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  1. The Haunting of Verdansk will bring The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw villains into the game alongside spooky new game modes and more in Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Set to launch on October 20 and run through November 3, The Haunting of Verdansk is a new update for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone’s Season Six that brings Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw bundles into the game. This Halloween-themed event will also feature a new “Trick or Treat” reward system and new Halloween-themed game modes. You can check out a trailer of what to expect below. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/19/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-the-haunting-of-verdansk-trailer"] “This Halloween-themed event will feature the ‘Trick or Treat’ reward system, where special Supply Boxes may either contain frights or frighteningly good blueprints and personalization items,” a blog post about the update reads. “Come prepared for infiltrations at day or night, as select modes feature a nighttime variant of Verdansk that includes more than a few Halloween-themed frights. Rather spend the night fighting both the living and the dead? Then prepare for Zombie Royale, an undead twist on Battle Royale where dead operators use unnatural powers to feast on the living in order to rejoin their ranks.” When the event begins, players can purchase bundles based on Saw and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Saw bundle gives you the Billy skin for Morte, the Phlebotomozier Lethal Equipment piece, which is a special throwing knife that drills into enemies upon impact, and two Saw-themed weapons: an assault rifle and a shotgun. You’ll also receive a Cargo Truck skin, a tricycle Charm, and four other pieces of personalization content. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre bundle includes the Leatherface skin for Velikan and the Family Heirloom LMG blueprint, which comes with a unique stock attachment that allows Leatherface to wield a chainsaw. You’ll also receive the “Anybody Home?” melee blueprint that turns your secondary into a one-handed hammer, an SMG blueprint weapon, a vehicle horn, and five other pieces of personalization content. Other operators will get Halloween-themed skins as well, like the Dr. Karlov skin found in the Dr. Karlov Lives bundle that includes a new skin for Bale, two high-voltage weapon blueprints, an electric throwing knife, a vehicle skin, and other cosmetic items. Throughout this event, Activision says that other spooky bundles will appear in the store like the Ghost: Grim Reaper bundle and the Mace: Dia de Los Muertos bundle. This update will also include a new weapon: the JAK-12 Shotgun. This a fully-automatic shotgun that has a faster fire rate than any other weapon in its category, according to Activision, and it includes unique attachments like the 8-Round FRAG-12 Mags and the 32-Round Drum Mags. This shotgun can be unlocked via the in-game challenge or as a blueprint variant acquired by purchasing the “Lacedaemon” store bundle. On the Warzone side of things, there will be a limited-time Trick or Treat event, where zombies will infiltrate Verdansk in a new dark version of the map that sees it illuminated only by the Moon. Players can expect to see Billy on screens throughout the map and they might run into Leatherface in the Krovnik Farmland section of Verdansk. In the Trick or Treat event, there will be special Trick or Treat supply boxes in Verdansk that, upon opening, could reward players with universal rewards like the “Return to Dust” assault rifle blueprint or “The Cleaver” legendary melee blueprint. A holographic watch, charms, stickers, sprays, calling cards, and emblems can be found in these boxes as well. The boxes might also include a more sinister trick, although Activision didn’t detail what this could mean. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=call-of-duty-modern-warfare-and-warzone-the-haunting-of-verdansk&captions=true"] Players that collect all 16 rewards in the Trick or Treat boxes will receive the “Pumpkin Punisher" legendary assault rifle blueprint. If you’re looking for more zombie action in Verdansk, The Haunting of Verdansk includes a new Zombie Royale mode that sees dead operators come back to life as zombies instead of being sent to the gulag. Zombies have increased speed, improved jumps, powerful melee attacks, and thermal vision, but they can’t use weapons. When a player is killed, they’ll drop a syringe. If a zombie collects two syringes, they’ll be dropped back onto the map as their operator for another chance at survival. On the Modern Warfare side of things, all of the multiplayer’s game modes will be Halloween-themed. For example, operators that get three kills in a single life will see their head turned into a jack-o-lantern. Other spooky changes include skulls instead of dog tags in Kill Confirmed and scarecrows at each Domination point instead of the standard flags. Two new multiplayer modes are included with this update as well: Onslaughter and Snipers Only. In Onslaughter, squads must “wrest control of a Juggernaut suit that spawns somewhere on the map and advance into a specific goal area.” In Snipers Only, players will only be able to use five pre-built sniper loadouts in standard Team Deathmatch rounds. You can read even more about The Haunting of Verdansk in Activision’s blog post detailing the update. For more of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone’s sixth season, be sure to check out the Season Six cinematic trailer and then read about Warzone’s new fast travel system. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes. View the full article
