Looks Like Microsoft Has Battlefield 5's Marketing Rights

As you might have imagined given that the Xbox logo flashed at the start of Battlefield V's reveal trailer, it looks like Microsoft has the marketing rights to DICE's upcoming shooter.

Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg tweeted about the Battlefield V reveal today and noted that EA and DICE are "partners" to Microsoft for the game. This, along with the Xbox branding in the trailer, strongly suggests that Microsoft has the marketing rights to the game. Greenberg used the hashtag #GamesPlayBestOnXboxOne in his tweet, which is no doubt a reference to how the Xbox One X version may end up being the best-looking and best-running platform for the game due to the console's increased horsepower relative to the standard Xbox One and competing platforms such as the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.

Xbox engineering boss Mike Ybarra added to this with his own fiery tweet. After tweeting that Battlefield V is the "best shooter" that he's looking forward to, someone on Twitter said Ybarra was only saying that because Microsoft is (apparently) paying to be the game's marketing partner. Ybarra fired back to say his excitement over the game does not have anything to do with Microsoft reported paid partnership with EA for the game. "Do you think I care about 'marketing rights'?" he said. "Who cares who's [sic] logo is at the end of an ad. Not me."

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Given that Battlefield V's DLC maps will be free for everyone, there does not appear to be an opportunity for Microsoft's partnership with EA to extend to include early access to map packs. For Call of Duty, Sony partnered with Activision to offer extra content for Call of Duty games first on PlayStation platforms (Sony has taken this away from Microsoft in recent years).

Battlefield V launches on October 19 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. But the $80 Deluxe Edition unlocks on October 16, while EA/Origin Access subscribers can start playing on October 11. That's noteworthy because it is one day before Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launches on October 12.

As previously rumored, Battlefield V takes place during World War II, making it the first installment in the series to be set during the conflict since 2009's Battlefield 1943. It's also the first game in the series since Battlefield 3 to feature a cooperative campaign, called Combined Arms, which allows up to four players to work together on missions. Like Battlefield 1, the upcoming installment boasts a single-player War Stories campaign. On the multiplayer side, DICE is adding Grand Operations, which is a larger, more in-depth version of Operations from Battlefield 1. Additionally, Battlefield V may add a Battle Royale mode after launch. EA is promising to share more details on Battlefield V at E3 next month.

For lots more on Battlefield V, check out GameSpot's roundup feature, "Battlefield 5: Release Date, New Modes, And Everything We Know."

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 6:36 am

PS4 Entering End Of Its Lifecycle, Sony Says

[UPDATE] John Kodera, the PlayStation boss, offered some further details on his initial PlayStation 4 comments in an interview. Translated by video game industry consultant Serkan Toto, Kodera reiterated that the PS4 is in the final stage of its lifecycle. Over the next three years, Sony will take steps to prepare for the future, apparently.

The original story is below.

Today during Sony's Corporate Strategy Meeting, PlayStation boss John Kodera said the PlayStation 4 is entering the end of its lifecycle. While this could have a negative impact on Sony's gaming division overall, it probably won't because revenue from subscription services such as PlayStation Plus may help offset any decline in hardware sales, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki quoted Kodera as saying. Importantly, Sony is not discontinuing the PS4 now or anytime soon, of course. The system is expected to continue to sell well, as new, exclusive games for it like The Last of Us: Part II, Spider-Man, and others come out.

As some further important context, Kodera was talking to investors and analysts about the health and viability of the PS4 as a platform. Earlier this year, Sony said it expected to sell 16 million PS4s during the year, compared to 19 million during the year prior, so Kodera was more than likely attempting to contextualize and explain the downturn in sales and what that all means. And the wording about the PS4 entering the end of its lifecycle may mean the system still has many years left of viability, only that the console is not rising as fast as it once did as it relates to sales. And of course, that is expected, given the system was released almost a half-decade ago.

The PS4 launched in November 2013, so it makes sense that the console would be entering the final stages of its lifecycle now given historical trends of consoles. The system has sold more than 79 million units by Sony's latest count, which puts it just below the PS3 which reached 80 million units in 2013.

Sony's Game & Network Services segment, which houses the PlayStation business, is expected to remain a juggernaut for Sony, with PSN hitting 80 million monthly active users (which is up from 70 million this time last year). Additionally, Sony said it will look to add more PS Plus subscribers going forward, which will help Sony make more money on a regular basis. On top of that, Sony said it wants to create more first-party exclusives, while it's also looking at "harnessing growth opportunities" in the area of "add-on content."

Overall, Sony predicted a downturn in profit for the Game & Network Services division for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. For that year, Sony expects its Game & Network Services unit to bring in between 130 billion and 170 billion yen in profit, which compares to 190 billion yen for the current fiscal year.

Intriguingly, Kodera also said during the meeting that the period covering now through March 2021 would be a time when PlayStation will "crouch down once" to stand taller in the future. It's not immediately clear what he meant by this, however, but there is already speculation that a PlayStation 5 console is coming. PlayStation executive Shawn Layden recently confirmed that Sony's E3 2018 briefing will not include any hardware announcements, however.

Also during the event, Kodera said PlayStation VR as a platform is growing, but not at a level that reaches what was projected. That's not the only PlayStation business that is not having the easiest time, as PlayStation Vue--Sony's TV streaming service--is running into tough competition that is having a negative impact, apparently. Kodera said PlayStation VR and PlayStation Vue can still grow, but not necessarily at the rate they would like to see.

Earlier this year, NPD analyst Matt Piscatella told GamingBolt that the PS4 should have another strong year of sales in 2019, though not as good as 2018. He added that the next PlayStation console probably won't be released until 2020 or later.

Sony's E3 2018 briefing takes place early next month in Los Angeles. We won't hear anything about new hardware; Sony will focus on four big games during the event.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 6:03 am

Game of Thrones Star On Last Day Of Season 8 Filming -- "It F**ked Me Up"

Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's Game of Thrones, is apparently finished filming her scenes for the acclaimed show's eighth and final season. Speaking to Vanity Fair, Clarke talked about how her final day was--and she did not hold back in her language.

"It f**ked me up," she said. "Knowing that is going to be a lasting flavor in someone's mouth of what Daenerys is ..."

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According to the report, Clarke has completed her final day of filming, though it's unclear if she may be called back for any potential re-shoots. It is also worth noting that while Clarke may be finished filming, it's not immediately known if the same can be said for other actors. There is reportedly still "a lot of filming and post-production work to be done" before Season 8 is fully finished. It is due to air sometime in 2019.

Also in the interview, Clarke teased a little bit of what you can expect from Daenerys in Season 8. "I'm doing all this weird sh*t," she said. "You'll know what I mean when you see it."

You can read the full interview here at Vanity Fair (via IGN).

According to math, Daenerys is the most likely of all the major Game of Thrones characters to die in Season 8, but if Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it's that nothing is certain.

Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres sometime in 2019. There are six episodes in all, which doesn't sound like many, but remember that they might all be as long as movies. In other news, we recently learned about a battle scene that took 55 nights to shoot.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 6:00 am

GTA Online Offering Double Cash And Discounts To Celebrate Memorial Day

Grand Theft Auto V is celebrating Memorial Day weekend with features and discounts made to fill your coffers faster in GTA Online. Through May 28, the game is offering double GTA$ and Reputation in special events, and discounts on some popular vehicles.

The Double Cash and Rep bonuses apply to Motor Wars, Bikers, Executives and Other Criminals, and the newly released Trap Door. The last mode is a Battle Royale that was released just last week, pitting four teams of four against each other as a ticking clock forces closer confrontations.

To show your newly earned swag you can make several big purchases at a significant discount. A new Executive Office and Biker Clubhouse will be 30% off, along with a collection of vehicles. The Pfister Comet Sr, DeClasse Tornado Rat Rod, Coil Raiden, Overflod Entity XXR, Sea Sparrow, Imponte Runner 2000, TM-02 Khanjali, and Buzzard Attack Chopper are all 30% off. If you need a place to store all those, good news: the Executive Office Garage will be 30% off too.

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In addition, four rare vehicles will be available to purchase for an extremely limited time, from May 25-28. On top of that, they're discounted too. Those include the LCC Sanctus, Vapid Liberator, and Western Sovereign for 25% off. Yachts and modifications will also be 50% off.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 3:34 am

A New Leisure Suit Larry Game Is On The Way

A new Leisure Suit Larry game is in the works, and it certainly seems to be in keeping with the franchise's tendencies. Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry, as it is officially called, brings Larry to the 21st century to get into all kinds of trouble yet again.

