Blog archive

Thursday, 19 November 2020

(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.

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

Gears 5 gets some of the best classic maps and some of the best WWE wrestlers

Gears 5 got a lot more technically-impressive with the launch of Xbox Series X. Versus mode runs at 120fps now, input latency has been reduced upward of 57 percent. The Coalition has managed to squeeze a lot more performance out of this old dog.

The Coalition has also managed to squeeze a lot more content into it. Today's Operation 5 update is the largest in Gears 5 history, and it brings 5 new maps into the fold. Two of them, Nexus and Regency, are brand new. Three of them are retreads from Gears and Gears 2 as Gridlock, Clocktower, and River join the rotation. I've sunk a lot of hours into Gridlock over the years.

There are also seven new characters debuting on the multiplayer roster. Dizzy and his iconic cowboy hat, Tai Kaliso, Anya Stroud, Skorge, Lambent Drone, Lambent Grenadier, and Lambent Theron Guard. Anyone who played classic Gears of War during the original trilogy will recognize everyone here.

Accompanying the content additions is a handful of quality of life improvements. In Horde and Escape mode, characters have been separated from class so you can mix and match to your delight. Other features are: "A suite of Ranked PvP updates, PvE balance updates for decoupled classes, new heroic cosmetic rarity, all-new daily and weekly PvE challenges and rewards, 13 new achievements."

There's one more exciting inclusion. The WWE's New Day will be introduced as playable characters in Versus mode. Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods will be bouncing off walls with their Gnashers blasting away. Following Batista's lead, Gears 5 is now a place where wrestlers go to become immortalized in non-wrestling games. At least they already have the body types as the meaty, muscular COGs.

Gears 5: Multiplayer Relaunches Today with Operation 5: Hollow Storm, Twice the Content Since Launch [Xbox Wire]

Gears 5 gets some of the best classic maps and some of the best WWE wrestlers screenshot


Demon's Souls has a new Sodden Ring that makes the Valley of Defilement less of a slog

I feel like every time I revisit Demon's Souls, something different trips me up. That goes double for New Game+ runs, and it definitely still applies to Bluepoint's just-released PlayStation 5 remake. As the Souls community comes together to share different discoveries, we all stand to benefit.

On my first PS5 run, nothing stole more of my souls than the dark, vile, occasionally cheap-as-hell Valley of Defilement. As it turns out, I could've saved myself a lot of trouble, at least for part of the stage. There are several new rings in the Demon's Souls remake, and one of them, the Sodden Ring, can make the trek through the swamp leading up to the Dirty Colossus much less of a meandering slog.

The Sodden Ring "allows freedom of movement in the murkiest of waters, but does not remove other dangers." In other words, it's like the Rusted Iron Ring in Dark Souls, and it's ideal for level 5-2.

Where do you find it? It's easily missed – you'll need to have Pure Black World Tendency and head to the bottom of level 3-2 (in Upper Latria) where all of those creepy Man Centipedes are roaming free.

This video walkthrough from chan4est shows the long-winded path down to the Sodden Ring.

As someone who hasn't started messing with Pure Black tendency yet (that'll come with time as I run through the trophy list), I probably wouldn't have found this ring until way later than I would have liked. Without this guide, the Sodden Ring would be another eventual "Gee, that woulda been nice" moments.

As for the rest of Bluepoint's new rings in Demon's Souls, Powerpyx has some pointers for how to find them. There's the Providential Ring (raises item discovery), the Ring of Longevity (increases max HP), and the Ring of Uneven Scales (raises maximum item burden, but lowers maximum equip burden).

Yesterday, Chris said he plays like "there's only one ring slot" because of the Cling Ring. Same!

Demon's Souls has a new Sodden Ring that makes the Valley of Defilement less of a slog screenshot

Immortals Fenyx Rising has the same DLC plans as an Assassin's Creed

If you were unsure about how Ubisoft views Immortals Fenyx Rising, look no further than its post-launch DLC plans. Even though it's aesthetically different from most of Ubisoft's biggest sellers, it's being supported nearly identically to those flagship games. Immortals Fenyx Rising has a spot in the pantheon among the titles Ubisoft has the most faith in.

