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Pokémon Teases 25th Anniversary Celebration In 2021

During yesterday's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Pokémon Company International revealed its 25th anniversary logo. Accompanied by a giant Pikachu parade balloon, a dance troupe of Pikachu and trainers performed a short routine to an instrumental version of "Gotta Catch 'Em All" before unveiling the logo that you see above.

While we already know that a new Pokémon Snap is coming to Switch at some point in the future, it's likely we'll learn a lot more about what's next for the Pokémon franchise beyond that. With the series' original Japanese launch happening on February 27, 1996, the Pokémon Company International dubbed February 27 "Pokémon Day" and has made a tradition of holding special events on that day.

New Pokémon Snap A screenshot from the Pokémon Snap game coming to Switch

In previous years, we've seen Pokémon Day announcements including Pokémon Sun & Moon and Pokémon Sword & Shield, special digital goodies like Snapchat filters, and releases like Pokémon Red, Blue, & Yellow on the 3DS eShop and Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution on Netflix. While the Pokémon Company has not specified that we'll hear more about its 25th anniversary plans on February 27, 2021, that's a good bet for when players should expect a significant news drop. 

We've already seen how Nintendo commemorates the 35th anniversary of its flagship Super Mario franchise, and we've listed what we'd like from a Zelda 35th anniversary celebration. How do you want to see the Pokémon Company celebrate Pokémon's 25th anniversary?

Posted on 27 November 2020 | 6:24 pm

Microsoft Addresses Questions About Certain PS5 Games Outperforming Xbox Series X

Both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 are incredibly powerful systems, but that doesn't mean what's out now is what all there is to experience. As more and more games continue to be prepped for this new generation of gaming, some players have noticed notable differences with certain titles and how they perform on the Xbox Series X versus the PS5. 

A few reports about the performance differences between the platforms centers around optimization hiccups resulting from dev kit arrival times. As reported by The Verge, developers were giving PS5 dev kits much sooner than they received Xbox Series X ones, which resulted in a differentiation between the two offered new-gen systems. 

Responding to the growing feedback from players, a Microsoft representative did take a moment to remind Xbox owners that both platforms are still very much in early evolution stages post-launch, and that improvements are always being worked on and looked into. 

"We are aware of performance issues in a handful of optimized titles on Xbox Series X|S and are actively working with our partners to identify and resolve the issues to ensure an optimal experience," said the Microsoft rep to the site. "As we begin a new console generation, our partners are just now scratching the surface of what next-gen consoles can do and minor bug fixes are expected as they learn how to take full advantage of our new platform. We are eager to continue working with developers to further explore the capability of Xbox Series X|S in the future."

Hardware-wise, the Series X is the more powerful system, but if the games themselves are being developed differently early on, those same differences will reflect in the final product. Post-launch updates are constantly being added with game updates, so Xbox owners worried about the optimization difference will see those changes reflected soon. 

Do you have both systems? Have you seen a notable difference? What do you think about the current launch reception of both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! You can also check out our PlayStation 5 recommendations and Xbox Series X feature recommendation pieces respectively to learn more about each platform. 

[Source: The Verge]

Posted on 26 November 2020 | 9:38 pm

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Update Tackles Stability Issues

PlayStation fans have been diving into New York once more as Miles Morales, but that doesn't mean that the enjoyable Spider-Man experience couldn't be made a little bit better with a new patch. The latest Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales update is nothing massive, but it does make the game a much more stable ride. 

PlayStation players will see the new update available to download now. According to Insomniac Games, here is what fans can look forward to: 

The stability changes aren't detailed, but the screen going black is an issue we've experienced ourselves. It was nothing major, but on PlayStation 5 with the quick loadtimes, the disruption does break the immersion. Some have reported that the screen never resumes from the black until a restart happens. Personally, the issue corrected itself within just a few short moments. 

The Miles Morales extended experience is one that has been receiving a lot of praise from players, and for good reason. He moves, acts, speaks very differently from Peter Parker, and that's a good thing. Just like in the comics, Miles is his own man and a character that brings a lot of passion, love, and unashamed fandom to the Marvel game. Basically, he's a character I want to stick in my pocket and protect him from the world. 

The standalone Miles Morales experience is available now on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. You can also enjoy both experiences with the PS5 version of Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales Ultimate Edition that has the expansion and the vanilla game remastered. 

What do you think about Miles Morales as our new Spider-Man in Insomniac's world? Sound off with your thoughts about the latest Marvel experience in the comment section below! 

[Source: Insomniac Games]

Posted on 26 November 2020 | 9:15 pm

Hades' Chef Offers Special Happy Thanksgiving Message For Fans

It's Thanksgiving in the US and Supergiant Games is wishing fans a happy holiday with the head chef from Hades himself. Is this news? No, but it's pretty obvious that we here at Game Informer have been mildly obsessed with game, and this was too cute not to share. 

The studio took to Twitter to wish a happy holiday to fans by saying, "The Head Chef of the House of Hades got wind of something called a 'Thanksgiving' today, time to break out the fancy cutlery." 

The Head Chef of the House of Hades got wind of something called a 'Thanksgiving' today? 🧐🧅🦃Time to break out the fancy cutlery.

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday if you're celebrating, and enjoy this little moment by @Thinh_Anim, @artpaiges, and @kirbyLFO. #HadesGame

— Supergiant Games (@SupergiantGames) November 26, 2020

For those that haven't played Hades, it's a charming roguelite that took the gaming world by store. It's even up for Game of the Year for 2020's Game Awards show dropping next month. 

Filled with Greek mythology legends in a stunning art style, this adventure has  captured the hearts of so many; even those that don't usually like this kind of game. 

We couldn't get enought of Supergiant's new game. Our own Matt Miller gave the experience an 8.5, saying "The story is stretched across too many hours of play to maintain excitement throughout, but there’s absolutely a rich bounty of content to uncover along the way. Hades is a massive game, with a wealth of additional content to appease even the most hardcore of engagement. A “god mode” offers a gradual increase in damage resistance after each death, putting victory in reach for even those with a cap on their skills. On the other hand, risk-takers looking for more rewards can eventually access a way to increase the difficulty. Alternate boss fights, new weapon aspects, hidden storylines, and plenty more invite the player to get lost in Hades’ potential. These variants and additional options provide life to the game, long after the charm of standard completion attempts begins to wear out."

For those celebrating today, we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday. 

Posted on 26 November 2020 | 8:13 pm

How Xbox Is Becoming More Accessible And More Financially Available As A Brand

Accessibility in games is an uphill battle, but the folks over at Microsoft have been leading the charge with this initiative in an effective and powerful way. Through the adaptive controller to development tweaks, Team Green has been making positive waves in terms of how we, as an industry and a community, can make gaming available for all. 

We sat down with Microsoft's Senior Gaming Accessibility Program Manager Brannon Zahand to learn about how accessibility in terms of gaming influenced the very design of the Xbox Series X and S, in addition to what the industry needs to do next to ensure complacency doesn't settle in. 

Both the X and S have unique designs, some for hardware preservation reasons. What was the motivation behind the unique designs and how do the designs help gamers?

It’s one small piece of the overall design, but I think our tactile indicators on the back of the console are a great example of being intentional and inclusive in design. Whether you are a user who has low or no vision, or simply someone like me who has their console in a position where it makes getting to the back of the device difficult, those bumps can help you figure out which cord goes where. Another example is the textured grip you’ll find on the new controllers, something that helps gamers whether they have a fine motor disability that makes it harder to keep a grip on the controller or just tend to get sweaty hands during a heated match. 

Even the packaging seems more accessible with the new systems, is that just in my head? How does the community impact decisions like even packaging adjustments, especially with advocates like AbleGamers? 

I think the packaging is something that most people take for granted, but if you’re shipping a product that is intended for everyone to use in a box that is difficult to open, it doesn’t really make much sense. The inspiration for the Xbox Series X|S packaging was inspired by the packaging for the Xbox Adaptive Controller – our goal was to make sure the packaging was accessible and inclusive of the entire community. It’s simply easier for everyone to open, and anyone who has ever wrestled with stapled boxes and thick packing tape will hopefully appreciate it.

Microsoft isn't just working with physical accessibility, but financial availability as well with programs like Xbox Game Pass and Play Anywhere. Why is that such a big focus going into a new generation? 

I think it really speaks to our ultimate goal of empowering everyone to play where with whom and what they want. There’s basically an option for every player: a choice of consoles, at different price points, plus access to over 100 games with Xbox Game Pass across console, PC, and Android mobile devices. You can buy the console outright or get one through Xbox All Access for a monthly subscription.

Regarding things like backwards compatibility, it goes back to that smooth and frictionless experience and giving people the freedom of choice. Everything we do is about putting the player at the center. I think about scenarios, like if a group of friends wants to play a game together but one player isn’t sure they want to purchase it because they aren’t completely sold on it or are concerned that their disability may prevent them from being able to play. With Xbox Game Pass, the risk is gone... you have an incredible library of over 100 games which you can try to see which ones fit your gaming style and needs.

The spirit of these experiences, where it’s just easier and more accessible and more fun, is what we want to deliver with every new product, feature, service, etc.

Zuhand also spoke with us about areas previously ignored during discussions about accessibility, what he wishes people would understand that are opposed to this initiative, and how the adaptive controller has drastically evolved and will continue to do so going forward. 

Posted on 26 November 2020 | 3:00 pm

Dragon Age 4 And The Mortalitasi

Click to watch embedded media

Earlier this month, I dove into red lyrium, the mysterious idol from Dragon Age 2, and why I think Solas purposefully tainted himself for the setup of Dragon Age 4. Now, let's dive into the significance of the Mortalitasi may have from the most recent sneak peek at the road ahead in Thedas. 

What is the Mortalitasi? 

First things first, what is the Mortalitasi? The Mortalitasi is a group of Nevarran mages that not only are incredibly powerful in their own right, but also wield a significant amount of political power in Nevarra (a location in Dragon Age's Thedas and the home to Inquisition's Cassandra) as well. Often called "Death Mages," this line that was divined from royal blood is incredibly well respected in this region, though the rest of Thedas sees this death magic as macabre and a little too close to blood magic for comfort. 

The Mortalitasi is responsible for mummifying the Nevarran elite and their practices are rooted in the belief that when the soul crosses over into the Fade, it affects a spirit already residing there. To aid in that displacement to give it purpose, the Mortalitasi will take that displaced spirit and bring them over into our world by placing it within the body of the dead. The aforementioned mummification process is also key here, with the philosophy that mummified beings are the safest place to hold a Fade spirit. 

How do they play into Dragon Age 4? 

The Mortalitasi was founded by the Tevinter mage Vitus Fabria and we already know that the next game will take place in Tevinter (or center heavily around it) due to the ending of both Dragon Age Inquisition and its DLC Trespasser, as well as the setup surrounding the game provided by the recent Mage Killer and Blue Wraith comics. (This also means that we'll very likely see Fenris from Dragon Age 2 again, considering his role in the latter comic) 


In the latest Dragon Age 4 teaser video, seen at the top of the article, there were a few shots of skeletons in service as well as figures being seen with a flaming skull in full armor. A lot of people speculated that this would be raised corpses in aid, but that didn't make a lot of sense to me due to the meatier build of the characters seen. After nerding out for hours and hours on end with fellow Dragon Age fans about the Mortalitasi in general with its Tevinter importance, I actually think we will have a companion that is a Mortalitasi mage. From the looks of it, they are quite powerful! 

Dragons are a huge part of Dragon Age (go figure, with a name like that) but more so in the comics and with Inquisition. This aspect of the franchise is also incredibly relevant in the comic 'The Silent Grove' that sees Varric, Alistair, and Isabella venture out to uncover one of the biggest secrets in the series in an adventure to Antiva. That comes into play with the above screenshot from the latest teaser where we can see a figure with the glowing (what I'm assuming) helmet, ripping out the eye of a fallen dragon. Dragons are revered in Tevinter and Nevarra, and these creatures play a big role in the magic surrounding this particular line. 