  2. The Dungeons & Dragons nerds at the IGN office have been looking forward to Solasta: Crown of the Magister since we first saw it at Gamescom in 2019, and after a few demos, it's finally entering Early Access on October 20th. We got to see a wide variety of what early access has in store for us during a developer-lead sneak peek and learned a few interesting facts about the upcoming build. Solasta is a tactical RPG based on the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition ruleset (licensed SRD 5.1). It has highly customizable parties and a turn-based battle system that will be incredibly familiar to D&D players, but can also be compared to games like Divinity: Original Sin 2. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/19/solasta-crown-of-the-magister-launch-trailer"] We've already covered how Solasta is similar to Dungeons and Dragons, but here are nine specific things to expect when Solasta: Crown of the Magister arrives in Early Access. What Early Access Will Get You Solasta: Crown of the Magister is $35 USD in Early Access which is less than the final price of the full version. And purchasing during Early Access will automatically unlock the full version once it releases sometime in Spring 2021. Tactical Adventures’ goal is to release the final version around six months after Early Access, so it has enough time to improve the game based on player feedback. But keep in mind, Early Access progress will not carry over to the full version of the game. How Long is Solasta: Crown of the Magister Early Access? Creative director and Tactical Adventures founder Mathieu Girard explained the length of Solasta will vary greatly based on an individual player's play style. He did, however, promise there’d be at least 10 hours of gameplay. "It's hard to say because some people are going to spend three hours on the same battle just choosing the best tactic and action to use," Girard explained. He's certainly right about that. My D&D party sometimes spends more time strategizing than actually fighting, and though this may take more time, it also makes the combat that much more efficient. And personally, I can see myself making characters for at least three hours. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/09/solasta-crown-of-the-magister-official-release-date-trailer"] Create Your Own Party of Characters Solasta is a single-player experience, but you will be responsible for creating and controlling four different characters. You won't be recruiting additional NPCs to your party as you progress, rather, your created party members will be with you and grow from start to finish. But what you choose is up to you. You can adventure with four halfling Rogues if you like, but you will benefit from a balanced team with not only different combat skills, but different abilities, languages, and more, since each class brings something special to a party. For example, during my demo one of the characters was an Insight Domain Cleric – a custom subclass Tactical Adventures made for Solasta. – which allowed all Insight checks were automatically passed, making negotiations with NPCs much easier. [poilib element="quoteBox" parameters="excerpt=Solasta%20is%20a%20single-player%20experience%2C%20but%20you%20will%20be%20responsible%20for%20creating%20and%20controlling%20four%20different%20characters."] For each character’s stats, you can roll for them, use a point-buy system, or even customize them completely to your liking. With that much freedom, adapting your pre-existing pen-and-paper characters to Solasta should be that much easier. Or, you can create a bunch of super-powered heroes, whatever you want. Because Solasta can only use the base SRD, don't expect the same subclasses and archetypes you’re used to from D&D. Instead, there are custom subclasses like the aforementioned Insight Domain Cleric created specifically for the Solasta setting. There’s An Emphasis on Lighting Lighting, and the lack thereof, has a strong effect on gameplay in Solasta. Characters that can't see in the dark will attack with lower accuracy without a light source. Some enemies are hurt and shy away from light, while others will be drawn to it and make it easier for your party to be found by malicious entities. Torches can be used, and objects in the world can be lit with spells, but you can also use spells to light your own equipment like swords or shields. You'll need to learn the ins and outs of the lighting mechanic to make the most of your abilities in Solasta: Crown of the Magister. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/06/15/solasta-crown-of-the-magister-brings-a-true-dd-experience"] And also… Verticality The entirety of Solasta’s environments are built with Minecraft-like blocks to create intricate layers of verticality, and then covered with beautiful textures and lighting. You can use these layouts to your advantage to avoid enemies, but enemies can easily do the same against you. This verticality also means spells like Levitate and Fly are especially useful, as the team planned to place things high out of reach, like treasure and secret passages. Near the end of the build I saw, one final enemy continued to attack from up high on the ledge. The player chose to sling long-range attacks at it, rather than spend the turns climbing up to reach it. These decision-making events seem to be commonplace in Solasta. Tutorials for both Solasta and D&D Strategy The opening of Solasta features the four characters you created in a Tavern telling stories to each other. These stories work as tutorials for different aspects of Solasta – like the aforementioned verticality and lighting – but also teach how to use readied actions, disengage, and more, to your advantage in combat. On a standard turn, you'll be able to make an action, move with whatever movement speed you have, and interact with an object. Instead of using your action to attack in the moment, you can instead ready an action to trigger in response to an enemy. This can be used to trigger a melee attack against an enemy that is otherwise unreachable on your turn – like Flying Snakes hovering just out of reach – but you expect to approach during its turn. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/06/15/solasta-crown-of-the-magister-summer-of-gaming-trailer"] You can also use your action to disengage, but that doesn’t mean you have no means of dealing damage. In the tutorial encounter I saw, the character disengaged in order to get away from an enemy without triggering its opportunity attack, but was still able to push a boulder off a ledge onto said enemy. These tutorials seem to do a decent job at teaching players how to get creative with their turns, which is important if you want to find success in both the Dungeons and Dragons ruleset and Solasta's unique environmental mechanics. Updates and Changes Based on Demo Feedback Tactical Adventures has been hard at work taking feedback from the demos it has offered in the past. Of course, there have been a lot of bugs to fix, but they have also upgraded a few mechanics that players have complained about, like inventory management and weight capacity management. One of the biggest changes in Early Access compared to the demo is the camera. In Early Access, you can manipulate the camera fairly freely, both up close to your character and quite far away. [poilib element="quoteBox" parameters="excerpt=Tactical%20Adventures%20has%20been%20hard%20at%20work%20taking%20feedback%20from%20past%20demos."] Another aspect players were frustrated by was not being able to tell why their attacks missed. Now, before attacking an enemy, if you are attacking at a disadvantage – which reduces your attack accuracy – a menu will tell you exactly why before you make the attack. In one example, a human was attacking with disadvantage because the enemy was in dim light, and humans do not have dark vision – explanations like this are designed to help you learn the system even while playing it. Plenty of Archives If you've ever played a meaty RPG, coming back after a long while away can be intimidating. Solasta solves this by including a diary system that keeps track of everything you've done in the game. Kind of like an automatic archivist. There is also a bestiary that unlocks more and more information on monsters the more that you fight them, and there's even a class that takes advantage of this. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/05/18/solasta-crown-of-the-magister-features-trailer"] Dice Rolls Like Dungeons and Dragons, Solasta: Crown of the Magister boils down to the dice rolls. Every encounter, attack, ability attempt, enemy discovery, and more are calculated by a combination of dice rolls and stats, which are crunched in real-time. You can see these dice rolls on the bottom of the screen, but if seeing the dice roll doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can turn it off for a more traditional (and mysterious) video game experience. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Casey DeFreitas is an Editor at IGN who loves monster hunting, slaying, and catching. Catch her on Twitter @ShinyCaseyD.View the full article
  3. Original Watch Dogs protagonist Aiden Pearce will be available throughout the main campaign of Watch Dogs: Legion as a fully customisable character, with the single player story adapted to fit his personality. Speaking in a Reddit AMA, the game's live producer Lathieeshe Thillainathan answered a number of questions about the returning character, who'll be added as post-launch DLC. Thillainathan made clear that, "Aiden can replay the full game and will have a dedicated DLC with Wrench. You don't need to finish the DLC to play as Aiden in the single player story." [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/10/watch-dogs-legion-aiden-pearce-teaser-trailer"] Asked how Aiden will slot into the main campaign given that he's a set character - unlike Legion's NPC-recruited protagonists - Thillainathan explained that he'll be treated like any other character, but will have his personality and character written into the main campaign's cutscenes: "Aiden will be treated as another member of the team. We are writing the full single player story again with [Aiden's] personality. When you replay the main missions again, Aiden will be integrated into all the original cinematics." Aiden will be added alongside three other playable characters - Wrench from Watch Dogs 2, Darcy, an Assassin, and Mina, a victim of transhuman experiements who has psychic powers. It's not clear if the other three will be playable in the main campaign, but Thillainathan confirmed that all of them will be playable both in single player and online modes. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="legacyId=20098088&captions=true"] He also responded to a question about customisation, saying that all four new characters can be altered to the players' taste: "Once they are on your team, you can customize them as you wish. can't wait to see everyone's version of Aiden and Wrench." Watch Dogs: Legion will be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 29, and will be a launch title for Xbox Series X and S on November 10. It will arrive on PS5 digitally on November 12, and physically on November 24. Buying the current-gen versions will allow for a free upgrade to the next-gen equivalent. We recently played a near-final version of the game, saying it had a "potentially staggering amount of rabbit holes to tumble down as you take a very hands-on approach to recruiting new comrades for the uprising." We also poijnted out that the Census System powering its Play-As-Anyone mechanic feels next-gen on its own. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Joe Skrebels is IGN's Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter. Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com. View the full article
