Classic cel-shaded shooter XIII is free to kick off GOG's spring sale

It's getting to be that time in the northern hemisphere. The sun angle is higher, the days are getting longer, baseballs are starting to sprout in the many outfields of America, it's spring! To celebrate surviving the (hopefully only) full Covid winter, GOG is kicking off a spring sale on many of its DRM-free games.

As is usual with these sales, the kick-off comes with a free giveaway, and this time around it's the classic comic-book-based shooter, XIII. From now until Thursday at 9 AM EDT, you can claim the game to keep forever, DRM-free, and forget about that remake that was released last year.

For those with a few coins to spare, there is a flash sale going on to start the sale that will last the length of the giveaway. Included in the flash sale is Moonlighter coming in at a dirt-cheap five dollars.

Some other highlights from the sale:

Okay maybe that last one isn't the best sale price but I need to hold out hope for Viccy3.

The spring sale will run through April 5 with no indication of further flash sales being implemented.

Classic cel-shaded shooter XIII is free to kick off GOG's spring sale screenshot

CrossCode gets one last content update

One more update is coming to indie RPG CrossCode today, as a final send-off for the game. Developer Radical Fish Games announced today that one more small update, included as part of the A New Home DLC, will be the final piece of content coming to the game.

Version 1.4.1 will have three new quests, a couple of arena cups, and new Trade Offers in Rhombus Square. It will also be the final content addition, and the team plans further releases only to fix any remaining bugs or issues. But while this marks the end of over nine years of development on CrossCode, there's still more on the horizon for Radical Fish.

The team confirmed that it is currently prototyping its next game, currently called Project Terra. While it will be an action-RPG with a "gameplay mix similar to CrossCode," it will be in a new setting and story.

Though a cutscene in A New Home stoked hopes, the studio says there are no plans for a sequel. "We definitely had a great time working on this title and [seeing] the world and its characters grow," the blog reads. "But after nine whole years, we are ready to work on something new."

Radical Fish says it will be talking more about Project Terra within the next few months, and if you're eager to get some early glimpses, the announcement blog has some embedded tweets with early looks that have gone up. The studio also confirmed that it will be receiving financial support from the state of Germany for the development of Project Terra.

So while it's sad to see a chapter come to an end, after almost a decade in development, it'll be exciting to see what Project Terra holds for Radical Fish. CrossCode, meanwhile, is out on PC and consoles, if you're eager to see what the fuss has been about. 

CrossCode gets one last content update screenshot

Amnesia: Rebirth has an alternate Adventure Mode with 'a few bonus puzzles'

In a free update out today on PC and coming in a few weeks to PlayStation 4, Amnesia: Rebirth has an alternate game mode for anyone who wants a lighter, less deadly horror-adventure experience.

Similar to SOMA's Safe Mode, Amnesia: Rebirth's Adventure Mode will let you soak in the "narrative, atmosphere, story, and theme, without having to worry about monsters attacking." Going a step further, Frictional has also "brightened up" the darkest environments for navigation and mood reasons.

Here's a lighting comparison for the two modes straight from Frictional Games:

Here's a side-by-side comparison for Amenisa: Rebirth's original mode and adventure mode.

Here's a side-by-side comparison for Amenisa: Rebirth's original mode and adventure mode.

That's not to say so you can't get in your own head and freak yourself out anyway – the vibe is still described as "unnerving," and the monsters still exist – but it'll be more tolerable. On that note, Adventure Mode strips out the fear mechanic, so you can even take your time in poorly-lit areas. That said, don't get too bold – monsters won't let you "attack or annoy them" without repercussions.

Amnesia: Rebirth as it originally existed will continue to be playable in a so-called Original Mode.

I'm a big proponent of horror games that go out of their way to lighten the mood if you so choose, whether that's through multiple difficulty options out of the gate, side modes, or ridiculously OP unlockables. Having a full-on alternate mode that embraces a wider audience is a beautiful thing. (I know it's even more work to implement, but while I'm rattling off requests, more randomizers, please!)

Last we heard from Frictional, Rebirth had cleared 100,000 sales and it was nearing profitability "in the not too distant future." The studio really believes in long-tail success bolstered by word of mouth.

I need to get into Rebirth, and while I'll likely go for the original vision, Adventure Mode is intriguing.

Amnesia: Rebirth has an alternate Adventure Mode with 'a few bonus puzzles' screenshot

Xbox's Games with Gold lineup for April is more filler

I'm beginning to look at the monthly Games with Gold lineups less out of real interest and more out of fleeting morbid curiosity. There's no denying that Xbox has been killing it with the Game Pass library lately... and by "killing it," I mean Games with Gold – it's really been suffering. It's a lot of filler titles.

For April 2021, Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass ultimate are getting four freebies:

Just follow these links to queue up the games as needed.

As a refresher, Vikings is a middle-of-the-road action-RPG that can be straightforward fun with the right mindset. You know the one. Dark Void, a jet-boosting sci-fi shooter, is a reminder of Capcom's wild Western-centric approach to greenlighting games in the Xbox 360 era. Truck Racing Championship is a sim racer, and I remember enjoying Arc System Works' run and gun Hard Corps: Uprising at the time.

I'm not saying every Games with Gold and PlayStation Plus drop needs to turn heads, but I do think there's a baseline quality and timeliness threshold where people won't even bother showing up for free stuff. It's one thing to claim a game and maybe not play it; it's another to willingly skip out.

Go ahead and give Hard Corps a shot even if you've struggled with Contra, though. It's pretty slick!

Xbox's Games with Gold lineup for April is more filler screenshot

The scrappy Dagr is Fire Emblem Heroes' latest Mythic Hero

Everyone loves a good brawl from time to time, and in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes, perhaps no nobility is up for the ruck as much as Princess Dagr, who joins the mobile battler this week as its newest Mythic Hero.

Debuting in Fire Emblem Heroes itself, Dagr is the twin sister of Nott and the youngest princess of the kingdom of Jotunheimr. Bedecked in ornate armor and wielding a mighty, full-length battle-axe, Dagr hopes to use her fighting spirit and prowess in battle to prove to her mother that she should be next in line for Jotunheimr's throne, stepping ahead of her older and more demure and thoughtful sibling.

The scrappy Dagr is Fire Emblem Heroes' latest Mythic Hero screenshot


Loop Hero's best trait is its lore

Walking down the street to check the mail at my hometown's post office is an eerily different journey today than it was a year ago. I still pass the local pizza joint on the town square—a literal cornerstone of a small town community—but time has changed more than just ourselves. Despite the marks near the building's roof acting as a reminder of its survival from the fire years before, the restaurant is still there, but not really. It's hollowed out. Empty. It's closed, for good, thrown to the void of to-be-forgotten establishments from before the pandemic.

As I walk by, memories of being a kid in that restaurant come flooding back: playing Dig Dug and Streets of Rage and some random bowling game with a physical ball to spin that controlled the virtual ball on-screen. Head down, wandering forward and lost in thought, I watched the sidewalk pass me by—square by square—and found myself thinking about Loop Hero.

On its face, Loop Hero is a curious amalgamation. Tower defense mechanics fuse naturally into a roguelite framework with a deck-building aspect, and if that sounds like a lot of bullshit, it's because it is. At some point, diluting a game down to the cogs that construct it removes its identity as much as it informs it. Loop Hero is so much more than the sum of its parts, and its story ties together a patchwork only possible in the video game medium.

Plunging the depths of Loop Hero's lore wasn't only worth my time—it gave me my sense of time back.

Loop Hero's best trait is its lore screenshot


Dead Cells has a new difficulty curve and three more mutations to play around with

New weapons? More mutations? Hard-hitting balance tweaks? Where do your eyes dart when scanning the patch notes for a major Dead Cells update? It probably depends on your goals for the game and where you're at with them. For folks stuck in Boss Cell hell, the revamped difficulty curve is a big deal.

In today's Whack-a-Mole update on PC, the difficulty in Dead Cells was rebalanced again:

  • BC0: Health fountains in every transition.
  • BC1: Health fountain every other transition, with one minor flask when the fountain is missing.
  • BC2: No more health fountain, one minor flask in every transition.
  • BC3: One minor flask after the first boss and before the second.
  • BC4: No more health in any transition, enemies teleport to your position.
  • BC5: No more health, enemies teleport, malaise added.

For those who haven't kept up lately, these changes are meant to make things "easier."

