division 2's difficulty levels as it progresses, all the way up to Legendary.

Construction's done on this high-rise pretty soon. Summit is being added as part of Title Update 11, which launches sometime this month. It'll be free for everyone who owns the Warlords of New York expansion.

The Division 2 is getting a new replayable PvE mode in The Summit [VG247]

The Division 2 is getting a PvE challenge mode similar to Final Fantasy XIV's Heaven-on-High screenshot



Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled developer says that the March update was the 'final update to the game'

If you're still playing Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and have been thinking "I wonder when the next update is," you should probably get your expectations in check.

That update this past March? That was seemingly the end for our little Bandicoot racer. Taking to Twitter, developer Beenox just clarified that "the march update with the Beenox Pack was our final update to the game." They state that "there is no additional content in the works," due to "being hard at work on some other incredible projects."

Apparently, Beenox was scooped up to help with the N.Verted challenge mode in Crash Bandicoot 4. This is the case with a lot of Activision studios, who are tapped to help out on cross-projects all the time: Call of Duty being a major franchise to utilize that strategy (alongside of Destiny, when Activision had control of it).

They've also been tapped for "some other things they can't quite mention yet," which are hopefully Crash Bandicoot related. Keep the revival going!

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled developer says that the March update was the 'final update to the game' screenshot

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Gamescom hopes to return to Cologne in 2021

Last week saw the 2020 iteration of the annual gamescom presentation which - like many trade shows this wretched year - was forced to abandon its usual format and transition to an online showcase due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this year's setbacks, gamescom has announced that it hopes to return to its traditional venue - The Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany - for 2021. Gamescom 2021 is expected to be a hybrid event, offering news, reveals, trailers and panels in both a physical and online capacity.

"The extraordinary circumstances made Gamescom 2020 extremely challenging, yet especially exciting," said German Games Industry's Felix Falk. "The digital concept demonstrates how big the international potential of our games event - already the largest in the world - still is. At the same time, however, it has become clear how important the on-site conference, in addition to further digital development, is for the community and the games industry. So, we now have to take our experience from this year and use it to develop the ideal combined on- and offline event for 2021."

In statistics listed on the official gamescom website, it is reported that over two million viewers tuned in to this year's Opening Night Live presentation, with gamescom itself being viewed by an audience of over 10 million during the weekend's festivities.

That fact remains, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and, despite the pleas of various world leaders, public safety goes beyond everyone just "getting back to normal." While it's understandable that global industries have no choice but to start laying out their plans for 2021, the reality is that the pandemic remains a very real and very unpredictable issue - going into the last quarter of 2020 and beyond.

Gamescom 2020: A strong signal in challenging times [GGIA / Eurogamer]

Gamescom hopes to return to Cologne in 2021 screenshot



Nintendo Download: NBA 2K21

We got a host of announcements from Nintendo this morning: but none of them are coming out this week. In fact, only one of them is coming out this month!

For now, we have NBA 2K21 as the big release on September 4, as well as Spellbreak, Spinch and AVICII Invector on September 8. The rest, as they say, is history. Or available to peruse below!

It's interesting that Mario 3D All-Stars is out as early as mid-September. What does Nintendo have planned for the holiday season? What does anyone have planned for the holiday season? Will the next generation see a delay? Stay tuned to Destructoid's front page to find out!

Nintendo Download: NBA 2K21 screenshot

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Good Smile's Journey figurine could become your new life coach

Do you have any toys or figurines that keep you on the straight and narrow? I not only have an Isabelle amiibo on my desk, but I also have great figures of Persona 5's jailers, Justine and Caroline, all of whose stern faces and working spirit keep me from wandering away from the PC to take my 19th lunch break of the morning.

But perhaps the most inspiring figurine on the market is this delightful example, fresh from merchandising giants Good Smile. "The Traveler" is the nameless protagonist of thatgamecompany's 2012 classic Journey, and is ready to trek their way onto a bookshelf near you soon, where they will no doubt inspire you as you continue on your own life-quest.

Good Smile's Journey figurine could become your new life coach screenshot

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When Rocket League goes free-to-play, you won't need PS+ or Switch Online to play it

Free-to-play is in such a weird spot.

Given that there are practically no regulations on it, "free" could actually mean "we gate your progress if you don't gamble on gacha party members." But some games actually are indeed free-to-play, and are completely supported by cosmetic purchases. When Rocket League goes free-to-play very soon, it's coming with a few more perks: it will not require Switch Online or PlayStation Plus memberships to play.