The salacious point-and-click adventure game features a dating app called "Timber" and other 21st century updates like "Instacrap" and more. The game sports 30 handdrawn levels and an "innovative dating mechanism," whatever that means.

Wet Dreams Don't Dry appears to be in development at German studio CrazyBunch. The game is due out in Q4 for PC, and you can pre-purchase it now on Steam for $25. The price will go up to $30 in late October.

The last Leisure Suit Larry game was 2013's Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, which GameSpot's 4/10 review said was "every bit as shallow as its sexually frustrated protagonist."

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 2:31 am

We Happy Few Denied Classification In Australia, Developer Responds

[UPDATE] Developer Compulsion Games has now written a blog post in which it said it is frustrated by the news. In getting denied a classification, that means We Happy Few is effectively banned in the country (though of course enterprising gamers will find a way to play it either by importing or other means). Still, it's a roadblock that Compulsion is upset over. The studio said it is currently looking into the matter and has requested more information.

"To our Australian fans, we share your frustration," the studio said. "We will work with the [Australia Classification Board] on the classification. If the government maintains its stance, we will make sure that you can get a refund, and we will work directly with affected Kickstarter backers to figure something out. We would appreciate if you give us a little bit of time to appeal the decision before making a call."

"We Happy Few is set in a dystopian society, and the first scene consists of the player character redacting material that could cause offense to 'society at large,' as part of his job as a government 'archivist.' It's a society that is forcing its citizens to take Joy, and the whole point of the game is to reject this programming and fight back. In this context, our game's overarching social commentary is no different than Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, or Terry Gilliam's Brazil."

"The game explores a range of modern themes, including addiction, mental health and drug abuse. We have had hundreds of messages from fans appreciating the treatment we've given these topics, and we believe that when players do get into the world they'll feel the same way. We're proud of what we've created."

"We would like to respond to the thematic side of We Happy Few in more detail at a later date, as we believe it deserves more attention than a quick PR response. In the meantime we will be talking to the ACB to provide additional information, to discuss the issues in depth, and see whether they will change their minds."

The original story is below.

We Happy Few, the BioShock-inspired game that entered Early Access back in 2016, is finally coming out this year, but its road to release may be rockier in Australia. The game was refused classification in the country under the Games 1 (a) clause. Here is the official wording, pulled from the Classification Board's website (via Kotaku):

"Reason: Games 1(a)The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that 'depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.'"

Neither developer Compulsion Games nor publisher Gearbox Software (which is handling the physical edition) has yet to respond to this refusal notice in Australia; keep checking back for more.

We Happy Few has been announced for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It was already playable on PC (and Xbox One) through Early Access, but in January when the game was delayed to summer 2018, Compulsion removed the ability to pre-buy the game.

The game is set in an alternate-history version of 1960s England in the fictional town of Wellington Wells. Players take on the role of characters who refuse to take their mind-altering happy pills and must find a way to escape from the town without being caught by its citizens. Players can get Early Access to the title right now on PC and Xbox One for $51. Compulsion released a new update for it today dubbed "Life in Technicolour," which adds new Joy effects and improves other aspects of the game like UI and AI.

We Happy Few joins Saints Row IV, State of Decay, Hotline Miami 2, and South Park: Stick of Truth in being initially refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. Modified versions of some of those games were subsequently submitted to the board and granted ratings, the highest of which is the R18+ adult rating for video games.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 2:09 am

We Asked Blizzard About Overwatch 2, Nintendo Switch Edition, Loot Boxes, And More

Having recently crossed an astonishing 40 million players, Blizzard's hero shooter Overwatch has been one of the most successful multiplayer shooters in recent years. Part of what makes the game so great is Blizzard's ongoing commitment to improving the game and responding to fan feedback about what works and what doesn't. It is a game with a vibrant community.

Overwatch recently celebrated its second anniversary, and Blizzard just this week launched an Anniversary event to celebrate. Up for grabs are 50 new cosmetic items in Loot Boxes, while there is also a new Deathmatch map, Petra, and Brawl events that return from previous events. To further celebrate Overwatch's second birthday, Blizzard hosted a roundtable interview with Assistant Game Director Aaron Keller and Senior Game Producer Matthew Hawley, who spoke about Overwatch's achievements over the past two years and teased what's to come. Among other things, we asked about Overwatch 2, a Nintendo Switch edition, loot boxes, and more. You can see some highlights from this interview below.

For more on Overwatch's Anniversary event, check out GameSpot's roundup of everything you need to know about it. The game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

On A Potential Overwatch 2:

Aaron Keller: "I think at the core sitting here at the two-year anniversary, we've had a wildly successful 6v6 shooter game which has blown us away with how the community has responded to it. We dip our toes into different areas here and there with the Archives event and Junkenstein. But I think our focus is really on keeping the community engaged with the 6v6 shooter that we have on the live service.

Matthew Hawley: "Running a live service game takes a lot of work and I hope the community knows we have been committed to continually improving the game and creating content. What people might not realise is the team now is significantly bigger than what it was when we shipped the game, and we have put all of that into working on the live game and the new maps, heroes, and events like Anniversary. At least for the time being, [supporting Overwatch] is our focus right now, and we're excited to work on this game."

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On Loot Boxes:

Matthew Hawley: "I think the cosmetic only, non-power increasing [kind of content] works really well for the type of game that Overwatch is. What is the future of loot boxes? I don't think anybody in the room knows. Certainly for now, the cosmetic-only side of things is working for Overwatch."

On Bringing Overwatch To Switch Or Mobile:

Matthew Hawley: "I think it is one of those things that we constantly evaluate. Where technology is going; where the industry is going. There are challenges in running on the platforms that we're not already on, otherwise we would probably already be on some of those other platforms. We'll see where things go. Certainly, there is a huge number of people out there who have Nintendo Switch and mobile phones, but right now, the core development team is focused on supporting the live game."

On More Story In Overwatch:

Aaron Keller: "There is a ton of story that we want to tell and a ton of story that we are going to be telling. We really like not having to carry the full burden of having to explain the whole story in a highly competitive, high-action, 6v6 shooter. I think we get some story elements in the game that work really well, but we're not going to be able to do something like The Last Bastion and tell that story within the context of a PvP shooter. Where it makes sense we'll continue to explore and do stuff like that."

On More Overwatch Heroes:

Matthew Hawley: "There are still heroes on that list [of 50 that were pitched at the start of development] that we are excited about that we have not made yet. When we bring new people onto the team, they hear us talk about heroes as if they already exist, with their codename and everything like that, and they're all heroes that we have been excited about for a long time. We just haven't gotten the opportunity to make yet. There are a lot more ideas that we haven't shipped than we have."

On Potentially Removing Heroes Or Making Them Seasonal:

Matthew Hawley: "It's always a possibility, but it's not something that we are currently discussing have happen in the near future. I think the only example, and it's a very specific example of taking a hero out of the roster, is Symmetra not being in the finals of the Overwatch League. And that's for completely different reasons. Each time we release a hero, we take this wait and see approach with the hero and with the meta; and if we need to react to something, if we feel like we get to that point where we do need to remove heroes, we'll do it. But we're not at that point right now."

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 1:30 am

New Game Release Dates Of 2018: Battlefield 5, Red Dead 2, Black Ops 4

After the amazing gaming year that was 2017, you have to wonder how 2018 will compare. But if 2018's current roster of releases is anything to go by, we might be in for another fantastic year. It seems primed to impress with a slew of hotly anticipated new games, including big-budget games like Super Smash Bros., Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Crackdown 3, and a whole lot more. To help you keep track of all the games coming out, we've compiled a list of all the noteworthy release dates for the biggest ones confirmed to come out in 2018 so far.

Be sure to check back often as we update this article with more release dates or any potential changes to any of the dates below. And if you're eager to figure out the release dates from games last year, you can also reference our feature on the game release dates of 2017.