In Inquisition, we saw Corypheus weild the power of a dragon to protect his immortality. We've seen Flementh transform herself into one, a trick that Morrigan also learns later in the third game. While I obviously don't know what is going on in the above scene, it's just concept art at this point, it's fairly clear that this is a ritual given the undead servants with their offering plates awaiting the removed dragon parts. 

BioWare via 'AgeofDragon'

In the above closeup shot, we see the person removing the parts of the dragon wearing medical tools strapped to his tunic, with upper armor graced with the usual Nevarran decorative style of the upper class. The closer shot also shows that this doesn't look like a corpse, unless it was recently dead and mummified, due to the build itself of the body. That being said, mummification, again, is a centrical focus for the Mortalitasi, so this could be an animated mummy, but that doesn't sit quite right either with the air of purpose given to each frame seen with characters donning this headpiece. 

The differentiation between a practicing (and live) member of the Mortalitasi and the undead can also be seen when comparing the main body to those of the skeleton servents. With the glowing eyes and servatile mannerisms, the distinction between the two types of figures seems purposeful in a way to show great power and the difference between the living and the dead. 

In the anthology Tevinter Nights, and again through out the codex seen in the games referencing Nevarra as well as the different comic series, the helm of the main figure is similar to the statues seen in glorified tombs in the area. The tombs of mummified royalty have a great place of respect and importance within Nevarran culture, which leads me to think that the above (ceremonial ?) armor is an indicator that this is someone of very high ranking and/or a resurrected mummy of one of the ancient elves. The last part is a bit of a stretch, but that tiny thread can be traced back to Solas' interaction in Trespasser that I talked about in this previous piece

As for why the helmet is glowing if the glowing eyes of the skeletons indicates possession, that ties into the theory that this person is either very high in rank or a very important person brought back from the Fade. My gut is telling me the former, I think it's a display of power. It could even be a Wynn/Anders situation where a powerful mage is aided by a particular spirit of importance. While not another Justice situation (hopefully), the possible Mortalitasi mage could be harnessing an even bigger power through this particular brand of magic. 


As mentioned earlier, I think this person will be a companion due to a shot that comes later in the video with them walking alongside a bigger group. This group has been seen throughout the most recent teaser (don't even get me started on the fact that Isabella looks to be returning because that is DEFINITELY her armor in Inquisition's MP component, as well as Zevran), and it's an organized formation. While the one on the far right and the image above it might not be the same person — they certainly have different builds — the same magic is prevalent with the glowing helm. The only question with that is: where is the person on the far right's mage staff? 

It will be interesting to see some of these aspects of Thedasion culture come into the spotlight after being in the background for so long. Cassandra's inclusion in Inquisition certainly set the stage for Nevarra, with Fenris, Dorian, and Maevris (seen in the Silent Grove comic, a Tevinter magistress related to Varric by marriage) bringing in Team Not Blood Mages From Tevinter. 

Dragon Age has some of the most intricate lore in gaming (note that I'm not saying the most) and BioWare has done a pretty phenomenal job at fleshing that already complicated world-building experience through the expanding books and comics in a way that greatly enriches the games themselves without forcing fans to enjoy them to understand the bigger picture. To see all of those webs coelesce into the next step in the games has me incredibly excited, especially when looking at the dramatic shift teased at the ending of Dragon Age Inquisition with the crowning of a new Divine. 

What do you think about the Mortalitasi and their role in Dragon Age 4? What other theories do you have? Sound off in the comment section below! 

A huge thanks to Tumblr user 'Age of Dragon' as well, an account a friend I was speaking with about this referred me to with a similar analysis. 

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 11:07 pm

Accessibility Doesn't Mean "Less Challenging" Or "Hardcore," Says Xbox

Microsoft is one of the major companies currently advocating for more accessibility in the gaming space, including hardware changes and how it interacts with the community. Making gaming available for all is an important initiative, but that doesn't mean these efforts are immune to getting hate borne of misconceptions and — let's be honest — ignorance. 

When speaking with Microsoft's Brannon Zahand, the senior gaming accessibility program manager helping to lead this charge, he opened up to Game Informer about some of the backlash Xbox has received for putting a spotlight on backing up its advocacy. 

"There is a misconception that exists that making games accessible makes them less ‘hardcore’ or challenging," says Zahand. "There is also a misconception that building features for a ‘small’ group of individuals takes resources away from making the game better for the majority of users.

"As someone who has worked in game development, I can tell you that inclusive design, when considered early in a product’s development, is not expensive and the end result is that it makes the experience better for everyone."

I understand that it's hard for some to see beyond their own gaming experience. As mentioned during another part of this interview, I didn't realize how dangerous some games were to epileptics until an injury I had overseas made that a part of my new norm. It was from a place of ignorance that I didn't see it, and that ignorance in that area (and with the impact MS has on me and my hands) has influenced me to expand beyond the "blind spots" seen in what accessibility means in terms of entertainment. 

When I asked if he could tell those upset with this area of Microsoft's focus, Zahand adds: "Whether you are a hardcore gamer who prefers to remap your controls just so, or a younger gamer who has a hard time holding a controller, or a gamer missing a finger, a feature like button remapping is valuable. If you can’t hear your TV over the sound of your kids playing or because you are d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing, subtitles are valuable. That’s accessibility.

"Our goal is to empower people around the world to play the games they want, with the people they want, on the devices they want. And that is achieved when games are designed inclusively and accessibly so gamers can play in whatever way is right for them."

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 6:47 pm

How Xbox Is Exploring Accessibility Efforts Previously Ignored, Including Epilepsy

Xbox, and Microsoft on a larger scale, continues to pioneer accessibility in the gaming space with peripherals like the Xbox Adaptive Controller, internal philosophy shifts, and continued advocacy by listening to the voices of the community impacted the most itself. That being said, there is still so much more work to be done, a fact that Microsoft recognizes and continues to keep in mind as we dive into a new generation of gaming.

We recently sat down to speak with Brannon Zahand, Microsoft's senior gaming accessibility program manager, to learn more about the areas previously ignored in the gaming space regarding accessibility. 

"We’re always exploring new ways where we can innovate in the accessibility space, whether it’s hardware, games, the platform itself or our services," he tells Game Informer. "While we don’t have anything new to announce, personally, I think advances in machine learning and AI will inform how we all think about gaming and game platforms. I can see a future where games adapt to the individual user based on their abilities and preferences to ensure a challenging but enjoyable experience. For me, this is what accessibility is all about: making games more inclusive and accessible for everyone, based on their individual wants and needs."

He also adds that Microsoft is constantly in talks with the community regarding any areas needing improvement, or areas overlooked altogether. 

One aspect I wanted to talk about personally was epilepsy. I have never experienced a seizure before in my life until I joined the military. When I came back from my second deployment following an injury that impacted my brain, seizures became my new norm. There was even a time during my phaseout into the medical retirement that I was having several seizures a week, sometimes even daily. Suddenly, previous gaming favorites were completely off-limits and movies? Were almost stressful, depending on the effects.

While there is a warning label on games now about titles potentially having epileptic triggers, that doesn't actually do anything to allow an adventure to be accessible for those with that particular brand of issue. Some developers have done small tweaks that make a world of difference (like Activision with its Call of Duty franchise, swapping out the colors of the hack effect from being red and white to a more muted grey to avoid a trigger), but this level of accessibility is very much still in its infancy. 

When asked what Xbox was doing to help epileptics beyond just slapping on a warning label, Zahand says "Epilepsy was actually one of my first experiences with the disability community. When I was in fourth grade, a coach of mine had a seizure on the court while we were playing which caused a significant injury when he fell. I think many people simply don’t understand how impactful and dangerous a seizure can be. So it’s a topic my team and I bring up regularly when working with publishers and developers."

He adds, "We also have developed the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (or “XAGs”), which are a set of best practices we defined in partnership with members of the Gaming & Disability Community and with other industry experts. We share these with developers, which they can use for design ideation as well as validating the accessibility of their games. We have one XAG dedicated to photosensitivity which suggests avoiding certain display patterns and the use of industry standard tests to help ensure products are as safe as possible.

"As for working with people with disabilities, the Xbox User Research Team has been doing a fantastic job of helping us bring more and more of the disability community in to provide us with feedback on our products. That includes individuals on the neurodiversity spectrum. And we have other mechanisms in place as well, such as Inclusive Design Sprints and a Gaming Accessibility Boot Camp, where our studios have the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with our community and take their feedback."

There's more work to be done, and the industry itself has a lot of areas that it is still avoiding. "The industry can always do more and there’s a lot of work to be done – it’s a journey and this is just the beginning, for all of us," he says. "I’ve been working on video game accessibility since 2006 and I’m so proud of how far the team at Xbox has come over the years, but we still have a long way to go to build the inclusive platforms, services, and titles I know we can. What’s so exciting is that our partners and our competitors seem to be realizing the need for this work as well and it gives us the opportunity to collaborate and compete to drive innovation and value for all of the customers, including those with disabilities."

The road to making gaming for everyone is a long one, and one that is nowhere near its end, but efforts like the ones being made by Microsoft are important and will hopefully continue to influence other companies to invest in this interest as well. 

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 6:05 pm

Microsoft Reveals How The Xbox Adaptive Controller Has Evolved From A Concept

Microsoft has been making positive changes to Xbox in the name of accessibility, including how the consoles themselves are designed and added tools for players to use to ensure they can dive into whatever adventures that suit their fancy. The Xbox Adaptive Controller was a huge step in the right direction for this initiative, but that doesn't mean that the peripheral hasn't seen a unique evolution before it made its way into gamer hands. 

We recently sat down with Brannon Zahand, Microsoft's senior gaming accessibility program manager, to learn a little bit more about the Xbox accessibility movement. On interesting thing we learned was how the Adaptive Controller changed since it was in simple concept phase, including how it looks "nothing like" how it did on the drawing board. 

When asked about how the controller has changed and if more changes were on the way, Zahand replied: "Absolutely, the Xbox Adaptive Controller looks absolutely nothing like the first prototype created. It changed many, many times over the course of development. The reason was that we built the device with the Gaming & Disability Community, not for them. As such, feedback constantly was rolling in that forced us to continually re-examine the design of the product during development. That’s why I think the community gave the Xbox Adaptive Controller such a warm reception; the end result was reflective of our long-term partnership with them on the project."

A peripheral like this is built off of the feedback and needs of the targeted community, so that continuous feedback will ongoingly impact what the controller evolves. That being said, we are in a new generation, and Microsoft wanted to ensure that gamers diving into the X and S could do so comfortably: 

This is also why we’ve made the Xbox Adaptive Controller compatible with the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles, so that players can seamlessly transition to the new console with the configuration they know and love. It keeps the learning curve minimal and the costs associated to moving to the next generation down, something that we know is of particular importance to our community.

So when we think about new features or improvements, we always make sure we’re not just trying to add new bells and whistles for the sake of it; it has to serve a purpose and really fill a genuine need. Going forward, we are largely investigating ways we can improve upon the device through software updates

As someone with MS (Muscular Dystrophy), I rarely have feeling at all in either of my hands, sometimes I have no control over them as well. This is one of the reasons I primarily play on PC due to the customization, but that's not an option for all, not all situations are similar when looking at physical needs. Not only has Microsoft been putting its money where its mouth is, so to speak, but the company has been advocating heavily for more accessible options from game developers and platform competitors as well. 

In terms of making sure that this particular controller continues to work the way it is intended with the new generation of gaming, the process remains focused on the users with limited mobility. It's that continued conversation that shaped how the team tailored the controller itself to the X and S. 

"It’s really about focusing on the user experience for people with limited mobility. We prioritized continuity and compatibility because we don’t want to burden those who are already using the Xbox Adaptive Controller to have to learn new tech or purchase and then adapt to a new controller. This also goes for existing accessibility features, like copilot, narrator, speech-to-text and text-to-speech – all of these new features are available on Xbox Series X|S because we know they are helpful to a variety of gamers and they make gaming more accessible for everyone."