Elsewhere in the Whack-a-Mole update, we're getting three amusingly beefy weapons: a doom-inflicting Tombstone, a last-hit-chaining Oven Axe, and a hold-to-charge club called the Toothpick.

There's also three tempting mutations to mull over, two of which speak to me as a tactics player:

  • No Mercy (colorless): Instantly kill enemies that are under 15 percent health – and bosses under 7.5 percent health – by hitting them with a weapon.
  • Barbed Tips (tactics): Inflict damage per second to foes based on how many arrows are stuck in them.
  • Point Blank (tactics): Close-range attacks have scaling bonus damage.

How do you unlock the new mutations and weapons? They're drops! According to the wiki, you can get No Mercy from Slashers, Barbed Tips from Toxic Miasmas, Point Blank from Corpulent Zombies, Tombstone from Swarm Zombies, Oven Axe from Oven Knights, and Toothpick from Ground Shakers.

The team has tried to stamp out seed-related crashes for good, touched up the Malaise mechanic (including new icons to "give you a better idea of what's about to hit you"), and made it so Legendary items scale "based on the sum of your two highest stats" and Legendary status doesn't raise an item's level. That said, those last two reworks are "very subject to change." Dead Cells doesn't stand still.

As always, it's worth poking around to see the minutia. For instance, it may not be a headliner for a lot of players, but a new accessibility-focused hold-to-chain-attacks toggle sounds pretty sweet.

As noted on Reddit, the Whack-a-Mole update should be ready for consoles in the next three to four weeks. If you're a Dead Cells mobile player, that version just got The Bad Seed DLC – it's $3.99.

Back to the grind we go!

Dead Cells has a new difficulty curve and three more mutations to play around with screenshot

(Update) Ratchet & Clank now has a 60fps update for PS5

[Update: Insomniac moves quick! The 60fps update for Ratchet & Clank on PS5 is live ahead of schedule. Just update your PS4 game to 1.08, and enjoy – there's "no setting to change" in a menu.]

In a move that PS5-owning Ratchet & Clank fans had been calling for, Insomniac Games is going to update 2016's PlayStation 4 title Ratchet & Clank to hit 60 frames per second when played on a PlayStation 5. The free update is planned to go out in April, which, oh shit, is already almost here.

Asked if there would be any extra DualSense integration, Insomniac simply pointed to the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Between the free giveaway for Play At Home 2021 and now this update, it's clear that they're looking to refresh everyone and roll right into the new PS5 game in June.

If you haven't already done so, go ahead and grab the free copy of Ratchet & Clank by March 31.

I kind of wish I hadn't just gone back to platinum this sucker given how much the frame rate stood out to me until I adjusted to it (and even then). That said, I genuinely enjoyed my time with the game, so I can't complain. Even if the PS4 re-imagining is less than ideal from a series-wide standpoint, there aren't many games like it right now – which is a big reason I'm looking forward to Rift Apart so much.

More of these 60fps performance updates for PS4 games on PS5, please! Who's next?

(Update) Ratchet & Clank now has a 60fps update for PS5 screenshot

Atelier Ryza franchise hits one million global shipments

Publisher Koei Tecmo has proudly announced that the combined shipments of its JRPGs Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout and its sequel, Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy, have hit one million combined shipments since the titles' respective 2019 and 2020 releases.

Alongside developer Gust, Koei Tecmo revealed the milestone on its official Twitter, accompanied by new artwork of cheerful protagonist Resalin "Ryza" Stout literally jumping for joy. The publisher also announced that both titles will receive a special celebratory DLC skin, to be released at a later date... Are they gonna charge for it? Surely they aren't gonna charge for it...

The Atelier Ryza titles follow the exploits of Resalin, as the young girl and a party of pals embark on high-fantasy adventures. The two games place an emphasis on crafting, combat, and alchemy, and have received praise from both critics and fans for their strong characters and engaging visual design. Both Atelier Ryza releases are available now on PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Atelier Ryza franchise hits one million global shipments screenshot


Hitman 3's Dubai level is free to play for a spell

If you've been holding off on playing the latest Hitman, this week might be a good opportunity to test the waters. Hitman 3 is getting a free starter pack, which includes two locations and a time-limited trial of Hitman 3's first major locale, Dubai.

The Hitman 3: Free Starter Pack includes the ICA Facility and Hawke's Bay, the tutorial levels from Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2. Dubai, the first location of Hitman 3, will also be available in the starter pack from March 30 through April 5. In a blog post, IO says it will also be releasing more free content to the pack for a limited time in the future.

Hitman 3 launched earlier this year as the conclusion to IO Interactive's rebooted Hitman trilogy. It was fittingly filled with plenty of global intrigue and goofy assassinations, and was quite the send-off for Agent 47.

Though it has had some level transfer troubles on PC, most of the wrinkles seem to have been ironed out between the platforms. It's worth doing so too, because as engaging as Hitman 3 was, the previous two games' levels still stand tall. Locales like Sapienza, Paris, and Mumbai still stick out to me.

If you haven't tried these games out, they're absolutely worth a shot, especially as IO Interactive looks to be pivoting into its upcoming 007 game. There are a lot of little joys in life, but few can compare to the ridiculous ways in which Agent 47 can dispatch with his targets. Never miss a chance to drop that moose on someone.

Hitman 3's Dubai level is free to play for a spell screenshot

PSA: Get your last meals in with Mario games on Switch now, because he's set to be executed tomorrow

The time has come.

We've been talking about it for ages. We knew it was coming! Mario is dead tomorrow. At least, several newish games about him are.

As re-iterated multiple times, Nintendo is putting an end to several Mario titles on March 31. That includes physical and digital sales for Mario 3D All-Stars and physical Game & Watch devices being pulled from sale. Yep, they're even shutting down physical sales and aren't shipping more copies to stores. Savage.

You basically have today to make your peace with it. If you've been wanting to buy All-Stars via the eShop, do it now. If you want to get some final (?) games in with Super Mario 35, do it today. If you're on the fence for a new Game & Watch device, consider it before the eBay prices jump.

Or skip it all and don't play into Nintendo's hand. I can't tell you what to do!

PSA: Get your last meals in with Mario games on Switch now, because he's set to be executed tomorrow screenshot


Tekken 7 mocap actor demonstrates Lidia Sobieska's hard-hitting karate skills

Lidia Sobieska, the Prime Minister of Poland, is now available in Bandai Namco fighter Tekken 7, following several weeks of hype and fan fervor. Already the pugilistic politician is making her impact felt, quite literally, thanks to her mastery of karate, which she has been perfecting since childhood.

Ms. Sobieska's mocap actor, Tatsuya Naka, has released a video showcasing footage taking at some of the martial-arts expert's motion capture sessions. It's a rare sight, as not all Tekken characters go down the mocap route. But it's pretty fascinating to see Naka demonstrate his exceptional skill both in the studio and in his school, before we see some of his strikes and holds juxtaposed with Lidia wrecking heads in the digital world.

Tekken 7 mocap actor demonstrates Lidia Sobieska's hard-hitting karate skills screenshot


PSA: If you aren't spending $60 on Balan Wonderworld, you can at least listen to the mini soundtrack for free

Balan Wonderworld is out, and the reception has been...interesting, to say the least.

While it's extremely clunky and has myriad design issues, I think most people will agree that the soundtrack rips. It feels like a true AAA score, with a full orchestra and bolstered by several collaborations, including the artist Marasy.

Thankfully, Square Enix put out a free "mini album" for the game that you can listen to for free. It consists of five tracks, all of which are on Spotify. You can also listen to a few beautiful piano tracks performed live by Marasy below.

I can't stress enough how great they are, and it's a shame that the game didn't turn out as well as it could have. The second track in particular wouldn't feel out of place in a Lupin the Third anime film, and reminds me heavily of some of the more memorable game scores in recent years, like Sega's Rhythm Thief.

However this game's legacy ends up, I bet a lot of people will be talking about the soundtrack for years to come. Expect our review of Balan Wonderworld from CJ very soon.

Balan Wonderworld Preshow [Spotify]

PSA: If you aren't spending $60 on Balan Wonderworld, you can at least listen to the mini soundtrack for free screenshot


Guilty Gear Strive's Early Access bonus now features all characters and online modes

We're still a couple of months out from the launch of Arc System Works' guitar wailin' fighter Guilty Gear Strive, which is set to launch in early June on PS4, PS5, and PC. But PlayStation fans who pre-order either the Deluxe or Ultimate editions of the new sequel can knock a few extra days off of their calendar, thanks to an accompanying Early Access bonus.

