Thursday, 3 September 2020

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.

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

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.

Lab Zero Games has laid off all staff, claims former employee 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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PlayStation's Essential Picks sale has a deal on The Last of Us Part II

The PlayStation Store is running an Essential Picks sale on PS4 games, and it's an early chance to save a bit on The Last of Us Part II ($49.99) if you're up for a long, draining, ultimately impressive adventure.

Other essentials include Dreams ($29.99), Days Gone ($21.99), Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds ($4.99), Uncharted 4 ($14.99), Marvel's Spider-Man GOTY ($19.99), and God of War ($14.99). You also shouldn't miss WipEout Omega Collection ($9.99) even if you've never tried the anti-grav racing series.

The rest of the list is mostly more of the usual fodder, with one surprising exception: the Nioh 2 Season Pass is down to $13.99. Based on the quality of the first DLC, The Tengu's Disciple, I'd jump on it. For as often as some of these games go on sale, discounts on season passes can be annoyingly elusive.

I've listed out the US PlayStation Store deals below, and you can find the EU deals here.

A separate PlayStation Store sale – Games Under $15 – is running simultaneously.

It has a lot of genuinely worthwhile titles, to the point where I'm wondering why they weren't lumped in with the "essential picks." Bloodborne ($12.99), Ratchet and Clank ($9.99), Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition ($12.99), Until Dawn ($9.99), Far Cry 3 Classic Edition ($9.89), Gran Turismo Sport ($12.99), inFamous Second Son ($9.99), and Shadow of the Colossus ($9.99) all stand out. You do you, Sony.

PlayStation's Essential Picks sale has a deal on The Last of Us Part II screenshot

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Slice 'n' dice your way through Ghostrunner, headed to PC and consoles in 2020

It's more of that neon-city cyberpunk action that's hot with all the kids right now. All-In! Games has released a new trailer for its futuristic first-person adventure Ghostrunner, which launches on PS4, PC, and Xbox One later in 2020.

In a dystopian future, entire cities are stacked vertically in gargantuan towers, where the people are ruled over by the tower's richest, most powerful, or most ruthless occupants. In Ghostrunner, players must scale the world's last remaining city, Dharma Tower, in order to take down its keymaster, Mara, and free the city's populace from their violent and oppressive rule... Not unlike Pete Travis' excellent 2012 movie, Dredd.

Slice 'n' dice your way through Ghostrunner, headed to PC and consoles in 2020 screenshot

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Square Enix says Marvel's Avengers had the 'most-downloaded beta in PlayStation history'

For all of its divisiveness, Marvel's Avengers is shaping up to be a huge success for Square Enix. After running a three-weekend beta test that was initially PS4-focused before opening up on PC and Xbox One, the publisher says Avengers was "globally the most-downloaded beta in PlayStation history."

That milestone makes sense on a few fronts.

Marvel's Avengers is undeniably rough around the edges, but the underlying idea – a big-budget take on the Avengers that lets people team up with their friends – has so much raw mainstream appeal. Add in the messy games-as-a-service angle, the loot-based progression, the beta's timing, and the play-first-on-PlayStation push, and it's not surprising that millions of players wanted to dip their toes in on PS4.

It's one of those betas that people downloaded even if they had no confidence they'd buy the full game. It benefited from high visibility (as a Marvel IP) and widespread curiosity ("Is it actually fun to play?").

For my part, I have no intention of getting Marvel's Avengers on launch day (to say nothing of the current paid Early Access period), but I do intend to play it in 2020 after a round of patches. That's progress!

Where are you at with Avengers?

@SquareEnix [Twitter]

Square Enix says Marvel's Avengers had the 'most-downloaded beta in PlayStation history' screenshot



Zombie Army 4: Dead War to receive two more seasons of content

British developer Rebellion has announced that its undead Nazi shooter Zombie Army 4: Dead War will receive a further two seasons of DLC content, extending the life, (or is that "afterlife), of the multiplayer team title into 2021.

Rebellion announced the content in a new video - which you can check out below. Seasons two and three will bring with them a fresh slew of characters, enemies, weapons and maps, alongside expanded campaign chapters. Previous DLC drops have seen our rag-tag band of heroes venture into darkest Transylvania, and even into forgotten subterranean cities, while on their quest to eradicate every trace of the Undead Reich.

Zombie Army 4: Dead War to receive two more seasons of content screenshot

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Behold! The Switch eShop has actual timers for sales now

Baby steps, people.

