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Next Week on Xbox: New Games for February 6 to 10

Welcome to Next Week on Xbox! In this weekly feature we cover all the games coming soon to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows, and Game Pass! Get more details on these upcoming games below and click their profiles for further info (release dates subject to change). Let’s jump in!

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management – Box Art

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management – February 8

Craft every building, room, and path – just make sure the layout makes efficient use of the power grid and water systems. Work on rehabilitating prisoners by sending them to a variety of therapies, from a zero-gravity room to a hologram room to dance therapy. Help these inmates address their problems and return them to society!

Prizma Puzzle Prime Box Art

Prizma Puzzle Prime – February 8
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Tile-based puzzle game with smooth and challenging gameplay, old-school isometric graphics, and excellent music. Prizma Puzzle Prime includes content from past games, new elements, enhanced graphics, visual and sound effects.

Alice in Wonderland - A Jigsaw Puzzle Tale Box Art

Alice in Wonderland – A Jigsaw Puzzle Tale – February 9

Solve jigsaw puzzles in a refreshing reinterpretation of a beloved classic within a beautiful style of wonderland! Featuring 12 beautiful illustrations created by Katia Numakura, with inspiration from “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

Hyper Shapes – Box Art

Hyper Shapes – February 9
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

A frenetic minimalist “boss rush” where understanding the enemy attack patterns and weaknesses is key to success. Each room is a surprise and each boss a different challenge with unique mechanics. Use your power ball to defeat them and beware of their attacks — you won’t have a break.

Bumblebee - Little Bee Adventure Box Art

Bumblebee – Little Bee Adventure – February 10

A story-driven, narrative 3D flight exploration game in which you control a little bee on its journey to find a new home. Discover distant places, friendly animals, and dangerous habitats.

The Experiment: Escape Room Box Art

The Experiment: Escape Room – February 10
Xbox Play Anywhere

A multiplayer escape room game that can be played competitively, co-op, or solo. While visiting a well-renowned doctor, you notice something is amiss at his office, but before you realize what’s going on, he drugs you and you fall asleep. When you wake up, you’re sitting on a chair in the back room, locked, and unable to get out of the building. Can you figure out what’s going on and escape before it’s too late?

Hogwarts Legacy – Box Art

Hogwarts Legacy – February 10
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S

In this open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books, you’ll embark on a journey through familiar and new locations as you explore and discover magical beasts, customize your character and craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and become the wizard you want to be. Make allies, battle dark wizards, and decide the fate of the wizarding world!

Looking for Aliens Box Art

Looking for Aliens – February 10

Aliens are among us! Can you find traces of them on Earth, the Moon, and the edges of the galaxy? Find all the clues to prove the existence of alien civilizations and discover how making fried eggs can end up in a monster attack! This hidden object game lets you see the world through an alien TV show while following the adventures of Earth resident Shaun. He must prove the existence of aliens no matter what!

Repentant – Box Art

Repentant – February 10

In this dramatic point and click adventure game, we’re introduced to Oliver, a former criminal, who starts to suffer remorse from the terrible deeds of his past and has since developed a dependence on alcohol. One day while in a small shop, he is a witness to a robbery committed by a young girl. Feeling this is his opportunity to atone for his sins, he reaches out to help her. But who really needs help and who is the victim?

Touchdown Pinball – Box Art

Touchdown Pinball – February 10
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Score field goals, touchdowns, and show who is the greatest football pinball player. Discover all the missions and secrets, including a secret arena match where your abilities will be tested.

Related:
Next Week on Xbox: New Games for January 16 to 20
Next Week on Xbox: New Games for January 9 to 13
Next Week on Xbox: New Games for December 12 to 16
- Kyle Ocean, Business Planner, Xbox
Free Play Days – For Honor, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Raise your sword…or fist… to kick off this Anime month Free Play Day weekend. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker are available this weekend for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play from Thursday, February 2 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Sunday, February 5 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. For Honor is available for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play until February 9.

How to Start Playing

Find and install the games on each of the individual game details page on Xbox.com. Clicking through will send you to the Microsoft Store, where you must be signed in to see the option to install with your Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. To download on console, click on the Subscriptions tab in the Xbox Store and enter the Gold member area to locate the Free Play Days collection on your Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Keep the Fun Going

Purchase the game and other editions at a limited time discount and continue playing while keeping your Gamerscore and earned achievements during the event! Please note that discounts and percentages may vary by title and region.

Game Details For Honor Standard Edition ($29.99 SRP) at 85% off: $4.49 (Free Play Days) Marching Fire Edition ($49.99 SRP) at 75% off: $12.49 Complete Edition ($99.99 SRP) at 75% off: $24.99 Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising Standard Edition ($14.99 SRP) at 33% off: $10.04 (Free Play Days) Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Standard Edition ($59.99 SRP) at 90% off: $5.99 (Free Play Days)

For Honor

Discover For Honor, a groundbreaking melee action game where you choose your warrior from the Knights, the Vikings, and the Samurai and engage in massive battles and confront bosses in intense duels. For Honor will have a free week from February 2-9. Players will have full access to the Standard Edition of For Honor, and those who want to keep battling after the free period will be able to carry on their progression and heroes to the full game once purchased with the game being discounted up to 85% off during the Free Week.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

The prelude to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, one of the most successful crowdfunded games of all time! Traverse New Neveah with CJ, Isha, and Garoo on an adventure to rebuild the town and expose the evil lurking in the ancient ruins. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an action-RPG featuring a delightful cast of characters and a rich story for you to enjoy in 2.5D. Prepare for action, mystery, humor, and surprises while you seek out magical rune-lenses. You can play Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is also available to purchase at the 33% discount during the Anime Month sale.

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Answer the call of the shinobi! Create your own custom shinobi, or select your favorite character, and participate in 4v4 battles where you can unleash a multitude of ninja techniques on your opponents. Follow your ninja way and lead your team to victory! Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker will be on sale during Anime Month through Feb 14 at 90% off. The new Master Character Training Pack: Isshiki Otsutsuki DLC and Starter Pack DLC are now available! The Starter Pack DLC offers 10 ninjutsu and moonlight scrolls to get you started on your ninja way!

Don’t miss out on this exciting Free Play Days for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member! Learn more about Free Play Days here and stay tuned to Xbox Wire to find out about future Free Play Days and all the latest Xbox gaming news. 

Related:
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Clean Croft Manor: PowerWash Simulator Gets Free Tomb Raider DLC
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition on Console is Out Now, Includes Optimized Controls and New Tutorials
- Samuel Roberts, PR Manager – Frontier Foundry
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
SummaryDeliver Us Mars is the sequel to 2019’s Deliver Us The Moon, and it’s out now on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.Join a desperate mission to Mars and uncover the mystery of an abandoned colony.Experience a rich narrative and all-new gameplay mechanics as you help save our planet.

In 2019’s Deliver Us The Moon, developer KeokeN Interactive sent players to the Moon to reactivate a vital energy source and pull Earth back from the brink of disaster. In its sequel Deliver Us Mars, out today on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, the goal is to give our planet a fighting chance at a bright future – and the only way to do that involves a small crew journeying to Mars on a do-or-die mission.

Developed by a core team of around 20 people, Deliver Us Mars takes their grand vision to an even bigger canvas. Where Deliver Us The Moon had a silent protagonist witnessing events from the past, Deliver Us Mars has a voiced lead who plays a key role in the story, as well as a full cast of supporting characters. New gameplay mechanics like a thrillingly realistic climbing system, first-person zero-G sections and challenging puzzles give that adventure even more variety this time around.

In the near future, Earth has been ravaged by terrible flooding and wild storms as a result of climate change. Only the ARKs – enormous ships with the power to restore plant life and the planet’s atmosphere – can give humanity a shot at safeguarding the world for future generations. Those ARKs, though, are currently in the possession of the shadowy group Outward, who fled with the vessels to Mars and deliberately left the rest of mankind behind to start anew. Discovering the fate of the Outward colonists and the whereabouts of the ARKs are what drive your journey across Mars in this sci-fi adventure.

Deliver Us Mars screenshot

But that larger save-the-world story is just one layer of Deliver Us Mars’ powerful and emotional narrative. At the heart of the game is the relationship between a father and a daughter. You take on the role of young astronaut Kathy Johanson, whose father, Isaac, abandoned her years earlier to join the Outward group as they escaped to Mars. In the present, a mysterious message suggests that Isaac may still be alive – and Kathy is determined to join the World Space Agency’s mission to the Red Planet and discover the truth, even though her father is a wanted fugitive on Earth.

“It was important to have the impact of that relationship bubbling underneath the surface the entire time,” says Ellise Chappell (‘Poldark’, ‘Young Wallander’), who plays Kathy and lends her likeness to the character. “Kathy has been living with unanswered questions for years which I think influences the way she carries herself. This broken relationship informs her interests, her drive, and even her sense of humor, which I think she uses to hide a deep sadness and insecurity. It also makes Kathy feel quite unpredictable as a character – where do her loyalties lie?”

That tension of Kathy’s true motivations will keep players guessing throughout the game: has she truly journeyed to Mars to find the ARKs and save humanity, or does she selfishly want to find her father, a goal not shared by her crewmates? Or does she want both at the same time, possibly jeopardizing the mission?

Deliver Us Mars screenshot

“Apart from being a grand space opera mixed with a psychological family drama, which is in itself and unusual combination – one that works brilliantly – Deliver Us Mars is a game of suspense and wonder and mystery exploring the Red Planet,” says actor and Performance Director Neil Newbon (Resident Evil Village, Baldur’s Gate 3), who plays Kathy’s father, Isaac, and helped bring the motion-captured cutscenes to life in collaboration with KeokeN Interactive. “It has violent undertones without being overtly violent. I think it makes it a thoughtful and well observed piece whilst still being thrilling and captivating as a piece of storytelling. The danger and threat of violence is ever present but not glorified – and that underlying current adds to the tense experience of Kathy’s journey.”

Newbon was such a huge fan of Deliver Us The Moon that he reached out to KeokeN Interactive after completing the game. “I emailed them shortly after its release to ask to work with them about 4 years ago,” he says. Now, he’s one of the sequel’s stars, bringing a great deal of inner conflict to the role of Isaac Johanson, who players will learn about in holographic diaries once they arrive on Mars. Isaac’s regret over leaving Kathy behind years before is a key piece of the overall narrative. “I charted his life and the events that brought him to this terrible decision. It was not an easy moment but as an actor I loved working on these scenes.”

Deliver Us Mars is a game that asks players to make their own minds up about the story, and what’s worth sacrificing for the greater good. While the Outward group initially seem like the villains of the piece, Kathy’s journey across their colonies on Mars exposes a faction that was fraught with infighting and conflict about what they’ve done. Players will experience this parallel story while recovering the ARKs, and retrace Outward’s steps as they endured the harsh realities of attempting to colonize Mars (which, even with the power of the ARKs, was far from easy).

Deliver Us Mars screenshot

“I think Kathy, like most of the characters in Deliver Us Mars, doesn’t fall into either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ archetypes,” says Chappell. “No one is a hero or a villain in this game; each character is a complex representation of what it means to be a human, flaws and all. Kathy is an anti-hero; despite being brave, determined and highly intelligent. She can also be deceptive, short-sighted and reckless. She’s a character who has to make difficult choices which will throw what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ into question for the player.”

Players will build a strong connection with Kathy as she endures immense odds to achieve her mission. KeokeN Interactive’s goal is to create a protagonist who feels like a real person, reflecting their grounded approach to sci-fi storytelling that is consistent with the style of the first game.  

Today, they can take that journey to Mars themselves, experiencing gorgeous environments, a huge variety of gameplay types and a finale that’ll stay with them for years to come.

Newbon explains how he hopes players will feel about Deliver Us Mars once they’ve finished the game. “Transported. Moved and wanting to immediately call their closest human beings and tell them that they love them.”

Deliver Us Mars screenshot Deliver Us Mars Xbox Live Deliver Us Mars

Frontier Foundry

☆☆☆☆☆ 11 ★★★★★ $29.99 Get it now Sequel to the award-winning Deliver Us The Moon, Deliver Us Mars is an atmospheric sci-fi adventure offering an immersive astronaut experience. Explore new frontiers on a suspense-fuelled, high-stakes mission to recover the ARK colony ships stolen by the mysterious Outward. A BOLD NEW MISSION Ten years after the Fortuna mission, humanity is closer than ever to extinction. After a mysterious distress call from Mars, Earth’s youngest astronaut Kathy Johanson joins the Zephyr and its crew on one last mission: to recover the ARK colony ships stolen by the mysterious Outward, and with them, ensure the survival of the human race. OUT OF THIS WORLD GAMEPLAY Board the Zephyr as you journey from Earth to the surface of Mars. Traverse and endure its harsh and unforgiving terrain as you quest to discover the secrets left behind by Outward. Use both brains and brawn to overcome mental and physical challenges, find the ARKs, and uncover the motivations of those behind the distress call that brought you here. A HANDCRAFTED EXPERIENCE Experience a highly polished and absorbing narrative experience packed with engaging gameplay. Every moment is handcrafted, delivering a suspense-filled, emotion-fuelled narrative alongside music from award-winning composer Sander Van Zanten, state-of-the-art motion capture, and stunning graphics, powered by Unreal Engine. Deliver Us Mars © 2023 KeokeN Interactive B.V. All rights reserved. Published by Frontier Developments plc. ‘Frontier’ ‘Frontier Foundry’ and the Frontier logo are trademarks of Frontier Developments plc. All rights reserved. Deliver Us Mars uses the Unreal® Engine. Unreal® Engine © 1998-2023, Epic Games, Inc. All rights reserved. Unreal and its logo are Epic’s trademarks or registered trademarks in the US and elsewhere. Related:
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer
Celebrate All Things Anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass this February
- Christina McGrath, Head of Community and Communications, Rare
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
SummarySea of Thieves Season Eight Community Day will take place from February 11–12 (10am UTC).All players can help raise the Community Emissary Grade, unlocking in-game boosts to gold, reputation and Seasonal Renown.Additional incentives include sales, Twitch Drops, community shout-outs and a celebratory stream from Rare’s on-site Tavern.

Season Eight Community Day is on the horizon! Set sail on Saturday, February 11 to celebrate the phenomenal Sea of Thieves community and share in a fine offering of treasures. There’ll be the traditional boosted rewards, free goodies and Twitch Drops, plus a whole range of discounts to enjoy, and as always we’re hoping to enjoy some amazing creativity and celebratory undertakings from our incredible players.

To kick things off, the Community Emissary Grade is back! To raise this cumulative Grade and unlock in-game boosts, all players need to do is tweet using #SeaOfThievesCommunityDay during the event and watch as the rewards start increasing. At Grade Five, everyone earns two-and-a-half times the regular amount of gold and reputation – and, this time, Seasonal Renown too – for handing in loot! There’s also a fixed boost to Faction Allegiance throughout the day, should you want to test your ship combat skills in the Battle for the Sea of Thieves…

Even just logging in will provide its own rewards, namely the wonderfully soothing pink-and-purple Season Eight Community Day Flag and a Scorecard Emote that will let you vote on your crew’s achievements or anything else as you see fit – both items free to players who set sail on Community Day.

Living the Stream

Beyond the in-game excitement on offer, fans have the option of watching any participating Sea of Thieves streamer during the day to earn Twitch Drops, unlocking the Celestial Steed Sails and Ebon Flintlock after an hour each. Anyone can offer Drops this time, just make sure you have Drops enabled in your Twitch account settings and Sea of Thieves selected as the game you’re streaming on the day! Or if you’re just viewing, make sure that your Sea of Thieves and Twitch accounts are linked before settling in to watch your favourite piratical content creators.

Beyond the in-game excitement on offer, stream viewers won’t be left out. Tuning in to any participating Sea of Thieves streamer for a couple of hours during the day will unlock the Celestial Steed Sails and Ebon Flintlock through Twitch Drops. Just make sure that your Sea of Thieves and Twitch accounts are linked up and settle in to watch your favourite piratical content creators.

If you’re not sure who to watch, you can always join us in the Tavern! Some familiar faces from the Rare crew will be streaming from 10am UTC, tackling Community Day challenges and generally enjoying the chaos. Not only will it count towards unlocking those Twitch Drops, you might catch a few special stream surprises…

Sea of Thieves Community Day screenshot Looking the Part

While we have your attention, Community Day seems like the perfect time to launch this Season’s Style of Thieves competition! We’ll be unveiling the theme list and submission dates on February 11, and not only is it an excuse to get dressed up, the sharpest styles will be in the running to win the fabulous Fashionista’s Finery Gloves.

To help you achieve that perfect look, the Pirate Emporium shopkeepers will be hosting a Delightful Discount Sale with a romantic slant from February 11–15. Fan favourites such as the Reaper’s Heart Pets and weapons are included, as well a range of suitably smitten emotes.

If you’re more interested in expanding your real-life wardrobe, Sea of Thieves ranges on the Rare merchandise store will offer a 30% discount with the COMMUNITYDAY code at checkout. This lasts for one day only – as does the commemorative Season Eight Community Day T-shirt and flag also available to buy during the event, so be quick!

There’s a lot on the schedule for Season Eight Community Day and we’re eager to see what you, the players, have lined up to dazzle us with in return, so mark your diaries for February 11 and we’ll see you on the seas…

Find Out More

For more information on Sea of Thieves, including full release notes on recent updates, visit the Sea of Thieves website. Updates are available for free to all Sea of Thieves players who have bought the game on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10/11 PC or via Steam, or players who have access to it with Xbox Game Pass. Simply download and install the latest Sea of Thieves update to get access.

New to Sea of Thieves? Find out about the latest free content updates on our What’s New page, get familiar with Who’s Who or pick up some gameplay tips from our Pirate Academy, which provides invaluable information on topics ranging from sailing to swordplay as you prepare for your maiden voyage. Learn more about Sea of Thieves here, or join the ongoing adventure at www.seaofthieves.com where you can embark on an epic journey with one of gaming’s most welcoming communities!

Sea of Thieves Xbox Live Xbox Play Anywhere Sea of Thieves

Microsoft Studios

☆☆☆☆☆ 950 ★★★★★ $39.99 $31.99 Get it now Xbox One X Enhanced PC Game Pass Xbox Game Pass Xbox Live Gold membership required to play on Xbox One; sold separately. ========= About the game Sea of Thieves offers the essential pirate experience, from sailing and fighting to exploring and looting – everything you need to live the pirate life and become a legend in your own right. With no set roles, you have complete freedom to approach the world, and other players, however you choose. Whether you’re voyaging as a group or sailing solo, you’re bound to encounter other crews in this shared world adventure – but will they be friends or foes, and how will you respond? A vast open world Explore a vast open world filled with unspoiled islands, sunken ships and mysterious artefacts. Take on quests to hunt for lost treasure, seek out cursed Skeleton Captains or gather valuable cargo for the Trading Companies. Go hunting and fishing or choose from hundreds of optional goals and side-quests. Unforgettable stories Play through the Tall Tales to experience Sea of Thieves’ unique take on a story-driven campaign. With 11 tales to play through across two epic storylines, these immersive and cinematic quests provide around 30 hours of the ultimate pirate fantasy. Become Legend On your journey to become a Pirate Legend you’ll amass loot, build a reputation and define a unique personal style with your hard-earned rewards. Adventurer. Explorer. Conqueror. What will your legend be? A game that’s always growing With five major expansions and almost a year’s worth of monthly updates, Sea of Thieves is a service-based game that is continually growing and evolving. Check back each month to see what new content has been added. Related:
Free Play Days – For Honor, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer
- Lilyann Torres, Gundam Content Writer, Bandai Namco Entertainment America
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer

Season 3 of Gundam Evolution, dubbed ‘Defencer’, is arriving today, February 1, where new and veteran Mobile Suit Pilots can join the fray. This season is bringing all-new add-on content to enjoy: a new Mobile Suit, regional servers, and a whole lot more!  

New Mobile Suit: Hyperion Gundam 

Hyperion Gundam hails from the ‘Mobile Suit Gundam SEED X Astray’ manga and marks the newest addition to the Gundam Evolution roster. Pilots will be able to attain this Mobile Suit through the store or via the Hyperion Gundam Item Pack. It’s perfect for Gundam SEED fans! 

Hyperion Gundam excels in holding the frontlines as well as being able to break through enemy forces. Let’s go over what makes this unit so special! 

Hyperion’s primary attack is a Beam Submachine Gun for both close and mid-range combat.   Using the secondary attack causes Hyperion Gundam to hold up a shield to prevent damage and hold the line.   “Forfanterie” will fire a beam that will penetrate enemy units, making it perfect for stopping an advance or making defense more difficult.   “Armure Lumiere” deploys a barrier for quick defense in an area, perfect for holding the line or advancing without fear.  Hyperion Gundam’s G Maneuver “Armure Lumiere Lancer” will cause this unit to charge forward while dealing damage and causing a stun on affected enemies! 

Unlock Hyperion Gundam by purchasing Evo Coins or completing challenges to earn Capital in-game. 

Gundam Evolution screenshot All Systems Are Ready To Go! 

Gundam Evolution is an immersive, fast-paced 6v6 team shooter where you’re able to pilot iconic Mobile Suits from the smash hit ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ anime series. Jump into combat as Hyperion Gundam, Unicorn Gundam, and more from this expanding roster.  

Gundam Evolution also has three different game modes that allow you to show off your teamwork and tactical skills: Point Capture, Domination, and Destruction. Coordinate with your team and align your G-Maneuvers to come out on top! 

Can’t wait to start piloting your own Mobile Suit? Play Gundam Evolution now and experience these exciting Mobile Suit battles first-hand.  We’ll see you in the Hangar, Pilots!  

GUNDAM EVOLUTION Xbox Live GUNDAM EVOLUTION

Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.

☆☆☆☆☆ 288 ★★★★★ Get it now GUNDAM EVOLUTION is an online FPS title in which players take control of mobile suits from the hit Gundam anime and fight other online players in six-versus-six battles. Features fast-paced action and immersive controls. Switch between mobile suits with their own unique characteristics and cooperate with teammates to win matches. Related:
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Celebrate All Things Anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass this February
- Portia Botchway, Xbox Researcher
Xbox Celebrates Black History Month
SummaryXbox will be celebrating Black History Month throughout February.To help introduce our various initiatives, Xbox Researcher Portia Botchway shares her insights as a Black woman in the games industry.We also explain how you can give, discover, play and watch with Xbox to support Black History Month.

As a Black woman working in the gaming industry, finding community has been instrumental to the success I’ve found in my career. For the past three years, I have served in the role of Xbox Researcher. At its core, my job is to understand and communicate the user experience throughout the development of a game to various developer stakeholders.

I recognize that some elements of my experience as a Black woman in gaming and in tech more broadly have been atypical, for example my first manager in tech was also a Black woman. Being managed by her was a wonderful and empowering experience to kick off my gaming career. From day one, my leadership chain has emphasized what is possible in this field and that I, and people who look like me, belong here. I’ve been able to work for and alongside diverse leaders across the Gaming organization. I’ve also connected with people who have similar experiences to my own in an employee community group for Black people at Xbox. Finding community has given me access to resources, mentorship and even friendships that are the foundation of what has made this journey great so far and supported my learning and growth.

My journey into gaming feels like I have the opportunity to build on the work of those who came before me, who experienced adversity, and pushed hard to carve out spaces where today, I can feel more confident in my career. Even though I found my niche playing JRPG, action-adventure, and strategy games while playing games with my brothers, I still sometimes feel like I don’t belong as a “gamer.” Being a gamer is only one part of my identity; I am also an avid reader and a lifelong athlete. Sometimes it seems like a “real” gamer must make gaming their main hobby and play all the newest titles. It’s not like that for me; I love gaming when a title comes out that interests me, but I also take breaks and enjoy filling my life with many other activities that fulfill me, too. One thing I appreciate is how I don’t feel like an outsider with Xbox.

To those just beginning their career, remember you don’t need to have coding experience to work in the gaming industry. My day-to-day responsibilities include reading the research others have published, reading design documentation and briefs about games, playing games to understand the user experience, and engaging in conversations with the gaming community. My job includes a lot of meetings, writing, planning, presentations, and playing games. You also don’t have to have a degree in game design; my educational background is in biological sciences, ancient Roman and world history and cultures, languages, and the science of learning. I started my professional career in teaching. Serving as a teacher has a lot of skill overlap to my current role, including developing a mindset that is always looking to learn.

Additionally, I’d advise you to seek out organizations that include diverse leaders and perspectives. Also look to align yourself with growth-oriented people who value learning. They will likely be more open and willing to help you on your journey.

I am grateful that finding and learning from a supportive professional community has helped me to find my voice in gaming. In hopes to increase representation and help others find their voice, too, here are a few ways that Team Xbox will be supporting and celebrating Black communities this year:

GIVE

Gerald A. Lawson Fund Names Recipients

The USCGames maroon and black text logo on a white background.

Xbox is honored to work with the University of Southern California on the Gerald A. Lawson Fund for Black and Indigenous Students, which advances our industry by bringing more voices and talent into gaming.

Today, USC Games announced the first Gerald A. Lawson Fund scholarship recipients, who will be known as “Lawson Scholars.” Jerry Lawson was a Black electronic engineer who pioneered work in the video game industry including the removable video game cartridge, the 8-way joystick, and the pause button. The Gerald A. Lawson Fund was supported in part by donation from Xbox.

“At Microsoft, we are committed to fostering a more inclusive industry,” said Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios. We are grateful for USC Games’ efforts to do just that with the Gerald A. Lawson Fund. We believe that providing access to higher education and resources for these students will not only contribute to their personal career endeavors but will also spark growth and advancement within our industry.” You can read more about the program here.

Microsoft Rewards

Microsoft Rewards members in the United States can earn and donate points to organizations supporting Black communities with Xbox. The below organizations will be featured on console:

Cxmmunity – A nonprofit organization committed to increasing BIPOC representation within the gaming and esports industry through STEAM education and career development. Black Girls Rock! – A global women’s movement and philanthropic organization dedicated to celebrating and empowering women and girls of color, by producing inspiring media content and providing enrichment programs for girls that foster positive identity development, critical thinking, leadership, literacy, tech, and innovation. Gameheads – A tech training program that uses video game design, development and DevOps to create diverse talent and bold new voices, train youth of color for the tech eco-system and prepare them for college, career and civic life.

Xbox gamers can earn Rewards points in various ways, such as playing games and completing Game Pass Quests, completing offers in the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox, and select purchases at the Microsoft Store (exclusions apply). Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join us today and donate through Xbox. 

DISCOVER

Artist Clif Wilson Shares Xbox Logo Design Inspiration for Black History Month

Profile image of artist Clif Wilson wearing a sweater with a tree visible in the background.

In celebration of Black History Month, Xbox commissioned artist Clif Wilson to design the artwork for this year’s campaign. Clif is a 25-year-old Black, self-taught digital designer, born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He grew up surrounded by an array of cultures and media, which opened his eyes to the uniqueness and vastness of the Black community.  In recent years, his fascination with Afrofuturism has inspired his design work, whether that be graphics, fashion, or any other creative medium. Today his work is housed in his company, Ajaar, which acts as a means for him to creatively interact with the world around him.

In designing the Xbox logo for Black History Month, Clif shared:

“When approaching the imagery for this campaign, I was inspired by the idea of unity and exploration in the Black community. The sunset in the design represents the shared perspective in struggle as well as hope, with each sunset and sunrise being symbolic of another chance to grow and change. The theme of exploration is expressed through the imagery of the starry sky and computer board pattern in the artwork, painting the picture of a world that is full of endless possibilities and spaces to discover. Through gaming, we are able to virtually immerse ourselves into many new spaces where we can engage with different stories and the different individuals that make up the Black gaming community.”

Check out Clif’s work at Ajaar Design Services and on Instagram.

Project Amplify

An Xbox controller with two closed hands over it with varying skin tones and the words “Project Amplify” on a background featuring the profile images of 14 people.

In an effort to promote pipelines for Black people and youth across the gaming industry, in September of last year Xbox launched Project Amplify, a video series aimed at supporting Black youth who are interested in pursuing careers in the gaming industry. Project Amplify features video interviews of fourteen Black employees from across Xbox studios as they share their advice, insights into their current roles, and highlights from their time within the gaming industry. Interviewees include people in roles such as production, engineering, character art, licensing, game design, program management, and more. Watch the Project Amplify video series here, and check out personal journeys in the gaming industry. Read more about the Project Amplify launch and find additional resources for game designers here.

Xbox Ambassadors Features Missions for Black History Month

The Xbox Ambassadors logo featuring a white controller surrounded by white laurel leaves on a soft rainbow gradient background.

The Xbox Ambassadors community is celebrating Black History Month with a series of XA Missions that highlight games made by Black creators and feature Black leads. Ambassadors can unlock XP by playing, sharing, and discussing games like The Gunk and Watch Dogs 2. Join the discussion and begin unlocking exclusive rewards by becoming an Xbox Ambassador today!

The Microsoft Game Dev Blog Celebrates Black History Month

A compilation image including seven people across the top and bottom rows with a middle row consisting of swirling clouds with a computer board pattern and red, yellow, and green stars.

Everyone has a different path on their journey into the games industry, whether it’s through school, retail, or the military. On the Microsoft Game Dev blog, we’ll be celebrating the contributions of some of our Black and African American employees and partners who create, publish, and, above all, love games with a special entry in our Pathfinding series. Pathfinding features career advice, industry tips, and personal stories of the journey into gaming. It often takes years of persistence to build on the passion that led them toward gaming in the first place and we’re excited to give a diverse set of people a platform to share the lessons they learned along the way with anyone considering a career in the game industry.

New Gamerpics, Profile Theme, Wallpaper, and Avatar Items in Celebration of the Black Community

Four diverse avatar characters wearing the Xbox sunset nexus on their tops in celebration of Black History Month.

In partnership with Black communities at Xbox, we’re introducing a new gamerpic, profile themes, wallpaper and avatar items! The gamerpic and profile theme will be available on console and the Xbox PC app. Get your avatar items and wallpapers here. Content is subject to availability by country.

PLAY

Explore Games Curated by Black Communities at Microsoft

The Xbox logo stylized in celebration of Black History month featuring a nexus with a red and orange sunset overlayed with the box art for the games Deathloop, League of Legends, Humankind, and Dishonored: Death of an Outsider.

Here at Xbox, we are committed to providing inclusive and engaging gaming experiences so that everyone can enjoy all the positive feelings and connections that games provide us. We want all players to be able to find stories they connect with and characters they relate to.

For Black History Month, we are highlighting Black creators, lead characters, and character creation options that include a variety of skin tones and inclusive hairstyles. This collection is available on Xbox, Windows, and Mobile and will exist year-round as part of our ongoing work to create more inclusive gaming ecosystems and elevate content that resonates with communities.

A few highlights from the full Game Pass collection on Xbox and the full Game Pass collection on Windows include:

Deathloop (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Co-created by Black developer Dinga Bakaba (now the Studio Director for Arkane Lyon), Deathloop has won numerous awards for its unique spin on first-person action adventure and the charisma of its two Black leads. The story follows two rival assassins, Colt and Julianna, playing a deadly game of cat & mouse over the fate of a retro futuristic world locked in a time loop.

League of Legends (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – The massive roster of champions in League of Legends includes characters from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, including Black champions like Ekko, K’Sante, Lucian and Senna. Each champion has a deeply engaging storyline and a unique arsenal of spells and abilities, so jump into the game and experience the dynamic stories of these characters now.

HUMANKIND (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – HUMANKIND is a turn-based strategy game in which you can create your own dynamic civilization by combining over 60 historical cultures from across the world. Explore African history and create your very own story with vibrant cultures such as the Nubians, the Bantu, the Ghanaians, the Zulu, the Nigerians, and more.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Play as Billie Lurk, the notorious supernatural assassin who plied her trade for years in Dunwall and Karnaca alongside the legendary mercenary killer, Daud. Billie is a resilient and resourceful Black woman who sheltered the empress on-the-run in Dishonored 2, now taking center stage in the third act of the Dishonored franchise.

This collection is available on the Microsoft Store on Xbox and the Microsoft Store on Windows in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States. Visitors can find this collection at any time by searching within the Stores for “Black History” and related terms.

TUNE IN

Xbox Plays Celebrates Black History Month with Streamer Takeovers

Xbox Plays celebrates Black History Month with streamer takeovers every Monday in February at twitch.tv/Xbox

Every Monday during the month of February, the Xbox Plays team will be inviting some of our favorite streamers to join us on the Xbox Twitch Channel and handing over the keys to the channel for streamer takeovers in celebration of Black History Month! Tune in and catch all the action on Twitch.tv/Xbox!

February 6th

Kendrisite playing Minecraft (11am PT) SpringSims playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (3pm PT)

February 13th

DataDave playing Deathloop (11am PT) Teonawrites playing Coral Island (3pm PT)

February 20th

Xayd playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (11am PT) Prince & Pop playing Halo Infinite (3pm PT)

February 27th

Jade Valkyrie playing League of Legends (11am PT) 901thagamer playing Forza Horizon 5 (3pm PT) Related:
The Unlock is Here: Riot Games and Benefits Come to Game Pass
Riot Games and Xbox Game Pass Benefits Coming Soon
Exclusive Interview with Deathloop Game Director Dinga Bakaba
- Andy Leubner, Third Party Games Marketing, Xbox
Celebrate All Things Anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass this February
February is the annual celebration of all things anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass from now until the end of the month.

Anime Month has returned! Throughout February, fans can enjoy discounts across anime products in games, TV, movies from the Microsoft Store and much more. There are also special discounts for Game Pass members, and you can earn 2,500 Microsoft Rewards points when you spend $50 on anime games, movies, and series in the collection. 

Save up to 85% on Select Anime-Inspired Games 

Whether you are looking for a great story or sharpening your combo attacks, the Anime-inspired Game Sale has something for you. Swing into a thrilling adventure in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, or tap into your inner fighter in Devil May Cry 5, Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and many more. The current collection will be available through February 13, with a second collection of games and offers running from February 14 through the end of the month. Sale ends February 28, 2023. 

Up to 80% off anime on Microsoft Movies and TV 

Find your new favorite anime movies or TV series, or catch up on the ones you already love in our massive Microsoft Movies & TV Anime sale. Our collections feature favorites such as ‘Bleach’, ‘My Hero Academia’, ‘Attack on Titan’, and more. Game Pass members also get special discounts throughout the sale! Finally, get 2,500 Microsoft Rewards points when you spend $50 on anime games, movies, and series in the collection.

Anime for Xbox Game Pass Members 

Immerse yourself in anime-inspired worlds and stories. Game Pass is celebrating Anime Month with an epic collection of games to discover, ranging from Ni No Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch Remastered to Persona 5 Royal. This collection will be available to members on Console, PC, and Mobile. Members can also earn Microsoft Rewards points with anime-themed Game Pass Quests, including Opus: Echo of Starsong (February 7) and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (February 21). Lastly, be sure to claim your Game Pass Perk for Gundam Evolution by February 6 and for Phantasy Star Online 2 by February 28.  

More Anime Treats

During Anime Month, the Xbox Plays team will be celebrating by playing various games included in the collection as a way for you to see these games in action! Join them on the Twitch.tv/Xbox channel and watch alongside others in addition for a chance to win Game Pass codes, free games, and much more. 

Or return to the seas with the newest iteration of the Azur Lane collaboration, when it arrives in World of Warships: Legends on February 6!  The Azur Lane Wave IV content will be available until the new update drops on March 6. Make sure to check out our dedicated article to find out all the details. 

From tomorrow until the end of the month, you may also see great anime games to play as part of each weekend’s Free Play Days for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. Every Thursday, a new line-up will be announced here, or you can find it on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S on the Subscriptions tab in the Xbox Store and enter the Gold member area to locate the Free Play Days collection. 

How to earn Microsoft Points during Anime Month Sale by region:  

MM+TV and Games: 

US: Spend $50 and get 2,500 points  CA: Spend $70 and get 2,500 points GB: Spend £45 and get 2,500 points   DE: Spend €50 and get 2,500 points 

Games Only:  

AU: Spend $80 and get 2,500 points  Related:
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer
The Most Anticipated Games of 2023 (According to the Xbox Wire Team)

2023 promises to be a big year for Xbox and Windows PC games, with major new titles from Xbox Game Studios and our partners set to jostle for space on your hard drives and cloud devices. From ultra-anticipated RPGs like Starfield, to long-awaited blockbusters such as Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, to indie hits-in-waiting, there’s something for everyone coming this year — and a huge portion of this list will be available from day one as part of your Xbox Game Pass or PC Game Pass membership. 

With that in mind, the Xbox Wire team has come together to offer up our personal picks (in no particular order) for the year ahead. Below is just a snapshot of the big picture for 2023 — it’s clear it’s going to be a good year. 

Starfield 2023 Xbox Series X│S, PC (Game Pass) 

I’m far from alone in my anticipation for Starfield, and for good reason. Bethesda’s upcoming RPG introduces an entirely new frontier to explore — space. As a member of space exploring outfit Constellation, you’re tasked with adventuring across the Settled Systems in your own custom ship, seeking rare artifacts throughout the galaxy. Starfield is set to include over 1,000 planets to discover, and if my Skyrim playtime is anything to go by, you know I’m going to poke every single one. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor  

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Resident Evil 4 March 24, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

I own no fewer than five versions of Resident Evil 4 across my personal game collection, yet I’ve never actually finished the game. It’s one of my biggest “black marks” as a gamer, and one that I’m excited to finally rectify this year with its upcoming remake – it’s a big reason why I have this down as one of my Most Anticipated Games of 2023. Following on the heels of two great remakes (Resident Evil 2 (2019) and Resident Evil 3 (2020), RE4 remake has a high bar to hit. But from everything I’ve seen so far, this is shaping up to be a modern classic that I’m excited to add to my ever-growing game collection. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Minecraft Legends screenshot Minecraft Legends – April 18, 2023 – Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC (Windows and Steam), Cloud, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4|5

Minecraft has always been about allowing for creativity from its players — Minecraft Legends shows a similar level of unbridled creativity from its developers. This action-strategy game is being built to appeal simultaneously to both Minecraft fans and brand-new players — and does so through the ingenious take of familiar Minecraft ideas in new forms. Harnessing a procedurally-generated world, familiar items, focus on resources, and the frequently terrifying mobs that fans know and turning them into something wholly new (and wholly approachable for those who haven’t played the original) is a fascinating moment for this series — and one I cannot wait experience myself. – Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief  

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – April 28, 2023 Xbox Series X│S, PC 

I was unfairly cynical about Cal Kestis’ debut at first – of all those cool alien races available, you’ve given us a human? However, Fallen Order quickly became one of my all-time favourite Star Wars adventures – in game or film. The first game (which is available as part of an EA Play or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership if you need to catch up) set us up against the rising threat of the Empire and took us to some incredible worlds, and I’m confident that Jedi: Survivor will expand on those gorgeous destinations and deliver an epic new story – one that Cal deserves to be the epicentre of. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor 

Redfall screenshot Redfall – May 2, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, PC (Game Pass) 

Arkane is that rare thing, a studio that commands attention for its name as much as for its game concepts. If I see ‘Arkane Austin’ pop up before a trailer plays, I already want to play that game, and Redfall does not mark an exception. The studio’s rich history with immersive sims has led to some of the most fascinating worlds, mechanical tricks and level designs of recent years – Redfall’s setting across the length and breadth of a whole fictional town and its wildly unusual character classes (with the promise of more to come after launch) only point to more classic moments yet to come. But it’s the differences that really hold my attention, this close to release. A focus on co-op play (only increasing the opportunities for that now-expected Arkane mechanical magic), a strengthened interest in gunplay, and its open world setting have me snarling to end a vampire incursion with my friends. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Dead Space – Out Now Xbox Series X|S 

Yes, this just came out – but I haven’t had a chance to play it just yet, so I’m technically still anticipating it. I’m normally not a fan of the horror genre, but I love science fiction, which is a bit ironic since space is in and of itself a terrifying place. The original version of Dead Space wonderfully captures that fear and couples it with an unassuming but likable protagonist struggling to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of his beloved partner and the crew of the USG Ishimura. Whether it’s my unfulfilled dreams of being an astronaut or the thought of facing unimaginable odds for the ones I love, Dead Space isn’t just one of my favorite games of all time, it’s arguably one of the greatest sci-fi horror games in the universe. It’s no surprise, then, that I’m ready to revisit this modern classic rebuilt from the ground up for next-gen hardware when it launches later this month – and the additions Motive Studios has made to weapons, loot, and exploration, I might even feel more ready to tackle the horrors of deep space head-on. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Forza Motorsport screenshot Forza Motorsport – 2023 Xbox Series X|S, PC (Game Pass) 

I love video games as much as I love cars. Or maybe it’s cars as much as video games. Whichever, I’m a huge fan of Forza and tend to favor the simulation of Forza Motorsport over the open-world freedom of Forza Horizon, so I’m particularly excited for the upcoming next instalment of the classic racing series. Previous versions have treated us to photorealistic looking cars, beautifully rendered tracks, and breath-taking effects, yet the developers at Turn 10 Studios are already calling the next Forza Motorsport the most technically advanced and authentic racing game they’ve ever made. I have no idea how they can make the game any better but can’t wait to find out. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Like a Dragon: Ishin! February 21, 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

Since dropping onto Xbox Game Pass and into my life in 2020, the Yakuza series (now re-titled Like a Dragon for all future installments) has taken me on a sweeping tour of Japan, from snowy Sapporo to tropical Okinawa. Like a Dragon: Ishin!, RGG Studio’s remake of a 2014 only-in-Japan spinoff, isn’t merely content to shift locations; it transports players back in time to 1860s Kyoto, where things couldn’t be more different. Or are they? While Ishin’s story follows real life samurai Sakamoto Ryoma, your adventure is populated by familiar faces and voices from across the Yakuza universe. Ryoma may not realize he’s a dead ringer for Kazuma Kiryu, but recurring feelings of déjà vu ensure players will feel at home, even if they’ve never been further from it. And fear not, even if you don’t have experience with this game, or even the series as a whole, Like a Dragon: Ishin! has been designed to be self-contained – even if you don’t get the references, you’re still getting a brand-new samurai tale to play through. Check out our first preview here on Xbox Wire to learn more about the upcoming Like a Dragon: Ishin! – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast 

Age of Empires 4 art Age of Empires IV Coming to Xbox Consoles – 2023   Xbox Series X│S (Game Pass) 

At the end of the workday, I rarely want to sit at my PC for more hours, no matter how good a game is. Me and my back pain don’t have to worry about that, now that Age of Empires IV is heading to consoles this year! Age of Empires IV feels like a truly modernised, slick rediscovery of the classic RTS, whether you’re storming through the single campaign or jousting with friends online. Following in the footsteps of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, which has seamlessly made its transition to Xbox consoles, I can’t wait to conquer from the comfort of my couch, and with the support of Xbox Play Anywhere, I can switch back over to the PC (or even my mobile through Xbox Cloud Gaming) if things get too serious… which they often do. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

Street Fighter 6June 2, 2023 Xbox Series X|S 

It’s been a minute since a new, mainline Street Fighter entry debuted on Xbox, when the seminal Street Fighter IV launched back in 2009. If you’ve lost track of the series, Street Fighter 6 is likely to blow you away when it arrives in June. SF6 has already confirmed its technical chops in a closed beta featuring older and wiser versions of Ryu, Chun Li, and Guile, and inspired new characters like Luke and soon-to-be fan-favorite Kimberly. The presentation is a stunning visual treat, including the veritable monster factory that is the game’s avatar creator. But it’s my anticipation of the single-player story mode World Tour that already has me prepping combos in excitement. – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast 

Wo Long art Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty – March 3, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC (Game Pass

Bloodborne and Ninja Gaiden are some of my favorite games, even though I’m not that great at playing them. Their haunting visuals and slick combat are what I fondly remember, not all the times I was brutally and repeatedly defeated. So, when I heard that the creative talent behind those games were working on Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, I was immediately intrigued and was fortunate enough to chat with Team Ninja’s Fumihiko Yasuda and Masaaki Yamagiwa to learn more. Will I be crushed into a pulp when I start playing? Likely. But this blend of dark fantasy, Chinese martial arts swordplay, and creative gaming talent has me incredibly excited to see how it all unfolds starting on March 3. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – May 26, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

Task Force X (aka the Suicide Squad) contains many of the most layered and iconic anti-heroes in DC Comics, and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League lets you play as four of the most notorious of them – Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. The Squad must take on an impossible mission to save Earth and kill the world’s greatest DC Super Heroes – the Justice League. Combined with the gaming pedigree of Rocksteady, the studio behind the amazing Batman: Arkham games, and this has all the ingredients to be something truly special — even though we don’t know that much about it (yet). For now, we’re left largely to our imaginations and a few awesome trailers, which is why it’s one of my Most Anticipated Games of 2023 because… well… I want to know more about it! Hopefully all will be revealed soon and we can dive into another one of Rocksteady’s masterpieces later this year. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Diablo 4 art Diablo IV – June 6, 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

Sometimes, looking back is just as important as looking forward – a lesson Diablo IV is demonstrating months before release. Blizzard’s latest action-RPG returns to some of the series’ most fundamental ideas – a laser focus on full-bore, high-gore action-RPG combat, perilously deep customization, and a grimdark fantasy tale. But in embracing those old ideas, what I particularly love about Diablo 4 so far (not least when I played hours of the game ahead of launch), is in how it’s allowing itself to try new, complementary ideas. A truly open world allows for more loot, more combat, and more fulfilling co-op. A more cinematic approach to storytelling lets that pitch-black story at its core sing. A sharpened, high-gloss look allows for better legibility of spells, even in the thick of battle. Diablo IV is simultaneously old and new, and I’m delighted by both of those aspects. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Dead Island 2 – April 28, 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

When I think about all the zombie games I’ve played over the years, the ones that stand out have a few elements in common: great characters, exciting locations, and entertaining gameplay. The original Dead Island followed this formula over a decade ago, and the long-awaited sequel is demonstrating it will too. Dead Island 2 has a cast of unlikely heroes and takes place in a zombie-infested Los Angeles, (dubbed HELL-A). Add in some dark humor and over the top zombie-slaying, who could ask for more? Looks like I’m moving to Beverly Hills. Swimming Pools. Movie stars. Survival against all odds. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Hollow Knight Silksong screenshot Hollow Knight: Silksong – 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, PC (Game Pass) 

To me, a sequel to Hollow Knight almost feels like an unnecessary pleasure – in 2017, developer Team Cherry managed to come out of the gates with a debut that felt unnaturally complete, from its art, to its moment-to-moment interactions, to its cloaked depths of story. And yet, Silksong already feels vital. By switching focus to bit-part character Hornet, we’re promised an entire new skillset and perspective, but built on the near-peerless foundations of the first game. My excitement is that we’re getting is less of a sequel and more of a companion piece. I cannot wait to find out what that feels like. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Lies of P – 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC (Game Pass) 

If I told you that Lies of P, a Souls-like action RPG starring fairy tale Pinocchio wasn’t the biggest surprise of Gamescom 2022, my nose might start growing. It’s not just the shock factor; Just typing “Pinocchio” and “Soulslike” in the same sentence is enough to furrow the brow of anyone hearing about Lies of P for the first time, it’s how well Korean developer Neowiz is turning this concept into an awesome looking game. As you might expect, choosing whether or not Pinocchio tells the truth will have an impact in the story. However, the Pinocchio I’m familiar with wasn’t equipped with a ‘Legion Arm’, allowing players to journey through Lies of P in the way of their choosing as they seek out Geppetto. Definitely an improvement. – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast  

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

Assassin's Creed Mirage art Assassin’s Creed Mirage – 2023 Xbox Series X│S, PC 

I’ve been on an Assassin’s Creed cooldown for about five years now, and I’m just about ready for my next historical roof-hopping adventure. Mirage promises to take us back to basics, with a more focused scope and more straightforward story beat. It’s also set in ancient Baghdad, a culture and world I’m looking forward to exploring, and a lovely throwback to the environments I grew to love in the very first game in the series. I’m super excited about this reprisal of a more manageable Assassin’s Creed game, and am looking forward to a gorgeous new world that feels like an old favourite. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor 

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

The original Space Marine, for me, was a gateway into the massive Warhammer universe. At the time, it had been a while since something supplied such an amazing premise to such a rich and detailed world. It also helped that the game kicked ass, coupled with some truly amazing voice acting performances. Since then, I’ve explored a myriad of other Warhammer games, from Vermintide to Dawn of War to Total War: Warhammer. So, when the reveal trailer for Space Marine 2 dropped at the Game Awards 2021, my jaw hit the floor. It has been over a decade since the original game and from everything we’ve seen so far, it’s shaping up to be well worth the wait. I’m ready to heed the call of battle once again! – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Replaced art Replaced – 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (Game Pass) 

Full transparency, Replaced wasn’t a game on my radar until fairly recently. But after watching the trailers and doing a little reading, it’s definitely a title I’m now hugely looking forward to playing this year, especially since it’s launching into Game Pass as an Xbox console exclusive. This action-platformer has a Shadow Complex and Deadlight vibe (both games I thoroughly enjoyed) but is set in an alternative 1980s dystopian world. The art style is beautifully crafted with a blend of pixel art and realistic looking backdrops, and the atmosphere conveys the dark and foreboding setting you’d expect from a world on the verge of collapse. Plus, there’s a dog, and it looks like you may be able to pet it. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl – 2023 Xbox Series X|S (Game Pass) 

It’s difficult to look forward to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 without recognizing the challenges its Ukrainian developers have endured the past year, but they have continued working on the game, and fans like me are excited to get our hands on it, and to celebrate something made against such a backdrop. In purely gaming terms, the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is a fascinating location to set your game, and with a gritty tale, immersive sim elements, and beautiful technical execution, you have me hooked. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

Company of Heroes art Company of Heroes 3: Console Edition – 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

If you were looking for a series to thank for keeping the RTS genre alive, Company of Heroes 1 & 2 would be near the top of that list in my opinion, right up there with StarCraft II. These games have done a tremendous job of mixing a compelling and dramatic World War II narrative with stellar real-time strategy gameplay. Plus, the amazing destruction engine brought it all together to make these battles feel truly lived in. Now with this series returning for the first time in 10 years, on both PC and console, I’m incredibly excited to see how Company of Heroes 3 translates to the power of Xbox Series X|S. Be sure to check out this recent preview on Xbox Wire to get a sense of the hard work being put into this version of the game. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Alan Wake 2 – 2023 Xbox Series X|S 

After spending a full decade atop my pile of shame, I finally took advantage of Xbox backward compatibility to enjoy the original Alan Wake in summer of 2020. I was immediately drawn into Remedy’s intentionally disorienting storytelling – something they’ve since taken even further with the truly excellent Control. Despite being nearly two generations behind technologically, Alan Wake’s light-wary enemies freaked me out enough that I exclusively played during daylight hours. For the long-awaited Alan Wake 2, Remedy says they’re crafting a survival horror game – the original AW was merely a “psychological thriller” (which you can catch up on too, with the even more accomplished Alan Wake Remastered) I can’t wait… to sleep with the lights on. – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast 

Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon – 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

It took until Elden Ring for me to fully get to grips with FromSoftware’s action-RPG Souls masterworks, but I’ve been an Armored Core player since day one. This grand old mech-battling series has had its gunmetal claws in the pleasure centers of my brain since I was a child, its measured tactical action and gloriously in-depth machine tinkering combining to make for something functionally unique. That Armored Core VI is seemingly a return to that formula, rather than the futuristic Soulslike many expected, is all I could have asked for. There’s no doubt we’ll see more Souls games come along, so this is a more-than welcome diversion. I’ll be knee-deep in leg units and shoulder-mounted missile launchers come launch day. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Editor’s Note: This article originally incorrectly stated that Forza Motorsport would be released for Xbox One. This has been corrected.

