Blog archive

Friday, 20 November 2020


Thu Nov 19 18:55:00 UTC 2020

The secret Demon's Souls door was unlocked and it's guarding a cool item set

After a new-to-the-remake secret door was found in Demon's Souls, the community scrambled to find answers that might lead to a key. We knew there was something juicy inside – players peeked through the wall using photo mode – and Bluepoint only added to the excitement by playfully calling out folks.

Today, after the recent discovery of a new Ceramic Coin item, the madmen did it. They got inside.

The process involves playing Demon's Souls on Fractured Mode, a new "mirror mode" Bluepoint created that flips the world. You can initiate the mode with the statue in the Nexus by spending 25,000 souls. From there, it's a matter of getting your World Tendency status to Pure Black and/or Pure White and scouring the land for Ceramic Coins in specific hidden locations, as summarized in this Reddit post.

These coins are a finite collectible per playthrough, and to get the key to the secret door, you'll need to accumulate 26 of them, so it'll take at least a couple of New Game+ runs with the same character. (They can't be given away to other players or duped, so don't even bother trying.) With a stockpile of 26 Ceramic Coins, you can then trade them all with Sparkly the Crow in the Shrine of Storms for the key.

Here's the reward as depicted by speedrunner Distortion2 (with more screens here):

The fated secret door is guarding the Penetrator boss armor set, including a helmet, cuirass, gauntlets, and greaves. Here's the on-stream moment when Distortion2 first picked up the Penetrator set.

Some fans worked themselves into a frenzy this week over what the door could be teasing – I even saw speculation point to future Bluepoint remasters, among other ideas – and they might be a bit disappointed. The mystery itself was entertaining to me, and I think this is a suitably cool reward.

For now, that's it – the case is closed. Actually earning the armor ourselves will be quite the endeavor.

The secret Demon's Souls door was unlocked and it's guarding a cool item set screenshot


Contest: Win three months of beta access to Dual Universe

In today's contest you can win three months of beta access to Dual Universe!

You know what sucks about our universe? Everything! With all the political bickering, rampant viruses, and overall sucktitude of this joint, wouldn't you like to just start over?

Well, you can try in Dual Universe. This unique world-building MMO is in its beta period, so we're giving away keys to get you into the action.

Contest: Win three months of beta access to Dual Universe screenshot


Borderlands 3's new event guarantees Legendary drops

The critical path turns into the golden path for two lucrative weeks inside Borderlands 3. Gearbox has a new mini-event with plenty of incentive to run and rerun those story missions.

In the Borderlands 3 Golden Path Mini-Event, Gearbox guarantees Legendary items will drop as rewards for certain campaign missions. It's only the critical path stuff. No side missions or DLC get the same treatment.

During the most recent Borderlands 3 state of the game stream, Gearbox explains that the intent behind this event is for new players playing cooperatively on next-gen split-screen to get a quick start on loot. It'll be great for them, but it'll be great for everyone else too. No one's arguing with Legendaries.

The Golden Path Mini-Event runs November 19 until December 3. It should make the grind a little easier... until you start reaching new Mayhem levels and just have to regrind all the gear all over again anyway. 

Load Up on Legendaries During The Golden Path Mini-Event! [Borderlands]

Borderlands 3's new event guarantees Legendary drops screenshot

The Nioh 2 PS5 remaster loads fast as hell

One of my first takeaways with the Demon's Souls PS5 remake was how much less prickly the experience can be when load times are quick. That sentiment will also go for the PS5 remasters of Nioh and Nioh 2. When these games launch for PlayStation 5 on February 5, 2021, they'll be fast as hell.

Team Ninja shared a pair of gameplay clips that show how Nioh 2 handles load times on PS5.

"A few seconds or so" is a substantial improvement over what we're used to for Nioh and Nioh 2 on PlayStation 4 not just for reviving after a death, but also for loading into missions.

This series is built on a foundation of grinding for gear, perfecting routes, and doing it all again in New Game+ runs, so every little bit not spent waiting around will add up in a meaningful way.

I don't think I have it in me to revisit the first Nioh ever again (sorry, William!), but being able to upgrade Nioh 2 for free and bring over my PS4 save data? Yeah, I'm down. Give me those high frame rates.

[Via Gematsu]

The Nioh 2 PS5 remaster loads fast as hell screenshot

Elite Dangerous is free on the Epic Store this week and MudRunner is coming next

This week's Epic Games Store giveaway mixes the familiar with the new.

Until next Thursday, November 26, you can nab Elite Dangerous and The World Next Door. If you've always thought about trying your hand at exploring the vastness of space but you never found the right time – or should I say enough time – for Elite Dangerous, it's a good opp, especially if you're set up for VR flights. Frontier Developments is still supporting the game with ongoing expansion content, too.

I had never heard of The World Next Door, and I figure that goes for most of you. It's part visual novel, part action-puzzle-battler. Interesting combo! The plot centers on Jun, a teen trying to return home from a magical world "before time runs out," and there are dialog and relationship choices to fuss over.

I'm more excited about next week's pick-up, MudRunner, for its out-there factor. I'd never buy an all-terrain vehicle simulator, but I would absolutely check one out for free. I've heard good things.

While filling in the tags for this post, "Elite Beat Agents" popped up and I got real sad.

Elite Dangerous is free on the Epic Store this week and MudRunner is coming next screenshot

Mario Kart Tour's newest update asks: Mario or Luigi?

The quiet feud between two of gaming's greatest siblings has built to a head. Nintendo's best brothers, Mario and Luigi, have now taken their fussin' and feudin' to the racetrack, and will be decided in the new "Mario vs. Luigi" tour, now live in mobile racer Mario Kart Tour.

The new update adds a new "Team Rally" mode, which asks players to party up as a part of Team Mario or Team Luigi. As racers whiz around various circuits, they will gather up special tokens for their chosen Team Captain, in a bid to prove who is the most Super of the Mario Bros. At the end of the rally, the winning team will be awarded with in-game items and an exclusive title screen, proudly emblazoned with the winning sibling's 'tasche.

Mario Kart Tour's newest update asks: Mario or Luigi? screenshot


Yakuza: Like a Dragon became an RPG after the April Fools' Day reaction, says Nagoshi

In an enlightening documentary video from Archipel, Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi spoke about how the turn-based Yakuza: Like A Dragon was originally an action game. Now you might be thinking, "Yeah, sure. It started that way and before long they branched out to try something new."

But the way Nagoshi tells it, the shift was even wilder – it happened in the last year of production.

"After working on the six numbered titles, I had somehow reached a limit," he said. "As I was thinking of how to follow the events of Yakuza 6, I wasn't too confident on the margin of progress I could make."

"At first we said half-joking how about we make an RPG," Nagoshi recalled. "We released an April Fools' video. Many people were assuming that we were already making an RPG at that point. Actually, it was really something only made for April Fools' Day. It was still an action game at the time. From there, the video was positively received, we suddenly fully changed directions. We started making it an RPG."

"Hurrying to make things is sort of a characteristic of the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio," Nagoshi explained.

"Nobody said that it was too late to shift to an RPG, that it was impossible or that it wouldn't please the players," he said. "It was more coming up with ideas to make it happen. In my experience, when you have to stop a brainstorm because too many ideas are flowing, you're on the right direction."