Look, the eShop has remained mostly unchanged for over three years now. Despite Nintendo's initiative to add 30-40 games to it every week, causing tons of bloat, navigational efforts haven't really improved all that much despite a few nips and tucks here and there. A new advancement this week definitely counts as minor; but it's appreciated nonetheless.

After being informed by a reader that the Switch eShop now has timers available for game sales, I booted up my Switch and sure enough, it's there. Note that in addition to providing "days remaining" when it comes to broad strokes, the new system will actually delineate "hours remaining" as well when it comes down to the wire.

I'll take it! Now Nintendo just needs to get to work overhauling the rest of it, while keeping this feature.

[Thanks John!]

Behold! The Switch eShop has actual timers for sales now screenshot

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Katamari Damacy Reroll is finally coming to PS4 and Xbox One in November

Katamari Damacy Reroll might not have set the world on fire, but I loved revisiting the original unhinged rolling action game on Nintendo Switch and PC. Can we get any more Katamari remasters? I sure hope so. In the meantime – but not all that soon – a pair of console ports are on the table for Reroll.

Bandai Namco is bringing the game to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on November 19, 2020 in Japan.

The listing was spotted on Katamari Damacy Reroll's Japanese site, and it's hard to imagine we won't see a similar announcement in the West soon. Will I dip again for PS4 trophies? Most likely!

On that note, I'll take anything and everything from the main series – bring on the ports.

[Via Gematsu]

Katamari Damacy Reroll is finally coming to PS4 and Xbox One in November screenshot



Here's a roundup of all of the Ninjala anime episodes so far

Ninjala is still trucking along on Switch, calling my name every so often.

Although it was fairly flawed at launch some post-launch updates have smoothed over some of the rougher aspects: enough for that "one round or so" feel when winding down for the day. It also helps that developer Soleil and publisher GungHo are actually trying to build out this universe: theme counts for a lot.

To that end, GungHo's endless pockets have funded a Ninjala anime, that's still running as of this week. The first episode actually debuted around the game's launch, but the latest one came out yesterday.

As a note, it's all free to watch on YouTube. You can check it all out below! Episodes are actually pretty meaty, running around 10 minutes each.

Here's a roundup of all of the Ninjala anime episodes so far screenshot

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Mortal Kombat 11 Ash Williams rumor refuses to stay buried

Following recent comments from voice actor Richard Epcar, Mortal Kombat 11 fans are being given new hope that Evil Dead's wise-cracking hero Ash Williams will be joining the gory fighter's roster at some point in the future.

Epcar - who portrays both thunder god Raiden and DC Comics' Joker - re-lit the rumour fire during an online Q&A session with fans held this past weekend. "Oh, that's right," stated Epcar when questioned. "Bruce Campbell will be in Mortal Kombat. He's going to be a part of the new package." (Clip courtesy of @masterofcold.)

The Ash Williams x Mortal Kombat furor began with online whispers that the Deadite slayer was coming to MK 11 within the first wave of DLC. This rumor was backed up when "Ash" was discovered in a datamine of the PC release, (a datamine which would correctly predict the rest of MK 11's Kombat Pack). If this wasn't enough, then the first teaser trailer for the Kombat Pack included the sound of a buzzing chainsaw.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ash Williams rumor refuses to stay buried screenshot

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Bungie pulls back the curtain on Destiny 2's new Warlock subclass

If you're looking forward to the new Destiny 2 expansion, you're probably focused in on the upcoming stasis subclasses.

It's a pretty huge deal for the series as they haven't had a new subclass...since the start, and now all three classes are getting one. This week, Bungie decided to start breaking them down individually, and decided to go with the Warlock (the best class) for their initial salvo.

As a reminder, the Warlock's stasis subclass is the Shadebinder. As Bungie puts it, the style is to "freeze as many enemies as possible," with a projectile-based playstyle. And what would a Warlock be without a staff: Shadebinders can summon a Stasis weapon to unleash shockwaves and stasis projectiles.

Aspects and Fragments will now further customize the subclass, which dangerously sounds like another added element of grinding at first glance. An example Bungie gives is "finding a Frostpulse Aspect" in the wild, which provides a freezing modifier to their Rift power. Neat, but I hope these don't take forever to farm.