January

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Game Platform Release Date
The Escapists 2 Switch January 11
Forged Battalion PC January 16
Kerbal Space Program: Enhanced Edition PS4, Xbox One January 16
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition PS4, PC January 16
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory PS4, Vita January 19
Kirby Battle Royale 3DS January 19
Iconoclasts PS4, Vita January 23
Lost Sphear PS4, Switch, PC January 23
OK KO: Let's Play Heroes PS4, Xbox One, PC January 23
The Inpatient PSVR January 23
My Time at Portia PC January 23
Velocity 2X: Critical Mass Edition PS4, Vita January 23
Celeste PS4, Switch, PC January 25
Dust and Salt PC January 25
Dragon Ball FighterZ PS4, Xbox One, PC January 26
Monster Hunter World PS4, Xbox One January 26
Railway Empire PC January 26
Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT PS4 January 30
Railway Empire PS4, Xbox One January 30

February

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Game Platform Release Date
Batallion 1944 (Early Access) PC February 1
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age PC February 1
Night in the Woods Switch February 1
SteamWorld Dig Switch February 1
EA Sports UFC 3 PS4, Xbox One February 2
Shadow of the Colossus PS4 February 6
Civilization VI: Rise and Fall (Expansion) PC February 8
Dragon Quest Builders Switch February 9
The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia PS4 February 9
Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] PS4, PS3, Vita February 9
Crossing Souls PS4, PC February 13
Dynasty Warriors 9 PS4, Xbox One, PC February 13
The Fall 2: Unbound PS4, Xbox One, PC February 13
Kingdom Come: Deliverance PS4, Xbox One, PC February 13
Owlboy Switch February 13
The Longest Five Minutes Switch, Vita, PC February 13
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC February 13
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology 3DS February 13
Secret of Mana PS4, PS Vita, PC February 15
Bayonetta + Bayonetta 2 Switch February 16
Fe PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC February 16
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition PC February 20
Metal Gear Survive PS4, Xbox One, PC February 20
Xenon Valkyrie+ Xbox One February 20
Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus Switch February 22
Stellaris: Apocalypse PC February 22
Past Cure PS4, Xbox One, PC February 23
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet PS4, Xbox One, PC February 23
Yume Nikki: Dream Diary PC February 23
Gravel Xbox One February 26
De Blob 2 PS4, Xbox One February 27
Immortal Redneck Xbox One February 27
Payday 2 Switch February 27
Riftstar Raiders Xbox One February 27

March

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Bravo Team PSVR March 6
Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition PS4, Xbox One, PC March 6
Frantics PS4 March 6
Scribblenauts Showdown PS4, Xbox One, Switch March 6
Fear Effect Sedna PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch March 6
Devil May Cry HD Collection PS4, Xbox One, PC March 13
Golem PSVR March 13
Pure Farming 2018 PS4, Xbox One, PC March 13
Burnout Paradise Remastered PS4, Xbox One, PC March 13
Kirby Star Allies Switch March 16
Assassin's Creed Rogue: Remastered PS4, Xbox One March 20
Attack on Titan 2 PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch March 20
Sea of Thieves Xbox One, PC March 20
Titan Quest PS4, Xbox One March 20
A Way Out PS4, Xbox One, PC March 23
Detective Pikachu 3DS March 23
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom PS4, PC March 23
Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings PS4, PC, Switch March 27
Far Cry 5 PS4, Xbox One, PC March 27
MLB The Show 18 PS4 March 27
Outlast 2 Switch March 27
Agony PS4, Xbox One, PC March 30

April

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Game Platform Release Date
Extinction PS4, Xbox One, PC April 10
Owlboy PS4, Xbox One April 10
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Xbox One April 11
Wild Guns Reloaded Switch April 17
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life PS4 April 17
Metal Max Xeno PS4, Vita April 19
God of War PS4 April 20
Nintendo Labo Variety Kit Switch April 20
Nintendo Labo Robot Kit Switch April 20
Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch April 24
Frostpunk PC April 24
South Park: The Fractured But Whole Switch April 24

May

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Game Platform Release Date
Super Mega Baseball 2 PS4, Xbox One, PC May 1
Killing Floor: Incursion PSVR May 1
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia PC May 3
City of Brass PS4, Xbox One, PC May 4
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Switch May 4
AO International Tennis (originally AU, NZ only) PS4, Xbox One, PC May 8
Conan Exiles PS4, Xbox One, PC May 8
Destiny 2: Warmind PS4, Xbox One, PC May 8
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire PC May 8
Raging Justice Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC May 8
Tacoma (first released on Xbox One, PC) PS4 May 8
Immortal Redneck Switch May 10
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Switch May 11
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr PS4, Xbox One, PC May 11
Battle Chasers: Nightwar Switch May 15
Dragon's Crown Pro PS4 May 15
Horizon Chase Turbo PS4, PC May 15
Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time PS4, PC May 15
Omensight PS4, PC May 15
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux 3DS May 15
Far: Lone Sails PC May 17
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition Switch May 18
Little Nightmares: Complete Edition Switch May 18
State of Decay 2 (Ultimate Edition) Xbox One, PC May 18
Ancestors Legacy Xbox One, PC May 22
Mega Man Legacy Collection Switch May 22
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Switch May 22
Runner3 Switch, PC May 22
Space Hulk: Deathwing - Enhanced Edition PS4, PC May 22
State of Decay 2 (Standard Edition) Xbox One, PC May 22
Tennis World Tour PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC May 22
Dillon's Dead-Heat Breakers 3DS May 24
Dark Souls Remastered PS4, Xbox One, PC May 25
Detroit: Become Human PS4 May 25
Agony PS4, Xbox One, PC May 29
Everspace PS4 May 29
Legend of Kay Anniversary Switch May 29
Sega Mega Drive Classics PS4, Xbox One May 29
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC May 29

June

Game Platform Release Date
BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle PS4, PC, Switch June 5
The Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset PS4, Xbox One, PC June 5
Onrush PS4, Xbox One June 5
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC June 5
Vampyr PS4, Xbox One, PC June 5
MotoGP 18 PS4, Xbox One, PC June 7
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido Switch, 3DS June 8
Jurassic World Evolution (Digital) PS4, Xbox One, PC June 12
Moss (Physical) PS4 June 12
Super Bomberman R PS4, Xbox One, PC June 12
LEGO The Incredibles Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC June 15
The Lost Child PS4, PS Vita June 19
Mario Tennis Aces Switch June 22
New Gundam Breaker PS4, PC June 22
Far Cry 3 Classic Edition PS4, Xbox One June 26
The Crew 2 PS4, Xbox One, PC June 29
MXGP Pro PS4, Xbox One, PC June 29
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Switch June 29

July

Game Platform Release Date
Jurassic World Evolution (Physical) Xbox One, PS4, PC July 3
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy Xbox One, Switch, PC July 10
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Switch, 3DS July 13
Octopath Traveler Switch July 13
Sonic Mania Plus PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC July 17
Mega Man X Collection 1+2 PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC July 24
The Banner Saga 3 PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Mac July 24

August

Game Platform Release Date
WarioWare Gold 3DS August 3
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth PC August 14
Little Dragons Cafe PS4, Switch August 24
Yakuza Kiwami 2 PS4 August 28

September

Game Platform Release Date
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age PS4 September 4
SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy PS4, Switch September 7
Spider-Man PS4 September 7
Shadow of the Tomb Raider PS4, Xbox One, PC September 14
Spyro Reignited Trilogy PS4, Xbox One September 21

October

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Game Platform Release Date
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 PS4, Xbox One, PC October 12
Battlefield V PS4, Xbox One, PC October 19
Red Dead Redemption 2 PS4, Xbox One October 26

Big Games Confirmed for 2018

Below you can find a list of the biggest games that don't have explicit release dates but are confirmed to release sometime this year. There are also games listed that we expect to launch in 2018. We'll be moving each of these games into the release date sections above as soon as official dates are announced.

Game Platform
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown PS4, Xbox One, PC
Code: Vein PS4, Xbox One, PC
Crackdown 3 Xbox One, PC
Darksiders 3 PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dark Souls Remastered Switch
Kingdom Hearts III PS4, Xbox One
Left Alive PS4, Xbox One
Metro Exodus PS4, Xbox One, PC
Persona Q2 3DS
Shenmue III PS4, PC
Skull & Bones PS4, Xbox One, PC
Super Smash Bros. (Working Title) Switch
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Switch
Valkyria Chronicles 4 PS4, Xbox One, Switch
The Walking Dead Season 4 TBA
The Wolf Among Us: Season 2 TBA
Yoshi (2018) Switch

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 12:27 am

Was Sony Able To Live Up To Its E3 2017 Promises?