Related:
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer
- Olaf Leśniak, Writer, Techland
Dying Light 2 Stay Human Anniversary Update: New Content, Features, and Fixes

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is commencing its 1st Anniversary on January 31, 2023. The celebration event will commemorate the launch of the ultimate post-apocalyptic survival horror game. Our developer team has created a chock-full slate of exciting new features and content.

The 1st Anniversary will have a stacked celebration schedule, starting with in-game events, which have always played a substantial role in the post-launch support of Dying Light 2 Stay Human. Bloody Anniversary (January 31 – February 8) will allow players to experience the game with a greater chance of dismembering foes. Dropkick Weekend (February 09 – 13) is going to base an entire event around the signature Dying Light move with amped-up ragdolls and damage. Both will provide additional community objectives with extra Anniversary-themed rewards via techlandgg.com.

Dying Light 2 - Anniversary

Dying Light veterans can look forward to collecting all three skins of characters from the original game. For the first time, it will be possible to play in the shoes of Rais or Brecken and make a comeback as the legendary hero, Kyle Crane. Their likeness will come into play with their very own weapons and paraglider skins. To receive the Rais Bundle at no cost, players must earn it via the Bloody Anniversary. The Brecken Bundle requires similar participation in the Dropkick Weekend. Finally, the Crane Bundle is going to be an exclusive reward on TechlandGG for all proud owners of our two games: Dying Light and Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

The Community Update 2.0 will once again prove to place the fans of the series at the forefront by making some of their most requested features a reality. This includes multiple quality of life updates, improvements, fixes, and notable additions to the co-op mode, such as the long-awaited cross-gen! At last, it is time to grab your friends, regardless of the console generation of your choice, to save The City together.

Dying Light 2 - Anniversary

There is going to be a new and exciting end-game progression system in Dying Light 2 Stay Human called Legend Levels. Players will be able to earn Legend Points by completing quests, activities, and challenges to level up. With each level, they can receive Upgrade Points to boost skills, new weapons and more rewards. The new feature can be accessed after unlocking the whole skill tree in the base game.

We plan to make more announcements and teases for the entire year of 2023. This will include the reveal of a new roadmap, content updates, community activities, information about the 2nd story DLC and so much more. For more information on the 1st Anniversary and all things Dying Light 2 Stay Human, visit techlandgg.com or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Dying Light 2 - Anniversary

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is a first-person survival horror game. The virus won and civilization entered what many are now calling the Modern Dark Ages. As a wandering Pilgrim bound by no ethics or rules, travel to one of the remaining bastions of humanity, enter its strongholds, restore hope to its people and unwind the past that may now come back to haunt you.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is available now for purchase on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Bloody Ties Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Bloody Ties

Techland

☆☆☆☆☆ 87 ★★★★★ $9.99 Get it now Deluxe and Ultimate Edition owners of Dying Light 2 Stay Human automatically receive Bloody Ties DLC. Separate purchase is not required. Bloody Ties is the first official story DLC for Dying Light 2 Stay Human – a thrilling first-person action survival game set in a post-apocalyptic open world. Who doesn’t want hundreds of fans chanting their name in perfect unison? Or feel like they are loved and admired while obtaining unimaginable riches at the same time? But what if to have it all, one must first pay the highest of prices? As Aiden, you are encouraged by a promise of wealth, fame, and access to the best gear to enter a tournament where people sacrifice everything just for status. Hone your skills to defeat your enemies and make allies to obtain glory. You will quickly realize that the quest for fame is just the beginning and you will find yourself involved in a plot for power and revenge. Features: NEW STORY Embark on a new adventure. Secure yourself a spot in the Pantheon of the best fighters, help your new friend Ciro in his quest to avenge his brother’s death and discover the true nature of the tournament. NEW LOCATION Enter Carnage Hall – a place filled with wealth and splendor, where every fight is a narrative spectacle and the strongest seek fortune and fame. NEW WEAPON: SHIELD GLOVE Discover a new way to play with the Shield Glove, and make creative combat even more creative. NEW GEAR Obtain new gear in the tournament where strength matters the most and weapons are a symbol of status. SPECTACLES & SHOWS Play the role of your life in Spectacles – multi-objective arena shows with unique stories narrated by Astrid herself, each resembling traditional tales and fables with a wicked twist. Test your skill in arena challenges – special trials where you’ll that fight new mutated enemies, face murderous hordes and get to perform daredevil action. Dying Light 2 Stay Human Xbox Live Dying Light 2 Stay Human

Techland

☆☆☆☆☆ 914 ★★★★★ $59.99 $29.99 Get it now Upgrade your experience with Smart Delivery. Buy the game once to both play it on Xbox One and get its optimized version for Xbox Series X | S Over twenty years ago in Harran, we fought the virus—and lost. Now, we’re losing again. The City, one of the last large human settlements, is torn by conflict. Civilization has fallen back into the Dark Ages. And yet, we still have hope. You are a wanderer with the power to change the fate of The City. But your exceptional abilities come at a price. Haunted by memories you cannot decipher, you set out to learn the truth… and find yourself in a combat zone. Hone your skills, as to defeat your enemies and make allies, you’ll need both fists and wits. Unravel the dark secrets behind the wielders of power, choose sides and decide your destiny. But wherever your actions take you, there's one thing you can never forget—stay human. VAST OPEN WORLD Participate in the life of a city engulfed in a new dark era. Discover different paths and hidden passages, as you explore its multiple levels and locations. CREATIVE & BRUTAL COMBAT Take advantage of your parkour skills to tip the scales of even the most brutal encounter. Clever thinking, traps and creative weapons will be your best friends. DAY AND NIGHT CYCLE Wait for night to venture into dark hideouts of the Infected. Sunlight keeps them at bay, but once it’s gone, monsters begin the hunt, leaving their lairs free to explore. CHOICES & CONSEQUENCES Shape the future of The City with your actions and watch how it changes. Determine the balance of power by making choices in a growing conflict and forge your own experience. 2-4 PLAYER CO-OP GAMEPLAY Play in up to four-player co-op. Host your own games or join others and see how their choices have played out differently than yours. Related:
Origins of Carnage Hall in Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Bloody Ties
Update for Capcom Fighting Collection with More Features Available Now
The First Paid DLC for Dying Light 2 Stay Human Comes with a Whole New Location, Weapon Type, and More
- Thijs Schipper, Senior Game Designer, Game-Drive
Co-op Puzzle Design for We Were Here Forever

We Were Here Forever is the newest game in our We Were Here series of co-op puzzle adventures, releasing today on Xbox. You and a partner play the role of Antarctic explorers who find themselves trapped in a sinister castle and must work together to escape! With the introduction of cross-play, we’re opening up a world of new players to team up with. Whether you’d like to play with a friend or dive into the game and connect with a stranger, it will all be possible. Communication is everything, and you’ll have to trust your partner, as streamers Copacaxi and Icharr_ demonstrate beautifully in our latest trailer!

Our Design Philosophy

What goes into making a good puzzle? We Were Here Forever is the fourth game in the We Were Here Series, so this isn’t our first rodeo. We start with some basic principles of what an ideal puzzle looks like for our game: every puzzle should be related in some way to communication and the different challenges and kinds of fun you can have with that. Describing symbols, guiding someone to navigate a maze, mimicking sounds, pronouncing silly words, and more.

Simply put: if it doesn’t get you talking, whispering, laughing or yelling then it shouldn’t be in our games.

screenshot

Puzzling on Puzzles

Inspiration for puzzles can come from many places! From a movie scene, an idea for a cool mechanic, some part of the game’s story, or even a completely abstract theme. The process of creating a puzzle is also very personal; every designer works in their own way and might use different tools. Options include building a prototype out of cardboard and boardgame components, sketching storyboards, detailed diagrams, making little movies or in-engine prototypes, and we’re sure there are many more. There have even been origami models made for certain puzzle environments!

Generally speaking, we always search for the fastest and most efficient way to ‘prove’ the core idea of a puzzle – what makes that puzzle cool and unique, and does it work? Once we have confidence in that core idea we make increasingly more detailed prototypes involving custom art, tweaks and updates to the puzzle design, placing it somewhere in the world/story, and so forth. There can be months between that first version and something that looks like the final result!

Screenshot

Challenges in Design (Spoilers Ahead!)

Getting the difficulty right for puzzles is one of the toughest parts of puzzle design. We have very different kinds of players enjoying the series, often for different reasons and with different levels of experience. Any puzzle should be just as interesting to a series veteran as to a brand new player. There’s also a very fine line between a challenging puzzle and a frustrating one, and getting that balance just right takes a lot of testing, tweaking and sometimes redesign.

Simply put: if players get stuck it should be because they’re not cooperating or communicating well, not because the puzzle isn’t clear or is too difficult.

Puzzles rarely make it all the way from initial idea to implementation without any changes. An example (with mild spoilers) is a puzzle where the players have to communicate with a creature using sounds – the players are separated while one has the ‘dictionary’ and the other has to do the actual communication. This means trying to mimic the sounds the creature uses to communicate, with one player translating them.

This puzzle started out with the idea of mimicking sounds, but almost everything else changed. There was originally a kind of beatboxing challenge where players had to match the rhythms of two different machines. Players had to use record players and even something resembling a drum computer or sequencer! It soon became obvious that this was really hard, and that more organic sounds were more fun to try to mimic, so a creature was introduced. The last ingredient that makes it all work was the translation element: you were actually talking to the creature. That ties it all together and gives it a purpose. But even when that was figured out, getting the details right  – the questions/answers, dictionary, controls, and level of challenge – took a whole bunch of attempts before we reached the fun final version of the puzzle.

screenshot

Try the Puzzles out Yourself Today!

But that’s enough about how we made the game – We Were Here Forever is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, ready for you to dive in and explore! Grab a friend and team up to solve the mysteries of Castle Rock together! We Were Here Forever is the biggest adventure yet, following three thrilling standalone games in the We Were Here Series, each one a unique puzzle adventure you can experience with a friend. We’re happy to say that even after three games, we still have plenty of great ideas for puzzles – and long-time fans of the series agree, saying We Were Here Forever is the best game yet!

Find out if you and a partner have what it takes to escape, or if you’ll be trapped in Castle Rock… Forever!

We Were Here Forever Xbox Live We Were Here Forever

Total Mayhem Games

☆☆☆☆☆ 9 ★★★★★ $17.99 Get it now You and your friend are trapped in the realm of Castle Rock with no way out – were you betrayed, or simply not that clever? Work together to escape, explore and solve puzzles in this mysterious Antarctic adventure. Be aware, nothing is what it seems – there are dark secrets hidden in the shadows. Will you be able to escape? Beginning in the dungeons deep in the bowels of Castle Rock, you and a fellow prisoner must seek a way out and return to stand again beneath the icy Antarctic skies – but escaping this nightmare is not so easy as just leaving the castle itself. If you can free yourself from the cells, you’ll need to make choices about where to explore next. Outside the Keep, you will discover the story of Rockbury, its inhabitants, and plans of a resistance formed against the King to escape this icy place. Hope will lead you on to an eerie Graveyard and have you descend down into the dark waters of the Foundry. Someone, or something, has brought you here, and you are a central part of a plan centuries in the making. Only an unshakeable bond with your partner will give you any hope of survival in the face of such dreadful desire… NOTE: This game is co-op only. It requires both players to have a working compatible microphone and an internet connection. Related:
Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is Coming to Xbox on April 27th
Seven Tips to Become the Best Inkulinati Master
Dive into the System in Backfirewall<em>_ </em>on Xbox Now
- Tom Moore, THQ Nordic
Restore the Very Fabric of the Universe in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, Available Now for Xbox
When wishes go wrong, only SpongeBob and Patrick can make it right. Even though it was kinda their fault…

Get ready to save Bikini Bottom in the all-new platforming adventure, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake! When SpongeBob and Patrick receive a vial of Mermaid’s Tears from mysterious fortune teller Kasandra nothing can go wrong. Sorry, everything goes wrong.

The lovable pals wish their wishes just a little bit too enthusiastically. So, they end up fracturing their reality, and releasing Cosmic Jelly — the glue that holds the universe together — into Bikini Bottom, with their friends being sucked into crazy Wishworlds! Oh, and Patrick gets turned into a balloon. But he’ll still be floating beside you all the way, because that’s what friends are for. Especially balloon friends.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Screenshot

It’s down to you to hop, spin, bubble trap, kick, and Krusty-Krab-pizza-box-glide through seven Wishworlds to rescue your friends and deal with the unintended but devastating consequences of SponegeBob and Patrick’s actions. Each Wishworld is based on a classic SpongeBob location given a unique twist, where you’ll run into all of SpongeBob’s pals on your quest for sweet, sweet, sweet victory.

For instance, to bring back Sandy you’ll need to adventure into a Wishworld that turns Bikini Bottom into the set of a Karate movie. Learn how to pull off powerful Karate moves!

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Screenshot

Travel to a prehistoric Wishworld and find Squidward, lost in a land-before-time version of Kelp Forest where you’ll have to negotiate tricky rolling rocks while taking the form of grunting caveman SpongeGar. And become a spongey, princely hero in a fantasy medieval level set around a huge castle. Make it to the end to serve cake to guests at what is supposed to be the best party ever, while a wicked witch attacks you because this is a SpongeBob SquarePants game.

After you’ve bounced, dodged, battled, and bantered through each of the different Wishworlds, dispatching cowboys, knights and all kinds of sneaky enemies along the way, you’ll have to use all your skills to outwit a range of madcap bosses. But that’s nothing everyone’s favorite sponge can’t handle.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Screenshot

This new platforming adventure features all of your favorite SpongeBob SquarePants characters voiced by the original cast, a brand-new soundtrack from the composers of Battle for Bikini Bottom, and the classic comedic charm and chaos from the show. As you save Bikini Bottom and unravel Kassandra’s secret plan, you will get to don more than 30 Spongetastic costumes – after all, as you traverse the seven Wishworlds, you’ll need to fit in. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is out now and ready to delight fans of all ages. Everybody do the Cosmic Shake!

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Xbox Live SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake

THQ Nordic

☆☆☆☆☆ 57 ★★★★★ Get it now Wish-granting Mermaid’s Tears in the hands of SpongeBob and Patrick… What could possibly go wrong? Sure, the very fabric holding the very universe very together could come very undone, opening up portals into Wishworlds full of knights, cowboys, pirates, and prehistoric snails. But that’s nothing everyone’s favorite sponge can’t handle – with the right cosmic costume! Everybody do the Cosmic Shake! Preorder SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake NOW and receive the Official Costume Pack, including 7 additional SpongeBob costumes for FREE! Related:
From Galactic Conquest to Racing Rivalries to Spongetastic Antics, the THQ Nordic and Handy Games Publisher Sale Has Something for Everyone
THQ Nordic Digital Showcase Recap
SpellForce III Reforced Is Now Available For Xbox One And Xbox Series X|S
- Shawn Alexander Allen, Lead Designer at NuChallenger
Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is Coming to Xbox on April 27th

Hello Xbox fans!

All of us at NuChallenger are excited to announce that Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is hitting Xbox on April 27th.

Explore an angry city, meet the worst people, and beat ‘em up with style! Pick your fighter, freeze time, build custom combos, and knock out your enemies, all to save the president.

Like what you’re hearing? Let me tell you more!

street melee

Fight Back against Corruption

After US President Blake Orama is kidnapped by ninja terrorists and Mayor Mike Moneybags shuts down the East Fulton police force, now-suspended police chief Antonio Santiago can sense something bigger is coming. He enlists the aid of his daughter Lisa and her two friends; Brad and Bruce, to set out to discover not only the truth; but also to find the root of the treachery in Beatdown City.

Play as three unique heroes all fit with their own unique combat abilities and skill sets. Use Lisa’s icy boxing style to throw punches and strike fear into your enemies with her MMA skills; throw your opponents like ragdolls with Brad’s professional wrestling moves, or flow like electrified water with Bruce’s deadly Jeet Kune Do meets capoeira fighting style.

Wax on, Wax off

Bring the pain with a huge variety of attacks designed to lay your enemies out flat. Mix them up with completely unique custom combos filled with grapples and finishers, and inflict an array of status ailments to finish them off. Fascist cops, entitled joggers, affluent punks, preppy jocks, angry socialites, bikers, ninjas, terrorists, ninja terrorists (?) and dozens more will learn what it’s like to be on the corner of Mess Around and Find Out Blvd.

street clash

Enter the City

Walk the streets to uncover how deep the corruption has spread. Tread through murky subterranean underground subways, the glitz and glamor of Times Square, the gritty streets of Lower East Fulton, all the way to the top of the pristine yet corrupted Moneybags News Network offices.

bar room

Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is launching April 27th on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Windows 10/11 PC. For more information, please follow NuChallenger and Beatdown City on Twitter.

Related:
Co-op Puzzle Design for We Were Here Forever
Seven Tips to Become the Best Inkulinati Master
Dive into the System in Backfirewall<em>_ </em>on Xbox Now
- Michal Napora, Community Manager @Yaza Games
Seven Tips to Become the Best Inkulinati Master

Hello there young Inkulinati Master in training. Now that Inkulinati is available in Game Preview on Xbox, PC and with Game Pass, I see that you are keen to learn the nuances that can give you the edge in battle, . Very well, I like that attitude. In that case, listen. A true Inkulinati Master knows how to use its strengths and exploit their enemy’s weaknesses. And the true strength lies in the mind! (and also the quill, but that doesn’t fit the emotions I’m building here so let’s just carry on). Winning a battle requires planning every move, reading your opponent’s strategy, analysing the Battlefield, and choosing the right action at the right time. Combining all these elements is certainly not easy, but with these few tips that are straight from the Inkulinati Academy, you will have a head start in become the greatest Inkulinati Master of all time.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into our seven tips to be a better Inkulinati Master!

Before starting the battle, gather your army wisely. Pay attention to the type of battle that is ahead. If you are facing a beast battle (a battle against beasts without a Tiny Inkulinati Master that leads them), choose your strongest beasts, regardless of their cost. Reason being – you won’t have to draw them! You will start the battle with the five beasts that you chose.

Also pay attention to who you will be fighting against and learn about the special abilities of the beasts you will have to face. Think about which of your beasts will be the best to counter these opponents. Make sure you also look at what the battlefield itself will look like. Maybe ranged units will do a better job? Or close contact is the way to go? Take your time and strategise before you start the battle!

Watch enemy beasts’ movement ranges, especially the green range, i.e., the Action Range. Hover over any beast to view their Movement and Action Range. Are you in the range of the attack of the enemy’s beast? If so, perhaps using the “Move” Hand Actions to change your or your opponent’s position might be the best next move to do. Use elements on the battlefields. Thanks to them you can protect yourself from the archer, block the attack of a swordsman, wake up your allies, or deal additional damage to the enemy. Explosive Obstacles (like Pots of Beans) can damage up to four beasts at once! And pushing the beast into the enemy Gate will sometimes do more damage than your attack… especially when the beast has a Bonfire on the way. So use the battlefield to your advantage! Watch out for boredom during your Journey. Because winning in style is so much more fun. During a battle, try to draw only as many beasts as you really need to win. Just because you can afford to draw another beast doesn’t always mean you have to! This way you will probably win the battle even faster, and at the same time, you won’t raise the price of the drawn beast unnecessarily. Eliminate the Donkey! Some beasts, such as Donkey the Bard, can force a few of your units to take a Nap at once. Try not to concentrate all of your beasts in one place, otherwise they will all be forced to take a Nap. If the donkey gets in your way, eliminate it or run away from the sound of its pipes! It’s not about the army – it’s about the Master. Remember, you are here to defeat the opposing Inkulinati Master, not their whole army! Those beasts are just pawns in the Inkulinati Master’s hands. Sure, eliminate them when you must to protect your Tiny Inkulinati, but the target is the opposing Tiny Inkulinati. Of course, this tip applies when you are facing other Inkuliati Masters. If it’s a Wild Encounter against beasts without a Master, please disregard this tip. It’s essential that you disregard this tip. Don’t forget the Push movement! Sometimes instead of attacking with your weapons, a simple push will do a better job. You see those edges of the battliefield? Beyond them lies the dreaded nothing. If you push a beast or a Tiny Inkulinati Master of the edge, they will die in an instant. Use those edges wisely.

Keep those tips in mind when you travel across the lands, young Inkulinati Master. Refer to them, and perhaps even use them in a dramatic scene where it’s you facing against all odds and you’re thinking “what should I do next??”. And then it is I, who appears in your head, and I calmly say “Push, young Inkulinati Master. Push!”. I am certain that in no time you will be the envy of all Inkulinati Masters across the lands.

If you want to receive more Inkulinati tips, find other Inkulinati players, and provide your feedback, join our official Inkulinati Discord server. You can be an Inkulinati Master right now by playing Inkulinati  on Xbox Series X|S, on Xbox One, and with Game Pass.

Speak to you soon,

The Inkulinati Academy, on behalf of Yaza Games Team

Inkulinati (Game Preview) Xbox Live Xbox Play Anywhere Inkulinati (Game Preview)

Daedalic Entertainment

☆☆☆☆☆ 80 ★★★★★ $24.99 Get it now PC Game Pass Xbox Game Pass Free Trial This game is a work in progress. It may or may not change over time or release as a final product. Purchase only if you are comfortable with the current state of the unfinished game. Inkulinati is an ink-based strategy game straight from medieval manuscripts, where a rabbit’s bum can be deadlier than a dog's sword. Take your turn in Inkulinati duels filled with unexpected tactical depth (and humour!). Embark on an ever-changing journey, build your own bestiary, defeat medieval superstars and collect perks to unleash special powers. Become a master of the Living Ink, grab your quill and build your unique strategy time after time so that you can be named the greatest Inkulinati of all time! INKULINATI IS INSPIRED BY REAL-LIFE MEDIEVAL MARGINALIA 700 years in the making, finally these bizarre art pieces can come alive in a video game and show that medieval people also had their “memes” and that they laughed from the same silly things that we do today. You’ll see sword-wielding rabbits, dogs with spears, trumpets lodged in bottoms, human-eating snails, and more. Much, much more… FIGHT LIKE AN INKULINATI Inkulinati are a legendary group who battle one another on the pages of medieval manuscripts. They fight by drawing Beasts with the Living Ink. Thanks to this magical substance, those creatures come to life and an epic battle ensues.Move your Beasts across the battlefield, perform actions on or with them, make tactical use of obstacles and collect more Living Ink to draw new Beasts which allows you to gain an advantage over your opponent. MULTIPLE DEADLY (AND BIZARRE) BEASTS TO UNLOCK Donkeys playing trumpets with their bottoms, bishop cats vanquishing heretics with prayers, heavy but deadly snails that eat units alive, and more. Much, much more. They all have their special skills and are waiting for your command. SPECIAL, BATTLE TIDE-TURNING ACTIONS PERFORMED BY THE INKULINATI It’s not just your Beasts that can cause havoc and damage. Use your fists to smash your opponent's units, draw obstacles to create barriers, relocate your units with a move of your finger, or explode your troops to create pure, pure chaos. Just remember – your opponent can do it too. ADAPT YOUR TACTIC TO EVERY BATTLE Each Inkulinati has its own army, with different Beasts, who in turn, have different abilities, strengths, and unfortunately, weaknesses (or fortunately – depending which side you’re on). But it’s not just the armies that can influence who will win any given duel. Each Battlefield is its own domain, with its own particular dangers that you should watch out for, and opportunities that you can use. You will have to use your wits and adapt your strategy to beat the opposing Inkulinati’s army on each specific Battlefield. A SINGLE-PLAYER CAMPAIGN Uncover the mystery and secrets of Inkulinati and face such opponents as Death, Dante Alighieri, and more. Go out into the world and start your adventure! Fight the biggest Inkulinati masters in the land, tame the untamed Beasts, build your ultimate army, try to bring back your Master from the clutches of death, and most importantly, finish your grand quest with the biggest party that the middle ages have ever seen! Howza!!! CREATE AND DEVELOP YOUR OWN CHARACTER As any aspiring Inkulinati Master, you will get to create your own Tiny-Inkulinati. During your journey you will learn the secret techniques of drawing new Beasts and Inkulinati Hand Actions, allowing you to choose the composition of your army. You can be a brave knight that has no fear and will send his loyal troops straight at his opponents. Or perhaps you would like to play with a bit more tact? In that case, you can be a nun who with the power of prayer can confuse her enemies and heal thy own servants. Those styles, and more, are waiting to be discovered and made your own. Express yourself! EVERY BATTLE HAS ITS OWN STORY To mark every battle in history books for all future generations to see, a procedurally generated text describes the dramatic (or hilarious) events in detail just above the battlefield. Related:
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Wordle hint and answer today: Let's solve #595, February 4

Keep your Wordle win streak going straight through the weekend—today's Wordle answer is waiting for you on this very page. Like to clear the daily puzzle in your own time? Then take a minute to browse our helpful tips and guides, or use the clue for the February 4 (595) Wordle below to nudge you in the right direction without giving the game away.

I turned up yellow after yellow until… ah, not quite. Luckily I had one last guess available, and that was just enough to see me through to a satisfying victory.

Wordle hint A Wordle hint for Saturday, February 4

The answer today refers to any room or area lacking light. This can either be because a light source is present but has been switched off or because there was never any light at all. You'll need to uncover two vowels today. 

Is there a double letter in today's Wordle? 

No, there is no double letter in today's puzzle. 

Wordle help: 3 tips for beating Wordle every day 

If there's one thing better than playing Wordle, it's playing Wordle well, which is why I'm going to share a few quick tips to help set you on the path to success: 

A good opener contains a balanced mix of unique vowels and consonants. A tactical second guess helps to narrow down the pool of letters quickly.The solution may contain repeat letters.

There's no time pressure beyond making sure it's done by midnight. So there's no reason not to treat the game like a casual newspaper crossword and come back to it later if you're coming up blank. 

Today's Wordle answer

Wordle today

(Image credit: Josh Wardle) What is the Wordle 595 answer?

Weekends are for winning. The answer to the February 4 (595) Wordle is UNLIT.

Previous answers The last 10 Wordle answers 

The more past Wordle answers you can cram into your memory banks, the better your chances of guessing today's Wordle answer without accidentally picking a solution that's already been used. Past Wordle answers can also give you some excellent ideas for fun starting words that keep your daily puzzle solving fresh.

Here are some recent Wordle solutions:

February 3: FLIRTFebruary 2: SHIRKFebruary 1: SCOLDJanuary 31: CROSSJanuary 30: CRAVEJanuary 29: FISHYJanuary 28: FLIRTJanuary 27: WORRYJanuary 26: BEEFYJanuary 25: MAIZE Learn more about Wordle 

Every day Wordle presents you with six rows of five boxes, and it's up to you to work out which secret five-letter word is hiding inside them.

You'll want to start with a strong word like ALERT—something containing multiple vowels, common consonants, and no repeat letters. Hit Enter and the boxes will show you which letters you've got right or wrong. If a box turns ⬛️, it means that letter isn't in the secret word at all. 🟨 means the letter is in the word, but not in that position. 🟩 means you've got the right letter in the right spot.

You'll want your second go to compliment the first, using another "good" word to cover any common letters you missed last time while also trying to avoid any letter you now know for a fact isn't present in today's answer.

After that it's just a case of using what you've learned to narrow your guesses down to the right word. You have six tries in total and can only use real words (so no filling the boxes with EEEEE to see if there's an E). Don't forget letters can repeat too (ex: BOOKS).

If you need any further advice feel free to check out our Wordle tips, and if you'd like to find out which words have already been used you can scroll to the relevant section above. 

Originally, Wordle was dreamed up by software engineer Josh Wardle, as a surprise for his partner who loves word games. From there it spread to his family, and finally got released to the public. The word puzzle game has since inspired tons of games like Wordle, refocusing the daily gimmick around music or math or geography. It wasn't long before Wordle became so popular it was sold to the New York Times for seven figures. Surely it's only a matter of time before we all solely communicate in tricolor boxes. 

Become a Malkavian PI in pursuit of a serial killer in this Vampire Jam 2022 winner

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 may be just a distant, fading dream, but that doesn't mean we have to live our lives deprived of undead fun. World of Darkness has announced the winners of the 2022 Vampire: The Masquerade game jam, a competition between 28 games ranging from RPGs to dating sims, and you can play them all for free.

The first Vampire Jam was held by Itch.io to celebrate the announcement of Bloodlines 2, which came with much fanfare and excitement. Sadly, that hasn't worked out quite as well as we'd hoped, but the Vampire Jam has stuck around, and is now an officially sanctioned World of Darkness event. 

The most recent Vampire Jam ran from October 30 to December 2, 2002, with three themes on the table: Love Among Monsters, Horrors Unbound, and The Hunt and the Hunted. 

The winners of the 2022 Vampire Jam get $500 each, and more importantly can release and monetize their games royalty-free until September 2023 through the World of Darkness Unbound program. Developers will also get "release marketing and creative consultation" with the World of Darkness team, and promotion through World of Darkness social media channels.

Now the results are in:

Sunset Chronicles: Sin City BluesAn isometric RPG set in Las Vegas where players begin as a completely fresh vampire, slowly carving a path in the dark world surrounding them.Rat Rhapsody - A twist on a dating sim theme where you play as a Nosferatu navigating Camarilla court, trying to form alliances to find out the truth behind your lover’s betrayal.Bitter Nights: Case of the Bleeding Hearts - Classic noir meets Vampire: The Masquerade in this crime story where you play as Malkavian investigator navigating the local politics and alliances to find the truth about the local serial killer.

Sunset Chronicles: Sin City Blues has obvious appeal as an RPG, and a Nosferatu playing politics has the potential for some very interesting storytelling. My favorite of the bunch, though, has to be Bitter Nights: Case of the Bleeding Hearts: A neo-noir Malkavian PI tale may be the best idea for a game I've heard in ages. 

(For those not familiar with Vampire: The Masquerade lore, members of the Malkavian clan are uniquely perceptive and insightful, but also completely insane. Playing as a Malkavian in Bloodlines makes for a very interesting and surprisingly distinct experience, and bringing that sort of gameplay to a series of grim, gritty murder mysteries could be brilliantly deranged.)

But these three aren't the only games to emerge from the 2022 Vampire Jam: There were 28 entries in all, and some of the runners-up look very interesting in their own right, including The Outsider, Vampire Frenzy: Riding the Wave, Friday Night Speeddate, and Barbedlands—Genepil. Lots to do, in other words—you can see them all at Itch.io's Vampire: The Masquerade Jam 2022 page.

Man, Steam's official website has come a long way in 21 years

A twitter account that catalogs classic interfaces from the history of web browsing, the Web Design Museum, shared a screengrab of the Steam homepage circa May, 2005. This look back at the early days of Valve's juggernaut set our minds alight, conjuring memories of Day of Defeat Source, surf maps, and custom Half-Life 1 campaigns. Things have come a long way since those olive drab days.

Steam website in 2005#WebDesignHistory #Steam pic.twitter.com/LU4PWzyGZdFebruary 3, 2023

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A quick trip on the Wayback Machine can serve up versions of the site from any era of its almost 20-year existence, but I think the Web Design Museum hit a real sweet spot with this '05 iteration⁠—it's nowhere near as sparse as our first look at the Steam official site in 2002, but we've also yet to see the gleaming grey-and-blue terminator of today start to tear out of its olive drab flesh like in this snapshot from 2006.

My eye was immediately drawn to the bronze/silver/gold editions of Half-Life 2⁠—at the risk of revealing myself to be a pathetic bronze-tier gamer, I had no idea what these gradations meant at first. Honestly, the $85 gold edition of HL2 seems to have been pretty sick. 

According to MobyGames, you got downloads of Half-Life 2, Deathmatch, CS: Source, Half-Life 1 Source, Day of Defeat Source, and a "back catalog" of Valve games⁠—presumably the original GoldSrc Half-Life and its expansions? The pack also included a physical box mailed to you with a strategy guide, posters, and other classic swag bag fare. Beats a digital deluxe edition with a DLC pass, I reckon.

My heart was also filled with yearning and nostalgia on seeing the Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar art book over on the sidebar. I remember absolutely poring over that thing for hours back in middle school, and it offers some tantalizing glimpses of alternate designs for iconic enemies and areas.

Counter-Strike: Condition Zero and Prima "Eguides" were a real hoot for me to see as well. The single player Counter-Strike campaign and Prima's attempt at an early pivot to digital content are like looking at the first rungs of abandoned tech trees⁠—I can almost imagine an alternate present where Counter-Strike scooped Call of Duty on its de rigueur cinematic campaigns or where Prima managed to get out ahead and dominate the SEO videogame guide space.

Image of Steam Homepage circa May 2005 with squashed, crowded web design, prominent image of Gordon Freeman struggling with a tentacle around his neck, adverts for Condition Zero and the HL2 art book, and other artifacts of the era.

(Image credit: Valve Corporation)

The whole shebang is wrapped up in that wonderfully horrendous dull green color scheme Steam pot-committed to for so many years, and it's all jammed onto a page so busy you don't even know where to start. Ok, maybe this isn't "flawless UX design" but god dammit, it makes me feel something! Perhaps it's just because I was a sweet little boy who didn't have to pay rent or taxes back then, but this image really takes me back. At the very least, it shows a smaller, gentler Steam, one free of belligerent transphobic creators, bizarre wishlist-topper reveal controversies, or, ahem. Furry Hitler.

Discord voice chat is coming to PlayStation 5

Discord, the de facto standard voice chat software for PC gamers, is finally coming to PlayStation 5 consoles. The software is available now to PS5 beta participants, and will roll out to all PS5 owners later this year.

PlayStation integration actually began more than a year ago, when Discord added an option that enabled PlayStation users to link their accounts, so their PS4 and PS5 game activity could be displayed in their Discord profiles. This is the natural next step.

Users invited into the beta will have to link their PlayStation Network and Discord accounts—even if you've already done this previously, you'll have to do it again in order to grant the required new permissions. Once that's done, hop into Discord: On mobile you'll then want to look for a new "Join on PlayStation" button, while on PC you should see a new button that "looks sort of like a phone and game controller next to each other."

As far as I'm concerned, that's a terrible description. Luckily, we have a picture, to which I have added a bright yellow circle so you can't miss it:

(Image credit: Discord)

Mash that button and you'll be asked where you want to transfer your voice chat to. Select PlayStation, and you're done. All the usual Discord voice chat controls will be at your fingertips.

We said last year when PlayStation account integration came to Discord that even though it didn't impact PC gamers directly, it was a real quality of life improvement for anyone who games on multiple platforms—which these days is most of us. With cross-platform play becoming increasingly common, cross-platform chat only makes sense, and even if you're not all playing the same game at the same time, it's nice to be able to keep up with your online friends no matter what system they're playing on.

A date for the full rollout of Discord voice chat on PlayStation 5 hasn't been announced, but assuming nothing goes seriously sideways I would imagine it will happen fairly soon. If you're in the beta and run into trouble, you can get detailed instructions and troubleshooting help from the Discord support site.

The world's biggest plane, destroyed in Ukraine, will fly again in Microsoft Flight Simulator

The Antonov An-225 "Mriya," built in 1985, was the world's biggest plane before it was destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Antonov was a Soviet company, you see, but it's based in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and when Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, Antonov went with it. 

After being mothballed for several years, Mriya was brought back into service in 2001, and flew massive transport missions around the world, carrying cargoes that no other plane could manage. Its final mission took place in February 2022, when it carried nearly 90 tons of Covid-19 test kits from China to Denmark. 

On February 24, Russia launched its attack on Ukraine; the Antonov Airport in Hostomel was one of the early targets of Russian forces, and while Ukrainian forces were able to recapture the airport quickly, the Mriya—the only one of its kind—had already been destroyed.

It was a big loss for aircraft enthusiasts around the world. This wasn't just a big plane, it was the big plane. The biggest of them all. An absolute unit, as my UK friends would say. If this was an American plane, it'd be described in football fields. It needed two solid miles of runway to get off the ground.

Pictures really can't do it justice, but just look at this goddamn thing:

(Image credit: Anadolu Agency (Getty Images))

It should be physically impossible for a behemoth like this to move, much less fly, and yet fly it did.

So it's happy news that the big bird will soon be coming back—digitally—in Microsoft Flight Simulator. The An-225 has previously been flyable in Flight Sim through third-party mods, but this version will arise from an official licensing deal between Microsoft, Antonov, and sim developer IniBuilds. An-225 captain Dmytro Antonov is also involved in the creation of the plane, to ensure maximum possible accuracy.

"We said a year ago that it was very upsetting when the plane was destroyed," Microsoft Flight Simulator chief Jorg Neumann said during a developer stream reveal. "I remember saying, we're going to remake this in the digital space. But we need help, right? We didn't have much insight, there was no reference, you couldn't go scan it, those types of things. So in all of our efforts to work through everything with Antonov, they've been really, really helpful."

Antonov confirmed the Flight Simulator deal on Twitter:

(Image credit: Antonov (Twitter))

The An-225 Mriya—"Dream" in English—will launch in Microsoft Flight Simulator on February 27, the one-year anniversary of the plane's destruction. IniBuilds said the plane will cost $20, with all proceeds going to Antonov/Ukraine. I've reached out to Microsoft for more clarity on that, and will update if I receive a reply.

The real Mriya is coming back, too. Antonov announced plans to rebuild the An-225 in November 2022.

This upcoming FPS has a website that's a sick throwback to '90s game ads

Fortune's Run is shaping up to be something special: a retro FPS blending immersive sim depth with pure boomer shooter speed, some of the best swordplay I've seen in a game, and a gloriously grungy '90s sci-fi setting. But those aren't the only lost arts Team Fortune is reviving: the two-person team just unveiled an absolutely sick new website.

I know what you're thinking: "Website? How cool could it be? Besides grandpa, everyone advertises their games in portrait mode on TikTok dueted with ASMR footage of someone slicing up a bar of soap." It may not represent today's best marketing practices, but I love the way this page harkens back to an era of absurdly wordy magazine ads, like this original Half-Life spread that appeared in PC Gamer in the '90s.

Fortune's Run's site presents an interactable 3D magazine with a backdrop of the game's demo level, Club V'heni. You can click or use a phone's touchscreen to flip the pages, with your perspective of the mag adjusting with mouse movement or⁠—and this is particularly dope⁠—your phone's gyroscope. Inside are classic gaming mag-style bullet point descriptions of Fortune's Run, a wall of gameplay .gifs arranged like a print panel of screenshots, and on the back you'll find a riff on the infamous John Romero Daikatana ad. No sir, I believe I will not "suck it down."

Remember when websites were fun, and all looked different from one another? When the internet was a vast, exciting place with all sorts of nooks and crannies to get lost in? Fortune's Run's new site also brings back memories of the Halo 3 "Believe" ad campaign, a series of shorts and promos centering on a fictional museum of the Human-Covenant War, decades after the events of the games.

I remember begging my dad to install a special version of Microsoft's Silverlight media player so we could click through the Believe website's explorable diorama of a human-Covenant battle. Now that was an ad campaign, dopey schlock and all.

I'm excited about Fortune's Run—you should check out its demo and wishlist on Steam if you haven't⁠—and this site really gels with that experience. Like the game itself, the site's a throwback, but a creative, surprising one, reshaping your memories and nostalgia into something that feels entirely new. You can also check out my write-up of Fortune's Run's free demo level, Trouble at Club V'heni, from last year's Realms Deep digital event.

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First person view swinging katana against enemy in Fortune's Run

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first person view of plasma rifle with green particle effects firing in Fortune's run

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First person view of Fortune's Run gameplay parrying the plasma bolts of enemy troopers.

(Image credit: Team Fortune)
EA's Monster Hunter-like has no plans for microtransactions, all post-launch content will be free

In a Reddit Ask Me Anything this week, the developers of Wild Hearts stated that they already have plans for post-launch updates, and they'll all be free.

"All post launch contents will be free, including new Kemono and more! We don't have any plans to feature MTX," they answered in one of the AMA's most-asked questions.

"Kemono" are the jumbo-sized monsters of Wild Hearts, which you'll be hunting and trapping in an action game that obviously owes a lot to Capcom's Monster Hunter. The monetization also seems to be following Capcom's lead: with the recent Monster Hunter World and Monster Hunter Rise, Capcom added free monsters and quests for many months, without ever charging for specific battles. If anything, though, Wild Hearts sounds more generous: there are more than 200 bits of cosmetic DLC for Monster Hunter Rise, while Wild Hearts' devs, Koei Tecmo, say they have no plans to offer microtransactions. Then again, it's a lot easier to sell little bits of DLC in a series that already has millions of players and is known for being ludicrously replayable.

"No plans" doesn't mean future DLC couldn't happen, of course, and I think it's likely that we see a paid expansion for Wild Hearts if it's a hit, like last year's Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Here are a few other details from the Wild Hearts AMA:

The Steam Deck will not be supported at launch (though it's ambiguous of this simply means it won't be Verified, or won't work at all)There will be more than 20 monsters at launch, with more planned for post-releaseYou can play solo, offline, and pause mid-huntDifficulty scales dynamically with number of players (so if someone joins or leaves mid-battle, the difficulty will change)Multiplayer is peer-to-peer and isn't region lockedMonsters can fight each other, though it's "a rare occurrence"As in Monster Hunter, monsters have breakable body partsThere are eight weapon typesThere are two difficulty tiers of monsters past the end of the campaign: "Volatile Kemono" and another one the devs are keeping secretNo capturing monstersElemental statuses like fire, ice and poison (I guess poison is an element?) are part of combatEA Play and Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can play a 10 hour trial beginning February 13

Wild Hearts is out on February 17—check back before launch for our review.

This genius student uses the power of AI and a 3D printer to 'handwrite' their homework

As technology advances, you can always count on one thing: students will use it to avoid doing homework. One industrious student not only got an AI chatbot to do their homework assignment, but they also rigged it to a 3D printer to write it out on pen and paper, expending the maximum amount of effort required to do the minimum amount of homework. Bravo!

TikTok user 3d_printer_stuff shared a series of videos on how they programmed a 3D printer to produce homework with the answers that ChatGPT wrote. 

They gave ChatGPT their assignment; it spit out an answer, and then they copy/pasted that text over to 3dwriter. As you can see, once you sort out the proper spacing and mount a pen onto your 3D printer, 3dwriter can write out the AI-generated text onto a sheet of paper perfectly between the margins. The tutorial video shows the process step-by-step. 

ChatGPT has been in the news recently after Microsoft said it would invest $10 billion in OpenAI. The company developed an AI chatbot that scrapes the internet to produce long-form answers to questions in a human-like fashion. This is exactly why ChatGPT has already been banned in New York City public schools over cheating and plagiarism concerns. Ultimately the fear is that students will use it as a crutch and hinder the development of critical thinking skills, which is why the NYC Dept. of Education restricted access to the AI chatbot on its schools' computers. I don't blame them, considering one of the videos shows math homework being done on the fly. 

@3d_printer_stuff

♬ Calm LoFi song(882353) - S_R

Of course, as many comments suggest, the next logical step in 3d_printer_stuff's scheme should be to train an AI to mimic their handwriting. That way, they could fool a teacher since the handwriting shown here is just a little too perfect. You could also use these tools for non-cheating purposes, I guess.

I'd argue that setting up a rig to do your homework takes more time than just doing the homework yourself, but I applaud the hustle nonetheless. 

Either way, it's interesting to see what the cross-section of AI and automation can produce that doesn't involve it being "light outs for us all," according to one CEO. I nor PC Gamer endorse cheating or scamming your way out of doing homework. We do think it's cool, though. 

This military base-building sim has all of the soldiers and none of the violence

If you're a fan of building and management games like Two Point Hospital, maybe I can interest you in a sim featuring the types of characters who put people in the hospital.

I'm talking about soldiers. One Military Camp is a base-building and management game where you're in charge of a—well, you can probably guess from the name. Recruit new soldiers, train them into different specialties like comms operations, artillery, explosives, medics and infantry, and even upgrade them into elite operatives like spies, pilots, and tank drivers.

To do that you'll need to grow your run-down little military camp into a booming operation, filled with training buildings, obstacle courses, watch towers, warehouses, maintenance yards, and landing pads. To whip your soldiers into shape you'll need veterans to serve as instructors, and discipline is key so you can keep everyone on a strict schedule. You'll also need to manage resources like food, gear, and supplies while keeping your camp within its budget.

But along with all the weapons training and jogging in formation and loudspeakers blaring trumpeted anthems, you'll also need to keep morale up among your eager little soldiers by making the camp look nice with parks, plazas, and decorations. Provide leisure activities like ping-pong tables, pinball machines, and gaming tables—it's just not basic training unless your soldiers can play a little poker now and then. (I'm basing that not on personal military experience—I am a coward—but on every military movie I've ever seen.)

The details and animations in One Military Camp's trailers look great, with soldiers running through those obstacle courses filled with tires, training at the firing range, lifting weights and boxing, driving minitanks around sandpits, and even carefully stepping through laserbeams in an espionage practice course. In the trailer you can catch a glimpse of a diver being pursued by a shark in a small pool, presumably to level up their swimming skills for aquatic missions.

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Military camp seen from above

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Military camp seen from above

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Military camp seen from above

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Military camp seen from above

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Military camp seen from above

(Image credit: Abylight Studios)

Interestingly, there's no real violence in One Military Camp which must be a first for a game about training soldiers into elite killing machines. There are missions and quests, and you send squads of your soldiers and specialists to locations on the world map via chopper, but the carnage takes place offscreen. The only real combat you'll see appears to be if an enemy drone invades and starts dropping bombs on your buildings, which can be countered by setting up defensive measures like turrets and missile launchers.

One Military Camp has just announced an early access release date of March 2, and publisher Abylight Studios has also revealed a roadmap which includes a sandbox mode coming in April, pets added in May, soldier customization options in June, and a full release aiming for September. 

Elden Ring streamer strums Margit to death with an actual acoustic guitar

MissMikkaa, the streamer who defeated the Elden Ring uber-boss Malenia using a level one character and a dance pad, has yet another bizarre boss kill to her repertoire: This time, she's taken down Margit, the Fell Omen, with an acoustic guitar.

See for yourself:

We did it! Killed Margit today with an Acoustic Guitar! This might be the most inconsistent and hardest run so far hahaha, very fun! The plan is to beat Elden Ring by only using the guitar as a controller. pic.twitter.com/xF9FB8JeBqFebruary 2, 2023

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You'll notice that MissMikkaa is using a real acoustic guitar here, and not some kind of Guitar Hero-style controller. You might then naturally wonder how it works. The answer, she said in another tweet, is a program called Abject Audio Inputs, which binds audio frequencies to keyboard inputs. Basically, you can use any sound to control your keyboard, recorded or live, "as long as you are able to keep a certain consistency in your tone."

"My guitar is connected via an XLR cable to my gaming PC," MissMikkaa explained while demonstrating the setup during a recent livestream. "Basically how the software works is that it has these frequencies that it looks for, for this specific [in-game] action, which is W. So when it hits that frequency, for example when I do a G [chord]—you saw that it hit it—that means it does a W [keypress] for four seconds. Now if I want to attack, I have it assigned to the second frequency, which is A minor, and that's just a tap. And now we can heal, which is R, which is the third line [in the software], which is a C chord on the guitar. You see?"

MissMikkaa acknowledged how ridiculous it looks to play Elden Ring with a string instrument. "I mean, I can understand how it can look like, or be unbelievable, but it's definitely not fake. Instead of saying, 'this is not real,' you can say, 'How does this work?'"

(Image credit: MissMikkaa (Twitch))

In case it needs to be said, playing Elden Ring with a guitar and some weird software is clearly not easy. MissMikkaa was able to take down Margit, but I spent 15 minutes watching her battle Godrick the Grafted with a guitar during her Twitch stream, and she got absolutely rocked throughout. She eventually moved on to more conventional guitar-driven exploration, but even that was clearly a struggle—although to be perfectly honest she's doing better with the guitar than I ever did using a conventional controller.

It's definitely not the way I'd want to play Elden Ring, but the commitment to the bit is impressive. Of course, MissMikkaa is well known for exploring the Lands Between in the weirdest and most difficult ways possible: Before this, she beat two instances of Elden Ring's final boss simultaneously, using a dance pad for one and a regular controller for the other.

Ultimate Challenge Run - COMPLETED! I finished the dance pad & controller simultaneous run the other day after beating Elden Beast! It was so much fun and I definitely want to do more creative challenge runs in the future! Thank you all ❤️ pic.twitter.com/YD3GJTmrIcJanuary 8, 2023

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Season: A Letter to the Future review

There's nothing I love more than a game world that wants to tell me a story, but it's rare that I'm the one asked to do the telling. Season: A Letter To The Future has a vast horizon when it starts, painting a fascinating post-apocalyptic-ish setting where the player is tasked with documenting what they find. Yet the more I travel through Season, the more its vista shrinks, taken up instead by the story its narrator wants to tell and leaving no room for my own exploration.

Need to know

What is it? A narrative adventure game
Expect to pay: £20.99 / $25
Release date: January 31, 2023
Developer: Scavengers Studio
Publisher: Scavengers Studio
Reviewed on: 64-Bit Windows 10, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, Intel i7-4790K, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer? No
Steam Deck: Unverified
Link: Steam page

The starting promise is a tantalising one. Season begins with a character at some point in the future opening a journal, the one our narrating protagonist is about to embark with and begin to fill. This unnamed protagonist has been raised in an isolated mountain village and wants to journey out to capture the world's current "season," an era, before the next one comes along. There's something cosy in this opening as you prepare to set off. The narrator's mother carries it, thanks to a voice performance infused with warmth and encouragement. Together you create a pendant, infused with memories, to protect you on this journey.

