The Stream Team: Finally to the SWTOR Mandalorian flashpoint

After working through the rest of the new Mandalorian story in SWTOR, Massively OP's Larry and MJ have made it to the point of doing the flashpoint, The Spirit of Vengeance. And flashpoints are what you, the audience of Choose My Alignment, has been asking for. So what happens next is surely all your fault! […]

Starbase works on 'easy build mode,' lets avatars throw punches, and tweaks non-mineable asteroids

It's yet another look at the hyper-granular advancement of space-based building sandbox Starbase, which has put out another couple weeks' worth of progress notes. Let's get all caught up, shall we? Week 2 of 2021 includes the first version of "easy build mode" for ships being added to testing, which hopefully should make putting together […]

Wild Terra 2 plans to add in the map as it promises a growing team for development in Early Access

The team currently developing Wild Terra 2 – which just rolled into early access last week – is small. Quite small, in fact; it currently consists of four people, and the latest dispatch from the development team notes how challenging it was to bring the game to early access with such a small team behind it. […]

Final Fantasy XI previews more Voracious Resurgence and Odyssey content coming in February

If you thought that after the last round of content in Sheol: Gaol in Final Fantasy XI you weren't being sufficiently challenged, the game's February version update is almost here to help refute that assumption. While the last round of opponents were there to get players accustomed to how the content would work, the new batch […]

Albion Online's new Patch 13 adds the Use All button, updates Avalonian mobs, and refreshes the meta

There's been a nice big patch applied to Albion Online, bringing a bundle of new updates to some of the sandbox MMO's existing content and earning it the subtitle of the Rise of Avalon Balance Patch, which is a whole lot zippier than calling it Patch 13. As that subtitle suggests, Patch 13 has applied […]

EverQuest Online Adventures' rogue server project, EQOA: Return Home, is still chugging along

Back in 2019, we covered a heartwarming story about EQOA: Return Home, a player-run emulator for EverQuest Online Adventures, which readers will recall was one of the many online titles SOE killed off during the purge of 2012. At the time, the players were hunting for both coders and for former players with strong memories […]

Dauntless announces the removal of aethersparks progression currency from the in-game store

If you've been following the Slayer's Path in Dauntless, particularly at the higher end of the scale, you know how important aethersparks are. For those who aren't familiar, they're a currency that lets players create an aetherheart and reforge their weapon to make their character stronger. Up to this point, players could either earn aethersparks […]

Blankos Block Party adds new props, improves shooting and racing, and brings build mode quality-of-life

Blankos Block Party, the creative sandbox MMO with blockchain connections that recently began open beta, has put out a new update that brings a few notable improvements to the colorful creative universe. One of the headline features is some new building props, with puffy blocks, railings, spaceship and nautical items, and some new terrain hexes […]

Snag an Echo of Soul loot-hoovering Blue Ciskai minipet in honor of The Blue update

Echo of Soul made headlines in 2020 for its brief-lived Steam Blue version, which folded back into the version that Gamigo has been faithfully running for years, Echo of Soul Phoenix. Most recently, the active Gamigo version welcomed players from the closed title with an update called, appropriately, The Blue. That 3.0 update expanded the […]

Desert Oasis: Having a blast with Black Desert's new Nova class

Thanks to the quarantine, it's been a pretty long while since I've gone out and enjoyed some coffee at a cafe and a beer at a bar. But of all things that I've missed, goin' out with the goilz tops the chart. I miss those unpredictable nights, the heavy drinking, and having to hold their hair […]

Darkfall: Rise of Agon is expanding its paid dev team and launching in Asia

Here's some big news for fans of the Darkfall saga: The last Darkfall version still standing, Darkfall: Rise of Agon, is headed to a launch in Asia. MMO players will recall that Darkfall's original studio, Aventurine, closed down back in 2016, turned over the remnants of the game to a pair of player-organized teams. New […]

Perfect Ten: A guide to podcasts for your favorite MMOs

Clearly, your Tuesday schedule every week should have a big fat "LISTEN TO MASSIVELY OP PODCAST" written at 4:00 p.m. EST right on it. But once you've experienced that blissful hour of news analysis and Justin's slow descent into senility (as well as the excellent bi-weekly Battle Bards podcast), what is there left to fill […]

Final Fantasy XIV combines Valentione's Day and Little Ladies' Day into one event this month

We realize that the event on the mind of every Final Fantasy XIV player's mind right now is the announcement showcase happening on Friday, but another event is right around the corner on February 10th. Is it Valentione's Day? Is it Little Ladies' Day? Turns out it's both, smooshed together into one mega-event with decorations varying […]

Black Desert Mobile starts Path of Glory Season 3, Black Desert PC hands out lots of chocolate

Do you crave glory, or do you crave chocolate? Well, if you play both Black Desert Mobile and Black Desert on PC, you can have both thanks to the latest content updates for each version of the MMO. Why choose one or the other, anyway? In BDO Mobile, Season 3 of Path of Glory has […]

Posting record 2020 revenues, EA recommits to the Star Wars franchise that made it $3B

It's been an EA day today as reactions to the company's Q3 FY21 financial report continue to collect around the industry, largely because the company had a banner year with record revenues left and right. It pulled in $2.4B for the quarter and $5.96B in net bookings for the year, an increase of 15% and […]

Genshin Impact's new Xiao character is live today for Lunar New Year

As promised, Genshin Impact has officially released version 1.3, which was set to bring a new character and a Lunar New Year event among other things. Now that the update is live, there are some patch notes to scour for some more details. On the subject of the Lunar New Year event, aka the Lantern […]

Phantasy Star Online 2's new Luster class slashes and shoots its way into the action

Ready to reroll in Phantasy Star Online 2? There's a new scion class in town, and it seems ideal for players who can't quite sit still. The Luster class fights only with gunblades but has the option to switch between three different combat styles with it. These styles offer defensive, AOE, or close combat DPS. […]

Magic Legends will launch with three worlds to explore

If you're coming to Magic Legends without much prior knowledge of the card game, you might not know that the franchise is set in a multiverse of diverse locales. Cryptic is aiming to capitalize on this flexibility by rolling out different settings over time. The studio announced this week that when it launches, Magic Legends […]

The Daily Grind: What do you want out of your MMO guild?

One of the best questions that I've seen MMO guilds ask upon interviews with new recruits is, 'What do you want to get out of this guild?" It's a great question because it gets to the heart of whether or not the player and the guild is compatible. If a player is looking for one […]

The Stream Team: Jackal vs. the Ox as Lunar New Year launches in Guild Wars 2

Massively OP's MJ was all set to throw herself into getting the rest of Guild Wars 2's mounts, but then Lunar New Year had to launch and derailed her. How could she ignore a fun festival happening around her? She can't! So she'll be focusing on her jackal acquisition as well as enjoying the event. […]

Siege Survival: Gloria Victis announces an updated prologue demo for the Steam Game Festival

For those who have been following the development of Siege Survival: Gloria Victis, the standalone survival and resource management game set in the world of Gloria Victis, there's about to be a big shift forward for the game according to the devs. Specifically, an updated prologue demo is due to release soon, ensuring it'll be […]

Ultima Online has a string of narrative events rolling out all spring

Ultima Online's latest newsletter is live, with a look at what's coming in the new future and some teases for New Legacy. For example, Publish 110 is in development and expected to hit the live shards in March. Don't expect gobs of new content, though, as this update sets the stage for future rollouts, with […]

World War II Online's 2021 roadmap includes bomber loadouts and halftracks

The conflict in World War II Online — also called Battleground Europe — doesn't seem to be any closer to a resolution than it did two decades ago. Of course, that's really good news for the game's players, who love engaging in period battles on land and air. There's going to be a lot more […]

Massively OP Podcast Episode 307: Blackwood barges into town

Justin and Bree discuss Elder Scrolls Online Blackwood, Fallout 76, Star Trek Online, Magic Legends, the GameStop stock thing, and Amazon Game Studios' mess, with adventures in WoW Classic, LOTRO, SWG Legends, and ESO, plus a mailbag topic on questing vs. grinding.

The Stream Team: House Reborn for Star Trek Online's 11th anniversary

Today Star Trek Online turns 11 years old — that certainly calls for a celebration! Along with anniversary activities (go go party pistol!), the next episode of the Klingon story has arrived. House Reborn includes two new episodes, and Massively OP's MJ can't wait to play through them. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to […]

Battleborn has officially shut down completely

We're sorry to inform you that if there were things you still wanted to do in Battleborn, you have missed your chance. Like, completely. As had been announced prior, the game's servers have completely shutdown as of January 31st… and this shutdown is complete enough that even the single-player version of the game is no […]

The Division 2 adds Resident Evil-themed outfits with the newest patch

Have you ever been happily playing The Division 2 and thought that what you really want to be doing is enjoying the sweet murmuring cries of zombies from a Resident Evil game as you mow them down? Well, then… you could just play one of those games. There are lots of them available no matter […]

Fortnite's new LTM pits players against the Mandalorian and each other for a Beskar Umbrella

What are you willing to go through for a unique umbrella in Fortnite? Are you willing to face off against one of the toughest bounty hunters in a galaxy far, far away? Then you're ready for the Mando's Bounty LTM, the latest limited-time mode in the battle royale shooter. Here's how it works: Players will […]

Guild Wars 2's Lunar New Year events are set to go live today

So we've got some good news and bad news. The good news is that Guild Wars 2 is going live with its Lunar New Year patch today. The bad news it had an "unexpected technical problem" and is being held back for what will hopefully be only a brief pause while that's fixed. "The annual […]

Destiny 2 just revealed Season of the Chosen and a full roadmap through May

As promised, Bungie's brought the goods for Destiny 2 today by way of Season of the Chosen, launching next week on February 9th and running through mid-May with the requisite new content and loot, though of course the best stuff is reserved for season pass holders. "In Season 13, Guardians will jump into the Battlegrounds, […]

Choose My Adventure: An intriguing but PvP-free first foray into Warhammer Return of Reckoning

I promised that this month's CMA column would feature my attempts at getting into some PvP MMO action. Sadly for you (but mercifully for me), the opening steps I've taken in to Warhammer: Return of Reckoning were not so active in that regard. Still, I'm beginning to slowly appreciate what makes this game beloved by […]

Lord of the Rings Online's latest update has broken the patcher for older OS users — here's how to fix it

This news is for those players of Lord of the Rings Online who are playing the game on a PC running Windows 7 or earlier. With the launch of update 28.3, players on older OS's are experiencing some inability to update their game clients. Standing Stone Games is aware of this and has put out […]

MMO Business Roundup: Gamestonk is tipping toward over as shares dip below $100 a pop

Welcome back to a fresh roundup of MMO and MMO-adjacent business news! Gamestonk: It's starting to look as if last week's wild GameStop stock squeeze is over, having severely wounded several hedge funds along the way. Though investors and Redditors had pushed the stock to a peak of $469 last week and it began yesterday […]

Last Oasis' latest update rebalances the essential act of blowing stuff up

It's a smidge delayed, but it's here today: Last Oasis is pushing out a big patch on Steam. Developer Donkey Crew says it's holding back new VOIP options and fixes for "a few days" to get the rest of the update to players. So what is in it? An overhaul to blowing shit up, largely […]

Apex Legends brings a new character, map changes, legendary magazines, and gameplay changes in Season 8

There's a fresh season just on the horizon for the battle royale shooter Apex Legends, bringing with it a whole lot of new updates. At the top of the list in the latest patch notes is a new character, Fuse, whose propensity for explosives lets him hold more grenades than other characters, throw grenades farther […]

RIFT starts testing planar incursions, opens an official Discord server

When it first launched, RIFT's biggest selling point was its dynamic world events system that included the titular rifts, invasions, and more. It's this system that Gamigo is looking to leverage with its new Planar Incursions event. Testing for this world event is now on the PTS, with dedicated players putting it through its paces. […]

Final Fantasy XIV brings more Blue Mage and relic weapon content with patch 5.45 today

It's time to go fighting until you're blue in the face… and then use that to learn a new spell. Yes, it's another Blue Mage update in Final Fantasy XIV, complete with new quests, new gear, and new spells to learn from various enemies and bosses throughout the game. And yes, some of them will […]

The Daily Grind: What's the worst MMO game mechanic ever?