Announced by way of Rocket League's official blog in a very quick and nonchalant line, "PlayStation Plus on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch Online will no longer be required for online play on those platforms." That's good news! Unfortunately Xbox Live is not mentioned here, as Microsoft is still fairly stringent with how it enforces membership requirements, even for free-to-play games.

The blog also goes over some new advancements for the next build, including the merging of Rocket IDs and the Epic Games friends list, new quick chats, another bot difficulty (it will be "under rookie," as now is the time to cater to the new player experience!), a new tutorial, a revamp of competitive rankings and streamlined seasons.

As for when this will all arrive, Psyonix is mum on giving people an actual date. Smart! They know that when a date is given everyone will expect it to arrive at that exact time, Hell or highwater. "Mid-September" is the vague target they're going with for now for the update, with "the launch of free-to-play following shortly after."

Rocket League free-to-play [Rocket League]

When Rocket League goes free-to-play, you won't need PS+ or Switch Online to play it screenshot



Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD trailer is suitably unnerving

Atlus has released a new trailer for its upcoming remaster Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD. The Japanese preview shines a light on some of the locations, characters, and demons that await our protagonist on their dramatic and spiritual adventure.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD trailer is suitably unnerving screenshot

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The Division is free to own on PC for a few more days

Three years after the release of The Division, the sequel came through town and cleaned up a lot of the grime that the original had left behind.

But that classic edition still exists, and through September 8, you can grab it for free (to keep) directly from Ubisoft. All you have to do is head here before September 8 at 4:00AM (local) and you can grab it on PC.

The modern gaming era is wild, isn't it? If you've been keeping up with sales and giveaways in this content-heavy era, you probably have hundreds of games in your backlog you haven't even looked at yet. "Wait, I own five copies of every Sonic game ever released on PC?" Yes, you do.

So it's not a matter of should when it comes to this The Division giveaway. Go ahead and get this freebie for a rainy day. It's a matter of when you'll play it.

The Division [Ubisoft]

The Division is free to own on PC for a few more days screenshot



505's Steam sale includes Control (with both DLCs) and Death Stranding

It's a good time for PC players to check out some of 505 Games' more recent offerings. 505's getting a Steam sale over the weekend and it includes some big names.

The spotlight is obviously on those two games in the headline. Control: Ultimate Edition (the one with both add-ons, including the Alan Wake-themed DLC) and Death Stranding are the highlights. Control is marked down to $32 and Death Stranding is discounted to $45.

There's a lot more though, and the prices are slashed even deeper. Check out the full list of games on sale below. (Also, I manually calculated the sale prices, so if something's off, that's probably on me.)

505's Steam sale includes Control (with both DLCs) and Death Stranding screenshot

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Super Mario 3D World on Switch will host two amiibo when it arrives in 2021

I know what you're thinking: "all these Nintendo announcements this morning and no amiibo?!" Well, maybe that was my reaction. It turns out, though, that Nintendo heard my pleas after all.

In a post-Direct tweet, Nintendo of America confirmed that yes, there will be two new amiibo figures coming in 2021 alongside of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury. The exact names of the toys are "Cat Mario" and "Cat Peach," who are sporting the memorable new cat suits from the 3D World entry.

Astoundingly, there have only been four new amiibo released in 2020 (Dark Samus, Richter, with Joker/Hero coming up in October), so this comes as a bit of a surprise. As always, you can check out a full running list of all of the amiibo announced thus far here: on the page I've been maintaining since 2014.

Nintendo of America [Twitter]

Super Mario 3D World on Switch will host two amiibo when it arrives in 2021 screenshot



Sega Astro City Mini reveals full line-up of arcade classics

Sega Toys - which is a thing - has revealed the full and final line-up of 36 titles pre-loaded in its cutesy cabinet, the Sega Astro City Mini, which will launch in Japan on December 17.

Joining the previously revealed list of games, which included classics Shinobi, ESWAT, Bonanza Bros., Columns, Wonder Boy, and Golden Axe, are 13 newly announced titles, including scrolling brawlers Arabian Fight and My Hero, Encino Man's favourite racer Rad Mobile, and the iconic shmups Space Harrier and Thunder Force AC. Nice.