Immortals Fenyx Rising will get an all-out assault of post-launch support that will feature both free and paid-for DLC. It's the exact same approach that Ubisoft is taking with the likes of Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. A constant onslaught of free updates that's bolstered by three expansions and a $40 season pass.

Here's what's planned. In terms of free stuff, Immortals Fenyx Rising is getting "free in-game events, weekly dungeon challenges, and daily quests." Things, predictably, get a lot more enticing when you drop some cash. Here are the descriptions of the three story-driven DLCs:

Immortals Fenyx Rising has the same DLC plans as an Assassin's Creed screenshot


Cyberpunk 2077 looks completely fine on Xbox One

We're smack dab in the middle of the gulf between last-gen and new-gen consoles, as we have to account for what games look like on both sets of machines. Obviously, things look best on PS5 and Xbox Series X right now, but how much better? Is the upgrade really worth the immediate investment?

CD Projekt Red tries to answer that question with the game that's probably making most folks consider buying new hardware. This morning, we got a Cyberpunk 2077 comparison video that shows how the game looks on both Xbox One X and Xbox Series X. It's nearly 10 minutes of gameplay footage, chopped and screwed so as to not spoil any plot beats. Xbox Series X is running the game via backward compatibility because it's technically the Xbox One version.

The takeaway? You could probably live with either version. The Xbox Series X has more impressive lighting and whatnot, but last-gen isn't so gimped that it seems unplayable. It looks perfectly adequate. (Although, you might beg to differ when we know load times across the Xbox One's HDD and the Xbox Series X's SSD.)

It's also worth pointing out that this is a highly manicured showcase that wouldn't exhibit any real flaws in either version. It's tough to get a feel for the performance, but we wouldn't be privy to any big framerate dips if either console -- likely the Xbox One -- has problems with that. 

However, this isn't as good as it's going to get on Xbox Series X. CD Projekt Red notes that it still has a free update next year that will bring true next-gen enhancements to Cyberpunk 2077 on PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.

As for anyone left wondering how Cyberpunk 2077 will differ between PS4 and PS5, you can probably expect it to be highly similar to this Xbox breakdown. You don't have to take my word for it. CD Projekt Red is releasing a PlayStation video in the coming weeks that will offer the same kind of comparison. Presumably, it'll be different scenes, so at least we'll get another hit of Cyberpunk gameplay before the December 10 launch.

Oh yeah, and the next episode of Night City Wire is on Thursday. That one's All Keanu. Lotta Cyberpunk in the pipeline before the actual game launches in a little under a month.

Cyberpunk 2077 looks completely fine on Xbox One screenshot

Not sure I can justify buying myself these Pearl & Marina Splatoon 2 Figmas, but they are pretty ace

When I was younger, I wasted so much money on merch and memorabilia. I used to go to comic and film fairs quarterly, with pockets full of hard-earned income, then traipse home loaded down with plastic junk I absolutely did not need and ultimately failed to validate my life. Since those heady, carefree days, I rarely purchase figures, models, and statues with the same reckless abandon...

...Then Good Smile revealed their Splatoon 2 Pearl & Marina Figmas and ruined everything.

Originally teased back in July, the Off the Hook duo will soon join Good Smile's huge range of colorful, nicely detailed, and highly poseable figurines - all of whom are based on a catalogue of heroes and villains from video game franchises such as Overwatch, Persona, Metroid, Silent Hill, Sword Art Online, and Fire Emblem, among others.

Not sure I can justify buying myself these Pearl & Marina Splatoon 2 Figmas, but they are pretty ace screenshot


(Update) The Demon's Souls PS5 remake has a new door that Bluepoint seemingly added in

[Update: Bluepoint Games seems to be having a little fun with us. On Twitter they posted a "wish you were here" message, complete with the secret area in question. Take a look below! The phrase in the tweet, "A symphony of rumors" could be a clue as to the answer.

At the time of publication, a solution has not been found for the secret door, but the community is on it.]

Folks are tearing through the Demon's Souls remake and lo and behold, just like Bluepoint's Shadow of the Colossus re-release, there's an added secret.

Read on for very vague minor spoilers on the whole debacle.