The shift from brawls to JRPG battles doesn't align with every Yakuza fan's interests – I'm open to a refined RPG sequel even if I prefer real-time punch-outs – but in retrospect, the swap makes sense. As Nagoshi says in the interview, "surprise" is the "keyword [he values] the most in entertainment."

This news only makes me more excited about the improvements we might see in Ichiban's next outing.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon became an RPG after the April Fools' Day reaction, says Nagoshi screenshot

Right on cue, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity just got a physical My Nintendo reward

Called it!

Just recently I noticed the trend of Nintendo releasing a first-party games, then dropping physical My Nintendo rewards for them on us after launch. It happened with belated drops for Animal Crossing, Paper Mario and Xenoblade Definitive Edition: with more timely arrivals for Mario Kart Live and Pikmin 3. So it would have made sense for Nintendo to deliver at least one Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity reward. They did.

It is just one reward, but it's sweet: for 600 Platinum Points, you can grab a memo pad themed after Age of Calamity. I mean, technically it has the Age of Calamity name on it, but really, it's an extension of Breath of the Wild merch with stylized drawings of Urbosa, Revali, Mipha, Daruk, Zelda, Link, and Hyrule Castle (which are done in the style of the flashback sequences in both games). The memo pad measures in at 8.5"x5.5, and it's 50 pages. I already got one to put with the rest of my Zelda collection.

As a reminder, if you need help scrounging up some quick points, look to our Pikmin website promo guide (100 easy points), make sure you sign into the Wii U or 3DS eShop this week, or check out Super Mario Run for a hot second. 600 is in the middle of the road for physical rewards this year, so make sure you really want it before dropping all those points on it.

As a general rule, it's smart to have around 600-800 points to use on something you really want, in case it sells out quickly. A few items have been restocked, but thus far, the most expensive item (a 1000 point Tom Nook keychain) is still sold out.

Hyrule Warriors Memo Pad [My Nintendo]

Right on cue, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity just got a physical My Nintendo reward screenshot


Bethesda made a really good lore video to explain Fallout 76's Brotherhood of Steel

Strap in, you're about to get 500CCs of straight lore injected right into your veins.

Stitching together all the details of the Fallout universe wasn't particularly easy in vanilla Fallout 76. There were no NPCs, thus there was no one to tell you stories. It was a never-ending trail of holotapes and terminal entries, and you were left to mentally filter and retain all the important stuff. It wasn't very good storytelling.

Ahead of the free Steel Dawn update, Bethesda felt it pertinent to explain how and why the Brotherhood of Steel is in Appalachia. This eight-minute walkthrough covers Lt. Taggerdy's gang and their transition from the Army Rangers to the Brotherhood. It goes into their affiliations and struggles in West Virginia, ultimately culminating in Operation Touchdown in the glassed cavern (which is the Belly of the Beast mission where we see their fate firsthand).

It doesn't, however, really get into why this new wave of Brotherhood of Steel is making their way west from California to Appalachia. The video simply concludes by saying "Now, eight years later, the Brotherhood's First Expeditionary Force is on its way from their headquarters in New California to assess the situation, re-enforce, and re-establish contact between the two sides. Unknowingly heading into a very different Appalachia..."

Anyway, I'm into these lore videos and I hope Bethesda makes more of them. It would've been nice if the storytelling in the actual game was up to snuff, but it wasn't and that's life. There are certainly plenty of people who didn't get all the details inside Fallout 76 and can't be asked to pore through tons of wiki pages. Ad victoriam and also ad lore videoam.

Bethesda made a really good lore video to explain Fallout 76's Brotherhood of Steel screenshot

Review: Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge

As Disney continues to throw a ton of Star Wars stuff at the wall to see what sticks, some of it is landing. The Mandalorian and the recent season of The Clone Wars are really resonating with people, in part due to the efforts of Dave Filoni: who should be the Kevin Feige executive equivalent for the property.

In the meantime, Disney is content with trying new stories and cashing in on nostalgiaTales from the Galaxy's Edge tries a bit of both, but comes up short because of it.

Review: Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge screenshot


The list of PS5 non-backward compatible games just got a little smaller

Officially there were 10 PS4 games that wouldn't be able to make the transition to PS5 via the magic of backward compatibility. (Although, Chris and other people found their own examples of additional games that weren't functional.) "Were" is the operative word in that first sentence because the official list has now been pared down to nine.

Chair Entertainment has patched Shadow Complex Remastered so that it's now backward compatible on PS5:

The list of PS5 non-backward compatible games just got a little smaller screenshot


Will Cyberpunk 2077 be the most screenshottable game ever?

I had one recurring takeaway during this five-minute Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay trailer, even though it's something that has been at the forefront of my mind ever since CD Projekt Red's fantastic showing at E3 2018. Hell, I'm sure you've been thinking it all along too. "Fuck, this game looks so unique and beautiful."

Every three-or-so seconds, the trailer cuts to a new scene in Night City, and it's almost always a visual feast. The art and design just seems so immaculate. It's a city that you're going to want to constantly photograph. Cyberpunk 2077 will have a photo mode, hopefully it's a robust one. Some people are going to forget to play this game in favor of capturing it.

The other thought that crossed my mind is "How are we going to end up in all of these situations?" The trailer shows so many different settings and scenes that it seems impossible to experience them all. It's so diverse that it almost looks like the content is endless even though we know it isn't. Like, how do we get to a talk show where a double-amputee gets bionic arms? I just can't imagine a scenario where there's a pause from all the gang-busting and corpo-infiltration to go watch The Ellen Show 2077.

Rollercoaster riding, skinny dipping, punk rocking, blowing up Terminators in the desert, Keanuing -- it's all a part of the Cyberpunk 2077 experience. At some point, you'll find time to smuggle this brainchip and topple capitalism, or whatever's going on here.

Will Cyberpunk 2077 be the most screenshottable game ever? screenshot

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp might be worth reinstalling now that it has AR capabilities

I uninstalled Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp from my phone well before New Horizons hit the Switch, and I really haven't seen any reason to go back to it. It's still the cute game I remember from when it launched, but it's shackled to fortune cookies and a subscription service I just don't want to deal with.

If anything, I was good and ready to forget all about the app until I found out today Nintendo has added AR functionality to it. That...might be enough to change my mind. As you can see in the trailer below, the new AR feature will allow players to bring their favorite campers into our world, and we'll be able to go into Pocket Camp to visit our friends in our cabins.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp might be worth reinstalling now that it has AR capabilities screenshot


Void Terrarium Plus announced for PS5 in Japan

Nippon Ichi Software has revealed that an expanded edition of its charming but dour adventure Void Terrarium is coming to PS5 in early 2021. Void Terrarium Plus - or to give it it's full name void tRrLM(); ++ver; //Void Terrarium Plus - will feature all of the content of the original PS4 and Nintendo Switch edition, alongside additional new features.

Void Terrarium is set in a grim, post-apocalyptic world, and puts players in the role of a beat-up service droid, tasked with protecting a vulnerable young girl, Toriko, from the highly toxic environment. Players guide the little bot through a series of dungeons, searching out food, medicine, and resources in efforts to keep Toriko healthy while offering her some form of comfort in this dark and miserable world.