Pre-ordering GG Strive in its Deluxe or Ultimate format will allow you to jump into the action a full three days ahead of the title's official June 11 release date. Additionally, ArcSys has announced that this Early Access period will be chock full of content, offering all 15 playable characters, (including I-No and Anji Mito), each fighter's respective story mode, and all online modes, so you can start labbing from the get-go. And with a fighter as complex as Guilty Gear, you're gonna need all the practice you can get. This Early Access period is strictly for the PlayStation editions of the game. Sorry, PC users.

It should also be noted that the Deluxe and Ultimate editions of GG Strive ain't cheap, weighing in at around $85 and $100 respectively, (Get used to those prices, kid), but they do offer additional bonuses such as exclusive character colors, a digital soundtrack, custom themes, and the GG Strive Season Pass, securing the first wave of post-launch characters - where are you, Baiken?

Guilty Gear Strive's Early Access bonus now features all characters and online modes screenshot

CD Projekt outlines future plans, including parallel game development

CD Projekt published a series of informational slides on Twitter today, alongside a YouTube video, outlining its future plans for the company and its brands, including The Witcher and Cyberpunk.

At the outset, CD Projekt says it plans to expand its online presence and build out both The Witcher and Cyberpunk franchises through "core gaming extensions" (like mobile) and partnerships, including TV series and merchandise. The publisher also says it plans to move into parallel AAA game development starting in 2022. The company has also invested in Digital Scrapes, a Vancouver-based studio that will bolster its other studios.

"We are planning to build cross-functional teams to work on both IPs," said Pawl Zawodny, Head of Production and CTO at CD Projekt, in one slide. "These teams will blend disciplines and expertise, so we have closer communication and skill sharing going on from the beginning. Cross-functional teams allow different aspects of development to run in tandem without complication."

As for 2021, CD Projekt is planning on patches, updates, and free DLC for Cyberpunk 2077, alongside the forthcoming next-gen update. On The Witcher side, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will receive a next-gen update, Gwent will continue to receive development, and there's also The Witcher: Monster Slayer in the pipeline.

CD Projekt also seems to be responding to some of the critcisms surrounding the development and launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Reports of crunch circled around Cyberpunk 2077's launch, as did grievances over the state of the game at launch.

In the video update, CD Projekt highlighted further support for employees, including mental health. "We want to continuously improve the working environment for every team member," said CD Projekt boss Adam KiciÅ„ski. "We want a sharper focus on how we work together to make great games."

Executive Michal Nowakowski also said that the company has learned from its marketing and PR campaigns for Cyberpunk 2077. "Going forward, our campaigns will be much shorter," said Nowakowski. "We will wait until much closer to a game's launch before we start showing things like trailers, demos, or going in-depth about mechanics, etc."

Whether all of this can right the ship after the still-lingering backlash over Cyberpunk 2077, it certainly looks like CD Projekt is forging ahead either way. Hopefully a pause and reassessment can curtail some of the reported issues at the company. 

CD Projekt outlines future plans, including parallel game development screenshot

These new NES style Switch cart cases let you slot your games in

At this point, I have a decent collection of Switch cases.

I display them the old fashioned way: by fanning out the original packaging in classic fashion. But every so often I get the itch to show them more elegantly, and I'm tempted by these new goodies from Retro Fighters.

Called the "Retro85 Mini NES cartridge Switch game cases" (mouthful!), they're billed as "individual Switch game card cases stylized as classic NES carts." A set comes with eight carts in all, which can display one game per cart; and a giant case within a case to hold all those cases (I heard you like cases).

I'm probably going to hold off on getting these as it's a bit of a novelty; but if I had a more extensive Switch library to show off, I'd definitely get them to publicly display as part of a collection. The gall of using a giant case to hold one tiny cart is tempting.

Retro Fighters Retro85 Mini NES Cartridge Switch Game Cases [Amazon]

These new NES style Switch cart cases let you slot your games in screenshot

Limited Run Games announces Doom: The Classics Collection for PS4 and Nintendo Switch

For PS4 and Nintendo Switch owners who simply cannot get by without a spot of the old rip 'n' tear, Limited Run Games has announced a new physical release, collating three titles from id Software's game-changing shooter series, Doom.

Doom: The Classics Collection will be made available in three formats. The Standard Edition will include a boxed disc/cartridge containing original releases Doom, Doom II, and Doom 3 and will retail for around $40 USD. A Special Edition also adds numerous bonus items including art prints for all three titles, steelbook casing, a keychain, an 8GB USB device styled after a floppy disk, a metal replica of an in-game keycard, and a reprint of the 1996 Doom comic book. This edition will retail for around $80.

Limited Run Games announces Doom: The Classics Collection for PS4 and Nintendo Switch screenshot


Finally, the Switch version of Fortnite is getting a more stable framerate

I've been playing Fortnite weekly for...a long time now, and generally, I favor the Switch.

Fortnite has been one of my go-to "wind down" games at night, and my wife and I play together portably basically wherever we want. A few missions here, some battle progress there, it's a good chill out experience. I just got another Victory Royale last night, actually!

But while it is fun for sure, the Switch port has been lagging behind since it launched. Muddy visuals and an unstable framerate are mostly to blame, but those are hopefully being addressed today with a rather massive update specifically for the Switch edition.

It's bringing up the resolution to 1170x660 in handheld form and 1560x880 in docked form, which is a 38% increase in pixels for the former, Epic Games says. It'll also grant Switch users 140MB of extra storage space (compression), and these changes will enable a "consistent framerate."

Here's the full rundown from Epic: "So what does this mean for Switch players? The update provides significantly improved resolution both in handheld and docked modes, resulting in images that are less blurry, without loss of performance. The update also provides a more consistent framerate, with fewer hitches, resulting in a smoother experience overall."

Good! It's been lingering for far too long, especially in light of the PS5 and Series X upgrades.

You can get a look at the upgrade below, with the old visuals on the left and the new ones on the right. Notice the extra details like the individual leaves on the tree.

Performance boost [Epic Games]

Finally, the Switch version of Fortnite is getting a more stable framerate screenshot


Team Ninja fixes Nioh 2 PC crashing issue

Remember when Team Ninja said it was "looking into" reports of Nioh 2 crashes on PC? Well, they looked into it!

Ironically, the bug was introduced with a prior patch, leaving Team Ninja to scramble and find a fix for it. That very fix has been implemented as of now, as part of version 1.27.1. These changes have been applied to the Steam/PC and PS5 editions of the game.

It's not a super exciting patch, as everything is intended to squash issues entirely. I'm talking crashes (including a rare one when folks were "raising their level to 750 while using a mouse" - obscure!), and just plain old random crashes. There's three separate bullet points for crash fixes, and one of them was triggered "in certain environments." That sounds...common!

The PS5 fixes involve "other minor bugs," but also address 120FPS problems where "certain enemies" were going crazy when the framerate was jacked up. Ah, designing frame-perfect action games isn't easy!

Team Ninja [Twitter]

Team Ninja fixes Nioh 2 PC crashing issue screenshot


UK Charts: Super Mario 3D All-Stars sales spike 276% ahead of store removal

We have a brand new number one this week, as Capcom's Monster Hunter Rise inevitably debuted in the top spot of the UK Charts. The fantasy adventure, which has already sold an amazing four million copies worldwide, leads a streak of Top Ten Switch dominance.

The news of Monster Hunter Rise's success has been somewhat eclipsed, however, by a ridiculous sales spike for Nintendo's Super Mario 3D All-Stars. As reported by, the retro compendium saw its sales boosted by 276% last week, no doubt in anticipation of the title's de-listing, scheduled for tomorrow, March 31. The imminent removal of the title, heavily promoted by Nintendo, led to a rush of panic-buying, ultimately reinstalling the title in the number two spot. What a fucking surprise.

The rest of the Top Ten is almost entirely Switch releases, with showings from Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Luigi's Mansion 3, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Almost every Mario or Mario-adjacent Switch release saw a sales increase this week, with only Electronic Arts' soccer sim FIFA 21 offering a combo breaker at number eight. Last week's number one, Supergiant's Hades, has dropped out of the Top Ten entirely.