Season is a game obsessed with memory. The world is littered with remnants of the past and bears the hallmarks of post-apocalyptic fiction, but people continue to live and flourish in this world. Yet you're focused on deciphering the past, capturing cultures gone or fading. Whether that's through graffiti or religious shrines, you are trying to provide a thorough snapshot of a place and time. To do this you have three main tools: a camera, an audio recorder and the journal. With these you will be compiling as much as you can about what you see.

The bulk of the game takes place in a large valley which you can openly explore, on foot or on your little dinky bicycle, visiting key points in any order. Every time I'm set loose over a hill or down a slope, my heart swells with the excitement of what's to come as I glimpse distant statues or the rising smoke of a hidden cottage. It's a game world for the kind of people who like poking around, getting a sense of life from fictional places. I could lose hours just studying every inch of a village or a single pub in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Season caters to that desire, building the whole experience around curiosity. Everywhere you visit has a lovely handcrafted quality about it. Each locale is convincingly lived in, with dozens of little props and a sense of their day-to-day life, whether it's a rural farm or an artist's junkyard.

Except my every attempt to connect with the world, to let it enter my imagination and take on a life of its own, was interrupted by a narrator who, frankly, just would not shut up.

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Season: A Letter to the Future

Every hill holds the promise of something wonderful over the rise (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 2 of 4

Season: A Letter to the Future

The game's central valley will take many hours to explore thoroughly (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 3 of 4

Season: A Letter to the Future

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Season: A Letter to the Future

It does capture the joy of a really lovely bicycle ride (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)

The games that Season pulls from rely on "less is more." Shadow of the Colossus, Journey, and very recent games like Sable and Lake invest in captivating landscapes because they trust them to tell their stories. Season is a bit too ponderous for its own good, reluctant to let me have a thought for myself before the narrator pipes in with theirs. It feels like it wants to take me on a meditative journey, but it never leaves enough room in its story for us to breathe. 

Our narrator comments on every object, every sight and sound, as if Season is afraid of what anyone might think if left to come to their own conclusions. A world, built by so many people, wasted by one who refuses to get out of its way. I couldn't help but think about the allegations of sexual and verbal harassment regarding former creative director Simon Darveau, who remains at Scavengers Studio. A dark cloud hanging over the whole game.

A lot of dialogue doesn't have to be a problem, but Season is quite one note. Unlike Sable or Lake, Season is humourless in its dialogue and not very playful in its exploration and the endless chatter really starts to drag things down. Its melancholy tone is potent but without any respites of joy or warmth, Season starts to feel like a parody of itself.

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Season: A Letter to the Future

Putting together this journal will be your pride and joy (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 2 of 6

Season: A Letter to the Future

Photography is your main method of documenting the world (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 3 of 6

Season: A Letter to the Future

Few NPCs left an impression but the voice acting is good throughout (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 4 of 6

Season: A Letter to the Future

It's seldom gloomy visually but a melancholy tone is pervasive (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 5 of 6

Season: A Letter to the Future

The world of Season is one with sights that beg to be explored (Image credit: Scavengers Studio)Image 6 of 6

Season: A Letter to the Future

(Image credit: Scavengers Studio)

The kind of game you might make if you wanted to mock the earnest sensibilities of walking simulators. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's pretentious, but it is overeager. Perhaps that's appropriate for a game about a sheltered, youthful traveller. 

I did relish taking great care of the little journal I was curating. You get to choose what goes in and where, from pictures and audio samples, to sketches and knick-knacks found along the way. I fixated on the layouts, trying to be thorough without just cramming in everything. By the end of the game I was so proud of the book I'd put together, in spite of so much of my exploration being drained of all mystique. Even when a bug wiped all my save data several hours in (an issue that has since been resolved, at least) I still painstakingly put together that journal a second time.

While its overbearing narrator robs Season of the wonder and meditation it so clearly aspires to, I still managed to find a little of my own. I just wish its letter to the future was one I got to write, rather than one I only got to carry. 

The Last of Us Part 1 is delayed because everyone likes the HBO show so much

The bad news is that The Last of Us Part 1 on PC, which had been set to launch on March 3, is delayed. The good news is that the delay is brief as these things go, just a few weeks, and it's now set to come out on March 28.

The delay, believe it or not, was apparently prompted at least in part by the popularity of the HBO show, which has brought the game back into pop culture prominence and exposed it to a whole new audience.

"Hearing your love for the HBO adaptation, seeing your beautiful Photo Mode shots, and learning about how the world and characters our studio created nearly a decade ago continue to reach new and old fans alike floors us every day," Naughty Dog said. "We know a lot of you have been revisiting the story that started it all with The Last of Us Part 1 on PlayStation 5 console, and we realize that many of you have been excited to jump in—some for the first time—when Part 1 hits PC.

"And so we want to make sure that The Last of Us Part 1 PC debut is in the best shape possible. The additional few weeks will allow us to ensure this version of The Last of Us lives up to your, and our, standards. We are so excited to bring The Last of Us Part 1 to a new platform, reaching new and returning players with Joel and Ellie's unforgettable story of survival, and we hope that you'll continue to look forward to its PC release on March 28."

It's a weird statement, right? It's one thing for a team to say it needs more time than it anticipated to get things right, but something else entirely to imply that they were ready to gun this thing out the door in whatever half-assed shape they could smack it into until the TV show became a hit. I can't decide if this is pure cynicism or brutal honesty: Is Naughty Dog camouflaging development headaches in a warm cloak of boundless love for the fans, or just admitting that it's only really going hard because everyone is paying attention?

There is a third possibility, and this is what I'm hoping for: After seeing the massive success of episode 3 of the HBO show, which went deep into the relationship between Bill and Frank (something the game doesn't explore), Naughty Dog is expanding the narrative to embrace their story as canon. I know, three weeks isn't enough time to make big, meaningful changes, but I think it should happen and so I'm putting it out there.

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

Whatever the case, March 28 is now the big day. The Last of Us on PC is available for pre-purchase now on Steam and the Epic Games Store, both of which currently still indicate a March 3 release date.

Elgato Stream Deck + or Loupedeck Live S? Here's our streaming gadget pick

Elgato Stream Deck +

A sleek design and excellent software makes the Stream Deck + an easy sell.

ForSleek buildEasy to use softwareLots of pluginsSingle Type-C USB connectionAgainstPricey versus standard Stream Deck

Loupedeck Live S

A dinky but powerful box of tricks that’s likely to be a hit with streamers as much as the creative pros it’s designed for.

ForGreat for gamers, streamersBut also musiciansEasy to navigate marketplaceLovely tactile feelAgainstFlimsy feeling stand

If you’ve kept an eye on some of our hardware review coverage, the chances are you may well have noticed that we’ve taken a look at a couple of the latest and greatest streaming decks out there: the Elgato Stream Deck + and the Loupedeck Live S. If you’re still undecided on what to buy out of the two of them having read my verdicts and reviews, then this article pitting the pair up against each other in some key areas should hopefully help you out.

Ease of use

The Stream Deck has plugins for video creation, photo editing, streaming, and more. (Image credit: Future)

The first category here to take a look at is ease of use, and which device I’d argue between the pair is going to be the most convenient. Immediately though, I’m going to say that it depends on who you are. The Stream Deck + is going to be especially easy to use if you’re a streamer who wants convenient access to apps and plugins for platforms such as Twitch, or if you want to use it as a control centre for any other Elgato products you’ve got such, be it key lights or a microphone. Its big tactile buttons and dials make it easy and fun to use, and the fixed stand is arguably at the perfect angle already.

On the other hand, the Loupedeck Live S is going to be an excellent choice for creative professionals as well as streamers who want to not only use the device in places such as Twitch and OBS, but also if they’re a heavy user of Adobe Creative Suite or Final Cut Pro, as well as if they use a DAW for music production. Its smaller profile is great for space savers, while the bundled stand raises the angle up a fair bit for more comfortable use, although is a little bit flimsy.

In my book, the Stream Deck + wins for ease of use by virtue of its design; those big chunky buttons and dials offer some excellent tactility that the Live S can’t really match.

Winner: Stream Deck + Software

Loupedeck's devices come with plugins for popular creative apps, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, ready to go. (Image credit: Loupedeck)

Keeping in that theme of solid ease of use, the Stream Deck +’s accompanying software is especially simple to use. Adding plugins to use on the device is as simple as downloading them from the marketplace, letting them install, and dragging and dropping them to a respective button the Stream Deck +. Then, simply wait a couple of seconds, and that plugin will be able to be used. 

You do also get a good selection of plugins and apps to use in Elgato’s software with everything from a clock to stocks and more useful buttons such as for controlling OBS, media playback or using the dial for screen brightness or system volume on your host device.

It’s much the same story for the Live S, too. Loupedeck’s own software provides a similar function with the ability to drag and drop functions into the device’s interface, which would then show up on the console itself. Where this differs though is in its marketplace, where you can grab a wide array of plugins to use the Live S with an excellent range of programs, including native support for Adobe Creative Suite, which the Stream Deck + doesn’t have. You can also nab everything from emotes to stream overlays too, with a range of both paid and free options, meaning there’s something to suit everyone.

As a result of the vast swathes of plugins, apps and overlays on offer as well as clever features such as native support for Adobe Creative Suite, I think the Live S wins on software.

Winner: Loupedeck Live S  Hardware

Both consoles have a relatively similar construction. Sleek black boxes. (Image credit: Future)

Of course, it’s all very well and good having a set of devices that are easy to use and offer decent software, but what are things like on the hardware side of things? Well, the Stream Deck + is a noticeably larger device than the Loupedeck Live S, with its integrated stand and 465g weight. This also allows it to feel sturdy in hand, and especially well made. The buttons on offer are nice and tactile, while the selection of dials feel decent, although their lack of feedback is a little jarring at times. A single USB Type-C connection also keeps things easy, and means you can use the Stream Deck + with virtually any modern PC or Mac.

In the case of the Live S, it’s a much slimmer and flatter device by trade, with a total mass of 168g and a total thickness of 30mm. This means it’s going to be a great device for those wanting more of an unobtrusive look. Despite that smaller stature though, the Live S feels generally well made, with a nice textured finish to the plastics used, as the Stream Deck + does. My only issue with build quality here was the additional stand of the Live S, which felt quite flimsy, and that with one wrong move, it could break off.

Unlike the Stream Deck +, the Live S doesn’t use buttons for its main interfaces, but these kind of touch pad screen type things, which feel pretty good, although I’d personally prefer actual buttons. You do get 15 pads though, whereas the Stream Deck + only has eight buttons. The Live S only employs two dials though, which do feature actual tactile feedback, and the four buttons feel tactile themselves.

It’s quite hard to pick a winner when it comes to hardware, to be truthful. The Live S arguably offers you more doodads and buttons to play with compared to the Stream Deck +, even if Elgato’s product is a little bit weightier and arguably better built. An especially hard fought draw.

Draw Verdict

The Stream Deck's simplicity and functionality is hard to ignore. (Image credit: Future)

So, after all this, are you any the wiser as to which device to pick? Well, for my money, I’m going to take the Stream Deck +. It may be a tad more expensive than the Live S, but it’s marginally better built and offers some solid ease of use. Its software is pretty good too, even if it doesn't offer as full of a set of features as the Live S does.

With that being said though, the decision as to which device to go for largely depends on your needs and what type of person you are. If you’re someone who’s a straightforward streamer, then the Stream Deck + is going to be the best option, while for creative pros who need the additional support for DAWs and MIDI devices, the Loupedeck Live S is going to be a better fit. Either way though, you’re going to be getting a capable streaming deck or console that can make your life a lot easier, even if they aren’t the cheapest devices in the world.

Personal pick: Stream Deck + 
Dwarf Fortress' next update grants even more ways to torment your minions

Dwarf Fortress will soon provide another way to mistreat your hapless peons. The upcoming arena mode will give you an open playground to experiment with the game's NPCs, letting you place down different creatures, select their skills and equipment, and sic them on one another for your own twisted amusement. You'll be able to sort your combatants into teams, give them special characteristics (like "necromancer," for example), and even mess with the weather or place down hindrances like snow and mud.

DF creator Tarn Adams said the patch should be coming "early next week" in an update posted to Steam yesterday. Arena mode has been in regular, ASCII-style Dwarf Fortress for a while now, but it's one of those things—like Adventure Mode—that's still on the Steam version's to-do list. As well as letting you live out your fantasies of becoming a kind of dwarven Caesar Augustus, the colosseum will come with a few new arena maps in addition to the one from the regular version of the game.

Adams says that the devs "are hoping to add an editor and save/load/sharing capabilities for these maps in the future as well," but doesn't give a precise release window on that. For now, you'll have to stick with the included options, which do at least have a working save/load function, letting you return to an ongoing brawl later on if you have to step away.

Those players who aren't all about naked bloodlust will also find the arena to be a handy tool for testing mods before publishing them. If you've invented some entirely new genre of dwarf, you'll be able to dump them into the mode and make sure they don't crash your hard drive before you go putting them on the Dwarf Fortress Steam Workshop.

Dwarf Fortress has already had a few updates since it finally came to Steam at the beginning of last December. In that time, the game has made nearly 10 million bucks, smashed its two-month sales estimate, and even acquired a second programmer. Oh, and it's pretty good, too.

Overwatch 2 is targeting players who play with cheaters even if they're not cheating themselves

Blizzard has used an update about toxicity and cheating in Overwatch 2 to slip-out a bit of a humblebrag: Since launch, the game has attracted "over 40 million players, both returning and new." Partly that's because, unlike the original, Overwatch 2 is free-to-play, but even so that's a staggering number of players ignoring the objective.

The Overwatch 2 dev team gives its approach to bad behaviour the D.Va-inspired and grandiose name of the Defense Matrix initiative, which I'm sure has the nasty sorts quaking in their boots. Blizzard says that early rollout of its system for detecting "disruptive" voice chat has begun and it has "proven to be exceptionally accurate and effective in identifying abusive chat and language." When bad chat is identified, the game will selectively silence the guilty parties and in worse cases apply account suspensions.

Blizzard is also taking aim at inappropriate content in custom games, probably because a persistent problem for the game has been things like a 'sexual harassment simulator' appearing in the game's popular list. It says it has some new moderation tools that will automatically target "inappropriate titles or content, along with issuing restrictions or account actions to those who create and post such custom games."

An option for players to hide their and others' battletags during games is being introduced to combat stream-sniping. On top of this, players will also be able to hide the current queue time and delay it for a random amount before the game actually begins, as well as hiding replay codes.

Over 50,000 accounts have been "actioned" for cheating since launch, and Blizzard's had enough, to the extent it's no longer just targeting the cheaters, but those who go along with them. From season 3 it's looking to identify players who regularly group-up with cheaters, and will take action against these accounts, even if they're not cheating themselves, with "severe suspensions" and in extreme cases outright bans. Blizzard even gets a bit finger-waggy about it: "players who knowingly group up with cheaters are looking to take the same advantage as those who use cheats themselves, including boosting their accounts to skill levels they would not normally belong in with their own skill." OK, Mum.

The developer ends by reiterating something that's a feature of this update: Report, report, report. Blizzard says it's more likely to take action against behaviour when it's reported, and is working on making the UI for doing so easier, but report whatever you see. Just reading this made me feel a bit like a narc, even though I know we're talking about douchebags, but it's clear Blizzard wants players to approach this like most of the team compositions I end up on: No Mercy.

I lost thousands of soldiers in The Great War: Western Front because I forgot my balloon

As I sent my eager soldiers into battle against our German adversaries in The Great War, Petroglyph's World War I RTS, I was confident we were about to change the shape of the Western Front. Or at least the top part, around the border between France and Belgium. I didn't know the exact troop composition of the force we were about to meet, but I knew we vastly outnumbered them. It turns out that all this meant was I had more soldiers to lose—all because I'd forgotten my bloody balloon. 

I'd just finished The Great War's extensive tutorial—which does a good job of untangling what is a rather complex blend of turn-based wargame and trench-filled RTS—and it made a big point of emphasising the importance of visibility. What is a concern in pretty much every RTS is even more of a priority here, thanks to the conflict's penchant for artillery. You need to be able to see a great distance if you're going to hammer the enemy until there's nothing left but craters. And that's where the balloons come in. 

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

During the planning phase of the RTS battles, you lay down trenches, barbed wire and machine gun emplacements, building grim fortifications out of mud and twisted metal, but if you can't see, they won't save you. Bringing in some balloons, and then sending them up in the air, will open your eyes to the world around you, pushing back the fog so that you can see the enemy charging or find choice targets for an artillery bombardment. 

These balloons unfortunately attract pests, with enemy planes and artillery attempting to take them out and blind you. You can lower the balloons to protect them, but that means temporarily reducing your vision dramatically. Not that I had to worry about any of this in that cold, snow-covered field, tragically devoid of balloons as I was. 

Modern warfare

See, while the tutorial gives you a lot of toys to play with right away, the campaign begins with only the absolute basic techs. We're just past the point where horses are no longer a feature on the battlefield, but to start filling the skies with balloons and planes some more work is required. As the campaign progresses, you'll be fighting a war of technological advances, with both sides pushing through new ideas and inspiring the opposition to develop countermeasures, like new kinds of trenches, and then new kinds of tanks that are better suited to driving over those trenches. Eventually you'll be using techniques like undermining, where your sappers will dig beneath the enemy and lay nasty, explosive traps for them.

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

I was so eager to rout the Germans, however, that I spent hardly any time exploring the research screen before rushing in, guns blazing. But when the fight started, my guns proved to be mostly useless. 

Two points on opposite sides of the map were waiting to be captured, but I had absolutely no idea what would be waiting for my men. To make matters worse, the Germans did have a balloon, so they could see me coming straight away. Obviously I should have used my artillery to take it out, but no, instead I spent the next 10 minutes impotently throwing unit after unit at a wall of bullets. 

It was a massacre. For a moment, you could hardly see the snow, with a rug of corpses covering everything—at least until the game did me a solid and made them dissolve into the terrain. I lost so many men that I quickly became numb, and dropped all pretence of using a strategy. There were no control groups, no flanking manoeuvres, just meat charging into the grinder. But then—progress! While the machine guns were cutting through my troops like they were made of one-ply tissue paper, all that time my artillery was bombarding the emplacements and the trenches they were protecting. My men were effectively being sacrificed just so I could get a glimpse of new targets for the big guns. 

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

It was slow going, but it was working, and when that first line of defences fell, my men poured into the trenches and claimed them. I also remembered, finally, to take out the enemy balloon. With both of us blind, things were a bit more level, and since the second row of trenches wasn't as well fortified, we were soon upon the point, ready to capture it. 

Trench combat can be a bit tricky to read. Out in the open, you can see the impact of a hail of bullets pretty clearly, and understand why the fight is going one way or the other, but inside the trenches, amid the throng of dying men, you just have to rely on the unit health and morale bars, which don't always feel like they're telling you the whole story. Broadly, though, I'm quite keen on The Great War's take on this era of warfare. Trenches are more than just places for soldiers to hide or fight over, and you can create whole networks of them, connected by communication trenches, allowing your men to scurry across the battlefield without having to show the enemy their ripe melons, much to the chagrin of snipers. 

You can cram two units inside each trench section, placing one on the firing step and using the other as back-up. It's the unit on the firing step who'll be peppering charging foes with bullets, so you'll want to make sure to figure out which of your two units is best suited to the role. But when that firing unit starts to take a beating, you swap it for the other one, extending the amount of time you can deal with enemy assaults. 

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

With the point ours, I could reinforce from that position, so I brought in new troops to defend it just in case. Then I turned my attention to the second point. I already had a few units to the south, so I brought them up. Then I noticed all the lads I'd brought in to protect the other point either dying or legging it. I was foiled by low visibility yet again, not realising that just to the north was another machine gun emplacement. On the other side of the map, my troops had met the enemy and were desperately trying to make it to an empty trench where they could hunker down. A few more seconds and they would have made it. Thinking I should save at least some troops for the rest of the war, I finally offered a ceasefire. 

Will they or won't they?

There's a lot of nuance to how The Great War handles victory and defeat, and it's one of the things that makes WWI such an unusual proposition for an RTS. It's not a simple binary where you either win or lose, and you have to change your expectations a lot. This was a war where a great victory could sometimes mean just pushing forward a few miles, or even just a few inches. There are different categories of victory and defeat, but battles can also end in stalemates, as this one did. I'd been unable to break the Germans' hold over the area, despite all the bodies I threw into the mess. Successfully taking that one capture point, however, put me in a better position for the next attack, but the cost was huge, and reduced my National Will—meaning that the folks back home were hearing bad stuff about how things were going and losing their appetite for war.

National Will is one way you can win or lose the entire war, so it's critically important, but Petroglyph hasn't designed it to punish players. The penalties are mild enough so that you can still fight and maybe even turn things around even if your National Will is approaching zero. There's always got to be this chance for a comeback, which couldn't happen if your forces had been rendered completely ineffective.

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

My next scrap was a scripted historical battle where I was given control over the Central Powers, specifically the Germans. This fight, the infamous Battle of the Somme, couldn't have been more different from the last, starting out as a predominantly defensive battle with Allied troops hurling themselves at my trenches. And I had much fancier toys to play with, including flamethrowers and artillery with a variety of firing modes, including the rolling barrage, where rows of explosions provide cover for advancing troops thanks to all the smoke. Above the battlefield, meanwhile, planes were dropping bombs or getting into dogfights. Nowhere was safe. 

Historical battles have a variety of mission objectives and bonuses that give the conflicts some narrative flavour, along with a welcome, varied pace. There are some explicit choices that you can make during in-battle events that also allow you to take slightly different approaches, but which can also have knock-on effects that you might be less pleased with. So when I asked for some reinforcements that would have otherwise been sent to another battle, I soon learned that there was a cost. That other battle started going badly for the Central Powers, so the Allies didn't need as many troops to take us on, and sent them over to the Somme instead.

These enemy reinforcements only proved to be a minor wrinkle, at least, and the Allies soon found themselves on the back foot. It was time for the Central Powers to go on the offensive. Under the cover of explosions and smoke my men charged out of their trenches and into No Man's Land, while my pilots above chased down the enemy bombers trying to thwart our attack. I had the advantage now, but some bombs got through and many of my units took a beating in enemy trenches. It was still a costly attack, but one that put victory within reach.

(Image credit: Frontier Foundry)

Despite these bespoke battles boasting some additional complexity, I found the structure of the Somme slightly easier to manage as a first-time player. The objectives gave me a clearer idea of what I needed to do to win, and the moves I made across the battlefield were more effective as a result. And this time, thank God, I actually had some balloons. 

The Great War: Western Front arrives on PC on March 30, but you'll be able to experience a slice of the war early, during Steam Next Fest. You'll be able to play through the tutorial (which I highly recommend, because there's quite a lot to take in) and part of the campaign, as well as one historical battle: Battle of Passchendaele. The demo will be available from February 6. 

Hose down a filthy Final Fantasy 7 boss at several thousand PSI in Powerwash Sim's upcoming DLC

Hot on the heels of its Tomb Raider expansion, Powerwash Simulator is set to get Final Fantasy 7 DLC that will finally fulfil your aching, secret desire to scrub clean a Guard Scorpion at a million PSI. Announced by Square Enix on Twitter, the DLC will see you take your power washing armoury over to Midgar to blast clean all sorts of familiar sights. It's not much, but it's honest work.

There's no release date for this one yet—and Japan's official Final Fantasy 7 Day is already behind us, so I guess it won't be that—but we do know a few of the things we'll be cleaning up. Brace yourself for the thrill of pressure-washing Cloud's motorcycle, Tifa's bar, and, yes, the aforementioned Guard Scorpion whenever the expansion finally lands. Much like the Tomb Raider pack, it's set to be free, like access to one of the Wonders of the World.

/📢無料DLC第2弾は『FFVII』コラボ!\『FFVII』とのコラボDLC『ミッドガル特別依頼』では【セブンスヘブン】【ガードスコーピオン】といったおなじみの場所や敵をピカピカに磨くミッションが下されます。配信時期等については今後の情報をお待ちください!#PowerWash #パワーウォッシュ #FF7 pic.twitter.com/L2R6SwKas4January 31, 2023

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That Tomb Raider add-on for Powerwash Simulator dropped on January 31 and was surprisingly robust, bolting on five Croft-themed maps and various knick-knacks to polish. It was a loving tribute to several decades of Tomb Raider history, even if it was covered in filth, and had plenty of little in-jokes and nostalgic nods for fans to smile wryly at. I suspect the FF7 DLC will be much the same. Honestly, if Powerwash Sim wants to become a kind of hose-down tribute to iconic gaming series of years past, I'm up for that.

There have been more than a few Powerwash-heads on staff here at PCG. Guides writer Sarah James made it her personal GOTY pick last year, praising the stress-relieving qualities of annihilating dirt at high pressure, and Rachel Watts was waxing lyrical about the odd power fantasy that comes with an arsenal of pressure-washing gear all the way back in 2020. I guess cleanliness really is next to godliness.

Powerwash Simulator's FF7 DLC will release… at some point in the future, and I have to imagine it'll be sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you can amuse yourself with the free Tomb Raider expansion over on Steam and the Microsoft Store.

Intel Core i5 13400F

For a gaming PC, there's no better value CPU than a Core i5. For most of 2022, we recommended the Core i5 12600K for the best gaming CPU and the Core i5 12400 as the best gaming CPU on a budget. Last year, the Core i5 13600K took over the top spot. And today, the Core i5 13400F pushes Alder Lake out of the runnings with an even more impressive specification for the money.

The Intel Core i5 13400F is a processor I've been waiting patiently to test since I first heard wind of it last year. You'll understand why once you read these specs: A 10-core processor made up of six Performance-cores (P-cores) and four Efficient-cores (E-cores), the Core i5 13400F has a total of 16 threads. Its fastest cores will run up to 4.6GHz out of the box, a clock speed that wouldn't have seemed out of place on the box of a Core i7 only a few years back.

For that impressive spec, the Core i5 has been given an Intel-recommended price tag of $196. Consider the other options: that's a handful of dollars more than the Core i5 12400 from last year, or $33 cheaper than AMD's Ryzen 5 7600.

All of which means, as someone who has been happily running an Intel Core i7 6700K over the past six or seven years, and which now resides in a PC I built for my partner, this is the first time I've considered upgrading that chip for something newer.

Core i5 13400F specs

Intel Core i5 13400F CPU in a motherboard socket

(Image credit: Future)

Cores (P+E): 6+4
Threads: 16
L3 Cache (Smart Cache): 20MB
L2 Cache: 9.5MB
Max P-core Turbo frequency (GHz): 4.6
Max E-core Turbo frequency (GHz): 3.3
Unlocked: No
Graphics: No iGPU
Memory support (up to): DDR5 4800MT/s, DDR4 3200MT/s
Processor Base Power (W): 65
Maximum Turbo Power (W): 148
RRP: $196

It really is seriously impressive on paper. And in the test bench it continues to impress.

The Core i5 13400F is only a handful of frames shy of the Core i9 13900K in Total War: Three Kingdoms, Metro Exodus, and F1 2021. In Far Cry 6, this chip is significantly slower than Intel's high-end processors, however, showing Far Cry 6 to be a more CPU-limited game than the others. To a lesser extent, the same is true for Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Yet even in these two games where the Core i5 13400F falls off the pace of the faster 13th Gen processors, it remains quicker than last year's best gaming CPU, the Core i5 12600K. It's also significantly faster than the Core i5 12400, though is more power-hungry for it.

Gaming benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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The Core i5 13400F doesn't support BCLK overclocking, however, and that was something we absolutely adored about the Core i5 12400. Intel blocks multiplier overclocks with all but its K-series chips, meaning neither the Core i5 13400F or Core i5 12400 should have been able to do it, but a few motherboard manufacturers made BCLK overclocking available to non-K 12th Gen processors. With one such overclock in place, at 4.8GHz, the Core i5 12400 actually manages to top the Core i5 13400F in some games. 

That said, I'd still take the Core i5 13400F for the extra cores any day, even if it meant giving up the illicit overclocking capabilities of its predecessor.

AMD has a competitive stack of Zen 4 chips to compete with Raptor Lake today. While its 3D V-Cache chips look set to be the most competitive versus Intel, they're far too pricey for comparison with this Core i5. Instead, the i5 13400F is going head-to-head with the Ryzen 5 7600X, a $299 chip that's more like $250 in today's market, and the $229 Ryzen 5 7600.

Content creation and synthetic benchmarks

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

(Image credit: Future) Test rigs

Intel
Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi
Storage: 2TB Sabrent Rocket 4.0 Plus
Cooler: Asus ROG Ryujin II
PSU: Gigabyte Aorus P1200W

AMD
Motherboard: ASRock X670E Taichi
Storage: 1TB WD Black SN850
Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB
PSU: NZXT 850W

Shared
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo DDR5-6000 CL30 2x 16GB
Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 3080 10GB
 

In our testing, neither the Core i5 13400F or Ryzen 5 7600X can claim an outright win across the testing suite, though when AMD's chip is faster, it is quite a bit faster. AMD's chip does come out as the clear winner on the productivity and content creation side of things, but it is that much more expensive for it. AMD-compatible motherboards also fall on the expensive side versus the cheaper Intel-compatible 600-series boards, so overall costs will probably tack on around $100 more for the X-series AMD option. That said, the Core i5 13400F is around $210 on Newegg at time of writing, and the Ryzen 5 7600 is only $229.

Intel's platform is surprisingly cheap for the inclusion of both the latest 700-series motherboards and older 600-series motherboards. Similarly, we're saving a little cash here on the 'F' designated model. The 'F' denotes the Core i5 13400F's lack of integrated graphics, which isn't a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination. Generally, that integrated GPU isn't going to come much in handy for gaming, and even today's cheapest discrete graphics card will outperform it by a country mile. 

I would recommend pairing this CPU with either AMD's RX 6600 or RX 6600 XT, two GPUs that have mightily improved in standing due to recent price cuts. A recent price cut to Intel's Arc A750 means you could also go all-Intel on a budget and see some impressive 1080p performance, too. But make no mistake, a higher-end GPU will still perform well with the Core i5 13400, as per our benchmark results using an RTX 3080.

Thermals and power draw

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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Intel Core i5 13400F comparison benchmark graphs

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There is something else to say on the Core i5 13400F. Unlike the other 13th Gen processors we've reviewed so far, the Core i5 13400F doesn't utilise all the benefits available to the new Raptor Lake architecture. It's complicated.

Intel is using both new Raptor Lake and old Alder Lake dies for the Core i5 13400F. The final product is the same, regardless of which die is under the hood, but this does mean that you don't see the L2 cache increase that Intel introduced with Raptor Lake on the Core i5 13400F. But before you think this is only an Alder Lake chip in disguise, while that's technically true, the Core i5 13400F does come with more cache than the Core i5 12400F as a result of having more cores. It just doesn't include more L2 cache per core like the higher-end Raptor Lake chips.

A reminder of the difference in cache per core between Alder Lake and Raptor Lake:

Raptor Lake: 2MB L2 per P-Core + 4MB L2 per E-core clusterAlder Lake: 1.25MB L2 per P-Core + 2MB L2 per E-core cluster

Intel Core i5 13400F CPU in a motherboard socket

(Image credit: Future)

To try and put it more plainly, the Core i5 13400F is either a Core i5 12600KF in a downclocked disguise or made to look like one. It's fairly immaterial which you actually receive, but you can find out whether you have a Raptor Lake or Alder Lake die from the CPU revision listed in applications such as CPU-Z. A B0 stepping is Raptor Lake and a C0 stepping is Alder Lake. Our review sample is a C0 chip.

With that out of the way, let's get back to the good stuff: the Core i5 13400F. This chip is officially the good stuff. There's a lot to like about this processor, from its speedy gaming performance to the 10 cores under the hood, enough to make any older four-core CPU feel extremely outdated. While the Core i5 13600K remains the pick for the best gaming CPU, and AMD is very competitive in the ~$275 market, Intel's Core i5 13400F is a shoe-in for the best budget gaming CPU in 2023.

HHKB Professional Hybrid Type S

Alright, it may not look like much to most people, but what I’ve got in front of me here is a bit of a holy grail of keyboards to us nerds. The Happy Hacking Keyboard, or as it’s better known, the HHKB, has gained cult-like status amongst a very specific corner of keyboard fans, myself included. It’s one of those keyboards that I saw on forums a few years ago and wanted to own, but the cost and stuff at the time was just too high.

Fast forward to early 2023, and I’m sitting here with an HHKB Professional Hybrid Type-S in front of me. It’s been my daily driver for the last few weeks, well, apart from when I’ve been swapping between it and my Topre Realforce R2 PFU, but anyways, I digress. Would I recommend right out of the gate for you to go and buy one? Well, yeah, definitely, but at the same time, also, no.

Allow me to explain. There are a few things that make the HHKB a unique keyboard in its own right that you may need to get used to. Chief among these is its odd layout. In taking a quick glance down, the HHKB might look like any normal US ANSI layout 60% keyboard, but take another look at it. It’s missing a few keys, most notably Windows keys, and a secondary Control key, and where the hell’s the Caps Lock key? What’s that... it’s now a Control key? How can this be?

Well, the HHKB uses a layout that was first devised by Eiiti Wada, in collaboration with PFU, the company that makes the HHKB—they’re a big conglomerate business that includes brands like Fujitsu and Ricoh.

HHKB specs

HHKB Professional Hybrid Type S keyboard on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

Switch: Topre Switches, 45g
Keycaps: PBT, dye-sub
Lighting: None
Onboard storage: None
Extra ports: None
Connection type: Wireless, Bluetooth
Cable: USB Type-C, detachable (not included!)
Weight: 540g/ 1.19bs
Price: $357 / £300

The story goes that Wada wasn’t happy with having to use a different keyboard layout with differing complexities with every operating system that he had to use, and he wanted to design a one size fits all sort of thing to suit every platform he was using. He saw the keyboard as an accessory that PC makers had neglected, when in fact it’s one of the most integral parts. With that philosophy in mind, he compared the keyboard and PC to a horse and saddle in the Wild West, with one of the best analogies I’ve ever read: “The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces.”

The point here though is that while the HHKB layout takes some getting used to, and it took me a week or so of constant use to do so, the placement of certain keys makes perfect sense. The single level Enter key directly below backspace means there’s less of a jump for deleting characters, while the same is also true on the left-hand side with the Control key where Caps Lock is. There’s no need to reach down an extra row for modifier keys, keeping your fingers firmly where they should be. 

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, it’s touch typists who are really going to feel the benefit of this, but even if you touch type with only half your fingers like I do, the layout is still perfectly usable, and it’s immediately become one of my favourites.

That small 60-key layout also helps the HHKB Professional Type S to be one of the dinkiest keyboards I’ve ever had on my desk. At 540g or so, it’s also immensely light, which may lead you to believe it feels cheaply built, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Despite being entirely comprised of plastic, the HHKB’s chassis is ridiculously sturdy and especially fetching in the ice-white colour I’ve got here. That excellent finishing is also evident on the dye-sub PBT keycaps provided, which feel gorgeous under finger. Given that high-quality construction, there’s also no need to worry about legends wearing off or things looking shiny, unlike with some cheaper ABS keycaps with printed legends.

(Image credit: Future)

Apart from the layout, the HHKB also features some intriguing electro-capacitive switches of sorts, which are the same as you get on a Topre RealForce, another one of those holy grail keyboards I alluded to earlier. I talked about electro-capacitive keyboards with a feature on them about this time last year, but if you’re unaware, these work via a plunger pushing down a membrane, which in turn pushes down a conical spring, creating electrical contact and causing a keystroke to be registered. In short, they aren’t mechanical in the traditional sense, but are given a bit of a free pass, given how amazing they feel.

The best way I can describe it is this: typing on the HHKB Professional Type S is like typing on a cloud. Where normal key switches can feel harsh with a form of tactility, the HHKB feels soft but tactile, without feeling spongy or wet, like some membrane keyboards can feel. The switch feeling here can be pretty polarising; die hard mechanical fans will say it doesn’t feel right but to my fingers, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever typed on, apart from my RealForce. What’s especially intriguing is that the HHKB doesn’t feature a metal plate inside, lending the bottom out of the keypress to feel smoother and crisper than my RealForce, with its steel plate offering a stiffer bottom out on the key travel, despite using the same switches. The HHKB here also features silenced and dampened Topre switches, so if you’re working in a busy office, or you don’t want to wake the neighbours, it’ll also be an excellent keyboard, too.

(Image credit: Future)

Returning to normal keyboard things, this is a wireless keyboard, and works via 2 AA batteries that can be changed easily with the protruding battery compartment out of the top of the chassis. In my mileage, I actually didn't have to change batteries during the six or so weeks I had the HHKB in hand, and PFU says you can get up to four months charge on a set of batteries. There is also a USB Type-C port for wired use, although it doesn’t charge the HHKB’s batteries—that’s up to you to get some rechargeable cells. Personally, I think this is a bit of an oversight given the sheer cost for getting the HHKB: a rechargeable cell with USB Type-C charging not only makes more logistical sense, it also means you don’t risk the HHKB suddenly dying without warning.

I’m blindly in love with my HHKB Professional Hybrid Type S.

This leads me nicely onto the big elephant in the room, the price. It’s $357/£300 at the time of writing—for a keyboard that doesn’t come with all the keys or proper mechanical switches, single channel Bluetooth connectivity, and you don’t get a USB Type-C cable in the box. But, let’s face it, if you’re considering buying one of these, you know exactly why you should buy one, and you may not need this review to convince you.

I’ll be honest, I’m blindly in love with my HHKB Professional Hybrid Type S, and I’ll recommend you go and buy one, even if it’s just simply to try it out. Yes its layout will take some getting used to, and the fact I'll have to burn through some standard AA batteries to power it is a bit of a pain, but the fact remains that you’re getting arguably the best typing experience money can buy in a keyboard that’s amazingly well built and one that’s unlike anything else on the market today. If that isn’t worth your time, I don’t know what is.

AMD's new laptop APU nearly twice as fast as Steam Deck in leaked graphics benchmark

The first benchmarks purporting to reveal the graphics performance of AMD's latest laptop APU have surfaced. Codenamed Phoenix and branded Ryzen 7040 series, the chip's 780M graphics core uses RDNA graphics tech and returns performance roughly 25% faster than the old 680M graphics in the Ryzen 6000 APU and nearly twice as quick as the Steam Deck's AMD graphics.

Specifically, the numbers are from ye olde 3DMark Time Spy. According to a poster on the Chinese forum Bilibili (via Tom's Hardware), the 780M GPU knocks out around 3,000 points. That compares with roughly 2,400 points for the old 680M and aout 1,700 points for the Steam Deck

To put those numbers into further context, a desktop Nvidia GTX 1060 hits about 4,200 points, while a laptop RTX 2050 clocks in at 3,200 points. And RTX 3060, meanwhile, is good for nearly 9,000 points and an RTX 4080 knocks out 14,835 points.

In many ways, it's the Steam deck's APU that makes for the most interesting comparison. That's also made by AMD and it's much less powerful than the new Phoenix chip and its Radeon 780M.

The new APU has 768 RDNA 3-spec shader cores and 32 render outputs, clocks up to 2.9GHz boost and has a maximum processing performance of 8.9TFLOPS. The Steam Deck's GPU, meanwhile, has 512 RDNA 2-spec shader cores and 16 render outputs, and it is rated at 3.3TFLOPS.

The slight catch is that the 780M's 8.9TFLOPS depends on RDNA 3's tricksy doubled-pumped shader architecture. In practice, it doesn't always deliver double the performance. So you could argue that the 780M is better viewed as having closer to 4.5TFLOPS of raw shader performance, which is indeed more in line with the leaked Time Spy results.

Of course, the Steam Deck has a fairly low resolution 1,280 by 800 pixel display, which is why its relatively modest graphics power is enough for a good gaming experience. That makes for around one million pixels.

Meanwhile, a 1080p display has two million pixels. So, if the new 780M graphics really is twice as fast as a Steam Deck, then you're looking at an APU that's as well suited to a 1080p screen as the Steam Deck's chip is to its own display. Which doesn't sound too shabby.

All of which suggests AMD's latest APU might just serve up a half decent gaming experience. You still probably wouldn't go out and buy a laptop with just a 780M specifically for gaming. But if you end up with one, perhaps as a work machine, you wouldn't complain if it turned out to be half decent at gaming.

- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
What are you playing this weekend?

Billowing backpacks, Radioactive Man! Is it the weekend already? Where did the time go?

You know, why dissect it? The week is over, two days of nothing but whatever you want to do is upon you, so just enjoy it. Right? Right.

This weekend, we're actually leaving the house, playing old and current favorites, messing around with our Steam Deck, and getting our groove on.

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
Back 4 Blood studio to stop creating extra content for the game as focus shifts to new project

Turtle Rock Studios has announced it will no longer create extra content for Back for Blood as it is switching its focus to a new project.

Speaking in a notice on the official website, the studio more or less stated the three expansions – Tunnels of Terror, Children of the Worm, and River of Blood – are the only DLC to expect for the game.

The notice reads that since Turtle Rock is a "pretty small" studio, it doesn't have "quite enough folks to continue working on Back 4 Blood content" while it creates another game.

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
The Last of Us Part 1 will be delayed on PC, but not by much

Naughty Dog has delayed the PC release of The Last of Us Part 1. But not by much.

Originally set to release on March 3, it will now arrive for PC on March 28.

The studio wants to make sure the PC debut is "in the best shape possible,” thus the reason for the delay.

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- Dom Peppiatt
The secret to Dead Space’s intense horror? The way it controls your breath

In the original Dead Space, it was very much the intent that you would live in Isaac’s big, heavy, stompy boots. From the second you took control of his tortured body and failing mind, the designers at Visceral wanted you to really embody him. To live through his horror, to see this ruined world in the same way he does. It’s not enough to subject you to what he sees – the plague of Necromorphs eating away at the heart of the USG Ishimura. No, Visceral wanted to go deeper than that. Through the eyes, and into the brain.

And it worked. In the original game, there was a system in place that mimicked Isaac’s breathing and heart rate. If there was a scripted scare coming up, or if you’d taken a lot of damage, or had run from some unknowable terror deep in the guts of the ship, his heart rate would increase and his breathing would become ragged.

In the original, 2008 release of the game, this system was rudimentary – but effective. There were only a few states for both heart rate and breathing that could be, more or less, organised into three distinct categories: resting, stressed, and extreme. Still, despite this fairly binary setup (where sound effects sometimes even played over each other in a kind-of sonic melee), you’d find yourself matching the breathing pumped into your headset, or broadcast from your speakers. If Isaac was on the brink of death, gasping for air with his heart rate unhealthily above resting, you’d probably find yourself getting physically excited, too. That’s what we’re like, as humans – you can’t help but empathise.

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- Dom Peppiatt
For one month, one of 2022's best games is free for PlayStation Plus members

A lot of good games released in 2022; Elden Ring, Tunic, Pentiment, Grounded, The Callisto Protocol, Horizon: Forbidden West… the list goes on. Despite the disparate genres, the varying budgets, the different philosophies of the development studios, all of those games had one thing in common: they’re stressful.

Whether you’re trying to break the circuits in a Thunderjaw’s fangs or avoid the razor sharp riposte of a Godskin Noble’s epee, 2022’s games all put you through the ringer. But if you needed a rest from being blindsided by well-fermented revolution in Pentiment, or smacking your head against the obtuse world-building of Tunic, there was one place you could go to unwind: the blissed-out ‘Gnarvana’ of OlliOlli World. The game will be offered free to all memebers of PlayStation Plus from February 7 – and I think it's essential you at least give it a go.

Replete with pastel colours, brought charmingly to life with the pop of an Adventure Time art style, and coasting on one of the most chill game soundtracks you’re ever likely to hear, OlliOlli World was a refreshing palate cleanser of a game in 2022. It’s not open world, it’s not crammed full of shit trying to kill you, and it’s not obtuse to the point of irritation. It’s a nice, simple ‘what you see is what you get’ kind-of game. All you need to do is learn your inputs, learn the rules of the world, and get your grind on.

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- Connor Makar
Twitter API changes could impact account access to Genshin, Nikke, and other gacha games

Upcoming Twitter API (Application programming interface) changes may leave many Gacha players locked out of accounts for Genshin Impact, Goddess of Victory: Nikke, and other games, causing several developers to urge their users to link emails to their accounts instead.

If players don't follow the developers' advice, it’s entirely possible that users that have invested thousands of hours – and maybe dollars – into their favourite anime slot machines could see access to their accounts removed. If you’re one such patron of the finer things in gaming, it’s recommended that you make changes as soon as possible.

For those who don’t know, the official Twitter Dev account announced that free access to the Twitter API will no longer be available this week. Instead, users will have to pay a fee to access this data starting February 9.

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- Connor Makar
Grand Theft Auto 5 is now safe to play on PC — you can go back to your heists worry-free

A recent update to Grand Theft Auto 5’s PC version has made the game safe to play, following the revelation of a potentially harmful security risk in the game.

This caused quite the commotion as many were worried that their accounts were at risk! Those affected by malicious actors would find themselves suspended above the clouds permanently, or with drastically altered player stats and drained bank accounts.

Released via a quick-patch on Wednesday, the update “Implemented a new data protocol in GTA Online to improve the security of network sessions and player-to-player messaging” according to an official post on the Rockstar support website. In addition, the update claims to have fixed an issue allowing players to alter other’s accounts, including GTA$, RP, and stats.

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- Jim Trinca
VG247's The Best Games Ever Podcast – Ep.37: The best game with followers you would never hang out with IRL

Welcome to VG247's Best Games Ever Podcast: Episode 37 - The best game with followers you would never hang out with IRL.

Video Games often, through necessity, make us hang out with people we wouldn't necessarily want to in any other context.. Looking after rich idiots? Helping demon-possessed adventurers find peace in hell? Chatting with disembodied skulls who have terrible behavioural issues? (it's amazing how often that last one crops up). NPC followers or party members might be useful in a scrape, usually, but they're generally not the sort of people you'd like to spend your downtime with. Or your uptime, tbh.

But which games have the worst folllowers? And of them, which is the best? If those are questions that you have, then you're in luck, because that's what this podcast is all about. Yes, this one here. You lucky people!

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak's next title update brings frosty Elder Dragon Velkhana to the game

New content is on the way for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak players.

Capcom announced that Free Title Update 4 will release on February 7, and brings with it new foes alongside new Anomaly Research content, Event Quests, and new paid DLC.

Velkhana, the elusive Elder Dragon that debuted as the flagship monster of Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, has been spotted by the scouts of Elgado Outpost. The monster glaciates the ambient water in the air, and is capable of forming pillars of ice when engaged in combat. It can even freeze hunters solid.

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
EA has canceled another game and it was a single-player Titanfall title - report

There was apparently a single-player Titanfall game in the works at Respawn Entertainment, but EA canceled it.

That's according to a Bloomberg report which states as much.

The unannounced game reportedly had 50 people working on it for whom the company is trying to find new positions. It’s reported those who cannot be placed elsewhere in the company will be laid off, according to the outlet's sources.

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
These six games will soon be leaving Xbox Game Pass

Six games are leaving Xbox Game Pass, and if you are interested in them, you'll want to download the titles as soon as possible.

Microsoft announced the following games will leave the service in the next couple of weeks: Recompile, Skul: The Hero Slayer, The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom, Besiege Console, CrossfireX: Operation Catalyst, and Infernax.

Developed by Dear Villagers, the atmospheric, Metroidvania-inspired hacking adventure game Recompile lets you take control of a semi-sapient program struggling against deletion. Within the 3D world of the Mainframe, you will engage in intense combat, 3D platforming, super-powered abilities, and an environmental logic-based hacking mechanic.

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- Adam Starkey
Can Resident Evil 4 Remake fix the franchise’s biggest problem?

At this point, it’s boring to say Resident Evil 4 is one of the greatest games ever made. You’ve probably played it countless times in countless forms since it was released in 2005, between the OG version on the Nintendo GameCube, the strangely impressive iOS port, the even better VR edition, or sharpshooting Spaniards with your nan like it’s 1585 on the Wii.

As such, the announcement of a remake in line with Capcom’s revised treatment of Resident Evil 2 felt like unnecessary overkill. It’s already available everywhere. And it’s still wonderful, right? Ashley is mostly tolerable. No, you can’t move and shoot. Quick-time events are a design relic society has relegated to the past. That unexplained lava room in the castle is weird. Visually, it holds up though. But the island. Christ, the island! Alright. As you were, Capcom.

When the remake’s developers recently promised the island section would have “a lot more to it”, there’s a reason it generated headlines. The island, while far from egregious, is the blemish in Resident Evil 4’s golden armour. The vulnerable jugular when arguing it’s the series’ best. If the developer decided to cut swathes from the original, ala Resident Evil 3 Remake, the island would be nudged to the sacrificial altar to the despair of no-one aside from a molded entity on Reddit.

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
PS5 sales reach 32.1 million and God of War Ragnarok is selling rather well

Sony has released its third quarter financial results for the period ending December 31, 2022. The reports find PlayStation 5 shipments are up 2.1 million than previously reported, and God of War Ragnarok is doing rather well for the company.

Earlier this month, Sony reported its latest console had shipped over 30 million units. Today, it announced 32.1 million units shipped as of the end of 2022. This figure is up by 14.8 million units year-over-year (yoy).

For Q3, 7.1 million PS5 units shipped, an uptick of 3.2 million compared to the same quarter in 2022 when shipments hit 3.9 million units, bringing lifetime shipments to 17.3 million.

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- Tom Regan
The best modern PlayStation exclusive isn't what you think

As I struggle to persevere through God Of War Ragnarök’s overly bloated epic, a murder-y malaise washes over me. Is this really the best that modern games have to offer? While hundreds of talented creators poured their hearts into this blockbuster behemoth, the result feels admirable rather than spectacular: a commendable creative achievement, sure, but not an exciting one. Thank Christ then, for Season: A Letter To The Future.

Armed with a bike, your trusty polaroid camera, a pencil and an all-important scrapbook, this PlayStation console exclusive reimagines the end of the world as a meandering road trip. Joining our nameless protagonist in the quiet mountain village of Caro, you discover an overgrown world plagued by a terrible sickness. Gripped by a disease that forces people into a never-ending sleep, the earth now sprouts a crystal-like flora that slowly erases human memories. It’s up to you, then – under the protection of a memory pendant – to go forth and document what remains of this era, before this Season (and the people with it) are lost to the sands of time.