Weeks ago, I saw a thread on the MMORPG subreddit about the worst mechanics in MMOs. I clicked on the link, scoffing, thinking surely this thread couldn't top some of the awful mechanics I've seen. And then the OP described an MMO where players lose levels for dying in PvP, and you know, I gotta […]

The Stream Team: Making some Midyear Mayhem in Elder Scrolls Online

The year of collecting tickets for Indriks in Elder Scrolls Online is done, but now you can run events to collect tickets for new pets. Of course Massively OP's MJ can't resist that! So even though the first event is PvP, she's all in. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to make some mayhem with […]

Massively Uplifting: 2021 begins with Trove's tree, Warframe's Tennobaum, and Star Trek Online's Tribbles for charity

Ready or not, here 2021 comes! And that's a relief to many. It's no stretch to say that we want 2021 to be a better year than last, and you can't go wrong starting it off with good deeds and charity. There are plenty of folks already off to making that happen thanks to their […]

Conan Exiles hopes to fix Xbox One server connection crashes sometime this week

Yes, we've heard precisely this same thing before out of Conan Exiles, but if there's been one constant, it's that the issues with the Xbox One version of the survival sandbox have been a particularly tough nut to crack. However, producer Scott Junior once more promises that relief is in sight, specifically for Xbox One […]

RuneScape adds player-created Activity Pets and marks the Ninja Team's anniversary with a quest

This week in RuneScape, it's all about Ninjas and pets. Which sort of reads like Jagex is encouraging players to pet ninjas when the devs are actually talking about the addition of Activity Pets and a celebration of the Ninja Team's first anniversary in the game's weekly update post. Please do not pet the Ninjas. […]

Blizzard teases February's BlizzConline 2021 outlook, 30th anniversary bundles

Yes, BlizzConline is still happening, and yes it's still called that. Blizzard has dropped a new trailer for the all-digital show today along with a recap of what to expect when the event kicks off on February 19th, though the full schedule is still forthcoming. "Day 1 will kick off at 2 p.m. PST on […]

Google is shutting down its Stadia development studios, though Stadia games remain playable

It comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has been paying even the smallest amount of attention that Google Stadia has been struggling to keep itself afloat. More bad news came for the streaming service today, as Kotaku announced that Google is shutting down its internal development studios for the platform, which means two […]

Star Citizen's Tony Z on how dynamic events will work in the game

It's pretty easy to assume that the entirety of gameplay in Star Citizen will be player-driven in the sandbox, but the Assault on Stanton event — and more specifically this week's Star Citizen Live — shows that dynamic events will also play a big role in terms of gameplay. Provided things go to plan, of […]

Final Fantasy XI asks players to find love for man and beast alike on Valentine's Day

Yes, it's almost time for Valentine's Day – or, as it's known in Final Fantasy XI, Valentione's Day – and that means the joy of an event for players to participate in. And this year, the game is asking you to help find love for both people and chocobos at the same time. Wait, what? […]

MechWarrior Online promises less grind, new 'Mechs, and weapon improvements in 2021 roadmap

A couple of weeks ago some of the devs of MechWarrior Online outlined the multiplayer title's update plans for 2021 including the release of a roadmap. That roadmap has since been shared, elaborating on the four so-called "themes" of each quarter's development focus. Most of the targets for the first quarter such as the removal […]

Class action suit accuses Valve of using its 'dominant' position in the marketplace to drive up prices

It's an understood fact of PC gaming life that the Steam platform is the standard for digital games storefronts, and it's that position of power that has lead five gamers to file a class action lawsuit this past Thursday against Valve, claiming that the company is abusing its power to mark up the prices of […]

Warframe showcases new character and Railjack improvements in livestream

Digital Extremes is back on its livestream thing with the first broadcast of 2021 for Warframe, and this one has plenty to say about what's coming to the game with the next major update. In this update, known as Call of the Tempestarii, players can look forward to a brand-new 'Frame by the name of […]

Not So Massively: Wolcen's Bloodtrail is worth coming back for

I've been a fan of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem from the start, but with how long things went quiet after the initial post-launch updates, I was starting to get worried. Thankfully, the silence has now been broken with the launch of the first Chronicle, Bloodtrail, which brings with it plentiful polishing as well as new […]

The Unexpected Quest is Unexpectedly Addictive

Collect. Build. Fight. Farm. Mine. Collect. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

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Mobile Game Serania: Path of the Scion is a Must Play if You Like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books

Serania: Path of the Scion is a new mobile game available for both iOS and Android.

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Mike Drucker Pushes Through the Fog of Silent Hill 2 in His Boss Fight Books Release

Courtesy of Boss Fight Books, Mike Drucker's Silent Hill 2 parts the fog around Konami's highly-acclaimed survival horror.

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How to Get Legendary Loot Boxes in Overwatch

Looking to grab a legendary loot box in Overwatch? Here's how. 

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Six of the Best Games With Snow

Not all snow is created equal, so here are five examples of the very best snow in videogames.

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Redout: Space Assault Review

Redout is back! Sort of.

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Mass Effect Legendary Edition Makes Earthfall This May

The Reapers are coming! Mass Effect Legendary Edition has been offically announced, complete with a reveal trailer.

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Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe is Arriving on PS4, PC and Switch

Atelier Mysterious Trilogy Deluxe is coming to the Playstation 4, Switch and PC this April.

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Plague Inc's The Cure DLC Is Free for Everyone

Plague Inc The Cure turns the tables and gives you a shot at destroying deadly world-ending viruses.

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Cris Tales Leaps Into the Time Vortex This July

Cris Tales, a gorgeous time-bending JRPG will let you meddle with the temporal fabric this July

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Control Ultimate's Launch Trailer Has Escaped Containment

Thinking of getting Control Ultimate Edition? Check out The Oldest House's newest trailer.

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How to Change Your Crosshair in Overwatch

Did you know that you can change your crosshair in Overwatch? Here's how.

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Habroxia 2 Review

Blending the old with a bit of the new, Habroxia 2 is highly recommended for shoot 'em up fans seeking something a little bit different.

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Fall Guys Season 3.5 is Live Now, With a Brand New Round

More content! More beans! It's a Fall Guys update! 

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Dystopian Adventure Encodya Channels Point and Click Games of the Past

Tina and SAM-53 might just steal a spot in your heart next to the likes of Guybrush Threepwood and George Stobbart.

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Final Fantasy XII, The Falconeer and More are Coming to Xbox Game Pass This Month

The Xbox Game Pass wheels just keep on turning.

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Blizzard Shares Details About This Year's Blizzard Convention, BlizzConline

Blizzcon 2021 is almost here! 

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You'd Be Wise to Check Out Subnautica: Below Zero as it Nears Full Release

Leaving Steam Early Access soon, fans of survival games would be wise to check out Subnautica: Below Zero before it increases in price.

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10 Games With Beautiful Character Design

Games are more than just their cast of characters, but these games stand out for having some of the most beautiful character designs we've laid our eyes on.

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A New Sonic the Hedgehog Series Is Landing on Netflix

Sonic Prime is an all-new Sonic the Hedgehog series coming to Netflix next year.

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Xbox Game Pass February update adds The Falconeer, Final Fantasy XII, and Jurassic World Evolution

Microsoft has confirmed the games that will be coming to Xbox Game Pass this month, with a mix of games for console, PC, and Project xCloud. The Falconeer is one of the major additions having been a launch title for Xbox Series X|S. Joining The Falconeer will be Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, and that will be available on PC and console. Jurassic World Evolution will be available on Game Pass through console and cloud, along with Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones. Project Winter is coming to all three Game Pass platforms, Wolfenstein: Youngblood is coming to cloud, and Ghost of a Tale will be on PC. The dates for when each is available is below.

February 4th:

  • Ghost of a Tale (PC)
  • Project Winter (Console, Cloud, PC)
  • The Falconeer (Console, Cloud, PC)

February 11th

  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (PC and Console)
  • Jurassic World Evolution (Cloud and Console)
  • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones (Cloud and Console)
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Cloud)

Of course when some games are added to the service others leave. This time around those games that are leaving include De Blob (Console), Ninja Gaiden II (Console), World of Horror (PC), and Shadows of the Damned (EA Play/Console).

Source: Microsoft

Madden NFL 21 February title update has been released

EA has released the February update for Madden NFL 21 across PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Stadia. On PS5 and Xbox Series X|S the update addresses issues such as fixing unintended penalties, and stopping players from running out of bounds in error, or ghosting through each other on the sidelines. On PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia the fixes including stopping from defenders avoidance animation from triggering if an opposing player dives. The full and rather extensive patch notes are below.

Madden NFL 21 February Title Update patch notes

Madden NFL 21 (Xbox Series X|S & PS5)

Key Highlights:

  • In Competitive only, only players with the 'Reach For It' ability will trigger certain reaches
  • Extensive Coverage fixes for Cover 3, 4, and Man
  • Locomotion and Pursuit improvements
  • Made Blocking improvements to handle DBs
  • Fixed unintended penalties from DL

Gameplay Updates:

Pass Coverage:

  • Tuning to outside deep-zone defenders in Cover 3 to improve the timing of the drop to get to the appropriate coverage depth when aligned over an outside receiver running a short route (Drag, Smoke Screen, etc.). This adjustment will allow them to get deeper and play any deep routes coming from the slot.
  • Tuning to outside deep-zone defenders in Cover 3 to reduce the frequency of jumping inside to cover an out-route from the slot, allowing an outside receiver on a Streak/Fade to get behind them. The outside deep-zone defender will now keep his width and continue to leverage his zone-drop accordingly.
  • Fixed an issue causing receivers to sometimes run into the back of a slower defender playing a deep-zone assignment, leading to an avoidance animation disrupting the route.
  • Updated Cover 4 Quarters to use more Man Matching principles against Trip formations and improved transitioning from zone to man when matching certain vertical routes.
  • Fixed an issue causing deep-zone defenders in Cover 4 Quarters and Palms to let streaking receivers run by them on the outside. Now the defenders will backpedal and transition to turn and run with the correct timing.
  • Tuning to Cover 4 Drop to better cover deep post routes, by improving deep-zone anticipation of vertical routes moving to the middle of the field to reduce the likelihood of big plays over the top of all the deep zone defenders.
  • Added logic to make the reaction of linebackers in man-coverage more authentic when covering a running back in a block-and-release assignment. The LB's will have the option to either trigger a pass rush and transition to a QB Spy assignment when they see the running-back block, and the timing they use to make the decision will be scaled by their play-recognition rating.
  • Fixed an issue sometimes causing cornerbacks to instantly rush the passer when playing man-coverage on RPO Screen plays.
  • Fixed an issue causing all the underneath zone defenders to break out of coverage and rush the Quarterback when he rolled out of the pocket, even if he was not close to the line of scrimmage.
  • Tuning to improve Jam/Press criteria so user-controlled defenders will be able to trigger the appropriate animations for all angles and situations.

Tackling and Blocking:

  • Fixed an issue allowing an exploit blitz with nickel corners in the contain assignment. New logic and movement has been implemented for pass blockers to better react to this exploit blitz which is most commonly run out of formations like Dime 1-4-6.
  • Fixed an issue sometimes causing defenders to get stuck in a breakdown fake-out when the ball carrier was being tackled within close proximity.
  • Fixed an issue causing unintended 'Roughing the Passer' penalties when pass rushers could obviously see the ball had been released.
  • Fixed a rare issue with a reach-sack animation that could get misaligned, and make it appear like the QB would be tackled by air.
  • Tuning to reduce the amount of broken tackles that were triggering from defenders being out of position, with the most significant tuning being done for the Competitive game style. This should result in far less broken tackles from over/under-pursuit defender alignments.


  • Tuning to reduce steerability while in Truck animations.
  • Fixed a rare issue causing ball carriers to get stuck in the running assignment and run out of bounds.
  • Fixed an issue causing defenders to sometimes use the 'Option Quarterback' carry-style when switching ball hands after an INT.
  • Fixed an issue causing defenders to sometimes hitch in the transition from pre-play to during-play movement in pass coverage.
  • Fixed an issue causing Tight Ends to sometimes slide on the cut when running corner routes against certain coverages.
  • Tuning to improve ball-carrier ability to get through the line when running routes from the backfield.
  • Fixed a rare issue sometimes causing the ball carrier to freeze up after two spin moves were used in quick succession.


  • Fixed an issue causing the running back's receiver icon to disappear after the handoff when running Gun Doubles Y Off RPO Zone Y Peek.
  • Fixed a rare issue causing the QB to throw an odd push pass when running Singleback Wing Pair HB Dive Alert Smoke
  • Fixed an issue causing the QB's arm to get caught up on the running back when attempting to pass during the handoff when running Gun Wing Slot Offset PA Jailbreak Screen.