Nintendo has been sent a clear message on how to fuel a global sales injection on not just one, but multiple releases at relatively short notice. As a result, we can probably expect The Big N, and perhaps even other publishers, to indulge in more Walt Disney-style "vaulting" antics in the future.

UK Charts: Super Mario 3D All-Stars sales spike 276% ahead of store removal screenshot


Call of Duty: Cold War & Warzone reveal contents of tomorrow's Reloaded Season 2 update

The fight goes on in Activision's tribizillion-dollar shooter franchise Call of Duty. Tomorrow will see the launch of "Reloaded", a mid-season update for both Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and its sister battle royale title Call of Duty: Warzone. The coming weeks will see a slew of new content made available for both releases, because the bullets. won't. stop.

Firstly, Black Ops Cold War will receive its reworked Miami map, Miami Strike, which hopes to improve the rep of the neon nightmare - which I actually quite like, to be honest. Miami Strike will be running a 24/7 playlist in order to help the community get to grips with the new, streamlined layout. My Tiki bar better still be standing.

Speaking of maps, third-act campaign locale Mansion will be added to Gunfight and Face Off modes, while Golova is getting copy-pasted from the excellent Outbreak mode to enter rotation in the not-quite-as-excellent Fireteam. New modes will include Multi-Team Hardpoint, (which sounds like total chaos), Gunfight Tournament, and a Blueprint-based variant of Gun Game.

Call of Duty: Cold War & Warzone reveal contents of tomorrow's Reloaded Season 2 update screenshot


Meet Rosaria, Genshin Impact's alluring, apathetic, spear-wielding nun

miHoYo has released a trailer introducing us to Sister Rosaria, the next character headed to PS4, PC, and mobile phenomenon Genshin Impact. Rosaria will be added to the gacha pipe during the next banner event, which is expected to launch on or around April 6.

Rosaria is a high-ranking Sister in Monstadt's Church of Favorius. Despite her important position, Rosaria is relatively bored of her holy lifestyle, flitting around in an aloof manner and often failing to show up for her duties. But even with this apathetic attitude toward her chores, Rosaria remains wholly dedicated to defending Monstadt and the church - facilitated by her femme-fatale nature and highly-adept spear-fighting skills.

The trailer also spotlights both Rosaria's English and Japanese voices. Her English localization is provided by Elisabeth Maxwell, perhaps best known for her roles as Persona 5's public prosecutor Sae Niijima and Hyrule Warrior's Gerudo fighter Urbosa in. For Japanese VA fans, Rosaria is voiced by Ai Kakuma, who also voices Edelgard in Fire Emblem, Yuri Sakazaki in The King of Fighters, and is a mainstay of anime. The fact that Rosaria is not a hammer-wielder, therefore robbing me of a "Sister Sledge" headline, will bother me for the rest of the day.

Meet Rosaria, Genshin Impact's alluring, apathetic, spear-wielding nun screenshot


It looks like the second season of The Witcher show will tackle the Wild Hunt

Although I didn't find the first season of The Witcher show hard to follow, it boggles the mind why the showrunners decided it was a good idea. The editing and pacing was incredibly off, so it makes sense why a lot of folks got mad about it. The discourse around the second season should be a lot more focused, especially since the narrative is reportedly more focused.

That second season narrative, mind, will seemingly also involve the Wild Hunt. More of a legend than a major plot point (depending on the medium), it looks like Netflix literally ponied up for some horses and armor, so they're likely not going to have the crew show up for a few seconds in some inconsequential dream sequence.

The pictures (below) come courtesy of the Netflix Witcher fan Twitter account, which show off Wild Hunt filming in North Devon, England. One of my absolute favorite parts is the epic shot of them all riding on the beach together contrasted directly to the one with the cast and crew, and the filming trucks.

There's some real "end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail" energy there!

Netflix Witcher [Twitter]

It looks like the second season of The Witcher show will tackle the Wild Hunt screenshot


Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection producer says the third game is his favorite and the toughest, but is sure 'a lot of fans may not agree'

The Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection is an interesting remaster prospect.

For many, they'll be experiencing the entire trilogy for the first time. Others just prefer the first: an absolute classic in the action genre, even still. Some may also dig the second game, which isn't quite as beloved, but still has its merits. Others will want to relive the polarizing third entry as a flight of fancy of sorts.

In any case, it's a collection that's worth talking about. And we did just that with the game's producer, Fumihiko Yasuda. Even though the third game was their first major project at Koei Tecmo, they mused with us on the past, present, and future of the series.

Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection producer says the third game is his favorite and the toughest, but is sure 'a lot of fans may not agree' screenshot


PAX East 2021 cancelled, PAX Online event coming this summer

It was inevitable, but now it's official. Organizers Reedpop and Penny Arcade have regrettably announced the cancellation of PAX East, which had been scheduled to take place at the Boston Convention Center the weekend of June 3, 2021.

The announcement was made via a statement on the official PAX East website.

"In light of ongoing public health concerns, ReedPop and Penny Arcade will not hold PAX East this year," said event director Kyle Marsden-Kish. "While we hoped PAX East could safely take place, we remained realistic and did not sell any tickets or space to exhibitors to avoid significantly inconveniencing our friends and partners. As we have shown via our actions throughout the pandemic, our utmost concern is the safety of the PAX family - from attendees, exhibitors, and show staff to media and content creators - as well as the local communities that host our celebrations of all things gaming."

ReedPop/PennyArcade announced that, much like last year, an extended streaming event would be held in PAX East's stead. PAX Online will take place between July 15-18, and is expected to offer up news, reveals, and interviews pertaining to a wide variety of major and minor video game releases. The statement closes with optimism that 2021's remaining PAX events - PAX West and PAX Unplugged - might still go ahead as planned.

"Given the United States' progress towards addressing COVID-19 in recent months, we are cautiously optimistic PAX West and PAX Unplugged will proceed as planned with in-person festivities September 3 to 6 and December 10 to 12, respectively [...] ReedPop and Penny Arcade will continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19, observe government guidelines and local laws, and defer to health officials and experts on what is deemed safe. We are grateful for the efforts everyone made to make PAX East happen in 2021, and we look forward to returning to Boston in 2022."

PAX East 2021 cancelled, PAX Online event coming this summer screenshot

Outriders will give cheaters a permanent watermark

The launch date for Outriders is fast approaching, but before a host of new players descend on the servers, Square Enix and People Can Fly are laying down the law for any would-be cheaters.

In a post on the Outriders Steam page, the team lays out its plans for launch, including a day-one patch, bug fixes for issues noted during the game's demo period, and a "Quick Mark" utility for your inventory, addressing concerns and requests brought forth by players. Unfortunately for cheaters, Square Enix has also taken notice of you.

"At the time when we reached around 2 million players, we identified 200 players who had clearly cheated," the team writes. "In percentage terms, that's 0.01%." They even call out one person who gave themselves 600 Legendary Weapons, and while the team says it doesn't expect the percentage to grow by much past launch, there will be steps taken against cheaters.

According to the blog, if you're caught cheating, you will not be able to matchmake with non-cheaters, and so matchmaking will likely take longer, though you can still play solo. Most notably, in the future, cheaters' heads-up displays will have a "discreet but visible watermark" on it, so any footage created using the account can be readily identified.

"Any account logs found to have evidence of cheating on them on or after launch day will be permanently branded," the blog says. 

There is one ounce of leeway being given to demo cheaters thinking about changing their ways: the Outriders team says that if you wish to join the main game without the watermark, you have to delete all characters and items on the entire account in order to wipe the slate clean. This means absolutely no carryover in any form from the demo into Outriders proper.

Listed cheats include using a variety of programs, like trainers, aimbots, and wallhacks, as well as modifying game files or running the game without Easy Anti Cheat on. The blog does specify that using performance tweaking software or farming does not constitute cheating.

This is a pretty firm stance, though the studio says it reserves the right to update and change the policy in the future. But basically, it's what I like to call a "Don't Be That Guy" rule: don't cheat, and you won't have an ugly watermark forever branded on your account.

Outriders will launch on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PS5, and Stadia on April 1, 2021.

Outriders will give cheaters a permanent watermark screenshot

Review: Evil Genius 2: World Domination

The evil genius archetype is one that fascinates me. It's not that outlandish that an eccentric megalomaniac could gather a group of underlings and launch a campaign against the world, but I can't convince a courier to leave a package at my doorstep, let alone a legion of faceless goons to lay down their lives for me. I also don't know what I'd do with the world if I ruled it. Enact permanent daylight savings and mandatory nap times?