You can check out some of the latest reveals in this new trailer:

Sega Astro City Mini reveals full line-up of arcade classics screenshot

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Nintendo announces Super Mario 3D All-Stars, an enhanced Super Mario 3D World and a Mario Bros. Battle royale

Well, we all knew this day was coming, but Nintendo blew us out of the water this morning.

On the 35th anniversary of Mario, Nintendo just announced three new big titles: Super Mario 3D All-Stars (Mario 64, Sunshine, Mario Galaxy), Super Mario Bros. 35 (a 35-person battle royale game) and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is coming to Switch via one SKU, with "higher resolution versions and optimized, smoother gameplay experiences" on September 18. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury is out on February 12, 2021 and will feature online co-op and local multiplayer with "more details coming later." Super Mario Bros. 35 is in the same vein as the classic "versus" Mario game, and will launch on October 1 as a "digital-only game exclusive" for Switch Online members: weirdly, it will be "playable until March 31, 2021."

Oh, and Super Mario All-Stars is out on Switch "later today," there's an AR/real-life toy version of Mario Kart coming, various events and merchandise are running through March 2021, plus a new collectible Game & Watch device is coming on November 13 for $49.99. You can check out all of the above and more in a special "Mario Direct" video below!

You can also head to this official site for more info. We can all debate the merits of Super Mario Sunshine all over again like it was 2002!

Nintendo announces Super Mario 3D All-Stars, an enhanced Super Mario 3D World and a Mario Bros. Battle royale screenshot

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Streets of Rage 4 balance patch coming later this month

While Streets of Rage 4 fans might have quite the wait ahead when it comes to fresh content, it seems that the excellent  multiplayer brawler will at least be receiving a new update at some point in the near future.

An incoming patch has been teased on Twitter by co-developer DotEmu, before being reaffirmed as a "gameplay balancing patch" by Lizardcube. While no details have been revealed, the new update is suspected to bring a few tweaks to the SoR 4 roster and rogue's gallery, perhaps tweaking damage and frames in much the same way an update for Street Fighter or BlazBlue would. So I wouldn't expect any new characters or stages.

Streets of Rage 4 balance patch coming later this month screenshot

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Giveaway: World of Warships turns five, so take some free stuff for the PC version

In today's giveaway, you can snag some free content for World of Warships!

While I never delved into it, myself, my old roommate would hop into World of Warships to take battle on the high seas. Despite my extreme fear of the ocean, it was actually kinda fun to sit and watch him play! I guess that's why it's been around for five years now, and still going strong.

Celebrate their big milestone by redeeming a key for an in-game content pack featuring approximately $28 USD worth of bonus content. And if you're new to the game, we've got a special redemption offer to allow you up to $50 of in-game content to help get you into the groove!

Giveaway: World of Warships turns five, so take some free stuff for the PC version screenshot

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NieR Replicant was rated in Taiwan, so maybe it'll actually release in 2020

NieR Replicant has been more or less unheard from ever since Square Enix announced it's being remastered remade upgraded. This new take on the Japan-only PS3 version of NieR is supposed to launch before the year's done, but all this silence hasn't inspired much confidence.

Quietly, there's reason for optimism. NieR Replicant Ver.1.22474487139... (which is its ridiculous-but-official name) has been given a rating by the Taiwan Digital Game Rating Committee:

NieR Replicant was rated in Taiwan, so maybe it'll actually release in 2020 screenshot

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Gearbox will tell us about the future of Borderlands next week

This is the first Labor Day Weekend I have to chill out in a decade, because I'm always in Seattle under the guise of highly important games blogging. PAX West is my favorite show every year because it's the only one that strikes a perfect balance between "laid back enough to not be stressful" and "essential enough to warrant going." And it's all in a city I adore when the weather's always gorgeous.

But, as we all know full-well, PAX West isn't happening this year -- at least not in its traditional form. It's an online event like all the other events, as it'll try to create a facsimile of the PAX-going experience. One aspect is getting some panels on-stream.

Gearbox is doing its usual news-announcing panel for PAX, where it'll touch on the future of its publishing arm, and, more importantly, Borderlands:

Gearbox will tell us about the future of Borderlands next week screenshot

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Fall Guys can add more mayhem with Big Yeetus, a 'chaotic neutral' hammer

Even the chaos of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout can begin to feel routine once you've competed in a couple hundred rounds, and while some players have taken it upon themselves to keep things fresh, a new brand of mayhem is brewing at Mediatonic beyond the Season 2 stages lined up for October.

