Overwatch Celebrates 20 Million Accounts With First-Ever PVE Event, Halloween Loot Boxes

How popular is Overwatch? Since its launch last May, players have created 20 million accounts according to Blizzard. Not bad for a brand new competitive shooter that naysayers have claimed “lacks content.”

To celebrate this achievement, Blizzard just dropped the first-ever PvE brawl, called Junkenstein’s Revenge. This wave-based event allows up to four players to team up to take down a mad scientist and his minions.

Overwatch is also getting a cosmetic makeover for Halloween. Starting today, all loot boxes have been replaced with glowing jack o’lanterns that contain more than 100 new costumes, highlight intros, profile icons, sprays, victory poses, and emotes. You can see them in action in the video below:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

The gallery below also shows off several of the new skins available today on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 

 

Our Take
The shooter genre is action-packed with expansion content and big releases. It should be interesting to see if this new content drops helps Overwatch retain its rabid base in the face of Gears of War 4, Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Titanfall 2.

Beta Test Overwatch Celebrates 20 Million Accounts With First-Ever PVE Event, Halloween Loot Boxes

New Titanfall 2 Trailer Shows Respawn's Single-Player Vision

A new Titanfall 2 trailer is out today, featuring Respawn’ talking about how it developed the game’s single-player experience.

In it, developers discuss how they’ve incorporated the “unbreakable bond” between pilots and their Titans into the campaign. They’ve got battles planned, but also some quieter moments and even some puzzle elements.

“We have big, set-piece moments, we have epic combat spaces, but we also have low-key moments where you’re just progressing through the environment, you’re exploring, you’re using your pilot mobility,” says Jason McCord, Respawn’s lead game designer for Titanfall 2.

Mackey McCandlish, the single-player design lead, says the single player experience features different Titan loadouts, so that players can still “experience the flavor” of multiplayer during the campaign.

Check out the full video below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Beta Test New Titanfall 2 Trailer Shows Respawn’s Single-Player Vision

Guild Wars 2 Gets Halloween Update And Gross Candy Corn

Guild Wars 2 is about to jump into the Halloween season with its upcoming seasonal update. Coming October 18 and ending at some unspecified time after Halloween, the game is receiving a Trick-or-Treat basket’s worth of new and returning events and features.

The annual Shadow of the Mad King event makes a comeback along with a Clock Tower jumping puzzle, a “must-do” Labyrinth, candy corn, and “much more.” Players can take part in these Halloween-specific events in addition to earning some “sweet new rewards.”

[Source: Guild Wars 2 Website]


Our Take
Seasonal updates are always a cool idea, especially for Halloween. The costume-driven nature of it all allows for more creative freedom from the developers. It’s all good unless they include candy corn. Get that garbage out of video games (and real life).

Beta Test Guild Wars 2 Gets Halloween Update And Gross Candy Corn

GTA Online Adds Two New Vehicles, Sixth Purchasable Property

Hot on the heels of last week’s Bikers update, which added motorcycle gangs to the already large mix of nefarious activities available in Grand Theft Auto Online, today Rockstar continued the content deluge with two new rides and a long-requested real estate expansion.

The two new vehicles include the “gangland style” Daemon Custom bike and the Kenny Powers approved Raptor three wheeler, both seen above. They look cool, but the news most GTA Online players are most excited about is likely the addition of a sixth purchasable property, which obviously includes a new garage to fill with cars, bikes, and anything else on wheels.

If you’re headed back online today, you may want to check out the biker bonuses that run through October 24th, which include a new set of discounts, unlockable rewards, and a free black Western Logo hoodie that you get just for logging in. You can also earn double RP and GTA$ while playing the new Slipstream Adversary Mode. 

Our Take
The clip at which Rockstar continues to release new GTA Online content is impressive. 

Beta Test GTA Online Adds Two New Vehicles, Sixth Purchasable Property

Gears Of War 4 Multiplayer Update Drops Pack Costs, Ups Credit Rewards

After taking in feedback from the community in the days following the Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition launch, The Coalition is loosening up its stingy credit system for multiplayer just in time for the broader release. 

The developer outlined its new plans in a forum post, which includes dropping the price of an Elite Pack from 4,000 to 3,500 credits and increasing the match completion bonus credits in versus multiplayer. The Coalition hopes this speeds up the progression for players. 