If you're interested in the Xbox Adaptive Controller, you can learn more about them right here

Accessibility is an important conversation to have in gaming. It wasn't long ago when even colorblind options were seen as "too much" during the development process. Since simple steps like that, larger movements have been made to make sure that gaming is everyone; from hardware to software, no one should have to miss out because of life circumstances. 

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 5:28 pm

New PS5 Update Betters Performance And Fixes Game Deletion Issue

As is the case with any new console launch, the PlayStation 5 has encountered a few issues with its hardware. Luckily, Sony just rolled out a new PS5 update that tackles a few important bugs in addition to the usual performance enhancements generally seen with this sort of drop. 

While both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 have had issues, there is one particular bug with the new PS5 (outside of the noise complaints) that has been deleting disc-installed games. Between that, and the issue surrounding the DualSense controller not being able to charge while the console is in Rest Mode, the new PS5 update comes at the perfect time. 

Sony outlines that a few general areas of improvement were enhanced with the latest update, though specifics on what those changes do aren't detailed. That being said, the DualSense charging issue is one that many will be happy to see alongside the deleted games, though still no word on what Sony is doing about the reports of "overclocking" and overheating that has resulted in loud platform noises. The latter is something several of our team members here at Game Informer have encountered, though nothing severe enough to warrant a send-off for repairs. 

This marks the second update for the PlayStation 5 system, you can see the full patch notes below for the previous fixes: 

Version 20.02-02.26.00

Version 20.02-02.25.00

Have you been encountering any of the above issues with your PS5 system? Run into anything else troublesome with both the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X/S? Sound off in the comment section below! 

[Source: PlayStation]

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 5:18 pm

Free PS Plus December 2020 Games Revealed

We're nearing the end of the year and just like every month prior, Sony is offering two free games for those that have an active PlayStation Plus membership. As November comes to a close, the free PS Plus December 2020 games lineup has been revealed and includes a pretty stellar lineup for those that like chaos, with an additional title that the usual two. 

PS Plus December 2020 Games

The upcoming month of free games includes two fun and quirky titles and one really fun and chaotic one. Just Cause 4 is the perfect recipe for destruction. Take to the open-world with an arsenal of tools at your disposal to wreck the havoc you were always meant to dish out. 

"Most of my favorite moments in Just Cause 4 had nothing to do with the story missions, and instead emerged out of playing with Rico’s ridiculous toolset – like turning a dumpster into a humble airship with a couple of balloons and riding it across the island, or rigging the horses on a merry-go-round with rocket boosters and watching it spin out of control," reads a snippet from our full review. "If you can devise a stupid and dangerous use for Rico’s grappler, you can probably pull it off – and I’ve got a hard-drive full of hilarious videos to prove it. Just like any good sandbox game, Just Cause 4 gives you the freedom to make your own fun, and has kept me experimenting and entertained for hours after the credits rolled."

Worms Rumble and Rocket Arena are the remaining two adventures, with Rocket Arena being a really enjoyable addition for those that love a PvP shooter experience with that special rocket flair. 

It's not too late to also scoop up November's games with Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Hollow Knight: Voidheart, and Bugsnax, though it is important to note that an active PS Plus membership is required for all of the aforementioned titles. The membership for Sony's online services includes free games each month, exclusive sales on select titles, and unlimited access to game online with friends! The free games remain yours until the membership runs out. 

Thoughts on the free PS Plus December 2020 games lineup? How do you feel about PS Plus in general and how it's changed through the years? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below!

[Update: A change was made to the article to correct the typo regarding Rocket Arena]

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 4:53 pm

A New Single-Player Metro Game Is In Active Development

The team over at 4A Games has confirmed that a new single-player experience for the Metro franchise is currently in active development for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and PC. 

A new blog post on the game's website confirms that a new adventure is on the way, and while 4A Games couldn't go into details about what the new tale will tell, the studio did tease some powerful improvements. 

We’re currently hard at work on bringing Metro Exodus to Xbox Series X| S and PlayStation 5 next year. While we can’t share all the details just yet, you should expect major enhancements including faster frame rate, increased resolution, reduced loading times, and stunning Ray Tracing features made possible by the new hardware. The new consoles are amazing and will allow us to deliver visual enhancements and performance only possible on state of the art PC hardware and RTX enabled cards - until now. 

We’re happy to confirm that these enhanced versions will also be made available as a free upgrade to all existing owners. That means if you already own Metro Exodus on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, whether digitally or on a disc, you will be able to upgrade to this enhanced version on the next generation on consoles for free.

And if you’ve yet to pick up the game on Gen 8, you can do so safe in the knowledge you will get the enhanced version for free should you upgrade your console in the future.

With Metro Exodus' recent move to Amazon's Luna service, the studio also confirms it is working on Mac and Linux versions of the latest game that launched last year. With a focus on the present and the future, the team wants to make sure that the most amount of players can experience each story. 

"It’s no secret that we have already started work on the next Metro game. Using everything we’ve learned from the last 15 years, we’ve set our sights even higher – the next title is being built for Gen 9 consoles and PC, with a complete overhaul of our engine and renderer to take advantage of the new power, storage, and hardware supported ray tracing afforded by the new consoles."

We do also know that the new Metro will be a single-player experience, staying true to what fans love about this franchise, "We’re committed to delivering a great story-driven single-player experience; this is what the Metro series is founded on. As a studio, we want to constantly push ourselves to create bigger and better games, but we also listen to what the fans are saying, and we know what’s important to you. We take our responsibility to the franchise seriously, and we think you’ll be excited about our plans for the next chapter."

You can learn more about the team's future goals, in partnership with Saber, right here on the latest blog post. 

Posted on 25 November 2020 | 4:43 pm

Nuketown '84 Arrives To Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer

The multiplayer in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War wouldn’t be complete without Nuketown popping up in some form or fashion. After all, the fan-favorite map has appeared in every Black Ops title since the series’ inception. The latest version of the map, Nuketown ‘84, is available now in Black Ops Cold War, and it isn't your daddy’s Nuketown. Actually, maybe it could be since the map is set in the '80s. The point is that this is a different spin on the classic location, okay? 

How different, you ask? For one, Treyarch says this '80s variation isn't the same map, but rather a sister site to the Nuketown we know and love. Dubbed “Site B”, this previously undiscovered area had once been pegged for nuclear testing before the government pulled out at the last minute for budgetary reasons. The site was then abandoned for decades before a group of “social misfits” found it and set up shop, transforming the faux idyllic neighborhood into a graffiti-laden den of junk, guns, and debauchery.

Click here to watch embedded media

Nuketown ‘84 joins the 6v6 map rotation and, like the original Nuketown, features plenty of houses to hide in and windows to snipe from. The relatively compact map means the action will be fast-paced with death coming swiftly and often. To get a leg up on how to navigate Nuketown ‘84, you can check out the Black Ops Cold War blog post for a full rundown on the map’s individual features as well as helpful tips and tricks. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is available now for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Check out our review of the game here to see why it’s one of the best launch titles for new-gen hardware, especially if you're a PS5 owner

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 11:35 pm

World Update II: USA Lands In Microsoft Flight Simulator Today

Taking a flight across the United States in Microsoft Flight Simulator just got better thanks to a new, free update. World Update II: USA is available now and boasts new airports and visual enhancements to make the long trips even more scenic. 

The update brings the following enhancements:

Additionally, players can indulge in new activities such as a Discovery Flight as well as a new Alaskan wilderness Bush Trip (sightseeing flights through remote areas). Although this update is somewhat less robust as the first World Update (which centered on Japan), it’s cool to see improvements coming to what’s arguably the best simulation experience of 2020. Players can grab World Update II: USA by visiting the in-game marketplace.

Microsoft Flight Simulator has been a big success, amassing over one million players since it launched in August. It’s been especially big on social media with fans (and actual pilots) posting screenshots of their own homes, iconic landmarks, real-life weather events, or weird visual oddities. The game’s presence on Xbox Game Pass for PC certainly helped garner an audience of first-time pilots, and it’s been neat to watch players either fly more competently than I ever could or engage in silly hijinks (like I totally would).  

Microsoft Flight Simulator is available now for PC (via Xbox Box Game Pass and Steam). You can read Jeff Cork’s post-launch impressions of the game here.

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 9:44 pm

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Orlog Is Getting A Physical Game In 2021

I'm honored. It's as if Ubisoft clicked on the Orlog piece that I wrote last week and decided to grant my wish. But in all seriousness, it's exciting to see that Orlog is getting a physical release next year. Board game-enthusiast site Dicebreaker sat down with Ubisoft co-development game director Benoit Richer to talk about the processes behind Orlog's in-game implementation and its bright future. For those of you that haven't played Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Orlog is a game of chance that includes dice-rolling, combat with axes and bows, and ultimate abilities called God Favors. I go into more detail about the game in the piece I mentioned above so click on that link (in the top line) for clarity.

Ubisoft's Benoit Richer stated that a lot of Orlog's mechanics emerged from many rounds of playtesting. Eventually, some designers made a sample version of the game in Tabletop Simulator and it took off from there. Ubisoft is working alongside collectibles company PureArts to bring a physical version of Orlog to board game fans at some point next year. I couldn't be any more excited to see how the rules and features change or bend outside of Orlog's digital games version. 

[Source: Dicebreaker

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 9:06 pm

Watch New Cyberpunk 2077 PS5 Gameplay

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Much like the Xbox Series X footage that came before it, Cyberpunk 2077 looks great on the PlayStation 5 (although it is going to be a PS4 backwards compatible version until next year). CD Projekt Red released a shorter, 6-minute gameplay trailer that showcased the opening minutes of the Nomad class. Players get to bypass the coupling in a car engine (that sounds complex but it seems as if you just detach one thick cable and replace it with another), drive to and undergo a series of interrogations at a Night City Border Patrol Outpost, and watch local law enforcement enact their cruel justice upon a group of car-jackers. Trust me, it's much cooler to look at than to read about, so check out the trailer for yourself above.

The most anticipated game of this year, Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be a massive, choice-driven experience with brutal, customizable combat. The title has seen its fair share of delays but if things continue to go smoothly, we'll all have our own copies early next month. Hopefully more of us will have snagged the Series X or PS5 so that we can check out what the game will look and feel like with the aid of next-gen (or I suppose it's considered current-gen now) technology.

Cyberpunk 2077 launches on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia on December 10. We've had the opportunity to play the game as well as interview the composers, so be sure to fill up on as much Cyberpunk 2077 info as you can before it releases.

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 7:39 pm

Mortal Kombat 11's Klassic MK Movie Skin Pack Lets Players Relive The 1995 Film

1995’s Mortal Kombat is probably the best video game movie ever (in this editor’s humble opinion). Netherrealm Studios clearly recognizes this objective fact and released a skin pack of costumes from the film to celebrate its greatness. Starting today, Mortal Kombat 11 players can rock Johnny Cage’s $500 sunglasses and enjoy Raiden’s sarcastic rasp. 

The Klassic MK Movie Skin pack not only gives Sonya Blade, Johnny Cage, and Raiden their cinematic outfits but they even sport the actors’ likenesses and voices (Bridgette Wilson, Linden Ashby, and Christopher Lambert, respectively). While it’s disappointing to miss out on Robin Shou’s Liu Kang, this pack acts as a great accompaniment to Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s Shang Tsung, who served as the central character of the Aftermath campaign expansion. It’s a great idea that somehow hasn’t happened before, and I’d love to see this trend continue with Kitana, Kano, and the ninjas. All that’s left now is to finally get the film’s iconic theme song into the game. While you try in vain to get that song out of your head, you can download the Klassic MK Movie Skin Pack right now for $5.99.

Click here to watch embedded media

Cool as this skin pack is, it might be the only kind of Mortal Kombat movie content we get for a good while. The upcoming reboot film, which has been in development the last few years, hit a big delay due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Mortal Kombat 11 recently made the transition over to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S via its Ultimate Edition. The catch-all bundle contains all of the game’s DLC content, Aftermath expansion, and three new characters: Rain, Rambo, and the much-requested Mileena.

For more on Mortal Kombat 11, check out our reviews of the original game and the Aftermath. What do you think of the new outfits? Let us know down in the comments!