  4. Few fears grip human consciousness with tenacity like uncertainty does, where self-assuring deep breaths are all that stand between you and a downward spiral. Amnesia: Rebirth instilled similar anxieties in me – either through unceremoniously ripping away light sources that keep its oppressive darkness at bay or by devilishly revealing the monsters hidden within all along. This first-person fright fest from developer Frictional Games had me gleefully sweating bullets throughout most of its tense seven-hour campaign, and it's one nightmare I won't forget anytime soon. Amnesia: Rebirth opens with a thunderous plane crash smack dab in the middle of Algeria's harsh Sahara desert. You play as Tasi Trianon, a passenger who awakens alone amidst the wreckage. She has no memory of what happened to her colleagues or why their anthropological expedition has gone to heck. Worse yet, a mysterious sickness pulses through her veins, causing intermittent bouts of unbridled rage. Eager to ensure she doesn't end up an easy meal for the vultures circling above, I shuffled toward a nearby cave entrance thinking it was safe. Though trading the vast, scorching desert heat for a claustrophobic, shaded cavern was, in truth, Amnesia: Rebirth cleverly teasing how I'd soon come to miss that light. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="legacyId=20105935&captions=true"] Inside was an abandoned camp, with shadows swallowing up the cave's back end. If I tried stepping in them, serpentine tendrils crept into Tasi's vision, while sounds of insect-like skitters began trickling out of my headphones – a spine-chilling introduction to the fear system. Staying near light sources is a must as the dark will chip away at your fear level otherwise, eventually resulting in a soft fail state. Flippantly trudging into the abyss without a light inevitably results in Tasi slowly succumbing to her rage while bouncing off the walls in a fit. You'll regain control shortly afterward, thankfully, and there are tell-tale warning signs that you should always pack incandescent goods. Flashes of eldritch monoliths and contorted bodies across the screen (courtesy of her dwindling courage) generally signaled that I should quickly double back and scour an area for supplies before moving on. That first encounter left my arms covered in goosebumps, nervously smiling over just how dang unsettling it all was. Darkness is an oppressive foe on its own in Amnesia: Rebirth, which is familiar territory to anyone that braved the halls of Brennenburg Castle in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. But this time, there are several means of illuminating your path. The Dark Side While scrupulously picking apart every makeshift hovel in that first camp, I came across some matches. These invaluable tools are new to the series and vital for keeping your fear level in check. After all, tip-toeing about spooky underground tunnels is much easier after a sparked match pierces the pitch-black veil like a hot knife through butter. It's quite satisfying to watch their stems gnarl backward as flames inch toward Tasi's fingers. A steady hand is essential, though, as any knee-jerk movements will put a match out. Given that they have a one-time use, every matchstick is precious. Armed with these miniature torches, I trepidatiously sauntered into the murky depths. Careful to ignite wall-mounted touches and bonfires along the way while not panicking when a match burnt out. Keeping a cool-head is easier said than done, though. The ever-looming threat posed by darkness feels like you're always in the crosshairs of some disembodied malevolence, eager to pull the trigger when your guard is down. It's frightening yet exhilarating. For example, while hunched-over in a low-roof crypt, water droplets from the ceiling doused my last matchstick. Then those cold, dead tendrils slithered into view, causing me to wince and waddle as fast as I could to the nearest bonfire. That's the gambit posed by matches: you'll find them all over the place, but their protection is fleeting. That short-lived nature is why I was thrilled to see a series-favorite brass tool return as well: the lantern. [poilib element="quoteBox" parameters="excerpt=It's%20satisfying%20to%20watch%20matches%20gnarl%20backward%20as%20flames%20inch%20toward%20Tasi's%20fingers."] With every reluctant step taken in this underground cave system, I'd grown increasingly worried that matches were my only line of defense. Then, the lantern turned up. This oil-burner still works wonders for managing your fear level, yet its utility is wholly different while exploring. The lantern is a steadfast mobile spotlight, where twitchy movements or sprints are no danger to its flame – a perfect complement to the fickle but plentiful nature of matches. You'll swap between both regardless, given the necessity to procure oil. So the lantern is no replacement, just another option in your toolkit. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/01/amnesia-rebirth-official-gameplay-trailer"] After I dusted off my lantern, the path forward was obvious. As tense as this opening cave section is, it does eventually outstay its welcome. There wasn't a puzzle or beasty run-in during the entire section, just a lot of walking from entrances to exits, which got tedious after nearly an hour of it. However, that all changes when you reach the fort. Fright or Flight Amnesia: Rebirth holds nothing back in the military fort, testing both your noggin and running shoes in the best ways.. For example, a massive locked gate stands as the inevitable exit, with the key thrown away long ago. Plopped in the middle of the courtyard, however, is a derelict tank with a functioning cannon – practically begging to blow the gate off its hinges. But rather than just find ammo, you get a note outlining