E3 2018 is fast approaching, so we're expecting tons of big announcements during the marquee briefings from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and others. But before that, we're taking a look back at last year to go over what was announced and determining if each company lived up to its promises. We already broke down Microsoft's and Nintendo's E3 2017 briefings, and now we're onto Sony.

Before The Show

Sony used its pre-show stream as a platform to announce details and release dates for its upcoming games, like Knack 2, Gran Turismo Sport, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, and a port of Undertale for both PS4 and Vita. Each managed to launch in 2017 to generally positive critical reception.

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In addition, Sony also gave an in-depth look at its roster of PlayLink games, the company's foray into multiplayer mobile app party games--similar to the incredibly popular Jackbox Games. New games continue to release under the PlayLink umbrella, including Hidden Agenda, Knowledge is Power, and Frantics.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Got A New Gameplay Trailer

Sony opened its press conference with a trailer for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While audio issues in the livestream dulled the impact of its set-piece action, the game turned out great when it launched later in August. GameSpot said while aspects of it feel like a greatest hits collection of past adventures, it manages to "grow into a more nuanced, clever experience, ranking among the best in the series while also making its own mark as a standalone Uncharted that isn't anchored to Nathan Drake's harrowing exploits."

Horizon Zero Dawn DLC: The Frozen Wilds

After the successful launch of Horizon Zero Dawn February of that year, Sony unveiled a new DLC expansion for the game, entitled The Frozen Wilds. While it felt more like a missing chapter than a revelatory extension, in our review Peter Brown adored the expansion's riveting battles and ultimately felt that "it's hard to get too upset at such a captivating experience when it's all said and done."

Days Gone Gameplay Showcase

After its surprising debut during E3 2016, Sony finally gave us another glimpse at the upcoming Days Gone, an open-world zombie apocalypse game by Bend Studio. There was more motorcycle driving, stealth action, and a gnarly zombie bear by the trailer's end. No release date was announced at the time, but Sony Worldwide Studio president Shuhei Yoshida revealed a few months later that the game would release sometime in 2018. Unfortunately, Days Gone ended up getting delayed to 2019.

Despite Sony confirming that it would primarily focus on Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II at this year's E3 press conference, we're still holding out hope for more news on Days Gone--a release date at least.

Monster Hunter World Premiere

Nobody saw Monster Hunter World coming. After all, the fan favorite Capcom franchise had been predominantly released on Nintendo handhelds in recent years. Its reveal on Sony's E3 2017 press conference stage was a pleasant surprise that captivated audiences with its exciting display of monster fights across a large open environment.

Released in January 2018, Monster Hunter World received positive critical reception, with GameSpot calling it "the biggest and best that the franchise has ever been." After its successful launch, the game has since garnered a massive following and impressive sales numbers. Along with PS4 Pro enhancements and some exclusive content, Sony ensured that the PS4 is the best console to experience the game.

Shadow of the Colossus Remake

In an unexpected move, Sony revealed that developer Bluepoint Games was working on a remake of the cult favorite Shadow of the Colossus. The footage showcased an awe-inspiring level of detail that far exceeded the previous HD version released on PS3. What we ended up getting when the game launched in February was nothing short of magnificence. In our review Edmond Tran called it "a beautiful reconstruction of an already exceptional title [that] continues to be a modern classic and is an extraordinary game that everyone must experience."

Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite Gets a Story Mode Demo

When Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was first announced during PSX 2016, fighting game fans were eager to try it out. The Sony E3 2017 press conference finally gave us a glimpse of the game's story mode, and better yet, a demo was released not long after the reveal. However, reception for the demo was mixed. Fans criticized the character models and animations--with Chun-Li being the main offender. To make matters worse, the demo featured bad AI-controlled combatants and no training mode, which made it difficult to get a feel for how the game played. The demo was simply a bad representation for what MvC:I was shaping up be.

Released in September, MvC:I's critical reception was favorable, but it ultimately failed to gain a solid standing within the fighting game community. Aside from a handful of post-launch DLC characters, support for the game was limited, and it didn't help that the game's sales numbers were ultimately below expectations. While a variety of factors contributed to MvC:I's middling reception, it probably didn't help that people's' earliest impressions of it were colored by the lukewarm demo made available briefly after Sony's E3 2017 press conference.

Platform Exclusive Content For Destiny 2

In the lead up to E3, Destiny 2 was shaping up to be one of the biggest upcoming shooters. Given Sony's relationship with Activision, it was no surprise that the PS4 version of the game would receive timed-exclusive content. A new trailer shown at the press conference confirmed that PS4 owners would be getting access to an exclusive gear set, weapon, PvP map, and strike mission. Destiny 2 ultimately performed well both critically and financially, but it has since suffered a dip in its player base. But the timed-exclusive content ensured that the PS4 was the best platform to play the game--at least until it released on PC the following October.

The Latest in PlayStation VR's Software Lineup

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There was a brief section showcasing the upcoming roster of PlayStation VR games, which included, Skyrim VR, Starchild, The Inpatient, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, Bravo Team, and Moss. Not all of these games managed to release in the intermittent months between then and now; the ones that did have varied in quality. Moss and The Inpatient are definite standouts among the roster as some of the best on the platform, but the rest suffered mixed reception. The only game to not release was Starchild, which is expected to launch sometime this summer.

PSVR still does well compared to its competitors mostly due its accessibility as a VR headset. Earlier this year it was reported that Sony has managed to sell over 2 million headset units and 12.2 million PSVR games worldwide. With numbers like these, it looks like Sony will continue to support the platform for years to come.

More God of War

The God of War trailer at the E3 2017 press conference arguably showed less than the previous year's reveal, but that didn't diminish the excitement of Kratos' return. The new look at the game's combat and story only furthered curiosity towards the game's inner workings. Sony rarely revealed much about God of War in-between trade shows, so information regarding the game was relatively scarce outside the initial reveal. However, the trailer finally confirmed that God of War was launching in early 2018.

God of War eventually released on April 20 and went on to be a massive critical and financial success. In our review Peter Brown called it "a spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat that grows more feverish and impressive as you progress." Five years in the making, Sony Santa Monica successfully delivered on its reinvention of the God of War franchise.

More Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human got another trailer during the show, which showcased a different aspect of its universe: android freedom fighters striving to start an android revolution. Once again the trailer emphasized the various ways a given scenario can play out based on the decisions you make. At the time, Detroit: Become Human had no release date, but it has since been confirmed to release on May 25--a mere two weeks before this year's E3.

First Spider-Man Gameplay Demo

Out of all the big games in Sony's lineup of exclusives, it seemed an odd choice to close out the press conference with Spider-Man. While no release date was confirmed during the trailer, it did show off a significant chunk of gameplay featuring stealth, combat, acrobatics, and web-swinging. In addition, the final moments of gameplay confirmed that fan-favorite Marvel character Miles Morales would be appearing in the game.

For a while after Sony's E3 2017 showcase, Spider-Man didn't have a release window, but now we know it's coming on September 7. New details have emerged about the game's mechanics, but Sony is planning to reveal even more at E3 2018 with it being one of the four games it plans to discuss at this year's show.

To Recap:

Sony's E3 217 presentation was packed with tons of trailers for many of its latest first- and third party games. There was little to no time spent talking about hardware, and understandably so. With Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro already out, the company was in a position to focus primarily on software. Despite a strong showing, the absence of games like Death Stranding and Final Fantasy VIII Remake left something to be desired. And compared to past press conferences, Sony's E3 2017 showing was relatively tame. While an exclusive like Spider-Man is a solid game to showcase, its use as the closer lacked the punch of previous years' big-name trailer reveals.

Currently, Sony still stands on top thanks to its extensive roster of quality big-name exclusives, but if it intends to stay there, it's going to need to start talking more in-depth about its next wave of games. With Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part II being the focus of this year's show, it seems like Sony already knows that. This more focused format is a refreshing change of pace for Sony, but hopefully the presentation will still yield its own share of surprises.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 12:03 am

Was Nintendo Able To Live Up To Its E3 2017 Promises?

E3 2018 will begin in just a few weeks, and that comes with plenty of announcements and trailers from Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and more. Before the madness begins, we're looking back at the year to go over everything that was announced at E3 2017 and what's happened since. Did the year live up to the expectations set at E3? We've already looked at Microsoft and Sony, so now it's time to check up on Nintendo.