Leaving her village with little knowledge of the outside world, the player’s wide-eyed journey matches that of our sheltered protagonist. As I stop in awe of the painterly watercolor-esque vistas, our nameless heroine does the same – narrating our shared experience while I take somewhat middling photos. Part-Pokemon Snap, part-Attenborough sim, roaming this mysterious land as a cycle-happy historian makes me feel a bit like Charles Darwin, except I’m rendered in full 4K and riding a sweet-ass bike.

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- Dom Peppiatt
Would you watch a two-hour version of The Last of Us, Episode 3? Because it exists

What did you make of the most recent episode of The Last of Us? Did you think it was great? Did you think it was one of the most powerful, impactful, and touching pieces of TV we've seen in recent years? Because I did. In fact, I wrote a good 1000 words on why it's so effective as a bit of good, prestige TV the other day (even taking into account that, yes, it does deviate from the games).

SPOILER ALERT FOR THE LAST OF US – GAME AND TV SHOW – AHEAD

But what if there was more of it? To catch you up, Episode 3 is pretty much the only episode we're going to see Bill in – a character that lives far longer in the games. The episode, bookended by Joel and Ellie making their way across the ruined heartland of America, mostly focuses on Bill and his doomed romance with partner, Frank.

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- Connor Makar
WWE 2K23 Preview: the first real step towards a bright future

WWE 2K23 has a lot to prove. Not only is it no longer the sole star-studded wrestling game on the market anymore, it’s also releasing with a legacy of games that ranged from okay to awful behind it. It’s a game that really needs to win. Jobbing out would be a disaster.

I was able to play a preview build of the game last week which let me grapple with the standard one-on-one match, the new Wargames mode, as well as the brand new showcase feature which takes you through John Cena’s career. Alternative match types as well as online play was not available in this build.

Let's start with that core gameplay — the fighting itself — found in the standard wrestling format. WWE 2K23 has a foundation of fairly fun combat where you slap, punch, kick and grapple your way through your opponent. Each wrestler has their own arsenal of attacks and unique moves that you’d see in a real life show, as well as a selection of devastating signature and finisher attacks that deal loads of damage.

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- Alex Donaldson
Hitman Freelancer is a fantastic bonus atop a modern masterpiece

The modern Hitman Trilogy has just had a rebrand. It requires a bit of explaining, but basically now the entire trilogy now lives inside Hitman 3, which itself has been rebranded Hitman: World of Assassination. The other two games will be delisted from storefronts to avoid confusion. This probably wasn’t the plan at the start – back when Hitman 2016 was an ill-advised episodic jaunt for Square Enix – but it’s a smart and fitting close to this saga: one huge game, flush with content, all available at a very reasonable price.

And, god, what a package it is. Without a shadow of a doubt, the package that’s now on sale as the singular modern Hitman game is one of the best deals in gaming, at least aside from subscription services that give you loads of games. If you’re going to buy a single game, Hitman is an excellent choice – emergent in a way that means it seldom gets old, with plenty of variety in levels and objectives. It’s hugely replayable. And it just got more so.

Launched alongside the merging of the entire experience into the ‘World of Assassination’ repackaging comes Hitman Freelancer, a new mode that genuinely probably could’ve been a fairly paid DLC, but IO Interactive has just served it up free. It’s bloody brilliant, and it might actually now be my absolute favorite mode in a game that’s already tremendously enjoyable.

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- Connor Makar
PS5 update finally solves the console's most annoying problem

The PS5 is getting some rad features today thanks to the beta rollout of some new UX features. The king of which is the ability to play PS5 games with PS4 save data, potentially wiping out one of the biggest pains with making the jump to current gen.

Sadly, we all can’t jump in and try these new features right now as only a select few invited participants will be able to test out the spread of UX upgrades over the coming months. However, everything being tweaked and messed around with right now should make its way to everyone’s systems eventually.

Access to PS4 save files isn’t all that’s coming either. Discord integration, allowing you to better communicate with your friends while in-game (or if you’re like me, chat to your PC mates while powering through a console-only exclusive) is on the way. There’s also the ability to request a screen share from the profiles of your PSN friends, allowing you to hop in a spectate them in a flash.

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- Kelsey Raynor
Overwatch 2 will penalise players who are friends with cheaters, and monitor voice comms more heavily

Overwatch 2 has shared an all-new update for its Defense Matrix Initiative, which is focused on curbing “gameplay sabotage, abusive chat, and cheating.”

In its latest update to the initiative, Blizzard has revealed that it’ll be monitoring voice communications more heavily, penalising players who team up with cheaters, and more.

The technology being used to monitor voice communications is a new voice-to-text transcription software and AI learning algorithms. This has already been rolled out on PC in select regions, has “proven to be exceptionally accurate and effective in identifying abusive chat and language.” Overwatch 2 is now working on silencing or suspending offending players where possible.

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- Stephany Nunneley-Jackson
February PlayStation Plus games consist of Evil Dead: The Game, OlliOlliWorld, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, more

Sony has announced the PlayStation Plus monthly games for February.

One of the games being made available is Evil Dead: The Game for PS4 and PS5. Inspired by all three original Evil Dead films and the Ash vs Evil Dead television series, the cooperative and PvP multiplayer game features a team of four survivors trying to seal a breach between worlds.

OlliOlliWorld is the third entry in the series, and will be available for PS4 and PS5. The skateboarding action-platformer has you taking on missions and challenges and features plenty of player freedom.

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Next Premier League Manager to be Sacked Odds: Moyes on his way out of West Ham?
Next Premier League Manager to be Sacked Odds: Moyes on his way out of West Ham? - Main Image

A dramatic start to the 2022/23 Premier League season has seen multiple managers sacked and many more under pressure with more managerial departures on the horizon should results fail to improve.

Scott Parker became the first managerial casualty of the season, leaving Bournemouth just weeks into the campaign before Thomas Tuchel was announced to have departed Chelsea.

Graham Potter then made the switch from Brighton to Stamford Bridge before Wolves parted ways with Bruno Lage following a shocking start to the season.

RealSport101's Harry Smith is on hand to give you the latest odds regarding the next Premier League managerial departure.

Next Premier League manager to leave odds

The odds for the next Premier League manager to leave are correct as of Thursday, January 26th.

David Moyes - 11/10Jesse Marsch - 6/1Gary O'Neil - 7/1Antonio Conte - 8/1Brendan Rodgers - 9/1Graham Potter - 12/1Nathan Jones - 14/1Thomas Frank - 20/1Patrick Vieira - 20/1Jurgen Klopp - 25/1Steve Cooper - 33/1Julien Lopetegui - 40/1No manager to leave - 50/1Marco Silva - 66/1Erik Ten Hag - 100/1Unai Emery - 100/1Roberto De Zerbi - 100/1Eddie Howe - 100/1Mikel Arteta - 100/1Pep Guardiola - 100/1

According to the bookies, the current favourite to be the next Premier League manager on their way out of their club is West Ham's David Moyes, who is currently priced up at 11/10 amid speculation surrounding his future.

Leeds boss Jesse Marsch is said to be under pressure following a disappointing spell of results with Leeds, while Antonio Conte's future at Spurs is also up in the air as the London club struggle to achieve consistent results.

How to get the Celestial Steed mount in WoW Dragonflight
How to get the Celestial Steed mount in WoW Dragonflight - Main Image

Nearly 20 years old, World of Warcraft has had a plethora of items and goodies to collect. One of these, is, of course, mounts.

Used mainly for transportation purposes, getting a player from point a to point b, mounts come in all shapes and sizes. You have the dragons, the horses, the tigers, and even the weird bug-like mounts. But they all have one thing in common, players love to collect them.

Seeing that—and seemingly continuing a newfound trend of bringing back old items—Blizzard Entertainment has given players the chance to obtain a previously obtainable mount, the Celestial Steed.

Don't Miss: Discover Razer's Ultimate Gaming Laptops Now

How to get the Celestial Steed mount in WoW Dragonflight

Previously tied to the Battle.net Shop for $25, the Celestial Steed has been long removed from the catalog of mounts players can attain. However, with the newly introduced Trading Posts feature in WoW Dragonflight, this has all changed.

Much like the Garrlok pet, players can purchase the Celestial Steed from the Trading Post. The Celestial Steed can be purchased for 900 Trader's Tender, the Trading Post's currency.

Players can get Trader's Tender via two methods:

Just by logging in and heading to the Trading Post, players can collect 500 Trader’s Tender every month from a chest called the Collector’s Cache.Completing a monthly set of activities in the Traveler's LogThese activities include anything from completing dungeons and quests to Trading Post-specific tasks

The Celestial Steed will only be available during the month of February 2023, as the mount, alongside other items such as transmog, and more will leave the Trading Post when the month of March rolls around, rotating what the Trading Posts offer.

Players can find Trading Posts in their corresponding factions' capital cities—Stormwind for Alliance, and Orgrimmar for Horde.

Over in Stormwind, Tawny, and Wilder have set Trading Post set up just outside the Mage District. On Ogrimmar's side, Shiri awaits Horde players next to Grommash Hold.

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Overwatch 2 Season 3 COUNTDOWN - Release Time, Date, Content & Latest News
Overwatch 2 Season 3 COUNTDOWN - Release Time, Date, Content & Latest News - Main Image

Overwatch 2 is keeping the adapted seasonal-based model going with its next season, Season 3. And as always with a brand-new season, players can expect tons of new content, cosmetics, and balance changes to play with.

For Season 3, there won't be any new Hero, however, there will still be tons of new content. These include a brand-new map, the game's next Mythic skin, a new Battle Pass, the return of the Credits System, and much more.

That being said, let's count down to Overwatch 2 Season 3's release.

Don't Miss: Discover Razer's Ultimate Gaming Laptops Now

Overwatch 2 Season 3 Release Date & Time

Overwatch 2 Season 3 will go live on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

Players can expect the update to be in-game at 2:00 p.m. EST.

To make sure you don't miss out on all of the new content coming in Overwatch 2 Season 3, follow along with our countdown below!

Here are the release times for other regions:

11 am PST, Tuesday, February 77 pm BST, Tuesday, February 78 pm CEST, Tuesday, February 73 am KST, Wednesday, February 84 am AEST, Wednesday, February 8Overwatch 2 Season 3 Content

When it comes to the content it brings, Overwatch 2 Season 3 won't have any shortage of it.

Below is a short rundown of all of the new content and features players can expect to arrive at Overwatch 2 with the brand-new season.

New Map - Antarctic PeninsulaStocked with penguins, fishing, and all of the ice and cold you'd expect from an Antarctic map, this brand-new map will be for the Control game mode.New Season Mythic Skin - Amaterasu KirikoComing in as Season 3's Mythic skin, this will be yet another outstanding skin players can work towards in their Battle PassNew Battle PassA new season means a new Battle Pass shock full of new in-game goodies like skins, sprays, and other cosmeticsThe Workshop ReturnsThe original fan-favorite mode from Overwatch is coming back for Season 3. This mode will be returning with new tools and more customizable optionsOverwatch Credits Come BackOverwatch Credits, previously known as Legacy Credits, will allow players to save and earn in-game currency in order to buy skins, sprays, icons, and other in-game goodies.

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FIFA 23 Olij Eredivisie POTM SBC Cheapest Solution
FIFA 23 Olij Eredivisie POTM SBC Cheapest Solution - Main Image

Another Player of the Month (POTM) SBC has landed in FIFA 23 Ultimate Team, with Nick Olij claiming the Eredivisie award for January.

Sparta Rotterdam's new goalkeeper kept four clean sheets in five matches, conceding just once in the final game of the month, with the side winning two and drawing three.

Check out Olij's POTM card below and find out how you can unlock him for your FUT 23 club.

Nick Olij (OVR 86)

Start Date: Friday, 3 February

Expiry Date: Friday, 3 March

SBC Requirements

You will only need to submit one squad to unlock the 86-rated card, with the requirements as follows:

Nick Olij

Minimum one Netherlands player Minimum one 84+ OVR player Minimum 83 Squad Rating

Reward - 1 x POTM Nick Olij

Estimated Cost - 13,700 coins

Solution

You can use the following players to complete the Nick Olij POTM SBC:

This is just one of many solutions that can be found by using the easySBC AI. To get your own solution, go try it out at easysbc.io

FIFA 23 Future Stars Challenge 1 SBC Cheapest Solution & Swaps Token
FIFA 23 Future Stars Challenge 1 SBC Cheapest Solution & Swaps Token - Main Image

Future Stars has landed in FIFA 23 Ultimate Team, bringing loads of new players to the game!

Find out the cheapest solution to complete the Future Stars Challenge 1 SBC in FUT 23 right here and earn a Future Stars Swaps Token in the process.

Stay on top of all the Future Stars Swaps using our Token Tracker.

Future Stars Challenge 1 SBC

You have a week to complete the Future Stars Challenge 1 SBC, so make sure you don't miss it!

Start Date: Friday, 3 February

Expiry Date: Friday, 10 February

How to Complete

To earn a Small Gold Players Pack and a Future Stars Swaps Token for Al Sahil you will need to complete just one challenge.

Future Stars Challenge 1 Maximum four Nationalities Minimum five players from the same League Maximum four players from the same Club Minimum five Rare players Minimum 65 Squad Rating Minimum 16 Total Squad Chemistry Points

Rewards - 1 x Small Gold Players Pack, 1 x Future Stars Swaps Token Al Sahil

Estimated Cost - 3,150 coins

Solution

You can use the following players to complete the Future Stars Challenge 1 SBC:

This is just one of many solutions that can be found by using the easySBC AI. To get your own solution, go try it out at easysbc.io

Hunter X Hunter Arena Battle, the Japan exclusive card-battler RPG based on the hit anime series, shuts down service after three years
Three years and two months after its original release, the mobile adaptation of the popular Hunter X Hunter anime/manga series, titled Hunter X Hunter Arena Battle, is set to close its doors and end service on March 31st following an announcement from the official Twitter account. This Japan-exclusive title took the anime to a card-based battle format with RPG mechanics, allowing you to make your own deck of your favourite characters from the series and take on villains and challenging content alongside them. Given that this one stayed exclusive to Japan, I have not personally checked it out myself, but it is always a bit of a bummer to see any mobile game go out like this, especially one based on such a classic series. Hunter X Hunter is one of the biggest anime names out there, even over here in the states, so it’s shocking to see the only mobile adaptation go shut down. ... [MORE]
Coin Master free spins - updated daily links (February 2023)
February 04, 2023 - Updated links, added new ones With a player base of millions, this is a game that doesn't shy away from giving free rewards! With each passing day, players can claim a bunch of Coin Master free spins and coins from the game's Facebook, and let's be honest - who doesn't want some? Every single day there is a new freebie that is definitely going to help you advance and get more rewards. ... [MORE]
Charlotte's Table is celebrating Valentine's Day with an update featuring new stories, levels, and rewards
Netmarble has released a new update for Charlotte’s Table, just in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The update is set to feature a tonne of holiday content with a limited-time episode, mini-events, and loads of goodies up for grabs. Charlotte’s year is shaping up to be quite a romantic one. The coolest part of this update is a special limited-time episode that will remain live for the rest of the month. It is called What If – Charlotte Verdier’s Valentine’s Day. It features a what-if scenario set in a timeline where Charlotte was never kidnapped and continued to live her life as a Verdier. ... [MORE]
Pokemon Go is celebrating Valentine's Day 2023 with a tonne of events and rewards
We’re already into February and everyone knows what that means. The season of love is upon us and it is time to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a date planned or are looking for date ideas, Niantic is hosting a celebration for everyone in Pokémon Go, with a bunch of new events and Pokémon to catch. Pokémon Go’s Valentine’s Day 2023 event will take place between February 8th and 14th. It featured the debut of Mega Gardevoir, who will be found in Mega Raids. Like those Community Day event rewards, if players manage to evolve Gardevoir into Kirlia and finally into Gallade, they will receive a Pokémon that knows the Charged Attack Synchronise. ... [MORE]
Melvor Idle announces Expanded Edition offering everything released so far in one package
Back in November 2021, Games by Malcs and Jagex released Melvor Idle for iOS and Android, an idle RPG which was inspired by RuneScape. This was followed by the Throne of the Herald DLC last October which brought new monsters and dungeons into the fray, alongside raising the level cap. Now, the developers have greenlit yet another massive expansion, which has just launched on Android, iOS, and Steam. This one doesn’t exactly introduce any new content, but it merges everything that has been offered to players into one neat package. Say hello to Melvor Idle: Expanded Edition, which includes both the base Melvor Idle game and the Throne of the Herald expansion. It has been tailored especially for players who are RuneScape fans and have a penchant for idle games as well. ... [MORE]
Pokemon Go's February 2023 calendar includes Valentine's Day, Go Tour Hoenn, new Raids, spotlight hours, and more
We’re just a few days into February and Niantic has now announced its slate of events for this month in Pokémon Go. February will unsurprisingly see a Valentine’s Day celebration but the in-game story will also expand as we enter into the final month of Season 9: Mythical Wishes, which concludes on March 1st. February Raids ... [MORE]
App Army Assemble: PomPom: The Great Space Rescue - "Do this platformer's fresh mechanics make it a must-play?"
PomPom: The Great Space Rescue is a platformer with a fresh spin on the tried and tested formula. Rather than controlling the titular character, you are in charge of the floating platforms dotted around each level. It's an interesting concept that promises something new to the genre, so we handed the game over to our App Army to see what they thought of it. Here's what they said: ... [MORE]
Stumble Guys adds themed in-game goodies and a new level in NFL collaboration event
Scopely has announced a new collab event for Stumble Guys, letting players spice up their multiplayer stumbling mayhem on mobile. Just in time for the upcoming Super Bowl LVII, the “Stumble Guys” x NFL collaboration comes hot on the heels of its team-up with Hot Wheels in December last year. This time, players can look forward to brand new NFL content to kick things off this month. In the “Stumble Guys” x NFL collaboration event, players can expect to welcome a new Super Bowl LVII-themed level into the fray. Players can tackle and stumble to the finish line to get ahead of the pack; plus, official skins of all 14 NFL Playoff teams will also be up for grabs. ... [MORE]
Arcana Tactics tier list of all heroes
Arcana Tactics offers you many unique characters to choose from. They are divided into three classes: Attack, Support, and Defence. As in most RPGs, there is a significant power gap between characters of the same type. That's why you should use our Arcana Tactics tier list to choose the best characters. Similar content: ... [MORE]
Brave Nine tier list - Each character ranked by their class
We have created a complete Brave Nine tier list of all the best units in the game released thus far in the global version, so if you want to create a viable team, our article should help you have a better understanding of which units to pick based on their trait/class. Since deciding who the best units in Brave Nine are isn't exactly simple - because all of them fill different roles and their true prowess shines through when they're paired with other good units - you will have to try quite a few combos in order to determine who is right for your team. ... [MORE]
Brawl Stars Edgar guide, builds and skins
Even though many players significantly underestimate Epic brawlers, 60% of Epic characters take leading positions in S and A tiers. Edgar was considered a Tier S brawler from the first days of release. Since this time, the developers have rebalanced Edgar a few times, but he is still very powerful. Read this guide, and you will learn everything you should know about Edgar in Brawl Stars. It includes Edgar's builds, skins, star powers, and other important stuff need to know to use this Epic brawler effectively. ... [MORE]
Survivor.io guide - Seven tips to improve your gameplay
Want to learn all the most useful Survivor.io tips and tricks to pass the levels and get the right upgrades? That's exactly what we are going to cover in this guide. No matter if you're a complete beginner and want to learn how to get the right equipment for each stage, or you're a seasoned player but got stuck at a specific stage, our Survivor.io guide should most certainly come in handy.  In this article, we're going to talk about some of the best strategies when it comes to upgrading your equipment (the actual equipment), but also which upgrades you should focus on based on how useful they are at max stars and at low stars. This has been quite a dilemma, since (if you've played the game) you probably noticed some of the levels being arguably tougher than others - monsters don't die in one single attack, and they somehow seem to deal a lot more damage than you'd like.  ... [MORE]
Arcana Tactics codes (February 2023)
We have the latest Arcana Tactics codes that you can redeem for Gold, Crystals and even Summon Tickets! All of these will help you upgrade your adorable heroes and summon plenty more to increase your collection. The Arcana Tactics codes are only available for a limited time, so we recommend that you claim them as soon as you can, because you wouldn't want to miss out on some freebies. We've listed the redemption links for iOS players too since the coupon code system works a little differently for Android and iOS.  ... [MORE]
Tears of Themis adds new cards for Vyn and Marius in Cozy Couple's Getaway I event
HoYoverse has announced a scintillating new update to Tears of Themis, the studio's popular romance detective game on iOS and Android. Players can look forward to spending a lovely time on vacation with their chosen male lead between Vyn or Marius in the limited-time event titled "Cozy Couple's Getaway I", which will begin on February 6th. In Tears of Themis' latest update, players can look forward to chilling amid the lush greenery of nature or listening to the romantic waves crashing against the shore in the southern country of Varnai. Vyn or Marius can accompany the female lead, and players who join in on the limited-time event can score free Event R cards as well as an Event-Limited "Full of Emotions" Badge, plus plenty of S-Chips to boot. ... [MORE]
Fishing Clash gift codes (February 2023)
Updated on February 03, 2023 - checked for new codes Wouldn’t it be great if you grabbed a legendary fish along with some free Fishing Clash gift codes before you went fishing? Wouldn't it also be nice to claim a few that might give you some rare in-game items? If that's the case, then we have got you covered with our frequently updated and working list of gift codes, ready for you to redeem. ... [MORE]
The SEGA Astro City Mini V is out now across Europe with 22 built-in games for retro fans
Retro fans longing for the good ol' days can now get their fill with the SEGA Astro City Mini V, now available across Europe via Game Outlet Europe. The mini arcade cabinet boasts a charming 90s look and 22 built-in games that will bring on the nostalgia for old-school gamers. The SEGA Astro City Mini V features a 1/6-size version of the OG Astro City cabinet, with vertical screen specs to make sure that players are nice and comfortable when it comes to classic shooters. The 4.6-inch LCD monitor and the ball-top joystick complete the retro vibes - but for those who are looking to modernise their gameplay experience, the package comes with an HDMI cable for casting on TVs. ... [MORE]
Blue Archive's Business Trip! Momoyodou story event is now live with four new characters
A couple of weeks ago, Nexon has opened pre-registrations for a new story event in the highly popular RPG Blue Archive. Titled Business Trip! Momoyodou will see players try to beat the heat and go on a splashy summer vacation that is naturally going to be ruined, forcing them to battle their way out of it. In this new story event, players will join other fellow students of Momoyodou on their summer beach vacation. Here, things go south and everyone will find themselves in the midst of an evil plot that they will have to battle themselves out of. Loads of rewards are waiting to be won on completion of this conquest, including Pyroxene and other growth currencies. ... [MORE]
Puzzle & Dragons brings back collaboration with Kamen Rider
Things are about to get mechanical in GungHo’s mobile match-3 Puzzle & Dragons as Kamen Rider is returning for another collaboration event. Until February 14th, players can enjoy the inclusion of the Japanese superhero, his friends, and foes as they make their way into the puzzler. The event will be both new and returning characters as they make their way through seven action-packed dungeons. Speaking of dungeons, let’s get right into what players can expect during the Puzzle & Dragons x Kamen Rider event. In Kamen Rider Showa Era & Kamen Rider Heisei Era, players will embark on a journey through two dungeons with different difficulties, for rewards like Gold. ... [MORE]
Seven Knights 2 releases Valentine's Day 2023 update featuring a new character and gameplay mechanics
Netmarble has just announced a brand new update for its super popular mobile RPG, Seven Knights 2. Since we’re entering the season of love, this update brings a new Valentine’s Day Event alongside a novel hero, scenario concept, pet dispatch system, and a number of costumes. Let’s start off with the Valentine’s Day Event in Seven Knights 2, which is already live. Why wait to celebrate love? The event will run until February 15th, giving players two weeks to gather as much Chocolate of the Abyss as they can. This can be exchanged for a number of items including a costume for our new hero that we will discuss soon. ... [MORE]
Farmside, a casual farming sim, is heading to Apple Arcade later this month
Apple Arcade recently revealed its slate of games for the month of February 2023. Four new Arcade Originals will be joining Apple’s gaming subscription service and one of them is Team17 and Topia Studios’ farming life simulator, Farmside. It offers a casual and relaxing experience away from the hustle and bustle of more competitive games. Farmside, like many other farming sims, offers players the opportunity to create their dream farm. From sowing crops and growing orchards to harvesting them, players will do it all. There’s also the added responsibility of raising animals, cooking delicious food from these crops and completing orders for the townsfolk. ... [MORE]

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- Jared Nelson
Here’s Your Stinkin’ Proof of Life – The TouchArcade Show #548

Yes, we are alive. After taking most of December off from recording we did our big end of year show with the intention of coming back in full force in the new year, but instead we just sort of… took another month off. I really apologize to those who look forward to our show each week. As was the case in December I had a ton of stuff going on with moving back into our house and recording just never worked out when we needed it too. On top of that I’ve been dealing with deteriorating mental health and other personal issues, and, well, let’s just say that our mostly unplanned 2 month-ish hiatus has been a good break.

But! I totally missed you guys, and missed my weekly BS session with Eli, so now I’m really hoping we’ll be back on track to recording every week again. As for this week’s episode, it’s full of our special brand of irreverent discussion about all sorts of gaming and non-gaming topics like the Playdate’s stagnation, the Analogue Pocket’s long-road to awesomeness, fish tanks, and more. We even talk about mobile games a bit, which reminded me that that is in fact what this podcast is supposed to be about. So sit back, relax, enjoy the show, and hopefully we’ll see you next week and every week after.

Don’t forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read ’em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below… And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we’re talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you’re logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.


Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-548.mp3
- Jared Nelson

Well, if you’ve been following TouchArcade for a while and you generally have an idea of what our tastes are, then this week’s pick shouldn’t really be much of a surprise. Cool retro-style pixel graphics? Dungeon crawling mechanics? Roguelike elements? Yes, it’s all here in 1 Bit Survivor from solo indie developer Chaz Acheronti. There were several really great releases this week, but man, this one just screams “TA game" and as usual it’s the game that I keep coming back to that always ends up as our Game of the Week pick.

First off, I love the premise here. You play as a survivor in a zombie apocalypse, but in 28 days the government is going to drop some sort of mega bomb in an effort to wipe out all the zombies, and anything else that might be standing in its blast. That includes you, and given the dire state of the world, you kind of are ready to just accept your fate. But then… you meet a cat named Leo. All of a sudden you have a friend. Someone who loves you, someone to care for. Now that you have a purpose letting your self die in a zombie-eradicating explosion doesn’t sound so appealing anymore, so you pack up Leo and find some wheels and try to make it to a bunker in the city before those 28 days are over.

In 1 Bit Survivor each level counts as a day, so essentially your goal is to survive and make it through all 28 levels. Gameplay is like a turn-based top-down dungeon crawler. Levels aren’t all that large but your visibility is limited, so you’ll need to explore a bit with the main goal of finding a gas can so you can return to your vehicle and move on to the next level/day. Of course enemies abound so you’ll need to make careful and strategic use of your limited ammo and health to deal with them. This may include defeating them, or just avoiding them altogether. Like many great roguelikes death can come extremely quick if you aren’t careful.

A member in our forums described this game as “like a 1 bit version of Death Road to Canada" and that actually does track really well. However, with the single screen levels, turn-based combat and movement, very tactical resource management, and sparse mechanics that have a lot of hidden depth, I also get a heavy Michael Brough vibe from 1 Bit Survivor. That alone might be a selling point to you, but why even take my word for it? This one is totally free with ads and a one-time IAP to remove those ads if you find them pesky. Just try this sucker yourself and I dare you not to fall in love with Leo.

- Shaun Musgrave
SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring ‘Fashion Police Squad’, Plus the Latest Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 3rd, 2023. We start things off with a review of Fashion Police Squad from our pal Mikhail. Gosh, he’s quite the keener. After that, we look at the dozen or so new releases that hit the eShop today. A few interesting games, and a fair bit of dubious stuff. Such are many Fridays around these parts. After that, we’ve got the usual lists of new sales and expiring discounts. Let’s get to it!

Reviews & Mini-Views Fashion Police Squad ($19.99)

Fashion Police Squad from Mopeful Games and No More Robots is a game I played a good amount of when it hit Steam a little while ago. This new take on a boomer shooter has you solving fashion crimes instead of taking on demons with an interesting aesthetic and nice music. I was curious to see how it would feel on Switch because some games in the genre don’t feel as nice to play on Switch.

Fashion Police Squad feels good on Switch, but there are some issues that also affect the game itself. When it comes to the levels and enemies, a lot of Fashion Police Squad is very creative. The last hour of the campaign can get annoying though. Barring that, I love the unique enemies and character interactions.

I wasn’t a fan of the default control and camera setup in Fashion Police Squad on Switch. I’d recommend trying out the gyro controls and also increasing the camera sensitivity. I had a much better time after that and also when I mapped jumping to the paddles on my 8BitDo controller when playing docked. Barring the gyro, Fashion Police Squad also has good HD Rumble support.

Having now played Fashion Police Squad on both Switch and Steam Deck, the latter is a much better experience for sure when it comes to performance and load times, but this is one of No More Robot’s better Switch releases in terms of port quality. It has touchscreen support for the interface and you can even fire by tapping the screen.

Despite some performance issues on Switch compared to the PC version I played, a nice gyro control implementation helps elevate the Fashion Police Squad experience on Nintendo Switch. It is an easy recommendation for anyone looking to try out a unique take on the boomer shooter subgenre. –Mikhail Madnani

SwitchArcade Score: 4/5

New Releases Helvetii ($16.99)

Helvetii‘s rich visuals and large characters immediately call to mind the works of Vanillaware, and that’s a bar that may be a little too high for it to clear. Choose from one of three characters and go into battle for reasons I have already forgotten, get as far as you can, die, then try again with perhaps one or two permanent upgrades in tow. I’ll have a full review of this one soon, but I’m personally a bit mixed on it at the moment. Certainly some good aspects, but the core gameplay mechanics aren’t vibing well with me yet.

Trophy ($9.99)

Originally released a little while back as an NES cartridge, this action-platformer comes to the Switch in emulated form. There are nine levels to play through, each one culminating in a battle with a boss of some kind. These bosses can get pretty large, particularly given the hardware the game was built for. It looks like a lot of fun, but I haven’t had a chance to play it yet myself.

Chasing Light ($18.99)

If you’re looking for a weird, meta piece of interactive art today, here’s one to check out. You play as the Director, who is trying to make a masterpiece game. It’s not as easy as it seems, and you’ll get to know some of the particular hardships this one faces very well. It takes a couple of hours to blow through and while I can’t say if you’ll enjoy it or not, you certainly won’t forget it.

Sport & Fun: Swimming ($19.99)

This feels like a high price for what you get here. One or two players via local multiplayer can do their best to outswim each other. You have to use the Joy-Con motion controls to play this game, so handheld-only players are out of luck. The idea I think is that you move the Joy-Cons in a swimming motion. You can choose from various characters and swimming styles. That’s about it.

Brightstone Mysteries: The Others ($14.99)

Do you like Ocean Media’s Brightstone Mysteries series of hidden object puzzle adventure games? Well, here another. The Others, to be specific. Anyway, there is some kind of mysterious thing going on in some small town. As it goes. Nothing special here, but if you like this flavor of game this is certainly one more.

Match Ventures 2 ($11.99)

Oh hey, a sequel already. That was a harrowing week of anticipation. It’s another Ocean Media matching puzzle game. Complete the stages and build your castles. You can play this for free on your mobile device, freeing up this twelve dollars for important things like mixed nuts or jam.

Pets at Work ($4.99)

Some pets are trapped in an office and need to escape in this puzzle-platformer. Your goal is to figure out how to open the route to the exit in each stage and then pull it off. Seems like a decent five-dollar game for those who enjoy a little bit of puzzling. You can even pull in a friend via local multiplayer to help you out. Two heads are better than one, I’m told.

Hundred Fires: The Rising of Red Star Episode 2 ($5.99)

The Dollar Store Metal Gear Solid is back for another adventure. Like the first time around, it’s not very good. But it might be good enough for Metal Gear Solid fans pining for something, anything, to scratch their itch. I’m not sure. The six dollar price tag probably helps set expectations, if nothing else.

Tiny Detour ($4.99)

You’re on your way home but the bridge you need to cross is broken. To fix it, you have to take on a variety of tasks that see you venturing into the woods. Mostly a chill little walking game, which is probably all it needs to be for a fiver.

Car Factory Driver ($12.99)

BoomHits is checking in for its weekly release, and it’s another game where you drive various vehicles around a decent-sized area and complete a list of missions. Many of them involve parking, because the kids are all about parking cars these days. I have no facts to support that. I’m just throwing that out there because a lot of these games seem to involve parking lately.

Swap Puzzles ($2.99)

If I sound tired with some of these frequently appearing game concepts, I apologize. But there are only so many ways to write about some of these things. This one, for example. It’s another one of those games where you swap around tile to complete the picture. Like a jigsaw puzzle but all of the pieces are squares. While many games of this sort go for saucy pictures, this one contents itself with some family-friendly art.

Crime Map: Spot the Hidden Differences ($2.99)

Well, I suppose we had to have at least one appearance from one of the eShop Crap Squad members today. Cooking and Publishing has another “spot the differences" game for all you greasy spoon diner placemat fans. But this time it’s mixed with crime.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

Not a bad list, I suppose. Some Kairosoft games, a new low price for the enjoyable Jetboard Joust, some new low prices on a few Kemco games. Nothing to knock off a person’s socks, but worth combing through. The outbox is less interesting, with mainly the QUByte retro re-releases filling it out. Check it anyway, just in case.

Select New Games on Sale

Sonority ($15.99 from $19.99 until 2/10)
Mutropolis ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/10)
Lamplight City ($10.49 from $14.99 until 2/10)
Growbot ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/10)
Unforeseen Incidents ($13.99 from $19.99 until 2/10)
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood ($2.24 from$14.99 until 2/13)
A Plague Tale Requiem Cloud Vers. ($41.99 from $59.99 until 2/13)
Kardboard Kings: Card Shop Sim ($15.99 from $19.99 until 2/16)
Relic Hunters Zero Remix ($6.49 from $12.99 until 2/16)
Spinch ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/16)
Godstrike ($4.94 from $14.99 until 2/16)
Jetboard Joust ($2.49 from $9.99 until 2/16)
Mars Base ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/16)
Dark Deity ($9.99 from $24.99 until 2/16)
Coromon ($11.99 from $19.99 until 2/16)


Absolute Tactics: DoM ($19.99 from $24.99 until 2/16)
The Jackbox Party Pack 8 ($17.99 from $29.99 until 2/17)
FAR: Changing Tides ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/17)
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 CE ($10.49 from $29.99 until 2/17)
Struggling ($5.24 from $14.99 until 2/17)
Black Wolf ($1.99 from $2.99 until 2/17)
Super Chicken Jumper ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/17)
Plunderer’s Adventures ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/17)
Until the Last Plane ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/17)
Bubsy Paws on Fire ($4.99 from $24.99 until 2/17)
Shiny Ski Resort ($7.00 from $14.00 until 2/22)
8-Bit Farm ($7.00 from $14.00 until 2/22)
Dream House Days DX ($7.00 from $14.00 until 2/22)
Asdivine Cross ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/23)
Asdivine Saga ($9.74 from $14.99 until 2/23)


Gale of Windoria ($11.24 from $14.99 until 2/23)
Ambition Record ($9.74 from $14.99 until 2/23)
Ruinverse ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/23)
Sherlock Holmes: C & P ($11.99 from $29.99 until 2/23)
Guntech 2 ($10.49 from $14.99 until 2/23)
Space Lines Puzzle Arcade Game ($1.99 from $5.99 until 2/23)
Chess Brain: Dark Troops ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/23)
Hidden Shapes: BS & OW ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/23)
Chameneon ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/23)
Josh Journey Darkness Totems ($6.99 from $13.99 until 2/23)
SAOMI ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/23)
Cat Slide Tiles ($1.99 from $3.99 until 2/23)
Host 714 ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Animal Puzzle Cats ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Legendary Heroes ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/23)


Fashion Friends ($2.49 from $9.99 until 2/23)
Geometric Feel the Beats ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Milk Inside a Bag… ($5.35 from $7.99 until 2/23)
Swarmrider Omega ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Doomed to Hell ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/23)
Vasara Collection ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/23)
In Extremis DX ($2.49 from $4.99 until 2/23)

Sales Ending This Weekend

Chinese Parents ($9.74 from $12.99 until 2/4)
Christmas Tina ($20.24 from $26.99 until 2/4)
Circa Infinite Ultimate ($1.99 from $10.99 until 2/4)
Dying: Reborn ($7.49 from $9.99 until 2/4)
Galaxy Shooter ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/4)
Glyph ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/4)
Golazo 2 ($8.99 from $14.99 until 2/4)
Head Over Heels ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/4)
Jim Power: The Lost Dimension ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/4)
Luna the Shadow Dust ($14.99 from $19.99 until 2/4)
Necrobarista Final Pour ($16.49 from $21.99 until 2/4)
Nirvana Deluxe Edition ($1.99 from $7.49 until 2/4)


Radical Rex ($3.99 from $7.99 until 2/4)
Rhythm Fighter ($12.74 from $16.99 until 2/4)
Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/4)
The Humans ($3.99 from $7.99 until 2/4)
The Immortal ($3.99 from $7.99 until 2/4)
Thunderbolt Collection ($3.99 from $7.99 until 2/4)
Zero Tolerance Collection ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/4)
Family Man ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/5)
Hatchwell ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/5)
Haustoria ($1.99 from $12.99 until 2/5)

That’s all for today and this week, friends. We’ll be back next week with more new releases, more sales, more reviews, and I believe at least a little news. I have a whole weekend of paperwork ahead of me, so wish me luck with that. I hope you all have a better weekend than me, and as always, thanks for reading!

- Shaun Musgrave
The 10 Best Arcade Archives Beat-Em-Ups – SwitchArcade Special

A little while ago, we put up a list of our favorite shoot-em-ups in Hamster’s Arcade Archives line-up. There are hundreds of games available thanks the weekly releases, so it can be a little hard to find the cream of the crop if you’re coming in a little late. Shooters were of course mainstays in the arcade heyday, but in the mid-80s another popular genre rose up: the beat-em-up. The brawler. The belt-scroller. So many names, but the important thing is that it involved one or more people beating the stuffing out of a veritable army of opponents as they made their way through various locales. There are many of them in Arcade Archives, but these are the ones we like the best.

Renegade ($7.99)

Let’s start by paying some homage to the grandfathers of the genre. By adding some depth to the proceedings, Renegade essentially added one of the last major component the beat-em-up genre needed. It spawned the Kunio-kun/River City and Double Dragon franchises. And despite being such an early example of a brawler, it’s still a lot of fun to play. The enemies are merciless and you don’t have a lot of room to maneuver, but your extensive list of moves is no joke, either. Sending enemies sailing off the edge of the subway platform or into the water never gets old.

Double Dragon ($7.99)

And here’s the last big piece of the beat-em-up puzzle: simultaneous multiplayer. Double Dragon is an icon of the genre, and for good reason. It takes you on an impressive journey through the streets, a construction site, a forest, and a wild enemy hideout, throwing all manner of bizarre foes at you along the way. You can go it alone or bring a friend, though be prepared for some heavy slowdown if you take the latter route. Still, it’s worth it just to see what happens if Billy and Jimmy manage to take down the last boss together. I really love the way the basic punches feel in this game, and just the way hits land in general.

64th Street ($7.99)

Zipping ahead a bit, we have an effort from Jaleco that doesn’t do a lot to hide its inspirations. For the most part, 64th Street follows the template established by Capcom’s Final Fight. It has a cool 1940s gumshoe vibe to it, and the set piece that makes up the climax is definitely worth seeing. But the real fun in this game comes from its key gameplay twist: you can throw enemies into the background. Sometimes it damages or breaks objects or walls, revealing items. Sometimes it sends enemies sailing into the water. The bosses are incredibly cheap, but the game ends up being a blast anyway.

Sengoku 3 ($7.99)

Releasing in 2001, Sengoku 3 is one of the later NEOGEO releases from SNK. It’s also likely the pinnacle of the genre on SNK’s unique console, offering up a nice selection of characters, excellent graphics, some interesting stages to go through, and wild boss fights. There’s an emphasis on building combos in this game, which isn’t something you tend to see in arcade games in this genre. You can also pick up an assortment of throwable objects and make use of them to defeat your foes. While it loses the unique character-switching mechanic of earlier Sengoku games, this is still the best in the series.

Crime Fighters ($7.99)

Konami created some of the most popular, celebrated arcade brawlers to ever exist. Unfortunately, most of them have licenses attached to them so the Arcade Archives selection is a bit more limited. Still, if you want to see where Konami really got the ball rolling on its particular brand of beat-em-up, here is Crime Fighters. It has many of the characteristics of later Konami brawlers like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons, but in a more prototypical form. A tough one, but worth playing.

Vendetta ($7.99)

A couple of years later, Konami followed up Crime Fighters with Vendetta. Only a short span of time, but it was huge for this genre and Vendetta shows it. Choose from expies of Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, and Jean-Claude Van Damme and head out to defeat the Dead End gang. This game makes the bold choice to remove regular jumps which forces you to think differently about crowd control. In exchange, you’re given a wide array of surprisingly brutal moves to dispatch your enemies with. Up to four players can join in on this one, too.

Zero Team ($7.99)

Most of the games on this list come from familiar names like Technos, Konami, SNK, and Tecmo. Unless you’re particularly well-versed in arcade history, you probably haven’t heard of Seibu Kaihatsu. It’s largely known for its Raiden series of vertical shooters, but it made a few other games that don’t seem to get much attention. Zero Team is its entry into the brawler genre, and it’s another one with four-player support. The gameplay is easy to pick up and very enjoyable, and it’s one of the more colorful and silly games on this list.

Mutation Nation ($7.99)

Mutation Nation is a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s not like it does anything particularly fancy with its gameplay, though its assortment of cool super moves aren’t too shabby. Mechanically, it does what you would expect and not much more. But it leans into its theme really well, with some wild enemy designs that sometimes mutate mid-fight and really cool bosses. It looks really good for a NEOGEO game, and the soundtrack has some nice kick to it as well. This is another really fun trip to take with a friend, but cracking mutant heads solo is a good time, too.

Ninja Gaiden ($7.99)

Of the three games carrying the name Ninja Gaiden, this is probably the least successful and least remembered. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. It’s actually quite good, albeit a little different in feel from most other beat-em-ups. You have a set of moves appropriate to a ninja, and your journey through a pop culture view of America is hilarious and interesting. Put on your ninja duds and find out the one story of Ryu Hayabusa that you probably don’t know.

P.O.W.: Prisoners of War ($7.99)

Before there was NEOGEO, SNK mostly made games about war. It was a popular thing in the 1980s, and SNK made almost as much bread from it as Capcom did. The biggest hits were vertical run-and-guns like Ikari Warriors, T.N.K., and Guerilla War, but there was one side-scrolling beat-em-up that managed to break through a bit. You play as a P.O.W. who takes matters into his own hands and not only breaks out but actually brings down the whole enemy operation. Another early example of the genre, but a great one all the same. Bring a buddy for maximum carnage.

And that’s the lot, friends. I hope this list helps you find some new games to play, and if you have any Arcade Archives beat-em-ups you would like to recommend, please comment below. We’re all looking for more good stuff to add to our libraries, after all. Thanks again for reading!

- Mikhail Madnani
‘Castle Crumble’ From ‘Spire Blast’ Developer Orbital Knight Is This Week’s New Apple Arcade Release Out Now Alongside Many Notable Game Updates

Spire Blast developers Orbital Knight have released Castle Crumble () on Apple Arcade today. If you played Spire Blast you will right at home here, and I think I like it more based on the first few levels I played. It features cannonballs, magic beams, and more as you try and destroy castles with nice haptics. It is going to be interesting to see if it gets updated as often as Spire Blast with new content. Check it out here on Apple Arcade.

castle crumble apple arcade download february 2023

Alongside today’s new release, a few notable games have been updates beginning a few days ago until now. Amazing Bomberman adds the Liberabimus stage, mission level 151-200, and new customization parts. Cut the Rope Remastered brings in a winter themed board with 12 new levels and fixes for issues in the prior update. Episode XOXO brings in the first four chapters of The Valentine’s Day Project new original story. JellyCar Worlds gets its first content update since launch bringing in World 7 featuring the grapple ability, the ability to access challenges from many more places, improved UI, and more.

jellycar worlds apple arcade

LEGO Star Wars: Castaways adds in an exclusive Clone Wars event to earn minifigure pars inspired by the clones and a chance to take on Fearsome Droidekas in the HoloSim levels. MasterChef: Let’s Cook! adds a new Mix minigame, Valetine’s day themed additions, new challenging ways to cut, pan, and pour, and more. What The Golf? adds in the new Love Birdies special day pack with this week’s update. Charrua Soccer has its anniversary event on with all characters from last year’s events, daily challenges, and more. The Valentine’s Heart Challenge is also featured here for a limited time.

solitaire stories 2023

The final update of the week is Solitaire Stories bringing in Tri-Peaks, a remix of the original Pantaloony story, and more. This month will also see three special in-app events — The Pod: Death by AI, Crystal Caverns, and Romeo & Juliet. Check out our forum threads for Amazing Bomberman here, MasterChef: Let’s Cook! here, Cut the Rope Remastered here, What The Golf? here, Charrua Soccer here, LEGO Star Wars: Castaways here, Solitaire Stories here, JellyCar Worlds here, Episode XOXO here, and Castle Crumble here. For all Apple Arcade related things, check out our dedicated Apple Arcade forum for discussion on the service and every game included here. What do you think of Apple’s new release today?

- Shaun Musgrave
SwitchArcade Round-Up: ‘Life is Strange 2’, ‘Drainus’, ‘The Pathless’, and Today’s Other Releases and Sales

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for February 2nd, 2023. We’ve actually got a little news to look at today, and that’s where we’ll start things. There are also a ton of new games, some of them very good (Life is Strange 2, Drainus), and some of them very bad (the usual trash from Midnight Works and VG Games). We’ve got summaries of all of them, plus the usual lists of new and expiring sales. Let’s get to work!

News

Nintendo Switch Online Vouchers Are Back in North America

This news won’t be of much interest to readers outside of North America, but Nintendo of America has brought back the Game Vouchers program for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. You can buy two Vouchers for $99.98, with each of them good for any of the select games in the program. It’s a nice way to save a little money on games that normally don’t go on sale, and it’s good to see them return.

Check Out the New Update for ‘Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak’

Capcom has lifted the veil on the latest update for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak. You can see the details in the video above, but the gist of it is that there are two amazing new monsters to battle, some expanded anomaly research quests to complete, and some new weekly event quests to embark upon. This update is of course free, so anyone who owns Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak can enjoy it without paying anything more. The update will be available from February 7th.

‘Theatrhythm Final Bar Line’ Demo is Now Available

If you were to peek at my Nintendo 3DS’s play logs, you would see that two of my top played games in terms of hours were Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call. And Theatrhythm Dragon Quest, but we don’t talk about that one so much. I also enjoyed Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory which, let’s be honest, was a Theatrhythm game in all but name. So yes, I am rather looking forward to the upcoming release of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. It’s out on February 16th, just two weeks from now, but if you’re like me and can’t wait to get a taste, there is now a demo available on the eShop. It offers a generous selection of songs to play and allows you to carry your save and progress over to the full game. Give it a go and see how you take to those button controls.

New Releases Life is Strange 2 ($31.99)

Here’s the latest in the Life is Strange series, I think, now available for your playing enjoyment on the Switch. It follows the story of two brothers on the run to Mexico with the police in hot pursuit. The younger brother of the two has telekinetic powers, you see. You play as the older brother and need to take care of your brother and his needs as you make the treacherous trip to the border. I’m pretty sure our pal Mikhail is doing a review of this one, so do look forward to it.

Drainus ($19.99)

Drainus is a very cool new side-scrolling shooter that I think stands a decent chance of breaking through in the same sort of way Ikaruga did. The gimmick here is that you can drain enemy shots and fire them back, all the while filling up energy cans that you can use to buy upgrades for your ship. It’s less of a score attack arcade game and more one that you just want to play through and enjoy the ride. I’ll have a full review of this one soon, but I will say for now that it’s a good, relatively approachable shooter that should play well with a crowd that usually isn’t interested in the genre.

The Pathless ($39.99)

First up, I should mention that the above screenshot is from the PC version. I couldn’t get my hands on a Switch screenshot in time. Anyway, this is the latest from Annapurna. It has been out for a while on other platforms, and it’s had a rather sunny reception overall. You play as a hunter who travels to a mysterious island on a quest to dispel a curse that is afflicting the land. Explore the open world, seek out secrets, solve puzzles, and hunt evil spirits that stalk the woods. If you need a little air, call on your eagle buddy to give you a lift. Mikhail is also looking into this one, I think. You all know him and his Annapurna games.

Fashion Police Squad ($19.99)

Well, this is a new way to handle a first-person shooter. Instead of hunting demons or Nazis, you’re going after fashion disasters. Jump, climb, and swing your way around the city, solving fashion crimes and searching for hidden goodies. Rather than use shotguns on your enemies, you’ll instead have to choose the right tool to help fix their fashion fumble. Maybe you need to add a bit of color. Maybe you have to take in the seams. I don’t know, I am not a fashionable person at all. The main character in this game would definitely be hunting me. I wear suspenders, for crying out loud. Do not hurt me, Fashion Police Squad.

Cuddly Forest Friends ($39.99)

Aksys has a cute little game here. It features an assortment of animal friends that you need to take care of. There are more than ten different minigames to play in order to do that, and in helping out the animals you’ll nourish the forest’s Tree of Happiness and make it grow stronger. I’ll be honest: this doesn’t look like something I would pay forty bucks for, but I also don’t think I’m anywhere near the demographic this is aimed at. Perhaps you are, and you should investigate accordingly.

Arcade Archives Phelios ($7.99)

Here is one of Namco’s lesser-seen shoot-em-ups, and one I’m largely familiar with through its port on the SEGA Genesis. You play as Apollo, who is riding Pegasus on a quest to save Artemis from Typhon. Your primary means of attack is through a special charged attack as your standard shot is barely useful at all against the enemies you’ll face. There are seven stages in all. This arcade version actually wasn’t released outside of Japan back in the day due to some concerns about the content in the cut-scenes. Hamster has done its usual capable job bringing the game to Switch, of course.

