Minecraft Dungeons Closed Beta Sign-Ups Now Open

Minecraft Dungeons takes the cute blocky aesthetic of the building game and makes a loot-driven dungeon crawler out of it. The game is set to launch next spring, but in the meantime, you can sign up to take part in a closed beta.

The sign-up form states you must be 18 years old and have a free Microsoft account. It doesn’t give any specifics about when the closed beta would begin, but with launch coming within the next half-year or so you probably won’t have to wait too long.

Mojang announced the closed beta at MineCon, as well as debuting a story trailer for the game. Like all great epic quests, this is a story driven by its villain, so that’s what this trailer focuses on. An outcast Illager travels the world, rejected by society, until he stumbles upon a square-shaped artifact of great power and then he grows corrupt and mad with power. You know, that old story.

This is the first we’ve seen of Minecraft Dungeons since Microsoft announced it at E3. That brief look showed a glimpse at how equipment and food will work, and teased 4-player online co-op.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/minecraft-dungeons-closed-beta-sign-ups-now-open/1100-6470210/

Nintendo Switch Is Getting A New Brain Age Game

Nintendo is reviving its hit Brain Age series on Switch. The company has announced it is releasing a new Brain Age game for the hybrid console in Japan this December, and it’ll launch alongside a dedicated stylus for the system.

Nintendo revealed the new Brain Age game with a trailer, which you can watch below. While the video is entirely in Japanese, it shows off some new exercises in the game, as well as some of the ways it will utilize Switch’s unique features. Among other things, you can use the right Joy-Con’s IR sensor to do calculations with your fingers. There’s also a tabletop exercise that has two players competing to count the number of objects on the screen the fastest.

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The new Brain Age game hits Switch in Japan on December 27. Alongside the game, Nintendo is releasing an official stylus for the Switch. You can see some pictures of it, as well as images of the new Brain Age exercises, above. Nintendo has not yet announced if it will release Brain Age or the Switch stylus in the West.

The original Brain Age was one of Nintendo’s first notable attempts to court non-gamers, and it became a huge hit for the DS, selling more than 19 million copies worldwide and inspiring multiple sequels and off-shoots. The most recent entry in the series, Brain Age: Concentration Training, released for the 3DS in 2012.

Brain Age isn’t Nintendo’s only Switch release targeting non-gamers this year. On October 18, the company is releasing Ring Fit Adventure, a successor of sorts to the Wii Fit line. The game comes with a weird peripheral call the Ring-Con which translates exercises into in-game actions. We had a chance to go hands-on with Ring Fit Adventure earlier this month and it certainly left us sore.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/nintendo-switch-is-getting-a-new-brain-age-game/1100-6470198/

The Last Of Us 2’s Enemy AI Has Had A Big Upgrade

Naughty Dog has given the enemy AI in The Last of Us Part II a big upgrade, so the foes you’ll be going up against are smarter and will try to take you down with some deductive reasoning and tricky tactics.

“Our AI now has a new state of awareness between complete awareness of your position and totally unaware of where you are,” The Last of Us Part II co-director Anthony Newman said in an interview with GameSpot. “We sometimes call that vague knowledge.” For example, even if you were to stealthily take down an enemy with a silent weapon–such as a bow or pistol with a silencer attached to it–another enemy can still find the body, look at where the arrow or bullet is lodged in their comrade, and infer in which direction they were attacked.

They’ll then begin their search for you in that general direction, using any other bodies you drop to hone in on your position. Of course, you can prove to be smarter by utilizing the enemies’ own search patterns against them. “Not only does this make them more intelligent to new situations where these systems can cause more intense moments to transpire for the player, it also gives the player the opportunity to make predictions,” Newman said. “We all know human beings, we interact with human beings every day. We can make predictions about what they’re going to do next. By having these more refined and nuanced layers of knowledge and perception and coordination, players can make better and better predictions and make more refined strategies about what to do next.”

Even if you’re able to consistently outsmart the new enemy AI, don’t expect combat to be a walk in the park. Naughty Dog wants there to be an emotional toll to combat as well. “[The Last of Us Part II] is meant to be unsettling,” Newman said. “I think along with, honestly, every aspect of the game–narratively, mechanically, and technologically–the AI was just one facet of the game that we really wanted to take to the next level and ask, ‘What can we do that’s next-gen?'” In this regard, individual enemies now have their own names, and their friends will mourn and call out to them when they discover their murdered corpses. It’s just another aspect of the game that helps to really highlight that, within the context of The Last of Us Part II’s story, your actions are questionable even if they seem motivated by what feels like truth and justice.