  • Tuning to only allow players with the 'Reach For it' Ability equipped to be able to trigger successful pylon/first-down marker reach-tackles for Competitive game style.
  • Fixed a visual issue allowing the in-game indicators to remain visible during the entire play when using the 'Blitz Radar' and 'Threat Detector' abilities.


  • Fixed various issues sometimes causing the coach or other sideline players to ghost through an opposing player during various sideline interactions with players running or falling out of bounds.
  • Fixed an issue preventing sideline 'help-up' animations from triggering in situations where they should.

General Gameplay Improvements:

  • Fixed an issue sometimes causing a new field to load with invisible players after switching Practice type from the Practice Pause menu.
  • Fixed an issue causing the punter to line up too close to the line of scrimmage when punting from inside the 5-yard line, allowing the punt to be blocked too frequently.

Madden NFL 21 (Xbox One, PS4, PC, Stadia)

Key Highlights:

  • In Competitive only, only players with the 'Reach For It' ability will trigger certain reaches
  • Fixed blitz's with Nickel Corners in Contain
  • Fine-tuned deep-zone defenders in Cover 3
  • Tuned the distance-based receiver abilities vs. Man-Coverage
  • Addressed Man-Coverage issues with RPOs and Receiver motion
  • Fixed frequency of defenders doing QB Slide avoidance

Gameplay Updates:

  • Fixed an issue causing the tight end to stay in his 3-point stance after being motioned to the slot on running plays out of the Gun Doubles formation.
  • Fixed a visual issue allowing the in-game indicators to remain visible during the entire play when using the 'Blitz Radar' and 'Threat Detector' abilities.
  • Fixed an issue causing the QB's arm to get caught on the pulling guard when throwing the ball early on I-Form Slot Flex Power Alert Smoke.
  • Tuning to the distance-based receiver abilities so the Receivers to increase the receiver's win-chance on the cut vs. man-coverage defenders without a counter-ability, as long the cut is performed in the designated area of the field.
  • Fixed an issue sometimes causing cornerbacks to instantly rush the passer when playing man-coverage on RPO Screen plays.
  • Tuning to outside deep-zone defenders in Cover 3 to improve the timing of the drop to get to the appropriate coverage depth when aligned over an outside receiver running a short route (Drag, Smoke Screen, etc.). This adjustment will allow them to get deeper and play any deep routes coming from the slot.
  • Fixed an exploit allowing the offensive user to manipulate a man-coverage defender by using motion directly after a hot-route.
  • Fixed an issue causing defenders to trigger avoidance animations any time any ball carrier would dive.
  • Fixed an issue allowing an exploit blitz with nickel corners in the contain assignment. New logic and movement has been implemented for pass blockers to better react to this exploit blitz which is most commonly run out of formations like Dime 1-4-6.
  • Tuning to pass-blocking logic to improve 'blocking handoffs' for left tackles when facing two rushers in the outside gap.

In our review for Madden NFL 21, Dom wrote:

Madden 21 has the components to be a solid, if utterly by-the-numbers entry in the franchise. However, a raft of bugs and glitches serve to undo the game's atmosphere at every turn.
You can read the full review here.

EA College Football game is coming, but what does this mean for NCAA players?

EA have announced that EA Sports College Football is in development, seeing them return to the field of collegiate sports after several years away to create a counterpart to their main Madden NFL series.

EA's first college football game came out all the way back in 1993 with Bill Walsh College Football, before evolving into NCAA Football in 1997. The series ran all the way up to 2013 with NCAA Football 14, but was brought to an end after the NCAA and other college football conferences decided not to renew their exclusive contracts with EA Sports.

This was partly down to image rights and a legal dispute over whether players should be able to take a share of the profits that the NCAA was able to generate from their likeness. It's an issue that remains in collegiate sport, though there has been some motion on the matter. Florida, California, Colorado, Nebraska and New Jersey all legislating on the matter and the NCAA has also voted unanimously to loosen the restriction.

That's all great, but what does it mean for players and EA's new College Football game? Well… not a lot. In fact, the game will not include any student-athlete names, images or likenesses, and the only elements that EA will be able to include for authenticity are the logos, stadiums, uniforms, gameday traditions and other colour elements that they can license through the Collegiate Licensing Company.

There's still plenty of time for that to change, though. EA have only just announced this partnership and, while they are able to build on the foundations of Madden NFL in terms of game engines and gameplay, it will still take some time for a game to be released. If the opportunity arises for them to secure a significant number of players' likenesses en masse, they could incorporate them into the game. Indeed, with regard to image rights, EA say they are "continuing to watch those developments closely."

Source: Twitter, press release

Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood Xbox One and Series X|S physical UK release delayed due to Brexit

The physical release of Werewolf: The Apocalypse Earthblood for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S has been delayed in the UK due to logistical issues that have come about from Brexit. Previously the game was going to be available this week, February 4th in fact, but that has now been pushed back to February 12th. Cyanide Studios has confirmed that this will not affect the digital release which UK players will still be able to get from tomorrow. The full statement reads:

"Due to unforeseen logistical problems, partly down to Brexit changes, the physical release of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood on Xbox systems has been delayed to February 12th in the UK. We apologise to fans for the unexpected delay. This came as a surprise and we want to assure you we're doing our utmost to get the Xbox version to the UK as soon as possible. Please note this has no affect on the digital release of the game."

The game is based on the tabletop RPG Werewolf: The Apocalypse, a part of the World of Darkness universe that also contains Vampire: The Masquerade. The full story follows the Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf banished from his tribe, but deciding to fight against the corporations that have caused pollution across the American Northwest. The game will let you shapeshift between wolf, human and werewolf form, to explore, converse, and fight across this region.

This is not the first Brexit related shipping issue that has had an impact within the games' industry. A couple of weeks ago, Bitmap Books suspended shipping to the EU due to the additional charges that customers were facing. The company is looking at ways to alleviate that issue so shipping can resume.

Source: Twitter

Total War: Warhammer III will complete the epic grand strategy trilogy in late 2021

Sega have announced the long-awaited Total War: Warhammer III, the third and final part in an epic trilogy of grand strategy games set in the fantasy Warhammer universe. The game will be coming out in late 2021.

Total War: Warhammer III will explore the mysterious Lands of the East and the daemonic Realms of Chaos for the first time in the series. It will dramatically expand on the factions of Chaos found in the game, featuring Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Tzeentch as they wage war against Kislev and Cathay.

The new grand campaign will see you tasked with saving or exploiting a dying god, with each race having a different journey through the Chaos Realm that builds up to an endgame to decide the fate of the world.

The first Total War: Warhammer was centred around the Old World (a fantasy representation of Europe), while Total War: Warhammer II looked to the lands to the West where the High Elves had retreated to, leaving the eastern reaches of the Warhammer world unexplored by the games. This was the plan all along, of course, with Creative Assembly embarking on a trilogy to explore these different realms. The surprise, perhaps, is that it's taken this length of time. The first game arrived in May of 2016, and followed in September 2017 by the sequel. It's now going to be approaching a 4 year wait for the third instalment.

"Our vision, from the start, was to create a series that felt like an incredible journey through this world we all loved.," said Game Director, Ian Roxburgh. "The enormous support of our players in ensuring the success of the first two instalments has pushed our ambition to new heights, and we can't wait for everyone to experience it."

One element not discussed in the announcement was how the three games would be united into one gigantic, all-encompassing campaign. Total War Warhammer II featured the Mortal Empires mega-campaign for those that owned both games, and it's expected that this third game will offer the same. We hope to have more details soon.

And will this be the end of Total War: Warhammer? Not likely. It might be the final game in the trilogy, but the second game in particular has been well supported with DLC expansions to add new heroes, factions and campaigns into the game. Expect more of the same to come out in 2022 and beyond.

Total War: Warhammer III will be out for PC, Mac and Linux in late 2021, coming to both Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Source: press release

FIFA 21 Title Update 9 has been released, addresses haptic feedback on PS5

EA has released title update 9 for FIFA 21 on PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. This update addresses quite a few things. In gameplay those changes include making volleyed chip shots less effective from distance, stopped the ref blowing the final whistle if a goal scoring opportunity is unfolding. In Ultimate Team the fixes are mainly to the interface with fixes to incorrect displays. On PS5, there have been changes so that haptic feedback has less resistance and does now function properly.

FIFA 21 Title Update 9 patch notes

Made the following changes:

  • Reduced consistency of the ball trajectory after successfully performing a Skill Move which involves launching the ball into the air.
  • Reduced Flick Up ball trajectory consistency in cases where the Flick Up is performed directly following a Skill Move.
  • Reduced consistency of Flick Ups performed while running with the ball.
    • This effect is most impactful when the ball carrier is running at a high speed.
  • Reduced the effectiveness of Volleyed Chip Shots when taken from 35 feet/10.67 meters and beyond.
    • This effect scales up to 55 feet/16.76 meters, meaning that Volleyed Chip Shots reduce in effectiveness the farther they're taken from, up until 55 feet/16.76 meters.
    • Volleyed Chip Shots taken at 55 feet/16.76 meters and beyond can be half as effective as those taken at 35 feet/10.67 meters.
  • Considerably reduced the probability of the referee calling for the end of the match during a potential goalscoring opportunity.
    • As a result, Injury Time could now last for a slightly longer period.

Addressed the following issues:

  • When defending against the Bridge Skill Move while Jockeying, the defending player could temporarily slow down unintentionally.
  • When a defending player performed a tackle that was unsuccessful at winning the ball, the tackler's foot could partially pass through a portion of the ball.
    • This change does not impact the success or failure of tackles, and the tackling player is now more likely to make some contact with the ball in these situations.
  • Following a specific type of goalkeeper pass during an offline match, the defending team's CPU AI would not attempt to pressure the attacking side in order to recover the ball.

FIFA Ultimate Team

Addressed the following issues:

  • On the Kit Select screen in Division Rivals, the timer could freeze for the player who confirmed their selection if their opponent was still selecting a kit.
  • When accessing the Transfer Market tab on the Squad screen and viewing the Search Results as a list, Bid Status Icons did not display.
  • Some text incorrectly overlapped other UI elements when the My Playlist tile was selected on the FUT Friendlies screen.
  • During Friendlies matches, the in-game Game Settings screen would incorrectly list the ball being currently used.
  • Stadium Themes based on real world teams did not always apply correctly to in-game ad boards.
  • The FIFA Playtime FIFA Points limit exceeded message would not display until the limit was exceeded a second time.
  • The Live FUT Friendlies UI did not always display the correct visuals when the tile was selected.

Career Mode

Addressed the following issues:

  • Managers were incorrectly wearing team kits during matches and other scenes.
  • When changing the sorting in the Transfer Hub and Squad Hub, the UI did not automatically scroll back to the top.
  • In Player Career, the Virtual Pro was sometimes not receiving loan and transfer offers.
  • When entering the Transfer Hub through a News story and attempting to sign a player, a stability issue could occur.


Addressed the following issues:

  • Drop In Match Lobbies could become temporarily stuck during a specific UI flow, and as a result, would not be filled with the maximum number of players.
  • Further addressed instances of being unable to successfully matchmake in VOLTA SQUADS.

Pro Clubs

Addressed the following issues:

  • When the Captain changes Game Plans during a Pro Clubs match, some AI teammates could have switched positions incorrectly.

General, Audio, and Video

Made the following changes:

  • Updated some kits, Tifos, badges, 2D images, celebrations, and boots.
  • Added new commentary lines related to David Beckham.
  • Updated 1 existing Starhead and added 4 legacy Starheads.
    • Stay tuned to the EA SPORTS FIFA Tracker to learn when these Starheads will become active.

Addressed the following issues:

  • An incorrect line of commentary could occur when referencing a specific instance of an offside.
  • The Adidas Silver and Black Circuit Board balls did not display in-game shadows.
  • Some balls displayed placeholder text in the Match tab of the Game Settings screen.


Made the following change:

  • [PS5 Only] Lowered the resistance of Adaptive Triggers when they are enabled at the system level.

Addressed the following issue:

  • [PS5 Only] If the Title was started prior to the DualSense being turned on, haptic feedback did not always function.

Career Mode

Addressed the following issue:

  • [PS5 and XSX|S Only] A News headline could sometimes incorrectly swap the club name's position with a player name.