Bungie says that "stasis will change the way you play Destiny 2," and I sure hope so. Although it still plays wonderfully due to the incredibly strong shooter foundation, it'll be nice to finally mix things up with a different subclass after several years of the same old thing (and that's just Destiny 2).

Stasis Spotlight: Warlock Shadebinder [Bungie.net]

Bungie pulls back the curtain on Destiny 2's new Warlock subclass screenshot



Cyberpunk 2077 tech video shows off GeForce RTX 30 effects

CD Projekt RED, in association with Nvidia, has released a short tech video for upcoming RPG Cyberpunk 2077, showcasing its deadly future-noir universe as powered by Nvidia's shiny new range of GeForce RTX 30 graphics cards.

The trailer offers a brief look at several locales within the neon-tinged 'berg, with powerful ray tracing and DLSS 2.0 effects presenting the city at its absolute finest. Predictably, Night City looks absolutely fantastic, with dazzling colour, realistic reflections and shadows, and an abundance of real-time particles, with resolution sharper than a razor blade.

You don't have to take my word for it, check out the video for yourself below.

Cyberpunk 2077 tech video shows off GeForce RTX 30 effects screenshot

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PlayStation Now just got two big names: Resident Evil 7 and Final Fantasy XV

It's hard to believe that PlayStation Now kicked off at the start of 2014. Hell, I can't believe PlayStation Plus was implemented in 2010.

Sony has a lot of little programs (just like Microsoft, with Game Pass Ultimate!) so it can be hard to keep track of everything, but PlayStation Now (otherwise known as PS Now) is their cloud-based subscription service that's not quite as enticing as Game Pass; given that Microsoft's program includes huge day-one first-party releases. This week, PS Now is getting a few more games though.

In addition to WWE 2K19 (the prior, not-completely-broken-one) and Observation, Resident Evil 7 and Final Fantasy XV are arriving on the service. While Resident Evil 7 is pretty much the new darling of the series, beloved by everyone, FFXV is a bit more polarizing. But take heart! If you're a JRPG fan and have a lot of extra time to get sucked into a world, you may enjoy it yet. Go in with an open mind and give it a shot.

PS Now's September Lineup [PlayStation Blog]

PlayStation Now just got two big names: Resident Evil 7 and Final Fantasy XV screenshot



Sega's Project B.L.A.C.K. is new mobile title Sakura Revolution

Well, I called it. Sega has revealed that its previously teased "Project B.L.A.C.K." is indeed a new Sakura Wars mobile title. Sakura Kakumei (or Sakura Revolution) is currently in development for iOS and Android platforms and will launch in Japan this fall.

Produced by Sega and Delightworks, Sakura Revolution is a spin-off title set within the melodramatic, mech-battling Sakura Wars universe. While story details are still a little thin-on-the-ground, a 20+ minute anime from studio Clover Works gives us our first look at the new game's cast of characters. Unfortunately, the anime is currently only available in Japanese.

Sega's Project B.L.A.C.K. is new mobile title Sakura Revolution screenshot

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What? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate allegedly almost had rollback netcode

So Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is pretty great, and it's somehow still getting content and has remained relevant (checks calendar)...nearly two years after launch. That's pretty great! But you know what's not great? Its netcode and online play experience.

While you can chalk this up as "classic Nintendo," new details from an upcoming Famitsu article seem to claim that rollback netcode was once planned for Smash Ultimate. The news comes from Nintendo insider and translator PushDustIn, who explained on Twitter that rollback netcode was "looked into during development," but due to some "adverse side effects," it was dropped. More info is said to be coming once the full Famitsu column is available.

In other Smash news, more "adjustments" will be coming to 1v1 modes in Smash Ultimate, and Sakurai confirms that Smash has peddled over 20 million copies. Given that it's sitting at 19.9 million right now on Nintendo's official site, that checks out.

If you're curious, you can find more info on how rollback netcode works here, or watch the below video! The short of it is, rollback netcode is harder to implement in many circumstances (but not all), so we don't see it as often as the industry standard: delay-based netcode. 

Smash Ultimate [Famitsu via PushDustIn]

What? Super Smash Bros. Ultimate allegedly almost had rollback netcode screenshot

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Xbox confirms 'no new next-gen news' at TGS 2020

Xbox has announced that will have no new next-gen news to offer during its Tokyo Game Show (TGS) presentation later this month.

