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Category Archives: News

Xbox Solidifies Its First-Party Holiday Lineup

Moving into the holiday shopping season, Microsoft has solidified its list of big first-party releases. In a blog this morning, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty shared what he’s calling “three epic months of back-to-back blockbuster game launches in Game Pass.”

First on Booty’s list is the impending release of Age of Empires 4, the long-awaited new installment to the historical real-time strategy franchise. That’s due out on PC Game Pass and Steam on October 28. Continuing the PC news, a few days later will be the addition of Minecraft to PC Game Pass on November 2. You read that right, Minecraft hasn’t been a part of Game Pass outside of consoles yet, but those who don’t own the adventure/creation juggernaut can download it in a few short weeks. Additional Minecraft Dungeons content and the Caves and Cliff: Part II update for Minecraft will be dropping sometime later in the year.

Next is Xbox’s flagship release for the month of November, Forza Horizon 5. Players can race around an open world set in Mexico during this new iteration of the Forza Horizon Festival. Expect fast cars, beautiful scenery, and some hot air balloons. Check out our recent preview of the game to see how it’s shaping up before release. Forza Horizon 5 will be available on November 9, but those who have purchased the Premium Edition, or Premium Add-On Bundle get early access to the game on November 5.

November 18 brings an update to Microsoft’s high flying simulation series, Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition. This GOTY package is a free update for the existing game and includes “five new aircraft, eight new airports, new Discovery Flights and tutorials, and highly requested community features like DX12 support.” There’s also Reno Air Races, an aerial motorsport coming to the game with this update.

Finally, Microsoft’s holiday releases will cap off with the king of Xbox shooters returning to its throne. Of course, we’re talking about the December 8 release of Halo: Infinite. After years of being pushed back for retooling and polishing, both the campaign and free-to-play multiplayer modes will see the light of day. There’s not much else to say about Halo: Infinite other than we can’t wait to get our hands on it.

Just to recap, here are the dates for the Xbox Game Studio’s holiday lineup, all included in Xbox Game Pass or Game Pass for PC:

Age of Empires 4 – PC on October 28

Minecraft on PC Game Pass – PC on November 2 (Caves and Cliffs: Part II later this year)

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC on November 9 (early access on November 5)

Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition – PC on November 18

Halo: Infinite – Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC on December 8

Matt Booty also talks about 2021 being the 20th anniversary of Xbox and Halo. There will be “a fun, digital broadcast for fans around the globe” on November 15 to celebrate the occasion, but do not expect any new game announcements.

What do you think about the first-party lineup Microsoft has planned through the end of the year? Will Halo and Forza keep you busy for the foreseeable future or do you feel something extra is missing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Free Discovery Tour Mode Is Now Live

Discovery Tour: Viking Age, an educational mode that takes players through historical locations and events in the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, is now live as a free update for those who already own the latest installment in the franchise. 

For those who don’t own Valhalla but are interested in checking out Discovery Tour, the mode can be purchased as a standalone experience on PC for $20 via either the Ubisoft Connect storefront or the Epic Games Store. Standalone versions for consoles are coming next year, according to Ubisoft. 

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Valhalla’s Discovery Tour differs from the tours seen in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey in that they’re more narrative-focused than ever before, complete with quests to complete as you journey through Viking-controlled England, as noted by GameSpot

“[Discovery Tour: Viking Age] takes a new approach to how players explore history: instead of embarking on guided tours, they will assume the roles of different characters and take on quests, which aim to bring them closer to the material by putting them at the center of it,” a blog post from Ubisoft about the mode reads. “While following the narrative and completing the quests’ objectives, Discovery Tour: Viking Age players will have the opportunity to interact with Discovery Sites that each focus on an element of the culture and traditions of Vikings and Anglo-Saxons in the Viking Age.” 

Ubisoft says these Discovery Sites feature images of items from the museum partners the company worked with to bring historical and archaeological accuracy to Valhalla and its Discovery Tour mode. 

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If you already own Valhalla, you can download the latest update to gain access to Discovery Tour: Viking Age on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, and Amazon Luna. 

For more about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, check out our thoughts on the game in Game Informer’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review and then read our thoughts on its latest expansion, The Siege of Paris. Check out this story about how Netflix’s Assassin’s Creed TV series will be written by a writer from Die Hard after that.

[Source: GameSpot]

Will you be jumping into Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Discovery Tour: Viking Age mode? Let us know in the comments below!