Source: EA

Destruction AllStars microtransactions explained

Destruction AllStars is finally here and although it may have been benched during the PS5 console launch last November, it's hard to argue that Sony didn't make the right move. With a strong cluster of exclusives already available on day one, Destruction AllStars could easily have been buried. For a game that is mainly multiplayer focused, potentially empty servers just weeks after launch would have spelt doom.

As a result, Sony have basically pivoted Destruction AllStars into a free-to-play title. For a limited time it will be available to everyone who has an active PlayStation Plus subscription after which point it will presumably go up for sale as a full priced game.

Destruction AllStars features a number of in-game microtransactions – bonus pieces of content players can be unlocked by spending cash. It's hard to say whether these were added/reworked in that period between DA's originally intended release date and now, though we'd say it's likely given that aforementioned move to becoming a PlayStation Plus freebie.

So, how do microtransactions work in Destruction AllStars? Well, there are two currency counters you'll notice when surfing through menus and browsing the in-game shop. The gold currency – referred to as AC – is simply earned by playing, each level-up awarding you 1,000 AC. Meanwhile the pink DP – or Destruction Points – are a premium currency primarily purchased for real money but will also be available through challenges.

There are three DP bundles available via the PlayStation Store: 500DP for £3.99, 1000DP for £7.99, and 2000DP for £15.99. As you can see there is no discount on buying the bigger DP bundles.

There are various in-game items that can be purchased in Destruction AllStars. Some of these can only be bought using AC, others only DP while a small number will accept either. It's important to note that none of these effect gameplay whatsoever and are mostly cosmetic. They're a way of glamming up your player profile or decking out your favourite AllStar and their hero vehicle of choice. You can buy skins, emotes, vehicle emotes, shouts, avatars, and banners.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you'll need to spend DP in order to unlock new Challenger Series. Each one is a collection of singleplayer challenges tailored to a specific character, offering a glut of cosmetics upon completion. The first, featuring Ultimo Barricado, is free though additional Challenger Series cost 400DP each. In effect, Sony and Lucid Games are putting key singleplayer content behind a paywall which is a shame though Destruction AllStars is still best enjoyed online against others.

SnowRunner – Season 3: Locate & Deliver brings back logging with new maps and vehicles

The cult classic SnowRunner is getting ready to embark on Season 3: Locate & Deliver. When it arrives sometime "soon", it will bring with it new maps, new vehicles and a sprinkling of free content for everyone.

Season 3's biggest addition is the new Wisconsin, USA region, with two new maps to painstakingly make your way across. It will bring logging back to the game as you try to rebuild a broken-down railway amidst forests, flood zones and massive rivers.

There will also be three new vehicles, three vehicle skins, new stickers and more as part of the DLC expansion.

As you can see from this clutch of screenshots, it's all hella pretty… but it's not particularly snowy, is it? I demand more snow in a game that's literally called SnowRunner. Surely you all agree with me?

Season 3: Locate & Deliver will be available standalone, most likely at the same £5.49 price point as the first two seasons, or as part of the £19.99 Season Pass. The Season Pass can also be obtained as part of the SnowRunner Premium Edition.

Alongside Season 3, there will also be a free update for all SnowRunner players. This adds new trials, cargo and missions for you to test your mettle against.

Dom reviewed SnowRunner upon its release last April, scoring the Murdrunner sequel a stunning 9 out of 10. Here's what he had to say:

"SnowRunner is a game thoroughly, single-mindedly, in love with the open road. It just happens that it's the kind of love that's bred by getting that road so thoroughly under your nails, you occasionally have to wonder whether it's actually hate. Care, attention and time will show that SnowRunner is a passion project worth putting the extra mile in for."

Valheim Early Access Preview – A survival game with a sense of purpose

Survival games are a dime a dozen these days. The initial boom of success through games like Minecraft, Ark and Rust have seen thousands of developers take interest, and a quick glance at pretty much any digital storefront will see a number of these games spread across the new releases and best sellers lists. While many will tread familiar, formulaic ground, every now and again something interesting pops up that stands out from the crowd.

Embarking on its voyage through Steam Early Access, Valheim, developed by Iron Gate AB, is norse-inspired survival game which drops players in a procedurally-generated representation of limbo. Using the world around you, players must not only survive but also build their skills and arsenal in order to take down numerous god-like foes. Think Shadow of the Colossus meets Rust. It's an interesting concept which remedies one of my biggest complaints with many survival games, the lack of direction or goal.

Starting as it means to go on, Valheim pretty much throws you into the world and expects you to get on with it. There's some light guidance from a crow which pops up from time-to-time, but you are expected to figure out a lot of the game's mechanics on your own. I'm fine with this in theory, but I found that activating certain elements or finding the specific controls for a move or action could be frustrating. The entire tutorial process could just do with a bit of streamlining to make things slightly more accessible – that will surely come as the game develops.

Moment to moment, Valheim plays like a typical survival game. You need to collect wood, stone, and other materials to build shelter. You hunt animals and collect fruit and vegetables for food. When it rains you end up wet, stay out too late at night and your character will feel cold. It's fairly similar to the systems we've seen elsewhere and Valheim does them all to a good standard.

I actually didn't mind the gathering and survival elements here, as I felt I was putting in the work towards a goal. Gearing myself up to take on a tough enemy was more than enough motivation to keep me invested in the initial sluggish grind of gathering wood and stone to make basic tools. Once you're over the initial hump of gathering, Valheim opens up and you can begin exploring its procedurally generated world. With a mix of woods, mountains, plains and coastal areas, there's plenty of hidden chests to find and animals and monsters to slay. When you're feeling confident enough, it's time to go after the legendary monsters.

Scattered throughout the world, these legendary monsters require a sacrifice before you can initiate a fight with them. The sacrifices can vary, but it typically requires something quite grindy. For example, the first boss requires you to hunt a bunch of deer for two trophies. When you've got the required sacrifice, everything kicks off as a giant monster appears and tries to take you down. It's on you to learn its attack patterns and figure out the best way to bring it down. While it's certainly no Dark Souls to handle, I still found myself having a lot of fun during these fights.

One element of Valheim which needs some serious improvement is building and terraforming. You need to use a hammer to be able to build certain elements, but you also need to have a crafting table, and it's not always clear in the UI which tool offers what. There's also a lot of issues with mesh detection when trying to build certain structures or build walls. It's not unplayable, but I found these segments to be the least enjoyable in the game. I built a bog standard house and never felt the need to upgrade or increase it in size, simply because I didn't want to tussle with the building systems.

You don't have to suffer the building systems alone though, because Valheim offers play-hosted servers, meaning you can join up with friends as you venture through the world. Building and surviving together makes Valheim's difficult world a bit more manageable, providing a slightly easier option. For those who fancy more of a challenge, there are dedicated servers and the option to turn PvP damage on, although the world is already brutal enough for my tastes.

Due to circumstances out of my control, I'm currently having to play with a gamepad when playing PC games. I was a little worried when I saw Valheim only had partial controller support, and unfortunately that's a pretty accurate description. It's mostly playable on a gamepad, but there are some actions you simply cannot do. I found myself over encumbered at one stage and spent five minutes trying to find the controls to drop items. I eventually figured out I could only do it using a mouse, but an in-game prompt explaining this would have been welcomed.

There's a skill system for in-game actions, meaning your character improves over time. As you jump, run and fight your character will consume less stamina and generally just start to be more effective with each skill. I quite like this style of progression as it encourages you to build a character around your play style, imbuing a sense of roleplay to your adventure.

Valheim, while a bit rough around the edges, has a number of genuinely nice touches to its gameplay. When cooking food, you have to actually stand by it as it cooks and take it off when it's ready – leave it on for too long and you'll be left with a piece of coal – but stand by a fire in a cramped space and you'll start to die due to smoke inhalation. For a game that's just entered Early Access, Valheim already feels like a mostly complete game.

The future feels bright for Valheim. With a solid arrangement of survival systems already in place, an engaging array of boss battles and plenty of extra touches, I can't wait to see how the community shapes and guides this survival sim's future development. This is definitely one to watch out for.

4.5 million PS5s shipped in 2020, as Sony predict best ever year for PlayStation

Sony's PlayStation 5 is off to a flier, with over 4.5 million PS5s shipped in the final months of 2020 and expectations that their PlayStation business will have its best ever year in terms of revenue and profit.

This is actually despite Sony admitting in their financial results that the PS5 is being sold at a loss – a fact that is thoroughly unsurprising and follows the typical games console business model. Backed up by 1.4m PS4 consoles sold between October and December, Sony's Games and Network Services division was still able to spin $8.3bn in revenue, making a 40% increase year-on-year.

The real driver of all this revenue was game sales, which made $4.6bn thanks to $1.76bn in digital game sales and $2.43bn in add-on content and microtransactions. PlayStation Plus subscriptions have also increased by 22% year-on-year to a new total of 47.4 million subscribers.

All together, Sony have increased the full-year forecast for their gaming division to $25 billion, with $3.2 billion in operating profit.

Facing sky high demand for their new console, the PlayStation 5's 4.5 million units is actually exactly in line with the 4.5 million PlayStation 4 consoles shipped from its launch in November 2013 to the end of the year. So, while it might have managed to surpass the PS4's 2.1 million units in two weeks in 2013 to become the largest launch in PlayStation history, the PlayStation 5's potential to set new records for games console sales seems to be limited by Sony's ability to actually supply consoles. More consoles have appeared on sale through January, but we'll discover how many in April/May.

That ability is being hampered by issues surrounding the fabrication of new chipsets for the consoles. Produced at TSMC 7nm fabs, under contract from chipset development partner AMD, the supply chain has been under severe strain through 2020 to match demand. There's a juggling act to satisfy the demand of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, as well as AMD's new Ryzen 5000 series CPUs and Radeon 6000 series GPUs. Microsoft have stated that they expect the Xbox Series X to remain in short supply until at least July and we can likely expect a similar situation to apply to the PlayStation 5.

Looking at the company's last generation, the PlayStation 4's holiday sales have seen a significant drop year-on-year, dropping from 6 million between October-December 2019 to just 1.4 million in the same period last year. This puts lifetime shipments at 115.4 million, and the shipments in the 2020-21 financial year at just 5 million so far and on track to come in at less than half the console's 2019-20 shipments of 13.4 million. With so many consoles already out there, it will remain a major part of Sony's business for years to come, but such a drop in production means we can put any thoughts that the PS4 could overtake the PS2's 155 million lifetime sales to one side.

Source: Sony

Embracer Group buys Gearbox, Aspyr Media, and Easybrain – 2K Games comment [updated]

The Embracer Group, which includes THQ Nordic, Koch Media, Saber Interactive and other publishers, has added Borderlands creator Gearbox to the group along with Aspyr Media, a company that specialises in Mac, Linux and mobile ports, and Easybrain, a mobile game developer with a core focus on advertising-based puzzle and logic games.

The deal with Gearbox is valued at $1.3 billion and they will become Embracer Group's seventh operating group. Gearbox Founder and CEO Randy Pitchford will continue to lead Gearbox, and he and the employees of Gearbox will jointly become "a significant shareholder in Embracer." That sounds like a good deal, let's hope that offer extends to all Gearbox employees and not just senior management.

"Gearbox is arguably one of the most creative and valuable independent developers in the world. We believe that the resources offered by Embracer will position Gearbox for continued significant growth in the years to come" saaid Lars Wingefors, Founder and Group CEO of Embracer Group.

"Lars's vision of Embracer as an allied partner group committed to fueling and accelerating the ambitions of a series of decentralized, successful entrepreneurial member companies while magnifying the collective value and advantages of diversification across the entire group is the most brilliant strategy and design for short, medium, and long-term success in this industry that I have worked in during 30 years. The feeling at Gearbox is that we are just getting started and this transaction is not merely a stimulant for the talent of our employee-owned company, but a propellent for the exciting future we have planned." said Randy Pitchford, founder of The Gearbox Entertainment Company.

Update: 2K Games have also issued a comment on the acquisition to clarify how it's going to affect their relationship with Gearbox and the Borderlands series going forward. To put it simply…. it won't.

"As the proud publisher of the Borderlands franchise, we are happy for our partners at Gearbox and this exciting new chapter for their organization. The merger does not change 2K's relationship with Gearbox nor our role as the publisher for the Borderlands IP or any other projects we are currently working on with the studio. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with this incredibly talented team and delivering many more exciting entertainment experiences to gaming fans around the world." – 2K Spokesperson

This means Embracer now has 57 internal game development studios spread across 40 countries. Many of these are smaller indie studios united under some of Embracer's 8 publishing brands, but that's still an incredible number. Embracer must own hundreds, if not thousands of IP's in total, THQ Nordic alone has been snapping up old, seemingly dead IPs for many, many years. They recently snapped up Little Nightmares creators Tarsier Studios.