The Last of Us Part II releases for PS4 on February 21. For more on the game, make sure to read our hands-on preview of The Last of Us Part II.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/the-last-of-us-2s-enemy-ai-has-had-a-big-upgrade/1100-6470119/

Mortal Kombat 11 Terminator Gameplay Trailer Coming Soon

Developer NetherRealm Studios announced the full DLC roster for Mortal Kombat 11‘s Kombat Pack last month. As previously reported, The Terminator is scheduled to launch on October 8, with NetherRealm now confirming that a gameplay trailer will go live very soon.

The official MK Twitter account shared a short, 20-second video with some targeting system locking onto various MK11 characters like Baraka and Erron Black. The tweet, below, confirmed that The Terminator’s gameplay reveal is scheduled to debut tomorrow, October 1, at 6 AM. The teaser video concludes with The Terminator’s launch date.

MK11’s Kombat Pack, which retails for $40 USD, features a bevy of characters. Alongside The Terminator, the Kombat Pack includes Shang Tsung, Nightwolf, Sindel, Joker, and Spawn. Shang Tsung and Nightwolf are available now, with Sindel launching in November, Joker arriving in January 2020, and Spawn debuting in March 2020. Previously a pre-order bonus, Shao Kahn is also available as a DLC fighter for $6 USD.

The new Mortal Kombat movie has gained some momentum as of late. After filling a few pivotal roles, like Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, and others, the full cast list has been revealed. Actors from both The Dark Knight (Chin Han) and Avengers: Endgame (Hiroyuki Sanda) have been cast in the reboot.

Last week, the NPD Group shared a prediction for the top 10 best-selling games of the year. While MK11 sits at number five, it’s joined by titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Borderlands 3, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, and others.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/mortal-kombat-11-terminator-gameplay-trailer-comin/1100-6470202/

Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Pre-Loading Now On PS4, Xbox One

Destiny 2 has gone into server maintenance mode to prepare for the upcoming release of Shadowkeep. But you can start preparing yourself now, with pre-loading of the update available on PS4 and Xbox One. Bungie has sent notice that it is now pre-loading across all regions.

Pre-loading this update now will allow you to start playing the new content the moment it goes live on October 1 at 10 AM PT. Pre-loading of the full game, including the free New Light version, has been available on Steam since last week.

Shadowkeep will introduce several big changes to Destiny 2, including nerfs to some of the current best guns, significant refinement of the loot grind, and the swapping of pinnacle weapons for new “ritual weapons.” It also introduces New Light, the F2P portion of the experience that’s open to everyone.

Meanwhile, Bungie says it is preparing to become more than just the Destiny studio. It has plans to release a new, non-Destiny game sometime in the next several years.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/destiny-2-shadowkeep-pre-loading-now-on-ps4-xbox-o/1100-6470199/

Pokemon Go Teasing New Team Rocket Characters

Something is afoot in Pokemon Go, and it appears to be related to Team Rocket, the villainous group who began appearing in the mobile game–alongside Shadow Pokemon–earlier this summer. The official Pokemon Go Twitter account has shared a series of distorted images that seem to tease the arrival of some new characters.

The images, which you can see below, appear to be profiles showcasing three unfamiliar characters who are presumably involved in Team Rocket. Aside from their silhouettes, it’s difficult to make anything out in the images, but you can see a giant R–Team Rocket’s symbol–next to each of the characters, suggesting they’ll have something to do with the evil group. The tweets read:

“Professor Willow has started to recover files from the corrupted folder, and he’s uncovered these images. One of the photos is still being restored… Could these files be left over from Team Go Rocket’s recent take-over? Who are these people?!”

Team Rocket first began appearing in Pokemon Go back in July following numerous teases, but up until now, players have only been able to encounter generic Rocket Grunts at Poke Stops. The mainline Pokemon series has featured higher level members of the team called Rocket Admins, so it’s possible the three new teased characters will fill a similar role in Go, although nothing has been confirmed.

Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket, has also previously been teased for the game. During the Pokemon Go Fest event that took place in Yokohama, Japan earlier this year, the Team Rocket boss would photobomb pictures that players took at the venue. While he hasn’t yet appeared in the actual game, these teases suggest that players certainly haven’t seen the last of the evil team.

In other Pokemon Go news, the Legendary Giratina recently returned to Raid Battles, and this time you’ll be able to encounter a Shiny variant. A handful of Gen 5 Pokemon are also still available in the game, while a Gen 3 monster, Trapinch, will be the star of October’s Community Day, which takes place next Saturday, October 12.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/pokemon-go-teasing-new-team-rocket-characters/1100-6470194/

My Hero One’s Justice 2 Announced With A New Trailer

After last week’s Gematsu report, publisher Bandai Namco has officially announced the new My Hero Academia game. My Hero One’s Justice 2 is headed to Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One sometime next year, and we finally got a first-glimpse with a new teaser trailer.