Before The Presentation

One of the most notable things about Nintendo's E3 last year was its presence in other publishers' conferences. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was announced at Ubisoft's press conference earlier in the week, while details about Amiibo support in Skyrim Switch were revealed during Bethesda's briefing. Since then, Bethesda in particular has shown support for the Switch with several ports, including Doom 2016 and the upcoming port of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus--a huge shift from its stance on the Wii U, which it ignored completely. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle continues to get support with upcoming Donkey Kong-themed DLC.

More Details On 2017 Games

Much of Nintendo's focus during E3 2017 was on games coming out before the year was up. We saw new trailers for the now-released Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Fire Emblem Warriors, and Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma detailed DLC for Breath of the Wild, which came out in two parts over the summer and in December. The presentation ended with a release date for Super Mario Odyssey (October 27) as well as a substantial gameplay demo showcasing what would end up to be the star of the Switch's end-of-year lineup. Super Mario Odyssey ranked among GameSpot's top 10 games of 2017.

Metroid Prime 4 And Metroid: Samus Returns

E3 2017 was a great time for Metroid fans, as Nintendo revealed two new games in the franchise. The first was Metroid Prime 4, which was announced with nothing more than a logo--and while we still haven't gotten any details since, it remains a highly anticipated addition to the Switch library. Then, during a Treehouse Live presentation directly after the main show, Nintendo revealed Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS with an extended gameplay demo. Released in September, the reimagining of Game Boy game Metroid II: Return of Samus was a bit of surprise. Senior editor Peter Brown praised it in our review: "Samus Returns is both a return to form and a look to the potential future for 2D Metroid games."

Kirby And Yoshi

In addition to Metroid, two other Nintendo franchises got some love: Kirby and Yoshi! Both were revealed with adorable trailers, and both were otherwise untitled. What was initially just "Kirby" became Kirby Star Allies, which came out in March of this year; in our review, Peter Brown said that it ranks among "some of the best" Kirby games out there. As for Yoshi, we haven't heard anything else since E3, and the game is still known as "Yoshi 2018." All we know is that it's a platformer in which you can manipulate diorama-like levels to view them from multiple perspectives.

A New Pokemon Game

Another of Nintendo's future-focused teases was a "core RPG" Pokemon game developed for Nintendo Switch by series developer Game Freak. Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president and CEO of The Pokemon Company, appeared in Nintendo's presentation to tease the game and said it might not release for more than a year. Like Metroid Prime 4, no other details were shared at the time. There are plenty of rumors about the upcoming Pokemon game circulating, but we haven't heard anything since E3 last year.

Rocket League On Switch

Rocket League was shown playing on Switch in a sizzle reel at the beginning of the presentation, and developer Psyonix joined the show later on to confirm and give more details about the surprise port--which would (and did) include all the features present on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. When it launched in November, Peter Brown wrote in our review, "Save for its presentation, Rocket League on Switch is every bit the game it is elsewhere, and when you factor in its newfound portability, it's also the most versatile."

To Recap:

Nintendo's main E3 2017 presentation was on the shorter side, but the company's E3 was still filled with announcements. Earlier in the week, Nintendo had a huge reveal on Ubisoft's stage with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. During its own show, it covered a lot of the franchises fans like to see: Metroid, Kirby, Yoshi, and Pokemon, plus details on games we knew were coming. Ports also made an appearance in Skyrim on Switch (during Bethesda's conference) and Rocket League. The headliner, Super Mario Odyssey, got a release date and tons of gameplay details. And one of the biggest surprises was Metroid: Samus Returns, which was announced after the main presentation had concluded and ended up being excellent. In the year since, we've had several Nintendo Directs about various games, but the biggest ones hinted at during E3--Pokemon and Metroid Prime 4--remain mysteries.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 12:02 am

Was Microsoft Able To Live Up To Its E3 2017 Promises?

E3 2018 is right around the corner. We're expecting tons of big announcements during the big briefings from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and others. But before that, we're taking a look back at last year to go over what was announced and determining if each company lived up to their promises. We've already looked at Nintendo and Sony, so now it's time to check up on Microsoft.

Project Scorpio Becomes Xbox One X

The biggest news from Microsoft's E3 2017 briefing came at the top of the show. The company officially announced the name, price, and release date of its super-powerful console. So long, Project Scorpio; hello, Xbox One X. Microsoft also talked about how the console was its smallest and most powerful yet, while the company announced a list of games that would receive enhancements on Xbox One X. The list has grown substantially since then. Microsoft does not announce Xbox sales numbers, so we don't know how well the Xbox One X is doing. One thing is clear, though: many multiplatform games, including Assassin's Creed Origins, look and perform the best on X, so Microsoft has the advantage over PS4 in that department.

The Xbox One X
The Xbox One X

OG Xbox Backwards Compatibility

Backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 games on Xbox One is one of the system's most popular and beloved features. So it was great news last year when Microsoft announced that original Xbox games would join the catalog. Although there are far fewer OG Xbox games playable on Xbox One than Xbox 360 games, there are some great ones in there, including The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Jade Empire, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Given the interest in and popularity of backwards compatibility on Xbox One (a feature that the PS4 does not offer outside of PlayStation Now), it will be interesting to see what more Microsoft does this year in that department beyond adding more games to the library.

Forza Motorsport 7 Looked Stunning

Its announcement was no surprise, but it was still impressive to see Forza Motorsport 7 for the first time during Microsoft's E3 2017 briefing. Running at 60 FPS and in 4K on Xbox One X, the game looked absolutely stunning; a powerhouse of graphical quality. With more than 700 cars on its roster, the game has one of the biggest lineup of cars ever in a racing game. It was announced for an October release, and it launched on time. Given the rotating schedule between Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon, 2018 would appear to be a Horizon year, so racing fans are looking forward to a reveal at E3 in June.

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Cross-Play

Another big announcement during Microsoft's briefing was about cross-play. In a somewhat surprising move, Microsoft announced a big update for Minecraft that would allow people on almost every platform to play together. With the update, people on Xbox One can play with those on Nintendo Switch--and PC and mobile (but not PlayStation 4). Microsoft and Sony still cannot come to an agreement on cross-play, so PS4 is left out for now. It is encouraging to see Microsoft push so hard on cross-play and help unite the overall gaming community, and it's exciting to think about what other cross-play pushes we see from Microsoft this year.

PUBG On Xbox

So much can change in a year. This time last year, PUBG was dominating the battle royale genre, not Fortnite. Microsoft partnered with Bluehole to bring Playerunknown's Battlegrounds exclusively (at least for a period of time) to Xbox One. Microsoft announced the game would launch in 2017, and it did, arriving on the console in December. The game, which is still in an early access state, continues to be somewhat rough around the edges, but it is undoubtedly improved. The game's second map, Miramar, was recently added on the game's test servers. There was a rumor that Microsoft sought to extend its timed-exclusive partnership with Bluehole to keep the game off PS4 for a longer period of time, but no official word has come down yet.

Anthem Gameplay

Following its announcement during EA's E3 briefing a few days prior, Microsoft provided the first in-depth look at BioWare's new IP, Anthem, on its own stage. We saw a multi-stage mission play out, providing the first look at BioWare's Destiny-like multiplayer shooter that certainly looks very nice. The game was supposed to launch in 2018, but EA delayed the game; it is now due out on Xbox One--as well as PS4 and PC--in March 2019. After the shortcomings of Mass Effect: Andromeda, fans will be looking for BioWare to return to form with Anthem. Intriguingly, BioWare owner EA recently said it wants to involve fans with the development process for Anthem early on to help make the game better, and that is encouraging news.

Crackdown 3 New Gameplay And Release Date

Crackdown 3 for Xbox One and PC was shown off with an explosive, Terry Crews-filled trailer on Microsoft's stage at E3 last year. Microsoft also announced that it would launch on November 7 alongside the Xbox One X. That was exciting news for fans looking to pick up a new first-party game at launch. Unfortunately, Microsoft delayed the high-octane, open-world sandbox game, and it's now due out sometime in 2018. Some have suggested that Microsoft's lineup of exclusives is weak compared to Sony, which just put out the critically and commercially successful God of War on PS4. Being one of the biggest companies on earth (Microsoft is close to becoming a trillion-dollar company) fans will hope to see Microsoft flex its muscle at E3 with some big exclusive announcements. In addition to what's expected--a new Halo, a new Gears, a new Forza--all eyes will be on Microsoft to show that it can compete with Sony in the area of exclusives with new franchises. After all, we recently learned that Microsoft was opening a studio in the Los Angeles area to work on a brand-new AAAA game (yes, that's four As).