Void Terrarium Plus announced for PS5 in Japan screenshot


World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will have eight new dungeons at launch

Both Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft are both getting big updates by the end of the year, especially the latter: who is hosting a major expansion for the first time in two years. As detailed over in the game's blog, Blizzard has explained how the dungeon system works, which will entail eight new locales: four for leveling and four as max-level activities.

The first one comes at level 51 (The Necrotic Wake), right near the start of the expansion: accompanied by normal, heroic, and mythic difficulty settings. Then there's one at level 53 (Plaguefall), then 55 (Mists of Tirna Scithe), and 57 (Halls of Atonement). All the dungeons are spread across the Bastion, Maldraxxus, Ardenweald, and Revendreth zones.

This sort of info is pretty useful when leveling, as you'll know exactly when you're supposed to head into a dungeon (if you haven't already) and start leveling quicker and acquiring better loot. While you can typically hit max level (now 60 in this upcoming expansion) by heading through the critical path main story quest, sprinkling in dungeons can make everything faster.

Truth be told, the start of an MMO expansion is one of my favorite gaming activities, full stop. The unknown feeling of it all (barring the collective of guides from the alpha and beta periods, which I ignore) is thrilling: diving into a whole new expansion world all alone. I can't wait to see what Shadowlands brings to the table. In all, I just hope it brings back that meta-magic from Legion. Battle for Azeroth was fun, but the general positivity around Legion made it a much more fun expansion to play on a macro MMO level.

Explore the Dungeons of Shadowlands []

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will have eight new dungeons at launch screenshot

Marvel's Avengers is getting Kate Bishop on December 8 and Maestro is showing up in early 2021

Every bit of new Marvel's Avengers content has the potential to bring players back (and keep persistent fans feeling good), especially significant updates with new story missions and playable heroes. With that in mind, Kate Bishop's delay did some real damage and there are still a few weeks left to go.

The (first) arrow slinger is coming to the game for free on December 8 with the Taking AIM mission.

Nick Fury is missing, Super Adaptoid is on the scene, and time travel is afoot. Cue Kate as Hawkeye. Apart from her character trailer, there's also a new pre-recorded War Table Deep Dive video.

Beyond her bow, Kate has a sword and is "equipped with repurposed AIM tech that uses quantum energy to power her rapid movements around her enemies," according to Crystal Dynamics. "Her intrinsic attacks teleport her around enemies and deal increased sword damage. Her Blink skills lets her double jump, air dash, and traverse ledges via short-range teleportation. Kate can also parry enemies with Quantum Shift, which teleports her away from the attack to return and strike from behind."

The second slice of this story, Future Imperfect, revolves around Clint Barton, and it'll mark his debut as a playable character (to say nothing of big old Maestro). That update will be released in "early 2021."

It's a shame the timetable got all messed up for Avengers. Just watching any given moment of gameplay footage in these videos, it's clear the PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrades can't come soon enough.

Marvel's Avengers is getting Kate Bishop on December 8 and Maestro is showing up in early 2021 screenshot

Review: Overcooked: All You Can Eat

Overcooked: All You Can Eat probably won't be anyone's first, second, third, or even fourth pick-up on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S, but if you get around to it – when you have enough controllers on-hand – you're in for a fun, funny, maddening time. This is the best-feeling and most convenient way to play Overcooked 1 and Overcooked 2 along with their respective DLC packs and free level updates.

All told, there's a couple hundred levels to tackle, seven of which are new to Overcooked: All You Can Eat. They're a welcome challenge even for experienced players, but they won't last too long.

It's worth stressing that upfront. Games aren't getting any cheaper this gen, and even though I adore Overcooked – it's possibly my favorite co-op series... ever – All You Can Eat won't speak to everyone.

Review: Overcooked: All You Can Eat screenshot


Nintendo Download: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

The time has come! It's another first-party Nintendo game release! Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is out on November 20, serving as a prequel for the beloved modern classic Breath of the Wild.

Now that it's finally being unleashed upon the world after the time-traveling antics of the demo confused everyone thoroughly, I'm looking forward to seeing what the general public thinks. It's going to be docked for the framerate issues and the narrative is likely going to be polarizing, but I'm jazzed to finally be able to talk about it. But it's not the only big release this week.

Sniper Elite 4 is also coming to Switch, as well as the Serious Sam Collection. And some other stuff too!

Nintendo Download: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity screenshot


The last major raid of Final Fantasy XIV's Shadowbringers expansion is coming in December

Final Fantasy XIV's Shadowbringers expansion is winding down soon, at least as far as hardcore content comes.

In December (exact date not nailed down yet, as is customary for big patches), 5.4 will arrive, which will bring more main story quests (MSQ), another wing of the Eden raid (Eden's Promise), another dungeon (Matoya's Relict), a trial (Castrum Marinum), and extra sidequests (The Sorrow of Werlyt). The Eden raid is the big deal here, which brings the hardcore race for world first alongside of weeks or months of learning raids for casual players. The 24-person NieR storyline is expected to conclude next patch, which will help soothe the wait for the next unannounced expansion.

In terms of other housekeeping stuff, Blue Mage is getting an update, there's more Ishgardian Restoration shenanigans, another unreal trial is coming, and a bunch of ancillary modes will get new content. Oh, and New Game+ mode is getting more stuff. It's a typical "big" FFXIV patch that basically transforms the game.

A lot of this will be detailed later, either through a producer stream or via future posts. Square Enix likes to keep a lot of Final Fantasy XIV patch info close to the chest for multiple reasons (economy balance and spoilers).

Patch 5.4 [Final Fantasy XIV]

The last major raid of Final Fantasy XIV's Shadowbringers expansion is coming in December screenshot

An easy mode was considered for Demon's Souls PS5, but scrapped

Since...2009, when Demon's Souls was originally released, some players have been asking for an "easy mode" for any given Seki-Souls-Borne, and so far, From Software hasn't budged.

It's an interesting topic! I think it's perfectly okay if a designer's vision isn't for everyone, as not every person needs to finish a Souls game. But the concept reared up again with the development process for the Demon's Souls PS5 remake, when porting studio Bluepoint Games toyed with it.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Bluepoint creative director Gavin Moore (who has been rather chatty this past year!) confirmed that they "discussed an easy mode," but "ultimately decided it wasn't [their] place." Moore says that they were "merely custodians" for the game, and if they added that, it would "fundamentally alter its balance."

Instead, they opted for accessibility advancements that wouldn't directly impact the vision of the game, like aesthetic sliders and tips videos that work outside of the confines of gameplay. As Moore observes, Demon's Souls is "actually very fair," but the tips clips should help push some players along.

While alternate, optional modes are great, I'm glad that Bluepoint went with their gut here. If From Software decided to add an easy mode that's one thing; but I bet director Miyazaki and his team would have wanted the PS5 remake to represent the core of the original. To me, it has.

'Demon's Souls' devs considered, and ultimately left out, an easy mode[Washington Post]

An easy mode was considered for Demon's Souls PS5, but scrapped screenshot

These new Monster Hunter movie trailers are a little more convincing

Sony International has released new Chinese and Japanese trailers for its upcoming Monster Hunter movie adaptation. The 90-second, fast-paced previews give fans a new look at some of the characters, locations, and beasties that will feature in Paul W.S. Anderson's fantasy epic.