Active DBG: Brave’s Rage ($19.99)

Oh, I see. Deck building game. Got it. So yes, this is one of those deck building roguelite games. We have a lot of those on the Nintendo Switch already. The gimmick in this one is that you can actually interrupt turns to make moves. The description suggests it is inspired by Final Fantasy‘s Active Time Battle system and action-RPGs, which is a little hard to visualize for a game like this. If it works, however, then I would say that is a cool way to stand out from the pack. I haven’t had a chance to play this yet so I’ll have to investigate further.

Jumbo Airport Story ($14.00)

Hey, another Kairosoft simulation game. In this one you’re running an airport. It has a few new twists thanks to its theme, but structurally it’s fairly similar to most of the other Kairosoft games. As always I will mention that you can get this at a lower price on mobile, and it’s every bit as playable if not more so. But if you really want to own it on your Switch, here it is.

Rhythm Sprout ($14.99)

Here’s a cute little rhythm game where you play as a little sprout off on some adventure or another. Walk along to the music and fight along with the beat, just like you would expect. Some extra modes are available to keep the good times rolling once you’ve finished the story. Also to that end there are unlockable outfits and skins for Sprout. I’m probably going to wait it out for Theatrhythm but if you’re a big fan of the genre and want something to hold you over, this might be a good choice.

Oshiiro ($10.99)

Um, so this is a horror game. You explore a haunted arena and need to exorcise evil spirits using some sort of ghost-busting glowstick. Find the hidden idol symbols and swing the properly colored glowstick at them to clear each stage. I can say with some degree of certainty that I haven’t seen a game like this before, for better or worse.

Monster Girls and the Mysterious Adventure 2 ($21.99)

Where did part one go? Let me check on that. Oh yes, there it is on Steam. Well, there you go. This is the sequel. It’s a Mystery Dungeon-like Japanese roguelike featuring parties of monster girls. Befriend monsters to help you make your way through the procedurally-generated floors of the dungeon. As you make friends, they’ll populate the town and take on various jobs or just chill out somewhere. If you like Mystery Dungeon, you very well may enjoy this take on the familiar format. It has a rather solid reputation over on Steam and I have no doubt it will find an equally welcoming audience on Switch.

Pixel Game Maker Series Cat and Tower ($4.99)

This calls to mind bizarre Flash games from the earlier days of the internet. You play as a cat who needs to climb a tower of platforms. You can move, jump, and dash. The game keeps track of your time, so I suppose you could speed run if that’s your thing. There are extra missions to complete and some unlockable additional difficulty levels. The visual presentation is a hodge-podge of mismatched elements that somehow sings a sweet melody to my soul that I remember just scarcely enough to feel something. Is that worth a fiver? Maybe. Maybe.

Sakura Cupid ($9.99)

The latest Sakura visual novel game. The protagonist is a lazy cupid named Lilim who has been exiled from heaven for being terrible at her job. Rather than being down about the whole thing, Lilim is actually thrilled because she can now chill out and watch anime and read comics all day. She blows it by using a love bullet to try to charm a free cup of coffee and ends up causing a waitress to fall in love with her. All the while one of her old friends from heaven is hunting her to try and bring her back. Quite the mess. Make your choices and find your ending.

Exitman Deluxe ($4.99)

This isn’t what I thought it was, but that’s on me for expecting a modern version of Square Enix’s Exit. This game has a rather simple concept. The ceiling is falling and it will crush you if you don’t squeeze into the gap. Each time the ceiling comes down and goes back up, the gaps move around. How long can you survive? There are multiple modes of play, including local multiplayer for up to four players. Could be fun for a fiver, I suppose.

Harvest Yuuka ($25.00)

With so many Touhou games and so many farming games available on the Switch, how can one make their own game stand out? First, combine the two. Second, release a text-heavy game with only Japanese language support. Yeah, I’d like to see the other farming games do that. Advantage: Harvest Yuuka.

Air Jet Fighter Combat – Europe Fly Plane Attack ($4.99)

Some utter trash from the trash merchants at VG Games. Likely cobbled together from a template of some kind. You could use a fiver better by lighting it on fire.

Kart Crazy Race Simulator Game ($4.99)

More trash from the trash merchants at VG Games. Also likely cobbled together from a template of some kind. You could use a fiver better by lighting it on fire and using it to light another fiver on fire. You’d be down ten but you’d still be better off than you would you be if you bought and played this game.

Shark Attack: Fish Predator Ocean Sea Adventure Survival ($4.99)

Another heap of trash from VG Games. Another game likely originating from a template, and another absolute waste of five dollars. You could use a fiver better by lighting it on fire and using it to light a pile of fivers on fire, because even though you would be out a ton of money, at least you wouldn’t have to play this soulless waste.

Radiantflux Hyperfractal 4.0 ($1.99)

Hey, I remember this from the Wii U. It’s a basic scrolling shoot-em-up wrapped up in an oddly appealing early Windows aesthetic, complete with some diversions like a Minesweeper clone and a paint program. It’s cheap, so that’s one thing going for it. And it is certainly unique. It would be hard not to get your money’s worth at this price point, but I don’t know how much enjoyment you’d really get out of it.

Beat Them Up – Box Simulator – Boxing Battle Fight Combat for Nintendo Switch Ultimate 2023 ($4.99)

Here is Midnight Works with an absolute rubbish-tier beat-em-up that was almost certainly pieced together from a template. Same deal as the VG Games stuff. Don’t waste your money on this garbage.

Box Roulette Simulator – Boxing Battle Fight Combat for Nintendo Switch ($2.99)

And another from Midnight Works, this one a handheld mode-only game of Russian Roulette with a boxing glove instead of a bullet. There’s really not much of a game here at all. There are probably better ways to spend three bucks. A delicious Snickers bar or two, perhaps. An egg, in these trying times. I don’t know. Just don’t spend it here.

The Intership ($3.99)

Cooking and Publishing has to get its lick in today, too. This is a very plain visual novel-style game where you just make a series of choices and try to get all of the characters through to the end. There are multiple endings to find. At least it isn’t one of those question-answering games.

Sales

(North American eShop, US Prices)

Not a huge list of new games yet at the time of writing, but there are some good ones in there. There are new low prices on Slaycation Paradise and Monster Harvest, plus sales on Monster Hunter Rise and a lot of the individual DLCs for Capcom Arcade Stadium. Over in the outbox, sales from Ubisoft and others are winding down. Have a look through both lists as ever.

Select New Games on Sale

Retro City Rampage DX ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/8)
Shakedown Hawaii ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/8)
Spinfrog ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/9)
Aragami 2 ($26.79 from $39.99 until 2/15)
Slaycation Paradise ($6.79 from $19.99 until 2/15)
Hayfever ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Monster Harvest ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/15)
Rogue Star Rescue ($9.74 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Time on Frog Island ($8.49 from $24.99 until 2/15)
Frogun ($11.24 from $14.99 until 2/15)
Kholat ($2.09 from $14.99 until 2/16)
Monster Hunter Rise + Sunbreak ($39.99 from $69.99 until 2/16)
Monster Hunter Rise ($19.99 from $39.99 until 2/16)


Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water ($29.99 from $39.99 until 2/16)
Fatal Frame: MoBW Deluxe Edition ($41.24 from $54.99 until 2/16)
Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey ($14.39 from $15.99 until 2/17)
Runefall 2 CE ($6.99 from $9.99 until 2/21)
I Love Finding Critters ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/21)
Extinction Eclipse ($4.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)
Super Fowlst ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)
Super Fowlst 2 ($2.00 from $10.00 until 2/22)
Dadish ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)
Dadish 2 ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/22)

Sales Ending Tomorrow, Friday, February 3rd

Aka ($10.39 from $12.99 until 2/3)
Assassin’s Creed Ezio Collection ($19.99 from $39.99 until 2/3)
Battle Chef Brigade Deluxe ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Bite the Bullet ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Blue Fire ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Cake Invaders ($2.99 from $5.99 until 2/3)
Casual Challenge Players’ Club ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/3)
Child of Light UE ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Construction Site Driver 2 ($6.49 from $12.99 until 2/3)
Cyber Shadow ($15.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Don’t Knock Twice ($3.74 from $12.49 until 2/3)
Double Cross ($3.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Family Feud ($9.89 from $29.99 until 2/3)
Football Manager 2023 Touch ($35.99 from $44.99 until 2/3)
Graze Counter GM ($11.99 from $14.99 until 2/3)


Hungry Shark World ($1.99 from $9.99 until 2/3)
I Saw Black Clouds ($7.79 from $12.99 until 2/3)
Immortals Fenyx Rising ($11.99 from $59.99 until 2/3)
Immortals Fenyx Rising Season Pass DLC ($15.99 from $39.99 until 2/3)
Inertia Redux ($2.06 from $4.39 until 2/3)
Joggernauts ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Legendary Fishing ($4.49 from $29.99 until 2/3)
Lila’s Sky Ark ($4.49 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Lost in Play ($11.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Mable & The Wood ($2.99 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Monopoly ($9.99 from $39.99 until 2/3)
MotoGP 20 ($2.49 from $24.99 until 2/3)
Pill Baby ($7.50 from $15.00 until 2/3)
PopSlinger ($7.49 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Project Starship ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/3)


Rabbids: Party of Legends ($15.99 from $39.99 until 2/3)
Restless Soul ($4.49 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Revertia ($1.99 from $4.99 until 2/3)
Rule No.1 ($4.19 from $5.99 until 2/3)
Scott Pilgrim vs The World ($4.94 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Super Jagger Bomb ($3.49 from $4.99 until 2/3)
The Enigma Machine ($4.79 from $7.99 until 2/3)
The King’s Bird ($3.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Time Rift ($5.99 from $9.99 until 2/3)
Trials Rising ($5.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Trivial Pursuit Live 2 ($9.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion ($5.99 from $14.99 until 2/3)
Unbound Worlds Apart ($6.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Valiant Hearts The Great War ($4.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Wheel of Fortune ($7.99 from $19.99 until 2/3)
Yum Yum Cookstar ($19.99 from $29.99 until 2/3)

That’s all for today, friends. We’ll be back tomorrow with the remaining releases of the week, plus what I am sure will be a healthy list of new sales. Gosh, the games are piling up again already. I hope you all have a great Thursday, and as always, thanks for reading!

- Mikhail Madnani
‘Dead Space’ Remake Steam Deck Review – 2023’s First Tech Showcase for Valve’s Handheld

Need for Speed Unbound was one of the first new current generation only games to impress me on Steam Deck. I’ve played many games that have been ported to PC from other platforms and also games built for PC from the start, but it is always great seeing the Steam Deck handle games built for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S well. That is where our first Steam Deck review of 2023 comes into the picture. It has been quite an experience playing Dead Space from launch day until about a week later on Steam Deck, PS5, and my laptop.

I wanted to approach this Dead Space Steam Deck review a bit differently. I hadn’t actually played the original game until I decided I wanted to cover this new release, and it led to me trying the original out on Steam Deck alongside Dead Space. I also wanted to see how the Steam Deck would hold up compared to the PS5 version of Dead Space.

Dead Space itself is a game I wish I had played before. Experiencing it through this new remake reminded me of my time with Capcom’s amazing Resident Evil 2 remake from a few years ago. Playing it with a good pair of headphones has been excellent, but the real shocker has been how good it looks on Steam Deck.

As of this writing, Dead Space has been Steam Deck Verified by Valve, and it shows. The only changes I’ve made are forcing the game to display PlayStation button prompts in the settings, and also playing around with the graphics and display options for testing how much I can push the hardware. Rest assured, Dead Space is an excellent experience on Steam Deck now out of the box and I’m shocked that a current generation exclusive runs and looks this well on the hardware.

Dead Space has quite a few visual options to improve and adjust the image quality. I left the film grain and motion blur on for my first playthrough. It has dynamic resolution scaling options and support for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0. I enabled both of them and used FSR 2.0’s performance mode with the automatic preset for most of my time with Dead Space. You can push some settings higher if you’d like and are ok playing with a 30fps cap (which you need to do on the Steam Deck’s own settings). I tested uncapped frame rate at the default settings and was surprised to even see it running at 60fps in parts with v-sync off.

On the performance side, there are a few things you can work with to improve the frame rate like a lower internal resolution (not 800p like I used), opting for a different FSR 2.0 mode, and even the Steam Deck’s own “allow tearing" option in the menu. The only issue with changing a lot of settings is you will need to wait for a few seconds or even 20 seconds sometimes for performance to stabilize after making big changes to the game’s setting. The major issues I ran into with my setup were in rooms with multiple enemies where the performance drops noticeably.

On the control side, I mapped any analog stick presses to the Steam Deck paddles as I don’t like pressing into the sticks. The remaining control options are fine as is. You can change to a control preset faithful to the original Dead Space or Dead Space 2 as well here.

While Dead Space is a fantastic game and a brilliant remake, it really needs commendation for its accessibility options. These aren’t as good as recent Naughty Dog games, but there is a lot you can adjust to make the experience more suited to your playstyle including the option to hide certain disturbing scenes and display more content warnings and colorblind options.

Despite being portable and having pretty good speakers, I’d recommend playing Dead Space with a good pair of headphones. The audio design is amazing, and an important part of the gameplay, so using the Deck’s speakers would mean missing out on the complete immersive experience.

Compared to the original game which also is Steam Deck Verified, Dead Space is a massive upgrade and improvement in just about every way. Hopefully EA gives Dead Space 2 the same treatment in the future, it would be great if Valve could work with EA to have its other AAA releases in such a nice state on Steam Deck from the start. If you’re curious how one of the last areas in the game looks, click here. I’m not embedding this specific image to keep this spoiler free.

Having also played Dead Space on PS5, the DualSense features like haptic feedback are not present in the PC version of the game even when using a DualSense controller wired. Barring that, Dead Space scales down very well for Steam Deck, but it really shines at higher fidelity and is brilliant on PS5 after the most-recent update. I haven’t tested the Xbox Series X version, but Dead Space is an easy recommendation on PC and PS5 in its current state.

I enjoyed swapping between my old laptop and Steam Deck while playing Dead Space without any issues. Despite a slightly rough launch day, Valve’s Proton fixes have made Dead Space a survival horror essential for Steam Deck owners, and a true tech showcase for the platform. 2023 is already starting out brilliantly for Steam Deck owners with Dead Space, Hi Fi Rush, and more playing great on the system.

Dead Space is available for PC on Steam here.

Interested in more lists? Check out our other Steam Deck recommendations!

The Best Upcoming PC Games We Want to Play on Steam Deck in 2023 The Best New PC-Only Games The Best New Games The Best Indie Games The Best JRPGs The Best Accessories The Best Fighting Games The Best Games to Play on Steam Deck The Best Steam Deck Games You Can’t Play on Consoles
- Mikhail Madnani

Indie developer Cyan who developed the 2021 reimagining of the classic Myst have just announced that it is coming to iOS as Myst Mobile. Myst Mobile will bring the complete experience to iPhone and iPad devices in the future. Considering the official announcement has information about review codes, I assume this is sooner rather than later. Myst Mobile features gorgeous visuals, optimizations for M2, M1, and more. The game will require an A12 bionic or higher device. Cyan also confirmed that Myst Mobile will support touch controls, controllers, the Smart and Magic Folio, and keyboard and mouse inputs. Watch the trailer for the console and PC version of Myst below:

Myst Mobile will be free to start. The entirety of Myst Island will be free to explore without any time limit in the iOS version. There will be an in app purchase priced at $14.99 allowing access to more than just Myst Island. Cyan mentions a launch discount planned for this. The screenshots look gorgeous. I can’t wait to see how it runs on my iOS and iPadOS devices. I’m hoping we get a full technical analysis video from MrMacRight covering older and newer devices, because this is definitely a tech showcase of a game. Have you played this reimagining of Myst before?

- Mikhail Madnani
Psychedelic Horror Experience ‘Happy Game’ From Amanita Design Is Out Now on iOS and Android

Amanita Design’s psychedelic horror experience Happy Game ($5.99) is out now on iOS and Android worldwide following its debut on Nintendo Switch and PC platforms a little while ago. Happy Game is a standard paid game on iOS and Android, and not included in Apple Arcade like some of the developer’s releases. I’m glad to see Amanita Design continuing to do premium mobile releases, and hope we get more in the future. If you haven’t played Happy Game yet, the mobile teaser trailer below will give you a good idea about the game:

You can currently buy Happy Game on the App Store for iOS here and on Google Play for Android here for $5.99. Check out the official website here. You can also grab it on Steam here and Switch here. If you’d like to check out Samorost 2 on mobile from Amanita Design, you can buy it on the App Store for iOS here and on Google Play for Android here. Hopefully the wait for Amanita’s next new game isn’t too long for mobile players. Are you grabbing Happy Game on mobile today?

- Mikhail Madnani

Following the release of developer Patrones & Escondites’s Unmemory back in 2020, we learned about Delete After Reading last year. Delete After Reading is about a trio of friends setting out to rescue one of the greatest video games of all time from one of the richest people in the world. According to the developer, the quirky narrative game will also feature some serious themes. Today, the Delete After Reading release date has been announced with pre-orders and pre-registrations going live. Alongside that news, a new Delete After Reading trailer is available. Watch it below:

Delete After Reading definitely looks worth checking out. Pre-orders are supposed to go live as of this writing, but the iOS one currently might be showing you a macOS only link right now. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can pre-order it on the App Store here, pre-register for it on Google Play here (link is currently rolling out), and check it out on Steam here. Delete After Reading is due on March 14th worldwide. Will you be checking out Delete After Reading when it arrives next month?

Talking Point: What Are You Playing This Weekend? (February 4th)

Game on!

Well folks, we made it through January and the upcoming months are looking bright (in gaming, at least). It's now fewer than 100 days until the release of Tears of the Kingdom so the countdown is well and truly on.

This week at Nintendo Life, we had a chance to get hands on with Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, and we also looked ahead to The Super Mario Bros. Movie after the recent trailer had us wondering which other suits we'd like to see pop up. It was also, unbelievably, the 15th anniversary of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and a group of us got together to discuss the oft-overlooked game mode 'The Subspace Emissary'.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Square Enix Planning "Multiple New Titles" And New IP

Following a slump in sales.

Square Enix has had a solid run on the Nintendo Switch over the past year with releases such as Live A Live, NieR:Automata, Tactics Ogre: Reborn and more recently Crisis Core, but it seems it's not been enough. The Japanese publisher and developer has reported a drop in net sales in its latest financial results period (up to 31st December 2022).

Despite net sales falling to 255 billion yen (down by nearly 7% YoY), it's still got some big plans moving forward - teasing "multiple new titles" including games featuring brand-new IP.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Among Us Shares Its Roadmap For 2023

Nothing sus here.

It's a new year and that means there's a new roadmap for the popular multiplayer indie hit Among Us. So, what's on the agenda for 2023?

Coming soon are user interface and user experience updates. This includes "cleaning up the account merging flow, updating the store to be easier to navigate, making it easier to see how you can report a toxic player" and more.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Nintendo Reveals Official Poster For The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Arriving in theatres "soon".

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is out next month in certain parts of the world and in the lead-up, Nintendo has been sharing more and more about this upcoming film.

The latest reveal is the movie's "official" poster - showing off many of the main cast. As you can see below, we've got Mario, Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong, Toad, Bowser and Kamek. And on one side is Bowser's castle, and on the other is the Mushroom Kingdom and Rainbow Road.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Soapbox: Gaming Superstitions And Rituals Might Not Work, But They Matter

We're crossing our fingers.

The God of Random Numbers is real, and he's in your house right now, sniffing all your dice. If you don't pray to him, you'll never see a natural 20 again, and all of your card decks will be stacked against you for the rest of time.

Or... RNG is exactly what it sounds like. Random. Mashing B, or A, or whatever button you fancy when the Poké Ball is tick-tocking to one side and another isn't going to influence the outcome in any way. It's a placebo, a meaningless ritual that keeps you busy while waiting for the game to arbitrarily decide the result.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Review: XGIMI HORIZON Pro 4K UHD Projector - A Plug-And-Play, Premium (And Pricey) Pairing For Your Switch

A projector for those ready to go all in.

When shopping around for a new TV, it's easy enough to know what to look for and what questions to ask. What’s the picture size and resolution? How many HDMI inputs does it have? Does it come with any smart features built-in? Is it HDR-compatible? But what if you’re interested in a projector instead? What do you need to know then?

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Guide: Best Time Loop Games On Nintendo Switch

Okay campers, rise and shine...

We're republishing this in celebration of Groundhog Day. Or, wait... is this the first time we've published this? Oh no...

Most video games are either two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Most... but not all. Today, we're celebrating the games that dip their toes into the underappreciated and underexplored fourth dimension: Time.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Go! Go! PogoGirl Is A Cute And Colourful Platformer With Serious Retro Sega Vibes

Stick it to them.

Ratalaika Games has revealed a rather quirky little platformer that's springing its way onto Switch next week. Go! Go! PogoGirl, developed by Ohsat Games (which consists of just one person, Andrej Preradovic!), follows a pogo champion whose prize pogo stick is stolen, and she must use another in order to track it down. The game launches on the eShop on 10th February, and it's giving us some serious Sega nostalgia.

Looking like it sits between the Master System and the Mega Drive, Go! Go! PogoGirl levels are themed around the four seasons and are all designed around PogoGirl's pogo-jumping skills. Each season will have five levels each for a total of 20 levels. And, well, if you take a good look at the levels, you might spot some similarities with a certain blue hedgehog's Green Hill Zone... those flowers look awfully familiar.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Review: OddBallers - Ballsy And Chaotic Co-op Fun, Though The Online Is DOA

If you can dodge a ball, you can dodge a...lawnmower?

Game Swing's OddBallers, a raucous top-down dodgeball party game, has been doing the rounds for quite some time now, having languished in various unreleased forms since it was first announced as "coming soon" a fair old while ago. Now it's suddenly dropped onto Nintendo Switch and, far from the mess we had thought it might turn out to be, it's actually a really fun little slice of multiplayer mayhem. However, it's not without its issues.

Oddballers sees players jump into colourful top-down arenas in order to hurl dodgeballs, chickens, bombs, and lots of other goofy items at one another in order to emerge victorious. The action is then made even more chaotic by a multitude of environmental dangers; lawnmowers, acid bombs, electrical charges, and so on, that keep you on your toes as you charge around looking to wipe out your friends and/or a bunch of the game's relatively capable bots.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

My Nintendo Store UK Opens Official Twitter Account

It's-a-surprise!

Nintendo UK has opened a brand new Twitter account for the My Nintendo Store in the UK and Ireland. The handle @MyNintendoUK was taken in January 2023, and the account just dropped its first tweet earlier today.

The account will likely share updates for new stock and special edition pre-orders, which is something Nintendo UK has had issues with previously — particularly with Xenoblade Chronicles 3's limited edition and Bayonetta 1's physical release.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

'The Master's Pupil' Is An Upcoming Puzzler Set Inside... Monet's Eyeball?

You had our curiosity...

Well, this is a new one! Developer Pat Naoum has revealed that The Master's Pupil will be heading to the Switch later this year. It's a hand-painted puzzler that's actually set within artist Claude Monet's eyeball — yum.

You'll need to solve various puzzles in order to halt the progressive disease that threatens Monet's eyesight, all the while experiencing the artist's real-life trauma, such as the passing of his wife. Certainly sounds like we could be in for an emotional rollercoaster.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

'Dredge' Reels A Sinister Fishing Adventure Onto Switch Next Month

Spooky squids and phantom phish.

There are enough fishing games on Switch to fill your net three times over. You throw every title with a fishing minigame in there and you would be left with one crammed aquarium. In such a calm, soothing genre, it can be difficult to stand out as the top dogfish, so what has indie development studio Black Salt Games done? Made a fishing game that very much not calming and particularly un-soothing.

Dredge is a game that will see you play as a down-on-their-luck fisherman who is trawling the seas to make ends meet. As you get more desperate, you will have to venture into shadier parts of the ocean, each with their own equally shady sea beasties.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Toplan's Arcade Bullet Hell 'Batsugun' Has Been Rated For Switch

The next in the S-Tribute series?

Batsugun S-Tribute has been rated in Korea on Switch, Gematsu reports. This is potentially the next entry in City Connection's S-Tribute series, which focuses on a number of arcade and Sega Saturn titles, enhancing them for modern audiences.

Batsugun is a title from 1993 developed by Toplan which was later ported to the Saturn in 1996 in Japan only. Batsugun might look like your typical bullet hell shooter, but the game introduces experience points that allow you to upgrade your main gun, and after two upgrades, you use the experience for extra bomb stock. The game is also often considered to be the first 'manic shooter' with its ridiculous bullet patterns and complex enemy waves.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Premium Pokémon Figures Of Moraidon And Koraidon Now Available For Order

You might need deep pockets, mind.

The Pokémon Centre has released two new premium Kotobukiya figures for Koraidon and Miraidon from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Priced at £229.99 each (yes, each), both figues come with a Scarlet and Violet book stand, with Koraidon measuring in at 16 x 23.1 x 21.1 cm and Miraidon coming in slightly smaller at 16 x 22.1 x 21.1 cm.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

BROK The InvestiGator, A Disney Cartoon-Inspired "Punch & Click", Snaps Up March Release

Get snappy.

Developer Cowcat has revealed that the "Punch & Click" game (the first ever, according to the developer!) BROK the InvestiGator will be launching on the Switch eShop on 1st March following its Steam release last year.

This unusual mash-up of side-scrolling beat 'em up and point-and-click puts you in the shoes of Brok, an alligator with a penchant for kicking butt and solving crimes. With colourful Saturday morning cartoon visuals (the game was partially inspired by The Disney Afternoon) and puns galore, we can't wait to see how everything gels together in what looks like a charming little adventure.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

New Pokémon Scarlet & Violet TCG Set Revealed, Along With Some Utterly Adorable Art

The starters shine.

The Pokémon Company has revealed the next official Trading Card Game set for Pokémon Scarlet & Violet, called Triple Beat. As you would expect from a name like this, the set focuses on Paldea's three starter Pokémon — Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly — along with their evolutions.

The cards were revealed via a stream and some of the art has been shared on Twitter — and we're enamoured! particularly with the rare starter cards.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Monster Hunter Rise Sales Surpass 12 Million Units Worldwide

"Thank you all so much".

Monster Hunter Rise made its debut on the PlayStation and Xbox last month, and it seems to have boosted the game's overall sales. In a new update from Capcom, the base game has now officially surpassed 12 million sales.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Platinum Celebrates Metal Gear Rising's 10th Anniversary Later This Month

One to watch.

One of the standout developers throughout the lifespan of the Nintendo Switch has been PlatinumGames. Not only has it delivered some amazing games like Bayonetta 3 and Astral Chain, but it's also released a number of past hits on the popular hybrid system including The Wonderful 101 and more recently NieR:Automata.

If you're wondering what it has been up to in the new year, it seems it's preparing to celebrate the anniversary of its 2013 action-adventure hack and slash Metal Gear Rising on 21st February. It has now been a decade since this game made its debut on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Live Service Game Knockout City Will Shut Down This June

Velan Studios is "very excited" about what's next.

After more than two years, the Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit developer Velan Studios today announced it would be shutting down its free-to-play multiplayer brawler Knockout City on 6th June this year - with Season 9 to be the "final season" for the game.

Although it's had over 12 million players, it has been unable to "attract and retain" enough players to make it sustainable. It's also been a massive learning curve for the studio, which is new to live service games, and therefore it's made the tough decision to end support.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Detective Pikachu's Second Movie Is Apparently Still In "Active Development"

Pika-two!

We're now getting updates about video game movies on a regular basis, but one we haven't heard about for a while is the sequel to Detective Pikachu - so what's happened?

After the star of the movie Justice Smith claimed a second film was unlikely to happen in 2021, we've finally got a new update. According to a Legendary Entertainment rep (via Polygon), this second project is still "in active development".

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Next Week on Xbox: New Games for February 6 to 10

Welcome to Next Week on Xbox! In this weekly feature we cover all the games coming soon to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows, and Game Pass! Get more details on these upcoming games below and click their profiles for further info (release dates subject to change). Let’s jump in!

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management – Box Art

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management – February 8

Craft every building, room, and path – just make sure the layout makes efficient use of the power grid and water systems. Work on rehabilitating prisoners by sending them to a variety of therapies, from a zero-gravity room to a hologram room to dance therapy. Help these inmates address their problems and return them to society!

Prizma Puzzle Prime Box Art

Prizma Puzzle Prime – February 8
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Tile-based puzzle game with smooth and challenging gameplay, old-school isometric graphics, and excellent music. Prizma Puzzle Prime includes content from past games, new elements, enhanced graphics, visual and sound effects.

Alice in Wonderland - A Jigsaw Puzzle Tale Box Art

Alice in Wonderland – A Jigsaw Puzzle Tale – February 9

Solve jigsaw puzzles in a refreshing reinterpretation of a beloved classic within a beautiful style of wonderland! Featuring 12 beautiful illustrations created by Katia Numakura, with inspiration from “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

Hyper Shapes – Box Art

Hyper Shapes – February 9
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

A frenetic minimalist “boss rush” where understanding the enemy attack patterns and weaknesses is key to success. Each room is a surprise and each boss a different challenge with unique mechanics. Use your power ball to defeat them and beware of their attacks — you won’t have a break.

Bumblebee - Little Bee Adventure Box Art

Bumblebee – Little Bee Adventure – February 10

A story-driven, narrative 3D flight exploration game in which you control a little bee on its journey to find a new home. Discover distant places, friendly animals, and dangerous habitats.

The Experiment: Escape Room Box Art

The Experiment: Escape Room – February 10
Xbox Play Anywhere

A multiplayer escape room game that can be played competitively, co-op, or solo. While visiting a well-renowned doctor, you notice something is amiss at his office, but before you realize what’s going on, he drugs you and you fall asleep. When you wake up, you’re sitting on a chair in the back room, locked, and unable to get out of the building. Can you figure out what’s going on and escape before it’s too late?

Hogwarts Legacy – Box Art

Hogwarts Legacy – February 10
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S

In this open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books, you’ll embark on a journey through familiar and new locations as you explore and discover magical beasts, customize your character and craft potions, master spell casting, upgrade talents and become the wizard you want to be. Make allies, battle dark wizards, and decide the fate of the wizarding world!

Looking for Aliens Box Art

Looking for Aliens – February 10

Aliens are among us! Can you find traces of them on Earth, the Moon, and the edges of the galaxy? Find all the clues to prove the existence of alien civilizations and discover how making fried eggs can end up in a monster attack! This hidden object game lets you see the world through an alien TV show while following the adventures of Earth resident Shaun. He must prove the existence of aliens no matter what!

Repentant – Box Art

Repentant – February 10

In this dramatic point and click adventure game, we’re introduced to Oliver, a former criminal, who starts to suffer remorse from the terrible deeds of his past and has since developed a dependence on alcohol. One day while in a small shop, he is a witness to a robbery committed by a young girl. Feeling this is his opportunity to atone for his sins, he reaches out to help her. But who really needs help and who is the victim?

Touchdown Pinball – Box Art

Touchdown Pinball – February 10
Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery

Score field goals, touchdowns, and show who is the greatest football pinball player. Discover all the missions and secrets, including a secret arena match where your abilities will be tested.

Related:
Next Week on Xbox: New Games for January 16 to 20
Next Week on Xbox: New Games for January 9 to 13
Next Week on Xbox: New Games for December 12 to 16
- Kyle Ocean, Business Planner, Xbox
Free Play Days – For Honor, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Raise your sword…or fist… to kick off this Anime month Free Play Day weekend. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker are available this weekend for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play from Thursday, February 2 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Sunday, February 5 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. For Honor is available for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members to play until February 9.

How to Start Playing

Find and install the games on each of the individual game details page on Xbox.com. Clicking through will send you to the Microsoft Store, where you must be signed in to see the option to install with your Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. To download on console, click on the Subscriptions tab in the Xbox Store and enter the Gold member area to locate the Free Play Days collection on your Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Keep the Fun Going

Purchase the game and other editions at a limited time discount and continue playing while keeping your Gamerscore and earned achievements during the event! Please note that discounts and percentages may vary by title and region.

Game Details For Honor Standard Edition ($29.99 SRP) at 85% off: $4.49 (Free Play Days) Marching Fire Edition ($49.99 SRP) at 75% off: $12.49 Complete Edition ($99.99 SRP) at 75% off: $24.99 Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising Standard Edition ($14.99 SRP) at 33% off: $10.04 (Free Play Days) Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Standard Edition ($59.99 SRP) at 90% off: $5.99 (Free Play Days)

For Honor

Discover For Honor, a groundbreaking melee action game where you choose your warrior from the Knights, the Vikings, and the Samurai and engage in massive battles and confront bosses in intense duels. For Honor will have a free week from February 2-9. Players will have full access to the Standard Edition of For Honor, and those who want to keep battling after the free period will be able to carry on their progression and heroes to the full game once purchased with the game being discounted up to 85% off during the Free Week.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

The prelude to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, one of the most successful crowdfunded games of all time! Traverse New Neveah with CJ, Isha, and Garoo on an adventure to rebuild the town and expose the evil lurking in the ancient ruins. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an action-RPG featuring a delightful cast of characters and a rich story for you to enjoy in 2.5D. Prepare for action, mystery, humor, and surprises while you seek out magical rune-lenses. You can play Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is also available to purchase at the 33% discount during the Anime Month sale.

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Answer the call of the shinobi! Create your own custom shinobi, or select your favorite character, and participate in 4v4 battles where you can unleash a multitude of ninja techniques on your opponents. Follow your ninja way and lead your team to victory! Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker will be on sale during Anime Month through Feb 14 at 90% off. The new Master Character Training Pack: Isshiki Otsutsuki DLC and Starter Pack DLC are now available! The Starter Pack DLC offers 10 ninjutsu and moonlight scrolls to get you started on your ninja way!

Don’t miss out on this exciting Free Play Days for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member! Learn more about Free Play Days here and stay tuned to Xbox Wire to find out about future Free Play Days and all the latest Xbox gaming news. 

Related:
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Clean Croft Manor: PowerWash Simulator Gets Free Tomb Raider DLC
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition on Console is Out Now, Includes Optimized Controls and New Tutorials
- Samuel Roberts, PR Manager – Frontier Foundry
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
SummaryDeliver Us Mars is the sequel to 2019’s Deliver Us The Moon, and it’s out now on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.Join a desperate mission to Mars and uncover the mystery of an abandoned colony.Experience a rich narrative and all-new gameplay mechanics as you help save our planet.

In 2019’s Deliver Us The Moon, developer KeokeN Interactive sent players to the Moon to reactivate a vital energy source and pull Earth back from the brink of disaster. In its sequel Deliver Us Mars, out today on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, the goal is to give our planet a fighting chance at a bright future – and the only way to do that involves a small crew journeying to Mars on a do-or-die mission.

Developed by a core team of around 20 people, Deliver Us Mars takes their grand vision to an even bigger canvas. Where Deliver Us The Moon had a silent protagonist witnessing events from the past, Deliver Us Mars has a voiced lead who plays a key role in the story, as well as a full cast of supporting characters. New gameplay mechanics like a thrillingly realistic climbing system, first-person zero-G sections and challenging puzzles give that adventure even more variety this time around.

In the near future, Earth has been ravaged by terrible flooding and wild storms as a result of climate change. Only the ARKs – enormous ships with the power to restore plant life and the planet’s atmosphere – can give humanity a shot at safeguarding the world for future generations. Those ARKs, though, are currently in the possession of the shadowy group Outward, who fled with the vessels to Mars and deliberately left the rest of mankind behind to start anew. Discovering the fate of the Outward colonists and the whereabouts of the ARKs are what drive your journey across Mars in this sci-fi adventure.

Deliver Us Mars screenshot

But that larger save-the-world story is just one layer of Deliver Us Mars’ powerful and emotional narrative. At the heart of the game is the relationship between a father and a daughter. You take on the role of young astronaut Kathy Johanson, whose father, Isaac, abandoned her years earlier to join the Outward group as they escaped to Mars. In the present, a mysterious message suggests that Isaac may still be alive – and Kathy is determined to join the World Space Agency’s mission to the Red Planet and discover the truth, even though her father is a wanted fugitive on Earth.

“It was important to have the impact of that relationship bubbling underneath the surface the entire time,” says Ellise Chappell (‘Poldark’, ‘Young Wallander’), who plays Kathy and lends her likeness to the character. “Kathy has been living with unanswered questions for years which I think influences the way she carries herself. This broken relationship informs her interests, her drive, and even her sense of humor, which I think she uses to hide a deep sadness and insecurity. It also makes Kathy feel quite unpredictable as a character – where do her loyalties lie?”

That tension of Kathy’s true motivations will keep players guessing throughout the game: has she truly journeyed to Mars to find the ARKs and save humanity, or does she selfishly want to find her father, a goal not shared by her crewmates? Or does she want both at the same time, possibly jeopardizing the mission?

Deliver Us Mars screenshot

“Apart from being a grand space opera mixed with a psychological family drama, which is in itself and unusual combination – one that works brilliantly – Deliver Us Mars is a game of suspense and wonder and mystery exploring the Red Planet,” says actor and Performance Director Neil Newbon (Resident Evil Village, Baldur’s Gate 3), who plays Kathy’s father, Isaac, and helped bring the motion-captured cutscenes to life in collaboration with KeokeN Interactive. “It has violent undertones without being overtly violent. I think it makes it a thoughtful and well observed piece whilst still being thrilling and captivating as a piece of storytelling. The danger and threat of violence is ever present but not glorified – and that underlying current adds to the tense experience of Kathy’s journey.”

Newbon was such a huge fan of Deliver Us The Moon that he reached out to KeokeN Interactive after completing the game. “I emailed them shortly after its release to ask to work with them about 4 years ago,” he says. Now, he’s one of the sequel’s stars, bringing a great deal of inner conflict to the role of Isaac Johanson, who players will learn about in holographic diaries once they arrive on Mars. Isaac’s regret over leaving Kathy behind years before is a key piece of the overall narrative. “I charted his life and the events that brought him to this terrible decision. It was not an easy moment but as an actor I loved working on these scenes.”

Deliver Us Mars is a game that asks players to make their own minds up about the story, and what’s worth sacrificing for the greater good. While the Outward group initially seem like the villains of the piece, Kathy’s journey across their colonies on Mars exposes a faction that was fraught with infighting and conflict about what they’ve done. Players will experience this parallel story while recovering the ARKs, and retrace Outward’s steps as they endured the harsh realities of attempting to colonize Mars (which, even with the power of the ARKs, was far from easy).

Deliver Us Mars screenshot

“I think Kathy, like most of the characters in Deliver Us Mars, doesn’t fall into either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ archetypes,” says Chappell. “No one is a hero or a villain in this game; each character is a complex representation of what it means to be a human, flaws and all. Kathy is an anti-hero; despite being brave, determined and highly intelligent. She can also be deceptive, short-sighted and reckless. She’s a character who has to make difficult choices which will throw what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ into question for the player.”

Players will build a strong connection with Kathy as she endures immense odds to achieve her mission. KeokeN Interactive’s goal is to create a protagonist who feels like a real person, reflecting their grounded approach to sci-fi storytelling that is consistent with the style of the first game.  

Today, they can take that journey to Mars themselves, experiencing gorgeous environments, a huge variety of gameplay types and a finale that’ll stay with them for years to come.

Newbon explains how he hopes players will feel about Deliver Us Mars once they’ve finished the game. “Transported. Moved and wanting to immediately call their closest human beings and tell them that they love them.”

Deliver Us Mars screenshot Deliver Us Mars Xbox Live Deliver Us Mars

Frontier Foundry

☆☆☆☆☆ 11 ★★★★★ $29.99 Get it now Sequel to the award-winning Deliver Us The Moon, Deliver Us Mars is an atmospheric sci-fi adventure offering an immersive astronaut experience. Explore new frontiers on a suspense-fuelled, high-stakes mission to recover the ARK colony ships stolen by the mysterious Outward. A BOLD NEW MISSION Ten years after the Fortuna mission, humanity is closer than ever to extinction. After a mysterious distress call from Mars, Earth’s youngest astronaut Kathy Johanson joins the Zephyr and its crew on one last mission: to recover the ARK colony ships stolen by the mysterious Outward, and with them, ensure the survival of the human race. OUT OF THIS WORLD GAMEPLAY Board the Zephyr as you journey from Earth to the surface of Mars. Traverse and endure its harsh and unforgiving terrain as you quest to discover the secrets left behind by Outward. Use both brains and brawn to overcome mental and physical challenges, find the ARKs, and uncover the motivations of those behind the distress call that brought you here. A HANDCRAFTED EXPERIENCE Experience a highly polished and absorbing narrative experience packed with engaging gameplay. Every moment is handcrafted, delivering a suspense-filled, emotion-fuelled narrative alongside music from award-winning composer Sander Van Zanten, state-of-the-art motion capture, and stunning graphics, powered by Unreal Engine. Deliver Us Mars © 2023 KeokeN Interactive B.V. All rights reserved. Published by Frontier Developments plc. ‘Frontier’ ‘Frontier Foundry’ and the Frontier logo are trademarks of Frontier Developments plc. All rights reserved. Deliver Us Mars uses the Unreal® Engine. Unreal® Engine © 1998-2023, Epic Games, Inc. All rights reserved. Unreal and its logo are Epic’s trademarks or registered trademarks in the US and elsewhere. Related:
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer
Celebrate All Things Anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass this February
- Christina McGrath, Head of Community and Communications, Rare
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
SummarySea of Thieves Season Eight Community Day will take place from February 11–12 (10am UTC).All players can help raise the Community Emissary Grade, unlocking in-game boosts to gold, reputation and Seasonal Renown.Additional incentives include sales, Twitch Drops, community shout-outs and a celebratory stream from Rare’s on-site Tavern.

Season Eight Community Day is on the horizon! Set sail on Saturday, February 11 to celebrate the phenomenal Sea of Thieves community and share in a fine offering of treasures. There’ll be the traditional boosted rewards, free goodies and Twitch Drops, plus a whole range of discounts to enjoy, and as always we’re hoping to enjoy some amazing creativity and celebratory undertakings from our incredible players.

To kick things off, the Community Emissary Grade is back! To raise this cumulative Grade and unlock in-game boosts, all players need to do is tweet using #SeaOfThievesCommunityDay during the event and watch as the rewards start increasing. At Grade Five, everyone earns two-and-a-half times the regular amount of gold and reputation – and, this time, Seasonal Renown too – for handing in loot! There’s also a fixed boost to Faction Allegiance throughout the day, should you want to test your ship combat skills in the Battle for the Sea of Thieves…

Even just logging in will provide its own rewards, namely the wonderfully soothing pink-and-purple Season Eight Community Day Flag and a Scorecard Emote that will let you vote on your crew’s achievements or anything else as you see fit – both items free to players who set sail on Community Day.

Living the Stream

Beyond the in-game excitement on offer, fans have the option of watching any participating Sea of Thieves streamer during the day to earn Twitch Drops, unlocking the Celestial Steed Sails and Ebon Flintlock after an hour each. Anyone can offer Drops this time, just make sure you have Drops enabled in your Twitch account settings and Sea of Thieves selected as the game you’re streaming on the day! Or if you’re just viewing, make sure that your Sea of Thieves and Twitch accounts are linked before settling in to watch your favourite piratical content creators.

Beyond the in-game excitement on offer, stream viewers won’t be left out. Tuning in to any participating Sea of Thieves streamer for a couple of hours during the day will unlock the Celestial Steed Sails and Ebon Flintlock through Twitch Drops. Just make sure that your Sea of Thieves and Twitch accounts are linked up and settle in to watch your favourite piratical content creators.

If you’re not sure who to watch, you can always join us in the Tavern! Some familiar faces from the Rare crew will be streaming from 10am UTC, tackling Community Day challenges and generally enjoying the chaos. Not only will it count towards unlocking those Twitch Drops, you might catch a few special stream surprises…

Sea of Thieves Community Day screenshot Looking the Part

While we have your attention, Community Day seems like the perfect time to launch this Season’s Style of Thieves competition! We’ll be unveiling the theme list and submission dates on February 11, and not only is it an excuse to get dressed up, the sharpest styles will be in the running to win the fabulous Fashionista’s Finery Gloves.

To help you achieve that perfect look, the Pirate Emporium shopkeepers will be hosting a Delightful Discount Sale with a romantic slant from February 11–15. Fan favourites such as the Reaper’s Heart Pets and weapons are included, as well a range of suitably smitten emotes.

If you’re more interested in expanding your real-life wardrobe, Sea of Thieves ranges on the Rare merchandise store will offer a 30% discount with the COMMUNITYDAY code at checkout. This lasts for one day only – as does the commemorative Season Eight Community Day T-shirt and flag also available to buy during the event, so be quick!

There’s a lot on the schedule for Season Eight Community Day and we’re eager to see what you, the players, have lined up to dazzle us with in return, so mark your diaries for February 11 and we’ll see you on the seas…

Find Out More

For more information on Sea of Thieves, including full release notes on recent updates, visit the Sea of Thieves website. Updates are available for free to all Sea of Thieves players who have bought the game on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10/11 PC or via Steam, or players who have access to it with Xbox Game Pass. Simply download and install the latest Sea of Thieves update to get access.

New to Sea of Thieves? Find out about the latest free content updates on our What’s New page, get familiar with Who’s Who or pick up some gameplay tips from our Pirate Academy, which provides invaluable information on topics ranging from sailing to swordplay as you prepare for your maiden voyage. Learn more about Sea of Thieves here, or join the ongoing adventure at www.seaofthieves.com where you can embark on an epic journey with one of gaming’s most welcoming communities!

Sea of Thieves Xbox Live Xbox Play Anywhere Sea of Thieves

Microsoft Studios

☆☆☆☆☆ 950 ★★★★★ $39.99 $31.99 Get it now Xbox One X Enhanced PC Game Pass Xbox Game Pass Xbox Live Gold membership required to play on Xbox One; sold separately. ========= About the game Sea of Thieves offers the essential pirate experience, from sailing and fighting to exploring and looting – everything you need to live the pirate life and become a legend in your own right. With no set roles, you have complete freedom to approach the world, and other players, however you choose. Whether you’re voyaging as a group or sailing solo, you’re bound to encounter other crews in this shared world adventure – but will they be friends or foes, and how will you respond? A vast open world Explore a vast open world filled with unspoiled islands, sunken ships and mysterious artefacts. Take on quests to hunt for lost treasure, seek out cursed Skeleton Captains or gather valuable cargo for the Trading Companies. Go hunting and fishing or choose from hundreds of optional goals and side-quests. Unforgettable stories Play through the Tall Tales to experience Sea of Thieves’ unique take on a story-driven campaign. With 11 tales to play through across two epic storylines, these immersive and cinematic quests provide around 30 hours of the ultimate pirate fantasy. Become Legend On your journey to become a Pirate Legend you’ll amass loot, build a reputation and define a unique personal style with your hard-earned rewards. Adventurer. Explorer. Conqueror. What will your legend be? A game that’s always growing With five major expansions and almost a year’s worth of monthly updates, Sea of Thieves is a service-based game that is continually growing and evolving. Check back each month to see what new content has been added. Related:
Free Play Days – For Honor, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, and Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer
- Lilyann Torres, Gundam Content Writer, Bandai Namco Entertainment America
Hold the Line in Gundam Evolution Season 3 – Defencer

Season 3 of Gundam Evolution, dubbed ‘Defencer’, is arriving today, February 1, where new and veteran Mobile Suit Pilots can join the fray. This season is bringing all-new add-on content to enjoy: a new Mobile Suit, regional servers, and a whole lot more!  

New Mobile Suit: Hyperion Gundam 

Hyperion Gundam hails from the ‘Mobile Suit Gundam SEED X Astray’ manga and marks the newest addition to the Gundam Evolution roster. Pilots will be able to attain this Mobile Suit through the store or via the Hyperion Gundam Item Pack. It’s perfect for Gundam SEED fans! 

Hyperion Gundam excels in holding the frontlines as well as being able to break through enemy forces. Let’s go over what makes this unit so special! 

Hyperion’s primary attack is a Beam Submachine Gun for both close and mid-range combat.   Using the secondary attack causes Hyperion Gundam to hold up a shield to prevent damage and hold the line.   “Forfanterie” will fire a beam that will penetrate enemy units, making it perfect for stopping an advance or making defense more difficult.   “Armure Lumiere” deploys a barrier for quick defense in an area, perfect for holding the line or advancing without fear.  Hyperion Gundam’s G Maneuver “Armure Lumiere Lancer” will cause this unit to charge forward while dealing damage and causing a stun on affected enemies! 

Unlock Hyperion Gundam by purchasing Evo Coins or completing challenges to earn Capital in-game. 

Gundam Evolution screenshot All Systems Are Ready To Go! 

Gundam Evolution is an immersive, fast-paced 6v6 team shooter where you’re able to pilot iconic Mobile Suits from the smash hit ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ anime series. Jump into combat as Hyperion Gundam, Unicorn Gundam, and more from this expanding roster.  

Gundam Evolution also has three different game modes that allow you to show off your teamwork and tactical skills: Point Capture, Domination, and Destruction. Coordinate with your team and align your G-Maneuvers to come out on top! 

Can’t wait to start piloting your own Mobile Suit? Play Gundam Evolution now and experience these exciting Mobile Suit battles first-hand.  We’ll see you in the Hangar, Pilots!  

GUNDAM EVOLUTION Xbox Live GUNDAM EVOLUTION

Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.

☆☆☆☆☆ 288 ★★★★★ Get it now GUNDAM EVOLUTION is an online FPS title in which players take control of mobile suits from the hit Gundam anime and fight other online players in six-versus-six battles. Features fast-paced action and immersive controls. Switch between mobile suits with their own unique characteristics and cooperate with teammates to win matches. Related:
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
Join the Party in Sea of Thieves’ Next Community Day on February 11!
Celebrate All Things Anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass this February
- Portia Botchway, Xbox Researcher
Xbox Celebrates Black History Month
SummaryXbox will be celebrating Black History Month throughout February.To help introduce our various initiatives, Xbox Researcher Portia Botchway shares her insights as a Black woman in the games industry.We also explain how you can give, discover, play and watch with Xbox to support Black History Month.

As a Black woman working in the gaming industry, finding community has been instrumental to the success I’ve found in my career. For the past three years, I have served in the role of Xbox Researcher. At its core, my job is to understand and communicate the user experience throughout the development of a game to various developer stakeholders.

I recognize that some elements of my experience as a Black woman in gaming and in tech more broadly have been atypical, for example my first manager in tech was also a Black woman. Being managed by her was a wonderful and empowering experience to kick off my gaming career. From day one, my leadership chain has emphasized what is possible in this field and that I, and people who look like me, belong here. I’ve been able to work for and alongside diverse leaders across the Gaming organization. I’ve also connected with people who have similar experiences to my own in an employee community group for Black people at Xbox. Finding community has given me access to resources, mentorship and even friendships that are the foundation of what has made this journey great so far and supported my learning and growth.