Game Reveals

A lot of big-name games were announced on Microsoft's E3 2017 stage, including much-anticipated sequels Assassin's Creed: Origins and Metro Exodus. Origins was released in October last year, and it proved by some accounts to be the return to form for the franchise that many were waiting for. Metro: Exodus, meanwhile, was originally scheduled for 2018 but is now due in early 2019. It aims to expand on the first games by giving players a more open sandbox to explore instead of the linear nature of the games that came before it. Also announced on Microsoft's stage in 2017 was Dragon Ball FighterZ. The game was announced for an early 2018 release date, and it made it; the game shipped at the end of January for Xbox One, as well as PS4 and PC. Microsoft has said it is committed to highlighting games from Japanese publishers at E3 this year, so it will be interesting to see what's in store.

Cuphead Release Date

After years of development and some delays, indie developer Studio MHDR announced Cuphead's September 2017 release date on stage during the Xbox briefing. The gorgeous-looking and brutally challenging Xbox One and PC platformer (that Microsoft partially funded) made it out then, and it was a big hit. By the developer's latest count, the game that looks like a Disney movie had sold more than 2 million copies. Given that huge success, gamers looking for a new challenge will be hoping Studio MDHR has something else to show this year.

To Recap:

Microsoft's E3 2017 briefing was understandably focused around clearing up the final questions about Project Scorpio, and the company delivered with those details and a smattering of other big news for fans. But there some notable omissions, too. Some left the show wondering where all the big game reveals were; after all, we didn't see or hear anything about the next Halo and Gears of War games, or anything totally surprising either. The $500 price point for the Xbox One X was also a shock to some. Microsoft had always billed it as a premium console with a price tag that would match the ambition of the system, but $500 (which is a full $100 more than the PS4 Pro) was still a lot for some to stomach. Microsoft is in second place right now behind Sony, and you should never bet against a company that wants to move up the ladder. Even if Microsoft can never catch Sony as it relates to hardware sales this generation, the company can do well by its existing player base and draw in new users with big game and service announcements that make the Xbox One an even more compelling purchase option.

Posted on 24 May 2018 | 12:01 am

Solo To Have Worst Opening For A Star Wars Movie In A While But May Still Set A Record

Solo: A Star Wars Story, opens in theatres this weekend, and it's expected to make a mountain of money over its first weekend in the US and Canada--but not as much as the three Star Wars movies that came before it. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Solo is tracking to make between $130 million and $150 million over the upcoming four-day Memorial Day weekend. The current Memorial Day weekend record-holder is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which made $139.8 million over the four-day long weekend in 2007.

Solo is the first of the new Star Wars movies that releases in the summer, and it comes just five months after Star Wars: The Last Jedi came to theatres in December 2017. The first of the new films, The Force Awakens, came out in December 2015, with Rogue One following a year later before The Last Jedi premiered a year after that.

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Solo is the first of the new films to not open in December, and the first to come less than a year before the previous instalment. It also could be the worst-performing of the four new movies, unless it comes in well ahead of projections. Rogue One is currently the lowest, having made $155.1 million for its opening weekend in December 2016.

The Force Awakens, which benefited massively from being the first new entry in the series in over a decade, holds the opening-weekend Star Wars record with $248 million, while The Last Jedi made $220 million for its opening weekend last year.

The Han Solo standalone movie is launching around the world this week, in markets including China. With all countries accounted for, the film is expected to make more than $300 million worldwide for its opening weekend.

All three of the new Star Wars movies went on to make more than $1 billion during their theatrical runs, so it will be interesting to see how Solo fares in the long run.

For more on Solo, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying. You can also check out GameSpot's other recent features through the links below.

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 11:50 pm

PUBG's New Map, Miramar, Launches On Xbox One Tomorrow

After weeks of testing, Miramar is finally set to launch for the Xbox One version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The new map will be added to the live game tomorrow, May 24, and it will arrive as part of PUBG's May update alongside some stability and optimization improvements.

Miramar rolls out for all Xbox One players at 12 AM PT / 3 AM ET / 8 AM BST. It's the second map to be added to the console version of PUBG, following Erangel. In contrast to the lush greenery of the original map, Miramar is set in the desert and features arid locales likes mountains and villages to explore and fight in.

Miramar released for the PC version of PUBG several months ago, but Xbox One owners got their first chance to try the map out in April, when developer PUBG Corp. held the first of several Miramar tests on the console. The desert map was also recently added to the mobile version of PUBG.

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Miramar arrives alongside a couple of new vehicles, such as the six-seater mini-bus and the off-road pickup truck, both of which will only appear on the desert map. Players will also be able to find an assortment of new weapons on Miramar, including the R45, Win 94, and sawed-off shotgun.

"The PUBG Xbox team has been constantly monitoring and reviewing your feedback from both the live servers and PTS," PUBG Corp. said. In addition to the new map, the studio is adding a "highly predictive-based loading system" in order to further improve the game's performance on Xbox One. You can find the full patch notes for the May update on the official PUBG website.

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 11:08 pm

Splinter Cell: What We Know And What We Want At E3 2018

The Splinter Cell series has been dormant for quite some time now. Ubisoft has done little with its signature stealth-action game franchise for half a decade, but there have been enough shreds of potential information to think a new Splinter Cell game might finally be happening. With Metal Gear Solid in a weird place after Hideo Kojima's departure from Konami, the time is certainly right. Here's what we know about the status of Splinter Cell, as well as what we'd hope to see at E3 2018 if Ubisoft does decide to surprise us.

What We Know So Far

Being unannounced, we can't say we know anything for sure about a new Splinter Cell game. The franchise's most recent entry was 2013's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and there's been no official word on what might come next. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot did provide fans with some hope last year when he participated in a Reddit AMA. Asked about the series, he said, "Splinter Cell is a brand we talk about a lot. It's also personally one of my favorite series. We don't have anything specific to share at the moment but teams are working on different things, so stay tuned for more."

He then shared a bit more in a subsequent Ubisoft blog post that made it even clearer that a new Splinter Cell is more a question of when than if. "We are receiving lots of sketches and proposals around the brand, and we're going to pick one up," he said. "I think you will be able to see something, but you will have to wait for that."

Most recently, there was Ghost Recon Wildlands. Out of the blue, Ubisoft launched a Splinter Cell-themed update for the open-world action game, even including a mission where you encounter Splinter Cell protagonist Sam Fisher. Notably, he was voiced by Michael Ironside, the longtime Fisher voice actor who was replaced for Blacklist. It seemed a bit odd to bring back Ironside for what was ultimately a minor appearance, unless that was meant to tease what's to come. Indeed, the conclusion of his story in Wildlands sets up the possible plot for a new Splinter Cell, as Fisher is notified that a nuclear weapon has been lost or stolen.

What's Confirmed For E3?

As noted above, a new Splinter Cell hasn't even been announced; as such, there's nothing confirmed for E3. That said, a recent Walmart leak saw numerous unannounced games listed on the retailer's Canadian website, including something simply called "Splinter Cell." Another of these was Rage 2, and Bethesda has seemingly tried to capitalize on the buzz rather than deny it as you'd expect. That's not to say there's any truth to that listing or any other, but it's possible the Splinter Cell listing was something that was only intended to go up after E3.

What We Hope To See At E3

Mere confirmation that a new Splinter Cell game is in development would be a great way to cap off Ubisoft's E3 press conference, but let's think bigger. If Ubisoft properly reveals the game, the first thing we'd love to see is a renewed focus on stealth. Blacklist is a terrific game, and its action was very good. But with Metal Gear at least temporarily moving away from stealth, Ubisoft has an opportunity to fill that void and establish Splinter Cell as the preeminent stealth-action franchise. It could even look to draw on the open-world elements of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, even if it maintains its more distinct mission structure (maybe something along the lines of Dishonored?).

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

However missions are structured, the game will ideally provide replayability. Hitman did an incredible job of offering numerous different approaches and different challenges to tackle within each of its levels. Splinter Cell could use something similar, as well as different consequences depending on how you decide to approach a given situation.

Michael Ironside's return is also all but mandatory. It was hard for many fans to come to grips with his absence in Blacklist, but after he came back for an appearance in Wildlands, it would be both frustrating and disappointing if he weren't back as Fisher for an actual game. It's the sort of detail that Ubisoft could have decided to share for a post-E3 reveal, but after Wildlands, we want to know right away if Ironside is truly back.