Alongside multiple shots of protagonist Cpt. Artemis (Milla Jovovich) in action, we get our first footage of Tony Jaa's hardened hunter as he stalks an unseen prey and cooks up a meaty feast. Also featured in the trailers is Ron Perlman's seafaring Admiral, another one of the mysterious allies who will help Artemis as she picks her way through the vast and hazardous new dimension. There's even a Palico! At last!

These new Monster Hunter movie trailers are a little more convincing screenshot


Asian retailers list Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers for February 2021

Multiple retailers in Asia have posted listings for an English localization of Atlus' Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers, all of which reference a launch date of February 23, 2021.

Originally released in Japan on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, Persona 5 Scramble sees the famous Phantom Thieves embark on a cross-country tour of Japan, stopping along the way to take names and steal hearts. While all recent Persona releases have traveled west in relatively swift fashion, Atlus has yet to announce an official localization date for this latest venture.

Spotted by fan site Persona Central, eastern retailers including Indonesia's PS Enterprise and Singapore's Qishan and Toy or Game are among a handful of outlets who have posted the unconfirmed date, giving Persona fans fresh hope that Joker, Lady Ann, Morgana and chums will return to North American and European territories within a matter of months. While this date remains unconfirmed, we will inform you should any official word be forthcoming.

Asian retailers list English version of Persona 5 Scramble [Persona Central]

Asian retailers list Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers for February 2021 screenshot

Nomura says to expect 'good news' for the Kingdom Hearts 20th anniversary in 2022

Good news, everyone! Kingdom Hearts is continuing on after Kingdom Hearts III. Wait, that's not good news? You want the series to end? Well too bad!

I for one welcome more of this radical and insane series, especially after that bonkers ending of the latest game. Now, series custodian Tetsuya Nomura is teasing more, right on cue.

Speaking to Dengeki Online (as translated by Gematsu), Nomura says that while the story "reached an end" with the third main entry, he needs to "tie up remaining story loose ends." Series big bad Xehanort seems done done, as Nomura notes specifically that you will likely not encounter him directly, even if his choices and ripples will be felt throughout (which doesn't count out a flashback).

As for how Nomura operates, he tells Dengeki that he "typically plans one sequel ahead" of what he's working on, and although he was sure he wanted a "new protagonist" back when Roxas became a reality, it wasn't necessarily Roxas. But what about a PS5 or Series X Kingdom Hearts? Nomura muses on that too, saying it would "be released after many other companies have already released their titles," so that they could compete.

To that end, he teases that 2022 is the 20th anniversary of Kingdom Hearts, so we should "keep an eye" on him until then. I'm sure some people will: under intense scrutiny!

Kingdom Hearts [Dengeki Online via Gematsu]

Nomura says to expect 'good news' for the Kingdom Hearts 20th anniversary in 2022 screenshot

Project 007, a new James Bond video game, announced by Hitman developer IO Interactive

IO Interactive has revealed that it is beginning work on Project 007 - a brand-new video game set within the dapper and deadly world of Ian Fleming's legendary secret agent, James Bond.

The Danish developer announced the exciting news this morning, accompanied by a teaser trailer featuring the famous 007 gun barrel sequence. Project 007 will feature an original origin story, and will see Mr. Bond embark on a mission to earn his "00" status that - in this case - will probably not include beating a man to death in the bathroom of a cricket ground.

"It's true that once in a while, the stars do align in our industry," said IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak, "Creating an original Bond game is a monumental undertaking and I truly believe that IO Interactive, working closely with our creative partners at EON and MGM, can deliver something extremely special for our players and communities. Our passionate team is excited to unleash their creativity into the iconic James Bond universe and craft the most ambitious game in the history of our studio."

Given the tense, stealth-action gameplay, deep comic-book lore, and decadent, globe-trotting opulence featured in the studio's string of excellent Hitman titles, the partnership of IOI and Bond is an absolute no-brainer. Given IOI's pedigree, Project 007 could well turn out to be the title the studio was born to make, one that will leave fans shaken and stirred.

Project 007, a new James Bond video game, announced by Hitman developer IO Interactive screenshot

GAME warns UK pre-order customers that they may not receive their PS5 console on launch day

Today sees the big launch of Sony's PlayStation 5 hardware in Europe and the UK. Of little surprise to anybody, this major retailing event is not expected to pass without hitch, and retailer GAME has already begun warning some customers that they might not receive their new consoles on launch day.

The retailer sent out emails to some of its pre-order customers, citing that one of its contracted couriers - Yodel - is responsible for delaying the delivery of multiple orders.

"Our aim has always been to ensure that as many orders arrive on time for release date as possible," reads the email, as received by Eurogamer. "therefore we have had to secure multiple couriers to help try and achieve this... However, for reasons beyond the control of GAME, Yodel has informed us that not all orders due to be delivered by them will be delivered on release day. This is due to capacity issues in their delivery network."

Unsurprisingly, Yodel is none-too-pleased at having the buck passed to it this way, and as such has released its own statement regarding the "in limbo" deliveries.

"Yodel does not work directly with GAME," stated the courier. "Our client is GFS, a fulfillment business who work in partnership with GAME. We have been consistently clear on the order volumes we are able to carry for them and it is deeply disappointing that Yodel's name has been incorrectly used in an email to customers on the status of orders. There are currently no delays within our network, and any issues regarding delivery capacity is a matter for GFS and not Yodel."

"The safe, secure and timely delivery of each of these parcels is our utmost priority, and we are committed to ensuring customers receive the excellent service which we stand for."

While GAME assures its customers that their pre-orders will be filled, the situation will leave many eager PS5 owners waiting nervously by their front doors for the day's duration. Ultimately, console launch days blues are nothing new - there are a lot of deliveries to make and only so much manpower available - but if you are one of the many sat waiting for the doorbell to chime, here's hoping that you receive your PS5 soon.

GAME warns pre-order customers that not all PS5 consoles will be delivered launch day [Eurogamer]

GAME warns UK pre-order customers that they may not receive their PS5 console on launch day screenshot

(Update) Jingle is coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons and he's bringing the gift of save data transfers

[Update: The free winter update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is now available. Download it today to start hoarding more junk in your storage!]

Having always lived in areas of the United States that didn't see a traditional fall or winter, right now is the time I most enjoy getting into Animal Crossing. Seeing the autumn colors of the trees slowly transform to the marshmallow world of winter never ceases to bring me joy. I remember in New Leaf, I'd make it a point to go get a warm beverage from Brewster before just walking around my island and taking it all in.

With the holiday season upon us, Nintendo is ready to release a new update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons that'll bring the festivities to your island paradise. Included in the update will be Franklin to prepare your Turkey Day meal and Jingle, who needs your help handing out presents for Toy Day.

But that's not all. This update is also bringing with it some new hairstyles and new reactions, including the ability to sit on the ground. From the mightiest pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn't enjoy a good sit? You'll also be able to expand your in-house storage and, in perhaps the biggest addition, save data transfers are coming to the game. Players will be able to transfer non-island-representative residents individually to a new Switch console with most of their belongings intact, or they can transfer the entire island to a new Switch in a one-way transfer.