(Update) The Demon's Souls PS5 remake has a new door that Bluepoint seemingly added in screenshot


Overwatch's Symmetra just got a new short story to herald an in-game event

Still play Overwatch? I do!

It's still a great way for me to unwind (ha, for many it's the opposite) on both PC and Switch; trying to steal away a few games here and there in bed in portable mode on the latter platform. For all of you who are logging in like me, a few new Symmetra-related happenings are entering the fray.

First up is the short story Stone by Stone, written by the staple Blizzard author Christie Golden, who has worked on many Warcraft and Starcraft related tales. At 25 digital pages it's a quick read, also featuring art from Nesskain, who revealed a new Symmetra skin with their illustrations. This is accompanied by "Symmetra's Restoration Challenge," a mini-event that's live today and allows players to unlock Symmetra skins.

In addition to all the Symmetra stuff, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan created a video log to explain a rather large change to how queuing will work for Overwatch: priority passes. In short, you can now flex queue for all roles in a bid to earn and bank "priority passes." If you win, you get more passes (likely a way to prevent throwing games), and you can bank 40. Players can then cash these in for faster queues, which will more proportionally impact damage (DPS) heroes, who generally find themselves tethered to longer queues.

Like many things Overwatch-related, it's experimental. We'll likely get an update on how things are going in a few weeks.

Stone by Stone [Blizzard]

Overwatch's Symmetra just got a new short story to herald an in-game event screenshot


Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin Switch update includes improved visuals and endgame content

Despite having only been toiling in the fields for a scant week, publisher Marvelous has already released the first update for the Nintendo Switch edition of the delightful and totes adorbs RPG farming sim Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin.

Available to download now, Version 1.02 cleans up a few of Switch Sakuna's frayed ends. Certain locations have received a visual overall, while some missing voice files have been restored. In addition, various balance tweaks and bug fixes have been applied to ensure a tighter and generally more stable gameplay experience on the Nintendo platform.

Also added to Sakuna is "expanded endgame content," although specific details were not forthcoming.

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin gets some updates [NintendoLife / Marvelous]

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin Switch update includes improved visuals and endgame content screenshot

Oh my God: You can feed the Zelda: Breath of the Wild squirrels

I'm finishing up another Master Quest run of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, noticing all sorts of new things along the way. But this time, I don't think I would have ever discovered that you can feed the squirrels.

Captured by Twitter user caoki8, you can use acorns to feed the little critters. Coaki8 can be seen spying on them from afar with the Sheika slate's zoom functionality to avoid spooking them. Given that you can feed horses and dogs, this makes a lot of sense, but it would have never crossed my mind in the three years I've been playing it.

As Nintendo Life points out, someone on Reddit posted this a few years back, but it didn't hit the viral numbers that a bunch of other Breath of the Wild posts have: so I totally missed it. There's still a lot of uncovered knowledge on this game, resting on someone's Twitter feed somewhere.

This reminds me of several instances like the foot race, which I never discovered in my first few playthroughs of the game. In the aforementioned recent Master Quest run, without even thinking about it or seeking it out, I ran across it. Incredible. Even crazier, my wife, who was playing the game for the first time with me side-by-side, also stumbled across it randomly.

I'm looking forward to 2021 for multiple reasons: one of which is another Breath of the Wild run where I'll probably find some other thing to write about.

Caoki8 [Twitter via Nintendo Life]

Oh my God: You can feed the Zelda: Breath of the Wild squirrels screenshot

Review: Godfall

I've played a lot of insane action games in my time.

No, not "whoa that backflip into a shotgun blast was wild!" kind of insane. Like, "how was this even made?" insane. Godfall doesn't quite fit under that latter umbrella as there's a clear vision here, but I can heartily say that the amount of people I can recommend it to is a niche at best.

I also really enjoyed my time with it when it wasn't actively fighting me.

Review: Godfall screenshot


The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match for PS4 pops up on Korean ratings board

Once again, the spoileriffic Game Rating and Administration Committee of Korea has spilled the beans on some rad retro titles headed to modern platforms. According to the new site listings, SNK is currently in the process of bringing the excellent King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match to PS4, a port of Code Mystics' PC re-release.