Another name fans are familiar with that should make a comeback: Amon Tobin. The composer of the excellent Chaos Theory soundtrack brought a distinct techno-thriller flavor to that game that we want back.

And while single-player is generally the focus of Splinter Cell, we want multiplayer to return as well. That means both co-op support and the return of Spies vs. Mercs, the unique, asymmetric PvP multiplayer mode. Ubisoft has increasingly shifted its efforts toward extended post-launch support of games; part of that could come in the form of a Hitman-inspired, replay-friendly campaign. But it could also use its learnings from Rainbow Six Siege--with its varied Operators and gadgets, as well as destructible environments--to make something truly exciting on the multiplayer side.

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 10:34 pm

Tekken 7 Free DLC Coming Soon; Get An Early Look At The New Costume Sets

Tekken 7 came out nearly a year ago, and now developer Bandai Namco is celebrating its one-year anniversary by releasing free DLC that will be "packed with content." The free DLC will release May 31, and you can check out an early preview of a few of the costumes in the screens below.

While Bandai Namco says this particular expansion will be a big one, Tekken 7 has been continually supported with add-on content. The game has unveiled several crossover characters over the past year, including Fatal Fury's Geese Howard and Final Fantasy XV's Noctis, the latest addition to the game. The game also received a full DLC pack last August, which added Ultimate Tekken Bowl to the game (for those who'd rather bowl than brawl). Unlike this pack, all of the previous DLC cost extra or required you to buy the $25 Tekken 7 Season Pass.

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When it released last year, Tekken 7 was regarded as a great sequel in a much-loved fighting game franchise. Despite server issues at the time of launch, it sold well while following many of Tekken's time-tested gameplay traditions. In GameSpot's Tekken 7 review, Peter Brown said it was an easy game to recommend, thanks to its dozens of unique fighting styles and mix of melodrama and slapstick comedy. "Its diverse roster is packed with a wide range of personalities and fighting styles, bolstered by a raucous attitude that begs to be taken seriously while simultaneously mocking its more peculiar whims in the process," he wrote.

"Tekken fans will find their next favorite game--one that's the product of decade's worth of refinement. And while some of this depth will be lost or out of reach for newcomers, there's enough fun to be had outside of hardcore competition to keep players from all walks of gaming thoroughly entertained."

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 9:47 pm

Battlefield 5 Release Date Revealed For PS4, Xbox One, And PC

EA and DICE gave the world its first look at the newest installment in the Battlefield series, Battlefield V, during a big livestream presentation. Along with revealing the first details about the game's setting and features, the publisher announced when the highly anticipated shooter will hit the market: October 19.

Like many contemporary titles, Battlefield V will launch in two packages. The standard edition retails for $60 and will be available on the aforementioned date, while the $80 Deluxe edition gives players access to the title three days early, on October 16. The latter also includes five sets of paratrooper outfits, an assortment of Special Assignments, and 20 weekly Airlift supply drops, each of which contains one customization item.

As previously rumored, Battlefield V takes place during World War II, making it the first installment in the series to be set during the conflict since 2009's Battlefield 1943. It's also the first game in the series since Battlefield 3 to feature a cooperative campaign, called Combined Arms, which allows up to four players to work together on missions. Like Battlefield 1, the upcoming installment boasts a single-player War Stories campaign.

During the same livestream, EA also revealed that it won't be offering a premium DLC pass for Battlefield V, as it did for Battlefield 1. Instead, the publisher will roll out a regular schedule of post-launch content to all players for free as part of its Tides of War live service. However, players will still be able to purchase cosmetic items in the game.

Battlefield V is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Origin. Players will have a chance to try the game ahead of its launch on October 11 through the EA Access Play First Trial. You can read more about the upcoming shooter in our roundup of everything we know about Battlefield V.

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 9:37 pm

Why An Hour Of Hereditary Wound Up On The Cutting Room Floor

The scariest horror movies can be a test not just of your courage, but of your endurance, too. How long is too long to sit tense with dreadful anticipation? In its first cut, the upcoming horror movie Hereditary was three hours long--and that would have asked too much of audiences, according to writer and director Ari Aster.

Hereditary follows the Graham family as their lives unravel following the death of family matriarch, Ellen. As we stated in our review, "a dysfunctional family isn't a particularly original source of horror, and Hereditary doesn't blow the genre open with some revolutionary new take. It's just gripping, white-knuckled, old school horror that never, over more than two hours, lets you get comfortable for long, despite the familiarity of its themes and tropes." So how does it keep the tension up?

Aster told GameSpot that he wanted to strike a balance between horror and family drama in Hereditary. "There's a dance that we were doing," he said. "I needed it to work as much as a drama as a horror film."

That "dance" involved meeting the demands of both genres. Aster believes films of any genre--from horror to comedy--are only "satisfying" to audiences if they meet the demands of that genre, and in doing so meet the audience's expectations. "The challenge then becomes, how do I meet those demands in ways that people are not expecting?" he said.

For Hereditary's drama side, that meant exploring the characters' relationships as much as possible. But that also wound up being where most of the cuts occurred.

"I wanted the film to work as a family drama," Aster said. "I needed to attend to the family dynamics and build a pretty vivid history for them."

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Aster's first cut of the film was three hours long, and it was clear he'd need to trim it significantly--the writer and director said that version "tested people's patience." The final theatrical release is just two hours and seven minutes. With almost an hour gone, the big question for fans is going to be what was removed.

"There were about 30 scenes that were on the cutting room floor, and all of those are drama scenes," he said. "We took more time originally to develop these people."

A horror movie that isn't concerned with developing its characters typically ends up being a cheap slasher, but despite these hefty cuts, Hereditary is the polar opposite. As the Grahams' spiral into misery takes them to unexpected places, you're all the more invested and terrified because it's so easy to relate to and understand them as people. The characters are so well-developed that it doesn't feel like almost an hour of footage was trimmed. And that lets the other side of Aster's "dance"--the horror side--take center stage.

"There is a certain amount of complacency that comes with watching a horror film or a thriller, because you know what they do. And that's what you want. You're there for that," he said. "People are coming in because there's like, a dare on the part of the audience. 'OK, scare me. Let's see.' And I did my best to."

At the same time, you don't want to simply deliver exactly what audiences are expecting. "How do you give people what they want, but in a way that they don't really want it?" Aster continued. "Some of the best experiences I've had in the theater is when I feel that I've come in expecting one film and I receive one that I didn't bargain for."

Premonitions

Actress Milly Shapiro, who plays 13-year-old Charlie Graham, told GameSpot she "had a feeling" as a horror fan that this movie was going to be big.

"When I read the script, I knew that people were gonna like it," she said. "It wasn't like everything else that I had read before, and it wasn't like every other horror movie. There was a lot more developed in the relationships and the family, and even if you took all the horror out, it would still be a good movie."

Alex Wolff, who plays Peter Graham (and starred in last year's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as Spencer), said Aster is "a genius" when it comes to horror. "The feeling [in Hereditary] is the hyperbole of absolute anarchy, and the depths of guilt and the depths of trauma in a family, and feeling like you're cursed," he said. "I think that's the emotional subtext."

But at its core, Hereditary is a horror movie through and through. Whether you're a horror diehard or have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the theater to see this movie, there are scenes in Hereditary that will shock you.

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"I was very excited about making a film that really satisfied hardcore genre fans, while at the same time attending to an audience that typically wouldn't go to those films," Aster said. He focused so much on developing the characters so that it would be extra jarring when bad things happened to them.

"We develop these people so that you're invested in them, so that when these things happen...they really feel like betrayals," he said. "The film attaches itself, sympathetically, to the character's emotions. I wanted to make a film that collapsed under the weight of what these people are going through."

"Those scenes that are really doubling down on the horror elements are the things I think that will really deeply affect--and probably in ways that they won't like--the people who are there who don't typically go to horror films," he continued.

"I think the thing that makes it so relatable is everyone has felt like they were cursed or had bad things after bad things happen," Shapiro said. "I think people are waiting for something new, and they want something that isn't like every horror movie ever, and I think Hereditary really brings that."

Hereditary hits theaters June 8.

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 9:20 pm

New On Netflix In June: More Movies, TV Shows, And Originals

Start summer the right way: By staying inside and soaking up the air conditioning while you binge the month of June away on Netflix. The streaming service isn't playing around with its new offerings for the month, serving up a number of TV shows, movies, and originals that should keep you very entertained.