The update also comes with a known bug that may say you earned zero credits for a match completion bonus. “If you see this, you still earned your match bonus credits and XP,” the forum post reads. “You should see your true gain reflected in your Credit Wallet in the main menu. We are fixing this bug in a future title update.”

You can read Reiner’s review of the game here

 

Our Take
The Coalition has ambitious goals for Gears of War 4 multiplayer, going as far as creating an eSports tab on its website. Given the seriousness of that endeavor, staying on top of issues like these is paramount. 

Beta Test Gears Of War 4 Multiplayer Update Drops Pack Costs, Ups Credit Rewards

Get Beyond Good & Evil For Free On PC

To celebrate Ubisoft’s 30th anniversary, the company is giving away some games to its Uplay members. This month it’s Beyond Good & Evil.

The game (on PC) is available to all Uplay members starting October 12, and once downloaded it’s yours (but the FAQ states the game is only playable “via the Uplay PC application”). The offer is a limited one, so don’t delay. For more information, click the source link below.

In other Beyond Good & Evil news, the original game’s follow up has just been officially announced as in pre-production.

[Source: Ubisoft]

Beta Test Get Beyond Good & Evil For Free On PC

Harmonix Answers Age-Old Question In Rock Band Rivals Video

Rock Band Rivals is coming in a little over a week, adding a slew of new tracks to the game and a Behind the Music-style campaign. Players can also pick up some new instruments for the game, one of which has a pretty nifty little trick. To mark the occasion, Harmonix has released a new video that may not seem at all relevant. Stick with it. Honest.

The video, Will it Bend, features host Josh Harrison testing a variety of objects to see if  they can be bent. He’s remarkably successful in his efforts, or at least he is until he isn’t.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Rock Band Rivals is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox one on October 18. Check out our preview for a deeper look at what you can expect to see in the expansion, including a listing of some of the songs you can get for preordering the game.

Beta Test Harmonix Answers Age-Old Question In Rock Band Rivals Video

The Female Version Of Prey's Protagonist Stars In The Latest Trailer

Revealed this year at E3, Prey looks to be an early contender for one of the most intriguing games of the coming year. During the E3 2016 reveal trailer, we got a look at Morgan Yu, a man who must face the Typhon threat. In this latest trailer, we’re introduced to Morgan Yu yet again, only this time, it’s the female version of the same character.

Just as with franchises like Mass Effect, players are able to choose whether the main protagonist is male or female in the upcoming title from Arkane Studios. Bethesda says that this choice will not affect the story or how your character interacts with the world, but rather it comes down to allowing players to define their identity not only through how they play the game, but also who their character is.

You can see the first footage of female Morgan Yu in the trailer below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Prey is scheduled to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2017. For more on Prey, read Andrew Reiner’s full impressions.

[Source: Bethesda]

Beta Test The Female Version Of Prey’s Protagonist Stars In The Latest Trailer

How Sonic 3 Became Two Separate Games

When Sega was in the hardware business, its stable of
developers enjoyed luxuries like having an intimate familiarity with the
hardware and only developing for one console. In addition, during Sega’s tenure
as a platform holder, developers could petition for hardware changes to assist
development. 

“When Sega stopped making hardware, things really changed in
development,” says Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. “For everyone in Sega making
software, we were pretty used to and found a lot of upside in being able to be
on our own hardware. If we had requests for our software, we went to our
hardware team and said, ‘Look, I’m making a game like this, I need this to
happen. Make it happen.'”

In the late 1990s, developers approached Sega’s hardware
team about adding a second screen to the controllers that allowed for minigames
on the go. The result was the Visual Memory Unit for the Sega Dreamcast.
However, this wasn’t the first time developers approached the hardware team for
support.

In 1993, the team was in the process of developing the
follow-up for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with lofty ambitions. “We did 1 and 2, but
the plan going forward to 3 was that we really wanted to hit a home run,”
Iizuka says. “We wanted bigger maps multiple times larger than Sonic 2, but we
also wanted to have more maps; we were having more maps that were also bigger
and take more time to develop.”

Unfortunately, as development continued, it quickly became
apparent the game was too ambitious. Making these larger stages took longer
than the team thought, and several factors came into play to change the course
of Sonic the Hedgehog 3’s development.

The first hurdle the team had to overcome, according to
Iizuka, was a commitment that Sega had made to have a game out to coincide with
a McDonald’s promotion. In addition to that, Sega was quickly discovering the
technology to support its large next game was not in place yet.