Source: Embracer

Imperator: Rome – Heirs of Alexander content pack and free Marius update arrive this month

Some pretty great things are coming to Imperator: Rome, if you'll excuse the pun, with the Heirs of Alexander content pack and the major 2.0 'Marius' update both set to arrive on 16th February 2021.

Heirs of Alexander is all about the power vacuum that follows the death of Alexander III of Macedon, with the Seleucid, Ptolemaix, Antigonid and Macedonian kingdoms all seeking to claim his legacy.

Here's what the content pack offers:

  • Unique Mission Trees: New special mission objectives for the Antigonid Empire in Anatolia, Seleucid Empire in Asia, Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt, Macedonia and Thrace.
  • Shared Mission Tree: Diadochi-themed mission objectives available to all of the Successor Kingdoms.
  • Wonder Designer: New tool that allows players to build their own custom monuments, adding bonuses to their location or to the entire empire.
  • New Events: Various Historical Events based on the history and legacy of Alexander's followers.
  • New Deities: Regional gods and goddesses from the Hellenistic kingdoms.
  • New Treasures: Distinctive artifacts from the Hellenistic kingdoms.
  • New Music: Three new music tracks to inspire your Successor Kingdom.

As a content pack, the DLC will be priced at $9.99/£7.19/€9.99.

Supporting this is the significant 2.0 'Marius' update, which will be free for all players. It will make for a major overhaul of the military systems in the game, adding new features to enhance your wartime efforts.

Here's a rundown of what it offers:

  • Levies: Draft levies from your provinces to fight your wars. Their size and composition is based on the cultures and population types in the province.
  • Legions: Advance your military technology to create standing, professional military forces to guard your empire. But beware of their cost and tendency to follow disloyal generals.
  • Military Histories: Legions and Mercenary units have histories that will list their accomplishments over time, earning honors or penalties based on their legacies.
  • Engineers: Special cohort to help with sieges, river crossings and road building.
  • Changes to Inventions and Military Traditions: Radically overhauled invention system – unlock new abilities alongside old inventions, and shape your civilization like never before.
  • Diadochi War Goal: New large scale conquests available to Hellenistic kingdoms to better model the ambitions of Successor rulers.
  • UI Overhaul: Completely reworked interface to make options and decisions more intuitive.
  • And much more: New unit models for levy and legion units, new port construction options, changes to forts and deities.

Source: press release

Resident Evil Re:Verse Beta – Can its monster mayhem make an essential multiplayer mode?

Yeah, firing a rocket launcher with Leon Kennedy is cool, but have you ever tried chopping someone's head off with Jack Baker's giant sheers? I have and I'm here to tell you it's a lot of fun.

Over the weekend, I got hands-on with the Resident Evil Re:Verse beta, a free multiplayer only game that's to be given to those who buy Resident Evil Village.

It's hard not to give these spin-off Resi games a hard time, especially considering Capcom's track record when they move away from the formula that makes their main entries so successful. You only need to look at the likes of Operation Racoon City and Umbrella Corps to see why people are anxious when a new Resident Evil is announced in the same vein of these online multiplayer shoot fests.

It's with these swirling thoughts that I trod carefully with the beta. As a fan of the Resident Evil series, it's really cool to be able to play as your favourite characters, good and bad, but as someone who's played Capcom's previous attempts, I was scared. I actually thought Resistance was good, albeit lacking longevity, but just a year later and it's going to be superceded by Re:Verse. In that case, it better be a massive upgrade.

Right now, I'm not sure it is.

Re:Verse features four to six player, five minute deathmatches with everyone playing as their favourite characters from the Resi universe. Unless you like Piers… Sorry Piers fans, he's not in it. You get to choose from Chris 'Boulder Puncher' Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Ada Wong and Hunk, each with their unique abilities and stats.

I got to try every character multiple times so got a really good feel of what each character could do. I was quick to come to the conclusion that Hunk is the meta. Hunk has an ability called Active Camouflage. This makes him temporarily transparent and silences his footsteps, meaning you can pretty much get away with what you want. Oh, and it also makes his second ability, Assassinate, a short ranged stabbing attack that does massive damage, do even more damage. Finally, Hunk's passive grants him more time under Active Camo if he kills with Assassinate while invisible. You can see how this can get quickly out of hand. For a lot of the matches I played, the top three were always Hunk, Hunk and (you've guessed it), Hunk.

That doesn't mean the other characters are worthless. I had a lot of fun using Claire Redfield, who comes packed with her signature Quickdraw Army handgun, a submachine gun, an Adrenalin shot for healing on the go, an electric trap she can place, and the ability to get a free reload on her handgun while she dodges.

Ada was sadly the character I seemed to click with the least. She has a somersault kick which will be instantly recognisable to fans of the series and the ability to grapple upwards, throwing a pipe bomb in the process. Her main failing seems to be her secondary weapon which is her trusty crossbow. Unlike the other characters who all come armed with either a powerful shotgun or some kind of automatic weapon, the Ada's crossbow feels very weak. You'd think it would be a one shot kill, but I often found myself getting into an engagement, getting a direct hit with the crossbow and then getting blown to pieces.

There are other weapons scattered around the map that offer some serious firepower in the form of Resi's signature monster destroyers. From the strange Spark Shot to the classic Rocket Launcher, there's plenty lying around to even up the score.

Do not fear death in Re:Verse. Dying is what gives you access to play as the lovely villains of the series, though what monster you turn into depends on how many Virus Capsules you collect as a human. Collect none and you'll turn into a Moulded from RE7 and have the ability to run after the humans, flailing your arms like there's no tomorrow and exploding, if you wish. Collect one capsule and you'll turn into either a Hunter Gamma or good ol Jack Baker, sheers an all, but two capsules is where it's at, letting you turn into big lad Nemesis or the Super Tyrant.

Obviously, playing the monsters is super fun, especially the Super Tyrant who comes with the Dashing Strike ability, a devastating move which sees him scrape his claws along the floor while giving chase, ending with an upward blow.

The player with the highest score at the end of the match wins and points are scored by making kills. Getting more kills in a row gets you a streak bonus, earning more points. Get killed and your streak ends, but you can earn it back if you manage to get revenge on that player. Considering the ability to come back as a monster straight away, it makes killing players full of risk and reward. I found myself backing off as soon as I killed someone before moving on to the guy that was right behind them. Too many times I was caught out taking my eye off the player I killed, only to be obliterated by Nemesis seconds later.

It gave a nice flow to the matches and because of the way the score system works, you feel like you can come back from a bad score at any point. I remember one game I was playing terribly, only to kill the streak leader who had around six kills, netting me a huge bonus for taking out the best player and shooting all the way up to second.

Sadly, there was only one map to see in the beta which was the RPD. This was fine, I just wish I got to see more. Amidst the fears provided by the pop art style trailer, RPD looked very close to RE2 Remake which is a welcome relief. With the graphics fears being allayed, here's hoping there's a lot more options for arenas come the actual release.

Being a beta, there really isn't much else going on to get a sense of the game's overall progression. I couldn't tell if you earned any XP, unlocked any rewards or anything, and it's this that has me questioning longevity once again. You like to feel like your time investment should be getting you some reward at the end. That being said, it's pitched as a free add on, so how much complaining can we really do?

You're buying RE Village for the spooky story, creepy castle and tall vampire lady, so getting Re:Verse is surely a bonus? Only time will tell whether Re:Verse is a worthy investment of Capcom's efforts, but for now, the jury is out.

PlayStation 5 firmware 20.02-02.50.00 is out, here are the update notes

Turn on your posh new console, there's a sexy new firmware update waiting to be downloaded. Yes indeed, Sony have released the snappily titled firmware 20.02-02.50.00 for the PlayStation 5 and it brings… well, not much really. Here are the notes.

  • The PS4 version of the game was sometimes installed from the PS4 game disc even after upgrading the disc version of a PS4 game to the PS5 version.
  • Improves system performance

Exciting stuff, I am sure you will agree. There are also unconfirmed reports that the update also stops the PS5 from spinning up any disc in the drive every hour, even if you're not playing the game, and also that the disk is much quieter.

In other news, this months PlayStation Plus games are now live and you can download them all using the links below.

Destruction AllStars is a 27.058GB install in the UK, though you can start playing the tutorials after 17.479GB. The TSA directors got together last night for a derby of destruction last night so expect our thoughts on Destruction AllStars very shortly.  In the meantime, here's some blurb from Sony about each game.

Destruction AllStars (PS5)

Entertain the crowds by bringing controlled chaos to the vehicular combat arena of this metal-crunching multiplayer game*. Pick one of 16 superstar competitors, then leap into four game modes, using timing, tactics and skills to cause carnage behind the wheel or create havoc with your parkour skills. Perfect your character's abilities – including a hero vehicle unique to them –  to give you the edge in free-for-all battles or team challenges and become Global Destruction Federation Champion. The game also supports PS5's Game Help feature, giving you hints and tips to become the ultimate destructive machine without the need to leave the game.

Control: Ultimate Edition (PS5 and PS4)

Master supernatural abilities and wield a shape-shifting sidearm in this third-person action-adventure from Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne, Alan Wake). Take on the role of Jesse Faden, Director of the Federal Bureau of Control, whose New York headquarters are breached by an ominous enemy. Despite outward appearances, the skyscraper's interior is vast and ever-shifting. You'll need to explore – and weaponize – this unpredictable environment to clean house and repel the invaders.

Concrete Genie (PS4)

Pick up a magic paintbrush and return the polluted town of Denska to its former bright and bustling seaside self in this touching and multi-award winning action-adventure. Cleanse streets and alleyways, then use your Living Paint to create mischievous Genies whose magical powers will aid you in overcoming puzzles and seeing off bullies who pursue you. The game also includes two additional modes built especially for PS VR to let you further unleash your creativity.

Apex Legends finally launches for Nintendo Switch in March

Apex Legends will be coming to Nintendo Switch on 9th March 2021, Respawn Entertainment have now announced.

Developed in collaboration with Panic Button, the game on Nintendo Switch will come with full cross-platform play, all of the latest seasonal content and full feature parity with other versions of the game. Of course, we'll have to wait and see what the game's performance is like and how good it looks, but this remains another impressive achievement.

The March release comes after they made a statement of intent to port the hit battle royale to Switch last summer, before being forced to delay the port's release to the start of this year. There was plenty of speculation that the Switch version would arrive alongside the start of Season 8 – Mayhem, which kicked off yesterday on 2nd February, but Respawn were completely silent on the matter.

In fact, it feels like that might have been the plan, with Respawn making special accommodation for Switch players joining the fight mid-season. Switch players will immediately be granted 30 free levels through the Season 8 Battle Pass – presumably a boost up to level 30, so people can't skip into the higher tiers after playing on other platforms – and playing on Switch will earn you double XP for the first two weeks after launch.

Apex Legends Season 8 – Mayhem kicked off last night, introducing the explosives enthusiast Fuse. Hailing from the planet Salvo and with a rather unique backstory involving plenty of freedom fighting, heisting, explosions, and a friendly rivalry turned sour involving a golden grenade which you can see in his story trailer here.

His arrival has come alongside another major shake up to Kings Canyon, the map's third overhaul since the game's 2019 launch, opening up a whole new area at the north of the map after an attack on Fuse's introduction ceremony, adding new facilities to the central river that runs through the map, and rebalancing some areas that led to 'sweaty' play.

Apex Legends is out now for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with the Switch port out on 9th March.

Source: EA

Fall Guys mid season update 3.5 patch notes have arrived

Fall Guys mid season update is live and it brings a new round, 40 variations added for existing rounds, and a bunch of bug fixes and costumes.

  • Fall Feed – Live on-screen updates of events that happen during the round
  • Brand new round added!
  • More than 40 variations added for existing rounds
  • New shows and costumes to go live over the coming weeks
  • Godzilla, Sonic and Goose Game costumes are available in the regular store!
Bug fixes:
  • Eliminated Fall Guys occasionally weren't shown on the Qualification screen
  • When a player was spectating, the Post Processing effects were turned off on the client resulting in a washed out/faded appearance
  • Addressed performance degradation in certain rounds, especially ones containing egg objects
  • Fixed crashes in the Customiser due to low memory on certain machines
  • Being eliminated from the first round and then spectating resulted in no background audio for some remaining rounds
  • Improved Fall Guys ragdolling excessively when walking on puncher objects
  • [Freezy Peak] The user does not get pushed back by the air current after colliding into the side of a moving fan
  • [Hex-A-Gone] During gameplay, the client seemed to temporarily 'freeze' everything before suddenly resuming

Mediatonic have recently said they are working to bring Fall Guys to "every major platform". CEO and co-founder Dave Bailey told GI.Biz "We want it to come to every major platform, and we're working hard to achieve that." He also hints that cross-platform play will be enabled, ""We want to come to all the different platforms, and hopefully connect those platforms so people can play together."