The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match gathers together an amazing 65 characters - all pulled from the classic Neo Geo fighting franchise - for an almighty three-on-three throwdown to establish who truly is the greatest scrapper on the planet (spoilers: Leona Heidern). With the PC edition having recently received a very welcome rollback netcode update, this PS4 port will hopefully further secure the community for this amazing title for years to come.

And speaking of SNK classics, the ratings board has also revealed the next title coming to the Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection on Nintendo Switch. Originally released in 1999 for the nifty handheld console, Fatal Fury: First Contact is a cute adaptation of SNK classic Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, and sees Terry, Andy, Mai, Geesem and chums duking it out in pint-sized pugilistic action.

Neither title has been dated, but these ratings all but guarantee their launch in the near future.

The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match dated for PS4 in Korea [Gematsu]

The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match for PS4 pops up on Korean ratings board screenshot

PSA: Make sure you aren't running the PS4 version of Call of Duty: Cold War on PS5

As Microsoft continues to tout its "Smart Delivery" cross-gen program that "just works" (for me, it does!), the PS5 seems to have some growing pains with the piecemeal PSN upgrade system.

As a recap, Activision "allows" folks to pay $10 for the privilege of a "digital upgrade," which provides "higher framerate, hardware-based ray-tracing, shorter load times, and more" according to the publisher. If you have the Ultimate Edition, you already own the upgrade by default.

This past week, users have been reporting that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War download issues on PS5. Specifically, not being able to download the enhanced PS5 edition of the game: as the PSN forces you to adapt the PS4 edition that doesn't take advantage of the new hardware. That's a problem!

The issue has become widespread enough for Activision support to issue an official tweet on the matter, noting a workaround that should ensure that you're good to go. Basically, go to the game button on your PS5, then scroll down and "highlight play." After that, "select the three dots" to open up the menu, then install the "PS5 | Full" version. Taken from my own library, this is what it looks like.

I actually had issues with this myself as an Ultimate Edition owner. When installing the game from my library, I just selected it, then hit "install." Unbeknownst to me, it was actually installing and running the PS4 edition. It wasn't until I saw the Activision support message that I thought to check if anything was amiss. On my Series X, Microsoft has made it so the most optimal version automatically works.

As many "next-gen upgrades" have yet to roll out, this system seems poised to create more headaches for publishers, as the onus to provide PS5 fixes seems to lie at their feet.

Activision Support [Twitter]

PSA: Make sure you aren't running the PS4 version of Call of Duty: Cold War on PS5 screenshot


Xbox Series X/S hardware shortages will likely continue into early 2021

Last fortnight's launch of Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S hardware left many customers with bated breath, eager to see whether the frenzied pre-order period had resulted in them receiving their shiny new console come launch day. Since then, many hoping to get their hands on the next-gen platform have been left wanting, a want that will seemingly continue throughout the winter.

Speaking at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last week, Xbox Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart openly admitted that the sought-after hardware was in short supply, and that this is likely to be the case pushing into 2021, with supply only meeting demand around April, pushing into early summer.

"I think we'll continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter," said Stuart in a statement transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "And then we get to (April-June 2021), all of our supply chain continuing to go full speed heading into kind of the pre-summer months [...] We'll have supply cranking over the next, what, four, five, six months? And that's when I expect to see really that demand profile start to be met, which will be really, really great."

Xbox Series X/S is already the green-and-black brand's best console launch to date, a much-needed positive given the stumbling start and general bad vibes that surrounded the launch of Xbox One. While it is unfortunate for  fans who will still have to wait several months to get their mitts on a console, this strong start should provide a sense of security to those who rolled the dice on the new Xbox hardware.

Microsoft expects Xbox Series X/S shortages to continue into 2021 [IGN]

Xbox Series X/S hardware shortages will likely continue into early 2021 screenshot

An amazing Spider-Man: Miles Morales glitch is turning players into trash cans and bricks

I was able to finish Spider-Man: Miles Morales without so much as a single meaningful glitch, but now that it's available at mass market, a few players have been uncovering some fairly esoteric and frankly Rockstar-esque bugs.