The trailer, above, is incredibly short and features no in-game footage, but it does provide insight on what MHA fans can expect when My Hero One’s Justice 2 lands in the West in 2020. Izuku “Deku” Midoriya and newcomer Kai “Overhaul” Chisaki, who debuted toward the end of My Hero Academia’s third season, are heard bickering back and forth in the way heroes and villains do. It’s unclear what story My Hero One’s Justice 2 will tell, but it’s said to be a follow-up to last year’s My Hero One’s Justice.

There isn’t a lot of information available about My Hero One’s Justice 2 as of yet. However, we did learn the game will reportedly add new characters, like the aforementioned Overhaul, and “significantly upgrade” various Quirk abilities.

My Hero Academia Season 4 is slated to air this October. Funimation announced that the new MHA season will stream on its website and Hulu, while FunimationNow debuts a SimulDub. Further, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, the second MHA film following 2018’s My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, is scheduled to release on December 20 in Japan. There’s no confirmation on a Western release date yet.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/my-hero-ones-justice-2-announced-with-a-new-traile/1100-6470197/

Apex Legends: Season 3 Introduces Big Changes And Respawn Already Has More Planned

Apex Legends, Respawn’s battle royale game, is about to go into its third season. In Apex Legends: Season 3, the hacker Crypto will be introduced as a brand-new playable character, one that most likely won’t affect the competitive meta too much, but will create new counters for certain Legends.

Season 3 begins on October 1, adding a new Legend, map, battle pass, hop-up, and weapon to Apex Legends. During a press preview event, we got hands-on time with all the new content coming to the battle royale during Season 3 and also spoke to Respawn CEO Vince Zampella and Apex Legends design director Chad Grenier about the future of the game.

Breaking Down Crypto, A Supportive Recon Specialist

Crypto’s abilities are tied to his drone, which he can summon with his tactical ability. While out, the drone can mark enemies, open doors and loot crates, and pick up teammate’s respawn beacons. Once summoned, his passive kicks in–allowing both Crypto and his teammates to see targets pinged through the drone. While the drone is out, Crypto is immobile, so his teammates will have to defend him. Though the drone can be summoned and recalled at will, it’s subject to a 40-second cooldown timer when destroyed.

As a result, Crypto is not ideal for aggressive strategies. Instead, he’s best when he’s hiding in the corner, using his drone to give his team an eye in the sky that can also aid fallen friends. Without his drone, Crypto has no abilities–even his ultimate requires his drone be out. His ultimate releases an EMP blast from the drone that does 50 shield damage to all nearby enemies (and himself if he’s caught in the blast) and stuns all characters (including Crypto and his teammates). The EMP also disables traps.

Crypto also, finally, presents a second option for playing as a recon character–meaning Bloodhound will no longer continue to be the only Legend occupying the role. “I don’t want to promise more recon Legends. Like, I’m a little hesitant to throw it out there because I don’t even know how many characters in the potential pipeline will even make it,” Zampella said. “But yes, eventually.”

Crypto’s Influence On Apex Legend’s Current Meta

Though Season 1’s Octane didn’t have too much of an impact on the ideal squad composition in Apex Legends, Season 2’s Wattson did. As the first truly defense-focused character, she is able to lock down zones better than any other Legend, making her an ideal member of virtually any squad. As seen in the first Apex Legends Invitational, putting her with the offensive Wraith and supportive Pathfinder creates a powerful combination. Though Crypto doesn’t directly address this squad makeup, his abilities will help disrupt the effectiveness of that trio.

“We’re always looking at data from our live game, which is much broader than just pro gamers,” Grenier said. “So it’s always a delicate balance of balancing characters and what we’re adding for the masses versus a few pro players. The competitive scene is also important to us. So I think it’s just a balance that we have to have there.

Though we’ll need more time testing Crypto’s abilities, he seems to provide an excellent counter to the aforementioned trio. His drone can track Wraith and Pathfinder as they try to portal or grapple away, respectively, and his ultimate ability disables both Wattson’s tactical and ultimate. Crypto’s inability to do much without his drone, however, makes him seem like a poor pick for the fast-paced nature of competitive play. He might pose somewhat of a threat in casual and lower-tiered ranked play, though. At the very least, he provides an excellent option for someone who isn’t good at first-person shooters, but who wants to play Apex Legends with their friends and feel like they’re contributing something during a firefight.