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 6:49 pm

Xbox Games With Gold December 2020 Free Games Revealed

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'Tis the season and for those with an Xbox Live membership, the Xbox Games With Gold December 2020 free games lineup has been revealed. From Saints Row goodness to something for the kids, here are the December free games Live members can scoop up. 

First things first: Volition's standalone Saints Row 4 expansion. Gat Out of Hell is nothing short of ridiculous, and everything you'd expect out of Saints Row DLC. It's hilarious, it makes zero sense, and it's a great get for those that missed out on buying it on the Xbox 360. 

As for the rest of the games, there is something to be said about The Raven Remastered! One good thing about the Xbox Games With Gold program, outside of freebies, is that it also showcases titles that maybe didn't get the spotlight they deserved. The Raven Remastered, I feel, is one of those games. If you like detective games, this one is for you! 

Xbox Games With Gold December

For the full lineup: 

Just like with the PlayStation Plus lineup with PS Plus, an active Xbox Live membership is required to claim the latest free games. The best part? They are free, so if you don't like them simply uninstall and nothing in your world changes dramatically other than a few lost moments. It's as simple as that. No deep waters here.  

Thoughts on the Xbox Games With Gold December free games lineup? What titles are you hoping to see become available for the new year? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below and tell us all of those Team Green desires

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 6:39 pm

Red Dead Online Will Be A Standalone Game Starting Next Month

Red Dead Online is the multiplayer cowboy experience that branches off of Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2. For those that want to live out that cowboy fantasy with friends without paying for Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online will be launching as a standalone game next month for a small fee. 

Beginning on December 1, 2020 until February 15, 2021, Red Dead Online will be available to purchase by itself on both the Epic Games Store and on Steam for $5, as well as the PlayStation and Microsoft Stores, in addition to the Rockstar Game Launcher itself. 

For those that choose to purchase Red Dead Online as a standalone, they will have access to all of the past and current content immediately with future content updates included. Become a Bounty Hunter, become one with the wild as a Naturalist, or become a Naturalist's worst enemy as a Trader; players can do all of that and more within Red Dead Online.

In addition to the content players know to look forward to, the announcement also reveals that a new Bounty Hunters expansion is also on the way, allowing Bounty Hunters to retweak their experience as necessary alongside the new Legendary Bounties and the 100 Rank Outlaw Pass (battle pass). 

I don't think anyone is particularly surprised by this news. While Red Dead Online hasn't been met with the same enthusiasm as GTA Online, it's still a venture Rockstar is heavily invested in to make it grow much in the same way as Grand Theft Auto's online component did.  

If you're interested but on the fence, there is one important thing to note: the price during the aforementioned time period is a small $5. After February 15, the online game will still be available as a standalone, but the price will rise to $20 after that point. If you're at all interested, pull that trigger before the price goes up. 

What do you think? Is Red Dead Online worth it as a standalone title, or are you deadset on making sure as many people as possible play Red Dead Redemption 2? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 5:59 pm

Scalper Group Brags About Buying 3,500 PS5 Systems To Sell At Egregious Prices

Scalpers are nothing new. These are people that buy high-demand products, usually limited in quantity, to sell at a much higher rate than retail value. In recent years, bot technology has given this practice a lot more of a root in consumerism and this generation of gaming consoles is the latest victim of this predatory practice. In fact, one UK group of scalpers are actually bragging about botting 3,500 PS5 systems to sell at up to three times the retail value. 

With the holiday season now here and the pandemic still roaring, the desire for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X system is at an all-time high. This means fertile ground for scalpers to get the most out of their buying deals. As reported by Business Insider, there are entire Discord seller groups filled with people that have the sole purpose of reselling consoles at much higher prices. 

One such group goes by CrepChiefNotify and the manager of this group boasts that they have almost 2,500 consoles between their members for resale currently, with over 1,000 right at the first pre-order wave back in September, with more as more offers trickled out. Between the first wave and now, this seller group has accrued almost 3,500 PS5 systems. 

We know that many resellers use bots to quickly progress through checkout screens simultaneously, but this particular group also says that they were able to get ahead of the curve by having inside sources telling them before the pre-orders went live each time. 

CrepChiefNotify, according to Business Insider, is made up of 12 people in terms of a core staff with a subscription service fee starting at $40 with scaling tiers going up to $530+. The higher the tier for the member, the more benefits are available, including forewarning of sales, and more access to elusive products. 

"During the first COVID-19 lockdown, we noticed a huge shift in products that people were buying," said the Crep manager. "The focus shifted towards the most ridiculous things, like outdoor hot tubs. We noticed that these began selling out in stores and reselling on eBay for a profit. So our developer wrote some site monitor software, and we tracked the stock of the sites selling hot tubs! Every time they pinged into stock, we would notify our members to buy it all."

The manager also mentioned that developers have seen the rise of scalping as a unique opportunity, capitalizing on that by constantly developing smart-bot technology to aid in this practice. 

With the high price of the membership, the higher price makes a little more sense, though doesn't justify it in the slightest. The fact that some systems are asking for $2,000+ is absolutely ridiculous, and there is absolutely nothing that justifies that inflation. 

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 3:54 pm

Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 5 Will Offer New Subscription Service With "Fortnite Crew"

Earlier this month, Epic Games sent out a survey asking if fans would be into a subscription service for Fortnite. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and now we've got our first look at what this new service will have to offer in Chapter 2 Season 5 with Fortnite Crew. 

Fortnite Crew is the new subscription service that will make its way into the free-to-play battle royale game with Chapter 2 Season 5. This membership will run $11.99 a month and will include the following perks: 

The new service will become available on December 2. For those that join up when it first launches, an exclusive Galaxia Outfit (seen at the top of the article) will be awarded in addition to the Cosmic Llamacorn Pickaxe and Fractured World Back Bling. 

For those interested, you can buy into the newly awarded subscription service through the game's Item Shop or in the purchase screen for the Battle Pass. It's also not contractual, so if you get it and then decide it's just not your schtick, you can cancel any time. 

If anyone has already purchased the current season's Battle Pass but want to get in on this, Epic Games has also confirmed that they will immediately refund the 950 v. 

As for whether or not the Battle Bundle is still a thing, Epic adds: "The Battle Bundle has been replaced by a bundle of 25 levels, available for 1,850 V-Bucks. The offer is available to players at level 75 or lower at any time, once per season. This bundle can be packaged together when buying the standard Battle Pass by itself, or purchased after buying the standalone Battle Pass or acquiring it as a member of Fortnite Crew."

What do you think of the Fortnite subscription service? Cool addition, or is Fortnite Crew not appealing to you? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Posted on 24 November 2020 | 3:00 pm

Animal Crossing New Horizons: How To Increase Your House Storage

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The Winter update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is here and gives players a chance to increase that needed house storage. For those with Big Time Plans for those islands, here is how you can increase your house storage in New Horizons. 

How to increase your house storage in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Look, I'm not here to judge. The house storage in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a lot, but if you went to your limit already? It's OK, boo, we're here to help. With so many events happening back-to-back with new DIY recipes, new characters to impress, and creativity expanding, it's pretty easy to reach max capacity. Luckily, you can increase that house storage if needed. 

The previous limit for storage was set for 1600 items, but the new Winter update has upgraded that to 2400. So how do you get that 2400 total space when looking to let that creative flag fly? It's not terribly difficult, but there are a few necessary prerequisites. 

First things first, you're going to need to make sure that your house is fully upgraded with the three rooms outside of the walk-in area. This will also include an upstairs room and a basement (but not the creepy kind, unless you want it to be the creepy kind). 

Next up, you'll want to make sure that your house loan to Nook is completely paid off. If that's not done, no dice on the upgrade. 

If the above prerequisites are met, the next step is super easy. Simply find Tom Nook in Resident Services and talk to him about upgrading. Just make sure you have the cash to back up the request, because purchasing the additional space will set you back 500,000 Bells. (We know)

And that's it! That's how you can increase your house storage space in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. To learn more about the Winter update, you can check out our previous coverage here. Happy building! 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 9:57 pm

One Dev Played Over 175 Hours Of Cyberpunk 2077 And Still Hasn't Beaten It

CD Projekt RED has been sharing a lot about Cyberpunk 2077, especially since the game has seen several notable delays. From the open world of Night City to the dangerous outlands seen outside of those neon borders, CDPR's newest game looks to be massive. While we don't know how much time it will take to complete Cyberpunk 2077, we do have a better idea of its scope because one dev has tanked in over 175 hours and still hasn't run the credits. 

Łukasz Babiel is a QA lead on Cyberpunk 2077 and he took to Twitter to provide his own take on the "how it started vs. how it's going" meme that continues to trend: 

How it started How it's going

— Łukasz Babiel (@pjpkowski) November 21, 2020

He also confirmed that this isn't even a full playthrough trying to 100% the game. 

While he is QA, the "not trying to 100% the game" kind of negates the every nook and cranny approach, but it's still important to note that it was previously confirmed that the main quest line would be shorter than the main story of The Witcher III. That being said, there are a ton of side quests. 

In our most recent hands-on time with the game, it took about four hours to get to the beginning credits of the adventure. Four hours. Some are even saying it took them up to six, and that's just the starting point for this game. 

The Witcher franchise, another game that this studio helmed, was also massive with the DLC for The Witcher III outscaling that of Witcher 2 as a whole. The team has also stated numerous times that there is "so much more" than what has been shared, with undisclosed new locations, main characters, and branching narratives. 

Pair that with the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 has so much replayability potential, we're going to go ahead and go out on a limb and say that for those that vibe with CDPR's latest title, they're going to be investing some serious time in the venture. 

Games of this scale are always a hit or miss with gamers. Some love a ride that seemingly never ends, while others feel that this scope can be overwhelming. What do you think? Are games of this size too much of a good thing, or do you wish this was more common with the $60 price tag? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 8:46 pm

Play Doom On The Nintendo Game & Watch, Because Why Not?

One modder did the tried-and-true method of modding Doom onto something it's not supposed to be on. And just like every other time, it's awesome. One Doom fan decided to try taking to the hellish experience in a different way by playing it on the very compact Game & Watch handheld. 

The Game & Watch 'system' fits into a singular palm, that's how small it is. The hand-sized platform is a fun way to relive classic Nintendo titles, but one gamer decided that it needed some Doomification, so that's what they did. They played Doom on the Game & Watch's tiny little screen because why not? It's 2020, things are weird...don't let your dreams be dreams: 

Click here to watch embedded media

So how do you make this work? Officially, we don't recommend it. Any time you mess with a system and tinker with it beyond its original programming, you run the risk of destroying it. That being said, the video above does talk about the process for those that throw care to the wind in the name of Doom.

According to the modder, they duped the firmware of the main processor before prepping the new software. There's some talk about pins, creating custom codes, and basically an entire walkthrough of the process that we're skimming over because of legal reasons. 

Others have been reportedly doing similar Game & Watch ports with similar titles, as well as meme-fying with old Vine videos and even a Rick Roll mentioned in the video. 

We thought it was pretty nifty but we really love our Game & Watch, so we're playing on the safe side, no matter how unhip that makes us look. Hey, cool kids and whatnot. 

If you could port over any game to the small Game & Watch, what would you pick? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 8:26 pm

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Meets Hades With This Adorable Crossover

With the Game Awards nomination list live and players able to vote, we can see Animal Crossing: New Horizons facing off against the beauty that is Hades. Hades was a surprise success that took over the community, with many already declaring it their GOTY already. With two very incredible experiences up for the win, this fan art combining the two franchises is not only perfect, it's also adorable as all heck. 

@Denebolart on Twitter is someone I stumbled upon when I was doing the dreaded 2 AM Twitter Doom Scroll and her art style immediately charmed me, there is almost a Tank Girl influence seen in her linework. If I wasn't so broke, I'd commission the crap out of her, but I can share this adorable little Hades x Animal Crossing: New Horizons crossover in the meantime: 

I actually suck at fishing in both games! #HadesGame #ACNH

— Mei - commissions open (@denebolart) November 19, 2020

Fan art is something that I've written about quite a bit, that and cosplay. I love sharing the passion the gaming community has for our favorite titles. There is so much toxicity online, a battle of the fandoms that often goes too far. To combat that, I like to share the inspiring posts by the community; the creative side, the passionate side, the side that wants to share that love with the world. 