Over on The Twitter-Verse, folks have figured out a way to turn the titular Miles Morales into common household objects, like bricks or trash cans. By colliding with the wall, you can potentially turn into one of those things and swing around as the object. He's a menace, I tell you! JJJ can't even see him coming now: this is stealthier than Miles' actual stealth powers. This is galaxy brain level Metal Gear Solid cardboard box sneaking.

Like Microsoft embraced Craig, so too could Sony and Insomniac embrace this glitch. Making a "brick" outfit as free DLC would be a pretty great move and an easy way to poke fun at the situation. It's already in the game!

An amazing Spider-Man: Miles Morales glitch is turning players into trash cans and bricks screenshot


Super Mario 3D All-Stars Switch just added GameCube controller support for Sunshine

Praise the sun...shine!

Nintendo said that it was working on an update that would add extra control options into Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Switch, and they made good on it with a new patch (1.1.0) this week. If you boot up your copy, you should see an update waiting for you, and it's a doozy if you have certain hardware available.

That hardware is none other than the GameCube controller, which now works with Mario Sunshine just like it did back in 2002. There's a caveat of course: you do need the GameCube controller adapter hardware, as well as a GameCube controller.

The latter shouldn't be too hard to scrounge up though, as there are plenty of used remotes out in the wild (Wavebirds too!), and Nintendo even re-released a ton for the recent string of Smash Bros. games. The adapter has also been knocked off several times over, and generally goes for $15 for third-party hardware.

Even if you don't have a GameCube remote and the adapter (Reggie voice: "what's wrong with you!"), camera inversion has been added to the options menu for everyone. All three games now supported inverted controls. Beyond that, "other general fixes" have smoothed over the trio of titles.

All good news! Now we just need Nintendo to announce that the "limited run" was a sham.

Ver. 1.1.0 [Nintendo]

Super Mario 3D All-Stars Switch just added GameCube controller support for Sunshine screenshot


Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate launches today, bringing Mileena, Rain, and Rambo to the fight

Today is a big day for fans of Mortal Kombat 11, for today sees the launch of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate, the latest iteration of NetherRealm's grisly fighting title. The new update brings with it a slew of balance changes, and transitions the 2019 fighter onto next-gen platforms PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Perhaps the most exciting addition - especially for a particularly frenzied portion of the MK fanbase - is the arrival of Kombat Pack 2, bringing with it returning kombatants Rain and Mileena, alongside the M-60-toting soldier of fortune himself, John J. Rambo. The three new kharacters are now available for purchase, bolstering MK 11's roster to an impressive 37 fighters... Interesting overkill given only one warrior actually matters.

Players who have purchased MK 11 on PS4 or Xbox One will find that they are already able to download MK 11 Ultimate - alongside any previously purchased DLC - on the respective next-gen platform. The PS5 and Xbox Series X editions promise faster load times and slicker visuals, though there's zero promise that you'll actually be any better at the game itself. This is purely an upgrade from a video game standpoint. You need to get back in the lab... And by "you," I mean "me."

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is available now on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and Stadia. This release includes the base game, the Aftermath expansion, and Kombat Pack 1 & 2.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate launches today, bringing Mileena, Rain, and Rambo to the fight screenshot


My Nintendo just restocked several coveted physical rewards

Now that My Nintendo has physical rewards, I've been combing it every day to look for updates or new stuff. It paid off!

To be clear, no new merch has been added thus far this week, but the headline took care of that. Rather, several instantly-sold-out items have been restocked on the store, giving folks a second chance to nab them.

Specifically, the Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition Phone Ring Holder (500 Platinum Points) and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Dodo Airlines Shopping Bag (800 Platinum Points) are back in stock. Those two came in different waves (respectively), but sold out very quickly.

The Xenoblade sticker sheets (300), Tom Nook Shopping Bag (800), and New Horizons Leaf Bandana (600) are also in again. Sadly, the Mario 3D All-Stars Poster Set (800) and the Animal Crossing Took Nook keychain (1000) are still sold out. Rewards have been coming in at a decent cadence, so maybe we can expect some Age of Calamity merch soon.