Amazon Games investigating New World invulnerability exploit

New World players have found an exploit that lets you turn invincible, which is certainly not the sort of exploit you want in your PvP-focused MMORPG. According to players who’ve encountered the bug, it’s pretty easy to replicate, and folks are calling for wars to be disabled until there’s a fix. Amazon Games say they’re aware of the problem and are investigating, so hopefully they’ll patch the game soon to make sure everyone’s staying vincible.

Fornite’s Halloween Event Now Live As Cube Queen Arrives In-Game, The Batman Who Laughs Coming Soon

It’s all been leading up to this: the Cube Queen has arrived to Epic Games’ Fortnite and with her comes the start of the end of the battle royale’s Halloween event. 

Fornitemares is Epic’s way of celebrating Halloween – it’s brought legendary horror icons like Frankenstein’s Monster alongside other popular characters like Rick Grimes to the battle royale – and it’s been happening basically all month long. The end is in sight now as the new Fortnitemares: Wrath of the Cube Queen event will run from now until November 1. 

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“The Cube Queen’s emergence brings changes to the Island,” Epic’s blog post about the event reads. “Since Fortnitemares began (and even before), the Cubes have been mobilizing. Their migration towards the Island’s center wasn’t just to spread corruption – they’re now at the center forming The Convergence. What is the purpose of this mysterious structure?”

It seems the answer to that question is something players must search for while participating in the Wrath of the Cube Queen event. In order to do that, players will need to take out Caretakers, which are new monsters that server as the Cube Queen’s loyal warriors. They’re seemingly made of rock, very tall and shadowy, and can use long spectral tendrils to “pull you directly into The Sideways for a showdown on their home turf.” If you survive, Epic teases that the loot will be worth the fight. 

Alongside the arrival of the Cube Queen is the new Sideways Scythe and returning items like the Witch Brooms and Pumpkin Rocket Launcher. 

The Batman Who Laughs Outfit will be added to the Fortnite Item Shop during this event as well. More specifically, it will be available alongside the Robin’s Perch Back Bling, Dark Multiverse Pickaxe and Glider, and the Dark Days Loading Screen in the Dark Multiverse Set on October 25. More details about this outfit and the Batman Foundation Fortnite comic book launching on October 26 can be found on Epic’s blog post about the character

Fornite’s popular Horde Rush is back, too. 

“The Cube Monsters are pushing out of the Sideways and into our realm,” the blog post reads. “Fight alongside your teammates to rack up your score by finding score multipliers, earning combos, and eliminating as many monsters as you can. To win, survive at locations across the map and take down the Final Boss!” 

There are three new Horde Rush quests available to complete during the Wrath of the Cube Queen as well. Complete the general Fortnitemares Quest to unlock the Raven’s Curse Spray, the Midnight Showdown Loading Screen, and the Wrathful Breakout Contrail. 

Complete the Monster Hunter Questline to unlock Ariana Grande’s All-Weather Extractor Pickaxe (Dark Style). Epic’s blog post seems to indicate that an Ariana Grande skin is associated with this quest – “Ariana Grande has returned to the Island…’Spacefarer Ariana Grande,’ the galaxy’s greatest monster hunter, is inviting you to join her hunt – but it’s not exactly clear. Her All-Weather Extractor Pickaxe is definitely up for grabs during the event, though. 

The final questline, The Oracle Speaks Questline, rewards players with the Cube Cruise Glider upon completion. 

For more about Fortnite, read about how Universal’s classic monsters are joining the battle royale and then check out this story about the inclusion of The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes in the game. Read about why you shouldn’t expect to see Fortnite on Apple devices for years after that.

Will you be jumping into Fortnite’s Wrath of the Cube Queen event? Let us know in the comments below!

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s educational Discovery Tour is out today

The best part of primary school in the UK is learning about Vikings: getting to make and decorate cardboard swords and jewellery, write stories about legends, and maybe even escape school with a visit to a historical site. Well, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla might not offer the same crafting opportunities, but you can learn a lot about the game’s history with the new Discovery Tour mode. It hits Valhalla today in a free update, and will also be sold separately for folks who don’t want Valhalla.