Personally, Hades is my Game of the Year pick as well, tied with Yakuza: Like a Dragon. It was a game that I didn't expect to like, but the art style and the characters were incredibly lovable. An interesting take on Greek mythology, it's a title that took 2020 by storm and I honestly can't wait to see how it stacks up with the Game Awards later this year. 

What did you think of the above Hades x Animal Crossing: New Horizons mashup? What two games would you blend together if you could? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 5:54 pm

Meet League Of Legends' New Champion, Rell, And Her Horrifically Violent History

Meet Rell, the latest Champion to make her way into League of Legends from Riot Games. One thing is for sure is that she's no dainty princess. 

Rell, also known as the Iron Maiden, has a horrific backstory that proves her resistance. According to Riot Games, she is "the product of brutal experimentation at the hands of the Black Rose. Rell is a defiant, living weapon determined to topple Noxus. Her childhood was one of misery and horror, enduring unspeaking procedures to perfect and weaponize her magical control over metal until she staged a violent escape, killing many of her captors in the process.

"Now branded as a criminal, Rell attacks Noxian soldiers on sight as she searches for survivors of her old "academy," defending the meek while delivering violent death to her former overseers." 

But who is Rell in terms of League of Legends? She's a new Support character with connections to LeBlanc and Samira. Hailing from Noxus, the powers behind her capture have labeled her as a dangerous criminal. Even the Trifarion Legion is worried about her should she come after them. 

Did we mention that she's also only 16 years old? 

A story bred for vengeance and justice, Rell is an incredibly interesting addition to the growing Champion roster, but what does she bring to the table play-wise? 

While a Support character, Rell is incredibly powerful (which is nothing new for Support) and she is built to lead. Check out her abilities set below to catch a glimpse at how she plays: 

Click image thumbnails to view larger version



Passive - Break the Mold

Rell attacks very slowly but temporarily steals a portion of her target’s Armor and Magic

Resist dealing bonus damage based on the amount stolen. Additionally, Rell can siphon resistances from multiple different foes to grow extremely tanky.

Q - Shattering Strike

Rell stabs forward with her lance, breaking any shields and damaging all enemies hit (damage decreases after the first target). If Rell has an ally bound with E - Attract and Repel, she and that ally recover health for each champion hit by this ability.

W1 - Ferromancy: Crash Down

(Can only cast while mounted) Rell leaps into the sky and transforms her mount into heavy armor, gaining a huge shield that lasts until destroyed or remounting. Upon landing, she knocks up all enemies around her. Rell can cast E - Attract and Repel and R - Magnet Storm during the transformation.

Rell has increased durability, low movement speed, and a movement speed cap while in armored form. After the transformation, this ability changes to Ferromancy: Mount Up.

W2 - Ferromancy: Mount Up

(Can only cast while in armored form) Rell rushes forward and transforms her armor into a mount, gaining a burst of movement speed. During her next attack, she charges her target to deal bonus damage and flip them over her shoulder.

Rell has increased movement speed while mounted. After the transformation, this ability changes to Ferromancy: Crash Down.

E - Attract and Repel

Rell magnetically binds a piece of her armor to a target allied champion, granting them bonus Armor and Magic Resist while nearby.

Rell can recast this spell to break the bind and stun all enemies around and between her and her bound ally.

R - Magnet Storm

Rell erupts in magnetic fury, yanking nearby enemies toward her. She then creates a gravitational field around her, pulling nearby enemies in for a few seconds. The field doesn't interrupt her enemies’ other actions. 

"We really loved the idea of creating a tanky support. It’d been a long time since we’d made one—Braum was actually the last,” says senior concept artist Justin “Riot Earp” Albers. “But unlike Braum, we wanted her to have a darker past and personality. I explored a few different options, but everyone was really attached to the metal bending concept. After we landed on that, we just had to decide where Rell came from."

“The Black Rose, who run Noxus’ clandestine operations, are interested in some horrible things to further the empire’s expansion and power,” explains narrative lead Jared “Carnival Knights” Rosen. “Demon calling, Void magic, resurrecting and controlling dead gods... A little of this, a little of that. And one of the things this group of crappy 1000-year-old aristocrats have discovered is sigil magic, which has the ability to rip the magic out of living things and then forcibly put it into someone else.”

With each foe taken down, she grows stronger. Rell is the "ultimate weapon," something that the devs had a lot of fun with. “The magic from the other kids is placed into Rell with the sigil magic, which empowers her own latent powers,” explains Riot Earp. “But the process is incredibly painful, for both Rell and the other students. I focused a lot on adding the sigils to her arms—especially the one that holds her lance—to make sure it’s clear when playing her. I wanted the pain that she underwent to be clear to players, so they understood her past.”

“I wanted to make Rell the tankiest tank the world has ever seen. I had this idea of a heavily armored character who sunders the ground she walks on, making the earth beneath her collapse from her might,” says game designer Stash “Riot Stashu” Chelluck. “Unfortunately that’s hard to display in League, and I still needed to make sure she thematically felt like she was manipulating metal. I was looking for neat ways to map her ferromantic powers into her gameplay, to really make her feel powerful and hard hitting without feeling like a mage.”

With such a twisted backstory, the reason behind her mount is actually a little more light-hearted. The first thing I thought of when I heard Rell was a teenager and had a mount was a coin-operated horse ride—like the ones outside of grocery stores,” recalls davehelsby. “I’ve seen teenagers ride them a lot. And it’s so interesting because you see a person on the cusp of being an adult, but there’s still a bit of kid in them. I just feel like that made sense for Rell. She has a lot of adult responsibilities on her shoulders, but she’s still a kid, and she deserves a little fun.”

Rell will be joining the League of Legends roster as the newest Champion with patch 10.25. 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 5:24 pm

The World Ends With You Sequel Announced For Summer 2021

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Square Enix dropped a new trailer today revealing Neo: The World Ends With You, a sequel to the original 2007 Nintendo DS hit. In the trailer above, you can see a new cast of characters fighting monsters in and exploring the residential and financial districts of a full 3D city. The original game followed Neku Sakuraba, a reserved and cold hero. Alongside a colorful group of characters, Neku was tasked with surviving the Reaper's game – a competition for the recently deceased that could potentially return its competitors to life or erase their existence completely. Neo: The World Ends With You stars Rindo who, like Neku, must overcome the trials of the Reaper's game. 

Click here to watch embedded media

Additionally, Square Enix announced that The World Ends With You's anime adaptation is dropping in April 2021. While the anime was originally announced back in June, you can see some new trailer footage above. Neo: The World Ends With You launches for PlayStation 4 and Switch during Summer 2021. 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 4:58 pm

Destiny 2: Beyond Light Deep Stone Crypt Raid World First Winner Declared

The latest raid for Destiny 2: Beyond Light dropped this weekend as part of Season of the Hunt, and Guardians all over the world gathered to see who could be the first to beat it. Going in completely blind, there were tears, frustration, laughs, and elation as many raced to be the first to cross the finish line. While my squad sadly didn't make it, one winner has been declared after the run was verified to be clean! Congrats to Team Luminous for being the first to clear Deep Stone Crypt! 

Bungie took to the game's Twitter account to share the good news with Aoterra, Claw, Flux, Schendzie, SiegeDancers, and Sotosolice taking the crown: 

After verification we're proud to congratulate our Deep Stone Crypt World First winners of clan Luminous!

💠 Aoterra
💠 Claw
💠 Flux
💠 Schendzie
💠 SiegeDancers
💠 Sotosolice

— Bungie (@Bungie) November 22, 2020

Every time a World First event happens to celebrate a new race, there are rewards on the line and a sense of accomplishment as well. Luminous is celebrating an incredible victory, but not everyone is happy about it. 

Many in the comment section attempted to contest the declared winners, citing that Luminous is renowned for "going out of bounds regularly" as a speed-running group. Those comments allege that the team cheated to get that number one spot, though it is important to note that any runs in the contest are verified thoroughly by dev judges to determine if the win is clean or if there was any kind of cheating involved. 

Regardless of the mixed reception this news had, there were so many incredible teams out there that attempted to be the very first. While we at my clan didn't take the W (s/o to The Asian Federation), the sense of pride of doing something cool with the community at large was incredibly fulfilling. This also might be my favorite raid yet in terms of aesthetics, story, and mechanics; even if it did kick my butt when trying to go in. 

Congrats again to Luminous on their win. Think you have what it takes, Guardian? Check out the latest raid now in Destiny 2: Beyond Light! 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 4:33 pm

PSA: Some Cyberpunk 2077 Physical Copies Are Out Now

While CD Projekt RED itself has been sharing an abundant amount of content regarding Cyberpunk 2077 following several notable delays, the team has tried to keep cohesive story details broken up to give fans something to look forward to. That being said, the street date for Cyberpunk 2077 appears to be broken for at least one person, so be careful online with spoilers because they weren't shy about streaming it. 

The current release date is set for December 10, but Christmas came early as one PS4 player took to streaming the new game. The player chose the Nomad path, bypassing the intro character creation, and chose to share the prologue of the game itself and the beginnings of the story. 

We’re almost there boys. I actually had the game in my hands. from r/cyberpunkgame

There are a few more reported incidents of the street date being broken, but only one, seen above, showing off proof of the game in-hand. We're not going to link the stream but if you're worried about missing anything particularly cool, the stream was pretty uninteresting. The pair gaming seemed pretty out of it and spoke over most of the in-game sound.

We're not your mom, we're not here to tell you what to do, but if you're not absolutely crawling out of your skin to see more Cyberpunk 2077, we'd recommend just steering clear and wait for a solid video or just to play it for yourself. 

As for the game itself, we here at Game Informer have had a lot to share about Night City with our previous Cyberpunk 2077 cover story that detailed more about the lifepaths, how those decisions matter, and more about the general feel of this new world itself. You can learn more about CDPR's latest adventure with our previous coverage here. You can also read our latest interview with the composers here.  

Cyberpunk 2077 releases on December 10th for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and PC. 

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 4:07 pm

Yellow Brick Games Announced With Industry Vets Like Dragon Age's Mike Laidlaw

Dragon Age's Mike Laidlaw joins Thomas Giroux, Jeff Skalski, and Frederic St. Laurent B. in helming a new independent studio called Yellow Brick Games. 

The creative minds behind Yellow Brick Games have an incredible history making amazing adventures for gamers to enjoy. From Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and Watch Dogs to BioWare's Mass Effect and Dragon Age, the team behind Yellow Brick Games knows a thing or two about crafting an excellent experience. 

“We have learned a lot from working on world-class, multi-year projects with thousands of colleagues and we want to take a different approach,” said Skalski, the studio’s Executive Producer and Chief Operating Officer. “Leveraging a smaller talented team where people come first, we will create amazing worlds and experiences for all others to enjoy. The market is moving fast, and we have no desire to play catchup and chase it when we can influence where it goes. These goals drove us to found Yellow Brick Games.”

Mike Laidlaw will be assuming the role of Chief Creative Officer with Jeff Skalski as the studio's Executive Producer and Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Giroux as Chief Executive Producer, and Frederic St.Laurent B. as Game Director. 

“The market for independently produced games is growing rapidly and the technology is keeping pace,” said Laidlaw. “Small, diverse teams can now create high-quality experiences. For veterans of big-studio productions like myself and much of our team, this is the perfect time to get back to a small, agile, and highly motivated group. We want our games here at Yellow Brick to take potentially millions of players on wondrous journeys, and we want every member of our team to have a direct impact on the new worlds we’re creating.”

With fifteen employees total at this current time, the team is already hard at work on their first original game that will harness the power of this generation with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. With a creative vision in mind, the team at Yellow Brick Games will continue to grow in the coming months, though the "craftmanship approach" will be always at the core of the studio's vision as it expands

“We want to emphasize a “back-to-basics approach”, centered on the pleasure of crafting new game experiences, in a flexible and more personable environment that an independent studio can provide,” said Giroux. “We have all the resources at our disposal to achieve our goals."