The success of the game has meant Mediatonic have been expanding quickly, bringing on new staff to work on the game to satiate the hungry players who demand regular content, "It's unbelievable how insatiable people's appetite for content is," comments Bailey.

Source: Steam

The next Battlefield game will be out this Christmas, reveal this Spring

EA are in the middle of one of those ever-so-exciting investor calls and have revealed that the next game the Battlefield series will be revealed this Spring with a release 'Holiday 2021', a.k.a. this Christmas.

The game will take advantage of next gen consoles so expect specific versions for Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5, and it will feature "full out military warfare". Development is said to be progressing well and the team are actually a little ahead and will be 'feature complete' earlier than any other Battlefield game.

The next Battlefield is one of 35 games EA have in production but is seems they don't have a basketball title in the works at the moment as previous entries have underperformed. They are thinking about 'the best way to approach the game'.

As you might expect, Covid-19 and lockdown has boosted sales for the company with live services growing almost 25% netting the company $1,542,000,000 in net bookings. By comparison, sales of full games only brought in a measly $858,000,000, but digital sales are now outperforming physical sales with 62% of all games being purchased digitally. Consoles still account for the majority of all revenue, pulling in nearly five and half times more revenue than PC games.

There are also plans to expand the Apex Legends brand, including a mobile game, while management are "confident" in Bioware now they have a new leadership team. Interestingly, the Anthem logo was shown so it seems there is some life left in that game.

EA also commented on the acquisition of Codemasters, saying it will allow them top release racing games annually and that it was a 'natural fit' for EA Sports. They also say the deal will help 'grow Codemasters titles', interesting wording as the specify the games rather than the Codemasters company itself. That sounds rather like EA will swallow up the Codies and titles like F1 will migrate to the EA Sports label.

Source: Twitter / Seeking Alpha

Control: Ultimate Edition Guide – 8 things to know before you play

With Control: Ultimate Edition launching today, The Oldest House has opened its doors once again. Developer Remedy Entertainment have been carrying out some refurbishments, this beefed up version of the game running at 60fps or at 30fps raytracing on new consoles and bundling in its two DLC expansions.

Behind its effortless style and perplexing lore, Control is relatively straightforward in terms of game systems and mechanics. A third person shooter that has you battling the nightmarish Hiss as you learn more about its mysterious setting and solve the occasional environmental puzzle.

We've put together eight useful tips and tricks that helped us get the most out of Control. Ultimate Edition is now available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S (quick note: you won't be able to import you save data from previous gen consoles).

1. First and foremost, don't be afraid to dive straight into the options menu and switch on Control's Assist Mode. Here you can fiddle with a number of settings to suit your own preferences, dialling down enemy damage, replenishing energy faster, or even making yourself invincible. Control has no difficulty settings, but by using Assist Mode you are free to create your own – don't worry, it won't stop you from unlocking trophies and achievements.

2. Control isn't what we'd class a cover-based shooter. You can't have Jesse snap to walls and columns as you can in games like Gears of War or Uncharted. However, learning to use cover can get you out of a tricky spot. Remember to use the overlooked crouch action, allowing you to duck and cut off an enemy's line of sight.

3. Read and listen through every collectible you find. Each sector is stuffed with letters, files, audiotapes, and other items to discover. This will have no impact on gameplay though understanding more about the characters, settings, and concepts fuelling Control's underlying mythos will definitely improve your overall experience with the game.

4. Make sure you locate and cleanse every Control point within each sector. These checkpoints offer two major benefits, acting as both a free health top-up as well as a convenient fast travel location.

5. Your weapon options may seem limited at first, but Jesse's service pistol will adapt over the course of the game, learning new forms. These will effectively change its behaviour to copy the characteristics of other guns. Aside from Grip (pistol), you'll also unlock Shatter (shotgun), Spin (machine gun), Pierce (sniper rifle), and Charge (rocket launcher) as well as Surge (grenade launcher) that was added via the AWE expansion. Make sure you experiment with all of them, swapping your loadout to match certain enemy types and combat scenarios.

6. The other way you can enhance your playstyle is by slotting Mods. These will drop at random during battles and can also be scavenged from glowing crates found throughout The Oldest House. They come in two different flavours: those that effect weapons, and those that effect Jesse's core abilities. Which mods you should equip will vary from player to player though we typically went for improved health, damage, and weapon recharge rate. Those wanting to show off Jesse's supernatural powers should invest in energy recharger and recovery as well as ability-specific Mods.

7. It should come as no surprise that The Oldest House is riddled with secrets. Make sure you scour each sector carefully for hidden areas, usually obscured by destructible walls and debris. Not only will you earn ability points for doing so, these nooks and crannies also conceal Mod chests and other collectables.

8. Unless you're dead set on blitzing through Control's story, you should occasionally take a breather and revisit the Central Executive area. This basically acts as Jesse's headquarters with several key NPCs to chat to, learning more about the game's lore and taking on additional assignments. The Central Executive control point is the only place where you can change your outfit, too.

Control scored a 9 out of 10 in our review at launch. Here's what Aran had to say: "Control is one of the best story-focused single player games in years. Its unique mix of surrealism, sci-fi and mystery draws you in, but doesn't give everything away, and the combat is fantastically varied and provides just enough challenge. A culmination of everything that went before, Control is Remedy's magnum opus.".

The Division 2 TU 12.1 with PS5 & Xbox Series X support now live – read the patch notes here

Update: TU 12.1 has now been deployed, but this came after extended maintenance downtime that only concluded at 16:30PM GMT!

The original post follows.

Today's a big day for the Venn diagram crossover of The Division 2 players and PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X owners, with Title Update 12.1 adding support for the new consoles and bringing 4K 60fps gaming to the table.

Though a mid-season update for the game, there's also the Resident Evil 25th Anniversary cross-over event and a major reduction in the cost of Optimization Station.

It might feel like a small update, but there's still plenty for the team to do behind the scenes, and that means the game will be offline for maintenance for 3 hours from 8:30AM GMT. Plenty of time to read through the patch notes below.

Title Update 12.1 weighs in at the following download sizes:

  • Xbox: ~5.2GB
  • PlayStation: ~4.3GB
  • PC: ~5.1GB

While technically still a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game, the update makes it "aware" of the new consoles, similar to Gears 5 and today's God of War update, enabling higher performance without requiring a completely new version of the game.

Alongside this comes the Resident Evil apparel event, which offers a bunch of Resi-themed skins and collectables for you to earn. To earn them, you'll need to take part in the STARS Support and STARS Assault projects, which have replaced the level 40 BOO daily projects. One project will be available each day and each one will reward two new patches or trophies each day until you've collected the full set. Simple!

Here's the patch notes for Title Update 12.1:

4K 60 FPS Support for Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5

Optimization Station Changes

  • Reduced all optimization costs by 75%.
  • Reduced all optimization material crafting recipes by 50%.
  • With this update agents should be able to afford to optimize their weapons and gear about once an hour.
  • Though it may take up to two hours to gather all the resources necessary to optimize the final tier of many items.

Reanimated Global Event Changes

The green cloud produced by killing enemies with a headshot no longer harms agents. This cloud now heals agents and provides a significant boost to their firepower while standing within it. The green cloud continues to significantly harm enemies.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed issue where gear sets would not correctly display which talents were required to be active for their chest and backpack talents to activate.
  • Fixed issue where Rigger would sometime refresh Tend and Befriend incorrectly.
  • Fixed issue where Memento Kill Confirmed drops could come from friendly skills.
  • Fixed an issue where Memento buffs could last beyond death. Which was both grim and ironic.
  • Fixed issue where directives in the LZ could multiply experience earned in the DZ.
  • Fixed and issue where Legendary Black Tusk would not count as "Black Tusk" for objectives in Leagues and Summit Challenges.
  • Removed objectives for the Skill Demotions Summit Challenge which referred to the Firestarter Chem Launcher and the Shrapnel Trap. The objectives were misbehaving and have been put in timeout.
  • Fixed issue where Vanguard and Perfect Vanguard granted their invulnerability to allies.
  • Fixed issue where Summit Combat Merit Commendation would display unusually in the Commendations menu.
  • Fixed issue where Merciless and Ruthless exotics would trigger a cosmetic explosion on the seventh stack in addition to really exploding on the first shot after.
  • Fixed issue where Decoy Skill would not refresh correctly if it was deployed when getting a headshot kill with the Mantis exotic.
  • Fixed issue where other players on the League leaderboards would show your own SHD level and point distribution.
  • Fixed misaligned elbow pads when using specific apparel items.
  • Fixed issue where The Summit matchmaking tab is not grayed out for groups containing level 30 agents.
  • Fixed issue where the audio queue doesn't trigger when killing the last enemy on floor 100 in The Summit.
  • Fixed the Symptom Aggravator" talent description.

Source: Ubisoft

Destiny 2: Beyond Light – Season of the Chosen revealed, going live next week

Bungie have revealed Destiny 2: Beyond Light – Season of the Chosen, the next season of content coming to the long-running MMO shooter.

Season of the Chosen will launch next week on Tuesday 9th February and run until 11th May, 2021.

Season of the Chosen picks up after the events of Season of the Hunt which knocked the established order of the solar system with the Pyramids and some Hive-y shenanigans. Empress Caiatl, the daughter of Calus and new leader of the Cabal, has arrived and seeking an alliance. However, when negotiations break down, you must now strike out from the H.E.L.M., acquire the Hammer of Proving and battle her war council to stave off the threat she poses.

Season 13 adds the new Battlegrounds mode, a three-player matchmade activity where you fight against Caiatl's chosen warriors. It also brings a few Strikes into the game, with The Devil's Lair and Fallen SABER returning from Destiny 1 in the Old Russia location. Later in the season an all-new Stirke, Proving Grounds, will see you fight the Cabal to save the Last City once again.

New gear is arriving, with Season Pass owners immediately unlocking the seasonal Praefectus Armor Set and Exotic bow, Ticuu's Divination, which fires Solar arrows that track multiple targets. More than 25 Exotic, Legendary and ritual weapons will be available to collect.

The new Seasonal Artifact is the Bell of Conquests, which as per usual will increase your Power every time it's upgraded, letting you grab some Seasonal mods to tweak your build.

As above, Season of the Chosen will kick off on Tuesday 9th February and run until 11th May, 2021. Destiny 2: Beyond Light is available across PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.

Source: Bungie

Mass Effect Legendary Edition graphics comparison, gameplay changes & more detailed

After months, if not years of rumours of its existence, BioWare have finally given us a much closer look at the most anticipated remaster of 2021. During a Mass Effect Legendary Edition media event, the developer showed off their spruced up RPG trilogy, touting a number of technical and gameplay improvements ME can expect.

To avoid any confusion, this is a remaster in the traditional sense and not a full-blown remake. Although BioWare have made some extensive changes here to modernise all three games, don't expect Mass Effect Legendary Edition to introduce new or revised content. If you were looking for more dialogue, romance options, or perhaps a different ending, you won't find it here. You won't find any online multiplayer either.

So, what exactly do you get in this definitive Mass Effect bundle? Every purchase includes Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3, along with a raft of DLC expansion. That's more than 40 pieces of DLC in total with all major side stories unlocked as well as some neat bonus armour sets. All oft this has been remastered in 4K with an option for HDR. On PS5 and Xbox Series X it will also offer a silkier frame rate at 60fps via a backwards compatibility upgrade.