As a reminder, you can instantly earn some free points through the Pikmin 3 challenges, as well as logging into the eShop with your 3DS or Wii U weekly.

Nintendo Store Rewards [My Nintendo]

My Nintendo just restocked several coveted physical rewards screenshot

Bethesda titles to be 'first or better or best' on Xbox and PC platforms, says Xbox brass

Back in September, in one of the year's most industry-shaking announcements, Microsoft confirmed that it had acquired ZeniMax Media, bringing a host of studios including Bethesda, MachineGames, id Software, Arkane, and others under the Xbox banner. The staggering bill for this acquisition was a cool $7.5 billion USD and, understandably, Microsoft is hoping to reap the reward from this wallet-busting layout.

Speaking at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference last week, Xbox Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart laid out the studio's desire to offer preferential treatment to Xbox and PC when it comes to its new partner studios wares. While there are no specific plans to simply make future games from Bethesda and co. platform exclusives, Stuart noted that there was a distinct motion to make said games "first, better, or best" on Xbox and PC hardware.

"Microsoft is a platform," said Stuart, in a statement transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "We're one of the first to really support Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite across platforms. So we highly encourage cross-platform play, simply from this landscape of, 'if it's good for the gaming ecosystem, it's good for us,' classic rising tide lifts all boats."

"What we'll do in the long run is, we don't have intentions of just pulling all of Bethesda content out of Sony or Nintendo or otherwise. But what we want is, we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best (on) our platforms."

The announcement should come as zero surprise to most video game fans. This is a billion-dollar business after all, but Stuart's comments align with various earlier statements made by Xbox VP of Gaming Phil Spencer, who has also suggested that while Microsoft has a vested interest in prioritizing the studios' games for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Game Pass service, the primary goal of the ZeniMax purchase was not to specifically exclude other platforms and communities from playing said studios' releases.

The ZeniMax sale is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2021's fiscal year.

Microsoft wants future Bethesda games to be 'first or best' on Xbox [VGC]

Bethesda titles to be 'first or better or best' on Xbox and PC platforms, says Xbox brass screenshot

Contest: Win Knight Club + for Steam

In today's contest you can win a Steam copy of Knight Club +!

Let's hop straight into this one: Knight Club + hit Steam a few weeks ago, improving upon the original game with new mechanics, levels, characters, and balance changes. With great power comes great giveaways! Grab your Members Only jacket and join the competitive multiplayer title Knight Club!

Contest: Win Knight Club + for Steam screenshot


Halo Infinite is skipping The Game Awards, and that's probably for the best

Of all the upcoming games showcased at The Game Awards -- and there's always a whole bunch -- Halo Infinite won't be one of them. 343 community director Brian Jarrard confirmed that the delayed and possibly-troubled Halo game is skipping the last big end-of-year show.

Responding to a user on reddit, Jarrard said "Full disclosure we don't have anything planned for [The Game Awards]," while noting that putting together a demo build or presentation takes "an enormous amount of work." Jarrard added that having a presence at The Game Awards would "cause challenges with current milestones of the holidays."

It might be tough to hear for Halo fans, but 343's time is probably best spent just working on the actual game at this point. After the July gameplay showing that went poorly (and the subsequent shuffling of major leadership roles), it became pretty clear that Halo Infinite is in a troubled state. The Game Awards will come and go, and Halo will only be missed for one night. Using resources on fixing development instead of creating a new marketing beat could be tremendously more beneficial.

That's not to say 343 is keeping us in the dark through the end of 2020. Jarrard says the studio "[hopes] to offer at least a high-level update within the next few weeks so we can kind of restart this journey together after the holidays." It seems as though 343 and Xbox want to wipe the slate clean and start over with new expectations.

Weekly Discussion Thread [reddit]

Halo Infinite is skipping The Game Awards, and that's probably for the best screenshot

Stephen A Smith explains Miles Morales, Spider-Man, things of that nature

ESPN's professional yeller Stephen A. Smith has been paid to calmly narrate a Spider-Man: Miles Morales ad. He's on his best behavior, possibly because the video seems to have been shot in a church.