(Update) Jingle is coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons and he's bringing the gift of save data transfers screenshot


Contest: Win a Neverwinter Pack of the Carmine Bulette set for PC

In today's contest you can win a Pack of the Carmine Bulette for Neverwinter!

MMOs are off putting to me because of one simple thing -- the "massive" part. Way, way too many people for me and my anxiety to deal with! I stick with single player games out of necessity.

That's good for you, though, because that's one less person who can win this Pack of the Carmine Bulette set for Neverwinter! Though that ghost companion is pretty tempting...

Contest: Win a Neverwinter Pack of the Carmine Bulette set for PC screenshot


Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Time and again, media has utilized problematic real-life events and figures to carry its entertainment. Whether for comedic or dramatic purposes, movies, comics, books, and video games have taken recognizable personalities and world events and replicated them to offer a slice of "relatable" authenticity to their pulp fiction.

Hollywood has made a billion-dollar business out of setting fictional narratives against the backdrop of real-world atrocities, while satirical shows from Saturday Night Live to Animaniacs have lampooned political figures on every side of history's global conflicts. Ultimately, truth and fiction will forever collide in the name of entertainment, it is up to us to remain focused on the former, once the dust has settled.

Presented for your consideration: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, which raised eyebrows with its much-hyped inclusion of the staunchly conservative 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Those of an age will remember the utter terror of the 1980's Cold War era, where daily obliteration felt a mere button push away. With world leaders such as Reagan, Thatcher, and Brezhnev in power, it was easy for the people particularly minorities and the working class to feel that life was dangling by a thread, utter destruction at the hands of both the right-wing media and aggressive, warring world leaders.

As such, it is understandable that some audiences might find distaste at Reagan's inclusion in Cold War, as his party of war criminals gets its hands dirty in the name of freedom. But ultimately, Reagan's (fleeting) appearance is no more damaging to us than any knuckle-headed movie about political furor. Black Ops Cold War for all of its real-life news footage and chin-stroking pontification might as well be set in fucking Narnia, such is its loose grip on history. Reagan here is a mere NPC, and is about as reverential as the Spitting Image puppet in Genesis' Land of Confusion video.

As you chase down an escaping jet-liner with a radio-control car, pick your way unhindered through KGB headquarters, or fire a bow-and-arrow while zip-lining over a mountain pass, it seems fruitless to feel offense at Cold War's illusory take on the Reagan years. Now approaching its 20th year, Call of Duty is so utterly absorbed by its narrative that it's essentially become its own fictional universe.

In a franchise that once had JFK fighting Nazi zombies, the shadow of an uncanny-valley Reagan and his gross, outdated sensibilities are powerless to hurt our modern, enlightened eyes. We know what's right and what's wrong, and the digital ghost of '80s conservatism isn't to be feared when we have enough of our own problems today. Besides, given the increasing ridiculousness of CoD's universe, they might as well have just used The Hamburglar, and the fit would have been equally as snug.

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War screenshot


Among Us' new map will show up during The Game Awards

One of the first confirmed announcements for The Game Awards 2020 concerns a game that's already two years old. Sounds a little sus if you ask me.

Innersloth is bringing Among Us' new map to The Game Awards. What's expected, you ask? An overview video that details every nook, cranny, and vent on the new ship? An exhaustive list of all the tasks the imposters will pretend to carry out? A surprise launch?

Like Among Us itself, we're left guessing. All we know is what was shared in these two tweets:

Among Us' new map will show up during The Game Awards screenshot


Picross S5 has almost 500 puzzles for you to solve next week

Before today, I never got to tell the Picross people that logic puzzles are back on the menu.

If you've been dutifully keeping up with Jupiter's Picross S series, the new entry – Picross S5 – is releasing digitally for Nintendo Switch on November 26, 2020. At $10, you know what's in store.

Picross S5 has 300 Picross and Mega Picross puzzles, 150 Clip Picross puzzles, 30 Color Picross puzzles, and five extra puzzles for folks rolling onto the scene with Picross S, S2, and S3 save data in hand.

Unsurprisingly, it's mostly more of the good stuff – people keep returning to this series for a reason – but there are a few incremental features like a time tracker and an option for "high contrast colors." As the developer puts it, "confusing coloring will no longer detract from the pleasure of puzzle-solving."

This stuff isn't for me – in fact, it could be the basis for a personalized Saw trap with a one-hundred percent lethality rate – but I'm happy for the rest of you. Flex those brain muscles when you can.

[Via Nintendo Life]

Picross S5 has almost 500 puzzles for you to solve next week screenshot

Review: Demon's Souls (PS5)

It's hard for me to imagine a better introduction to the PS5 than Demon's Souls – or a more unlikely one. As I said in my review-in-progress, Bluepoint's remake of a once-cult classic feels like a gift.

Tracing back the history of Demon's Souls and thinking about the way From Software has snowballed over the past decade, it's wild to think that a firing-on-all-cylinders remake from Bluepoint was greenlit and given the resources it needed to succeed as an early defining game for a new PlayStation console.

There are plenty of other worthy things calling my name Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Astro's Playroom, Bugsnax, and a few PS4 games I either want to revisit (like Sekiro) or start for the first time (like Days Gone) now that they're better on PS5 – but every one of them will have to wait. At most, I'll only dabble.

I'm calling it now: for the rest of the year, I'm going to be obsessed with Demon's Souls. That seems like a safe bet. Once is never enough with this series, and the only reason I'm pumping the breaks on my New Game+ run is so that I can get this review written before I tumble further down the rabbit hole.

Review: Demon's Souls (PS5) screenshot


Annapurna's Twelve Minutes gets pushed back to 2021

Twelve Minutes (formerly 12 Minutes but changed, presumably because numeral digits are passé) will not launch in 2020 as once expected. Time is a flat circle in both Twelve Minutes and life, so it's perfectly apropos that we have one more delay before the year's out.

This is one-third of the Annapurna delays that were announced today. Twelve Minutes, The Artful Escape, and Last Stop are all now scheduled for 2021. The publisher says they're all close to done, and "it's pretty much polishing at this point."

Annapurna's Twelve Minutes gets pushed back to 2021 screenshot


Pokemon Go is adding seasons, Greninja, and a new level cap in the Go Beyond update

Niantic is getting ready for a major Pokémon Go shakeup at the end of November. If you've fallen off the game (for any number of well-founded reasons), the Go Beyond update might be enough of a draw.

From a content-impacting seasonal schedule that will have a ripple effect on the entire game, to a bunch of Generation 6 Pokémon in the Kalos region like Greninja and Talonflame, to a Trainer level cap boost from 40 to 50, to a 12 Days of Friendship reward event – there's so much stuff to parse.

These areas of interest will speak to everyone differently, but for me, the highlights are definitely in-game seasons and the first crop of Kalos catches. Pokémon Go will split the year up into winter, spring, summer, and autumn, with each season impacting the types of Pokémon you'll catch, hatch, or encounter in Raids. Variable Pokémon forms will also come into play (for now, just Deerling), and "certain" Mega Evolved Pokémon will get "increased total CP" depending on the current season.

Not unlike Animal Crossing's schedule, there will also be a northern and southern hemisphere divide.