Forget that, though; what would I make my minions wear? What humiliating nickname would I give my most loyal henchman? How would I mock secret agents? I'd probably invite them to tea and just repeat everything they say.

Back in 2004, Evil Genius provided me the chance to live my dream. Kind of. I really enjoyed the game, but it definitely had its problems. Nonetheless, Rebellion has seized the reins and has breathed new life into the property with Evil Genius 2: World Domination. Their approach to a sequel seems to be a complete do-over. The result is another game that may not be for everyone but certainly tightened the screws on the old doomsday device.

Review: Evil Genius 2: World Domination screenshot


Cris Tales introduces our hero's charming party of allies

This weekend saw the UK put the clocks forward one hour, and hoo-boy am I feeling it. It's times like these I wish I had the power of characters such as Crisbell, the protagonist of Modus Games' Cris Tales. Crisbell is a Time Mage, y'see, and for her putting the clock forward, or backward, is as simple as a blink. That's the superpower I'd like the most. At least I'd get some dang sleep.

But Crisbell isn't the only magical, mystical individual living in CrisTales' fantasy kingdom of Crystalis. And while on her quest to confront the villainous Empress of the Ages, Crisbell will meet a huge cast of characters, offering assistance or impeding progress as our hero pushes ever closer to a destiny that will affect each and every one of them.

Cris Tales introduces our hero's charming party of allies screenshot


Dota: Dragon's Blood is worth a watch, even if you don't play

One of the best things I can say about Dota: Dragon's Blood, the latest animated video game adaptation to hit Netflix, is that it's completely watchable for newcomers. In just eight episodes, it manages to cover a breadth of lore and overcome other adaptations' stumbling blocks, largely thanks to its characters.

Dota's impermeability can be a boon, as its mechanical complexity has kept players—myself included—playing for literal decades. The lore, on the other hand, isn't as tightly woven into the game's framework. It's largely relegated to item descriptions and hero bios, and over the course of thousands of hours of Dota 2, I don't know that I've ever stopped during a match to read about how the Heaven's Halberd I just bought from the shop got its name.

It's refreshing, then, that Dota: Dragon's Blood makes very few assumptions. Yes, there are plenty of callbacks and cameos that will appeal specifically to people who have spent hours upon hours in the Dota 2 client. But at its core, it's also a solid fantasy setting that, most importantly, has room to grow.

Dragon's Blood starts out with the basics of Dota 2. There is the primordial mind, split into Dire and Radiant, that will eventually involve the cosmos in its battle. There are fundamental elements, ancient dragons, and literal gods that roam the land. Most of this early table setting is to inform you that yes, the world of Dota is magical, but there are also a lot of normal humans who get caught up in it.

Davion, an up-and-coming Dragon Knight who travels to different towns and cities to deal with any dragons terrorizing the locals, serves as the more grounded viewpoint. He's talented but human, or at least he is until his blood mixes with the ancient eldwurm (the oldest and most powerful kind of dragon around) Slyrak's, fusing the two together. The ensuing discovery of new powers, and their terrifying consequences, serve as a human basis to the story.

Mirana embodies the other half of the story, as a loyal attendant of the dark moon goddess Selemene who is searching for a rebel elven girl—Fymryn—who stole some of the goddess' lotus flowers. The ensuing conflict can get muddy in using too many proper names and places, but it's a standard story of the loyal followers of two different deities waging war on one another, with both Mirana and Fymryn seeking a resolution that benefits their side.

Both have their reasons to fight, though Fymryn's story of loss and revenge is a bit stronger than Mirana's quest to return to Selemene's good graces. One of the larger stumbling blocks in this first season is that Selemene is characterized as a goddess that mends the broken, instilling unyielding obsession for her in the process; yet we rarely see the kinder side of Selemene. She's frequently scheming and manipulating, and one scene in particular—where she chides her general Luna for committing an atrocity she gently encouraged—made me wonder how Mirana manages to stay on that side of the conflict.

The heart of the story, and the real surprise of the series thus far, is the Invoker. In Dota 2, he's a boastful mage who gained renown for memorizing a litany of spells. Where most talented mages can master three or four spells in the course of their life, Invoker has an arsenal of magic at his disposal.

Dota: Dragon's Blood expanding on Invoker's backstory and history, with both the world and with specific characters like Selemene, is where it really shines. In flashbacks, he's shown as both the intense scholar and as a doting father, and his tireless efforts to cure his daughter of an unspecified illness explain his cold demeanor in the present. I never really thought the posterboy of toxic mid-lane players would be my favorite character in the animated series, but well, here we are. Invoker's story is well-told, and his place as both the behind-the-scenes manipulator and grieving father is a highlight.

There are also plenty of fights, and with Studio Mir—known for its work on, among other series, The Legend of Korra—animating them, it should be no surprise that they're excellent. What's impressive is the breadth of battles that happen: everything from a clash between an eldwurm and the superpowered Dragon Knight Kaden to small bouts where Mirana's bodyguard Marci gets to flex her impressive martial arts skills form a wide range of action sequences.

There's a special kind of excitement in seeing a Dota hero's abilities animated so well. During one fight late in the series, I was genuinely excited when the demonic Terrorblade—a demon so bad that hell made another hell just for him—used his Reflection ability and seemed to Metamorph mid-fight. Mirana's Starfall is fittingly dangerous, and I have a newfound appreciation for Luna's Lunar Beams and Eclipse, which are essentially the fantasy version of an orbital ion cannon.

Even if you don't get giddy about seeing a Gem of True Sight, there's still a lot to enjoy about Dota: Dragon's Blood. Alongside Invoker, Fymryn's character arc has a strong start and leaves her as another presumptive protagonist for future seasons. The jokes don't always land—Marci's expressions got the most laughs from me, and despite never speaking a word in the first season, she still ends up being one of the more memorable side characters.

Really, this first season is a foundation. By the end of Book 1, the party has been split in disparate directions enough to explore the world at large, and that's likely to be the more exciting content. The world of Dota is filled with some real wild characters—giant spiders and centaurs, living rocks and trees, a Greek god, and a gnarly butcher to name a few—and I'm hopeful future seasons find some time for one-shots to delve into the side content.

Pacing is the one major issue, as some storylines drag on a bit as characters move into place or dialogue wears on. The scene where Davion is arguing with the other eldwurms in the spiritual plane drags, and hampers the urgency of what's happening in the corporeal world.

Where it's at, though, Dota: Dragon's Blood is off to a good start. It's not quite Castlevania, but it's thankfully not Dragon's Dogma either. Pacing issues aside, there's a fair bit to enjoy in Dragon's Blood's relatively short runtime, and it leaves off on a strong note. If you've ever been interested in the lore behind the game, or just in seeing some cool magic and gorgeous Studio Mir-animated battles, Dota: Dragon's Blood is approachable and entertaining, with room to grow.

Dota: Dragon's Blood is worth a watch, even if you don't play screenshot

Climbing stairs is your greatest obstacle in Ghostbusters for the NES

It's impossible to understate the impact Ghostbusters has had on my life. I was fanatical about it when I was a child, and then I rediscovered it in my adolescent years and became fanatical all over again. I still carry a massive torch for it, dressing up in the costume I built in my teenage years, rewatching the cartoons and movies frequently, and pretending that no movies have been released since Ghostbusters 2, and none will ever be released again. Nope.

It's just unfortunate that video games have treated the franchise so badly. I'm still waiting on my Ghostbusters business tycoon game. I own both the best and worst games released under the franchise, but I don't think any have hurt me as badly as the NES release. It was first released on 8-bit home computers in 1984, the Atari 2600 in 1985, the Famicom in 1986, and finally the Sega Master System in 1987. Since that wasn't bad enough, North America would get their NES version in 1988. Thanks, Activision.

Climbing stairs is your greatest obstacle in Ghostbusters for the NES screenshot


We played the new Nier Replicant, and it's still hauntingly gorgeous

Nier: Automata kind of blew the doors wide open on the Nier series. Sure, back in the day I loved this little Drakengard spinoff that could. But it wasn't until Platinum Games and Yoko Taro came together that Nier really came into its own in terms of a mainstream mainstay. 