Creating New Content And Designing For Next-Gen

Crypto isn’t the only new addition to Apex Legends coming in Season 3. At the start of Season 3, the current map Kings Canyon will be removed and replaced with World’s Edge–a brand-new map that was teased with Crypto’s first in-game appearance. The new map, which is on a different planet, presents different opportunities for how you want to play. A lava-filled area creates an environmental hazard, while an active train creates a way to both bunker down and move around the map. There are also multi-story buildings and towers where a Pathfinder zipline or Octane jump pad is likely to come in handy. Disruptor ammo has been replaced with a new burst-fire hop-up for single fire firearms (like the G7 Scout), the effects of the gold legendary backpacks and armor have changed, and new emote unlocks allow you to playfully insult your opponents anytime, not just when you kill them. Season 3 sees the most changes Apex Legends has ever had.

“Every time we launch a new season, we’re getting better and better,” Zampella said. “We’re doing more content but also better quality content. We’re starting to get it with the new modes and skins and the Legends are all getting better… It feels really good right now. I think we really feel like we hit our stride and we really know where we’re going with Apex. So there’s so much in the works right now that is just going to be amazing over the years coming up.”

Despite the excitement surrounding all the new content, Zampella wants to ensure that the Apex Legends team at Respawn doesn’t devolve into crunch. Respawn is testing what players like about the new content for every season, cutting stuff out of the content roadmap if an early iteration of it didn’t land with players. “It’s a constant evolution process,” Zampella said. “We’re getting better at making content, so we can make better quality content faster. And we’re hiring up, we’re expanding, but we don’t want to add a hundred people onto the team right away. We want to do it in a way that keeps the culture at Respawn safe. We want to always work and push as hard as we can, but at the same time, we do want a good life-work balance where this team is happy. And the happier they are, the better content they’re going to make. So we’re constantly trying to walk that line and balance it and I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job.”

Respawn isn’t content with solely succeeding for the remaining lifespan of the current hardware, acknowledging the approach of next-generation consoles. When asked about creating next-gen ports for Microsoft and Sony’s next consoles, Zampella said, “I feel like we’d be foolish not to be everywhere.” However, he added that he was not allowed to confirm whether the team has already started on the process of a next-generation Apex Legends.

Though Zampella assures that cross-play is on the current roadmap for Apex Legends. “There’s a lot of work to it, though, and cross-play means different things to different people,” he added. “Just letting someone on an Xbox One play against someone on a PlayStation 4–that’s fairly easy. It’s the cross-progression stuff that starts to get messy because then it runs into certain business terms with Sony and Microsoft that you have to weed through. So we would love to see it. I think there’s just a lot involved with it before we can get it out there.”

Looking Beyond To Season 4 And Year 2

You can still expect to see plenty of new content come to Apex Legends in the coming months though, and Respawn is already hard at work on dozens of new Legends. “Some of the stuff takes a long time,” Zampella admitted. “There’s a long lead on [character creation]. We’re adding people to the character team but you won’t see the results of that work for a while.”

“We have dozens of characters that are in the works at any given time,” Grenier added. “But we create and kill characters on a weekly basis. So the characters that sort of have legs–not literally, but you know–they rise to the top and go to the next phase of development. And at some point, we have to make a decision on what the next character is going to be and we usually pull from the characters that are sort of at that next phase of development.” Zampella was adamant about not revealing exact release date windows, but Grenier did say there are already certain Legends tentatively planned for the next few seasons, with some characters scheduled for release over a year from now.

Granted, these characters could behave very differently once they release. Zampella explained how Respawn always begins with establishing who a character is as a person first–creating their race, gender, culture, personality, and appearance–before making multiple iterations to their gameplay. Almost every Legend in Apex has seen a change in their passive, tactical, and ultimate abilities, but their characters have been long established–typically months before their gameplay is. “There are tweaks maybe along the way, but for the most part that’s imagined fairly early on,” Zampella said. Grenier added, “Yeah, and sometimes we combine multiple abilities from different characters into one, or maybe there’s a tactical that works really well for one character and an ultimate on another. Early in the process we’ll maybe mix and match or combine character abilities.”

The Apex Games: Real Bloodsport Or Convincing Simulation?

Before my time with Zampella and Grenier came to an end, I had to ask them about how real the Apex Games are in the Titanfall mythos. Though most of the cinematic trailers for Apex Legends advertise the Games as a very real event where people die and the Legends we play as are simply the recurrent winners of the competitions, the existence of the respawn beacon mechanic suggests it’s all a simulation. “We’re not even sure yet,” Zampella said, laughing. “We have a lot of data and we’re still trying to decipher it. I think we’re close to figuring it out.”