Another change: "The GO Battle League will expand from 10 to 24 ranks, and the top four ranks will have all-new names and corresponding badges." Niantic says these ranks will bring "a totally new reward structure," and the Battle League, in general, is switching to a three-month schedule.

The Go Beyond update is launching during "the week of Monday, November 30." On that day, Niantic will flip a switch and give out more XP across the board, from catching to hatching to registering Pokédex entries. "In some cases, the XP earned will be as much as double what it was before."

That said, as game designer Matt Ein puts it, the "level progression past 40 is intended to be very challenging for players in terms of both mastery of the game mechanics and the effort required, so no one can shoot up to level 50 instantly." There are Platinum rank medals to grind out, too.

Also, an end-of-year FOMO alert: "Trainers who reach level 40 before Thursday, December 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. local time will earn the title of Legacy 40 Trainer and earn some exclusive rewards, like Timed Research that rewards an exclusive Gyarados Hat avatar item and a special Legacy 40 medal."

As for the Kalos critters, the hunt begins on December 2 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Here's the list:

  • Chespin, Quilladin, Chesnaught
  • Fennekin, Braixen, Delphox
  • Froakie, Frogadier, Greninja
  • Bunnelby, Diggersby
  • Fletchling, Fletchinder, Talonflame
  • Litleo, Pyroar
  • Klefki (Only in France)
  • "A mysterious Pokémon preparing to hatch from a one-star Raid Egg soon."

GO Beyond: The Pokémon GO journey continues beyond [Niantic]

Pokemon Go is adding seasons, Greninja, and a new level cap in the Go Beyond update screenshot

Is Capcom trying to trick us with this Resident Evil Village art?

I'm not trying to spoil Resident Evil Village for you, but there's a new development that warrants some discussion. Just click away now if you're going radio silent on Resident Evil Village. (You shouldn't have clicked in the first place!)

The Resident Evil Village Steam page has been updated with a new icon that shows Chris Redfield as part werewolf. Here's the hunky beast looking more beast than we're used to:

Is Capcom trying to trick us with this Resident Evil Village art? screenshot


Review: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

I still can't believe that Zelda: Breath of the Wild was released over three years ago. Insanity!

It feels like it's always been here, because to many, it's a source of evergreen enjoyment. Recently I've talked about how my wife decided to play through Breath of the Wild for the first time: which we've been doing on separate Switches next to each other. Naturally, I'm discovering tons of new things for the first time. That's just what Breath of the Wild does. It's built that way.

Now, we're getting a prequel that's going to be divisive for multiple reasons: it messes with the timeline and the narrative, and it's a Warriors/Musou game, which creates an even further divide on its own. Going in with an open mind (to both story changes and Warriors shenanigans), I came away impressed.

Review: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity screenshot


Star Wars: Squadrons is adding the B-Wing, TIE Defender, and custom matches due to 'enthusiastic' fan support

EA wasn't planning to release anything extra for Star Wars: Squadrons – the creative director, Ian Frazier, said as much in an October interview – but that's no longer the case. In a good way, I mean.

The support from fans has been "humbling" and "so much more than we could have hoped for." As such, the developers are releasing a pair of updates – one in November, another in December – for free.

Squadrons' November 25 content update includes the classic "rework an existing single-player location so it's suitable for multiplayer" move with Fostar Haven, a map based on the prologue mission. This "lawless" stretch of space will be playable as a "new experience" in Dogfight and Fleet Battles.

Several ship components are also on the way with Update 3.0:

  • The Boost Extension Kit for Fighters and Bombers
  • Ion Rockets for Fighters and Interceptors
  • Prototype Piercing Torpedoes for Fighters and Bombers
  • The Anti-Material Rocket Turret for the U-Wing and TIE Reaper.

As for the December drop, it's planned to be the "final thank you gift for the holidays." New ships? Yeah, new ships – two of 'em. Update 4.0 will add the B-Wing (including a Return of the Jedi cosmetic variant) and the TIE Defender. Frazier says the ships will feel distinct but "we've also made sure they aren't outright better by default." The Y-Wing and TIE Fighter will still have their place in certain situations.

The B-Wing and TIE Fighter designs in Star Wars Squadrons

Squadrons' December update will also enable custom matches, which were "greatly requested" by fans. In custom matches of Dogfight and Fleet Battles, teams can have between one to five players, and there will be options for "things like hull/shield/damage modifiers, changing capital ship health, restricting certain starfighters, and other tools to help you change how you play," along with a server browser to hop into "private matches made by your friends as well as public ones made by strangers."

Those are the big new features, but bug fixes, tuning, and balance changes are also on the table.

Frazier describes Squadrons as a "labor of love," and I think it shows – both in the game we got at launch and the game we're about to end up with in December. Star Wars fans, especially game-loving Star Wars fans, have been through the wringer lately. It's nice to have another W on the board.

Star Wars: Squadrons Holiday Supply Drop [EA]

Star Wars: Squadrons is adding the B-Wing, TIE Defender, and custom matches due to 'enthusiastic' fan support screenshot


Incoming Lego Super Mario sets include new villains, custom bricks, and the famous Tanooki suit

The LEGO Group revealed a whopping 16 new sets currently in the works for its charming LEGO Mario series. The new kits, launching next year, will include a base set, multiple expansions, and the arrival of several iconic villains and power-up skins from the legendary Super Mario franchise.

The meatiest release will be the new Master Your Adventure Maker Set, a toolbox of sorts which allows players to utilize new options and further creativity in building their courses. The set will include a new Start Pipe, alongside a range of custom bricks and other interactive items. Also included is Koopa Kid Lemmy, Goomba, Koopa Paratrooper, and a delightfully cubic Bob-omb.

The new expansion kits are individual releases that will add hazards to players' custom stages. The three announced sets are the Piranha Plant Puzzling Challenge Expansion Set, Wiggler's Poison Swamp Expansion Set, and – best of all – Chain Chomp Jungle Encounter Expansion Set, featuring my personal favorite Mario villain and his DEAD EYES.

Finally, a new run of "blind bag" character sets will offer up a range of classic Super Mario adversaries such as Spiny Cheep Cheep, Fly Guy, Thwimp, Para-Goomba, Foo, Huckit Crab, Ninji, Para-Beetle, Bone Goomba, and the dastardly Poison Mushroom. Additionally, Power Up packs will feature new bodies for the Mario figurine, allowing yer boy to change into his classic Tanooki and Penguin suits.

No official price point or release dates were announced, but the new LEGO Super Mario sets are expected to arrive in 2021.

LEGO Super Mario adds 16 more sets in 2021 [Eurogamer]

Incoming Lego Super Mario sets include new villains, custom bricks, and the famous Tanooki suit screenshot

The Last of Us Part II racked up the most Game Awards nominations

Before all the video games duke it out at The Game Awards on December 10, we're afforded the opportunity to defend their honor online. Geoff Keighley has revealed all the categories and nominees for The Game Awards 2020, and that means arguments aplenty.

Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II is the biggest winner of the preliminary stages, as it managed to garner 11 nominations. That's, like, a lot. Hades and Ghost of Tsushima were the other leaders, nabbing nine and seven nominations, respectively. 