Now is the perfect time to capitalize on that goodwill. Enter Nier Replicant, a PC, PS4, and Xbox One re-release of the original Nier vision, due out in April. I'm glad it was greenlit.

We played the new Nier Replicant, and it's still hauntingly gorgeous screenshot


Closing the Loop: Four Quarters on the making of Loop Hero

The first iteration of Loop Hero didn't come together on time. The latest game from the Four Quarters team started out as a game jam entry in Ludum Dare; the only problem was, by jam's end, it didn't really work.

On the page for what was called "LooPatHero" at the time, the team says they ran out of time for the 45th Ludum Dare, whose theme was "Start with nothing." And you really did start with nothing, starting a loop as an ambitious hero questing to take down the evil Lich.

Two weeks later, Four Quarters updated the page with a working build, including new sprites and a modified combat system. And on March 4, 2021, the team would launch a full version of Loop Hero that would become fairly successful on Steam, selling 500,000 copies in its first week on the platform.

Loop Hero is a continuously looping game, best described as the mash-up of idle games and management sims with the constant progression of a roguelite. The hero wakes up at camp and starts walking in a circle around the loop, and you can play various cards onto the field as tiles that will morph the world and place new challenges in the hero's path.

While the player controls what equipment the hero wears and traits they earn as they level up, combat is all done automatically and the hero always presses forward until they're either told to retreat or fall in battle. The idea is to basically play DM to your questing adventurer—placing just enough challenge ahead to not kill them, but make them stronger.

It's pretty similar to a roguelite, but according to one of its developers, Four Quarters didn't think about doing a roguelike in the first place. Aleksandr "blinch" Goreslavets, who worked on several aspects of the game but primarily served as composer, says the idea came from the concept of the Loop.

"We discussed the genre of 'Zero Player Games,' and our artist [Dmitry "Deceiver" Karimov] created the idea of a Hero who walks in the Loop," Goreslavets told Destructoid in an email.

The elegant simplicity of Loop Hero stems from this concept of a hero, wandering forward forever, and the player tasked with laying track out in front of them already makes it interesting. But what's kept me coming back has been the combinations—tiles don't exist in a vacuum, and part of the Loop Hero magic is discovering how different tiles interact.

Place a lot of Mountains, and the world will spawn an encampment of Goblins. If the Mountains are in the right placement, they'll also form a peak that's suited to harboring Harpies, which will start to fly down to hunt on the loop. Treasuries provide huge potential for resources, but an empty one—with every tile around it occupied—becomes a haven for Gargoyles, which can be tough for a low-level hero to deal with.

Balancing the placement of tiles, to gain resources and up the difficulty without sending your hero into a certain doom, is the balancing act at the heart of the loop. These combinations came about as a way to add more interest, as Goreslavets tells it.

"For example, Meadows were initially placed anywhere on the map and there was no special strategy in their placement," Goreslavets says. "Then we added a combination where if the player placed them next to other tiles, they began to give 50% more healing, which radically changed the principle of placing this card."

Getting to the end of a loop, and fighting the many bosses laid out in front of the hero starting with the Lich, might seem like the first goal. And yes, at first, the player will die a lot in pursuit of their first Lich kill. Over time, though, a build emerges; you learn to manipulate the tiles to your own benefit. Maybe a Blood Grove could counteract the healing of a Vampire-infested tile, or perhaps placing enemy generators under a Lantern's radius can limit how big the stacks get.

Killing bosses like the Lich is where the lore plays in, and though Loop Hero's story is sparse, it works to its benefit. There's something hauntingly intriguing about its world reduced to almost nothing, a void in which you're reconstructing new versions of itself. Karimov was responsible for the main lore of the game, as Goreslavets tells me, and the plot was written to answer why everything looks the way it does.

Because of this, bosses act as "anchors," as Goreslavets calls them, around which the plot advances. And beyond just killing an escalating list of giant adversaries, the Camp adds a sense of meta-progression. It was a way to change up the long-term of the game, as the core loop of the Loop is always the same—its shape may change, but there will always be a loop with vacuous space for tiles to be placed.

The Camp is also where resources come into play, and it ends up acting as a boon for players who are struggling with advancing on their own. While Loop Hero's additional classes and other abilities are unlocked through the camp, it's also where you get bonuses to help make future runs easier. Healing flasks, a smattering of free items at the beginning of each run, and new tiles to bolster existing combinations are all gained through the Camp.

When I ask Goreslavets about how other roguelikes have been implementing assist modes—for example, Hades' God Mode—he refers me to the Camp. "Loop Hero doesn't have any option for it, but we don't 'punish' players for losing," Goreslavets says. "Even if the hero dies—they will take some resources to their camp to upgrade some buildings. We didn't want players to feel afraid to experiment or punished for 'ineffective play.'"

The result has been a surprise hit for the team, previously known for their work on Please, Don't Touch Anything. Goreslavets says the team is shocked and still surprised by Loop Hero's reception; "We really liked the game, but did not expect that such a large number of people would like it too," he says.

As for what's next, it's a lot more Loop Hero. They had a lot of ideas left for post-release during the making of the game, and now they're starting to implement them. Though Goreslavets says it's too early to say what exactly will make it in, they drop a hint towards a recent tweet of some art as a new enemy.

Four Quarters is made up of four people, all in different cities and working from home, so the pandemic didn't affect any sort of in-person workflow. It still, of course, had other effects; there was a lot of "overall stress" due to the pandemic, Goreslavets says.

Still, the team finds time to play games together alongside developing them. They play Monster Hunter and Dota 2, and in one surprising turn of events, found a much-needed boost in another roguelike.

"At the end of 2020, at a late stage of development, the work was very intense and we started to burn out," Goreslavets says. "Then we accidentally discovered 'Slay the Spire.' This is a gorgeous and genius card roguelike which helped us relax in the evenings, when we gathered in Discord and took turns trying to beat it."

For the even further future, Four Quarters still has plenty of ideas. The team has made 15 games for Ludum Dare, spanning several different genres: from a Russian roulette RPG to a rhythm game about kaiju attacks, they've got ideas. 

Even Four Quarters does not know what will be next, Goreslavets tells me. But if Loop Hero has shown anything, it's that any one of those 15 ideas is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Closing the Loop: Four Quarters on the making of Loop Hero screenshot

Electronic Arts announces next-gen PGA Tour golf game

Electronic Arts has announced that it is currently developing a new PGA Tour golf title for release on next-gen platforms. The new game is being developed at EA Tiburon, who are the team behind the million-dollar Madden franchise.

Speaking in a lengthy blog post on the PGA Tour website, it was revealed that EA Sports PGA Tour will become the "home of championship golf" and will allow fairway friends to build a custom career and experience the thrills of the entire PGA season including the PGA Tour, The Players Championship, and the FedExCup Playoffs. The new title promises multiple real-life courses and a selection of world-renowned professional players.

"We've partnered with EA Sports to bring immersive golf video game experiences to fans of all ages for years," said PGA Tour Chief Legal Officer Len Brown. "We are thrilled to continue working with EA Sports on its golf franchise to authentically represent the PGA Tour for the next generation. The newest game will give golf fans another way to experience their favorite sport, or to discover their passion for it."

More information, including platforms and a release date, will be revealed "in the coming weeks."

Electronic Arts announces next-gen PGA Tour golf game screenshot


Anthem director and Mass Effect producer Jonathan Warner leaves BioWare

Anthem director Jonathan Warner has announced that he has left developer BioWare after 10 years with the company. Warner worked with the Canadian studio as a producer on the Mass Effect series, and also operated as the studio's Chief of Staff.

Speaking on Twitter, Warner wished his former studio best wishes, but did not denote his career plans going forward. "BioWare has been home to my grateful heart for nearly 10 years and I want to wish them all the best," he wrote. "[Dragon Age, Mass Effect] and [Star Wars: The Old Republic] are in good hands and I can't wait to play from this side of the screen."

Warner joined BioWare back in 2012, having already had a high-ranking career in the entertainment industry, having previously worked for Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Walt Disney. Warner's final title for BioWare, Anthem, is in the process of winding down operations as BioWare focuses on its other IPs.

BioWare has lost three of its producers in the past six months, with the departure of Mass Effect director Casey Hudson and Dragon Age producer Mark Darrah back in December.