“The cartridge sizes were limited in space, so we were
finding out that not only did we have these obligations to get the content out
at a certain time, but we also couldn’t get this massive game that we wanted to
make onto the space that the cart would allow,” Iizuka says.

Sonic Team reluctantly cut the game in half to satisfy these
requirements, but the developers didn’t want the resulting two games to feel like two distinct experiences. The team brainstormed ways to make two separate cartridges feel like one
seamless experience.

They went to the hardware division and explained the
situation. The result was to have the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge feature a slot
where you could stack Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to link the two games and make one
long adventure as the developers originally intended. Thus, lock-on technology
was born.

Stacking Other Games on Sonic & Knuckles

Though the lock-on technology was designed with putting Sonic the Hedgehog 3 on top of Sonic & Knuckles, Sega knew that players were going to experiment with sticking other games in that slot. The developers had to come up with a contingency plan. The lock-on slot of Sonic & Knuckles would read the ID of whatever cartridge was put on it, so the team tried to have some fun with it. For the vast majority of games, the result is the special “blue sphere” stages from Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. However, placing Sonic 2 on the top of the lock-on slot gives players something unique.

Placing a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cartridge on top of Sonic & Knuckles allowed players to play through the entirety of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as Knuckles, a character that didn’t debut until Sonic the Hedgehog 3. “For Sonic 2, the maps were made so that when you fly around as Super Sonic, you can fly around pretty easily,” says series producer and head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka. “The maps are pretty tall in construction, so because of that we were able to fit Knuckles in and play around with him. When we were testing it out on our side, we were like, ‘All right, well let’s take Knuckles and drop him into Sonic 2 and see what happens.’ There wasn’t really an issue, so we were like, ‘That’s a cool little surprise! We should probably leave that in there.'”

Despite the lock-on technology giving players something cool and unique with Sonic 2, the team discovered that the maps from the original Sonic the Hedgehog were not meant for a more vertical character like Knuckles. “We realized that the construction of the world was really made for Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and when you started putting other characters into that world, it didn’t really work right,” Iizuka says. “It didn’t really feel right. So our solution to that was instead of getting you into Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and trying to play with Knuckles or someone else, we didn’t want people to have a bad experience, so we put them into the special stages.”

Unfortunately, advantages such as these were lost when Sega
discontinued the Dreamcast in 2001 and became a third-party developer. “Being
able to make those requests to the people making the hardware that is going to
be running our software was something huge that we were able to do, and when
that was taken away, it was like, ‘I can’t control the hardware anymore! I now
have to make my games within the constraints of whatever the hardware manufacturer
is doing,’ Iizuka says.

Regardless of this challenge, Iizuka and his team remained
optimistic about the leap to reaching a broader audience – an attitude that
carries over into today as Sonic’s exclusivity with Nintendo platforms expires
in time for Sega to publish titles like Sonic Mania and the untitled Project
2017 in the coming year.

For more on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, check out other recent stories:

Beta Test How Sonic 3 Became Two Separate Games

Star Citizen's Squadron 42 Single-Player Campaign Drops Out Of 2016

Delays are nothing new for Star Citizen players, but fans were hopeful that they’d get to play the single-player campaign of the crowd-funded game, Squadron 42, at some point this year. That will not happen now, as the mode has been officially pushed out of 2016.

During a talk at the fourth annual CitizenCon, creator Chris Roberts broke the news that Squadron 42’s first episode will not appear during 2016. “It’s really important to do it right,” he said. “As much as we wanted to have Squadron 42 for this year, it is not going to be this year because, for all the polish we need to do, it still needs more time.”

Roberts did not provide any indication of a new release date, saying, “Please don’t hold me to dates.”

Exactly one year ago today, it was revealed that Squadron 42 would feature a star-studded voice cast including Gary Oldman. According to Roberts, the mode features over 340 speaking parts over the course of the 28 chapters.

[Source: Polygon]

 

Our Take
At this point, it’s never a surprise when this mode gets another delay, but it doesn’t keep me from feeling bad for the fans who have been waiting for so long. Hopefully the next piece of news we hear is of a solid release date that Roberts and his team of developers actually hit. 

Beta Test Star Citizen’s Squadron 42 Single-Player Campaign Drops Out Of 2016