Specifically, BioWare have dialled up the detail on all character models and textures while improving shaders, effects, and lighting. Characters appear more organic thanks to improvements in hair and skin. Armour, weapons, and ships are the best they've ever looked with environments having more ambience, something which is especially noticeable when looking back at the first Mass Effect. Without being capped by dated hardware, BioWare are able to include "tens of thousands" of higher resolution textures said to pack in 10-16 times more detail.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition comparison screenshots

To demonstrate the difference, BioWare showed us side by side comparisons as well as video reel depicting some familiar squad mates. We spied close ups of Tali, Garrus, Thane, Legion, Liara, Jacob, and Jack, all suited and booted for Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

As we mentioned before, this isn't a top-to-bottom remake. Project Director, Mac Walters, compared BioWare's work on Legendary Edition to restoring a classic car buried in concrete – there are some aspects that couldn't be changed without completely taking the games apart and rebuilding them. That's why some of character animations can still look a little jarring.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition doesn't just offer a visual upgrade, there have been some gameplay improvements as well. Some highlights include tightening the cover responsiveness across all three games, a dedicated melee button, better enemy combat AI, and boss battle refinements. You can also expect a modernised HUD and a dedicated melee attack button with class-based weapon restrictions now removed, allowing you to tweak squad loadouts to your preference.

BioWare specifically mentioned the Mako sections which have been addressed. In general, all three games will now be on par in terms of traversal and combat gameplay.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition provides the three games through one launcher, allowing you to select which game to play from a main menu. You will also be able to import your custom character from one game to the next, using the much improved character creation tool. This has been tweaked with loads of additional hair and skin options, allowing everyone to create a Shepard that better reflects them.

The Mass Effect Legendary Edition will be released on May 14th 2021.

Why don't Google and Amazon understand gaming?

With more money than they really know what to do with, the sprawling hegemony of tech giants like Amazon and Google have all turned their gaze toward video games in recent times, and yet it feels like every venture ends up a mismanaged flop that defies their grand ambitions. So what is it that they keep on getting so very, very wrong?

The last week has been particularly rough for both Amazon and Google. A report into Amazon Game Studios revealed a company pushed to create AAA hits, but without the leadership or understanding of how to get there, leading to the infamous backtrack of Crucible's release and a slew of projects cancelled before they saw the light of day.

Then there was Google's announcement of the closure of Stadia Games and Entertainment, their own internal studios with 150 employees across Montreal and Santa Monica, and an end to Typhoon Studios, their single external acquisition. With former PlayStation and Xbox executive Phil Harrison at the head of the venture, and the high-profile poaching of Jade Raymond from EA to build SG&E from the ground up, they should have been able to create the culture needed to turn Stadia into a contender. Instead, with Harrison's involvement in particular feeling more like a portent than a good omen, Google have pulled the plug and Stadia is now bereft of first-party exclusives.

Apple deserves to be in this conversation as well, as a company that doesn't /get/ video games. For decades, they've had a love-hate relationship with games, whether it was the small community of developers and porting houses that focussed on the Mac (which included the pre-Halo Bungie), or the almost reluctant acceptance that the iPhone was a gaming platform. Gaming is, ultimately, just something else you can happen to do on their devices, but their attempts to court the market on Apple TV or more recently through Apple Arcade have been mixed.

Ultimately it's Apple's TV+ subscription, alongside Apple Arcade, that shows that they are figuring it out. For TV+, Apple founded an internal division to develop their own new and original programming, but they've also worked within the wider industry, mimicking Netflix, Amazon Prime and all the others in buying up the rights to TV shows and films, green-lighting outside production companies to create the shows for them. Sure, they're currently more of an also-ran in the TV streaming biz, but they're not afraid to spend money while leaning on the existing wealth of knowledge and talent that's already out there.

But, perhaps the best examples for Amazon and Google to follow are those of other tech giants who decided on a whim to start doing video games: Microsoft and Sony.

Sony stepped into video gaming out of sheer revenge for Nintendo backing out of their deal, aggressively undercutting the competition at Sega, getting into full-on 3D gaming before Nintendo, and crucially adopting new technologies with the CD drive to give themselves a significant advantage.

Meanwhile, Microsoft took inspiration from the PlayStation 2, turning PC-based gaming frameworks and applying them to the goal of making the most powerful console of all time – not much has changed there! The Xbox didn't come to dominate the industry, launching years after the rampantly successful PS2, but it's become a significant part of the company and they continue to strive to grow.

What was key for both was that they understood the need for exclusive games, and not just the promise of great intangible things in the future. Sony didn't start off with a sprawling global network of developers, and so turned to third parties, with Ridge Racer and Rayman notable launch games, while acquiring Psygnosis led to the iconic Wipeout for the Western console launch. Microsoft did the same for the Xbox launch, rounding out a portfolio of launch titles that had them publishing Project Gotham Racing and Dead or Alive 3 alongside the defining Halo: Combat Evolved which truly cemented the legacies of both the original Xbox and Bungie.

At various times, they've had to stay the course. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have got things very, very wrong at various times: the PS3 was too expensive at launch, the N64 stuck with cartridges in a world of CD-ROMs, the Xbox One was something bizarre about TV? Through those fumbles, they've adjusted, reset, and gone again, and also continued to invest. That's naturally meant founding powerhouse studios to create and support game development, but Microsoft in particular have acquired a succession of studios in recent years, though Sony haven't been afraid to snap up established independent studios like Naughty Dog, Guerrilla Games or most recently Insomniac Games.

While Amazon's forays into video games have not gone to plan thus far, their lack of a target platform means that they could have the time to find their identity. By contrast, SG&E had the burden of going up against Sony and Microsoft's first-party studios and the expectation of being able to create something to truly leverage all the advantages that streaming games could offer.

Google's statement explaining the closure of SG&E makes it sound like their CFO got cold feet about the project, realising half a decade too late that success in video games is far from a sure thing. Maybe they're avoiding the sunk cost fallacy, maybe the engagement with Stadia and its rigid business model simply hasn't been there, but either way, history shows the level of commitment that is necessary. Google hired the right kinds of people to lead and get their internal studios off the ground, and given time, they could have created something special that truly justifies Stadia as a platform. That takes time though, and previous entries into console gaming in order to buy themselves that time, they also needed to go out and bring third parties to their platform with more than just parity.

In some ways, Microsoft have beaten the path that Google needed to take over the last few years, with its string of studio acquisitions and the announcement of the ZeniMax (and thus Bethesda) buy out. With the inclusion of cloud streaming, they might just beat Stadia at its own game too.

Given that they're both capable of drawing from a decent proportion of the world's money, we shouldn't write off either Amazon or Google from the equation. Stadia could still be a viable platform if it moved into a Netflix style subscription and continues to roll out directly onto smart TVs, while Amazon still have their own streaming platform Luna to launch around the world, as well as a few projects still in the works. It's more likely though that we'll see them behave much like Apple have, poking at gaming with a stick and a hint of disdain rather than embracing it fully.

As Microsoft and Sony have proved, you have to go all-in on this business to succeed, and when things don't go your way, you need to learn from your mistakes. Quitting isn't likely to find you success.

BlizzCon Online details released by Blizzard, now called BlizzConline

Back in December, Blizzard Entertainment confirmed the dates for BlizzCon as being February 19th and 20th as well as reiterating this would be an online event. That is down to COVID-19 and the various restrictions in place to halt the spread. Now, Blizzard has confirmed that BlizzCon Online will hence be known as BlizzConline, and the company has also detailed what to expect from each day. Expect announcements of what the company has been working on, and multiple channels that will deep dive into different products. This includes announcements for Overwatch 2.

The details of what to expect over the two days are below:

Day 1 will kick off at 2 p.m. PST on Friday, February 19, with an opening segment that includes a first look at some of the latest game content the development teams have been working on. Then for the next three-plus hours, you'll have the option to tune in to one of the six different themed channels, so you can decide whether you want to sample a little bit of everything or dig deeper into the games you're interested in most.

Day 2 will pick back up at 12 p.m. PST on Saturday, February 20, with multiple channels once again, until the fun wraps up at later that afternoon. Throughout this second day, we'll be shining a spotlight on the global Blizzard community, including the winners and outstanding entries in the Community Showcase contests and exhibitions.

You will be able to watch it all for free through Blizzard's website as well as Twitch and YouTube. Blizzard will also save the videos so you can watch stuff you may have missed live. In addition, Blizzard is celebrating its 30th year this move so will be selling commerative items through its games and the online Blizzard store.

Source: Blizzard

Turrican Flashback Review

Last year's physical collection of the classic 16-bit shooter Turrican series might be mightily appealing for fans, bundling 10 Turrican games with art books and CDs, but at nearly £80 for the whole lot it was pretty expensive. So it's nice that ININ Games have decided to release a digital version at a lower price, albeit severely cut down in scope.

The Turrican Flashback collection contains four games, the Amiga versions of Turrican and it's sequel, plus two pseudo sequel / prequels, Mega Turrican for the Sega Mega Drive and Super Turrican for the SNES. They are all direct ports of the original games without any new graphics options or improved sound. They're all exactly the same as they were thirty years ago and depending on your age that's either going to be a good or a bad thing.

All four games follow the same basic design: you play as a robotic character running and jumping around a scrolling landscape, shooting enemies, grabbing power ups, defeating bosses and uncovering secret areas. Influenced by the likes of Contra, Mega Man and Metroid, Turrican became an instant hit on home computers, grabbing high scores for it's energetic gameplay and thumping soundtrack, and unlike many other games of that age, they still hold up pretty well in 2021.

As you might expect, Turrican looks the most basic of the collection, with solid sheets of colour in the background and fairly simple enemy design. Each level is remarkably large, packed with secrets areas that can only be accessed by perfectly timed jumps or by transforming in to a indestructible death wheel. There are leaps of faith, Mario-style hidden power blocks, and a good selection of weapons including the famous beam, a large laser sword that you can rotate round your hero (although this is quite fiddly to control on a DualSense). It is, like its successor and indeed most games of that age, incredibly hard, forcing the player to learn the maps and know exactly when and where the enemies spawn.

Turrican 2 takes all the elements from the original and improves on it, from the graphics to the weapons – the game really pushed the Amiga to it's limits and still looks and plays really well today. It also includes shoot 'em up style levels in which you pilot a spaceship to break up the running and jumping.

Moving on to the console versions and although the look even better than Turrican 2, adding parallax scrolling, transparency, and even weather effects, the gameplay is less about exploration and rather more linear. Both Super Turrican and Mega Turrican are more running and gunning than exploration, although Mega Turrican replaces the beam weapon with a grappling hook to help you get around the levels.

All four games are replicated perfectly, to the point where you can even use the original cheat codes, but to help those who have not experienced the bastard hard gameplay found in all games of the era, you can use a rewind function function. This cunningly rewinds the game a few seconds which means you can stop the game just after death, skip back a few frames and restart, dodging whatever bullet finished you off. You can also save your game at any point, a feature I would have killed for thirty years ago, but using any of these features disables trophies. If you want to collect them you are going to have play the game exactly as you would have thirty years ago.

To transport you back to the 90's there are a bunch of filters and screen options to alter edge curvature, add scan lines, or tweak RGB vales, or you can expand the display to modern day widescreen. You can also change the sound mix. The Amiga only had four channels of sound, so you have the drums and bass coming out of the left speaker and the melody and sound effects coming out of the right, but this new feature allows you to merge these so you can appreciate Chris Huelsbeck's amazing soundtrack.

Unfortunately that's your lot when it comes to extras. the Directors Cut and score attack modes found in the expensive collectors edition are not included.

Yakuza series spinoff Judgment is heading to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S

Judgment, the brawling detective sim from Yakuza series developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, will be punching its way onto new console later this year Sega have confirmed.

One of 2019's sleeper hits, Judgment originally launched on PlayStation 4 but will now be coming to PS5, Xbox Series X|S and Google Stadia on April 23rd.

As you might have guessed, Judgment will be receiving an upgrade on Sony and Microsoft's newer hardware. It has been revealed that the game will feature "refined visuals" while also running at 60 fps.

Although it doesn't bear the Yakuza name, Judgment is set within the same universe. Instead of playing as a virtuous street thug you take on the role of dishevelled detective Takayuki Yagami as he hunts for a killer through the familiar streets of Kamurocho.

Judgment borrows the same over-the-top combat from Yakuza, spliced with some movesets specific to Yagami's own fighting style. There's also that same emphasis on character dialogue and atmosphere, Judgment nudging players to explore and soak in Kamurocho, partaking in the many available side hustles. As a detective game, you'll also be scouring crime scenes, collecting clues, and making deductions.

It's also worth noting that this enhanced version of Judgment will come tagged with all previously release bonus DLC.