As a massive fan of the franchises these devs have been a part of, I'm personally excited to see what the team can come up with when locked in a shared vision. 

You can learn more about the latest studio with its official website right here

Posted on 23 November 2020 | 2:01 pm

Marvel Taps Bob's Burgers Writers For Deadpool 3 With Ryan Reynolds

The Deadpool movie legacy continues as Marvel Studios and Ryan Reynolds taps the Molyneaux sisters from Bob's Burgers fame for Deadpool 3.

Ryan Reynolds is set to reprise his role as the sarcastic anti-hero with Wendy and Lizzie Molyneaux (who served as writers and executive producers for Bob's Burgers) onset to write the latest movie. As reported by Deadline, meetings with the team have been ongoing all month with Reynolds listening to pitches from writers of all visions. According to the site, Reynolds immediately fell in love with what the Molyneaux sisters brought to Deadpool's story, and the match made in Marvel heaven is officially a "go" to move onto the next step. 

Deadpool 3 is currently in early development but hiring the writing team, especially of this caliber, is the biggest first step when prepping for onsite production. What's also worth noting is that this marks the first movie that will have both Ryan Reynolds and his team working side-by-side with Marvel Studios, including the beloved Kevin Feige. 

According to the site, Deadpool 3 is looking to continue on the legacy of being R-rated with a new director at the helm with David Leitch. According to the report, Leitch's involvement isn't confirmed, but the interest is there and negotiations have started. 

We don't know anything about the premise of Deadpool 3 at this time, but given the success of the first two films and the revamped team? It looks like the third movie could carry on that hilarity in the best way possible for Marvel fans. 

Are you excited to see that Deadpool 3 is moving forward despite Fox/Disney merger concerns? What are you hoping the production team does next for the Deadpool franchise as a whole? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

[Source: Deadline]

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 10:01 pm

Rick And Morty Want You To Buy A PS5

Rick and Morty are no strangers to video games. They play the life simulator Roy in an episode of the show on Adult Swim, and they have even starred in their own VR experience (though I didn't love it). But the dimension-hopping duo's latest contribution to the gaming industry is a new ad for the PlayStation 5.

Rick and Morty bring their signature brand of humor to the spot, making it clear multiple times that they are only saying what they've been paid to say. Even so, it's still an entertaining little bit for fans of the show to enjoy. Plus, the irreverent tone is a fun change from other PS5 commercials we've seen so far. See the ad in the tweet below:

Of course, the saddest part about seeing a commercial for PlayStation 5 is knowing that it will add more people to the growing throngs hoping to buy the system – which means that they could remain difficult to snag. With preorder scares combined with the PS5's online-only launch, obtaining Sony's next-gen console is not as simple as walking into a store or ordering it from any retailer.

PlayStation 5 isn't alone on that front, either; Microsoft's Xbox Series X/S systems have also been hard to secure. This console launch has been the biggest in Xbox history, with many would-be Xbox owners putting their hopes in various giveaways to get their hands on the systems.

But if the persuasive powers of Rick and Morty have swayed you to the PS5 side of the fence (or if you already own one), we have plenty of ways to help you get the most out of your new system. You can read our exhaustive PlayStation 5 review, our impressions of the new DualSense controller, and our review of Astro's Playroom – the cute little platformer that comes pre-installed on every PS5.

Still unsure if PS5 is right for you? We can also help you decide which next-gen console you should get – assuming you have some sort of multi-dimensional portal gun that can take you to an alternate universe in which PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are always in stock.

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 10:00 pm

Sealed Super Mario Bros. 3 Variant Breaks World Record For Most Expensive Video Game

So you think you like Super Mario Bros. 3, eh? Do you like it for $156,000, because this collector sure does. A super-rare Super Mario Bros. 3 variant copy of the Nintendo game just broke the world record for the most expensive title, selling for just over the aforementioned amount. 

The sale by Heritage Auction house marks the second time this year that this world record has been beaten regarding a bidding-style sell. Earlier this year, another copy of the first Super Mario Bros. game auctioned off for $114,000, but the third game's variant was seen as more valuable by the community. 

“We couldn't be more pleased about breaking the world record for the second time in the same year,” says Valarie McLeckie, Heritage Auctions’ Director of Video Games. “That said, it's no surprise that another Mario game, which so many of us grew up with, would set the new bar.”

Heritage Auction

The bid for this rare sealed copy started out at $62,500 and the price quickly skyrocketed from there. It's not just the sealed condition of this game that made it such a hot item, it's the fact that it's a variant that is incredibly rare with the Bros. formatting seen on the left, overlapping Mario's right hand. According to Heritage, this variant of the Super Mario Bros. 3 art is highly coveted among collectors, which was evident by the bidding nature of the most recent auction. There are apparently only three versions of this particular variant in existence, which only added to that appeal.

As a huge collector myself, it's always wild to me to see the lengths that this community goes to in order to nab that coveted item. Passion is passion, but phew. I would love to have that much money in my back pocket to spend...

What do you think about the latest record to be broken regarding a video game sale with this Super Mario Bros. variant? Too much or do you regret you couldn't beat 'em to the punch? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 9:31 pm

Katamari Damacy Reroll Is Out On PS4 And Xbox One Today And (Surprise) It Still Rules

Katamari Damacy Reroll is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, giving those console owners a chance to play a remaster that came out on the Switch and PC a couple years ago. It gives the existing game a coat of HD polish, and, well, that’s about it. And because I’m a tremendous sucker for Katamari Damacy, I immediately downloaded it this morning. Yes, I am part of the problem.

I’ve played the first few levels on my PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility, and it’s exactly what I thought it was going to be: Katamari Damacy. The cutscenes are sharp-looking and it now fills a 16:9 screen, but other than that it’s the same game I fell in love with 16 years ago. Would it have killed Bandai Namco to do more than the absolute minimum effort here? Probably not. Do I wish this were part of a bigger collection of Katamari games? Absolutely! Ultimately, that disappointment melted away the moment I jumped into the first level and started rolling a bunch of stuff into a ball. Like I said, it’s Katamari Damacy.

The visuals maintain the original release’s blocky aesthetic, which remains a large part of its charm. The objects that you collect are often just abstractions of their real-world counterparts, particularly the animals and people who inhabit these debris-scattered landscapes. Animations, when they’re even present, are as simple as can be. That’s not the point, however. I remember the spectacle of seeing so many objects displayed on my screen, like someone dumped a tub of Lego pieces on my floor. Of course, instead of just blocks and wheels, the “pieces” in Katamari Damacy start out as small as thumbtacks and cherries to bowling pins, bikes, and eventually entire continents.

As the Prince rolls his ever-growing Katamari ball, the people begin screaming in terror as it approaches. Who can blame them? What started as a tiny collection of trash quickly scales to a very real threat. It still makes me laugh, but those moments are far from the most impactful moments on the audio front. Katamari Damacy’s soundtrack is the only game soundtrack I’ve actively sought out; I’ve listened to it countless times over the years, and it never fails to put a smile on my face. In my opinion, it’s about as close to perfection as it gets; even though I still have no idea of what any of the songs are about, they’re at times inspiring, sentimental, and silly. And, above all else, they’re undeniably catchy.

If you’ve never played the first game before, this is a great way to start. I’m not in love with the $30 price point, especially considering the lack of any new content, but it is what it is. More than anything, I’ve been consistently happy with how well it holds up. Nostalgia is a powerful force, but the joy that I’m getting from rolling around and picking stuff up isn’t reliant on the feelings of the past. It was a blast then, and it’s still a great deal of fun now. And now that you can easily download it on current consoles, you have no excuse if you missed the ball the first time around.

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 9:04 pm

Bungie Nerfs Stasis For Warlocks In Destiny 2: Beyond Light

The Stasis ability is a new class that Destiny 2: Beyond Light offers Guardians and it is a beast. How it functions in PvE vs. PvP has been a major topic of discussion since the new expansion's launch, with some feeling like it shakes things up in the best way and others feeling like the pacing shifts the experience for the worst and is overall imbalanced. Bungie has been listening to all of that feedback and because of that, the Warlock Stasis abilities are getting nerfed. 

"We have seen a lot of feedback on Stasis since Beyond Light launched last week," reads the latest Bungie blog about the new class. "We’ve heard it’s a ton of fun to use, but certain aspects of this new subclass can be frustrating to go up against (looking at you, Shadebinder Warlocks). We have a few minor tweaks planned to go out in Hotfix this week. Our goal here is to do some early tuning to rein Shadebinders back in while still maintaining their overall efficacy and power fantasy. "

The first change with Stasis is that the Breakout Damage is being reduced from 110hp to 90hp. Warlock's melee damage is also getting a reduction by 20% speed and 16m (from 28m) range. 

Recent changes to Stasis impact PvP features like Crucible as well, seeing freeze duration lowered and basically all Warlock attacks being reduced. For the full list of changes: 

Stasis Changes:  

Against Guardians:  

Bungie also noted that Stasis, particularly for Warlocks, functions differently in PvP than it does in PvE, so they are trying to find the perfect balance for "cosmic ice wizards" to shine. The team also teases something "spicier" on the way as well, though offered no clues as to what that could mean for the sandbox. 

The newest season arrived just this week, one week post-expansion launch, and the new raid is finally arriving as well. It will be interesting to see how this new class continues to evolve and where Bungie plans on taking the story next. While our full review isn't up quite yet, you can check out our review-in-progress (courtesy of Matt Miller) right here.

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 9:01 pm

GTA Online Reveals First Solo Heist With New Island Map

"It's time to raise the stakes higher than ever before," boasts Rockstar Games about its "biggest update yet" for Grand Theft Auto Online. A new video details what's coming to the online component of GTA V, including the game's first solo heist and a tropical new location to explore. 

GTA Online players will be going to a remote island compound with the Cayo Perico Heist. It's one of the most highly secured private islands in existence, so infiltrating it won't be a walk in the park. From heavily armored guards to high-stakes security systems, getting in, and getting out, with those stolen goods is going to require some heavy strategizing. 

Click here to watch embedded media

According to Rockstar Games, "The Cayo Perico Heist is the biggest GTA Online adventure ever, introducing an all-new exotic Heist location, with a brand-new approach to Heist design that features the ability to play everything solo or with up to three other players. Plus you can acquire new vehicles and tactical weapons, experience new social spaces to dance and party in with your friends, and new world-class guest DJs, and listen to new radio stations with over 100 new songs. Oh, and a very large, very versatile, and very heavily armed submarine HQ with plenty of other surprises."

More information will be dropping before the new heist arrives in GTA Online on December 15, but it looks like a nice addition for those that don't want to squad up. Plus, new locations are always cool, and while we wait for any sort of official confirmation about a new Grand Theft Auto 6, this update at least provides some new content for fans of this franchise to enjoy. 

What about the upcoming Caya Perico Heist in GTA Online appeals to you the most? What would you like to see next for the game's online experience? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below and tell us what you think! 

[Source: Rockstar Games]

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 6:46 pm

Dragon Age, Mass Effect, And Star Wars Animated Backgrounds On Zoom Are Pretty Sweet

First things first: we all know I'm massively obsessed with Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Even my author profile says as much, but I've never done much to hide the fact. Secondly, these backgrounds have apparently been around for awhile now, but I'm always late to the party and just discovered them, but they are...for lack of a better word: dope. 

BioWare offers quite a few animated backgrounds for Zoom calls for Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Anthem, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Since many of us are still impacted by COVID-19 and the threat of new restrictions looms ahead, Zoom has become an intricate part of our day-to-day, so why not have fun with it? 

These backgrounds are totally free to use, so no worries there, and are really easy to utilize! Download Zoom (a video conferencing software, also free), go into your settings gear wheel in the top right corner, and select the option that says "background & filters." You'll see a few presets in there, but let's be real...why be on a generic beach when you could be on the Normandy instead? Am I right or am I right?

I'm right. 