The most notable arrival of the month is the second season of Marvel's Luke Cage. Set in the aftermath of Defenders, the new season of Luke Cage follows the titular superhero (Mike Coulter) as he comes to terms with his newfound celebrity, while also facing off against a foe who can bring the pain in Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir).

Other originals popping up on the service in June are new seasons of Hyori's Bed & Breakfast, Marcella, The Ranch, and the series finale of Sense8. Additionally, the latest seasons of The CW shows iZombie, Supergirl, and Life Sentence will arrive the week after their finales.

It's not all good news, though. Among the titles departing Netflix in June are Captain America: Civil War, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, all six seasons of Baby Daddy, and Men in Black.

You can take a look at everything coming and going from Netflix in June below.

Arriving on Netflix in June

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Leaving Netflix in June

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Posted on 23 May 2018 | 9:06 pm

Battlefield 5: Release Date, New Modes, And Everything We Know

After weeks of rumors, EA has finally revealed Battlefield V. As DICE's big return to World War II, the developer wanted to go back to the series' origins while showing a different perspective and level of detail to the epic conflict. The recent livestream offered an extensive breakdown of the game's content, and though a rumored battle royale mode was notably absent, we have a better idea of what's to come in the next Battlefield game. Here's everything we know so far about Battlefield's return to World War II.

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What Is Battlefield V?

Battlefield V is an upcoming World War II first-person shooter developed by DICE, the same developer behind the entire franchise, including the original Battlefield 1942. Players will take part in several large-scale land, sea, and air battles during the Second World War, continuing a series tradition. Focusing on British and European forces--with other sides coming in later updates--you'll see unique perspectives of the conflict, including the Northern African campaign, the Battle of Rotterdam, and the occupation of Norway. With a greater focus on in-game storytelling, both in the returning War Stories and multiplayer matches, players will also have the chance to create their own unique squad of soldiers and take them on a series of missions online in co-op and multiplayer.

How Can I Play Battlefield V?

Battlefield V will be available on PC (via Origin), PS4, and Xbox One for all users on October 19. However, players who subscribe to EA/Origin Access and who pre-order the game will be able to access the free trial early on October 11. Pre-ordering the Deluxe Edition will open up the game on October 16. However, the developer is also planning an open beta at an unspecified date, allowing everyone to get a chance to experience the game prior to its October launch.

What's New In Battlefield V?

While the focus is still on class-based engagements in battles with large player counts, Battlefield V will incorporate several new features into the mix. In the trailer, we saw a squad of soldiers taking part in a large-scale fight in the French countryside. These particular characters had a unique look to them--one had blue face paint, and another female soldier had a prosthetic limb. This helped to showcase one of the bigger focuses in Battlefield V, which is squad customization. With the class system making a return, players will also be able to select a class and outfit that soldier--either male or female--with whatever tools, weapons, and cosmetic items they like. Furthermore, you can upgrade these classes to a particular specialization, such as the Assault class focusing more on anti-tank skills.

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Added to this is a greater level of detail and physics that are several steps above previous Battlefield titles. The developers stressed they wanted to add more elements of realism, while still retaining the fun and excitement found in the Battlefield series. For starters, the player and weapon animations and physics have been overhauled to offer a more tactical and kinetic feel. Soldiers now have a greater range of movement, which includes reverse-prone (on your back), sliding, shooting while sliding, and several other maneuvers--like grabbing nearby walls and gates. Moreover, weapons now have more weight behind them, allowing players to get more of a sense of the force behind each shot.

The new animations also help with gameplay balancing, which was a recurring problem in Battlefield 1. Medics for instance will have to take more care with reviving players--even dragging wounded soldiers away if they have to--as doing so will take a bit more time when compared to the infamous "Medic-trains" of past games. Other gameplay tweaks include the removal of auto-spotting--pushing players to be more proactive with marking enemies and objectives--and offering more opportunities for players to regain resources from fallen enemies, such as ammo and explosive charges.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of the key modes and features discussed during the livestream:

War Stories: This mode, which returns from Battlefield 1, an anthology series of story missions that showcase many of the struggles and moments of heroism during the most trying battles of World War II. The War Stories in V will focus more on battles and perspectives that aren't all that well-known. During the livestream, we saw a teaser for one of the War Stories set during the German occupation of Norway in 1943. You play as a young resistance fighter who has to confront the invading forces while trying to protect her loved ones. While the last game launched with only six story War Story missions, Battlefield V will launch with its own set of missions and will gradually see new ones added as a part of ongoing content updates for the game.

Grand Operations: As an evolution of the Operations mode--long-form, narrative-driven multiplayer matches set across a series of maps and gametypes--Grand Operations takes things further by incorporating new gametypes and locales. Taking place over several in-game days, Grand Operations features a tug-of-war-style approach to engagement. Each victory will give the winning side added momentum, while the losing side will have to overcome increasingly difficult obstacles--including less ammo and tickets for the next round. Compared to Battlefield 1's Operations, the next game will feature more variety in its locations, objectives, and special conditions for both sides.

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Combined Arms: In a brand new four-player co-op mode, players can take their custom soldier online to take part in a series of missions with other players. In these levels, the soldiers will have to complete a variety of different objectives, such as paratrooping behind enemy lines to secure key assets. Putting players in battles against increasingly difficult odds with challenging goals, an AI mission director will add in new obstacles and spawn enemies depending on how your squad is performing. All progress gained from Combined Arms for your soldier and their class can be carried over into the core multiplayer mode.

Fortifications: In response to the pace of the Conquest mode in past games, DICE created a new feature called Fortifications to affect the speed at which buildings and forms of cover are destroyed. With the new fortification skill, you and your squad can reinforce areas of the map with added defense against enemy bombardment. This includes fortifying buildings, adding gunner nests, and even fortifying flags that the enemy will try to capture. Building fortifications will cost resources, so players will have to carefully choose what they want to build.

Tides of War: DICE plans to gradually roll out new content on a set schedule known as the Tides of War. This feature will also introduce timed events focusing on particular battles with set conditions, pathways to special rewards, and special community events centering around a battle of the war. Eventually, Tides of War will add in new sides to experience the war from, along with new maps and weapons to acquire. Interestingly, this calendar will also match up with a similar timeline from the events of World War II, with new sides and locations gradually being added into the game as it happened during the six-year conflict.

Will There Be Microtransactions?

In a surprising move--no doubt influenced by the initial reception from Star Wars: Battlefront II--Battlefield V will no longer have a season pass or Premium Edition, which were mainstays for most recent Battlefield games. Though players can spend real money on custom items for their characters, all in-game content and events--which includes maps, story missions, and game modes--will all be available through regular updates for all players. During the stream, the developers stated that the game will not be "pay to win." With that said, a Deluxe Edition will be available still, though the developers didn't elaborate further on its contents during the livestream. We will likely hear more about the specifics during E3 and in the months leading up to the game's launch.

Further Info

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 8:56 pm

Sony Considering "Many Options" For Portable Gaming

We may not have seen the last of Sony's attempts at portable gaming. The new PlayStation head John Kodera has signaled that the company is looking into the portable market and considering its options, a notable change of course from the previous PlayStation boss, Andrew House.

"In my opinion, rather than separating portable gaming from consoles, it's necessary to continue thinking of it (portable gaming) as one method to deliver more gaming experiences and exploring what our customers want from portable," Kodera said at a roundtable in Tokyo (via Bloomberg). "We want to think about many options."

Kodera was cagey about just what he meant by this, however. He reportedly hinted that the next console will be integrated with mobile, but said it's "not yet the right stage to discuss specific hardware plans," and declined to comment on the hybrid approach taken by Nintendo Switch. Instead, he pointed to Sony's PlayLink project as an example of an experiment in the mobile space. PlayLink games let players use their smartphones as input devices.

Sony first entered the handheld gaming space with the PlayStation Portable, and then followed it up with the PlayStation Vita. Both were moderate successes but struggled against the handheld sales dominance of Nintendo. In September, House admitted they didn't see "huge demand" for handheld systems outside of Asia. Shortly after, he stepped down and Kodera took over the post.

Nintendo's latest system, the Switch, is a hybrid console and portable device, but the company has also pursued a strategy of using its recognizable franchises for new smartphone games. The success of that system may be making Sony rethink its position, but we may not see the results for a while. Kodera has hinted this strategy could be tied to the PlayStation 5, which he said is still about three years away.

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 8:54 pm