Big Yeetus is the answer to everyone who's asked for more variety in the current levels.

A randomly-appearing hazard with a silly name is on-brand for Fall Guys, that's for sure. And if you've ever passed the time in Team Tail Tag by hurling yourself into a swinging hammer, you'll see the appeal.

The game's jovial Twitter account likes to crack jokes, and the lines are often blurred.

Is Big Yeetus just a bit?

"Following a deluge of media inquiries, we would like to confirm that we are not offering official press comment on the existence of this so-called 'Big Yeetus,'" Mediatonic later tweeted.

Either way (for the record, I think Big Yeetus is real and should be), I appreciate the other change shown in the clip: cannon-launched fruit on Dizzy Heights. People are too good at dodging the rolling balls.

There's a balance to strike between comfy familiarity and funky freshness. I hope they pull it off.

Fall Guys can add more mayhem with Big Yeetus, a 'chaotic neutral' hammer screenshot



CD Projekt Red says that Cyberpunk 2077's file size will be reasonable

Do androids dream of bigger hard drives? CD Projekt Red says no.

Yesterday's Cyberpunk 2077 technical showcase from the new Nvidia 30XX cards had some people worried that it looked a little too good. Basically, folks were worried that achieving that sort of visual fidelity would require an absolutely ridiculous file size. Not so, apparently:

CD Projekt Red says that Cyberpunk 2077's file size will be reasonable screenshot

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Hello Games' follow-up to No Man's Sky is another 'huge, ambitious game' but not a sequel

Hello Games has seen the good and the bad with No Man's Sky. It has seen the dangers of unchecked expectations and the blowback of unrealized promises. It has made right on an underwhelming game, eventually redeeming No Man's Sky by turning it into something vast and detailed and excellent. It has been quite the ride, and it shouldn't be lost on anyone that a title with the potential to deliver so many in-game stories ended up as a rollercoaster of real-world stories.

But Hello Games and its founder, Sean Murray, are about ready to create new stories. Hopefully, this ride won't be quite so bumpy.

In an interview with Polygon, Murray reveals that the studio is in the very early phases of planning its next major project. Murray says it's "a huge, ambitious game like No Man's Sky," but emphasizes that it's not a sequel. Making sequels is antithetical to the reason Murray and Hello Games' other employees went indie in the first place.

That's all the information we have for now. Murray seems gunshy about divulging too much too fast. He has a history with that sort of thing. Ultimately, he's happy with where No Man's Sky ended up, but regrets the emotional wringer that the initial launch put his employees through. He'll probably look to avoid that with this next game, and that might mean publicizing it less.

"A lot of [press] opportunities were put in front of us, and we were told that they were the right things to do and I look back and I'm not sure that they were super, super important to the overall outcome kind of thing," Murray says. Whatever No Man's Sky successor ends up being, Hello Games likely won't promise the world this time.

Hello Games' Sean Murray on the studio's next No Man's Sky-sized game [Polygon]

Hello Games' follow-up to No Man's Sky is another 'huge, ambitious game' but not a sequel screenshot



There's a lot of good stuff coming to Xbox Game Pass in the next two weeks

I've already dedicated an entire article to Resident Evil 7 getting added to Xbox Game Pass, so I probably can't justify doing that again. Fortunately, there are plenty of other gems lined up to join the Bakers and the Molded.

Yesterday, Paradox's feudal legacy simulator Crusader Kings III launched and was immediately included in Xbox Game Pass. That's one that's well worth checking out. Sticking with the strategic angle, Raw Fury's tactical RPG Star Renegades releases on September 8 and is another day one addition to Game Pass.

Elsewhere, the second and third acts in Dontnod's Tell Me Why are lined up for the next two Thursdays. More nebulously, Destiny 2 and its expansions join Xbox Game Pass "soon," but being a part of this list probably means it'll happen before mid-September. (It's also worth remembering that Destiny's November add-on, Beyond Light, is also coming to Game Pass at launch.)

Oh, and Resident Evil 7 is making its way to Xbox Game Pass too. Not sure if that one has been mentioned yet.

Here's what Microsoft has lined up for Xbox Game Pass for the next two weeks:

There's a lot of good stuff coming to Xbox Game Pass in the next two weeks screenshot

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