My journey into gaming feels like I have the opportunity to build on the work of those who came before me, who experienced adversity, and pushed hard to carve out spaces where today, I can feel more confident in my career. Even though I found my niche playing JRPG, action-adventure, and strategy games while playing games with my brothers, I still sometimes feel like I don’t belong as a “gamer.” Being a gamer is only one part of my identity; I am also an avid reader and a lifelong athlete. Sometimes it seems like a “real” gamer must make gaming their main hobby and play all the newest titles. It’s not like that for me; I love gaming when a title comes out that interests me, but I also take breaks and enjoy filling my life with many other activities that fulfill me, too. One thing I appreciate is how I don’t feel like an outsider with Xbox.

To those just beginning their career, remember you don’t need to have coding experience to work in the gaming industry. My day-to-day responsibilities include reading the research others have published, reading design documentation and briefs about games, playing games to understand the user experience, and engaging in conversations with the gaming community. My job includes a lot of meetings, writing, planning, presentations, and playing games. You also don’t have to have a degree in game design; my educational background is in biological sciences, ancient Roman and world history and cultures, languages, and the science of learning. I started my professional career in teaching. Serving as a teacher has a lot of skill overlap to my current role, including developing a mindset that is always looking to learn.

Additionally, I’d advise you to seek out organizations that include diverse leaders and perspectives. Also look to align yourself with growth-oriented people who value learning. They will likely be more open and willing to help you on your journey.

I am grateful that finding and learning from a supportive professional community has helped me to find my voice in gaming. In hopes to increase representation and help others find their voice, too, here are a few ways that Team Xbox will be supporting and celebrating Black communities this year:

GIVE

Gerald A. Lawson Fund Names Recipients

The USCGames maroon and black text logo on a white background.

Xbox is honored to work with the University of Southern California on the Gerald A. Lawson Fund for Black and Indigenous Students, which advances our industry by bringing more voices and talent into gaming.

Today, USC Games announced the first Gerald A. Lawson Fund scholarship recipients, who will be known as “Lawson Scholars.” Jerry Lawson was a Black electronic engineer who pioneered work in the video game industry including the removable video game cartridge, the 8-way joystick, and the pause button. The Gerald A. Lawson Fund was supported in part by donation from Xbox.

“At Microsoft, we are committed to fostering a more inclusive industry,” said Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Game Studios. We are grateful for USC Games’ efforts to do just that with the Gerald A. Lawson Fund. We believe that providing access to higher education and resources for these students will not only contribute to their personal career endeavors but will also spark growth and advancement within our industry.” You can read more about the program here.

Microsoft Rewards

Microsoft Rewards members in the United States can earn and donate points to organizations supporting Black communities with Xbox. The below organizations will be featured on console:

Cxmmunity – A nonprofit organization committed to increasing BIPOC representation within the gaming and esports industry through STEAM education and career development. Black Girls Rock! – A global women’s movement and philanthropic organization dedicated to celebrating and empowering women and girls of color, by producing inspiring media content and providing enrichment programs for girls that foster positive identity development, critical thinking, leadership, literacy, tech, and innovation. Gameheads – A tech training program that uses video game design, development and DevOps to create diverse talent and bold new voices, train youth of color for the tech eco-system and prepare them for college, career and civic life.

Xbox gamers can earn Rewards points in various ways, such as playing games and completing Game Pass Quests, completing offers in the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox, and select purchases at the Microsoft Store (exclusions apply). Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join us today and donate through Xbox. 

DISCOVER

Artist Clif Wilson Shares Xbox Logo Design Inspiration for Black History Month

Profile image of artist Clif Wilson wearing a sweater with a tree visible in the background.

In celebration of Black History Month, Xbox commissioned artist Clif Wilson to design the artwork for this year’s campaign. Clif is a 25-year-old Black, self-taught digital designer, born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He grew up surrounded by an array of cultures and media, which opened his eyes to the uniqueness and vastness of the Black community.  In recent years, his fascination with Afrofuturism has inspired his design work, whether that be graphics, fashion, or any other creative medium. Today his work is housed in his company, Ajaar, which acts as a means for him to creatively interact with the world around him.

In designing the Xbox logo for Black History Month, Clif shared:

“When approaching the imagery for this campaign, I was inspired by the idea of unity and exploration in the Black community. The sunset in the design represents the shared perspective in struggle as well as hope, with each sunset and sunrise being symbolic of another chance to grow and change. The theme of exploration is expressed through the imagery of the starry sky and computer board pattern in the artwork, painting the picture of a world that is full of endless possibilities and spaces to discover. Through gaming, we are able to virtually immerse ourselves into many new spaces where we can engage with different stories and the different individuals that make up the Black gaming community.”

Check out Clif’s work at Ajaar Design Services and on Instagram.

Project Amplify

An Xbox controller with two closed hands over it with varying skin tones and the words “Project Amplify” on a background featuring the profile images of 14 people.

In an effort to promote pipelines for Black people and youth across the gaming industry, in September of last year Xbox launched Project Amplify, a video series aimed at supporting Black youth who are interested in pursuing careers in the gaming industry. Project Amplify features video interviews of fourteen Black employees from across Xbox studios as they share their advice, insights into their current roles, and highlights from their time within the gaming industry. Interviewees include people in roles such as production, engineering, character art, licensing, game design, program management, and more. Watch the Project Amplify video series here, and check out personal journeys in the gaming industry. Read more about the Project Amplify launch and find additional resources for game designers here.

Xbox Ambassadors Features Missions for Black History Month

The Xbox Ambassadors logo featuring a white controller surrounded by white laurel leaves on a soft rainbow gradient background.

The Xbox Ambassadors community is celebrating Black History Month with a series of XA Missions that highlight games made by Black creators and feature Black leads. Ambassadors can unlock XP by playing, sharing, and discussing games like The Gunk and Watch Dogs 2. Join the discussion and begin unlocking exclusive rewards by becoming an Xbox Ambassador today!

The Microsoft Game Dev Blog Celebrates Black History Month

A compilation image including seven people across the top and bottom rows with a middle row consisting of swirling clouds with a computer board pattern and red, yellow, and green stars.

Everyone has a different path on their journey into the games industry, whether it’s through school, retail, or the military. On the Microsoft Game Dev blog, we’ll be celebrating the contributions of some of our Black and African American employees and partners who create, publish, and, above all, love games with a special entry in our Pathfinding series. Pathfinding features career advice, industry tips, and personal stories of the journey into gaming. It often takes years of persistence to build on the passion that led them toward gaming in the first place and we’re excited to give a diverse set of people a platform to share the lessons they learned along the way with anyone considering a career in the game industry.

New Gamerpics, Profile Theme, Wallpaper, and Avatar Items in Celebration of the Black Community

Four diverse avatar characters wearing the Xbox sunset nexus on their tops in celebration of Black History Month.

In partnership with Black communities at Xbox, we’re introducing a new gamerpic, profile themes, wallpaper and avatar items! The gamerpic and profile theme will be available on console and the Xbox PC app. Get your avatar items and wallpapers here. Content is subject to availability by country.

PLAY

Explore Games Curated by Black Communities at Microsoft

The Xbox logo stylized in celebration of Black History month featuring a nexus with a red and orange sunset overlayed with the box art for the games Deathloop, League of Legends, Humankind, and Dishonored: Death of an Outsider.

Here at Xbox, we are committed to providing inclusive and engaging gaming experiences so that everyone can enjoy all the positive feelings and connections that games provide us. We want all players to be able to find stories they connect with and characters they relate to.

For Black History Month, we are highlighting Black creators, lead characters, and character creation options that include a variety of skin tones and inclusive hairstyles. This collection is available on Xbox, Windows, and Mobile and will exist year-round as part of our ongoing work to create more inclusive gaming ecosystems and elevate content that resonates with communities.

A few highlights from the full Game Pass collection on Xbox and the full Game Pass collection on Windows include:

Deathloop (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Co-created by Black developer Dinga Bakaba (now the Studio Director for Arkane Lyon), Deathloop has won numerous awards for its unique spin on first-person action adventure and the charisma of its two Black leads. The story follows two rival assassins, Colt and Julianna, playing a deadly game of cat & mouse over the fate of a retro futuristic world locked in a time loop.

League of Legends (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – The massive roster of champions in League of Legends includes characters from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, including Black champions like Ekko, K’Sante, Lucian and Senna. Each champion has a deeply engaging storyline and a unique arsenal of spells and abilities, so jump into the game and experience the dynamic stories of these characters now.

HUMANKIND (Available with Xbox Game Pass) – HUMANKIND is a turn-based strategy game in which you can create your own dynamic civilization by combining over 60 historical cultures from across the world. Explore African history and create your very own story with vibrant cultures such as the Nubians, the Bantu, the Ghanaians, the Zulu, the Nigerians, and more.

Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (Available with Xbox Game Pass and Rated M) – Play as Billie Lurk, the notorious supernatural assassin who plied her trade for years in Dunwall and Karnaca alongside the legendary mercenary killer, Daud. Billie is a resilient and resourceful Black woman who sheltered the empress on-the-run in Dishonored 2, now taking center stage in the third act of the Dishonored franchise.

This collection is available on the Microsoft Store on Xbox and the Microsoft Store on Windows in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States. Visitors can find this collection at any time by searching within the Stores for “Black History” and related terms.

TUNE IN

Xbox Plays Celebrates Black History Month with Streamer Takeovers

Xbox Plays celebrates Black History Month with streamer takeovers every Monday in February at twitch.tv/Xbox

Every Monday during the month of February, the Xbox Plays team will be inviting some of our favorite streamers to join us on the Xbox Twitch Channel and handing over the keys to the channel for streamer takeovers in celebration of Black History Month! Tune in and catch all the action on Twitch.tv/Xbox!

February 6th

Kendrisite playing Minecraft (11am PT) SpringSims playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (3pm PT)

February 13th

DataDave playing Deathloop (11am PT) Teonawrites playing Coral Island (3pm PT)

February 20th

Xayd playing Disney Dreamlight Valley (11am PT) Prince & Pop playing Halo Infinite (3pm PT)

February 27th

Jade Valkyrie playing League of Legends (11am PT) 901thagamer playing Forza Horizon 5 (3pm PT) Related:
The Unlock is Here: Riot Games and Benefits Come to Game Pass
Riot Games and Xbox Game Pass Benefits Coming Soon
Exclusive Interview with Deathloop Game Director Dinga Bakaba
- Andy Leubner, Third Party Games Marketing, Xbox
Celebrate All Things Anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass this February
February is the annual celebration of all things anime on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass from now until the end of the month.

Anime Month has returned! Throughout February, fans can enjoy discounts across anime products in games, TV, movies from the Microsoft Store and much more. There are also special discounts for Game Pass members, and you can earn 2,500 Microsoft Rewards points when you spend $50 on anime games, movies, and series in the collection. 

Save up to 85% on Select Anime-Inspired Games 

Whether you are looking for a great story or sharpening your combo attacks, the Anime-inspired Game Sale has something for you. Swing into a thrilling adventure in Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, or tap into your inner fighter in Devil May Cry 5, Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and many more. The current collection will be available through February 13, with a second collection of games and offers running from February 14 through the end of the month. Sale ends February 28, 2023. 

Up to 80% off anime on Microsoft Movies and TV 

Find your new favorite anime movies or TV series, or catch up on the ones you already love in our massive Microsoft Movies & TV Anime sale. Our collections feature favorites such as ‘Bleach’, ‘My Hero Academia’, ‘Attack on Titan’, and more. Game Pass members also get special discounts throughout the sale! Finally, get 2,500 Microsoft Rewards points when you spend $50 on anime games, movies, and series in the collection.

Anime for Xbox Game Pass Members 

Immerse yourself in anime-inspired worlds and stories. Game Pass is celebrating Anime Month with an epic collection of games to discover, ranging from Ni No Kuni Wrath Of The White Witch Remastered to Persona 5 Royal. This collection will be available to members on Console, PC, and Mobile. Members can also earn Microsoft Rewards points with anime-themed Game Pass Quests, including Opus: Echo of Starsong (February 7) and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (February 21). Lastly, be sure to claim your Game Pass Perk for Gundam Evolution by February 6 and for Phantasy Star Online 2 by February 28.  

More Anime Treats

During Anime Month, the Xbox Plays team will be celebrating by playing various games included in the collection as a way for you to see these games in action! Join them on the Twitch.tv/Xbox channel and watch alongside others in addition for a chance to win Game Pass codes, free games, and much more. 

Or return to the seas with the newest iteration of the Azur Lane collaboration, when it arrives in World of Warships: Legends on February 6!  The Azur Lane Wave IV content will be available until the new update drops on March 6. Make sure to check out our dedicated article to find out all the details. 

From tomorrow until the end of the month, you may also see great anime games to play as part of each weekend’s Free Play Days for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. Every Thursday, a new line-up will be announced here, or you can find it on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S on the Subscriptions tab in the Xbox Store and enter the Gold member area to locate the Free Play Days collection. 

How to earn Microsoft Points during Anime Month Sale by region:  

MM+TV and Games: 

US: Spend $50 and get 2,500 points  CA: Spend $70 and get 2,500 points GB: Spend £45 and get 2,500 points   DE: Spend €50 and get 2,500 points 

Games Only:  

AU: Spend $80 and get 2,500 points  Related:
Take The Journey Of A Lifetime In Deliver Us Mars, Out Today On Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
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The Most Anticipated Games of 2023 (According to the Xbox Wire Team)

2023 promises to be a big year for Xbox and Windows PC games, with major new titles from Xbox Game Studios and our partners set to jostle for space on your hard drives and cloud devices. From ultra-anticipated RPGs like Starfield, to long-awaited blockbusters such as Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, to indie hits-in-waiting, there’s something for everyone coming this year — and a huge portion of this list will be available from day one as part of your Xbox Game Pass or PC Game Pass membership. 

With that in mind, the Xbox Wire team has come together to offer up our personal picks (in no particular order) for the year ahead. Below is just a snapshot of the big picture for 2023 — it’s clear it’s going to be a good year. 

Starfield 2023 Xbox Series X│S, PC (Game Pass) 

I’m far from alone in my anticipation for Starfield, and for good reason. Bethesda’s upcoming RPG introduces an entirely new frontier to explore — space. As a member of space exploring outfit Constellation, you’re tasked with adventuring across the Settled Systems in your own custom ship, seeking rare artifacts throughout the galaxy. Starfield is set to include over 1,000 planets to discover, and if my Skyrim playtime is anything to go by, you know I’m going to poke every single one. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor  

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Resident Evil 4 March 24, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

I own no fewer than five versions of Resident Evil 4 across my personal game collection, yet I’ve never actually finished the game. It’s one of my biggest “black marks” as a gamer, and one that I’m excited to finally rectify this year with its upcoming remake – it’s a big reason why I have this down as one of my Most Anticipated Games of 2023. Following on the heels of two great remakes (Resident Evil 2 (2019) and Resident Evil 3 (2020), RE4 remake has a high bar to hit. But from everything I’ve seen so far, this is shaping up to be a modern classic that I’m excited to add to my ever-growing game collection. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Minecraft Legends screenshot Minecraft Legends – April 18, 2023 – Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC (Windows and Steam), Cloud, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4|5

Minecraft has always been about allowing for creativity from its players — Minecraft Legends shows a similar level of unbridled creativity from its developers. This action-strategy game is being built to appeal simultaneously to both Minecraft fans and brand-new players — and does so through the ingenious take of familiar Minecraft ideas in new forms. Harnessing a procedurally-generated world, familiar items, focus on resources, and the frequently terrifying mobs that fans know and turning them into something wholly new (and wholly approachable for those who haven’t played the original) is a fascinating moment for this series — and one I cannot wait experience myself. – Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief  

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – April 28, 2023 Xbox Series X│S, PC 

I was unfairly cynical about Cal Kestis’ debut at first – of all those cool alien races available, you’ve given us a human? However, Fallen Order quickly became one of my all-time favourite Star Wars adventures – in game or film. The first game (which is available as part of an EA Play or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership if you need to catch up) set us up against the rising threat of the Empire and took us to some incredible worlds, and I’m confident that Jedi: Survivor will expand on those gorgeous destinations and deliver an epic new story – one that Cal deserves to be the epicentre of. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor 

Redfall screenshot Redfall – May 2, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, PC (Game Pass) 

Arkane is that rare thing, a studio that commands attention for its name as much as for its game concepts. If I see ‘Arkane Austin’ pop up before a trailer plays, I already want to play that game, and Redfall does not mark an exception. The studio’s rich history with immersive sims has led to some of the most fascinating worlds, mechanical tricks and level designs of recent years – Redfall’s setting across the length and breadth of a whole fictional town and its wildly unusual character classes (with the promise of more to come after launch) only point to more classic moments yet to come. But it’s the differences that really hold my attention, this close to release. A focus on co-op play (only increasing the opportunities for that now-expected Arkane mechanical magic), a strengthened interest in gunplay, and its open world setting have me snarling to end a vampire incursion with my friends. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Dead Space – Out Now Xbox Series X|S 

Yes, this just came out – but I haven’t had a chance to play it just yet, so I’m technically still anticipating it. I’m normally not a fan of the horror genre, but I love science fiction, which is a bit ironic since space is in and of itself a terrifying place. The original version of Dead Space wonderfully captures that fear and couples it with an unassuming but likable protagonist struggling to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of his beloved partner and the crew of the USG Ishimura. Whether it’s my unfulfilled dreams of being an astronaut or the thought of facing unimaginable odds for the ones I love, Dead Space isn’t just one of my favorite games of all time, it’s arguably one of the greatest sci-fi horror games in the universe. It’s no surprise, then, that I’m ready to revisit this modern classic rebuilt from the ground up for next-gen hardware when it launches later this month – and the additions Motive Studios has made to weapons, loot, and exploration, I might even feel more ready to tackle the horrors of deep space head-on. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Forza Motorsport screenshot Forza Motorsport – 2023 Xbox Series X|S, PC (Game Pass) 

I love video games as much as I love cars. Or maybe it’s cars as much as video games. Whichever, I’m a huge fan of Forza and tend to favor the simulation of Forza Motorsport over the open-world freedom of Forza Horizon, so I’m particularly excited for the upcoming next instalment of the classic racing series. Previous versions have treated us to photorealistic looking cars, beautifully rendered tracks, and breath-taking effects, yet the developers at Turn 10 Studios are already calling the next Forza Motorsport the most technically advanced and authentic racing game they’ve ever made. I have no idea how they can make the game any better but can’t wait to find out. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Like a Dragon: Ishin! February 21, 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

Since dropping onto Xbox Game Pass and into my life in 2020, the Yakuza series (now re-titled Like a Dragon for all future installments) has taken me on a sweeping tour of Japan, from snowy Sapporo to tropical Okinawa. Like a Dragon: Ishin!, RGG Studio’s remake of a 2014 only-in-Japan spinoff, isn’t merely content to shift locations; it transports players back in time to 1860s Kyoto, where things couldn’t be more different. Or are they? While Ishin’s story follows real life samurai Sakamoto Ryoma, your adventure is populated by familiar faces and voices from across the Yakuza universe. Ryoma may not realize he’s a dead ringer for Kazuma Kiryu, but recurring feelings of déjà vu ensure players will feel at home, even if they’ve never been further from it. And fear not, even if you don’t have experience with this game, or even the series as a whole, Like a Dragon: Ishin! has been designed to be self-contained – even if you don’t get the references, you’re still getting a brand-new samurai tale to play through. Check out our first preview here on Xbox Wire to learn more about the upcoming Like a Dragon: Ishin! – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast 

Age of Empires 4 art Age of Empires IV Coming to Xbox Consoles – 2023   Xbox Series X│S (Game Pass) 

At the end of the workday, I rarely want to sit at my PC for more hours, no matter how good a game is. Me and my back pain don’t have to worry about that, now that Age of Empires IV is heading to consoles this year! Age of Empires IV feels like a truly modernised, slick rediscovery of the classic RTS, whether you’re storming through the single campaign or jousting with friends online. Following in the footsteps of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, which has seamlessly made its transition to Xbox consoles, I can’t wait to conquer from the comfort of my couch, and with the support of Xbox Play Anywhere, I can switch back over to the PC (or even my mobile through Xbox Cloud Gaming) if things get too serious… which they often do. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

Street Fighter 6June 2, 2023 Xbox Series X|S 

It’s been a minute since a new, mainline Street Fighter entry debuted on Xbox, when the seminal Street Fighter IV launched back in 2009. If you’ve lost track of the series, Street Fighter 6 is likely to blow you away when it arrives in June. SF6 has already confirmed its technical chops in a closed beta featuring older and wiser versions of Ryu, Chun Li, and Guile, and inspired new characters like Luke and soon-to-be fan-favorite Kimberly. The presentation is a stunning visual treat, including the veritable monster factory that is the game’s avatar creator. But it’s my anticipation of the single-player story mode World Tour that already has me prepping combos in excitement. – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast 

Wo Long art Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty – March 3, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC (Game Pass

Bloodborne and Ninja Gaiden are some of my favorite games, even though I’m not that great at playing them. Their haunting visuals and slick combat are what I fondly remember, not all the times I was brutally and repeatedly defeated. So, when I heard that the creative talent behind those games were working on Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, I was immediately intrigued and was fortunate enough to chat with Team Ninja’s Fumihiko Yasuda and Masaaki Yamagiwa to learn more. Will I be crushed into a pulp when I start playing? Likely. But this blend of dark fantasy, Chinese martial arts swordplay, and creative gaming talent has me incredibly excited to see how it all unfolds starting on March 3. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League – May 26, 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

Task Force X (aka the Suicide Squad) contains many of the most layered and iconic anti-heroes in DC Comics, and Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League lets you play as four of the most notorious of them – Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. The Squad must take on an impossible mission to save Earth and kill the world’s greatest DC Super Heroes – the Justice League. Combined with the gaming pedigree of Rocksteady, the studio behind the amazing Batman: Arkham games, and this has all the ingredients to be something truly special — even though we don’t know that much about it (yet). For now, we’re left largely to our imaginations and a few awesome trailers, which is why it’s one of my Most Anticipated Games of 2023 because… well… I want to know more about it! Hopefully all will be revealed soon and we can dive into another one of Rocksteady’s masterpieces later this year. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Diablo 4 art Diablo IV – June 6, 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

Sometimes, looking back is just as important as looking forward – a lesson Diablo IV is demonstrating months before release. Blizzard’s latest action-RPG returns to some of the series’ most fundamental ideas – a laser focus on full-bore, high-gore action-RPG combat, perilously deep customization, and a grimdark fantasy tale. But in embracing those old ideas, what I particularly love about Diablo 4 so far (not least when I played hours of the game ahead of launch), is in how it’s allowing itself to try new, complementary ideas. A truly open world allows for more loot, more combat, and more fulfilling co-op. A more cinematic approach to storytelling lets that pitch-black story at its core sing. A sharpened, high-gloss look allows for better legibility of spells, even in the thick of battle. Diablo IV is simultaneously old and new, and I’m delighted by both of those aspects. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Dead Island 2 – April 28, 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

When I think about all the zombie games I’ve played over the years, the ones that stand out have a few elements in common: great characters, exciting locations, and entertaining gameplay. The original Dead Island followed this formula over a decade ago, and the long-awaited sequel is demonstrating it will too. Dead Island 2 has a cast of unlikely heroes and takes place in a zombie-infested Los Angeles, (dubbed HELL-A). Add in some dark humor and over the top zombie-slaying, who could ask for more? Looks like I’m moving to Beverly Hills. Swimming Pools. Movie stars. Survival against all odds. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Hollow Knight Silksong screenshot Hollow Knight: Silksong – 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, PC (Game Pass) 

To me, a sequel to Hollow Knight almost feels like an unnecessary pleasure – in 2017, developer Team Cherry managed to come out of the gates with a debut that felt unnaturally complete, from its art, to its moment-to-moment interactions, to its cloaked depths of story. And yet, Silksong already feels vital. By switching focus to bit-part character Hornet, we’re promised an entire new skillset and perspective, but built on the near-peerless foundations of the first game. My excitement is that we’re getting is less of a sequel and more of a companion piece. I cannot wait to find out what that feels like. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. 

Lies of P – 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC (Game Pass) 

If I told you that Lies of P, a Souls-like action RPG starring fairy tale Pinocchio wasn’t the biggest surprise of Gamescom 2022, my nose might start growing. It’s not just the shock factor; Just typing “Pinocchio” and “Soulslike” in the same sentence is enough to furrow the brow of anyone hearing about Lies of P for the first time, it’s how well Korean developer Neowiz is turning this concept into an awesome looking game. As you might expect, choosing whether or not Pinocchio tells the truth will have an impact in the story. However, the Pinocchio I’m familiar with wasn’t equipped with a ‘Legion Arm’, allowing players to journey through Lies of P in the way of their choosing as they seek out Geppetto. Definitely an improvement. – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast  

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

Assassin's Creed Mirage art Assassin’s Creed Mirage – 2023 Xbox Series X│S, PC 

I’ve been on an Assassin’s Creed cooldown for about five years now, and I’m just about ready for my next historical roof-hopping adventure. Mirage promises to take us back to basics, with a more focused scope and more straightforward story beat. It’s also set in ancient Baghdad, a culture and world I’m looking forward to exploring, and a lovely throwback to the environments I grew to love in the very first game in the series. I’m super excited about this reprisal of a more manageable Assassin’s Creed game, and am looking forward to a gorgeous new world that feels like an old favourite. – Danielle Partis, Xbox Wire Editor 

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

The original Space Marine, for me, was a gateway into the massive Warhammer universe. At the time, it had been a while since something supplied such an amazing premise to such a rich and detailed world. It also helped that the game kicked ass, coupled with some truly amazing voice acting performances. Since then, I’ve explored a myriad of other Warhammer games, from Vermintide to Dawn of War to Total War: Warhammer. So, when the reveal trailer for Space Marine 2 dropped at the Game Awards 2021, my jaw hit the floor. It has been over a decade since the original game and from everything we’ve seen so far, it’s shaping up to be well worth the wait. I’m ready to heed the call of battle once again! – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Replaced art Replaced – 2023 Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One (Game Pass) 

Full transparency, Replaced wasn’t a game on my radar until fairly recently. But after watching the trailers and doing a little reading, it’s definitely a title I’m now hugely looking forward to playing this year, especially since it’s launching into Game Pass as an Xbox console exclusive. This action-platformer has a Shadow Complex and Deadlight vibe (both games I thoroughly enjoyed) but is set in an alternative 1980s dystopian world. The art style is beautifully crafted with a blend of pixel art and realistic looking backdrops, and the atmosphere conveys the dark and foreboding setting you’d expect from a world on the verge of collapse. Plus, there’s a dog, and it looks like you may be able to pet it. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl – 2023 Xbox Series X|S (Game Pass) 

It’s difficult to look forward to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 without recognizing the challenges its Ukrainian developers have endured the past year, but they have continued working on the game, and fans like me are excited to get our hands on it, and to celebrate something made against such a backdrop. In purely gaming terms, the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is a fascinating location to set your game, and with a gritty tale, immersive sim elements, and beautiful technical execution, you have me hooked. – Rich Dickinson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Available day one with Xbox Game Pass. 

Company of Heroes art Company of Heroes 3: Console Edition – 2023 – Xbox Series X|S 

If you were looking for a series to thank for keeping the RTS genre alive, Company of Heroes 1 & 2 would be near the top of that list in my opinion, right up there with StarCraft II. These games have done a tremendous job of mixing a compelling and dramatic World War II narrative with stellar real-time strategy gameplay. Plus, the amazing destruction engine brought it all together to make these battles feel truly lived in. Now with this series returning for the first time in 10 years, on both PC and console, I’m incredibly excited to see how Company of Heroes 3 translates to the power of Xbox Series X|S. Be sure to check out this recent preview on Xbox Wire to get a sense of the hard work being put into this version of the game. – Mike Nelson, Xbox Wire Editor 

Alan Wake 2 – 2023 Xbox Series X|S 

After spending a full decade atop my pile of shame, I finally took advantage of Xbox backward compatibility to enjoy the original Alan Wake in summer of 2020. I was immediately drawn into Remedy’s intentionally disorienting storytelling – something they’ve since taken even further with the truly excellent Control. Despite being nearly two generations behind technologically, Alan Wake’s light-wary enemies freaked me out enough that I exclusively played during daylight hours. For the long-awaited Alan Wake 2, Remedy says they’re crafting a survival horror game – the original AW was merely a “psychological thriller” (which you can catch up on too, with the even more accomplished Alan Wake Remastered) I can’t wait… to sleep with the lights on. – Jeff Rubenstein – Xbox Podcast 

Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon – 2023 – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One 

It took until Elden Ring for me to fully get to grips with FromSoftware’s action-RPG Souls masterworks, but I’ve been an Armored Core player since day one. This grand old mech-battling series has had its gunmetal claws in the pleasure centers of my brain since I was a child, its measured tactical action and gloriously in-depth machine tinkering combining to make for something functionally unique. That Armored Core VI is seemingly a return to that formula, rather than the futuristic Soulslike many expected, is all I could have asked for. There’s no doubt we’ll see more Souls games come along, so this is a more-than welcome diversion. I’ll be knee-deep in leg units and shoulder-mounted missile launchers come launch day. Joe Skrebels, Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief 

Editor’s Note: This article originally incorrectly stated that Forza Motorsport would be released for Xbox One. This has been corrected.

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- Olaf Leśniak, Writer, Techland
Dying Light 2 Stay Human Anniversary Update: New Content, Features, and Fixes

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is commencing its 1st Anniversary on January 31, 2023. The celebration event will commemorate the launch of the ultimate post-apocalyptic survival horror game. Our developer team has created a chock-full slate of exciting new features and content.

The 1st Anniversary will have a stacked celebration schedule, starting with in-game events, which have always played a substantial role in the post-launch support of Dying Light 2 Stay Human. Bloody Anniversary (January 31 – February 8) will allow players to experience the game with a greater chance of dismembering foes. Dropkick Weekend (February 09 – 13) is going to base an entire event around the signature Dying Light move with amped-up ragdolls and damage. Both will provide additional community objectives with extra Anniversary-themed rewards via techlandgg.com.

Dying Light 2 - Anniversary

Dying Light veterans can look forward to collecting all three skins of characters from the original game. For the first time, it will be possible to play in the shoes of Rais or Brecken and make a comeback as the legendary hero, Kyle Crane. Their likeness will come into play with their very own weapons and paraglider skins. To receive the Rais Bundle at no cost, players must earn it via the Bloody Anniversary. The Brecken Bundle requires similar participation in the Dropkick Weekend. Finally, the Crane Bundle is going to be an exclusive reward on TechlandGG for all proud owners of our two games: Dying Light and Dying Light 2 Stay Human.

The Community Update 2.0 will once again prove to place the fans of the series at the forefront by making some of their most requested features a reality. This includes multiple quality of life updates, improvements, fixes, and notable additions to the co-op mode, such as the long-awaited cross-gen! At last, it is time to grab your friends, regardless of the console generation of your choice, to save The City together.

Dying Light 2 - Anniversary

There is going to be a new and exciting end-game progression system in Dying Light 2 Stay Human called Legend Levels. Players will be able to earn Legend Points by completing quests, activities, and challenges to level up. With each level, they can receive Upgrade Points to boost skills, new weapons and more rewards. The new feature can be accessed after unlocking the whole skill tree in the base game.

We plan to make more announcements and teases for the entire year of 2023. This will include the reveal of a new roadmap, content updates, community activities, information about the 2nd story DLC and so much more. For more information on the 1st Anniversary and all things Dying Light 2 Stay Human, visit techlandgg.com or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Dying Light 2 - Anniversary

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is a first-person survival horror game. The virus won and civilization entered what many are now calling the Modern Dark Ages. As a wandering Pilgrim bound by no ethics or rules, travel to one of the remaining bastions of humanity, enter its strongholds, restore hope to its people and unwind the past that may now come back to haunt you.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human is available now for purchase on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Bloody Ties Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Bloody Ties

Techland

☆☆☆☆☆ 87 ★★★★★ $9.99 Get it now Deluxe and Ultimate Edition owners of Dying Light 2 Stay Human automatically receive Bloody Ties DLC. Separate purchase is not required. Bloody Ties is the first official story DLC for Dying Light 2 Stay Human – a thrilling first-person action survival game set in a post-apocalyptic open world. Who doesn’t want hundreds of fans chanting their name in perfect unison? Or feel like they are loved and admired while obtaining unimaginable riches at the same time? But what if to have it all, one must first pay the highest of prices? As Aiden, you are encouraged by a promise of wealth, fame, and access to the best gear to enter a tournament where people sacrifice everything just for status. Hone your skills to defeat your enemies and make allies to obtain glory. You will quickly realize that the quest for fame is just the beginning and you will find yourself involved in a plot for power and revenge. Features: NEW STORY Embark on a new adventure. Secure yourself a spot in the Pantheon of the best fighters, help your new friend Ciro in his quest to avenge his brother’s death and discover the true nature of the tournament. NEW LOCATION Enter Carnage Hall – a place filled with wealth and splendor, where every fight is a narrative spectacle and the strongest seek fortune and fame. NEW WEAPON: SHIELD GLOVE Discover a new way to play with the Shield Glove, and make creative combat even more creative. NEW GEAR Obtain new gear in the tournament where strength matters the most and weapons are a symbol of status. SPECTACLES & SHOWS Play the role of your life in Spectacles – multi-objective arena shows with unique stories narrated by Astrid herself, each resembling traditional tales and fables with a wicked twist. Test your skill in arena challenges – special trials where you’ll that fight new mutated enemies, face murderous hordes and get to perform daredevil action. Dying Light 2 Stay Human Xbox Live Dying Light 2 Stay Human

Techland

☆☆☆☆☆ 914 ★★★★★ $59.99 $29.99 Get it now Upgrade your experience with Smart Delivery. Buy the game once to both play it on Xbox One and get its optimized version for Xbox Series X | S Over twenty years ago in Harran, we fought the virus—and lost. Now, we’re losing again. The City, one of the last large human settlements, is torn by conflict. Civilization has fallen back into the Dark Ages. And yet, we still have hope. You are a wanderer with the power to change the fate of The City. But your exceptional abilities come at a price. Haunted by memories you cannot decipher, you set out to learn the truth… and find yourself in a combat zone. Hone your skills, as to defeat your enemies and make allies, you’ll need both fists and wits. Unravel the dark secrets behind the wielders of power, choose sides and decide your destiny. But wherever your actions take you, there's one thing you can never forget—stay human. VAST OPEN WORLD Participate in the life of a city engulfed in a new dark era. Discover different paths and hidden passages, as you explore its multiple levels and locations. CREATIVE & BRUTAL COMBAT Take advantage of your parkour skills to tip the scales of even the most brutal encounter. Clever thinking, traps and creative weapons will be your best friends. DAY AND NIGHT CYCLE Wait for night to venture into dark hideouts of the Infected. Sunlight keeps them at bay, but once it’s gone, monsters begin the hunt, leaving their lairs free to explore. CHOICES & CONSEQUENCES Shape the future of The City with your actions and watch how it changes. Determine the balance of power by making choices in a growing conflict and forge your own experience. 2-4 PLAYER CO-OP GAMEPLAY Play in up to four-player co-op. Host your own games or join others and see how their choices have played out differently than yours. Related:
Origins of Carnage Hall in Dying Light 2 Stay Human: Bloody Ties
Update for Capcom Fighting Collection with More Features Available Now
The First Paid DLC for Dying Light 2 Stay Human Comes with a Whole New Location, Weapon Type, and More
- Thijs Schipper, Senior Game Designer, Game-Drive
Co-op Puzzle Design for We Were Here Forever

We Were Here Forever is the newest game in our We Were Here series of co-op puzzle adventures, releasing today on Xbox. You and a partner play the role of Antarctic explorers who find themselves trapped in a sinister castle and must work together to escape! With the introduction of cross-play, we’re opening up a world of new players to team up with. Whether you’d like to play with a friend or dive into the game and connect with a stranger, it will all be possible. Communication is everything, and you’ll have to trust your partner, as streamers Copacaxi and Icharr_ demonstrate beautifully in our latest trailer!

Our Design Philosophy

What goes into making a good puzzle? We Were Here Forever is the fourth game in the We Were Here Series, so this isn’t our first rodeo. We start with some basic principles of what an ideal puzzle looks like for our game: every puzzle should be related in some way to communication and the different challenges and kinds of fun you can have with that. Describing symbols, guiding someone to navigate a maze, mimicking sounds, pronouncing silly words, and more.

Simply put: if it doesn’t get you talking, whispering, laughing or yelling then it shouldn’t be in our games.

screenshot

Puzzling on Puzzles

Inspiration for puzzles can come from many places! From a movie scene, an idea for a cool mechanic, some part of the game’s story, or even a completely abstract theme. The process of creating a puzzle is also very personal; every designer works in their own way and might use different tools. Options include building a prototype out of cardboard and boardgame components, sketching storyboards, detailed diagrams, making little movies or in-engine prototypes, and we’re sure there are many more. There have even been origami models made for certain puzzle environments!

Generally speaking, we always search for the fastest and most efficient way to ‘prove’ the core idea of a puzzle – what makes that puzzle cool and unique, and does it work? Once we have confidence in that core idea we make increasingly more detailed prototypes involving custom art, tweaks and updates to the puzzle design, placing it somewhere in the world/story, and so forth. There can be months between that first version and something that looks like the final result!

Screenshot

Challenges in Design (Spoilers Ahead!)

Getting the difficulty right for puzzles is one of the toughest parts of puzzle design. We have very different kinds of players enjoying the series, often for different reasons and with different levels of experience. Any puzzle should be just as interesting to a series veteran as to a brand new player. There’s also a very fine line between a challenging puzzle and a frustrating one, and getting that balance just right takes a lot of testing, tweaking and sometimes redesign.

Simply put: if players get stuck it should be because they’re not cooperating or communicating well, not because the puzzle isn’t clear or is too difficult.

Puzzles rarely make it all the way from initial idea to implementation without any changes. An example (with mild spoilers) is a puzzle where the players have to communicate with a creature using sounds – the players are separated while one has the ‘dictionary’ and the other has to do the actual communication. This means trying to mimic the sounds the creature uses to communicate, with one player translating them.

This puzzle started out with the idea of mimicking sounds, but almost everything else changed. There was originally a kind of beatboxing challenge where players had to match the rhythms of two different machines. Players had to use record players and even something resembling a drum computer or sequencer! It soon became obvious that this was really hard, and that more organic sounds were more fun to try to mimic, so a creature was introduced. The last ingredient that makes it all work was the translation element: you were actually talking to the creature. That ties it all together and gives it a purpose. But even when that was figured out, getting the details right  – the questions/answers, dictionary, controls, and level of challenge – took a whole bunch of attempts before we reached the fun final version of the puzzle.

screenshot

Try the Puzzles out Yourself Today!

But that’s enough about how we made the game – We Were Here Forever is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, ready for you to dive in and explore! Grab a friend and team up to solve the mysteries of Castle Rock together! We Were Here Forever is the biggest adventure yet, following three thrilling standalone games in the We Were Here Series, each one a unique puzzle adventure you can experience with a friend. We’re happy to say that even after three games, we still have plenty of great ideas for puzzles – and long-time fans of the series agree, saying We Were Here Forever is the best game yet!

Find out if you and a partner have what it takes to escape, or if you’ll be trapped in Castle Rock… Forever!

We Were Here Forever Xbox Live We Were Here Forever

Total Mayhem Games

☆☆☆☆☆ 9 ★★★★★ $17.99 Get it now You and your friend are trapped in the realm of Castle Rock with no way out – were you betrayed, or simply not that clever? Work together to escape, explore and solve puzzles in this mysterious Antarctic adventure. Be aware, nothing is what it seems – there are dark secrets hidden in the shadows. Will you be able to escape? Beginning in the dungeons deep in the bowels of Castle Rock, you and a fellow prisoner must seek a way out and return to stand again beneath the icy Antarctic skies – but escaping this nightmare is not so easy as just leaving the castle itself. If you can free yourself from the cells, you’ll need to make choices about where to explore next. Outside the Keep, you will discover the story of Rockbury, its inhabitants, and plans of a resistance formed against the King to escape this icy place. Hope will lead you on to an eerie Graveyard and have you descend down into the dark waters of the Foundry. Someone, or something, has brought you here, and you are a central part of a plan centuries in the making. Only an unshakeable bond with your partner will give you any hope of survival in the face of such dreadful desire… NOTE: This game is co-op only. It requires both players to have a working compatible microphone and an internet connection. Related:
Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is Coming to Xbox on April 27th
Seven Tips to Become the Best Inkulinati Master
Dive into the System in Backfirewall<em>_ </em>on Xbox Now
- Tom Moore, THQ Nordic
Restore the Very Fabric of the Universe in SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake, Available Now for Xbox
When wishes go wrong, only SpongeBob and Patrick can make it right. Even though it was kinda their fault…

Get ready to save Bikini Bottom in the all-new platforming adventure, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake! When SpongeBob and Patrick receive a vial of Mermaid’s Tears from mysterious fortune teller Kasandra nothing can go wrong. Sorry, everything goes wrong.

The lovable pals wish their wishes just a little bit too enthusiastically. So, they end up fracturing their reality, and releasing Cosmic Jelly — the glue that holds the universe together — into Bikini Bottom, with their friends being sucked into crazy Wishworlds! Oh, and Patrick gets turned into a balloon. But he’ll still be floating beside you all the way, because that’s what friends are for. Especially balloon friends.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Screenshot

It’s down to you to hop, spin, bubble trap, kick, and Krusty-Krab-pizza-box-glide through seven Wishworlds to rescue your friends and deal with the unintended but devastating consequences of SponegeBob and Patrick’s actions. Each Wishworld is based on a classic SpongeBob location given a unique twist, where you’ll run into all of SpongeBob’s pals on your quest for sweet, sweet, sweet victory.

For instance, to bring back Sandy you’ll need to adventure into a Wishworld that turns Bikini Bottom into the set of a Karate movie. Learn how to pull off powerful Karate moves!

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Screenshot

Travel to a prehistoric Wishworld and find Squidward, lost in a land-before-time version of Kelp Forest where you’ll have to negotiate tricky rolling rocks while taking the form of grunting caveman SpongeGar. And become a spongey, princely hero in a fantasy medieval level set around a huge castle. Make it to the end to serve cake to guests at what is supposed to be the best party ever, while a wicked witch attacks you because this is a SpongeBob SquarePants game.

After you’ve bounced, dodged, battled, and bantered through each of the different Wishworlds, dispatching cowboys, knights and all kinds of sneaky enemies along the way, you’ll have to use all your skills to outwit a range of madcap bosses. But that’s nothing everyone’s favorite sponge can’t handle.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Screenshot

This new platforming adventure features all of your favorite SpongeBob SquarePants characters voiced by the original cast, a brand-new soundtrack from the composers of Battle for Bikini Bottom, and the classic comedic charm and chaos from the show. As you save Bikini Bottom and unravel Kassandra’s secret plan, you will get to don more than 30 Spongetastic costumes – after all, as you traverse the seven Wishworlds, you’ll need to fit in. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake is out now and ready to delight fans of all ages. Everybody do the Cosmic Shake!

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake Xbox Live SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake

THQ Nordic

☆☆☆☆☆ 57 ★★★★★ Get it now Wish-granting Mermaid’s Tears in the hands of SpongeBob and Patrick… What could possibly go wrong? Sure, the very fabric holding the very universe very together could come very undone, opening up portals into Wishworlds full of knights, cowboys, pirates, and prehistoric snails. But that’s nothing everyone’s favorite sponge can’t handle – with the right cosmic costume! Everybody do the Cosmic Shake! Preorder SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake NOW and receive the Official Costume Pack, including 7 additional SpongeBob costumes for FREE! Related:
From Galactic Conquest to Racing Rivalries to Spongetastic Antics, the THQ Nordic and Handy Games Publisher Sale Has Something for Everyone
THQ Nordic Digital Showcase Recap
SpellForce III Reforced Is Now Available For Xbox One And Xbox Series X|S
- Shawn Alexander Allen, Lead Designer at NuChallenger
Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is Coming to Xbox on April 27th

Hello Xbox fans!

All of us at NuChallenger are excited to announce that Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is hitting Xbox on April 27th.

Explore an angry city, meet the worst people, and beat ‘em up with style! Pick your fighter, freeze time, build custom combos, and knock out your enemies, all to save the president.

Like what you’re hearing? Let me tell you more!

street melee

Fight Back against Corruption

After US President Blake Orama is kidnapped by ninja terrorists and Mayor Mike Moneybags shuts down the East Fulton police force, now-suspended police chief Antonio Santiago can sense something bigger is coming. He enlists the aid of his daughter Lisa and her two friends; Brad and Bruce, to set out to discover not only the truth; but also to find the root of the treachery in Beatdown City.

Play as three unique heroes all fit with their own unique combat abilities and skill sets. Use Lisa’s icy boxing style to throw punches and strike fear into your enemies with her MMA skills; throw your opponents like ragdolls with Brad’s professional wrestling moves, or flow like electrified water with Bruce’s deadly Jeet Kune Do meets capoeira fighting style.

Wax on, Wax off

Bring the pain with a huge variety of attacks designed to lay your enemies out flat. Mix them up with completely unique custom combos filled with grapples and finishers, and inflict an array of status ailments to finish them off. Fascist cops, entitled joggers, affluent punks, preppy jocks, angry socialites, bikers, ninjas, terrorists, ninja terrorists (?) and dozens more will learn what it’s like to be on the corner of Mess Around and Find Out Blvd.

street clash

Enter the City

Walk the streets to uncover how deep the corruption has spread. Tread through murky subterranean underground subways, the glitz and glamor of Times Square, the gritty streets of Lower East Fulton, all the way to the top of the pristine yet corrupted Moneybags News Network offices.

bar room

Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is launching April 27th on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Windows 10/11 PC. For more information, please follow NuChallenger and Beatdown City on Twitter.

Related:
Co-op Puzzle Design for We Were Here Forever
Seven Tips to Become the Best Inkulinati Master
Dive into the System in Backfirewall<em>_ </em>on Xbox Now
- Michal Napora, Community Manager @Yaza Games
Seven Tips to Become the Best Inkulinati Master

Hello there young Inkulinati Master in training. Now that Inkulinati is available in Game Preview on Xbox, PC and with Game Pass, I see that you are keen to learn the nuances that can give you the edge in battle, . Very well, I like that attitude. In that case, listen. A true Inkulinati Master knows how to use its strengths and exploit their enemy’s weaknesses. And the true strength lies in the mind! (and also the quill, but that doesn’t fit the emotions I’m building here so let’s just carry on). Winning a battle requires planning every move, reading your opponent’s strategy, analysing the Battlefield, and choosing the right action at the right time. Combining all these elements is certainly not easy, but with these few tips that are straight from the Inkulinati Academy, you will have a head start in become the greatest Inkulinati Master of all time.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into our seven tips to be a better Inkulinati Master!

Before starting the battle, gather your army wisely. Pay attention to the type of battle that is ahead. If you are facing a beast battle (a battle against beasts without a Tiny Inkulinati Master that leads them), choose your strongest beasts, regardless of their cost. Reason being – you won’t have to draw them! You will start the battle with the five beasts that you chose.

Also pay attention to who you will be fighting against and learn about the special abilities of the beasts you will have to face. Think about which of your beasts will be the best to counter these opponents. Make sure you also look at what the battlefield itself will look like. Maybe ranged units will do a better job? Or close contact is the way to go? Take your time and strategise before you start the battle!

Watch enemy beasts’ movement ranges, especially the green range, i.e., the Action Range. Hover over any beast to view their Movement and Action Range. Are you in the range of the attack of the enemy’s beast? If so, perhaps using the “Move” Hand Actions to change your or your opponent’s position might be the best next move to do. Use elements on the battlefields. Thanks to them you can protect yourself from the archer, block the attack of a swordsman, wake up your allies, or deal additional damage to the enemy. Explosive Obstacles (like Pots of Beans) can damage up to four beasts at once! And pushing the beast into the enemy Gate will sometimes do more damage than your attack… especially when the beast has a Bonfire on the way. So use the battlefield to your advantage! Watch out for boredom during your Journey. Because winning in style is so much more fun. During a battle, try to draw only as many beasts as you really need to win. Just because you can afford to draw another beast doesn’t always mean you have to! This way you will probably win the battle even faster, and at the same time, you won’t raise the price of the drawn beast unnecessarily. Eliminate the Donkey! Some beasts, such as Donkey the Bard, can force a few of your units to take a Nap at once. Try not to concentrate all of your beasts in one place, otherwise they will all be forced to take a Nap. If the donkey gets in your way, eliminate it or run away from the sound of its pipes! It’s not about the army – it’s about the Master. Remember, you are here to defeat the opposing Inkulinati Master, not their whole army! Those beasts are just pawns in the Inkulinati Master’s hands. Sure, eliminate them when you must to protect your Tiny Inkulinati, but the target is the opposing Tiny Inkulinati. Of course, this tip applies when you are facing other Inkuliati Masters. If it’s a Wild Encounter against beasts without a Master, please disregard this tip. It’s essential that you disregard this tip. Don’t forget the Push movement! Sometimes instead of attacking with your weapons, a simple push will do a better job. You see those edges of the battliefield? Beyond them lies the dreaded nothing. If you push a beast or a Tiny Inkulinati Master of the edge, they will die in an instant. Use those edges wisely.

Keep those tips in mind when you travel across the lands, young Inkulinati Master. Refer to them, and perhaps even use them in a dramatic scene where it’s you facing against all odds and you’re thinking “what should I do next??”. And then it is I, who appears in your head, and I calmly say “Push, young Inkulinati Master. Push!”. I am certain that in no time you will be the envy of all Inkulinati Masters across the lands.

If you want to receive more Inkulinati tips, find other Inkulinati players, and provide your feedback, join our official Inkulinati Discord server. You can be an Inkulinati Master right now by playing Inkulinati  on Xbox Series X|S, on Xbox One, and with Game Pass.