the chemicals and parts required to macgyver tank shells together. Rebirth’s path branches from here, and you can check this list off in whatever order you choose. So I cautiously began searching for these supplies. The military fort is where Amnesia: Rebirth is firing on all cylinders. Corridors are rife with candles, but you must pick-and-choose which to ignite as it's easy to use up matchstick supplies if you're not frugal. It isn't ideal leaving one room incandescent and another black as midnight on a moonless night, especially when the latter holds a puzzle's solution that you desperately need. Of course, the lantern comes in handy here, but oil is not exactly abundant. I always rationed light sources for puzzle rooms once I'd identified them, as they're sinister Rubik's cubes that mustn't be rushed. In one a booby-trapped door was between me and the sulfur I needed for tank shells. Yanking it open would set off explosives, vaporizing Tasi, so I avoided that. The solution, which I'll avoid revealing, was quite creative and satisfying to figure out. [poilib element="quoteBox" parameters="excerpt=My%20heart%20nearly%20stopped-dead%20whenever%20a%20ghoul%20slammed%20a%20door%20behind%20me."] Of course, it wouldn't be an Amnesia game without something horrible on two legs trying to gut you like a fish. Ghouls, as they're appropriately dubbed, carry on that proud tradition. My heart nearly stopped-dead when one of these gangly uglies slammed a door behind me. You can't fight them off, so hiding is always the best course of action. The trouble is, catching a glimpse will drive your fear level up while matches and the lantern give away your position. It's utterly terrifying hiding in a dim corner, with every muscle insisting that you either run or light a match because the darkness is ripping your mind apart, but acting on those impulses will cause a ghoul to do the same. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/amnesia-rebirth-story-and-environment-trailer"] Every minute of the military fort was a delight. It has strong Amnesia: The Dark Descent vibes thanks to its branching paths and lovingly crafted puzzles, which is pure nostalgic goodness for a long-time fan like me. In fact, when I finally did make it through, I was actually sad to bid my farewells to this wonderful deathtrap. Turns out I was right to be, because much of what made gameplay so compelling inside the fort doesn't carry over to the remainder of Rebirth. Instead, it slinks back into the opening hours’ straightforward hallway-scouring with little to no variety. Ghouls are so scarce that you rarely need to worry about bodily harm aside from mitigating your fear level. Puzzles suffer too, as they are either startlingly brief or don't tie-into their surroundings as thoughtfully as the tank puzzle. What irked me most of all, though, was how chances to venture off the beaten path seldom happen. Even the rift amulet, a magical trinket that rips open holes in spacetime, is mostly relegated to carving out predetermined burrows where a door would have sufficed. However, as I pressed on, harboring any disappointment was challenging because the storytelling made up for these shortcomings. [poilib element="poll" parameters="id=3729dcc2-0c3f-4bf9-bf37-0811adde0470"] Without wading into spoiler territory, especially since there are some significant plot revelations very early on, Amnesia: Rebirth's story was utterly captivating. Yes, its protagonist suffering from amnesia is immensely trite (even if it is right in the name), but the hard-hitting revelations unfold much differently than you'd expect. It's a tale of trauma twisting people into unrecognizable husks by scattering their cherished memories to the wind. Tasi's quest to reunite with her colleagues takes some disturbing turns, but the beautiful moments shine that much brighter because of how bleak the story can be. Where there is darkness, the light will always rise to meet it. View the full article
  5. Sony has revealed that it is "looking into" negative feedback surrounding the changes to the PS4 party system that arrived as part of the 8.00 system update. The 8.00 update was pushed to consoles worldwide last week and changed the way parties work, combining the Party and Messages features into one system. This has complicated the invitation process for some, and led fans to voice their concerns online. Players now need to open a message group in order to invite other players to create a party, and many players who used to use the private party system to avoid in-game chat now have more limited options. In light of the outcry, Sony has announced on Twitter that it is looking into the negative feedback received about the party chat changes. The tweet mentions that it will keep players posted, which suggests that changes or clarifications may be on the way. Hey folks - just wanted to let you know that we’re looking into your feedback on the recent changes to Parties on PS4. Thanks for speaking up - we’ll keep you posted — PlayStation (@PlayStation) October 17, 2020 For all of the details on the 8.00 update, check out this article which runs through all of the major features introduced in the latest patch, including free avatars from PS4 exclusive games. Sony recently clarified its position on another controversial facet of the 8.00 update, which allows players to record voice chat clips and send them to moderators to report online abuse and harassment. In a statement from SIE's VP of Global Consumer Experience Catherine Jensen, Sony clarified that the feature "will not actively monitor or listen in on your conversations." It seems that these changes will only affect PS4, as a breakdown of the PlayStation 5 UI showed a more streamlined chat system than the current -gen console offers. We called the smoother friend interactions one of the five biggest gamechangers in the PS5 UI. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/15/first-look-at-the-ps5-ui"] [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.View the full article