YOU CAN HAVE ANIMATED MASS EFFECT BACKGROUNDS TOO!?! Why am I so behind on everything?? 😖

— Liana Ruppert (@DirtyEffinHippy) November 18, 2020

You can pull really any image you want for this. I tampered with a few settings, including the image at the top with the Starboard lounge from the Mass Effect games. Or, you can pull from the animated high-res videos right here from BioWare to take that fantasy setting to the next level. It's a pretty cool feature, one fans of all game types have been playing around with.

Again, late to the party but if it's new to me, it might be new to somebody else. If you're a BioWare fan, especially of its older games, these animated Zoom backgrounds are just really freaking cool. Enjoy! 

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 6:16 pm

Sony CEO Says There's "News To Come" About PlayStation's Response To Xbox Game Pass

The Xbox Game Pass is a huge game-changer for Microsoft's ecosystem, so much so that the entire vision of the latest generation of Xbox seems to have made a dramatic shift. While Sony has PlayStation Now, its own subscription service, it doesn't offer what the Xbox Game Pass does but it looks like that could be changing according to a recent interview with CEO Jim Ryan. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan recently opened up to TASS about PlayStation's plans for the future and when the question came up about what the company is doing to compete with the Xbox Game Pass, he mentioned "there is actually news to come" on that very topic. That being said, he did pull attention back to the fact that Sony already does have a membership service with PlayStation Now, a solid subscription feature in itself.

The main different between the PlayStation Now service and the Xbox Game Pass services is that PS Now is rooted in the past, whereas the Xbox Game Pass library is a blend of previous games and new titles on the horizon, especially with no-cost day-on launch title releases. 

Could Sony make an exact replica of the Xbox Game Pass? Sure, they absolutely could, but should they? Personally, I would love to see them make that move but practically? It wouldn't make sense. PlayStation has a much meatier first-party lineup and while it looks like Microsoft is doing an amazing job at bridging that gap for the future, it's not quite there yet. While the Xbox camp continues to grow into new strengths, Sony is in a position where they don't need a digital ecosystem to that level, they have the first-party lineup that players will buy at full-cost, there is no real benefit to the company itself to mimic what Microsoft is doing. 

We go into much more detail about the differing ecosystems and marketing strategies for both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 generation with our deep dive here, for those that may be interested. 

It will be interesting to see how the next generation continues to grow and evolve. Both companies are in a great position of growth, whereas last year Microsoft was at a clear disadvantage with previous leadership and a muddled marketing road towards launch. Pairing that with its distance as a gaming console, Microsoft has had a long climb back up, but Phil Spencer has been effectively leading that charge and bringing Team Green back to where it belongs: to gamers. 

[Source: TASS via GameRant]

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 5:47 pm

Take A Papercraft Journey Through Gaming History With This Music Video

Click to watch embedded media

If you go back to play the games from your childhood, the graphics may not always look exactly the way you remember them – but you've never seen the classics of video game history quite like this. In the music video above (which we are premiering here on Game Informer), you can see an impressive range of games represented in stunning and stylish paper animation. If you have fond memories of games like Metroid, Punch-Out, and Shovel Knight – or if you just generally like melancholy music – then you should check it out. 

The song is simply called "Video Games," and it is by Minneapolis-based musician Jeremy Messersmith, with visuals by animator Eric Power. The track is the newest installment in Messersmith's Mixtape for the Milky Way project (Spotify), which he describes as "a celebration of sonic minimalism and introspective non-fiction songwriting."

This isn't the first time Messersmith and Power have teamed up; you may remember another paper-animated video for Messersmith's song "Tatooine" making the rounds online several years ago:

Click here to watch embedded media

The duo has also collaborated on music videos for Messersmith's other songs, like "A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard" and "Organ Donor."

I've been a fan of Messersmith's music for years, so the "Video Games" video represents a very specific intersection of my personal interests. If you also enjoy it, I encourage you to check out his albums! In these especially dark times, it can be nice to think about a future in which everybody gets a kitten.

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 5:00 pm

Winter Animal Crossing: New Horizons Update Changes Time Travel

Click to watch embedded media

Time traveling is one of those aspects in Animal Crossing that players love or loathe, there doesn't seem to be any in between. For those that fancy themselves the New Horizons version of the Doctor (Who), the new Animal Crossing: New Horizons update makes drastic changes to how this workaround functions in-game

The new winter update is here and brings with it two events with Turkey Day (on Thanksgiving at 6 AM PT until November 26th) and Toy Day (December 24, with items arriving on December 1st), as well as random dream destinations with the "Surprise me" option with Luna. 

In addition to the usual bug fixes and winter update features that was shown earlier this month, Nintendo has at long last addressed the time-traveling functionality within the game, a trick that players use by changing the time settings on their systems to manipulate time on their islands. 

Now, players will not be able to travel forwards in time for special events, only backward. Players will be able to go backward in time for turnip sales and previous events, but no more sneak peeking future events as of now. 

For those curious, below are the full patch notes as shared by Nintendo

General updates

Fixed issues

A lot of players use the time traveling to go back to old events and new events on the horizon. It's also a trick loved by those that don't have as much time to spend in the game as others, but what the same amount of island-building experience. For those that are against this mechanic, they are really against it, at least if comment sections on anything Animal Crossing ever are something to go by. 

[Update] After testing the time traveling for ourselves, it looks like you can still time travel forwards a little bit, but you can't time travel during specific future dates blocked out for events like in the past. We're still testing out other blocks, but it looks like forward-time travel is restricted but not completely taken away. 

What do you think of the recent update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the restrictions put on time travel? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 4:56 pm

Cyberpunk 2077 Latest Preview: Keanu Reeves, Guns Galore, And Driving Woes

Click here to watch embedded media

Cyberpunk 2077 is the gift that keeps on giving with Keanu Reeves, a massive open-world playground, and more weapons than you could possibly keep track of. With the final hands-on preview for the upcoming CD Projekt RED game, we dive deep into what Keanu brings to the table, how does the music stack up to some of the greats, and Silverhand's ability to make people pregnant just by walking past (kidding on that last part).

Join Alex Stadnik and Liana Ruppert as we take you through Night City once more while telling our tales of playing as Johnny Silverhand himself and our thoughts on if the December release date will actually stick this time. 

If you're excited to dive into the world of neon and crime, you don't have to wait long because Cyberpunk 2077 releases on December 10 for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Google Stadia. You can also learn more about the game's musical experience with our in-depth interview with the composers behind some pretty epic tracks right here

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 1:00 pm

Monster Hunter Release Date Moved Up To Christmas

Paul W.S. Anderson's upcoming Monster Hunter movie, based on Capcom's popular video game franchise of the same name, will now be released on December 25, 2020, Sony Pictures announced today. This is the fourth announced release date for the movie. 

Originally slated for a September 4, 2020, release in North America, the movie was pushed back to April 23, 2021 back in July. On October 5, however, Sony announced it was moving Monster Hunter up to December 30, 2020. As of today, the movie's release date has been moved once again; now it is December 25, 2020. The movie's December 4 release date in territories such as China and Europe remains unchanged, as revealed in the movie's latest Chinese trailer, released yesterday. No specific reason was given for the movie's new North American release date. Check out the movie's latest trailer below (via IGN). 

Click here to watch embedded media

As of right now, the movie is only announced for a release in theaters, despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis affecting large parts of the world and health advisors warning against gathering in public spaces.

Monster Hunter is the latest movie from director Paul W.S. Anderson, who is perhaps best-known for his series of Resident Evil movies, which he directed and/or produced all six entries of. Anderson has also directed film adaptations for Mortal Kombat and Dead or Alive, and he's also the director of the cult horror film Event Horizon.

Monster Hunter features Anderson's wife and Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich, rapper-actor Tip "T.I." Harris, Tony Jaa, and Ron Perlman. According to the film's synopsis, when a group of soldiers are hit by a sandstorm, they are unexpectedly transported into an alternate, unknown dimension full of monsters and deadly beasts. In this strange world, the soldiers join forces with, well, a team of monster hunters to fight the back against the beasts and "a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world."

For more on Monster Hunter, check out the movie's original trailer. For more on Paul W.S. Anderson's previous video game adaptations, check out these three simple reasons why Mortal Kombat remains a perfect video game movie 25 years after its initial release.

Posted on 20 November 2020 | 12:59 am

The Secret Door Of Demon's Souls Has Been Solved

Several days ago, the Souls community started diving deep into Bluepoint's PlayStation 5 Demon's Souls remake to find out what lay beyond a new hidden door. Nestled in 1-3, an illusory wall gave way to a door. A locked door. Today, Twitch streamer Distortion2 is believed to be the first to have unlocked the door and discovered what's beyond. It's a totally cool set of armor, the Penetrator's Armor set. The Penetrator is a boss in Demon's Souls and he has very stylish armor, so picking this up is for the most extreme Demon's Souls fashion experts, especially since it takes quite a bit of work to do it.

We solved the mystery of the hidden door! Thanks for making such a great secret to get all the community involved @bluepointgames Was awesome looking for the coins in SOTC Remake and again in Demon's Souls Remake :D

— Distortion2 (@Distortion_2) November 19, 2020

While the entire community was out in force for several days trying to figure out the secret (check this Reddit thread, people were trying everything!), the callback to Bluepoint's previous remake, Shadow of the Colossus, was the clue that eventually put detectives on the right track. In Shadow, players need to collect a bunch of coins to unlock the secret. The same is true here in Demon's Souls, where an item called Ceramic Coins can be found in Fractured Mode (Mirrored stages) under pure white or black world tendencies.

They're in the same place every time if you can meet the criteria to find them, and you'll probably need to complete several stages of New Game+ in order to unlock it, as Distortion allegedly traded in 30 Ceramic Coins to the crow to procure the critical item, a Rusty Key. We're not exactly sure how many Ceramic Coins are needed precisely, but 30 was the magic number for this big first time. Update: It appears it takes 26 of the coins minimum to acquire the key.

And with this, the mystery is over. No more guessing if it's a Bloodborne threaded cane or saw. No more dreams of the sixth Archstone somehow coming to life beyond the door. Bluepoint's trend of remake secrets will likely continue. Frankly, I'm surprised this one lasted even more than a day given how voracious the Souls community is with tackling mysteries, but it was kind of complex! Congrats to Distortion2 on the world first discovery!

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 11:45 pm

Destiny 2: Beyond Light Raid, Deep Stone Crypt, 'Race To World First' Details Revealed

Destiny 2: Beyond Light has officially kicked off and with it comes a new raid that launches on Friday, November 21. If you're like me, you're itching to see what new sort of hell Bungie has lying in wait, and while we still have a little longer to go, we do have new details about what this new experience will entail for those looking to be among the first to beat it. 

The new raid is called Deep Stone Crypt and will be available at 10 AM PST this Saturday. With new rewards and a challenging new experience, the competition definitely heats up with the return of the Raid Race to be the first team to complete the run.

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The race to be the first to beat the new raid kicks off this weekend, with some sweet rewards to the team that wins clean. "Once the raid has been conquered, we will announce that the activity has been completed from @Bungie on Twitter. After this, our teams will start diving into the data to verify that the first completion was clean. Our hope is to be able to announce the winners shortly after World first, but we want to ensure our validation efforts are sound. Ultimately, our goal is to have a post congratulating the winning team on Monday, November 23."

For a quick recap about the Contest Mode for this: 

You can see the sweet rewards for winning right here through the official Bungie blog post (I'm going to need that jacket). 

Are you ready to dive deep into the Deep Stone Crypt found on Europa? Are you going to be watching the race to be the first this weekend? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! You can also check out our review-in-progress of the latest expansion right here. 

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 11:22 pm

New Resident Evil Movie Reboot Images Revealed

Last month, Resident Evil fans got their first look at the cast for the Resident Evil movie reboot on the way, showing off a star-filled roster for Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and more. Towards the tail-end of the month, a leak showed off a few set images from the film, and now we've got even more photos from the upcoming Resident Evil movie reboot to feast those eyes on. 