Apex Legends’ new character is a familiar face from Titanfall 2

Apex Legends is adding a second spooky murderbot to its roster, one that both Apex and Titanfall 2 fans might recognise. Ash is a simulacrum (human consciousness in a freaky robot) who was previously a baddie in Titanfall 2. Since May this year, she’s been overseeing Apex’s new 3v3 Arenas mode – you know, that ominous voice that tells you to crush your enemies. But in the battle royale’s next season, Escape, she’ll be joining the fight herself.

Ghostface, Frank The Rabbit Coming To Call Of Duty Warzone And Black Ops Cold War

The Haunting will go live tomorrow in both Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War, and this year’s limited Halloween event brings with it new modes, maps, Ghostface from Scream, and Frank the Rabbit from Donnie Darko. 

This year’s Haunting event will run from October 19 through November 2. During those weeks, players can experience the new Ghosts of Verdansk limited-time mode, which transforms the Verdansk Warzone map into a nighttime one. Dubbed a spiritual successor to Zombie Royale by Activision, “this limited-time mode has you fighting threats both human and unhuman.” 

In the mode, you must manage your character’s Fear level (influenced by being shot at, camping, seeing dead bodies or ghosts, or watching teammates go down) by playing well and staying within the Sacred Ground circle. If you fail to do that, you’ll “succumb to the darkness” and become a Ghost of Verdansk. Ghosts, which you become upon death rather than an Operator sent to the Gulag, don’t have access to weapons and instead rely on the Super Jump, Teleport, and Spectral Blast abilities to bring fellow players over to the other side. 

You can do that while sporting one of the Haunting’s many event-specific Operator skins, including Ghostface from Scream, Frank the Rabbit from Donnie Darko, the Necro Queen Operator skin for Portnova, the Disciple of Mayhem skin, or even the Lumens skin for the Maxis Operator. These skins will be available in the shop for purchase for a limited time while the Haunting event runs in-game. 

Ghostface will be available for purchase starting tomorrow, while Frank the Rabbit won’t be live in-game until October 24. The other three Operator skins, which will be available as part of bundles that feature new weapon blueprints and more, will be available closer to Halloween, Activision says. 

On the Black Ops Cold War side of things, the iconic Nuketown map will be remade to feature Halloween decorations such as spooky lights and more. The Infected game mode returns to Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer alongside a Halloween-themed Prop Hunt mode and the unique Scream Deathmatch mode. 

Over in Black Ops Cold War’s Zombies mode, players will be tasked with surviving the Hallows’ Eve Outbreak. For more details about these new skins, maps, and modes, head to Activision’s Haunting blog post

The Haunting event will lead right into the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard, which hits console and PC on November 5. When that launches, so too will the new Pacific-themed Warzone map, which will mark the end of Verdansk’s run in the battle royale.

Will you be jumping into The Haunting this year? Which Operator skins are you picking up? Let us know in the comments below!

Doctor Strange 2, Thor: Love And Thunder, Black Panther 2, And More Delayed

Marvel Studios has announced several delays to its upcoming slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and more. 

This news comes by way of IGN, which reports a total of six MCU delays alongside a massive delay for Indiana Jones 5. The latter has been delayed by almost an entire year, moving from July 29, 2022 to June 30, 2023. 

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As far as MCU delays go, the following six movies were delayed and as you can see below, most weren’t delayed by too much (especially compared to Indiana Jones 5’s delay): 

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been delayed from March 25, 2022 to May 6, 2022. 
  • Thor: Love and Thunder has been delayed from May 6, 2022 to July 8, 2022. 
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been delayed from July 8, 2022 to November 11, 2022. 
  • The Marvels has been delayed from November 11, 2022 to February 17, 2023. 
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has been delayed from February 17, 2023 to July 28, 2023. 
  • An untitled Marvel movie has been moved up from November 10, 2023 to November 3, 2023. 

As you can see, it seems like each of these MCU movies were shifted back to take the place of the movie set to release after it. According to IGN, Disney also removed two unannounced Marvel movies from its original MCU slate entirely (the two movies were set for July 28, 2023 and October 6, 2023). 

It’s important to note that The Eternals is still set to hit theaters on November 5 and Spider-Man: No Way Home’s premiere remains December 17. Also of note, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s release date is still May 5, 2023.  

And speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, check out Game Informer’s coverage of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which releases on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC next week. Read about how Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a whopping 150GB download on PC after that and then check out the launch trailer released for it, which seems to tease an appearance from Adam Warlock. 

Which of these movies are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments below!