Speak to you soon,

The Inkulinati Academy, on behalf of Yaza Games Team

Inkulinati (Game Preview) Xbox Live Xbox Play Anywhere Inkulinati (Game Preview)

Daedalic Entertainment

☆☆☆☆☆ 80 ★★★★★ $24.99 Get it now PC Game Pass Xbox Game Pass Free Trial This game is a work in progress. It may or may not change over time or release as a final product. Purchase only if you are comfortable with the current state of the unfinished game. Inkulinati is an ink-based strategy game straight from medieval manuscripts, where a rabbit’s bum can be deadlier than a dog's sword. Take your turn in Inkulinati duels filled with unexpected tactical depth (and humour!). Embark on an ever-changing journey, build your own bestiary, defeat medieval superstars and collect perks to unleash special powers. Become a master of the Living Ink, grab your quill and build your unique strategy time after time so that you can be named the greatest Inkulinati of all time! INKULINATI IS INSPIRED BY REAL-LIFE MEDIEVAL MARGINALIA 700 years in the making, finally these bizarre art pieces can come alive in a video game and show that medieval people also had their “memes” and that they laughed from the same silly things that we do today. You’ll see sword-wielding rabbits, dogs with spears, trumpets lodged in bottoms, human-eating snails, and more. Much, much more… FIGHT LIKE AN INKULINATI Inkulinati are a legendary group who battle one another on the pages of medieval manuscripts. They fight by drawing Beasts with the Living Ink. Thanks to this magical substance, those creatures come to life and an epic battle ensues.Move your Beasts across the battlefield, perform actions on or with them, make tactical use of obstacles and collect more Living Ink to draw new Beasts which allows you to gain an advantage over your opponent. MULTIPLE DEADLY (AND BIZARRE) BEASTS TO UNLOCK Donkeys playing trumpets with their bottoms, bishop cats vanquishing heretics with prayers, heavy but deadly snails that eat units alive, and more. Much, much more. They all have their special skills and are waiting for your command. SPECIAL, BATTLE TIDE-TURNING ACTIONS PERFORMED BY THE INKULINATI It’s not just your Beasts that can cause havoc and damage. Use your fists to smash your opponent's units, draw obstacles to create barriers, relocate your units with a move of your finger, or explode your troops to create pure, pure chaos. Just remember – your opponent can do it too. ADAPT YOUR TACTIC TO EVERY BATTLE Each Inkulinati has its own army, with different Beasts, who in turn, have different abilities, strengths, and unfortunately, weaknesses (or fortunately – depending which side you’re on). But it’s not just the armies that can influence who will win any given duel. Each Battlefield is its own domain, with its own particular dangers that you should watch out for, and opportunities that you can use. You will have to use your wits and adapt your strategy to beat the opposing Inkulinati’s army on each specific Battlefield. A SINGLE-PLAYER CAMPAIGN Uncover the mystery and secrets of Inkulinati and face such opponents as Death, Dante Alighieri, and more. Go out into the world and start your adventure! Fight the biggest Inkulinati masters in the land, tame the untamed Beasts, build your ultimate army, try to bring back your Master from the clutches of death, and most importantly, finish your grand quest with the biggest party that the middle ages have ever seen! Howza!!! CREATE AND DEVELOP YOUR OWN CHARACTER As any aspiring Inkulinati Master, you will get to create your own Tiny-Inkulinati. During your journey you will learn the secret techniques of drawing new Beasts and Inkulinati Hand Actions, allowing you to choose the composition of your army. You can be a brave knight that has no fear and will send his loyal troops straight at his opponents. Or perhaps you would like to play with a bit more tact? In that case, you can be a nun who with the power of prayer can confuse her enemies and heal thy own servants. Those styles, and more, are waiting to be discovered and made your own. Express yourself! EVERY BATTLE HAS ITS OWN STORY To mark every battle in history books for all future generations to see, a procedurally generated text describes the dramatic (or hilarious) events in detail just above the battlefield. Related:
Co-op Puzzle Design for We Were Here Forever
Treachery in Beatdown City: Ultra Remix is Coming to Xbox on April 27th
Dive into the System in Backfirewall<em>_ </em>on Xbox Now
- Kristen Zitani (she/her)
Share of the Week: The Last of Us Part I

Last week, we asked you to head back into the deadly world of The Last of Us Part I and share moments using #PSshare #PSBlog. Here are this week’s highlights:

IROBot616 shares A black and white portrait of Joel

Photoingame shares A portrait of Bill against a pink and red sky

matatabigame777 shares Ellie and Joel high fiving

ForgottenJasmin shares Joel carrying Sarah with the military in the background

calisarah1998 shares a detailed picture of Joel’s arm and broken watch

VrPhotoGamess shares Tess walking across a plank

Search #PSshare #PSBlog on Twitter or Instagram to see more entries to this week’s theme. Want to be featured in the next Share of the Week? 

THEME: Season: A Letter to the Future

SUBMIT BY: 11:59 PM PT on February 8, 2023

Next week, we’re hopping on our bikes and riding through Season: A Letter to the Future. Share the beautiful sights and scrapbook pages you’ve created using #PSshare #PSBlog for a chance to be featured: #PSshare #PSBlog

- Alex Blahout
A look at Pistol Whip’s PlayStation VR2 haptics upgrade, out Feb 22

On February 22,  the enhanced version of Pistol Whip relaunches on PlayStation VR2. This Day one title — intensified by exclusive haptic feedback — will define just how physical a physical action rhythm game can be.

PS VR2 users will benefit from internal upgrades like SSD optimization, which reduces load times and scene transitions; however, the focus today is Pistol Whip’s iconic gameplay, made more immersive than ever, thanks to haptic feedback.

The reimagined PlayStation VR2 Sense Controllers, equipped with finger touch detection and a six-axis motion sensing system, create a more realistic firing experience: discover unique reload SFX for different weapons and changing resistance, including a haptic for dry fire. Additionally, three kinds of melee SFX provide varying sensations when Pistol Whipping different enemies.

“When implementing the adaptive triggers, we found a number of ways to provide controller feedback,” Explains Mike L., lead haptics engineer for PS VR2. “Now players will feel an increasing resistance as they pull the trigger, flattening out shortly before drawing it far enough that the weapon fires, at which point resistance drops to zero.”

The PS VR2 headset’s native vibrations work in conjunction with controller feedback and 3D audio, which respond to in-game impact – or near misses. By dynamically adjusting sound positioning, players will hear and feel bullets whizz by their heads.

With a roadmap that suggests plenty of new Pistol Whip content coming this year, lucky PlayStation VR2 users can download this shiny new edition right away; just in time to practice for the upcoming releases.

- James Stavrinides

While Gran Turismo Sport offered a tantalizing taste of the GT experience using the original PlayStation VR, letting users don the headset for a limited slice of the game, Gran Turismo 7 supports PS VR2 with no such compromises. The cars, tracks, races, and license tests are all here (with the exception of split-screen support), and playing the game again with the new headset and DualSense controller is nothing short of revelatory—even as someone who logged more than 200 hours on the track throughout 2022. 

Here are four reasons to be excited about buckling up for GT7 in PlayStation VR2.

Big surprise—it looks amazing

Gran Turismo 7 is a stunner, but I assumed the conversion to PS VR 2 might entail some obvious (but understandable) compromises. That said, I’m pleased to report that my concerns were unfounded, as the game looks marvelous in its VR conversion. Image quality and clarity are dramatically improved over those of GT Sport, and I never felt myself weighing the pros and cons of the visuals compared to simply playing on a “flat” TV display. In short, the game looks great and really highlights the virtues of PS VR2.

Ogle your all-time favorite cars in the VR Showroom

Players can now look around any of the 450+ cars in the game using the VR Showroom, which is accessible from your Garage. This feels like the natural culmination of Polyphony’s incredible efforts in bringing each car to life; the plastics, wood paneling, leather, vinyl, and plastics are now viewable at your leisure. Getting up close and personal with various stereo systems, dashboards, and dials is (weirdly) one of the things I’m most looking forward to once I have a PS VR2 at home. The novelty of peering around the back seats of each car can’t be understated.

Head tracking is a game changer

While it may sound unremarkable on paper, being able to freely look around during a race—with your view untethered from the front of your car—provides tangible benefits, both in terms of performance and presence within the virtual world. For example, while driving into a sharp corner, it’s possible to look beyond the immediate turn to the rest of the track and plan your next move. This is one of those intuitive “real life” driving behaviors that feels somewhat uncanny to experience in a game.

A newfound sense of scale and speed

Another upshot of the “I’m actually driving a Mazda 787B” feeling is a newfound sense of…claustrophobia and danger (in a good way!). Motorsport can be quite dangerous, and those of us with no personal experience can get a better sense of that in VR: the increased tangibility of a race car’s purpose-built, rough-and-ready interior, along with real limitations on visibility (narrower windshields, roll-bars, etc.), dramatically heightens the sense of speed and intensity of a race.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, PS VR2 offers a new perspective on the track environments themselves. For example, the mountain range at Dragon Tail feels genuinely huge and imposing, and the desert at Willow Springs somehow feels, well, more desert-like—the vast emptiness of this Southern California expanse is perceptibly vast and empty. It’s a sensation I’ve never had in a game before and it made tearing around the arid landscape feel liberating. 

My time with GT7 also highlighted one incidental benefit of the new PS VR2 hardware that I hadn’t previously considered: since the headset no longer requires a camera to track your position in 3D space, you no longer must be overly concerned with your position relative to the TV. It’s a small change that I anticipate will make me far more likely to use the headset during daily play sessions. 

The free Gran Turismo 7 PS VR2 update hits February 22.

- Ramone Russell
Yankees legend Derek Jeter is your MLB The Show 23 Collector’s Edition cover athlete

Derek Jeter’s back in MLB The Show! The 14x All-Star, 5x World Series Champion, 5x Silver Slugger, 2000 World Series MVP is your MLB The Show 23 collector’s edition cover athlete. Derek’s had one of the best careers in baseball history and we’re elated for him to join the collector’s edition cover athlete club.    

Play Video Yankees legend Derek Jeter is your MLB The Show 23 Collector’s Edition cover athlete

Derek Jeter needed an epic cover, and we wanted to show him in a new light. With that in mind we tasked visual artist Sanford Greene to present Derek in a fresh new perspective. Derek’s career as a Yankee is larger than life and his cover literally has him jumping out of Yankee Stadium. Can you spot all the Easter eggs in the cover? We’re thrilled with the cover art and are so happy that we finally get to show the results of this collaboration.  

Cover Art not representative of in-game art. 

Now you’re wondering, “what’s in the Editions?”  First, we’re very excited to announce that Early Access is back for anyone that purchases either of the Collector’s Editions. The Digital Deluxe Edition or The Captain Edition of MLB The Show 23. Early Access in MLB The Show 23 begins 3/24, to give you a four-day head start. 

Note: MLB The Show  23’s Collector’s Editions is used in reference to the Digital Deluxe Edition or The Captain Edition. 

Pre-orders open on February 6 at PlayStation Store — be ready for action at launch by receiving a Gold Choice Pack for use in MLB The Show 23 just for pre-ordering.  

Note: The Captain Edition of MLB The Show 23 on PlayStation consoles includes both a PS4 (disc) and a PS5 (voucher download code) entitlement*. If you purchase MLB The Show 23 physical Standard Edition, you will only have access to that version of the game and will not be able to upgrade later. However, if you purchase the digital version of the Standard Edition (PlayStation or Xbox) you can upgrade for $10 USD. 

MLB The Show 23: The Captain Edition (Retail or PlayStation Direct) 

The Captain Edition is $99.99 USD/$129.99 CAD

This limited-edition New Era MLB The Show 9FIFTY Cap and Steel Book (physical version only) is available to pre-order on February 6 at retail or through direct.playstation.com.  

The Captain Edition is $99.99 USD/$129.99 CAD

This limited-edition New Era MLB The Show 9FIFTY Cap and Steel Book (physical version only) is available to pre-order on February 6 at retail.

The MLB The Show 23 Captain edition on PlayStation includes:  

Full Game for PS4 and PS5* New Era MLB The Show 9FIFTY Limited Edition Cap Limited Edition Steel Book 4 Days Early Access Double Daily Login Rewards** (For the life cycle of MLB The Show 23) Additional Digital Items**: 1 Captain’s Choice Pack 1 To be announced Choice Pack 1 To be announced Uniform Choice Pack 2 Gold Choice Packs  5 Show Packs  1 Ballplayer Pack 1 Derek Jeter Cover art bat Skin  10,000 Stubs for MLB The Show 23  Digital Deluxe Edition (PS Store) 

For our biggest digital fans, you know who you are… the Digital Deluxe returns to the PlayStation Store. The Digital Deluxe Edition is $99.99 USD/$ $129.99 CAD.  For those of you that need packs on packs on packs… on packs, this is the edition for you.  

The MLB The Show 23 Digital Deluxe Edition includes: 

Full Game for PS4 and PS5* 4 Days Early Access Double Daily Login Rewards (For the life cycle of MLB The Show 23)  Additional Digital Items**: 1 Captain’s Choice Pack 1 To Be Announced Uniform Choice Pack 5 Gold Choice Packs  20 Show Packs  1 Ballplayer Pack 1 Derek Jeter Cover art bat Skin  30,000 Stubs for MLB The Show 23  MLB The Show 23 Technical Test Info

Starting February 15 around 10am PST and lasting through 10am PST February 21, players 18 or over in U.S. and Canada with a PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch* internet-connected console can participate in the MLB The Show 23 Technical Test.

We want to deliver the best version possible of MLB The Show 23 and to do that we need everyone’s help to stress test the servers, online match-making, cross-platform play, online co-op, and more in addition to gathering feedback on gameplay. The best news? No need to sign up, it’s open to everyone eligible. ** Download for free on the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, or Nintendo eShop on February 15.

We could not be more excited for MLB The Show 23 coming out on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch! Look forward to new ways to play, a new class of legends and much more! Check TheShow.com and follow our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts for the latest updates about MLB The Show 23. 

For more detailed information on MLB The Show 23 you can read the FAQ here

*MLB The Show 23: The Captain Edition is available in North America and Canada only.

** The Captain Edition includes PS4 Disc & PS5 Voucher (Internet connection and PS5 console with disc drive required). 

*** Account for PlayStation Network and internet connection required for code redemption.

- Hideaki Nishino
PS5 Beta Introduces Discord Voice Chat, VRR support for 1440p, and more

As the PlayStation 5 console continues to evolve, we’re excited to deliver new features to our community. Today, we’re rolling out the next PS5 system software beta with a number of fan-requested features, including Discord voice chat and Variable Refresh Rate support for 1440p resolution. We’re also introducing a variety of UX, accessibility and social feature enhancements that make playing with your friends or enjoying your gaming experiences on the PS5 console easier than ever.

Invited beta participants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, U.K., Germany, and France will receive an email with instructions on how to download the beta and get started. As with previous betas, some features may not make it into the final version or may see significant changes when the final system update releases globally in the coming months.

Here’s a look at some of the new features: 

New Social Features  Join a Discord Voice Chat on Your PS5 Console. You can now join Discord voice chats on your PS5 console and easily chat with friends on most other gaming platforms. To start, link your Discord and PlayStation Network accounts from your PS5 console following these steps*. Then, use the Discord app on your mobile device or computer to get a Discord voice chat going on your PS5 console (make sure your Discord app is updated to the latest version). You can also let your Discord friends see when you’re online and what you’re playing.Note: if you’ve linked your PlayStation Network and Discord accounts in the past to display what game you’re playing, you’ll need to link your accounts again on your PS5 console to grant the new permissions needed for Discord voice chat. PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing Discord voice chat View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing Discord voice chat" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing Discord voice chat” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing Discord voice chat" Download this image

Start or Request a Share Screen from Your Friend’s Profile. You can now send a Share Screen request or start sharing your screen with a friend, directly from their profile. Simply select the Share Screen icon on your friend’s profile to start a new session.  PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing how to start a Share Screen from your friend’s profile View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing how to start a Share Screen from your friend’s profile" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing how to start a Share Screen from your friend’s profile” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing how to start a Share Screen from your friend’s profile" Download this image

New “Join Game” Icon in Party Chats. On the voice chat card, a joinable icon will be displayed for party members playing a game you can join. You can join the game directly by selecting the player, and then selecting [Join Game] from the menu. New “Friends Who Play” Tile. In game hubs, you can now see which of your friends have the game, who is currently online, and who is currently playing the game. By selecting the tile, you can see what your friends are doing now, and you can also access your friends’ profiles, where you’ll be given more interaction options. PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing new “Friends Who Play” tile in the God of War Ragnarok game hub View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing new “Friends Who Play” tile in the God of War Ragnarok game hub" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing new “Friends Who Play” tile in the God of War Ragnarok game hub” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing new “Friends Who Play” tile in the God of War Ragnarok game hub" Download this image

Manually Upload Game Captures to PlayStation App. You can now manually select and upload individual screenshots or game clips to PS App from your PS5 console, then easily share them on social media or with your friends.** This feature complements the auto-upload functionality that currently exists on PS App.  PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to manually upload game captures to PlayStation App View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to manually upload game captures to PlayStation App" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to manually upload game captures to PlayStation App” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to manually upload game captures to PlayStation App" Download this image New Gameplay and Personalization Options Variable Refresh Rate support for 1440p. You can now enjoy smoother visual performance when using a VRR-compatible HDMI 2.1 display at 1440p resolution, when playing a game that supports VRR.***We’ve also made some updates to the parameters of the PS5 console’s 1440p output test, enabling 1440p support for a wider range of HDMI displays.To check if your HDMI device is compatible, go to [Settings] > [Screen and Video] > [Video Output] > [Test 1440p Output]. PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the Variable Refresh Rate setting View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the Variable Refresh Rate setting" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the Variable Refresh Rate setting” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the Variable Refresh Rate setting" Download this image

Game Library Enhancements.You can now also sort and filter games when adding games to a gamelist.You can use filters in your library to easily find PS VR games, as well as PS VR2 titles when PS VR2 launches later this month. PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to filter games by PS5 or PS4 in a gamelist View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to filter games by PS5 or PS4 in a gamelist" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to filter games by PS5 or PS4 in a gamelist” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to filter games by PS5 or PS4 in a gamelist" Download this image

Game Presets for Multiplayer Session Preferences. You can set your preferences to manage who can join and who can invite other players to multiplayer sessions you’ve created for supported games. Go to [Settings] > [Saved Data and Game/App Settings] > [Game Presets] > [Online Multiplayer Sessions], and select your preferences in [Who Can Join] and [Who Can Invite]. New Accessibility and Ease-of-use Features PS4 to PS5 Saved Data Migration. We’re making it easier for you to access your PS4 saved data on your PS5 console through two ways:When you download or install a PS4 game on your PS5 console, a notification that PS4 saved data is available in your PlayStation Network cloud storage will appear (if your PS5 console doesn’t already have saved data for the game). Simply select the notification to download your saved data.When you download or install a PS5 game that can load PS4 saved data, such as the PS5 version of a game that was also released on PS4, the same notification will appear (if the game supports this feature).(Note: online storage for saved data requires a PlayStation Plus subscription) PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the notification that PS4 saved data for Ghost of Tsushima is available to download View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the notification that PS4 saved data for Ghost of Tsushima is available to download" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the notification that PS4 saved data for Ghost of Tsushima is available to download” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the notification that PS4 saved data for Ghost of Tsushima is available to download" Download this image

PS5 to PS5 Data Transfer. You can now easily transfer the data on your PS5 console, including games, saved data, user profiles, settings, screenshots, and videos, to another PS5 console using a local Wi-Fi network or a LAN cable. You can either transfer the data during the initial PS5 console setup or later from the settings menu. This process doesn’t remove or modify the data on your original PS5 console. PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to save a video clip through Voice Command View and download image "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to save a video clip through Voice Command" Download “PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to save a video clip through Voice Command” close Close  "PlayStation 5 UI screenshot showing the option to save a video clip through Voice Command" Download this image

Screen Reader Improvements. The screen reader now gives more detailed guidance when navigating the console. It will now tell you which direction you can move from the currently selected component, as well as your current position in a component with multiple items. Additionally, when using the screen reader to view web pages, you’ll now see borders around the section that’s being read aloud. Wireless Device Update for DualSense Wireless Controller. You can now update the DualSense wireless controller device software with a wireless connection. If you have trouble updating the device software wirelessly, connect your controller to your PS5 console using the USB cable to update it. You’ll be able to update wirelessly for the next update. Game Capture Using Voice Command (Preview): U.S. and U.K. limited release Voice Command now supports using your voice to save video clips of your gameplay.Say “Hey PlayStation, capture that!” to save a video clip of your recent gameplay. The default duration saved is based on your settings.You can also save a specific duration of your gameplay, from 15 seconds to 60 minutes. For example, to save 5 minutes, say “Hey PlayStation, capture the last 5 minutes”.Say “Hey PlayStation, start recording” to manually start a new gameplay recording. You can then say “Hey PlayStation, stop recording” to end the recording and save the video clip.Voice Command (Preview) is currently available in English for beta participants with accounts registered to the U.S. and U.K. View and download image Download the image close Close Download this image

We’re thankful to all our PS5 beta participants for helping us test these new features. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months!

*When the system update launches globally in the coming months, players who want to enjoy the Discord voice chat feature will be able to link their Discord and PlayStation Network accounts from the Discord app on Windows, Mac or mobile as well, just as you can today. Linking your Discord and PlayStation Network accounts from your PS5 console is only required for beta participants, during the beta period.

**Game clips under 3 minutes long that are non-4K can be uploaded to PS App.

***Results may vary depending on the game being played. 1440p video output on PS5 requires a TV or PC monitor that supports 1440p/60Hz, or 1440p/60Hz and 120Hz. 

- Adam Michel
PlayStation Plus Monthly Games for February: Evil Dead: The Game, OlliOlliWorld, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, Mafia: Definitive Edition

Today we’re happy to reveal the PlayStation Plus Monthly Games for February. Take on demonic Deadites in asymmetrical multiplayer Evil Dead: The Game, grind and trick your way through the vibrant world of Radlandia in OlliOlliWorld and live the life of a Prohibition-era gangster with Mafia: The Definitive Edition. In addition to these titles, Destiny 2: Beyond Light joins the lineup as a bonus game this month.  

All four titles will be available to PlayStation Plus Essential, Extra and Premium members from Tuesday, February 7 until Monday March 6. The PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium lineups for February will be announced soon. 

Let’s take a closer look at the Monthly Games. 

View and download image Download the image close Close Download this image Evil Dead: The Game | PS4, PS5 

Step into the shoes of Ash Williams or his friends from the iconic Evil Dead franchise and work together in a game loaded with over-the-top co-op and PvP multiplayer action. Play as a team of four survivors, exploring, looting, managing your fear, and finding key items to seal the breach between worlds in a game inspired by all three original Evil Dead films as well as the Ash vs Evil Dead television series. Fight for the forces of good or take control of the Kandarian Demon to hunt Ash & others while possessing Deadites, the environmental objects & more as you seek to swallow their souls!

View and download image Download the image close Close Download this image OlliOlliWorld | PS4, PS5 

Grind, trick and air your way to discover the mystical skate gods on your quest for Gnarvana in this bold skateboarding action-platformer that’s bursting with personality. Traverse a delightful and weird world as you take on missions, challenges and make new friends along the way. Experience the accessibility, depth and player freedom as you dive into the signature flow state gameplay. OlliOlli World marks the third entry in the critically-acclaimed OlliOlli series from Roll7, the BAFTA and multi-award-winning independent studio. 

View and download image Download the image close Close Download this image Destiny 2: Beyond Light | PS4, PS5 

Embark on a new journey through the incredible sci-fi fantasy universe of Destiny 2 with this expansion* to the multiplayer action shooter. Guardians will explore Europa, master the new elemental power of Stasis and collect powerful Exotic gear as they battle the Fallen Kell of Darkness, Eramis. 

View and download image Download the image close Close Download this image Mafia: The Definitive Edition | PS4 


Explore a recreated 1930’s cityscape, filled with interwar architecture, cars and culture… and a crime-riddled underbelly in this full remake of the 2002 original. Rise up through the ranks of the Mafia during the Prohibition era of organized crime. After a run-in with the mob, cab driver Tommy Angelo is thrust into a deadly underworld. Initially uneasy about falling in with the Salieri crime family, Tommy soon finds that the rewards are too big to ignore.

Last chance to download January’s Monthly Games 

PlayStation Plus members have until Monday February 6 to add Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Fallout 76 and Axiom Verge 2 to their game library. 

PlayStation Plus Spotify Playlist 

Also, check out our PlayStation Plus monthly games-inspired playlist on Spotify, which will be refreshed with new songs every month.

We also wanted to provide an update on the PlayStation Plus Collection that has been offered as a benefit to PlayStation Plus members on PS5 since 2020. On May 9 the PlayStation Plus Collection will no longer be offered. If you haven’t redeemed the titles in this collection yet, you can still do so before May 9, which will enable you to access those titles even after this date for as long as you remain a PlayStation Plus member. 

We will continue to add to our growing PlayStation Plus library of Monthly Games and Games Catalog, so be sure to check monthly for new titles to redeem. 

We thank you all for your support of PlayStation Plus and we hope you enjoy this month’s lineup.

*Destiny 2 is required to play Destiny 2: Beyond Light. Destiny 2 is available for download at no extra cost on PlayStation Store.

- Tim Turi (he/him)

Athia is a huge open-world brimming with places to explore, creatures to battle, and mysteries to unravel. Luminous Productions taps into the power of PlayStation to make this happen, from the magical flames erupting from Frey’s hands in combat to the speed at which she fast-travels on the expansive world map.

Now that it’s easier than ever for players to get their hands on PS5s and enter the world of Forspoken, Takeshi Aramaki, Head of Luminous Productions and Forspoken Director shares some insights on how the Luminous Productions team harness PS5 to bring this adventure to life:

PlayStation Blog: What were your first impressions when first learning about the power and capabilities of the PS5, from a developer perspective?

Takeshi Aramaki: With the latest GPU that supports ray tracing and a high-speed SSD that allows data to be read instantly, I felt that it was going to bring significant changes to game development as a whole. Being able to display assets on screen without the need for load times would create new gaming experiences. Once we actually began developing for it, the biggest surprise was how easily it was to develop for.

The DualSense wireless controller offers a unique level of immersion thanks to its haptics and adaptive triggers. How did your team approach DualSense controller implementation when developing this PS5 game?

The DualSense is such a unique controller, so we wanted to create a game that would allow players to feel and experience it to the fullest. As Forspoken is a game we designed for the PS5, we decided to assign L2 and R2 for casting magic so you can feel the feedback from the Adaptive Triggers. There are over 100 spells in Forspoken, and we tuned the force feedback for every single one so that each spell looks and feels unique. In addition, the haptics feedback creates a realistic sensation of traversing at high speeds when using Magic Parkour.

Forspoken features extremely quick fast-travel in its fantasy open world. How did the development team harness PS5’s power to make this happen?

The SSD makes the PS5 about 100 times faster than the PS4, so that by itself is plenty, but it also makes use of Oodle Kraken and Oodle Texture for data compression. On top of that, the PS5 also handles memory allocation and decompression on the hardware side. The CPU processing of that data then became the bottleneck, so we made over 100 adjustments to our Luminous Engine in order to realize these read speeds.

Forspoken features a dazzling array of magical visual effects and character animation for Frey during travel and traversal. How did the team tap into PS5’s power to deliver this rich visual performance?

In Forspoken, we aimed for a visual expression unlike any other. The GPU handles the dedicated shader for the magic visual effects, and the CPU handles the numerous processing needs for Magic Parkour. The PS5’s capabilities were more than enough for what we wanted to do; in fact, it’s so powerful that it encouraged us to add even more to the visual effects. Also, a lot of memory is typically needed to achieve this level of expression, but PS5 development tools are so easy to work with and allowed us to work faster than before. That gave us plenty of time to optimize the memory and process load needed Forspoken’s rich visuals.

Forspoken is available now on PlayStation 5.

- Peter Boda

Critically acclaimed games take the stage for PlayStation Store’s newest promotion. From Wednesday February 1 for a limited time* you can enjoy deep discounts on the likes of NBA 2K23, Need for Speed Unbound and Dying Light 2 Stay Human. 

You can peruse the full list of PS4 and PS5 games included in this promotion below. When the promotion starts, head to PlayStation Store to find out your regional discount. 

You can peruse the full list of PS4 and PS5 games included in this promotion below. When the promotion starts, head to PlayStation Store to find out your regional discount. 

1000 Neverwinter Zen11000 Neverwinter Zen13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim2000 Neverwinter Zen500 Neverwinter Zen5300 Neverwinter ZenA Plague Tale: InnocenceAce Attorney Turnabout CollectionAdditional Battle Attire Pack – Kimetsu Academy Summer UniformsAlien: Isolation – The CollectionAliens: Fireteam Elite Definitive Edition (Cold Iron)All Legends PackAncient BritainARK: Ultimate Survivor EditionAssassin’s Creed Antiquity PackAssassin’s Creed Legendary CollectionAssassin’s Creed Triple Pack: Black Flag, Unity, SyndicateAssassin’s Creed Valhalla – Complete EditionAssassin’s Creed Valhalla – Day 1 Meteor ExpansionAssassin’s Creed Valhalla PS4 & PS5Assassin’s Creed® Valhalla – Season PassBack 4 Blood: Deluxe Edition PS4 & PS5Batman: Arkham CollectionBatman: Arkham Knight – Premium EditionBefore We LeaveBlacktailBloodborne Complete Edition BundleBomber CrewBomber Crew: Deluxe EditionBorderlands 2 VRBorderlands 3 PS4™ &  PS5™Borderlands 3: Super Deluxe Edition PS4™ &  PS5™Borderlands Ultimate Edition DLC (SP1/SP2)Bravery and GreedBrawlhalla – Collector’s PackCall of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War – Cross-Gen Bundle PS4™ & PS5™Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War – Standard EditionCapcom Arcade 2nd Stadium BundleCapcom Arcade Stadium Packs 1, 2, and 3Capcom Fighting BundleCAPCOM FIGHTING COLLECTIONCaptain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions – Deluxe EditionCarrionCatherine: Full Body – Digital Deluxe EditionChicken Police – Paint it RED!Civilization VI Anthology UpgradeCode Fairy Deluxe EditionCode Vein – Deluxe EditionControl: Ultimate EditionCrash Bandicoot™ 4: It’s About TimeCrash Team Racing Nitro-FueledCrusader Kings IIICrysis RemasteredCyber EditionCyber HeistCyber Warrior PackCyberSec PackDaki Character PackDE – PS5 Standard Edition TakeoverDead CellsDead Cells: DLC BundleDEATHLOOP (GAME)Deathloop Deluxe Content PackDEMON SLAYER : KIMETSU NO YAIBA THE HINOKAMI CHRONICLESDemon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Hinokami Chronicles Core Add-on BundleDevil May Cry 5 Deluxe + VergilDiablo® II: Resurrected™ – StandardDiablo® Prime Evil CollectionDiablo® Prime Evil Collection – UpgradeDIGIMON SURVIVEDino SafariDIRT 5 – Year One UpgradeDIRT 5 Year One Edition PS4 & PS5Dishonored & Prey: The Arkane CollectionDishonored 2Dishonored®: Death of the Outsider™ – Deluxe BundleDisney Dreamlight Valley — Deluxe EditionDOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One (Add-On)DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part One (Standalone)DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part Two (Add-On)DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part Two (Standalone)DORAEMON STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of the Great KingdomDORAEMON STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of the Great Kingdom Special EditionDragon Ball FighterZ – Android 17Dragon Ball FighterZ – Broly (Dragon Ball Super)Dragon Ball FighterZ – FighterZ EditionDragon Ball FighterZ – FighterZ Pass 3Dragon Ball FighterZ – JanembaDragon Ball FighterZ – KeflaDRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ – Master RoshiDragon Ball FighterZ – VidelDragon Ball Xenoverse + Season Pass BundleDungeon Defenders: AwakenedDying Light 2 Stay Human – Ultimate Edition PS4&PS5Dying Light 2 Stay Human – Ultimate Edition PS5Dying Light 2 Stay Human PS4&PS5Dying Light 2 Stay Human PS5EA Sports Madden NFL 23 (PS4)EA Sports Madden NFL 23 (PS5)EA STAR WARS™ TRIPLE BUNDLEElite DangerousEndlingEvil WestF1 2022 – Deluxe Upgrade / Champions Content BundleF1 22 (PS4)F1 22 (PS5)F1 Manager 2022Fallout 4: Game of the Year EditionFallout 76: The Pitt Deluxe EditionFallout 76: The Pitt Recruitment BundleFar Cry 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 BundleFar Cry New Dawn – Complete EditionFATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black WaterFATAL FRAME: Maiden of Black Water Digital Deluxe EditionFF7R EPISODE INTERmission (New Story Content Featuring Yuffie)Final Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy VII Remake – Digital Deluxe EditionFINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADEFINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE Digital Deluxe EditionFor The KingGhostwire / DEATHLOOP bundleGhostwire Deluxe Content PackGhostwire: TokyoGotham Knights Deluxe EditionGran Turismo 7 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TrilogyShin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster Digital Deluxe EditionSid Meier’s Civilization VISkyrim Anniversary Edition UpgradeSniper Elite 5Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2SnowRunner – 2 Year Anniversary EditionSnowRunner – 3 Year Anniversary EditionSolar AshSonic Colors: UltimateSonic Frontiers Digital Deluxe EditionSonic Frontiers Standard Edition (Main Game)Sonic OriginsSonic Origins Digital Deluxe EditionSoul Hackers 2 Digital Deluxe EditionSoul Hackers 2 DLC BundleSpyro Reignited TrilogyStandard EditionStar Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Deluxe Edition (PS5)StrayStreet Fighter V – Champion Edition Upgrade KitStreet Fighter V – Season 5 Character PassStreet Fighter V – Season 5 Premium PassStreet Fighter V: Champion EditionStreet Fighter V: Champion Edition + Season 5 Premium Pass BundleStreet Fighter V: Champion Edition Upgrade Kit + Season 5 Premium Pass BundleStreet Fighter: 30th Anniversary CollectionSuper Monkey Ball Banana Mania Digital Deluxe EditionSUPERHOT VRSWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris Deluxe EditionTales Of Arise Deluxe Edition PS4 & PS5Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke (Entertainment District) Character PackTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cowabunga CollectionTekken 7 – Definitive EditionTemtemTengen Uzui Character PackTerrariaTESO: NEW PS5 Base EditionThe AscentThe Crew 2 – Season PassThe Crew 2 Gold Edition (New)The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special EditionThe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition PS5The Flame in the Flood: Complete EditionThe Jackbox Party Pack 8The Jackbox Party Pack 9THE KING OF FIGHTERS XVTHE KING OF FIGHTERS XV TEAM PASS 1THE KING OF FIGHTERS XV TEAM PASS 2The Outer WorldsThe Outer Worlds Expansion PassThe Outer Worlds: Murder on EridanosThe QuarryThe Sims 4 – Backyard StuffThe Sims 4 – Bowling Night StuffThe Sims 4 – Cats & Dogs Plus My First Pet Stuff BundleThe Sims 4 – Discover UniversityThe Sims 4 – Essential Bundle 2 (EP11, GP10, SP16)The Sims 4 – Essential Bundle 3 (EP5, GP5, SP13)The Sims 4 – Get FamousThe Sims 4 – Get TogetherThe Sims 4 – Jungle AdventureThe Sims 4 – My First Pet StuffThe Sims 4 – Perfect Patio StuffThe Sims 4 – Realm of MagicThe Sims 4 – Romantic Garden StuffThe Sims 4 – Spa DayThe Sims 4 – Spooky StuffThe Sims 4 – Tiny Living Stuff PackThe Sims 4 – Toddler StuffThe Sims 4 – VampiresThe Sims 4 EP12The Sims 4 GP 12The Sims™ 4 – GP10The Sims™ 4 Paranormal Stuff PackThe Sims™ 4 Snowy Escape Expansion PackThe Yakuza Remastered CollectionThis War of Mine: The Little OnesTiger Woods Signature Sunday Pack BundleTiny Tina’s WonderlandsTiny Tina’s Wonderlands: Chaotic Great EditionTiny Tina’s Wonderlands: Season PassTinykinTom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Warlords of New York EditionTom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Warlords of New York Ultimate EditionTomb Raider: Definitive Survivor TrilogyTony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 + 2Two Point CampusUFC® 4 Deluxe EditionUltimate EditionUltimate Sonic BundleValiant Hearts: The Great WarVanguard – Cross-Gen EditionVanguard – PS5 Cross-Gen EditionVanguard – Standard EditionWandererWatch Dogs 2 – Gold EditionWolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Digital Deluxe EditionWreckfest – Complete EditionWWE 2K22WWE 2K22 – Season Pass (PS4)WWE 2K22 – Season Pass (PS5)WWE 2K22 Super Deluxe Digital Edition (nWo 4-Life Edition)Yakuza: Like a Dragon Legendary Hero EditionYakuza: Like a Dragon Legendary Hero Edition PS4 & PS5Yakuza: Like a Dragon PS4 & PS5Year 7 Operator EditionYear 7 Ultimate Edition 1000 Neverwinter Zen11000 Neverwinter Zen13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim2000 Neverwinter Zen500 Neverwinter Zen5300 Neverwinter ZenA Plague Tale: InnocenceAce Attorney Turnabout CollectionAdditional Battle Attire Pack – Kimetsu Academy Summer UniformsAlien: Isolation – The CollectionAll Legends PackARK: Ultimate Survivor EditionAssassin’s Creed Valhalla – Complete EditionAssassin’s Creed Valhalla – Meteor ExpansionAssassin’s Creed Valhalla PS4 & PS5Assassin’s Creed® Valhalla – Season PassBack 4 Blood: Deluxe Edition PS4 & PS5Batman: Arkham CollectionBatman: Arkham 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*Critics’ Choice promotion runs on PlayStation Store from 00.00am local time on Wednesday February 1 to 11.59pm local time on Wednesday February 15. Check PlayStation Store for regional discounts. 

- Philippe Pelletier Baribault
Deceive Inc. is a groovy game of deception and subterfuge – coming March 21

Welcome to Deceive Inc. – the multiplayer PvP game of social deception and subterfuge. The teams at Sweet Bandits and Tripwire Presents have been hard at work polishing this game for release. We’re all incredibly excited for the coming weeks, and now it’s time to share that excitement with you!

About Deceive Inc.  

Deceive Inc. is a multiplayer hero shooter with an emphasis on social stealth and deception where 12 players (either solo or in teams of 3) are tasked with becoming the Agents and successfully extracting with an objective.

Every Agent spawns undercover, cloaked as one of the many NPCs populating the map. Armed with their unique weapons and abilities – plus a couple of hi-tech spy gadgets for good measure – they must use their knowledge of spycraft to suss out other players, avoid detection, gather intel, purchase upgrades, and ultimately locate then extract the precious cargo.

Play Video Deceive Inc. is a groovy game of deception and subterfuge – coming March 21 Deceive Inc. launches globally March 21

Deceive Inc. will launch on PlayStation 5 on March 21 of this year. We’ll also be hosting an Open Beta featuring full crossplay support starting March 10 – free for all players who want to try the game out.

Meet the Agents

Deceive Inc. will have 8 playable agents available at launch, each falling under one of four archetypes:

Vanguard: Well-rounded, self-reliant fighters that can get through the thick and thin Tracker: Focused on finding, singling out, and hunting down targetsScoundrel: Sly, cunning, and use dirty tricks to get ahead of the competitionDisruptor: Experts at controlling space and disturbing the flow of fights Rupert Reid aka “Squire” Adaptable Recruit

Starting Weapon: PT-08 Lance Silenced Pistol
Archetype: Vanguard

As Deceive Inc’s youngest agent, Squire constantly feels the weight of his mentor’s legacy on his shoulders. However, don’t let his impostor syndrome fool you. He’s a top of the line operative, capable of the best.

Tamar Zaken aka “Ace” Relentless Huntress

Starting Weapon: ‘Queen of Diamonds’ Scoped Sniper Rifle
Archetype: Tracker

A sharp-eyed mercenary, Ace’s unique skills have made her one of Deceive Inc’s pillars. She tracks her rivals without fail. Believe us, once you figure out you are her target, it’s already too late.

Ethan Chavez aka “Chavez” Rugged Veteran

Starting Weapon: ‘Sentinel’ Revolver
Archetype: Vanguard

A true legend of the spy world, Chavez uses his strength and his kind heart to fight the good fight. He’s supposed to be retired by now, but he’s back for one last mission… or so he says.

Madame Xiu Enigmatic Dame

Starting Weapon: ‘Zhulong’ Automatic Crossbow
Archetype: Scoundrel

There are a lot of rumors circulating about Madame Xiu, her past, and her abilities. Deceive Inc. can’t confirm any of them without breaching their contract with her, which is a dangerous game to play with such a cutthroat and enigmatic lady. 

Hans Moritz aka “Hans” Imposing Provocateur

Starting Weapon: ‘The Hook’ Hand-mounted Shotgun
Archetype: Disruptor

Once a head honcho of a super criminal empire, Hans used to have it all. Now forced to serve his sentence as a Deceive Inc. agent, he swears he’ll regain back his former power and glory.

Florence Jacques aka “Cavalière”  Unflinching Investigator

Starting Weapon: ‘Dragoons’ Alternating Dual Pistols
Archetype: Tracker

Brash detective Cavalière leaves no stone unturned… And if her deduction skills are not enough to keep you in check, her serious combat abilities learned during her globe-trotting days will do the talking.

Francois Claudet aka “Larcin”  Gentleman Thief

Starting Weapon: ‘Silence’ Throwable Pocket Pistol
Archetype: Scoundrel

Gentleman thief and professional borrower, Larcin has made quite a name for himself with his peculiar savoir faire and showmanship. His charms are such that you won’t even be mad when noticing previous items missing from your pockets.

Yu-Mi Kwon aka “YU-MI”  Raucous Gadgeteer

Starting Weapon: Tactical Slingshot
Archetype: Disruptor

Brilliant and happy-go-lucky, Yu-Mi’s enthusiasm to be a part of Deceive Inc. is only matched with her ability to create and break things around her. Some may say she’s a stubborn brat, but her tactical capabilities and her inventiveness tend to make her rivals eat their words. 

Pre-order and Black Tie Edition bonuses

Deceive Inc. will also launch with a ton of great cosmetic items for players to unlock. On top of that, we also have some amazing cosmetics designed specifically for those agents who’d like to show up to the job in impeccable style. 

Pre-order Deceive Inc. to receive:  

“Founding Agent” Profile Portrait“Founding Agent” Equipment Ink

Purchase the Black Tie Edition to Receive

“Dressed to Impress” Profile Portrait & Title“Dressed to Impress” Equipment InkBonds (Deceive Inc. Premium Currency)

Pre-purchases are coming very soon, so make sure you add Deceive Inc to your PlayStation Wishlist to be notified when they’re live!

- Ramone Russell
The electric Jazz Chisholm Jr. is your MLB The Show 23 cover athlete

Jazz Chisholm Jr.’s electric personality, play and love for all things baseball made him a great choice to be on the cover of MLB The Show 23.  Jazz grew up in Nassau, Bahamas, playing sandlot baseball with friends. As Jazz puts it “no umpires, no catchers, just hitting bombs and having fun we just played to play.” He never thought a kid like him from the Bahamas would make it to The Show, let alone end up on the cover of MLB The Show

Play Video The electric Jazz Chisholm Jr. is your MLB The Show 23 cover athlete

Today, we are thrilled to announce that MLB The Show 23 launches on March 28, 2023. The standard edition on PlayStation 4 is $59.99 USD/$79.99 CAD. Standard edition on PlayStation 5 is $69.99 USD/$89.99 CAD.

MLB The Show 23 will be available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.  

Cross-Platform Play, Cross Saves and Cross Progression continue for MLB The Show 23

Have access to all your progress and card inventory in MLB The Show 23 on every platform you own. Once again Cross-Platform Play, Cross Saves, and Cross Progression return allowing you to share your progress on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch*. Cross progression allows you to earn and use any earned content on any platform or generation (this excludes PS5 and Xbox Series X|S exclusive features like Stadium Creator). With cross saves you can transfer a save file for Road to the Show or Franchise mode to a different console.**

MLB The Show Account, Account Linking & The Scouting Report 

In MLB The Show 23 you can easily move from platform to platform and keep access to your entire inventory of cards, and the MLB The Show Account allows you to do so. Just create your MLB The Show Account on TheShow.com and link your PlayStation, Xbox, and/or Switch and you are all set. 

While you are creating your new linked account, make sure you sign-up for The Scouting Report, so we can send you all the latest MLB The Show 23 information and subscribers also get an exclusive pack each month starting in April. So, head over to www.theshow.com to get your account set up. 

MLB The Show 23 Feature Premieres Schedule  

Feature Premieres return to give you a look into new features in MLB The Show 23. You can watch episodes live on Twitch and YouTube. If you can’t watch them live, catch up on every episode on-demand at your own convenience as we get closer to launch. We have several Feature Premiere episodes in the works, so be on the lookout on TheShow.com and our social channels for episode schedule and information. 

Pre-orders open on PlayStation Store February 6.

Collector’s Edition Reveal February 2

We’re sure some of you are wondering, where’s the Collector’s Edition? Stay tuned as later this week we’ll reveal the Collector’s Edition(s) for MLB The Show 23 and all its content.

Please note: All Collector’s Edition(s) of MLB The Show 23 revealed on February 2 include dual entitlement***. If you instead plan on purchasing the Standard Edition of MLB The Show 23 on PlayStation 4 and have plans of upgrading to the PlayStation 5 version, you will need to purchase the digital edition to take advantage of the $10 USD upgrade offer. 

We could not be more excited for Jazz to join the roster of cover athletes and for MLB The Show 23 coming to PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch on March 28, 2023! Look forward to new ways to play, a new class of legends and much more! Check TheShow.com and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok accounts for the latest updates about MLB The Show 23. 

For more detailed information on MLB The Show 23 you can read the FAQ here

*Online multiplayer features require internet connection and console-specific online multiplayer subscription. 

** Cross-platform progression requires an internet connection and for each platform you play on: 1) a copy of the MLB The Show 23 game compatible with your console (other platform versions sold separately); and 2) platform network account linked to your MLB The Show account. 

*** Physical edition includes PS4 Disc & PS5 Voucher (PS5 console with disc drive required). 

- npetrosino
Leading at Roblox with Garima Sinha

Leading at Roblox is a series that explores the career journeys of Roblox’s leaders and discusses their roles, philosophies, and management styles. In this profile, we get to know Garima Sinha, Senior Director of Product, who heads up our Social Team within the User Group.  

Garima outside on Roblox's campus with colleague Effie Goenawan

Garima with colleague Effie Goenawan discussing a recent project

Let’s talk about your career path to Product leadership. How did it all start? 

GS: I’ve always been interested in technical innovation. I studied Computer Science Engineering in Delhi in order to begin a career in the technology industry. After college, I took my first full-time role as a Product Manager. This was a bit unusual, as most PMs enter the position after a few years of general engineering experience. But I jumped in and learned quickly. In order to thrive, I had to have a “doer” mindset and not shy away from challenging problems. Many of these traits guided how I lead today.

Two years later, I pursued my Master’s degree in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon. From there, I had some amazing opportunities in the heart of Silicon Valley at companies like Meta (then Facebook), Thumbtack, and Instacart. I started my role here at Roblox in April of 2022, and this first year has been nothing short of amazing. I am doing some of the most innovative work of my life.

What does your current role entail?

I’m a Senior Director of Product Management within Roblox’s User Group, leading Social. Our vision is to enable one billion people to connect, play, learn, communicate, and work together in high-quality 3D immersive co-experiences. On the User Group, I lead Product for two of our verticals: Connections and Communication. Our focus is on building the products that empower free, expressive, and immersive communication on-platform, and our mission is to enable and mimic real-world communication in virtual co-experiences. Building these features safely and at scale has never been done before, and our team is so excited to reimagine the way people communicate.

Garima Sinha and her colleague Tom Sanocki on stage at Roblox Developers Conference

Garima speaking at Roblox Developers Conference 2022 with colleague Tom Sanocki

What’s one thing you’ve learned as a leader at Roblox?

Everyone in an organization is unique, and what energizes someone and gets them inspired varies across individuals.

Through my time as a leader, I’ve learned that managing each of my reports in the same manner just doesn’t work. I need to be able to adapt my style to my people – and by extension, to the situation and context that we’re in at that moment. It’s easy to default to my own preferred management style, so I’m often checking myself and ensuring that I’m aligning to the individual’s needs, not just my own. My goal is to help everyone do their best work while holding a high bar, and empowering them to reach it.

At the end of the day, my job is to help my team do great work and grow as technical professionals. Grounding my approach to leadership in that objective has helped me coach amazing and diverse professionals who complement one another with their different styles and strengths.

How do you help to lead and build a culture of innovation at Roblox?

I believe in autonomy, ownership, and creating a culture where risk-taking is encouraged. I think it’s important to coach my team, but I also want them to have the space and creativity to take the steps that they believe are right for a project, without fear of failure. I’ve found that when my teams feel like they can own and drive their domain areas, they really step up and do their best work, and if people are not afraid to fail, they are not afraid to push the boundaries. If you can create that environment for your people, you’ll encourage innovation as a leader. I try to provide guidance, inspiration, and support, while encouraging folks to lean on their own instincts and experiences. Every day at Roblox, our teams are solving problems that none of us – myself included – have the answer to. By inspiring our people to push boundaries and explore creative options, we’re able to find these answers and innovate beyond our wildest imaginations.

The second thing I do to facilitate innovation is get my hands dirty with the team! I’m never shy about diving into the details – spending time brainstorming, whiteboarding, and problem-solving. We’re working to answer some of the world’s toughest product questions, so collaboration and knowledge-sharing are key. There’s no task that’s too big or too small for anyone to take on. It can be easy for leaders to get disconnected from day-to-day work. But for the type of work we are doing at Roblox – building things that no one has ever done before – it’s imperative that people of all levels dive right in. We’re changing how the internet works for the next 10 years, and we won’t be able to do that if we don’t all deeply understand everything in our product and in our stack.

If you had to choose a value that most resonates with you as a leader, which one would it be?

When I think about our progress toward our vision, I think we have two values that work together synergistically – Get Stuff Done and Take the Long View. We take action and frequently iterate to achieve a very high volume of work at scale. Our culture is action-oriented, and we’re constantly seeking solutions that enable us to build with velocity. 

At the same time, we are a very long-term company and taking the long view is important for us. Our culture encourages intentional pauses: if we see something off or awry, it’s innate in our values to pause, step back, and rethink – even if that means a delay to ensure we get it right. We always prioritize building with safety and civility, which means creating the safest product features instead of just trying to ship things and check a box. We’re actively building for the future – even though we may need to wait weeks, months, or years to really see our vision come to life. 