As reported by VGC, Xbox outlined its itinerary for the annual trade show event in a tweet and accompanying blog post. Xbox clarified that its TGS presentation will consist of a 50-minute live stream "celebrating Japanese game developers and games" and will feature updates on both Minecraft and Flight Simulator. The stream will be broadcast in Japanese only.

"Our presence at Tokyo Game Show will celebrate the visionary creators and vibrant players in the region," reads a statement on Xbox.com. "Tune in to see the latest on games, content from our Japanese partners and players, and further details on Xbox services."

While Xbox has always struggled to maintain a strong presence in Japan, the lack of any next-gen news whatsoever still comes as a surprise, given the rapidly approaching launch season. Xbox's reluctance to announce a release date, price, or to confirm the existence of the industry's worst-kept secret, Xbox Series S, continues to frustrate the publisher's fanbase.

Tokyo Game Show 2020 takes place the week of September 23-27.

Xbox confirms 'no new next-gen news' at TGS 2020 screenshot

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Super Punch Patrol is a brawler from the creator of Gunman Clive and it hits Switch this month

Last month, we brought you news that Gunman Clive creator Bertil Hörberg was working on a new solo project through the COVID-19 pandemic. While it wasn't officially announced, gameplay snippets posted to Twitter over the past few months kept the game fresh in the back of my mind. In August, Hörberg was prepping to submit the game to NOA Lot Check. Things must have gone swimmingly as today, the indie dev finally revealed what this brawler is and when we'll be able to play it.

Super Punch Patrol is a brawler from the creator of Gunman Clive and it hits Switch this month screenshot

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Contest: Win Creepy Tale for Switch

In today's contest you can win a creepy tale, in form of Creepy Tale, for Nintendo Switch!

Welcome, September! Summer should be about winding down, giving us a much-needed reprieve from the heat and humidity. Shower us in your windy, leafy goodness, fall!

But isn't there always something a little creepy about the changing of summer into autumn? I always thought so. Celebrate that subtle unease with a Switch copy of indie adventure title, Creepy Tale.

Contest: Win Creepy Tale for Switch screenshot

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Nintendo files new trademarks for petrol-free 'Pikachu car' Pi!car!

In delightfully weird news from Japan, Nintendo - along with Creatures Inc. and Game Freak - have applied for several new trademarks relating to the design and realisation of Pi!car!, which appears to be an environmentally sound, Pikachu-themed motor vehicle.

The new trademarks are for the "Pi!car!" name in both Japanese and English, as well as two cutesy visual designs based around Pokemon's lead critter (which you can see in the gallery below). The three trademarks fall under the categories of "Vehicle" and "Education," but none of them appear tied to the development of any video games.

As reported by Japanese Nintendo, the Pi!car! project is a joint venture between The Pokemon Company and car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation, seemingly with the goal of producing a compact, petrol-free vehicle with a Pikachu theme. Whether this idea is to be realised as a mere concept car, or will actually made available to the public, remains to be seen...

...But boy howdy, do I wanna see people driving Pikachu cars in my neighbourhood.

Nintendo files new trademarks for petrol-free 'Pikachu car' Pi!car! screenshot

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Dead by Daylight promises 4K and 60FPS on PS5 and Xbox Series X this holiday season

If all goes according to plan, Dead by Daylight could have one of the smoother next-gen transitions.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of Dead by Daylight will run at 4K and 60FPS, and current players will be able to upgrade "for free on their new platform of choice" while retaining their progression and unlocks. Behaviour Interactive is aiming for a "holiday 2020" launch window on both consoles.

Even if you're sticking to the existing versions on PC, PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch, you'll benefit from an upcoming "graphical overhaul" that will be delivered in free updates stretching into fall 2021.

Starting with Springwood and Yamaoka Estate, the team intends to rework "over four years of live content" to "improve the immersion." That means new lighting, textures, models, and animations. The first update will drop on September 8 with those maps and revamped lockers, generators, and palettes.

While ambitious update schedules tend to slip off course, Behaviour hopes to release visual upgrades "every six weeks," and all told, "tens of thousands of assets will be enhanced."

Content-wise, they'll still be releasing new Chapters and Archives too.

The Realm Beyond [Dead by Daylight]

Dead by Daylight promises 4K and 60FPS on PS5 and Xbox Series X this holiday season screenshot



This magnificent modder turned a Wii into a Game Boy

A lot of people here likely have fond memories of their Wii. But older generations can recall some of Nintendo's bygone systems, like the fantastic and time-tested Game Boy Color. This mod from creator GingerOfMods marries both worlds into one impressive system.