  6. Advertisements have been quietly added to NBA 2K21's loading screens, which players are unable to skip. Stevivor is reporting that ads for the Oculus Quest 2 have appeared during pre-game loading screens in NBA 2K21. Videos show that the loading screens are longer than the ads themselves on PS4 and Xbox One, with no option to skip the adverts given until after they've finished being shown. More gallingly, NBA 2K21 does offer the option to interact while matches load, allowing you to edit your lineups - but even that option is unavailable while the commercial plays. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/08/17/nba-2k21-review"] The advertisements have been confirmed on current-gen consoles, but it remains to be seen whether they will be present on the next-gen versions of the game arriving in November. We've contacted 2K for comment. The move has caused controversy since its addition, not least because the game is still retailing at full price. EA recently tried something similar with UFC 4, dropping in ad placements weeks after release. A fan outcry led the publisher to remove the advertisements from the game. We reviewed NBA 2K21 back in September, scoring it a 6 and noting its "persistent addiction to obnoxious microtransactions." [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter. View the full article
  7. The PS5's cooling fan will be optimized in future firmware updates, depending on how hot or cool future games cause the console's processing unit to become. In an interview with 4Gamer.net (translated by orzkare on ResetEra), PS5 Mechanical and Thermal Design Engineer Yasuhiro Ootori revealed that Sony plans to update the fan based on the effects upcoming games have on the console's APU. The APU, or Accelerated Processing Unit, is the chip that powers the PS5 - it's a hybrid CPU/GPU. "Various games will be released in the future, and data on the APU's behaviour in each game will be collected. We have a plan to optimize the fan control based on this data," says Ootori. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/07/ps5-teardown-official-hardware-deep-dive"] Ootori also notes that there are three temperature sensors on the console's mainboard and another sensor within the APU itself. All of the above will be used to control the fan speed, based on the "internal temperature of the APU and the highest temperature of the three temperature sensors." Ootori also spoke about how the team at Sony used computer-aided engineering and real-world experiments to optimise the console's airflow. "We made a transparent model of the chassis and observed the dry ice smoke flowing through it, and took temperature readings in each part of the system as we made improvements." Hopefully, Sony will decide to release a transparent model of the PS5, as that sounds incredibly cool. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/15/first-look-at-the-ps5-ui"] It's yet more proof of how seriously Sony is taking the issue of heat buildup, cooling, and console noise - shown best by the fact that the console's size is almost entirely to keep it cool and quiet. In other PS5 news, here's a helpful comparison between the Xbox Series X and PS5 launch titles. Preorders for the console are currently sold out, but if more go up they'll be in our PS5 preorder guide right away. For everything you need to know about PlayStation 5, check out our PS5 guide. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=confirmed-playstation-5-games&captions=true"] [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN who thinks transparent consoles should make a comeback. Follow him on Twitter. View the full article
  8. Your Baldur’s Gate 3 save is already doomed. Due to the significant amount of additions, iterations, and changes coming as part of its early access period, progress files for Larian’s latest RPG will be incompatible with the final release version. That means your character is fated to the digital ether, and for many players that may make Baldur’s Gate 3’s current incarnation a pointless endeavor. Why start a huge journey you can never finish? If that’s how you feel, I ask you to consider it from a different perspective: with no conclusion, there are no consequences. And with no consequences, you can explore beyond your personal comfort zone and discover new things without ‘ruining’ your ideal playthrough. That’s how I’ve tackled my first outing with Baldur’s Gate 3, and the results have been outstanding. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/07/baldurs-gate-3-early-access-launch-trailer"] Typically, I’m a Lawful Good (albeit sassy) adventurer, but for this outing everything changed. With zero context (as to preserve the game’s story), here are a few things that I’ve done thanks to my decision to throw all caution to the wind: I underwent an ametuer lobotomy. I forced a monster to kill its friends and then eat itself. I catapulted an innocent gnome over the horizon using a windmill. I helped an army of goblins besiege and attack some people who definitely didn’t deserve it. And, in undeniably my worst crime, I killed a dog. Had I played this character how I usually play my RPGs, I would never have seen any of this, or the consequences of these actions. Chances are the same applies to you: in a promotional livestream back in August, Baldur’s Gate 3’s Senior Writer, Adam Smith, noted that statistics show that most players opt for good, heroic choices. This perspective is also supported by a study revealed back at GDC 2015, where Microsoft’s Amanda Lange said that her research showed that 60% of players opt for good routes, with just 5% exclusively making evil choices. But Smith encouraged players to take an evil path through the