Anthem director and Mass Effect producer Jonathan Warner leaves BioWare screenshot


It's true: Sony says it will close the PS3, Vita, and PSP stores in 2021

Last week, there was a hugely disappointing rumor that Sony would close the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable stores this year. The report served as a wake-up call for people who see value in PlayStation's legacy platforms, and it was accurate – Sony confirmed the news this morning.

When do we lose access to the stores and, as a result, the ability to buy legacy games and DLC? These are the dates to remember: July 2 for PS3 and PSP, and August 27 for PlayStation Vita.

The silver lining (though I hesitate to call it that): we will still be able to re-download the games that we own as well as the games that we got through PlayStation Plus. We'll also be able to access our purchased media content and redeem game and PS Plus vouchers even after the stores are closed. That said, once the dates come and go, we won't be able to redeem PSN wallet vouchers on the old systems.

For many people, even just having download access is crucial. You'll be able to do it using the Download List on PS3, Vita, and PSP. The race is now on to get our libraries situated before it's too late.

It's a shame Sony put an end to the workaround that let folks use the "old" PlayStation Store in a web browser. Actually finding and buying content on the old consoles is an unwieldy mess in 2021. As it stands, this is going to be an all-out scramble even for people who know which games they're missing.

Where to start? Try this PS3 exclusives breakdown on Reddit. Wikipedia also has lists of PS3 games, Vita games, PSP games, PS1 Classics, and PS2 Classics that will be instrumental for collectors.

On my list: Yakuza: Dead Souls, Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection, Puppeteer, Siren: Blood Curse, Afrika, and way, way too many PS1 and PS2 titles from Vagrant Story to Maximo: Ghosts to Glory.

It's true: Sony says it will close the PS3, Vita, and PSP stores in 2021 screenshot

Street Fighter V will be showcasing Rose and Oro in April 6 live stream

Fans of Street Fighter Alpha's Rose and Street Fighter III's Oro won't have too much longer to wait to see the characters make their grand return. Capcom has announced a new live stream, where the developer will show off both characters in their Street Fighter V form.

The Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Spring Update will take place on Tuesday, April 6 at 15:00 PT / 18:00 ET / 23:00 BST and will be viewable on Capcom's YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook channels. The stream will feature an in-depth look at Rose, spotlighting the Italian fortune-teller's range of Soul Power attacks, and will also give us our first SFV glimpse of the weird, boneless Oro. Both characters will arrive this year as part of SFV's fifth and final season of content.

Rose has been my Street Fighter main since her debut in 1995, so I'm very much looking forward to her scarf-twirling return. It will be interesting to see what Oro - making his first playable in-game appearance since 1999's Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - brings to Street Fighter V's hyper-aggressive playstyle. I can't wait to see both in action!

Street Fighter V will be showcasing Rose and Oro in April 6 live stream screenshot


Nintendo says that the Super Nintendo World Mario Kart ride is basically a game they can patch and update whenever they want

Super Nintendo World just shot up on a lot of bucket lists, and it's going to be...a while before a lot of people can safely visit it. Thankfully Universal seems like it's going to be in this partnership for the long haul, even recommitting to a delayed 2025 date for the US version. Still, it is open in Japan, and lots of folks are flocking to it.

This recent insider info for one of their rides just made me even more interested in a future visit. Speaking to IGN, Universal Creative producer Tom Geraghty confirms that the Mario Kart ride is basically a game.

He explains: "Mario Kart was built in a game engine, so while [senior vice president Thierry Coup] was back in the States he could actually drive Mario Kart in a game engine, and give us notes in Japan. Because it's in a game engine, we can keep updating, upgrading, putting new characters [in], changing themes, changing actions on the fly. So if there's a special event, anything we want to release can be done overnight if we really wanted to. That makes it so much more flexible – it freshens up the experience. Every time you come back you could experience something new and exciting."

It's interesting on multiple levels. Not only could they test out the software virtually for guest experience notes (which came in handy during the last year!), but they could also feasibly update the game and add new iconic Nintendo characters into the mix. Or, for instance, promote a potential "Mario Kart 9," whenever that happens.

Having been to a lot of theme parks, one of the biggest issues locations can struggle with is stagnation. Some rides are "classic," others are abandoned and alone in a corner somewhere and dilapidated; only to be torn down eventually. The Mario Kart ride can avoid that by swapping things around every so often so repeat guests will keep going on it.

By the time you visit, it might be different!

Super Nintendo World's Mario Kart Ride Is Also a Video Game... But Just for its Developers [IGN]

Nintendo says that the Super Nintendo World Mario Kart ride is basically a game they can patch and update whenever they want screenshot

The legendary Nobunaga's Ambition series will return later this year

Koei Tecmo has announced a brand new entry in the decades-long strategy series Nobunaga's Ambition. Details are extremely thin on the ground with no gameplay footage or platforms offered, but Koei Tecmo did release get a teasing cinematic, (which you can check out below), and a title: Nobunaga's Ambition: Rebirth. Developed by Kou Sibusawa, the new title is expected to launch in Japan later in 2021.

The legendary Nobunaga's Ambition series will return later this year screenshot


Mistwalker head would rather 'build something new' than re-release Blue Dragon or The Last Story

Mistwalker is a legendary name in some circles. They made Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey ages ago: full stop, that's all you need to say to some people. They completely changed how a lot of people perceived the Xbox 360 with that pair of RPGs, but we're probably not going to see them on newer platforms anytime soon.

Speaking to VGC, Mistwalker head Hironobu Sakaguchi made it abundantly clear that newer projects are their top priority. Given that Fantasian is about to come out soon, that's obviously fresh, along with whatever they decide to do after that.

Sakaguchi notes: "To be perfectly honest, there aren't any plans for any remakes at the moment. Although they're called remakes, the amount of effort and resources it would command means the difference is basically nil between [developing] a remake versus a completely new game. I would personally find myself more attracted to the idea of coming up with another original story or world, or building something new."

I completely understand that a smaller studio may not have the resources to both revisit old games via remakes and work on new projects. With all that said, as a preservation advocate, there is merit in bringing older classics to a newer audience: not just from a monetary standpoint, but because it would allow the game to proliferate for a longer period of time and through more mediums.

Mistwalker also worked on basically nothing but Terra Battle properties for...oh....the better part of a decade. Although three games in the series is technically "new" material, I missed classic Mistwalker dearly as they were wrapped up in that free-to-play mess for so long. I'm stoked to see what Fantasian can do.

Sakaguchi says he's not interested in remasters of The Last Story or Blue Dragon [VGC]

Mistwalker head would rather 'build something new' than re-release Blue Dragon or The Last Story screenshot

April 4: Zipper is coming to get ya in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It's that time of year again. Time to put aside your balloon parcels, shirt exchanges, and fossil trades and dedicate every single second, minute, and hour, of your Animal Crossing: New Horizons day to the coming of Zipper, Animal Crossing's dead-eyed, eerily cheerful bunny.

As reported by good doge Isabelle, non-denominational Bunny Day will take place on April 4 this year, which is this coming Sunday, and will see Zipper visit your island to collect all of the souls eggs that you have gathered. As of yesterday, you might start finding eggs here, there, and everywhere in the environment: buried in the soil, at the bottom of the lake, falling out of trees. Wherever you find them, be sure to save them for Sunday, when you can trade them with Zipper for a range of seasonal goodies.

Now, Bunny Day last year was a liiiiiittle bit divisive. While it's obviously a fun and cute holiday event, players were utterly frustrated by the amount of eggs turning up everywhere, at a time when most players were just hard at work looking for materials and resources. Perhaps this year, now the community is settled in their DIY homes, they can just chill and join in the spirit of the season.

After all, you wouldn't want to upset Zipper would you?... WOULD YOU?...

April 4: Zipper is coming to get ya in Animal Crossing: New Horizons screenshot


Here's a free code for a pack of Pokemon Sword and Shield items

Periodically, the powers that be share out Pokemon Sword and Shield codes and events in lieu of more expansion content.

I mean, we could still get that! We had a season pass already and two expansions, but for now, players are relying on Dynamax events and free item/creature giveaways. There's a new one in town thanks to a recent "Dynamax Adventure" Korean stream.

So here's the code (which you'll input via the in-game gift menu): "ADVENTUREB9F."

And here's what you get: Big Nugget x12, Exp. Candy XL x12.

Simple enough right? It does work for all regions, and the promo runs through April 3 at 10:59AM ET.