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/apex-legends-season-3-introduces-big-changes-and-r/1100-6470165/

Amazon Prime Members Can Claim These 5 Free Games In October

If you’re subscribed to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, you’re probably aware of the free PS4 or Xbox One games available every month, but there’s another service giving away free monthly games that many people are already subscribed to, but aren’t as aware of. Twitch Prime, which is included with all Amazon Prime memberships, offers up a batch of free PC games on a monthly basis, and October’s freebies have been revealed. Today is also the last day to claim September’s free Twitch Prime games, so be sure to snag those if you haven’t already.

The Walking Dead: Michonne

This month’s lineup notably includes Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Michonne, a three-episode miniseries based on The Walking Dead comic books series. This spinoff focuses on Michonne’s journey during the period of time that she leaves Rick Grimes’ group and goes off on her own. As usual with Telltale’s adventure games, your choices will have consequences over the course of this story. In GameSpot’s The Walking Dead: Michonne reviews, Episode 1 earned a 6/10, Episode 2 earned a 9/10, and Episode 3 earned an 8/10. Critic Justin Clark took issue with some buggy moments and the narrative structure but praised the miniseries’ overall story and emotional weight.

“As a complete story, Walking Dead Michonne is, truly, a story about family, in a way few game narratives are,” he wrote in his review of the game’s finale. “Familial loss and the forced adoption of new members isn’t new for Walking Dead, but in Michonne–barring choosing to be cold during a moment of sorrow–we have someone who finds power in parenthood, instead of living in constant fear of it.”

Deadlight: Director’s Cut

Also free for Twitch Prime members in October is Deadlight: Director’s Cut, a sidescrolling platformer and survival horror game originally released in 2012. The Director’s Cut later released in 2016, enhancing the game with improved controls, animations, and 1080p resolution. The new version also added a couple of new game modes: Nightmare mode, which reveals an alternative game ending, and Survival Arena. GameSpot’s original Deadlight review scored the game a 6.5/10, but it’s worth noting our review hasn’t been updated to reflect the Director’s Cut changes.

Finally, there are three more games available to claim for free next month: mystery-puzzle game Adam Wolfe, story-driven stealth-action game Serial Cleaner, and the game tie-in to the third season of Netflix’s hit sci-fi series, Stranger Things 3: The Game. While we haven’t reviewed these games, all three have Very Positive overall ratings on Steam, so they’re worth grabbing while you can get them free.

Aside from free games, Twitch Prime is always offering free in-game content and loot for various games, so it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on what’s available from month-to-month. Currently, you can claim free skins for Apex Legends, an exclusive Operator set for Rainbow Six Siege, a couple of free properties in Grand Theft Auto Online, and more–you can check out all the current offers at Twitch Prime.

Twitch Prime’s free games will be available the entire month of October. If you’re new to Twitch Prime, you’ll need to link your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime account before claiming any free games or loot. An Amazon Prime account costs $119 / £79 a year and gets you other benefits like free two-day shipping, access to Prime Video streaming, and more. You can also sign up for a 30-day free trial anytime.

October 2019 Free Twitch Prime Games

  • The Walking Dead: Michonne
  • Deadlight: Director’s Cut
  • Serial Cleaner
  • Stranger Things 3: The Game
  • Adam Wolfe

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/amazon-prime-members-can-claim-these-5-free-games-/1100-6470192/

Ubisoft Opens New Studio In Vietnam

Ubisoft has opened a new studio in Da Nang, Vietnam, to bolster its mobile development efforts in Asia. The new studio will focus on games using HTML5 for social media platforms, as well as collaborating with other studios working on their own mobile games. The company plans to recruit roughly 100 employees to work at the Da Nang studio over the next three years.

To bolster the effort, Ubisoft is in discussion with institutions and universities in and around Vietnam. This joins the company’s existing studios in China and India. It is also starting its recruitment drive to begin operations within a few weeks.

“Da Nang is a vibrant city which offers great quality of life and promising opportunities thanks to its fast-growing tech ecosystem,” said new studio manager Aurélien Palasse, in the announcement. “With this opening, Ubisoft will benefit from the local expertise pool while welcoming international new talents in the region to enhance its creative strength and meet the increasing demand for mobile gaming.”

While Ubisoft is most known for its big-budget PC and console games franchises, the company has a tendency to diversify and quickly experiment with new technologies like the upcoming Google Stadia. Currently the company is preparing to launch Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the first new game to be included in its new Uplay+ subscription service.

from GameSpot – Game News https://www.gamespot.com/articles/ubisoft-opens-new-studio-in-vietnam/1100-6470196/