game. "Some of my favorite situations and characters in this game you may not even speak to if you don't try those evil routes,” he said. This sparked my curiosity, as I typically find the evil side of RPGs to be rather underbaked. Even during BioWare’s peak years, “evil” routes often boil down to playing identical missions but electing to shoot someone in the face rather than setting them free. So what exactly does an evil playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3’s first act look like? It’s an experiment that not only revealed the depths of the game’s branching narratives, but also some of the most interesting quirks of its simulation-driven world – some that will undoubtedly come in handy during my ‘proper’ playthrough of its fully-released version. [poilib element="quoteBox" parameters="excerpt=Being%20evil%20is%20less%20of%20a%20choice%20made%20at%20a%20pivotal%20moment%2C%20and%20more%20of%20a%20lifestyle."]In Baldur’s Gate 3, being evil is less of a choice made at a pivotal moment, and more of a lifestyle. This means that your choices tend not to dictate the outcome of a quest, but the structure of the quest itself. For example, the aforementioned army of goblins will certainly not be your allies should you opt to be a more heroic personality, and thus the entire goal of that questline is completely changed. Not just that questline, but adjacent ones, too (you’ll need to put in the work through entirely different quests and locations to be in the position to become a part of the goblins’ plans). That makes for a significant shift in the narrative; characters you may never have met on a good path become vital allies, while traditionally important NPCs become corpses on the end of your blade. It’s an advancement on the school of thinking that powers something like Fallout: New Vegas’ multi-faction branching gameplay, and a demonstration of a narrative so malleable that it adjusts to your intentions rather than tallying up several binary choices. While this early access build is limited to just the prologue and the game’s first area – and thus frees you of the long-term consequences of playing an agent of chaos – there is plenty here to demonstrate Baldur’s Gate 3’s more immediate repercussions. Much like in Telltale’s games, your companions react with approval or distaste to your own choices. For one character, my evil actions were just too much, and they straight up noped themselves out of my party. This put me a fighter down, and - thanks to the experimental brain surgery I previously mentioned - my character also had a permanent combat disadvantage, which further reduced my party’s battle effectiveness. Both are mistakes I won’t be making in my playthrough at release, not just because I now know the consequences, but because without the freedom to be careless granted by this lack of permanence, I wouldn’t have been daring enough to push the game that far anyway. I’m very glad to have seen these actions play out here, though, as they provide some of Act 1’s most memorable moments. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=baldurs-gate-3-character-creation-screenshots&captions=true"] These are examples of Baldur’s Gate 3’s grander, scripted elements of chaos, but my quest to push all of the buttons revealed that there’s maniacal fun in messing with the simulation that powers the world, as well. Faerûn operates almost like an isometric Dishonored, rather than the static worlds of a BioWare RPG. For instance, rather than approaching a pair of adventurers for a conversation, I used a warlock spell to blast a rock suspended above them, the falling of which not only forced the pair to depart this mortal coil, but also caused the ground beneath them to collapse and provide an entrance to a dungeon that I’d previously been unable to unlock. Clearly there’s benefit in being the very opposite of polite to folk you meet on the road. Down in that dungeon, I decided I’d may as well ignore traditional advice of showing respect for the dead and use the freshly-created corpses as meaty javelins. Yes, you can throw quite literally anything in the world - provided your strength stat is up to it - and that includes bodies. It also includes your own party members, and considering this doomed playthrough meant I cared little for my companions’ opinion of me, I experimented with them as fleshy projectiles (result: minimal damage, but a very handy tactic for flanking enemies, and it won’t affect your relationships). All of this, of course, is possible in the classic “second playthrough”; the mythical pure evil run that I’m never quite sure how people find the time to complete. So why do it now, in an incomplete version, rather than later? Well, firstly, if you’re anything like me, you’ll only have to harbour guilt for 20 hours rather than 100. But, more importantly, tooling around in this version of the game with no concern for the end results has taught me much more about its systems, narrative construction, and possibilities than playing it ‘by the book’ ever could have. In my second playthrough of Dishonored I realised there was so much to its reactive world that I completely ignored the first time because I strictly followed the rules of hiding in the shadows and avoiding guards. I want my first, true playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3 to make the most of everything it has to offer. And by blowing up the D&D chemistry set now, I’ll know how to make best use of it when it releases in full. Maybe you’ll benefit from that knowledge, too. Plus, for all my guilt as I play against my better nature, I can’t deny that there’s joy in hurling a gnome over the horizon using a windmill. Sometimes it does pay off to let loose once in a while. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer. His tabletop D&D character is an Aarakocra occult detective who would never murder a dog. View the full article