PlayStation 5 Was Best-Selling Console In U.S. Last Month, Ending Nintendo Switch’s 33-Month Streak

The PlayStation 5 was the best-selling hardware platform in the U.S. this September, both in terms of units sold and dollars made, ending the Nintendo Switch’s 33-month streak at the number one spot. 

NPD Group executive director Mat Piscatella released the September 2021 U.S. numbers of video game sales, which is where news of the PS5’s top spot was revealed. Piscatella says the PS5 is the best-selling console of 2021 year-to-date in dollars, although the Switch still leads the year in actual units sold. 

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The PS5 costs more than the Switch, so it doesn’t need to sell as many units as the Switch to rake in the most money. This is why the Switch has sold more units but made less money compared to the PS5. Before today, November 2018 was the last month that a console other than the Switch – the PlayStation 4 in this case – was the best-selling hardware platform. 

“September video game hardware dollar sales increased 49% when compared to September 2022 to $412 million,” Piscatella said in a tweet today. “Year-to-date hardware spending has also gained 49% when compared to the same period a year ago, totaling $3.4 billion.” 

In terms of video game accessories, September 2021 spending dropped 12% compared to last year, coming in at $171 million. However, year-to-date accessory sales have now hit $1.8 billion, which is 9% more compared to a year ago. The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller was the best-selling accessory last month, while the PS5 DualSense controller retains the top spot for the overall year. 

Piscatella also released the top 20 video games sold across all platforms in the U.S. last month as well. Here’s what the top 10 looks like: 

  1. Madden NFL 22
  2. FIFA 22
  3. NBA 2K22
  4. Tales of Arise
  5. Diablo II: Resurrected
  6. Deathloop
  7. Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War
  8. Ghost of Tsushima
  9. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
  10. Life is Strange: True Colors 

You can visit Piscatella’s entire Twitter thread for breakdowns of the top 10 games sold on Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms, alongside additional information about consumer spending in video games last month. 

Any big surprises in the Top 10 games sold for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Hideo Kojima Teaming Up With French Glasses Designer Jean-François Rey To Create Death Stranding’s Ludens Mask And More

Remember looking in the mirror as Sam for the first time in Death Stranding while wearing that Ludens mask? Remember how cool you felt (we all felt it, right?). Well, now you can be that cool, thanks to a team-up between Death Stranding director Hideo Kojima and French glasses designer Jean-François Rey. 

As reported by Video Games Chronicle, the two have teamed up to create a unique line of glasses, including one pair of glasses based on the Ludens mask featured in Death Stranding. Kojima was quiet on this collaboration, opting to simply post photos of the glasses on Instagram without captions, but it’s clear that these eyewear pieces are in some part designed by the game director. 

Over on the glasses designer’s website, the Kojima collaboration is formally available for pre-order under the “Capsule Collection” umbrella. Those who pre-order now will receive their glasses by the end of March 2022. 

“New collaboration between Jean-François Rey and the famous video game designer Hideo Kojima,” the website reads. “Four original models with surprising designs, inspired by [the] Death Stranding futuristic universe. Under the artistic direction of Hideo Kojima, we have designed the Ludens mask, the hybrid SLS 3D, and metal Bridges frames worn by Sam Porter Bridges.” 

The HKxJF01 glasses feature two standard lenses and two transforming sunglass shades that can seemingly be placed in front of the glass lenses or pushed outwardly to sit beside each glass lens. 

The HKxJF02 glasses are perhaps the most standard-looking glasses of the bunch, and they come in black, blue, or army camouflage.

The third and final pair of glasses coming from this collaboration is the Ludens Mask + HKxJF03 combo. 

“The Ludens mask was modeled by our design studios, and will be produced with SLS technic,” the website reads. “It is equipped with adjustable nosepads and rimlocks for prescription lenses or sunglasses. Ludens maks is a genuine Collector’s item produced in a limited edition. It is delivered in a luxury packaging marked with the Hideo Kojima production house emblem.” 

Prices aren’t listed for the glasses, and to preorder them, the listed number must be called, or the listed email must be messaged. If you preorder, you can deliver packages in style starting March 2022, when the glasses are released. 

For more about Death Stranding, check out our thoughts on the game in Game Informer’s Death Stranding review and then read about why we think the recently-released Death Stranding Director’s Cut is worth another trek across America.

[Source: Video Games Chronicle]

Will you be picking up some Death Stranding-inspired glasses? Let us know in the comments below!