They call it the WiiBoy Color. The front of the system is a 480p screen, with inputs Frankensteined from DS Lite buttons and Switch joysticks. GingerOfMods hacks the system to allow GameCube controls to mirror Wiimote controls: which can also simulate waggling. The back has a fan intake and Z buttons, with a headphone jack on the side and a USB-C port on top for charging and data transfer.

GingerOfMods can simply add games via USB when they want. It'll run for "two or three hours," but you can also hook up a portable charging bank to it to keep going. Plus, they can plug the portable directly into a Wii to play on a bigger screen: Switch style!

This is one of the most impressive hardware mods I've seen in recent years. I like the commitment to the form factor of the Game Boy Color the most: it looks incredibly sleek. GingerOfMods says that you can reach out to them via their Instagram or Twitter account if you want to buy it; but it'll cost you a "premium."

This magnificent modder turned a Wii into a Game Boy screenshot

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Vlambeer, the studio behind Nuclear Throne and Luftrausers, is closing

The indie game scene blew up during the seventh generation. Whereas AAA developers were stagnating and doubling down on games being made by committee, creators like Polytron and Subset Games were putting out beautiful niche titles that provided a more unique experience than what was previously available. One of the pioneers of the indie revolution was the two-man team at Vlambeer.

Starting with their platformer-shooter Super Crate Box, the duo of Rami Ismail and Jan Willem Nijman gained the attention of publisher Devolver Digital, who approached the team to make a small-scale game set in the Serious Sam universe to promote the then-upcoming Serious Sam 3 release. Serious Sam: The Random Encounter was Vlambeer's introduction to those not embroiled in the PC indie scene. What followed was almost a decade of exceptional games that exemplified gaming's arcade history.

Today, on the 10th anniversary of the formation of the studio, Vlambeer announced that it will be closing its virtual doors after the release of the upcoming game Ultrabugs.

While reiterating that this isn't a sad day for the team, and thanking fans for all the love and support through the years, Vlambeer announced that it would be doing a celebration in honor of both the studio's decennial milestone as well as the beginning of its farewell tour.

To kick things off, an arcade-focused Steam sale is going on through Thursday with many of Vlambeer's games on steep discounts, including the very rarely on-sale Nuclear Throne. Along with the sale, a prototype for the team's long mulled over but never fully realized take on a tower defense game was released for the first time to the public.

While the devs will not be leaving the industry completely – and it's not like we haven't already seen the duo reaching out beyond their studio confines to collaborate on other games like Minit – it feels like the end of a chapter of gaming history. Granted it's ending much better than the way Polytron closed its doors, but it's still hard to not be a little sad about this end.

So here's to a decade of roguelites and texting my friends gloating about daily run scores. To more screenshake and getting so blindly mad at a game that you Alt-F4 and immediately uninstall. To believing that the throne may not exist, and the cruel slap in the face of the opening salvo when you actually find it. Thank you for everything, Vlambeer – your games have been some of the most fun I've had in my entire life as a gamer, and I wish you good luck in the future.

I don't thank you for the Disc Gun though, that shit can still go to hell.

Vlambeer, the studio behind Nuclear Throne and Luftrausers, is closing screenshot



Here's how to access Final Fantasy XIV's 2020 The Rising event

Final Fantasy XIV just got a fresh injection of content due to a new emotional main quest culmination in Patch 5.3 as players work through the new extreme trial and continue to enjoy the second NieR: Automata collaboration.

But while we wait for 5.4's new cavalcade of raid content, another free event is here to pass the time: yep, the seasonal festivities of The Rising returns to Eorzea. It's live now and will run all the way through September 14 at 7:59AM PT, which is plenty of time to grab some of the unique items.

Basically all you need to do to start it is head to the Ul'dah - Steps of Nald (X:10.3 Y:8.3) and talk to J'bhen Tia (just make sure you're level 15). From there the event is self-explanatory, and you'll earn a minion and a piece of wall art for your troubles.

Little events like these help add so much character to the world of FFXIV, and break down some of the less digestible stuff like hardcore raiding. It's one of the best MMOs in the business in terms of letting you feel like you're living in a virtual universe.

The Rising [Final Fantasy XIV]

Here's how to access Final Fantasy XIV's 2020 The Rising event screenshot

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