What sticks out like a sore thumb here? I could've done with 100 percent more Half-Life: Alyx in the Game of the Year category. It also seems like Animal Crossing should be represented more than three times, but maybe it just wasn't a good fit for a lot of categories. Still, it feels like Animal Crossing was the one game that dominated our collective consciousness more than anything else this year.

Whatever happens, I'm actually kind of excited about The Game Awards 2020. In a year where nothing has been routine, sitting down for far too many hours to watch this dumb spectacle will feel normal. Besides, we'll get a live-running comment thread out of it where you'll drop about 15 million savage dunks. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year.

The Last of Us Part II racked up the most Game Awards nominations screenshot


Hitman developer IO Interactive to announce new project tomorrow

IO Interactive has announced that it will be revealing a brand new project tomorrow, November 19. The Danish developer, best known for the long-running Hitman franchise, will drop the reveal on its official YouTube channel tomorrow at 06:00 PT / 09:00 ET / 15:00 BST.

We already know that the team is currently beavering away at Hitman III, the next-gen sequel set to complete Agent 47's current "World of Assassination" arc, for a January release. But is IO's new project Hitman-related, or is the studio preparing to drop an entirely new IP on us? Now that IO Interactive is in the realm of self-publishing, the ball is almost entirely in its court. We shall see.

I'd go poking around for further details, but you never know who they might send after me.

Hitman developer IO Interactive to announce new project tomorrow screenshot


Sony boss still isn't saying whether or not the next God of War is coming to PS4

While the next God of War game is technically untitled, waiting to appear in glorious fashion at some upcoming (probably digital) award show, folks have taken to calling it "God of War: Ragnarok" in the meantime.

What do we know about it? Well, not much! The phrase "Ragnarok" is literally the biggest clue, as it provides insight into the setting (Norway) and the crux of the narrative (the actual Ragnarok event). We haven't heard a peep out of Sony Santa Monica since its debut a few months ago.

One of the big things we want to know right now though, is whether or not it's going to be a cross-platform release on both PS4 and PS5. As of this week, Sony boss Jim Ryan still isn't budging. Speaking to The Telegraph, Ryan states "Sorry, I've got nothing to say about that today."

It's possible that Sony wants to avoid the backlash while they can and announce that it's a PS5 exclusive when the time is right. This is still early yet when it comes to the current new generation, and a lot of folks can't even find a PS5. So if he announced it was an exclusive this year, it would be a backlash. Announce it in Q1 or Q2 of 2021 when the production and stock issues are resolved for a Q4 release: that's a different story.

While I wouldn't say no to a cross-generational PS4/PS5 first-party game (the longer a generation can hold on, the better!), I'd like to think that if Sony Santa Monica really made it a true "next-gen" project, that it would sing a little more. For now, like many Sony happenings, we're in the dark.

PlayStation CEO [The Telegraph]

Sony boss still isn't saying whether or not the next God of War is coming to PS4 screenshot

PSA: You can get 300 easy My Nintendo Platinum Points a month with quick daily Super Mario Run sessions

Super Mario Run didn't have microtransactions or gambling elements: so naturally it was considered a failure.

But Nintendo hasn't shut it down (yet!), and there's money to be made from it. Fake Platinum Point funny money to be clear, but now that you can exchange that for real-life goods, the Platinum stock has shot up a bit in recent weeks. Because of this, a lot of folks have been asking me how to quickly inject your account with more Platinum. After you've tried the 3DS/Wii U method and the Pikmin hunt, give this one a go.

If you're reading this, odds are you have Super Mario Run installed on your phone (or own it and have since deleted it). It's not a bad game by any means! Although I probably wouldn't recommend it outright at this point, it can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. If you already own it, you're halfway there.

Just in case you missed it, Nintendo has a ton of Platinum rewards linked to Super Mario Run. You get 50 Platinum for clearing every world, up to 300 in total for finishing the game. You can also net an easy 100 points for adding one friend, and another 100 for linking Super Mario Run to your account.

But the real easy continuous money comes from the "Play Toad Rally (daily)" mission. It's just 10 points, but it adds up, and it's extremely simple to trigger. Just load up the app, click the Toad Rally pipe in the lower left-hand corner, and win or lose (including sessions where you just leave the phone running), in a few minutes, you'll get your points. I wouldn't recommend doing the "win 3 times" mission for 50 Platinum: it takes way too long and isn't reliable. You do not have to win to get the points for the daily mission.

You can also snag 10 friends (enough to acquire the one, five, and 10 friend missions) through friend code trading sites like this. Just go to the friends section, hit "add," then paste the codes in. Do around 30-40 of them and you should get 10 people to accept them.

For some people, this is going to be too much work. For the dedicated My Nintendo users who are saving up for that 1000-point Tom Nook keychain to come back in stock: every point counts.

Missions [My Nintendo]

PSA: You can get 300 easy My Nintendo Platinum Points a month with quick daily Super Mario Run sessions screenshot

Terrifying, shirtless Lord Tachanka rework is now live in Rainbow Six Siege

Well, we all had a good run. We attacked, we defended, we all did our very best. Sometimes you're the spawn-peeker, sometimes you're the spawn-peekie. Either way, it is now over for all of us, from Bronze rank through Champion. Kiss your loved ones goodbye and prepare for The Last Ride...

...The Tachanka rework is now live in Rainbow Six Siege.

That's right, after years of meandering in one spot - bucket on his head, turret in his hand - Lord Tachanka is finally going mobile. The devastating Spetnasz Defender can now carry his fearsome turret anywhere he damn well pleases, spraying death from the hip like it was a mere Super Soaker... A Super Soaker full of bullets... Like a gun.

Terrifying, shirtless Lord Tachanka rework is now live in Rainbow Six Siege screenshot


A recent 3DS update gave us stability: Can the next one bring it back to life?

Well, Nintendo did it: they got our hopes up with a 3DS update, only for it to be the dreaded "stability" line. Drat!

To be clear, the full rundown of the latest November 16 update is as follows: "Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience." Minor adjustments eh? So you're saying there's a chance it could come back?

This is the first major update for the 3DS since December 2, 2019: making it nearly a full year of non-updates. Back in September, Nintendo officially discontinued the 3DS line, making it official.

But I've been giving the system eulogies for...oh around three and a half years now, ever since the Switch was released. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Switch was the new hot ticket for Nintendo to climb out of the slump of the Wii U (a hole the 3DS helped them dig out of), with multiple 3DS games going to Switch and all first-party 3DS development ceasing.

I don't think we'll ever get a pure portable system from Nintendo again (the Switch Lite kinda counts, kinda doesn't!), at least in the near future. Whatever the next iteration of hardware will be, it'll likely resemble something like a Switch Pro as a stopgap, followed by a Super Switch. While this week's 3DS system update is meaningless, you still need it to log into the eShop and get your My Nintendo points. It also gives me an excuse to write about the 3DS again! One of the best systems of the last decade.

3DS [Nintendo]

A recent 3DS update gave us stability: Can the next one bring it back to life? screenshot


The Demon's Souls community is offering a bounty for the secret door solution

Did you catch that developer Bluepoint Games added in a new door to the Demon's Souls PS5 remake?

It's a pretty wild left field move that's for sure, and ever since the game was released, I've been messing around alongside of the community, trying to get it to open. I've tried a bunch of different things: wearing various outfits, attempting it on a NG+ run, slinging spells at it. Nothing has worked so far.