Garima Sinha on olive green background

Garima Sinha, Senior Director of Product at Roblox

In closing, what excites you about the future of your team? What about Roblox as a whole?

I’m more inspired right now than I have been in a very long time. And I say that because I believe that we are at the crux of something huge. We are changing the way people come together. How they hang out with each other. How they communicate. How they play. We are so close to that future, and I’m very excited to make it happen. 

Inspired by Garima’s story? She and her team are hiring! Visit our careers site to explore open roles.

The post Leading at Roblox with Garima Sinha appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- npetrosino
2022 Year In Review – Letter from our CEO

2022 was a great year for Roblox. We are optimistically driving our vision to reimagine the way people come together, and we’re realizing it by enabling deeper forms of expression, communication, and immersion.

The investments we are making to expand the engagement of Roblox across geographies and age groups are paying off. Our community grew by 23% this year to more than 56 million daily global users. And our users spent over 49.3 billion hours coming together to create, play, explore, learn, and connect. Today, more than half of the people on Roblox are 13 and older, demonstrating our platform’s appeal to a broad range of audiences.

Innovation and improvements across every aspect of Roblox played a key role in driving our growth. Here are some of our major accomplishments from 2022.

Enabling Self-Expression and Connection

With the launch of Layered Clothing, we continued to empower people to express themselves and their identity creatively. This feature enables clothing and accessories to fit any avatar body type. Items like shirts, dresses, sweaters, jackets, and pants are now worn in layers and copy the way apparel fits and drapes on individuals in the real world. This provides our community with the power to create never-before-seen clothing and accessory types. Users can mix and match an incredible range of body styles and outfits, taking avatar customization possibilities to the next level. Since launch, we have seen over 115 million people own a layered clothing item.

Avatars wearing layered clothing

We also continued to expand the quality and immersion of social interactions on Roblox. Now, people verified as ages 13 and older can use Chat with their voice to speak aloud with one another. This functionality is built to mimic in-person conversations, and is based on avatars’ proximity to each other – meaning you might whisper to a friend nearby or raise your voice to carry across the room. Almost a million Roblox experiences have already enabled voice communications.

At the end of the year, we rolled out Contact Importer, a safe and secure way for people to find and connect with real-life friends. Contact Importer uses the same contact names saved on a user’s device, so they can quickly recognize their friends on the Roblox platform. We also released Friend Recommendations, so people ages 13 and older can easily review and add friends directly. These two features are important steps in making it easier for people to connect while continuing to uphold the privacy and safety of our community.

Contact Importer Flow

Expanding Creator Opportunities

Other important innovations were focused on accelerating our vision of making creation accessible to everyone on Roblox. We’re building tools so anyone from new creators to big development studios can bring their creations to fruition. 

In 2022, our community visited more than 15 million experiences on the platform, and developers and creators published more than 15,000 experiences every single day. To support this creation flywheel, we made advancements to Roblox Studio, our free development software for building and publishing 3D content. Roblox Studio now has a refreshed look and new features — like support for high-resolution displays and redesigned icons for better navigation — that allow creators to customize their workspaces and collaborate with teammates seamlessly.

Gif of Roblox's Studio Refresh

In July 2022, we rolled out a number of advancements to our material system to enhance the visual quality of the full library of existing materials and make them look and feel even more realistic than before. Materials on Roblox are akin to materials in the real world. They’re used to not only define the surface appearance of a 3D object but also its physical properties, which in turn influences how the object behaves. Our material system will help our creators more easily realize their aesthetic vision. 

We’ve also added several new features to Roblox Cloud, our developer ecosystem, to streamline experience development and enhance productivity. Developers can now access all their Roblox resources via APIs that enable a rich ecosystem of tools for improving creator workflows and customization.

At the end of the year, we began rolling out our new Creator Hub, a resource that brings all of our online tools and documentation for developers into a unified platform. Creator Hub makes creation easier, faster, and more streamlined by providing operational and management support in one place. The technology we’re building for Creator Hub will also bring greater fidelity and capabilities to developer creations.

Evolving our Virtual Economy

In 2022, our Economy team achieved an important milestone: more than 90% of items published in Marketplace are now made by creators, getting us even closer to the point where all content within Roblox is fully user-generated. We’re continuing to improve user discovery in Marketplace, so people can find items they want in a way that will redefine the user journey. We envision a future where select items are offered on a limited basis, and other items are more widely available, so people can find a breadth of items they love.

This September, at our biggest Roblox Developers Conference ever, we announced Immersive Ads. This innovative 3D advertising experience is designed to give brands and developers alike the ability to reach their audiences in new ways.

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Investing in Safety and Civility

As the Roblox community continues to grow, we are deeply focused on ensuring a safe and civil environment for our users. Over the last year, we increased our investments in AI and machine learning for autonomously detecting and preventing attempts by bad actors to engage in harmful communications or upload harmful content.

We continued to improve sophistication in our content and chat moderation efforts. Using natural language processing models, we’ve evolved our systems to not just flag prohibited language but to understand context and act accordingly. In 2022, we used these models to power automated moderation features in English, as well as in Spanish, German, Portuguese and more, and we will continue to roll them out globally in 2023.

Thanks to our investments around AI and machine learning, we’ve been able to safely channel more of our first-line moderation to automated systems. Roblox has made meaningful improvements to the time to action on content identified as problematic. The upshot: while speed in moderation has long been a strength for Roblox, we’re now even faster and more accurate.

Creating Opportunities for Brands

Brands of all types, from Alo Yoga and Spotify to the NFL, continued to use Roblox to connect and engage with millions of people. Every day, Roblox makes entirely new online connections possible by giving companies the ability to create exciting activations and virtual products. There were over 100 brand activations launched in 2022.

By giving people the tools to express themselves in any way they want, we’ve seen some amazing creativity and interesting trends from the community. These were captured in our 2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends report, published in collaboration with the Parsons School of Design. The report dives into the new trends and opportunities in digital fashion, and how apparel in the virtual world can inspire people to express themselves in new ways on Roblox.

We also continued to focus on supporting educational developers, providers, and educators in bringing high-quality content to the platform across a broad range of subjects, grade levels, and experience genres. We made progress in the education category by partnering with our first Roblox Community Fund recipient, the Museum of Science, Boston, on the launch of their Mission: Mars experience on the platform.

Museum of Science Mission: Mars graphic

As companies continue to establish themselves on Roblox with the help of our community, the opportunities for creators increase. And the growth of our community expands the opportunities for organizations to connect with their audiences on Roblox. We’re excited to see this momentum continue.

Investing in Our People

None of this would be possible without our talented employees. To support the ongoing growth of our platform, we continued to invest in developing our talent and leadership. Nick Tornow joined us to lead the Creator Engineering group, and most recently John Stauffer joined us as our new VP of Engineering on the Engine group.

In the spirit of collaboration driving innovation, we held our first all-employee in-person Roblox Week at our San Mateo headquarters in July. Teams gathered for a week of activities that fostered connections, strengthened our community, and celebrated the technical innovations we’re building to shape the future. And at the end of the year, we returned to an in-person Hack Week, with more than 225 teams pursuing self-directed projects that pushed boundaries and accelerated the future of our platform.

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Finally, we were honored to rank third on Fast Company’s Top 100 Workplaces for Innovators in 2022. This award reflects our innovation-first culture that empowers our technical teams to be responsible, take the long view, and get stuff done, all while respecting our global community of millions of creators.

The Journey Ahead

Looking ahead, I’m excited to see how creativity and invention continue to fuel growth at Roblox. At every level, we’re seeing new opportunities to connect a billion people with optimism and civility. 

I’d like to thank our employees, our Roblox board, and the entire Roblox community for all the things they’ve achieved and made possible this year. We have an exciting year ahead.

David Baszucki, a.k.a Builderman 

Founder and CEO, Roblox

The post 2022 Year In Review – Letter from our CEO appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- npetrosino
Leading at Roblox with Claus Moberg

Leading at Roblox is a new series that explores the career journeys of Roblox’s leaders and discusses their roles, philosophies, and management styles. In our first profile, we get to know Claus Moberg, VP of Engineering, who heads up our User Group. This year, Claus is also leading Roblox’s Hack Week, a week-long opportunity for all Roblox employees to bring our core values to life by pursuing self-directed projects that push boundaries and accelerate the future of our platform. 

Let’s talk about your career path to Engineering leadership. How did it all start? 

CM: You could definitely consider my path to engineering leadership unconventional. My grandfather was a meteorologist, and I spent a large chunk of my summers hanging out with my grandparents, like a “grandparents summer camp” kind of thing. Through that quality time, I became really interested in the weather. When I was in high school, I completed internships doing research on hurricanes at the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab in Miami. I then chose my college, the University of Wisconsin, because it had a really strong meteorology program. One thing led to another, and I migrated from pure meteorology to really focusing on air pollution, which is where the atmospheric chemistry portion kicked in. My PhD explored the relationship between air pollution in one corner of the world and its impact on the health and wellness of people in a completely different place.

Claus Moberg conducting field work for his PhD in atmospheric chemistry

Claus Moberg conducting field work for his PhD in atmospheric chemistry

And what led to your transition into engineering?

Here’s where things take the pivotal turn that led me to Roblox. I had the opportunity to get involved in a business idea competition that really piqued my interest. I wound up winning a prize in the competition and starting a company based on my idea. The company made toys that would unlock characters in video games, and that’s how I got into the video game and entertainment space. It was through this company that I met Dave Baszucki, Roblox’s Founder and CEO. Dave and I got to know one another, and he gave me a job offer as an Engineering Director at Roblox. Here we are, nearly seven years later. 

I’ve never been the kind of person who has followed a linear career plan. I’m always looking at the opportunities that are in front of me and trying to maximize the ones I think will be most entertaining and fulfilling. Roblox has clearly been that one for a very long time.

So you started off as a Director of Engineering at Roblox. Can you share a bit about your career path?

I started at Roblox almost seven years ago as an Engineering Director leading efforts for our mobile, console, and VR gaming clients. Within about a year, I was promoted to Senior Director and began overseeing our Lua Applications and Infrastructure teams. I spent about two years in that position, and then was promoted into my current role as VP of Engineering, overseeing our User Group and our Chinese subsidiary, Luobu.

And what does your current role entail?

I currently lead the User Group at Roblox. “Users” are what we call the consumers on the platform. We think of Roblox as a two-sided marketplace, where creators and developers come every month to create incredible immersive virtual 3D experiences, and then millions of users come every month to consume those experiences. My team is responsible for ensuring the time those users spend on Roblox is positive and seamless. In practice, that means I manage the team that owns the actual apps that you install on your device, as well as all of the social features on the platform that allow users to communicate and interact just as they would in the physical world, like text chat, voice chat, asynchronous messaging, groups, communities, and more. 

I also lead engineering for our Chinese subsidiary called Luobu, which is a joint venture with Tencent, a tech and entertainment company based in China.

It sounds like you’re managing a lot of people with different experiences, backgrounds, and career goals. What’s one thing you’ve learned as a leader at Roblox? 

I’ve learned so many lessons in my career by making mistakes. A big one that jumps to mind is the importance of communication and transparency when you’re in a leadership role. It isn’t easy, but I’ve learned that communicating with facts and authenticity is the best way to expedite the process of finding a path forward. This is where innovation happens, in the moments when you tackle problems head on instead of trying to shine a positive light on them or avoid addressing them at their root. This was a lesson that I personally had to learn the hard way, but it’s really important to how I operate on a day-to-day basis at Roblox.

Claus Moberg and colleague Michael McHale, Project Management Director, performing at the 2017 Roblox Bloxy Awards

Claus Moberg and colleague Michael McHale, Project Management Director, performing at the 2017 Roblox Bloxy Awards

How do you help to lead and build a culture of innovation at Roblox?

I use Roblox’s values as an algorithm for innovation. In other words, I encourage my team to use our four core values as a tool that they can use in all of their decision-making. For example:

Take the long view → Ask yourself: “How do I want this to work five years from now?” Are you moving toward that or away from it? Respect the community → Consider which of the options in front of you benefits the largest number of people. Start out at the highest level and consider what’s best for all of our users.Then move down the funnel: what’s best for the company, the team, and the individual. We are responsible → We remove personal interest and make the right thing happen. Get stuff done → How can we do the right thing most efficiently?

If you use our Roblox values as a decision-making algorithm, it’s very rare that you run through all four, and you still don’t know what to do. Inherently in that process lies innovation. In my experience as a leader here, the values constrain how I think about solving problems and have helped me guide my teams to innovate in the right ways.

If you had to choose a value that most resonates with you as a leader, which one would it be?

All of them are imperative, but at this moment at our company, Take the long view is extremely relevant. I think it’s important for my team to keep in mind how rare an opportunity we have right now. With a single product, we have, theoretically, the capacity for every human being on earth with an internet connection to become a user. And if we execute the roadmap in front of us and continue to make Roblox the best platform for innovative 3D creation, then our total addressable market is 3 billion people. In other words, we’re building for 3 billion monthly active users six years from now, today. So how do we think about solving that problem? How we answer that question is where innovation comes from.

In closing, can you share a moment from the last few years when you were most proud of your team?

There are so many, but a big one that stands out is the evolution of our mobile app. When I first joined Roblox, our load time was slow and the experience was clunky. We knew that if we improved the experience, our growth rates would accelerate from where they were, which was already very strong.

Claus Moberg during a 2022 Roblox Game Jam

Claus Moberg during a 2022 Roblox Game Jam

At the time, every mobile app in the App Store fell into one of two buckets. One option was a native build, so teams would build an iOS, Android, and Windows app simultaneously. That meant if you were building a new feature, you had to build it many different times: once for each of the platforms that we support (Objective C/Swift for iOS, Android Java for Android, C# for Windows, C++ for Xbox, etc). The second option was to transpile web code as an app using something like React Native. With this option, teams only had to build and maintain each feature or change once, but it was an imperfect experience everywhere— a single codebase with a lackluster user experience all-around. 

At Roblox, we opened a third door that wasn’t possible for anyone else: rebuild our app as a Roblox game. The first thing we do when we port Roblox to a new platform is integrate our game engine at the lowest level APIs available to us on that hardware and operating system. So, everything you do on Roblox after the splash screen is itself scripted in Lua and rendered by our game engine. This means that we have a single code base that powers all Roblox experiences on every platform. Last year, we released what’s been called the Universal App on desktop. This was one of the last platforms that lacked a version of our Lua Universal App powering the experience. It took us four years to do this, but we now have a single codebase that powers a first-class experience on every single platform, including mobile. Since launching, it’s been dogfooding amazing features for our developers and debugging thousands of issues within the game engine itself that were limiting us from building the thing that we wanted to build. 

When we fixed the app, every scrolling frame and every game across all the millions of games on Roblox was fixed overnight. That was a really brave big bet that we placed, and now it’s starting to pay dividends. 

Our team was presented with several technical challenges to overcome and some big decisions to make. Seeing my team use our values as a decision-making algorithm to define our path forward and set them up for success was a great moment for me. I’ll always be so proud of our team and what they accomplished.

Inspired by Claus’ story? He and his team are hiring! Visit our careers site to explore open roles on the User Group.

The post Leading at Roblox with Claus Moberg appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- npetrosino
Fostering a Culture of Innovation in 2023
Survey of engineers shows collaboration, flexibility and sense of ownership as critical factors in nurturing an innovation mindset and culture

When a company sets out on an ambitious goal of building things that haven’t existed before, innovation is that one significant differentiator between success and failure. Solving complex technical challenges requires a mindset that isn’t averse to taking risks, and a leadership style that is rooted in respect, collaboration, responsibility and a consistent long-term vision.  

At Roblox, fostering a culture of innovation is top of mind for every leader. As we build the teams and hire the top technical talent to innovate and usher in our ambitious vision of a 3D immersive platform connecting a billion people, we wanted to hear directly from the broader engineering community on what leadership styles and skills they value most.

In a survey of 500 engineers across all career levels – from vice presidents and fellows, to directors, managers, principal engineers and other individual contributors – we covered topics related to leadership, technology, the future of work, and innovation. All in an effort to better understand the engineering mindset and get a clear picture of what’s important to them now and in the year(s) ahead. 

We gathered some interesting insights, many of which are applicable to most engineering leaders and organizations. Today’s post focuses on results specific to leadership characteristics that foster a culture of innovation. Insights from the rest of our survey related to the engineering mindset, future of work and technology will follow in January. 

Building an Innovation Friendly Culture

One important insight from our survey is that not doing something as a leader is at times more impactful to fostering a culture of innovation than anything else. For instance, competition is often seen as an important motivator and a driver of bigger, better results. Our survey shows that competition has the opposite effect on innovation. 

According to our survey, engineers perceive competition as something that stifles innovation:  

Encouraging competition ranks last (14%)¹ amongst important qualities for a C-suite leader to have for fostering a culture of innovation.   And, encouraging competition is seen in an even more negative light by early-in-their- career engineers and individual contributors (5%). 

What really matters to engineers is for leaders to encourage an environment that is collaborative (91%), flexible (88%) and one that gives everyone a sense of ownership (87%). This aligns nicely to what many engineering leaders are already prioritizing, with collaboration (48%), a positive outlook (47%) and an initiative to learn new skills (46%) ranking as the top priorities by engineering leaders for fostering a culture of innovation.

The most important types of environments for fostering innovation are: 91% collaborative, 88% flexible, 87% having a sense of ownership

However, the initiative to learn new skills shouldn’t just fall on the individual. Leaders should encourage ongoing education, and implement programs that empower engineers to learn new tools, programming languages, and skills. Our survey participants feel most innovative when learning new technical skills (61%), especially among those that are individual contributors (81%). 

Priority Leadership Characteristics

 When it comes down to evaluating C-suite leaders, engineers rank “long term thinker” or “visionary” as the most important quality (37%)¹ for fostering a culture of innovation. This area is significantly more important to individual contributors (53%) who look to be inspired by their C-suite leadership, than it is to other senior (VP+) leaders (33%). 

37% of surveyed engineers said that the most important quality of a C-Suite leader

Additional qualities that are top of mind for engineers across all career levels include trustworthiness (35%), taking responsibility (31%), and the ability to prioritize (31%). In contrast, lack of vision (43%), lack of development and growth opportunities (42%) and a poor employee culture (41%) are all listed as characteristics that stifle innovation.

Taking responsibility is one of our core values at Roblox, and that manifests itself through teams and individuals having the autonomy to explore projects and take risks. In particular, strategy proposals are expected to come from within the organization, with those teams then engaging in refining the strategy with senior management. We also create specific space in our schedule for innovation – such as through our annual Hack Week event. 

A Look Ahead

Overall, these survey results are encouraging to me and our leadership team since we already work hard to encourage responsibility and many of the other characteristics that engineers feel are important for fostering innovation. 

Innovation is that rare commodity that needs to be valued, rewarded and nurtured. At Roblox we aren’t standing still. As leaders, we’re already systematically thinking thorough ways to broaden, scale and give our teams the freedom to innovate so that they can bring our mission to life.  

I hope that you find these insights valuable, and look forward to sharing more in the new year.

¹When selecting from a question that asks: Which of the following do you think are the most important qualities for a C-suite leader at your organization to have for them to foster a culture of innovation?

The post Fostering a Culture of Innovation in 2023 appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- npetrosino
Introducing Contact Importer and Friend Recommendations

Today, we’re excited to announce the rollout of two new features to make it easier to find and connect with friends on Roblox: Contact Importer and Friend Recommendations. Experiences on Roblox can be more amazing and enjoyable when you are with people that you know. Now you will be able to import your phone contacts with Contact Importer and also discover new connections with Friend Recommendations. As with all of our features, we’ve taken the necessary steps to carefully test them over time to ensure a safe, high-quality experience for our community. 

Contact Importer

Users can opt in to Contact Importer to easily find and connect with their real-life friends by uploading contacts from their phone and matching those contacts with other users on Roblox that have opted into letting their friends find them by phone number. To make it even easier, Contact Importer uses the same contact names saved within a users’ device so they can quickly recognize their friends on Roblox’s platform. 

For example, if someone saves a number in their phone under the nickname “Big Sis,” the number will also appear to them as “Big Sis” on Roblox when importing their contacts. Once imported, this nickname will be shown in addition to their Roblox display name on surfaces like their profile, making it easier to keep track of contacts on Roblox. As a privacy measure, only the user uploading their contacts will be able to see their contact names.

To ensure privacy and safety, users can choose whether others can find them with their phone number – this provides them clear control of their privacy options, a step beyond industry standards. Contact Importer will begin to roll out to 13+ year old phone verified users this week.

Contact Importer Flow

Friend Recommendations

Friend Recommendations provide a list of suggested people you may know and want to connect with on Roblox. With Friend Recommendations now being featured on the home page, users 13 and older can easily review these suggestions and add friends directly. This feature has been designed to recommend only high-quality connections for our users with contextual indicators. For example, we may recommend a user with whom someone has many mutual connections.

PYMKExperiencing Roblox Through Connections

The vision of Roblox is to reimagine the way people come together. This is already happening for our 58 million daily active users worldwide as they enjoy the variety of experiences from our amazing creators and connect and hang out with friends – just like in the real world. The rollout of Contact Importer and Friend Recommendations is an important step in helping make it easier for users to connect, while continuing to uphold the privacy and safety of our community. 

The post Introducing Contact Importer and Friend Recommendations appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- mmay@roblox.com

Luau is the first programming language to put the power of semantic subtyping in the hands of millions of creators.

Minimizing false positives

One of the issues with type error reporting in tools like the Script Analysis widget in Roblox Studio is false positives. These are warnings that are artifacts of the analysis, and don’t correspond to errors which can occur at runtime. For example, the program

local x = CFrame.new() local y if math.random() < 0.5 then y = CFrame.new() else y = Vector3.new() end local z = x * y

reports a type error which cannot happen at runtime, since CFrame supports multiplication by both Vector3 and CFrame. (Its type is ((CFrame, CFrame) -> CFrame) & ((CFrame, Vector3) -> Vector3).)

False positives are especially poor for onboarding new users. If a type-curious creator switches on typechecking and is immediately faced with a wall of spurious red squiggles, there is a strong incentive to immediately switch it off again.

Inaccuracies in type errors are inevitable, since it is impossible to decide ahead of time whether a runtime error will be triggered. Type system designers have to choose whether to live with false positives or false negatives. In Luau this is determined by the mode: strict mode errs on the side of false positives, and nonstrict mode errs on the side of false negatives.

While inaccuracies are inevitable, we try to remove them whenever possible, since they result in spurious errors, and imprecision in type-driven tooling like autocomplete or API documentation.

Subtyping as a source of false positives

One of the sources of false positives in Luau (and many other similar languages like TypeScript or Flow) is subtyping. Subtyping is used whenever a variable is initialized or assigned to, and whenever a function is called: the type system checks that the type of the expression is a subtype of the type of the variable. For example, if we add types to the above program

local x : CFrame = CFrame.new() local y : Vector3 | CFrame if math.random() < 0.5 then y = CFrame.new() else y = Vector3.new() end local z : Vector3 | CFrame = x * y

then the type system checks that the type of CFrame multiplication is a subtype of (CFrame, Vector3 | CFrame) -> (Vector3 | CFrame).

Subtyping is a very useful feature, and it supports rich type constructs like type union (T | U) and intersection (T & U). For example, number? is implemented as a union type (number | nil), inhabited by values that are either numbers or nil.

Unfortunately, the interaction of subtyping with intersection and union types can have odd results. A simple (but rather artificial) case in older Luau was:

local x : (number?) & (string?) = nil local y : nil = nil y = x -- Type '(number?) & (string?)' could not be converted into 'nil' x = y

This error is caused by a failure of subtyping, the old subtyping algorithm reports that (number?) & (string?) is not a subtype of nil. This is a false positive, since number & string is uninhabited, so the only possible inhabitant of (number?) & (string?) is nil.

This is an artificial example, but there are real issues raised by creators caused by the problems, for example https://devforum.roblox.com/t/luau-recap-july-2021/1382101/5. Currently, these issues mostly affect creators making use of sophisticated type system features, but as we make type inference more accurate, union and intersection types will become more common, even in code with no type annotations.

This class of false positives no longer occurs in Luau, as we have moved from our old approach of syntactic subtyping to an alternative called semantic subtyping.

Syntactic subtyping

AKA “what we did before.”

Syntactic subtyping is a syntax-directed recursive algorithm. The interesting cases to deal with intersection and union types are:

Reflexivity: T is a subtype of T Intersection L: (T₁ & … & Tⱼ) is a subtype of U whenever some of the Tᵢ are subtypes of U Union L: (T₁ | … | Tⱼ) is a subtype of U whenever all of the Tᵢ are subtypes of U Intersection R: T is a subtype of (U₁ & … & Uⱼ) whenever T is a subtype of all of the Uᵢ Union R: T is a subtype of (U₁ | … | Uⱼ) whenever T is a subtype of some of the Uᵢ.

For example:

By Reflexivity: nil is a subtype of nil so by Union R: nil is a subtype of number? and: nil is a subtype of string? so by Intersection R: nil is a subtype of (number?) & (string?).

Yay! Unfortunately, using these rules:

number isn’t a subtype of nil so by Union L: (number?) isn’t a subtype of nil and: string isn’t a subtype of nil so by Union L: (string?) isn’t a subtype of nil so by Intersection L: (number?) & (string?) isn’t a subtype of nil.

This is typical of syntactic subtyping: when it returns a “yes” result, it is correct, but when it returns a “no” result, it might be wrong. The algorithm is a conservative approximation, and since a “no” result can lead to type errors, this is a source of false positives.

Semantic subtyping

AKA “what we do now.”

Rather than thinking of subtyping as being syntax-directed, we first consider its semantics, and later return to how the semantics is implemented. For this, we adopt semantic subtyping:

The semantics of a type is a set of values. Intersection types are thought of as intersections of sets. Union types are thought of as unions of sets. Subtyping is thought of as set inclusion.

For example:

Type Semantics number { 1, 2, 3, … } string { “foo”, “bar”, … } nil { nil } number? { nil, 1, 2, 3, … } string? { nil, “foo”, “bar”, … } (number?) & (string?) { nil, 1, 2, 3, … } ∩ { nil, “foo”, “bar”, … } = { nil }

and since subtypes are interpreted as set inclusions:

Subtype Supertype Because nil number? { nil } ⊆ { nil, 1, 2, 3, … } nil string? { nil } ⊆ { nil, “foo”, “bar”, … } nil (number?) & (string?) { nil } ⊆ { nil } (number?) & (string?) nil { nil } ⊆ { nil }

So according to semantic subtyping, (number?) & (string?) is equivalent to nil, but syntactic subtyping only supports one direction.

This is all fine and good, but if we want to use semantic subtyping in tools, we need an algorithm, and it turns out checking semantic subtyping is non-trivial.

Semantic subtyping is hard

NP-hard to be precise.

We can reduce graph coloring to semantic subtyping by coding up a graph as a Luau type such that checking subtyping on types has the same result as checking for the impossibility of coloring the graph

For example, coloring a three-node, two color graph can be done using types:

type Red = "red" type Blue = "blue" type Color = Red | Blue type Coloring = (Color) -> (Color) -> (Color) -> boolean type Uncolorable = (Color) -> (Color) -> (Color) -> false

Then a graph can be encoded as an overload function type with subtype Uncolorable and supertype Coloring, as an overloaded function which returns false when a constraint is violated. Each overload encodes one constraint. For example a line has constraints saying that adjacent nodes cannot have the same color:

type Line = Coloring & ((Red) -> (Red) -> (Color) -> false) & ((Blue) -> (Blue) -> (Color) -> false) & ((Color) -> (Red) -> (Red) -> false) & ((Color) -> (Blue) -> (Blue) -> false)

A triangle is similar, but the end points also cannot have the same color:

type Triangle = Line & ((Red) -> (Color) -> (Red) -> false) & ((Blue) -> (Color) -> (Blue) -> false)

Now, Triangle is a subtype of Uncolorable, but Line is not, since the line can be 2-colored. This can be generalized to any finite graph with any finite number of colors, and so subtype checking is NP-hard.

We deal with this in two ways:

we cache types to reduce memory footprint, and give up with a “Code Too Complex” error if the cache of types gets too large.

Hopefully this doesn’t come up in practice much. There is good evidence that issues like this don’t arise in practice from experience with type systems like that of Standard ML, which is EXPTIME-complete, but in practice you have to go out of your way to code up Turing Machine tapes as types.

Type normalization

The algorithm used to decide semantic subtyping is type normalization. Rather than being directed by syntax, we first rewrite types to be normalized, then check subtyping on normalized types.

A normalized type is a union of:

a normalized nil type (either never or nil) a normalized number type (either never or number) a normalized boolean type (either never or true or false or boolean) a normalized function type (either never or an intersection of function types) etc

Once types are normalized, it is straightforward to check semantic subtyping.

Every type can be normalized (sigh, with some technical restrictions around generic type packs). The important steps are:

removing intersections of mismatched primitives, e.g. number & bool is replaced by never, and removing unions of functions, e.g. ((number?) -> number) | ((string?) -> string) is replaced by (nil) -> (number | string).

For example, normalizing (number?) & (string?) removes number & string, so all that is left is nil.

Our first attempt at implementing type normalization applied it liberally, but this resulted in dreadful performance (complex code went from typechecking in less than a minute to running overnight). The reason for this is annoyingly simple: there is an optimization in Luau’s subtyping algorithm to handle reflexivity (T is a subtype of T) that performs a cheap pointer equality check. Type normalization can convert pointer-identical types into semantically-equivalent (but not pointer-identical) types, which significantly degrades performance.

Because of these performance issues, we still use syntactic subtyping as our first check for subtyping, and only perform type normalization if the syntactic algorithm fails. This is sound, because syntactic subtyping is a conservative approximation to semantic subtyping.

Pragmatic semantic subtyping

Off-the-shelf semantic subtyping is slightly different from what is implemented in Luau, because it requires models to be set-theoretic, which requires that inhabitants of function types “act like functions.” There are two reasons why we drop this requirement.

Firstly, we normalize function types to an intersection of functions, for example a horrible mess of unions and intersections of functions:

((number?) -> number?) | (((number) -> number) & ((string?) -> string?))

normalizes to an overloaded function:

((number) -> number?) & ((nil) -> (number | string)?)

Set-theoretic semantic subtyping does not support this normalization, and instead normalizes functions to disjunctive normal form (unions of intersections of functions). We do not do this for ergonomic reasons: overloaded functions are idiomatic in Luau, but DNF is not, and we do not want to present users with such non-idiomatic types.

Our normalization relies on rewriting away unions of function types:

((A) -> B) | ((C) -> D) → (A & C) -> (B | D)

This normalization is sound in our model, but not in set-theoretic models.

Secondly, in Luau, the type of a function application f(x) is B if f has type (A) -> B and x has type A. Unexpectedly, this is not always true in set-theoretic models, due to uninhabited types. In set-theoretic models, if x has type never then f(x) has type never. We do not want to burden users with the idea that function application has a special corner case, especially since that corner case can only arise in dead code.

In set-theoretic models, (never) -> A is a subtype of (never) -> B, no matter what A and B are. This is not true in Luau.

For these two reasons (which are largely about ergonomics rather than anything technical) we drop the set-theoretic requirement, and use pragmatic semantic subtyping.

Negation types

The other difference between Luau’s type system and off-the-shelf semantic subtyping is that Luau does not support all negated types.

The common case for wanting negated types is in typechecking conditionals:

-- initially x has type T if type(x) == "string" then -- in this branch x has type T & string else -- in this branch x has type T & ~string end

This uses a negated type ~string inhabited by values that are not strings.

In Luau, we only allow this kind of typing refinement on test types like string, function, Part and so on, and not on structural types like (A) -> B, which avoids the common case of general negated types.

Prototyping and verification

During the design of Luau’s semantic subtyping algorithm, there were changes made (for example initially we thought we were going to be able to use set-theoretic subtyping). During this time of rapid change, it was important to be able to iterate quickly, so we initially implemented a prototype rather than jumping straight to a production implementation.

Validating the prototype was important, since subtyping algorithms can have unexpected corner cases. For this reason, we adopted Agda as the prototyping language. As well as supporting unit testing, Agda supports mechanized verification, so we are confident in the design.

The prototype does not implement all of Luau, just the functional subset, but this was enough to discover subtle feature interactions that would probably have surfaced as difficult-to-fix bugs in production.

Prototyping is not perfect, for example the main issues that we hit in production were about performance and the C++ standard library, which are never going to be caught by a prototype. But the production implementation was otherwise fairly straightforward (or at least as straightforward as a 3kLOC change can be).

Next steps

Semantic subtyping has removed one source of false positives, but we still have others to track down:

Overloaded function applications and operators Property access on expressions of complex type Read-only properties of tables Variables that change type over time (aka typestates)

The quest to remove spurious red squiggles continues!

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Giuseppe Castagna and Ben Greenman for helpful comments on drafts of this post.

Alan coordinates the design and implementation of the Luau type system, which helps drive many of the features of development in Roblox Studio. Dr. Jeffrey has over 30 years of experience with research in programming languages, has been an active member of numerous open-source software projects, and holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, England.

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- npetrosino
Insights From Our ‘2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends’ Report
Take an In-Depth Look At Gen Z’s Avatar Style Preferences  Missed our virtual panel “What’s Next in Metaverse Fashion?” Check out the recording here

Long before the vast potential of digital fashion captured the attention of media and brands, our community members were designing, sharing, and wearing their own avatar fashion creations. For over a decade they’ve been redefining digital identity and their personal style, but in the past few years we’ve seen incredible leaps in the evolution of self-expression on our platform.

Iconic fashion brands have established presences here on Roblox by partnering with our creator community, and the rollout of Layered Clothing – our new technology powering hyper-realistic 3D clothing – has once again raised the bar for what our creators are able to make. As the opportunities for self-expression and personal style accelerate, we decided to take a moment to connect with our incredible community and get a deeper understanding of their experience with digital fashion. We conducted extensive research, drawing both from our own platform as well as survey responses¹ from a thousand Gen Z members who are active on Roblox and closely familiar with digital fashion. 

To offer an in-depth look at the digital fashion trends we’ve been seeing, we’ve partnered with one of the world’s leading institutions for art and design education, Parsons School of Design, to launch our ‘2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends’ report. Here are the top 5 trends.

2. The Influence of Creator Communities on Fashion Is Accelerating

In 2022 alone, more than 11.5 million creators designed over 62 million virtual clothing and accessory items on Roblox. These creators dress millions of people all over the world and impact how they express themselves both in the digital and physical worlds.

To put that in context, there are at least 200 times as many creators designing clothing and accessories on Roblox as the estimated number of fashion designers creating physical collections in the United States².

In 2022, we’ve seen a large influx of global fashion and beauty brands creating digital fashion and immersive experiences for Roblox (or integrating with existing popular experiences on the platform) – including Gucci, Burberry, Carolina Herrera, Tommy Hilfiger, NARS, Alo Yoga and supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, as well as metaverse-only fashion companies like DRESSX. Most of these brands are tapping into the vast expertise of Roblox community members who can help create beautiful digital fashion and other engaging content on the platform.

Avatar models during Tommy Hilfiger show on Roblox

2. Self-Expression and Inclusivity in Digital Fashion Is Essential for Gen Z

The vast majority of Gen Z who are active on Roblox said in our survey that they have customized their avatars, with half of them changing their avatar’s clothing at least every week. 

Just like in the physical world, people tend to connect with and react to others around them based on the way they look and dress, which can have a profound impact on their self-confidence and relationships. Dressing their avatars allows consumers to express their individuality (47%) and feel good about themselves (43%), but also to show off their digital collection and feel more connected to peers – in both the digital and physical worlds. 

In fact, 2 in 5 respondents said expressing themselves with clothing and accessories in the digital world is MORE important than expressing themselves in the physical world. 

Data from respondents about what dressing their avatars allows Gen Z consumers to do

Diverse options for avatar customization are important for the majority of community members who can easily customize on Roblox to be whoever they want to be. In our survey, they’ve noted the importance of having a full range of skin tones (said 70%) and a full range of body sizes (64%), along with a full range of hair colors, textures and styles (70%). 

Seven in ten consider inclusivity in digital clothing designs to be “very” or “extremely” important. This challenge can be addressed by new technology like Layered Clothing, a new feature that’s been embraced by both our community creators and users. Over the course of 2022, over 157 million users on Roblox have already acquired both free and paid items community-created Layered Clothing items. 

3. Nearly 3 in 4 Gen Z Say They Spend on Digital Fashion

People are expressing themselves through their avatar style and Roblox fashion choices similarly to how they do in the physical world, with over half (53%) saying their style changes based on their mood or feelings on a particular day, and 37% changing clothing based on where they are going in the metaverse and what they are doing. Many (42%) would change their clothing to immediately try on a new purchase.

Data from respondents around what makes them change their avatars style

Among those who say they spend money on digital fashion, 31% of users said they’d typically spend up to $5 per month and another 30% said up to $10-$20 per month, while nearly 12% will spend $50-$100 monthly. Over 1 in 4 say they’ve spent anywhere from $20 to over $100 on a single virtual item.

4. IRL Trends Influence Avatar Fashion (and Vice Versa)

In our survey, 70% of Gen Z said their avatars dress at least somewhat like their IRL style, with equally as many (70%) saying they also get physical style inspiration from dressing their avatars. 

Take the #Barbiecore trend, which started on social media as part of the excitement for the upcoming “Barbie” movie, or Y2K nostalgia: the Roblox community rushed to reflect these key 2022 fashion trends both in creation of items and their avatar styling. 

The timely launch of the Forever 21 x Barbie collection helped ensure shoppers could quickly (and literally) get dolled up for their metaverse adventures, and the Y2K trend has been peaking on Roblox, with total purchases of Y2K-labeled items surpassing 188 million from January to September 2022. 

Roblox's Y2K avatar shop

5. The Prestige of Digital Fashion Is On The Rise

Recent industry research points to Gen Z’s “outsized impact on culture and economy,” given that this consumer group accounts for approximately a quarter of the world’s population, and already has a purchasing power of hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. alone. With this demographic spending more time in immersive social spaces like Roblox, the prestige and impact of digital fashion are on the rise.

More than half (58%) of respondents consider a digital fashion designer career to be just as impressive or even more impressive than the role of a physical fashion designer. This number grows significantly among people who spend up to $100 per month on avatar fashion, where 54% said being a digital fashion designer is more impressive.

As we look forward to the near future, we expect the next generation of fashion designers and brands to be deeply immersed in digital fashion, dressing avatars, designing 3D digital versions of their collections and creating metaverse-exclusive items. 

Respondent data around what Gen Z is looking for from digital fashion brands and designers

We couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with the thought leaders at Parsons School of Design to see, along with brands, designers, and our Roblox community, how we can further enable self-expression and empower our community to become whoever they want to be – on our platform and beyond.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE

 

¹To obtain the most recent consumer insight data, Roblox, in collaboration with the Parsons School of Design, commissioned a poll from Momentive (makers of the SurveyMonkey platform) fielded September 19-21, 2022, among 1,000 people ages 14 to 24, living in the United States. The sample has been balanced for gender using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the US population in that age range. ²According to some estimates, there are about 30,000-40,000 designers employed in the U.S.

 

The post Insights From Our ‘2022 Metaverse Fashion Trends’ Report appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- Austin Romero
Team Behind the Tech – Creator Group

At Roblox, we envision a future where anyone can create anything, anywhere. With 32 million experiences already on the platform and over 60 thousand new experiences published daily, the Creator group is well on its way to bringing this to life.

“We are working to make creation simple, to democratize creation,” said Nick Tornow, Vice President of Engineering for the Creator group. “By exposing increasingly flexible and powerful interfaces for creation – in studio, in-experience, and through the cloud – and in partnership with our creator community – we will make creation in Roblox as natural as it is in the real world, turning all Roblox users into creators.”

It takes a team committed to taking the long view to deliver on this vision, so we spoke with Nick, as well as three members of his team: Head of Studio Stefano Corazza, Software Engineer Jenna Bousellam, and Lead Architect Michael Kryzhanovsky. Through these conversations, we learned about the top technical challenges they’re tackling today, the culture they aim to build, and how they’re working towards the future of creation on Roblox.

Empowering Anyone to Create on Roblox Through AI & Automation

Before Roblox, it would have taken an entire team of specialists—trained in tools that take years to master—to build an immersive 3D experience. While dedicated development studios continue to expand the frontiers of what’s possible on the platform, Roblox continues to be the most inviting place for novices to take their first steps as digital creators. 

Today, most experience creation is done in our free building tool, Roblox Studio. As Stef explains, “Studio is uniquely positioned to open powerful creative capabilities to every user – it’s the best way to get amazing content on our platform.” With Roblox Studio, anyone can build and publish an end-to-end experience with multi-user environments, regular updates, network analytics, matchmaking, monetization, and do it all more seamlessly and quickly. Most people with even modest technical skills can create experiences that host millions of users in under an hour. It’s all backed by our fully-managed cloud software and infrastructure, delivering scale and performance across the world on iOS, Android, Mac, PC, and consoles.

Building on this base, we are working to reduce friction further, to make creation even easier, and for our creators to focus on their ideas.

With advances in natural language processing and machine learning, we’ve identified techniques we may implement in the future. For instance, similar to how AI-powered art tools like Dall-E and Midjourney can take a prompt written in natural language and realize it as visual art, we’re looking at ways to have Studio build interactive objects and scenes without requiring any intricate modeling or coding from creators. 

In Nick’s words, “We want to allow creators to use natural language or other intuitive expressions of intent to get closer to their creative vision.” As Stef puts it, “How many photographers were there a decade ago? Now that everybody has an amazing camera on their phone, we have billions of photographers.”

Upskilling Our Creator Community Through Learning

While we already have a global community of talented creators, every day a new generation of Roblox users makes that leap to become creators. How can we help get these new creators on the path to fully realizing their creative vision and achieving financial success on the platform?

In addition to better tools, we also invest in learning. Nick shares that “we get people on the platform who are being exposed to coding and 3D modeling for the first time ever. So there’s a huge opportunity for us to help them learn the skills they need to be successful.”

While we provide extensive learning resources including documentation, tutorials, and creator forums, we are also adding enhanced learning materials into Studio to make finding help and implementing solutions a breeze.

“If people come into Studio and don’t know how to begin or what to do, that’s an issue we need to solve,” says Michael. “Studio is designed for everyone to be successful. When we think about the bigger picture, it actually helps us deliver more tools to help people express themselves creatively and produce even more awesome content.”

And beyond just helping creators learn, our education initiatives are having a positive impact on the community as a whole. As Jenna explained, “Making our learning materials  – and Studio overall — more accessible and available to everyone should mean more diversity in our creators. And that’s going to allow for immersive experiences that actually represent and uplift the broader set of communities around us.”

Managing the Scale of Data to Deliver a Great Experience for Creators Anywhere

As we lower the barrier to entry and give creators powerful tools to build high-fidelity 3D experiences out of the box, we need to ensure that the full scale and detail of their creations can be enjoyed by users across the world. This means ensuring a great experience on both high-end PCs as well as mobile devices—some of which may not be equipped with consistently-fast connection speeds or the latest hardware. 

“Every day, thousands of creators create millions of pieces of content. That means there’s a lot of complex information produced. We employ our global cloud to distribute creations so people all over the world can optimally engage on their device of choice. The Roblox engine assesses the basic constraints on a user’s device and gracefully delivers the right experience,” explains Nick. “This allows users to realize the most immersion possible without adjusting any settings or being locked out of any content.”

Enabling Innovation Through Our Culture of Open Communication and Collaboration

We’re innovating around a new and evolving category of human co-experience. No single person has all the answers, and we benefit from diverse voices and perspectives. The Creator group is fostering an environment in which different opinions are encouraged, and not knowing the solution (and asking for help) is always OK. The nature of our product and mission also means we don’t just listen to our own voices, but nurture a robust direct line of communication with the creator community – gathering their feedback and iterating in real time. 

“Engineers [at other companies] can often feel far removed from the people that use their products,” says Stef. “Here, as soon as a feature is out, you can see direct feedback on the forums and you can go talk to the creators and developers that use it.” 

Our open line of communication, with our team and our community, is the reason why we’re able to maintain alignment and move forward, even as we navigate uncharted territories. There’s no substitute for having that kind of close feedback loop to build and modify your product. As Stef says, “Iteration is the foundation of building good software.”

Make Your Own Impact

Our leaders ensure that open communication and collaboration are practiced daily within the Creator group. This fosters an environment that enables everyone to make a lasting impact from the start. In fact, Jenna was able to make an impact even before she joined the team full-time. 

“In my last week as an intern, I was able to ship the code to production. A week or so after joining the team full time, I went into Studio and saw the change myself. That was really exciting. I liked knowing that I was working on high-impact projects from day one,” Jenna said. 

With a bold vision for the millions of users and creators on our platform, there’s never been a better time to join the Creator group at Roblox. If you’re looking for a culture that values collaboration, innovation, seeks great ideas from anywhere, and builds products of exceptional scale and complexity, this is the place for you. 

“We’re building technology that enables everyone in the world to express their imagination through creation, without needing to think about how it all works,” says Michael.

Stef puts it more bluntly. “We’re on the precipice of a massive wave of democratization of the creation of content.”

Team Behind the Tech is a series that explores our approaches to tackling Roblox’s toughest technical challenges and highlights the people, culture, and values behind our innovative technologies. If these sound like the challenges and opportunities you want to take on, check out our available roles for the Creator group and learn more at careers.roblox.com.

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- npetrosino

At Roblox our goal is always to support developers who love to experiment with new technology and want to push the boundaries of what exists on Roblox. And we found millions of talented creators from around the world who are building incredible experiences on the platform. From the visually breathtaking environments in Winds of Fortune leveraging our new Materials system to intense mystery and surprise in the beloved social horror game Secret Neighbor, we’ve been blown away by the creativity and technical innovation on display.

That’s why we’re contributing another $10 million to Game Fund—our international program dedicated to providing funding and support for creators who are looking to build the next generation of experiences on Roblox. For a handful of these ambitious creators, we are providing the funding they need to de-risk creation and guidance from strategy to conception.

The Next Generation of Roblox Experiences

With this $35 million fund, we’re looking for projects with innovative gameplay, ambitious visual designs, and creative ideas that are unlike anything else on the platform. Current Game Fund participants have wowed us with compelling cross-platform gameplay, engaging social mechanics, dynamic in-game avatars, and creative economic models. 

Rolling Thunder, for example, continues to draw players in with its large-scale, high-fidelity environments, attracting 20 million visits to the player versus player (PvP) alpha and player versus environment (PvE) demo. Creators Jandel and Foryxe presented at the Roblox Developers Conference (RDC) last weekend on how they found success and built player loyalty through rapid iteration with Game Fund. You can find the recording on our YouTube channel in the coming days.

Initial Showcase

Over the next few months, you’ll start to see more recipients roll out Alphas, Betas, and full releases of their forthcoming experiences, including the following new recipients: 

Maximillian Studios, creator of Frontlines, a blockbuster FPS game with an unrivaled visual aesthetic. Sawhorse, creator of the highly anticipated Fashion Klossette, a next-generation fashion experience built in partnership with supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, who recently launched Fashion Klossette Designer Showcase on Roblox. Phaser Lock Interactive, creator of Primal Hunt, an action-packed, multiplayer dinosaur hunting experience. Kong Orange and Chop Chop Games, creators of Skullbeat, a musical auto-battler powered by dance moves and style points. tinyBuild and Amber Studio, creators of Secret Neighbor, a multiplayer social horror game.

These creators join existing recipients Rodeo Interactive, whose playable Alpha for the fast-paced, multiplayer FPS game RIOTFALL is available on Roblox today; Blockage, the creator of isometric cyberpunk role-playing game neonKnights; Looty Games, which is building a competitive roguelite called Project Ruin; as well as Secret Neighbor by Tiny Build, Winds of Fortune by Sonar Studios, and Rolling Thunder by Splitting Point Studios.

Check out a sneak peek of what they’re building! 

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Join the Roblox Community 

We know making something that has never existed before isn’t easy. It takes significant time, and it’s risky taking an unproven path. For those eager to pursue creative ideas that are unlike anything else, the Game Fund is just one of many programs we have in place to support creators. Click here to submit your application to the Roblox Game Fund today, read more about our other programs dedicated to supporting developers on our DevForum and check out our post on the value for developers and creators on Roblox here.

Whether you’re an individual creator, a professional development studio, or something in between, Roblox provides the technology and support for creators to bring their visions to life. Congratulations to all Game Fund participants to date, and we’re so excited for what the next chapter of Game Fund creators have to offer. 

The post Funding the Future of Roblox Creations appeared first on Roblox Blog.

- npetrosino
Roblox Innovation Awards 2022: Complete Winners List

Our community is full of talented creators from every corner of the globe. They create art, music, fashion, and entire worlds that captivate and inspire millions of people every day. For years we’ve recognized that passion with an annual virtual award show, but as their accomplishments grow, so does the need to recognize them. That’s why this year—and for the first time ever—we held a gala in-person and virtual event at the Roblox Developers Conference in Fort Mason, San Francisco, California: The Roblox Innovation Awards.

It was a moment to celebrate everything our community does to lead our industry, shaping the future of the metaverse through breathtaking and boundary-pushing experiences. At our largest RDC to date, and between awards featuring guest presenters like Karlie Kloss, MeganPlays, and MiniToon, there were interviews and discussions that explored the future of our platform and creators. We were excited to share this event as one global community—in person and virtually on Guilded.

RIA from the live audience's perspective

Without further ado, let’s review the trailblazers who won this year’s Roblox Innovation Awards.

Best New Experience – Deepwoken by Vows by the Sea Best Creative Direction – Creatures of Sonaria by Sonar Studios Best Use of Tech – TUNNELER by Homemade_Meal Video Star Video of the Year – My $1,000,000 Mansion in Roblox by Itsfunneh Video Star of the Year – Flamingo Most Immersive Environment – I N T E R V A L by Titanic In A Bottle Best Use of Avatar Fashion – Mermaid Life by FullflowerGames Best International Hit – Welcome to Bloxburg by Coeptus Best Audio Design – RoBeats by RobeatsDev Best Content Update – Piggy – Breakout Update by MiniToon Most Popular User-Created Item (UGC) – BubbleGum Candy (1.0) by OceanOrbs Most Concurrent Users – Brookhaven by Wolfpaq Developer Studio of the Year – Easy.gg People’s Choice – BedWars by Easy.gg Builderman Award of Excellence – Starving Artists by Double Bandit Studios

Our winners took home physical trophies from the event, but also earned a virtual copy for their avatars. We hope they accept our sincere congratulations.

Want to see the highlights for yourself? Check our official Roblox YouTube channel.

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