Aran was left thoroughly impressed with Judgment when he reviewed the game at launch:

Judgment is another great Japanese crime drama that will grab your attention as the stakes get bigger and bigger, but it's not quite on par with the Yakuza series. Some of the private detective busywork could make way for more of RGG Studio's trademark goofiness to cut through the seriousness of the main story, but anyone who has any interest in Far East crime dramas or the Yakuza series should pick Judgment up. Judgment has been judged and has been found worth playing.

Source: Press Release

Destruction AllStars, Control & Concrete Genie – Your February PS+ games are now live

Update: All three PlayStation Plus games for February are now live to download. You can find the direct links below in our updated story.

"Control, I like to have a lot," sang Janet Jackson in 1985, conveniently predicting reviews of Remedy Entertainment's smash hit game 24 years before it was released. Sadly she didn't about a Concrete Genie, but there is the song Concrete Angel by Gareth Emery featuring Christina Novelli and it's a right banger. I can't find any songs about Destruction AllStars so my intro falls apart at this point, sorry.

That's what you're getting in this month's PlayStation Plus update, though, and the PS5 exclusive Destruction AllStars in particular went live at midnight in your respective regions – it is now available in all regions. Alongside this spiritual successor to Destruction Derby, you also have Control: Ultimate Edition which now enhances Remedy's excellent game for PS5. and the lovely Concrete Genie.

Here's links for all three:

Destruction AllStars is a 27.058GB install in the UK, though you can start playing the tutorials after 17.479GB.

Here's some blurb from Sony about each game which will be part of this month's PS+ games:

Destruction AllStars (PS5)

Entertain the crowds by bringing controlled chaos to the vehicular combat arena of this metal-crunching multiplayer game*. Pick one of 16 superstar competitors, then leap into four game modes, using timing, tactics and skills to cause carnage behind the wheel or create havoc with your parkour skills. Perfect your character's abilities – including a hero vehicle unique to them –  to give you the edge in free-for-all battles or team challenges and become Global Destruction Federation Champion. The game also supports PS5's Game Help feature, giving you hints and tips to become the ultimate destructive machine without the need to leave the game.

Control: Ultimate Edition (PS5 and PS4)

Master supernatural abilities and wield a shape-shifting sidearm in this third-person action-adventure from Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne, Alan Wake). Take on the role of Jesse Faden, Director of the Federal Bureau of Control, whose New York headquarters are breached by an ominous enemy. Despite outward appearances, the skyscraper's interior is vast and ever-shifting. You'll need to explore – and weaponize – this unpredictable environment to clean house and repel the invaders.

Concrete Genie (PS4)

Pick up a magic paintbrush and return the polluted town of Denska to its former bright and bustling seaside self in this touching and multi-award winning action-adventure. Cleanse streets and alleyways, then use your Living Paint to create mischievous Genies whose magical powers will aid you in overcoming puzzles and seeing off bullies who pursue you. The game also includes two additional modes built especially for PS VR to let you further unleash your creativity.

Source: PS Blog

Resident Evil Village's sexy vampire lady is almost 3m tall (in heels)

Capcom have decided to give their fans exactly what they want, and revealed the heigh of Lady Dimitrescu, one of the sexy vampire ladies in the upcoming Resident Evil Village.

Lady Dimitrescu is, it turns out, not just tall, but giant. If you include her hat and high heels, she's 2.9m (approximately 9'6″) tall.

Resident Evil Village's art director Tomonori Takano was more than happy to oblige the rather…. passionate requests for information, saying:

Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters have received a fair amount of attention, far more than we anticipated. It's great that they're able to take the spotlight as icons of Resident Evil Village. Lady Dimitrescu, especially, has received much fanfare both domestically and oversea, which has made all of us in the development team extremely happy. I hear her height is something of interest…

You can freely insert air quotes through that around words like "attention", "fanfare" and "something of interest", because the latest reveal trailer for Resident Evil Village, which featured these characters quite heavily, got an awful lot of lusty reactions online.

Many generations can point to certain defining moments in pop culture as having triggered a sexual awakening, whether it's Elvis Presley's dancing in the 60s or David Bowie's rather tight costume in Labyrinth. I don't think anyone expected it to be very tall vampire ladies in Resident Evil Village revealing giantess fetishists for the 2020s, but here we are.

As a game, Resident Evil Village follows on from Resident Evil 7, picking up Ethan's tortured story as he finds himself in another very bizarre situation. The game returns to a first person view point, with some gunplay alongside the need to block incoming attacks as you tentatively explore the spooky castle.

Resident Evil Village is coming out on 7th May 2021, across PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. Alongside the release date announcement, Capcom also revealed that it would, in fact, be arriving on the last-gen consoles, with free upgrades to PS5 and Xbox Series.

A PlayStation exclusive demo is also available, which was so popular that it managed to crash the PlayStation Store for a while after its release. A further demo is expected in the spring and will be available for all platforms, while Village's bundled in multiplayer game, Re:Verse, is currently in beta testing.

Source: Twitter

Rocket League update v1.92 is out on all formats, read the notes here

Rocket League has been patched and I have just enough time to write them up while the last few gigs of another multiplayer car battler, Destruction Allstars, downloads. The latest patch for the game is version 1.92 and should be out for all formats and it brings NFL content, changes to Rocket Pass,  and of course some bug fixes. Here are the notes!


  • New Fennec Decals have been added to the Esports Shop
  • An 'Effect Intensity' drop-down has been added to Video Settings
  • The NFL Super Bowl LV Celebration starts February 2



  • The NFL Super Bowl LV Celebration starts February 2 at 8 a.m. PST / 4 p.m. UTC. The event includes:
    • The new Gridiron LTM will be available as a Casual Playlist
    • New Challenges will be available this week. Completing Challenges will unlock new NFL-themed items and XP bonuses
    • The NFL Fan Pack will return to the Item Shop February 2 through February 8

Esports Shop

  • A new Fennec Decal is now available to purchase for all 18 teams in the Esports Shop


Effect Intensity

  • Based on community feedback, an 'Effect Intensity' drop-down has been added to Settings > Video
  • Default: All Arena effects operate normally
  • Low:
    • Flashing lights and pulsing effects are disabled
    • Moving effects, lights, and background visuals are reduced or disabled
    • Background light brightness/intensity reduced (where appropriate)
    • Music visualization is disabled
  • Effect Intensity settings only apply to the 'Neon Fields' Arena

Rocket Pass

  • Pro Tiers: Starting with v1.91, Pro Tiers purchase eligibility will depend on a player's Rocket Pass Tier at the time of purchase
    • Players at Tiers 1-40 can purchase any Tier bundle
    • Players at Tiers 41-58 can purchase up to 12 Tiers
    • Players at Tiers 59-64 can purchase up to 6 Tiers
    • Players at Tiers 65-69 can purchase one Tier at a time
    • Players at Tiers 70 or above can still unlock Pro Tiers via progression
  • Rocket Pass Premium: Players on the free Rocket Pass track at Tier 59 or higher will be able to purchase Rocket Pass Premium, but will not be able to purchase the Premium + 12 Tiers bundle
  • In both cases, ineligible players who try to purchase a Premium or Tier Bundle will see an error message.


  • Fixed a display error with the Free Challenges not being counted properly
  • Tournament Rewards earned on different platforms can now be traded in together
  • [Nintendo Switch] Item Shop menu correctly displays the Featured Tab when first selected
  • [PlayStation, Xbox] Fixed several crash/freeze scenarios involving linked accounts and/or splitscreen Exhibition Matches
  • Fixed an exploit allowing players to trade single Credits
  • [PC] Event banners on the Main Menu will now open the Challenges Menu as intended
  • Fixed appearance of DigiGlobe and HoloData Goal Explosions in Hoops
  • The MVP's Player Anthem will play even if the other team leaves or forfeits
  • [Nintendo Switch] Fixed a bug with track resets in music playlists
  • Bringing up a music playlist with a keyboard no longer skips the current song
  • Fixed a bug with Player 2 Quick Chat in splitscreen


God of War's PlayStation 5 performance patch detailed, out tomorrow

Sony Santa Monica have announced that the PlayStation 5 patch for 2018's God of War will be released tomorrow and it brings some graphical enhancements. The game is part of the PlayStation Plus collection so every PS5 owner has a copy of the game.

"On the PlayStation 4 Pro version of God of War (2018), you have a choice between two graphics modes: one that favors performance and one that favors resolution," say Sony Santa Monica. The 'Enhanced Performance Experience' will at 2160p and 60FPs with 4K Checkerboard Resolution. The other option is the original PlayStation 4 Pro mode which gives you 4K Checkerboard Resolution at 30 FPS.

You will also be transfer your saves from the PlayStation 4 version in to the PS5 game. Carrying your progression from current to next-gen has been fumbled by Sony, with cross-gen titles such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla seeing Ubisoft and others have to create a bespoke cloud storage with which they can let you transfer your progress across. Meanwhile, the developers of other games such as Dirt 5 and Yakuza Like a Dragon do not have such an infrastructure behind them on PlayStation, leaning on standard Smart Delivery on Xbox to allow you to take all your progression with you from one version of the game to the next. Unless you want to start over, it's a bit of a minefield for cross-gen games.

God of War is not a cross-gen game though, and the standard backward compatibility rules apply. You can copy all your PlayStation 4 save files over to PlayStation 5 via USB storage, the system data transfer tool or the PS+ cloud storage.

Dark Horse Comics recently announced God of War: Fallen God. The first issue in their mini-series will be published on March 10th and is being penned by Chris Roberson who also wrote the previous Dark Horse God of War comics.

What makes Fallen God particularly intriguing is that it will bridge the gap between 2018's God of War soft reboot and the original trilogy. Although the newest game in the series hints at how Kratos made his way to the Norse realms after laying waste to ancient Greece, there's a missing chapter there that is never explored in detail. Fallen God will seemingly serve as a link between God of War III and God of War, as outlined in its blurb:

Can a man ever be free of his past? Can the tides of time ever wash away the bloody sands of sin? Or do transpired trespasses permanently and inescapably stain one's soul?

After conquering Zeus and thwarting Athena, Kratos believes himself to be finally free from his bondage. He sets sail for the desert in an attempt to distance himself from his home and his shame only to find his rage and guilt follow close behind. Kratos rages against the one foe that has proven to be unconquerable–himself. But a war against oneself is unwinnable, and only invites madness.

God of War: Ragnarök – what can Norse mythology tell us about the PS5 sequel?

Source: Sony

Google Stadia is shutting down their internal game studios

Google are shutting down their two internal game studios and changing the direction of their Google Stadia game streaming service, in a surprising (but predictable) come down from their intention to challenge PlayStation and Xbox for the future of gaming.

Google's two game studios in Montreal and Los Angeles are to close, with around 150 developers affected – Google will try and find them other roles within Google – while game producer Jade Raymond is also leaving the company.

While Google will still run Stadia as a public-facing game streaming service, as well as offer its $10 a month Stadia Pro subscription, they will now start to offer its Stadia tech to publishers, for them to roll their own game streaming solution – this is similar to what we've seen with games like Hitman 3 having a streaming option on Switch. However, with Stadia no longer set to receive exclusive titles, Stadia's future is now rather different.

Already a notably capricious company when it comes to business outside of their main search and advertising money-spinners, Google's change of heart seems to have been down to the cost of doing business. Writing on their blog, Phil Harrison said:

Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially. Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we've decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games.

Strange considering how rich Google is as a wider company.

Stadia's business model is an outlier compared to the handful of other game streaming services out there. All of their competitors (PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass Streaming, and Amazon Luna) have a subscription model that included a broad library of games, instead of charging retail prices for access and upselling 4K gaming.

What's absolutely clear is that Google have lost patience far before they could have reasonably seen a return on their investment. Modern AAA games often take 3-4 years to create, and that's before you take into account that a game studio is being founded from scratch. While Google had started to make their moves in 2018, hiring Jade Raymond to be a VP of Stadia Games and Entertainment, there simply wasn't enough time to create something out of that.

What is fair to say is that Stadia still has some of the widest reach technologically compared to its rivals, with a very well-establish server network that can tap into TVs, Android phones and computers. Their 4K streaming is also impressive, and while games haven't always run at 4K or 60fps, there have been a number of big wins, from Assassin's Creed Odyssey at launch providing a compelling look at how the service could evolve, to innovative server-based gameplay quirks for GRID, Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Hitman 3, and even just being able to run Cyberpunk 2077 competently. It's those partnerships that Google can hope to keep creating.

Stadia as a service looks set to stick around a while longer, and the technology can surely continue to grow and evolve, but it's effectively dead in the water as a true challenger to Sony and Microsoft.

Source: Kotaku, Google