Is the ad particularly good or interesting? Nope! See for yourself:

Stephen A Smith explains Miles Morales, Spider-Man, things of that nature screenshot


Immortals Fenyx Rising has an Adventure Time crossover

That's a big Jake. That's a mean Jake. That's a three-headed Jake.

That's not Jake at all! That's Cerberus and, thanks to an Adventure Time crossover, he's trying to make mince meat of both Finn and Jake. Thankfully, Fenyx swoops in to play mediator.

Ubisoft has released this trailer for an Immortals Fenyx Rising meets Adventure Time collaborative effort. However, it's unclear if this is the beginning of a larger crossover or just an isolated advertisement. The game could very well have some side quest content based on Finn and Jake.

Although Adventure Time wrapped up in 2018, it lives on through a limited-run series of specials that was greenlit by HBO. Later this week, the second one, Obsidian, premieres. There's still Adventure Time content out there, but it isn't exactly plentiful. If there's some more in Immortals Fenyx Rising, it might make the game a can't-miss for fans of the show.

Thus far, Immortals Fenyx Rising is shaping up like a messy love letter to Breath of the Wild. In his preview, Chris noted that the action is coming along nicely but the humor is looking a little rough. It probably wouldn't affect the main story, but Adventure Time could certainly bring something to the table as far as ha-has go.

Immortals Fenyx Rising has an Adventure Time crossover screenshot

Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now are two great ways to try before you buy

With game prices going up in the new generation of consoles, it makes more sense than ever before to check out the various gaming subscription services available. Both Sony and Microsoft have their own, and no matter which one you choose, you're bound to find some games you'll love.

That's one of the topics on this episode of Podtoid. CJ, Charlotte, Dan, and Occams come together to talk game subscriptions, Microsoft studio acquisitions, Streets of Rage 4, renting movies on demand, and the Xbox Series S. All that, plus fast food isn't worth going to jail for, on Podtoid Episode 467.

Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now are two great ways to try before you buy screenshot


Ghost Recon Breakpoint makes you choose between 4K and 60fps for next-gen

People are still playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint. These games have a tradition of launching in offensively bad states before gradually morphing into something passable. It's not something that should be celebrated, but I guess it's something we've come to accept. All the while, they maintain surprisingly healthy player bases.

That active player base means Breakpoint is moving forward into the PS5 and Xbox Series X generation. Ubisoft outlined what that means in terms of performance bumps, and it's more or less the minimum we expect from next-gen enhancements. On PS5 and Xbox Series X, you'll get a choice between 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps. The Xbox Series S doesn't have any options, running the game at 1440p at 30fps at all times.

At least there's no funny business accessing the upgrades. Everyone who owns the game on PS4 or Xbox One will be able to immediately access their Breakpoint profile (including purchases and inventory items) on new consoles. Ubisoft has the good sense not to try paywalling this.

Although Ubisoft just detailed these enhancements, it seems as though they were implemented as part of the Breakpoint 3.03 title update on November 9. That means they're available now. Whoever's still playing can now experience Breakpoint looking a little better or running a little better.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint -- Next-Generation Consoles [Ubisoft]

Ghost Recon Breakpoint makes you choose between 4K and 60fps for next-gen screenshot

Twin Mirror has a neat browser-based promo puzzle game, and you could win a gaming PC by playing it

Things are about to get weird. Dontnod's Twin Mirror launches in two weeks (it's somehow nearly December already), and that means there's a murder mystery to solve. First, we'll have to figure out how to unlock this dang cell phone. Baby steps.

Dontnod's running an ARG-type thing to promote Twin Mirror. Called "Lost on Arrival," it's a browser-based puzzle game where you have to return a phone to its rightful owner. Sifting through all the apps should give you a decent foundation of information about Twin Mirror's world. Sifting through my preview will do that too.

It's a neat little thing, an experience that took me five-or-so minutes to solve. There's incentive to play it beyond simple background details. Everyone who completes Lost on Arrival will be entered into a drawing to win a Twin Mirror PC made by Gigabyte. There are also 20 copies of the game being given away as second-place prizes. There were no stock photos or specs of this custom PC, but I guess this is kind of what it looks like:

Twin Mirror has a neat browser-based promo puzzle game, and you could win a gaming PC by playing it screenshot


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