If you're giving it a go too, there's some things you should probably know. Here's a recap.

The Demon's Souls community is offering a bounty for the secret door solution screenshot


(Update) The race to win this real Mario speedrun coin begins

[Update: The course is live! Just log into Super Mario Maker 2, go to "play," then "course world," then locate "35th Anniversary Auto-Mario." If you can't find it, bring up the news reel: it'll be the latest update. Or, locate it at the bottom of the main Course World menu under "Ninji Speedruns." To complete it (and thus, complete the mission), all you need to do is stand still. Of course, that won't get you the top time necessary for the coin reward.]

For weeks now I've been waiting for the 35th anniversary auto-Mario Ninji speedrun event to actually hit, and today, the day has come.

As a reminder, Ninji speedrun is a mode in Mario Maker 2 that periodically drops first-party levels into the game that players can literally speedrun. Completing a stage will then plop little Ninjis into subsequent runs, which are basically "ghosts" of other competitors, similar to classic time trials in other games. It creates an intense atmosphere where you're racing the clock.

There's a bunch already available that you can run for fun, but tonight at 6PM PT, Nintendo is dropping a special map with a real-life reward. If you place in the top 35 (a feat!), you can net an actual Mario commemorative coin. The front showcases the 35th anniversary of Mario, while the back shows off Mario Maker 2's logo, as well as Mario and Luigi in color.

You have until November 24 at 6PM PT to get your score in. Now this is important: make sure you specifically sign up for the challenge on Nintendo's site. You can play Super Mario Maker 2 separately if you want, but registering for the event will ensure that you're good to go.

Double-check your mission list to ensure you entered here. Oh, and don't forget to click a button and enter the "My Nintendo Super Mario Sweepstakes" too while you're there!

Nintendo of America [Twitter]

(Update) The race to win this real Mario speedrun coin begins screenshot

Sony's Jim Ryan 'isn't hearing' PS5 storage complaints

While Sony's shiny new PlayStation 5 hardware is now out in the open, many owners are quickly finding that modern video games – with their avaricious desire for storage space – are fast filling up their SDDs just a scant week after launch. But in a recent interview with The Telegraph, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan stated that Sony is unconcerned about the issue, confident that the PS5's storage capacity is adequate for most players.

"We're not hearing that," said Ryan. "We'll obviously watch what happens as people unbox their PlayStations and start to use them. We think we'll be okay. We obviously are able to monitor hard drive usage on the PS4 microscopically and everything that we saw there indicates that we should be fine."

PlayStation 5 does not currently allow for games to be stored on expanded storage devices, and as such titles such as Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Sony's own Spider-Man: Miles Morales are chewing up valuable storage space with hefty file sizes. Cold War only takes up a staggering 135GB plus on next-gen consoles in its full state.

The internal storage of PS5 can be upgraded with Sony-certified SSD units, though the technology is not cheap. Expanded external storage for PS5 releases may become an option with future firmware updates. But for now, PS5 owners will have to be smart and frugal when it comes to doling out their valuable SSD space, as it appears Sony does not currently share its customers' concerns.

Sony 'isn't hearing' PS5 storage criticism, says PlayStation CEO [Telegraph / VGC]

Sony's Jim Ryan 'isn't hearing' PS5 storage complaints screenshot

Contest: Win Sniper Elite 4 for Switch

In today's contest you can win a Switch copy of Sniper Elite 4!

Switches be portin'! Or ports be Switchin'! One of those two. What I'm trying to say is the Switch gets a lot of cool ports, including today's faire: Sniper Elite 4. So, you know what that means: Contest time! Win yourself a copy of this portable port and snipe those smelly Nazis from the toilet.

Contest: Win Sniper Elite 4 for Switch screenshot


PS5 got its first system update but no one's exactly sure what it does

The PlayStation 5 hasn't been completely smooth sailing in the days since it launched. There are plenty of reports of crashes, flickering, and corrupted database problems stemming from external HDDs. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but people have had problems.

Maybe the first PS5 system update will help change some of that. Sony pushed a firmware update this morning. It's over 800MB in size and Sony's description is one we've heard before: "This system software update improves system performance."

That has everyone wondering what exactly the update does. It's surely geared toward stability, but which specific issues are addressed? It's impossible to know. Players want detailed patch notes because it'll dictate whether they think it's safe to put the console in rest mode or whether they can use external USB storage. But that's not really Sony's style when it comes to stuff like this.

So, PS5 owners are left to guess and, if they're feeling risky, test for themselves where the update may have fixed things. It'll all just end up as experimentation and semi-informed conjecture though. The official word will simply remain that the update improves system performance.

PlayStation 5 system software update [PlayStation]

PS5 got its first system update but no one's exactly sure what it does screenshot

Adventure game fans should make time for Call of the Sea in December

Maybe you remember Call of the Sea. Maybe you don't. Well, I'm still keeping tabs on the first Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 games we saw in Microsoft and Sony's respective streams this year.

Raw Fury's mystery adventure game showed up during that Inside Xbox event with Scorn, The Medium, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon – you know the one. Doesn't that feel like it happened years ago?

Call of the Sea might've slipped through the cracks then (even though I liked its 1934 island expedition premise), but it stands out a bit more with an imminent release date. It's launching December 8 on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, and that also goes for Steam, GOG, and Xbox Game Pass.

"Games like Firewatch, Subnautica, Red Matter, Myst, Soma, and Obduction were definitely sources of inspiration for us," said director Tatiana Delgado. "You might say that Call of the Sea is our love letter to the genre and a way of deepening our own experience and adding new dimensions to it." The team at Out of the Blue has a "passion for the supernatural and the occult," but this is "not a horror game."

Few games let us swim with webbed hands as we search for our long-lost husband. Let's savor this.

Adventure game fans should make time for Call of the Sea in December screenshot

You can play Destiny 2 on Stadia with a free account starting this Thursday

Google has made plenty of questionable decisions with Stadia, but this one checks out.

Starting November 19 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific, everyone with a free Stadia account will be able to stream Destiny 2 (minus the premium expansions) to their heart's content. The free-to-play base game will, in fact, be free-to-play on Google's streaming service – no $10 Stadia Pro subscription needed. As a free user, you can simply play the game via Google Chrome or Android with a 1080p cap instead of 4K.

This might not be the most enticing game right now or even the best way to play it, but as a chance to test out Stadia and see how it fares with your connection and setup, I can see the appeal. One caveat: the Stadia version of Destiny 2 does not have cross-play, so you can't mingle with other platforms.

It's pretty painless to make a Stadia account – you can just leverage a Gmail or Google Account. Convincing your ISP to let you have unlimited data without paying an exorbitant fee is another matter.

Google has also warned Stadia Pro players that if they haven't already claimed Destiny 2: The Collection (the package with Forsaken and Shadowkeep) then they'll have until November 19 to do so. There are a few other tidbits this week, including the return of the (supposedly fun) Immortals Fenyx Rising demo.

This Week on Stadia: Play PAC-MAN instantly, Immortals Fenyx Rising returns and your Destiny awaits [Stadia]

You can play Destiny 2 on Stadia with a free account starting this Thursday screenshot

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