Item Distribution []

Here's a free code for a pack of Pokemon Sword and Shield items screenshot

PSA: Monster Hunter Rise has a save lockout glitch, and Capcom is 'aware' of it

Monster Hunter Rise seems to be selling well, but now that millions of people have their hands on it, they're starting to discover little nuances: good and bad. In this case it's kind of bad.

The bug is none other than a save lockout situation, which is incredibly scary for some folks who have already put in a lot of time with it. Capcom doesn't outright say that it "deletes" your data or anything like that, it can just "prevent you from opening it." I know! But it seems fixable and Capcom is on the case.

Here's the full statement from Capcom so you have all the info: "We're aware of an issue with the Action/Hurt Pose DLC gestures where setting either to the action bar and quitting the game can cause an error preventing you from opening the same save file the next time you launch the game. We're working on an update to fix this ASAP."

In the meantime, Capcom suggests that you "avoid" these gestures via the action bar and/or remove them ASAP from yourself now, before the bug occurs. Capcom then clarified later that "this also occurs when setting the action/hurt pose to the radial menu."

As a refresher, Monster Hunter Rise has a host of voiced lines, emotes, and pictures that help facilitate online groups and break the language barrier. The Action/Hurt pose is one of those actions you can do in-game. Be careful!

Monster Hunter [Twitter]

PSA: Monster Hunter Rise has a save lockout glitch, and Capcom is 'aware' of it screenshot

Crash Bandicoot 4 fans frustrated at's always-online requirement

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is an excellent release. Toys for Bob have done a fantastic job in creating a sequel that lives up to the mad marsupial's roots while implementing smart design ideas for a modern generation of platform games. Whether playing on PlayStation, Xbox, or Switch, players are in for a good time.

Unfortunately, however, it's not good news all around, as PC players have been dismayed to discover the that PC version of Crash's latest jungle jaunt is only available via the dashboard and - like all titles - requires a permanent internet connection to play.

Crash Bandicoot 4 fans frustrated at's always-online requirement screenshot


(Update) The upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 1.2 patch has over 100 fixes

[Update: Surprisingly, the patch is already live on "PC and consoles." Stadia is apparently getting patched later this week. Here's the announcement!]

People will not soon (or ever) forget CD Projekt Red's mishandling of Cyberpunk 2077.

Not only was it a stain on the game's reputation short term, but folks will never look at the "champion of the people" publisher the same again: unless there's a massive management shakeup. But over time, wounds will heal when it comes to the game itself, especially if it keeps getting patched and fixed after the fact.

CD Projekt Red has shared what's to come in patch 1.2 for "PC, consoles and Stadia," and it's a massive list of over 100 fixes. The list is kind of crazy! Basically everything from crosshair effects, to individual quest glitches, to open world smoothing, to cinematic fixes. Oh, and good old fashioned graphical and UI alterations. "Fixed NPCs moving after being killed," classic open world bug!

Major quest pain points include The Pickup, Path of Glory, Queen of the Highway, and With a Little Help from My Friends. So if you're stuck on those, hold out. All of this is coming "soon." There's still no date yet, and CD Projekt Red is smart to be noncommittal.

We've posted a truncated list of PC and console fixes below.

Patch 1.2 [CD Projekt Red]

(Update) The upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 1.2 patch has over 100 fixes screenshot


Monster Hunter Rise has already shipped four million global units on Switch

Capcom has proudly announced that its brand new release Monster Hunter Rise has gotten off to a brilliant start, with the company having already shipped four million physical and digital copies of the fantasy adventure worldwide.

The action-RPG, which launched on March 26, is already winning over both critics and fans with its vibrant worlds and challenging quests, all powered by Capcom's proprietary RE Engine. Monster Hunter Rise arrives at a time when the series has never been more of a household name, mainly thanks to the incredible success of 2018 release Monster Hunter World - the publisher's best-selling game of all-time.

As an interesting comparison, Monster Hunter World shipped five million copies in the same time period, but that was across two platforms. As such, Monster Hunter Rise is on course to becoming another juggernaut in Capcom's portfolio. Monster Hunter Rise is available now on Nintendo Switch, and will launch on PC early 2022.

Monster Hunter Rise has already shipped four million global units on Switch screenshot


Capcom is promoting Resident Evil Village with life-size Lady Dimitrescu standees

While it took the public a good few months to begin thirsting for Resident Evil Village antagonist Lady Dimitrescu, it has taken publisher Capcom far less time to capitalize on the thirst, speedily pushing the towering bloodsucker to the forefront of the upcoming sequel's marketing.

Case in point, a selection of cardboard standees of the House of Dimitrescu head have started popping up inside Hong Kong retailers. As spotted by The Gamer, Capcom uploaded a candid shot of Lady D to its Asian Facebook page, showing the 2D beauty as she stands tall over hapless shoppers. The standee is described as "life-sized," which would make it around nine feet and six inches (or just under three meters).

In my hellish formative decades in gaming retail, customers would clamor for standees such as these all the time - everything from Max Payne and Dead or Alive, to De Blob and WWE Smackdown! But something tells me that these particular standees are set to become incredibly sought-after by the Resident Evil community... or frankly anybody with (or perhaps even without) a pulse.

Resident Evil Village launches May 7 on PlayStation, PC, Xbox, and Stadia.

Capcom is promoting Resident Evil Village with life-size Lady Dimitrescu standees screenshot


Revisiting Rule of Rose and its sad, depressing world of torment

I'm not sure if this is unusual since I don't typically discuss "emotions" with other "humans," but I generally play psychological horror games to feel sad rather than scared. Video games lost their ability to frighten me some time ago, but I straight-up bawled at the end of Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. Many games of this genre just seem to be very apt at deconstructing the human condition and then savaging you with it.

It's to the point where I seek them out whenever I'm feeling the big sad and feel like poking myself in uncomfortable spots. One place where I didn't expect to find a good poking stick was in Rule of Rose. This is partly because I knew absolutely nothing about it aside from the fact it was critically panned. The only reason I went to the extreme effort of seeking it out was that it was made by Punchline, who had previously created my beloved Chulip, and I feel like I owe them a kidney for bringing it into my life.

Revisiting Rule of Rose and its sad, depressing world of torment screenshot


Review: Genesis Noir

There is a start to everything. All conflicts and compassions require a catalyst, but finding the true zero point can range from easy to very, very tricky.

This is the setup of Genesis Noir, an adventure from developer Feral Cat Den that's both about a night gone terribly wrong and also kind of about the creation of the universe. What's best described as a surreal exploration of what drives humans—to love, to lose, to lash out and lament—and how we cope with the consequences.

It's heavy stuff, but it's all told in a way that's gorgeous and evocative, and had me constantly in awe of what new audiovisual spectacle it held next for me. It's a noir story, broken up into vignettes with sparse writing, but in place of long dialogues it relies on fantastic art, music, and discretely designed areas to communicate the journeys of the protagonist, No Man.

Review: Genesis Noir screenshot


There's only so much WCW: Backstage Assault the human body can withstand!

The Nintendo 64 and original PlayStation basically lived their lives during the "Attitude" or "Monday Night Wars" era of wrestling. If you're unfamiliar, it was this incredibly tacky time where cartoonish machismo was replaced with edginess and sexuality. I'm not much of a wrestling fan, but when I do watch oiled up muscle men hug each other in their underwear, I prefer the Golden Age of the '80s where superheroes won out against unambiguously evil athletes using the power of believing in themselves. And steroids.

I don't know. A lot of people really loved that era and think of it as a big part of their development, but I didn't get into pro wrestling until, well, a few years ago when I started collecting the games on N64. I'm definitely not the best person to talk about pro wrestling, but watch me try anyway.

More than a dozen pro wrestling titles hit the N64 library if you count Japanese-only releases like Virtual Pro Wrestling 64 and its follow-up. A few of them, especially the ones created by AKI Corporation, still hold up today. The PlayStation would see its own success in its latter days with WWF Smackdown! and its sequel. This is not one of those games.

There's only so much WCW: Backstage Assault the human body can withstand! screenshot


Review: Monster Hunter Rise

It's weird to think how Monster Hunter low key became Capcom's top franchise in an instant.

While Street Fighter and Resident Evil still reign supreme overall, with multiple entries dotting the top 10 list, Monster Hunter is the absolute king with over 16 million units of Monster Hunter World sold.

Why would Capcom stop now?

Review: Monster Hunter Rise screenshot