  9. Publisher and developer Level-5 appear to be ending operations in North America. There are currently no concrete plans to release any more games outside of Japan. As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, Level-5 International America and smaller spin-off studio Level-5 Abby began laying off the majority of its of employees sometime in the middle of 2019, although the exact number of employees is unknown. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=ni-no-kuni-cross-worlds-screenshots&captions=true"] There is no indication as to why Level-5 is shutting down outside Japan, but employees from the Abby location were "given every indication" that the studio would be ceasing operations. Only a couple employees remained to maintain day-to-day operations while Level-5 focused its attention on the Japan office. Level-5 is known primarily for the Ni no Kuni series of games as well as the popular Yo-Kai Watch titles, both of which feature games as well as anime adaptations. Earlier this year Level-5 confirmed the third mainline installment of the Ni no Kuni series is currently in development with a tentative 2020 release date in Japan, although no updates have been given as to the status of development. [ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/26/ni-no-kuni-cross-worlds-15-minutes-of-gameplay-japanese-vo-tgs-2020] Additionally, a mobile spin-off of the Ni no Kuni series, titled Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, was revealed recently during Tokyo Games Show. Gameplay shown during the presentation was later uploaded to YouTube along with English subtitles. No official announcement was made indicating it would be coming stateside, however. Netflix recently added a Ni no Kuni feature-length film to its catalog (stylized as NiNoKuni) featuring a new cast of characters and an original story. Yo-Kai Watch 4 was announced for Nintendo Switch in 2018 with a launch in Japan in late 2019. There are currently no plans to release the sequel outside of Japan at this time, although it's unlikely we'll see any of the recent on in-development titles localized now. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matthew Adler is a Features, News, Previews, and Review writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewAdler and watch him stream on Twitch. View the full article
  10. A Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired skin is coming to Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout later this week as part of the kickoff for Season 2. Starting on Wednesday, October 14, players will have a chance to spend their hard-earned crowns on a full Sonic the Hedgehog costume. It will cost 10 crowns to complete the set and you can check out the outfit below. Will the costume make you faster in Fall Guys? No, it’s cosmetic only. But if you wanted to see what it’s like to get beat in Fall Guys by a bean wearing a Sonic outfit, this is your chance. Fall Guys developers MediaTonic has collaborated with plenty of developers to bring themed-outfits to its popular battle royale. Last season saw a bunch of Valve and Devolver Digital-inspired outfits including Chell from Portal and Mask from Hotline Miami. Expect more outfits in Season 2, including a potential Ninja-inspired skin considering he won a charity auction Mediatonic hosted to choose a new collab-skin. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/10/05/fall-guys-season-2-exclusive-knight-fever-level-reveal"] Fall Guys Season 2 premiered last week, and the overall theme for the season is a bit Medieval. Check out IGN’s exclusive look into how one of the new stages, Knight Fever, was developed and our Fall Guys guide to see every new stage and level in Season 2. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN. View the full article
  11. Developer MiHoYo will add a new region to Genshin Impact in December. This will be the second of three planned updates, with the roadmap planning an update every six weeks. Announced on the official Genshin Impact blog, MiHoYo revealed that the game's third region, Dragonspire, will be added in late December, with an estimated arrival date of December 23. Dragonspire will be accompanied by a "related event". Before that, Version 1.1 will add the Unreconciled Stars event, and is expected to arrive on November 11. Following both of these is Version 1.3, which will arrive in February 2021 and add the Lantern Rite event. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/09/28/genshin-impact-launch-trailer"] "In future versions, we will combine the unique cultural and calendarial features of in-game regions with dates in the real world to host unique events in Mondstadt and Liyue," explained MiHoYo. Ludi Harpastum and the Windbloom Festival will take place in the game's first region, Mondstadt, while Lantern Rite and the Moonchase Festival will take place in the second region, Liyue. No details have yet to be provided as to what in-game activities will be available during these festivals. Alongside this six-week-interval roadmap, MiHoYo has also stated that it has intentions for new Genshin Impact characters and a next-generation console version. Genshin Impact has been a huge success, with Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad noting that the Chinese RPG has made over $100m in under two weeks, which he believes makes it the most successful Chinese original IP. Previously Ahmad had spoken to us when Genshin Impact pulled in $50m in its first four days, with 17 million downloads on mobile alone. If you're part of Genshin Impact's huge player base, check out our guide on how to raise your adventure rank, how to use cross-save, and our interactive treasure map. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Entertainment Writer. View the full article
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