Our latest look at the upcoming movie shows off a decrepit S.T.A.R.S helicopter and what looks to be Spencer Mansion. That latest onset snaps come by way of the @ROEnetwork account, with four new photos to share: 

Our First Look at what appears to be the Spencer Mansion + NEW photos of S.T.A.R.S. helicopter from the upcoming #ResidentEvil Movie Reboot! 😲🎬🧟‍♂️#ResidentEvilMovie #ResidentEvilReboot

— RESIDENCE of EVIL (@ROEnetwork) November 19, 2020

This account shared a few more images earlier this month, in addition to another look courtesy of Robbie Amell over on @Biohazardcast: 

Here's a better look at S.T.A.R.S. Alpha/Bravo Team's helicopter in the Arklay Forest from the upcoming #ResidentEvil Movie Reboot! 🚁 #ResidentEvilMovie #ResidentEvilReboot

Photo via:

— RESIDENCE of EVIL (@ROEnetwork) November 17, 2020

Pictures from the #ResidentEvil reboot movie where they’re filming scenes in the Arklay Forest from friends of BHd in Canada and from Robbie Amell’s (playing Chris Redfield) Instagram. #REBHFun

📸: Robbie Amell/ Amber C.#residentevilreboot #residentevilmovie

— BIOHAZARD Declassified (@BIOHAZARDcast) November 17, 2020

While not a first look at the cast in character, it is fun to see little snippets of what this world will look like when the movie comes out! 

As for who will be a part of this new reboot, here is who we know will be playing which characters: 

“With this movie, I really wanted to go back to the original first two games and re-create the terrifying visceral experience I had when I first played them whilst at the same time telling a grounded human story about a small dying American town that feels both relatable and relevant to today’s audiences," said the director previously.

We know that the upcoming movie will be centered within the timeframe of the first two games in the franchise. More information about the narrative has yet to be revealed, but hopefully we will be learning more soon now that it is in active development. 

What do you think about the latest set images from the Resident Evil movie reboot? Anything in particular you're hoping to see the most? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below and tell us all about your dream Resident Evil experience. 

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 11:08 pm

Nintendo Wants "No Politics" In Animal Crossing: New Horizons With Updated Content Guidelines

From Gary Whitta's Animal Crossing: New Horizons show to President-Elect Joe Biden's campaign hustle, the latest Animal Crossing game has had an immense impact in many ways this past year. As content creators and affiliated groups alike continue to use assets from the simulation game, Nintendo has tightened up its user guidelines to make content surrounding the game more wholesome and "without politics."

Nintendo updated its content guidelines for businesses and organizations this week with an added message of appreciation for all of the love felt. "We deeply appreciate that so many people around the world are having fun with Animal Crossing: New Horizons," opens the latest message from the company. But, the pleasantries stop there. 

The guideline adjustments are meant to preserve the integrity of the community with the growing popularity of using this game for less than recreational purposes. "While our services and products are generally for personal use only, we understand there may be situations in which businesses and organizations would like to use or reference the game in relation to their business. As such, we would like to share a few guidelines with those businesses, organizations, and anyone representing them, to preserve the experience for the millions of people enjoying the game recreationally."

Businesses can use New Horizons in the below ways: 

With a few additional annotations: 

If content is being created using Animal Crossing: New Horizons that is potentially harmful to the community at large, a cease and desist will be issued.

Nintendo did add that the community guidelines could change as the community itself changes, but for now? These are the guidelines that must be adhered to. 

[Source: Nintendo]

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 8:26 pm

Cyberpunk 2077 Music DMCA Takedown Workaround And How It Works

We recently interviewed the team behind the incredible music of Cyberpunk 2077, but there's one aspect of the new sounds that has a lot of content creators worried. Twitch has been on a very controversial spiel with DMCA takedowns, purging years' worth of content for in-game sounds that honestly should be protected. For those curious about how streaming a game with so many tracks involved, here is how CD Projekt RED is handling the DMCA landscape. 

As noted in our previous coverage way down at the bottom, CD Projekt RED has added a "streamer mode" that will disable the tracks that could qualify to be taken down by DMCA restrictions. This won't remove every track and there won't be any missing holes of sound either. While the affected tracks will be removed, each spot will be filled with a different (original) track that meets DMCA standards. With over 150 tracks available, there is more than enough to filter through in order to keep the immersion going without missing a beat. 

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As for the auditory experience that Cyberpunk 2077 will have to offer, the music behind Night City is beyond incredible. We were given a chance to take a peek the music and it didn't take long before these sounds quickly skyrocketed to my personal top five soundtracks of all time in terms of gaming. Each track flows very differently, and CDPR didn't go the traditional techno route that many were expecting. 

A lot of the tracks are guttural in a way that just hits right. Some of the more subtle variations in sound also get under your skin in a way tha you won't realize, taking that immersion to a more intimate level. 

We sat down with the three composers for the sounds behind Cyberpunk 2077, including Marcin Przyblowics (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), P.T. Adamczyk (Gwent: The Witcher Card Game), and Paul Leonard-Morgan (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II), and we learned a lot about the team behind this creative endeavor. To learn more about the creative process — and even the hilarious nightmares working on a big project like this can cause — you can check out our full interview right here

As for the game itself, Cyberpunk 2077 makes its debut on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on December 10. Are you excited? What has you the most amped up for Night City? Sound off in the comment section below! 

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 7:07 pm

New Cyberpunk 2077 Gameplay Is About Being An Outsider, Free Google Stadia Promo

We've got some new Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay to share, diving deeper into the world of Night City with more combat, more NPCs, and a hint at a much bigger story for our not-so-heroic protagonist. CD Projekt RED also detailed a partnership with Google to get a free Premiere Kit for Stadia. 

The latest gameplay shows off more of the world, even more interactions with our beloved Jackie, and a few more adversaries around the way: 

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Fast-paced action aside, CD Projekt RED also revealed a new incentive to try out Google Stadia for yourself. For a new promotion, Google is offering a free Stadia Premier kit for anyone that pre-orders Cyberpunk 2077 for that platform. This applies to pre-orders and anyone that buys it post-launch until December 17. As for how many Premiere Kits will be available, Google didn't say, only mentioning that this will be active "while supplies lasts." 

For those that are intrigued by the incentive, you can redeem this promotion by creating a Stadia account (you don't need the paid version here). Once that account is created, you can then pre-order the game through the official Cyberpunk 2077 website to buy the title with that particular platform.

When pre-ordering, keep an eye out on the email you provided. There will be a code sent to that email, giving buyers a chance to redeem the free Premiere Kit promo. If you don't see it by launch, be sure to check those junk files. 

There is a downside: Google isn't promising a timely launch of that equipment, so for those looking to play Cyberpunk 2077 on launch day, this might not be the best avenue. 

As for the game itself, Cyberpunk 2077 will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. You can learn more about the upcoming adventure from CDPR with our previous coverage here.  

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 6:25 pm

Kate Bishop Comes To Marvel's Avengers Next Month

Since its launch in August, additional information on all-new content for Marvel's Avengers has been scarce. Amidst promises of new characters and additional storylines, fans have largely been left in the dark about when Hawkeye, Black Panther, or any of the teased/announced post-launch characters would be arriving in the game. We now finally know that Kate Bishop will kick off the first season of post-launch content next month.

As one of the subsequent characters to take up the Hawkeye name after Clint Barton, Kate Bishop (voiced by Ashly Burch in Marvel's Avengers) is a masterful archer and swordswoman who, in the comics, is a member of the Young Avengers team. In Marvel's Avengers, she joins the team in an effort to travel through time and stop AIM from the next step in its plans following the main campaign story. The action-packed trailer shows off Kate's acrobatic abilities, new enemies, and some returning threats in Operation: Taking AIM.

Marvel's Avengers

Kate has myriad abilities to play with, including razor arrows, scatter shot arrows, explosive arrows, and smokescreen arrows. She can also use warp arrows to teleport to enemies to unload on them with her sword. Kate can spawn a hologram decoy to distract enemies and self-destruct to damage congregating enemies. Her ultimate ability is Quantum Overdrive where she gains unlimited quantum energy to deploy in her arrows with explosive results. 

Operation: Taking AIM features the story of Kate searching for Hawkeye (Clint Barton). Of course, it can never be that simple, as she uncovers a conspiracy surrounding Nick Fury, time travel, and a new enemy: the Super Adaptoid. This villain is a supercharged version of the Adaptoids you faced in the main campaign, but Super Adaptoid has all of the powers of the Avengers, making it an Omega-level threat.

According to Crystal Dynamics, Operation: Taking AIM is the first of many Operations, story-driven post-launch content that introduces new heroes, villains, biomes, and more. Crystal Dynamics considers these Operations to come together to form larger arcs, similar to a run of comics or a television show season. 

If you're more of a Clint Barton fan, don't worry: His story picks up after the conclusion of Kate's Operation. Clint's Operation takes place in a future where the world has been devastated. At the end of the trailer, we get a glimpse of what appears to be Maestro, an altered version of Hulk who possesses Bruce Banner's intelligence and Hulk's might. Operation: Future Imperfect will bring Hawkeye into the fight in early 2021. 

Kate Bishop is set to arrive in Marvel's Avengers alongside Operation: Taking AIM on December 8. 

[Source: Marvel's Avengers on YouTube]

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 5:39 pm

Sitting Down With The Composers Behind Cyberpunk 2077's Soundtrack

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A good soundtrack can make or break a gaming experience. Pairing the right sounds to the perfect scene is imperative, and setting the stage for what the player feels is an incredibly powerful — and sometimes daunting — task. With Cyberpunk 2077 just around the corner boasting some killer tunes, we sat down with the OST team to learn more about the inspiration behind the sounds of Night City. 

Speaking with Marcin Przybyłowicz (The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), P.T. Adamczyk (Gwent: The Witcher Card Game), and Paul Leonard-Morgan (Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II), we learned a ton about the tracklist for the highly anticipated action-RPG. While “cyberpunk” tropes may instantly bring to mind such scores as Blade Runner or Deus Ex, this talented team of composers drew inspiration from all sorts of sources, including draws from jazz, through downtempo, hip-hop, metal, industrial, to various incarnations of 90’s techno (rave, trance, etc.); putting an unexpected modernized spin to everything while still keeping a cinematic vibe that pushes and informs the narrative and action.

Ready to learn more about the sounds of Night City? Let's dive right in! 

The three of you have an impressive background, can you talk a little bit more about how you knew composition was the right path for you and about where it all started? 

P.T: I started out as a drummer although I always wanted to write music. The idea of being a composer felt so surreal, that I put this dream on the shelf and became a session drummer for Poland’s top rap artists. In my early 20’s I started doing music for commercials, shorts, and things of that nature. That gave me a confidence boost and I realized that maybe I can do that. I put my drumming career on hold and followed the composer path. I relocated to LA in 2015. I studied at USC’s SMPTV program, did some ghostwriting, some additional arrangements, small short movies, and things of that caliber, and in mid-2017 I got a job as an in-house composer at CDPR and I moved back to Poland to work on Gwent, Thronebreaker and eventually Cyberpunk 2077

Leonard-Morgan: I studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Glasgow has a phenomenal music scene, and I started working with a ton of bands back then. I started out by scoring a few films (my first one got me a BAFTA), and then it really just took off from when I scored the film Limitless with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, and then Dredd. 

PrzybyłowiczFor me, it all started back in music college. I figured out I'm not that great of a musician on instruments, but I was quite OK with writing and arranging music. That eventually pushed me to game music, kind of an obvious thing at the time. I've been playing games since I was seven. I worked on several smaller titles for a few years, and in 2011 I joined CD Projekt RED and we've been working together ever since. 

How has your approach to game composition evolved with each new project? 

P.T: I think because of the experience you gain with every project you become slightly more confident with the decisions you make even if they might seem unproductive or just stupid to an outsider. For example, I did a lot of research before jumping into CP2077, I figured out my core set of instruments and I spent the first 6-8 months learning how to use them. I would press record and just jam with them, then save the bits I liked and then move to a different instrument. If I haven’t had the experience that would seem counterproductive to me, cause I would be worried about not starting with “the theme”, but I knew that this could be an equally valid point of entry and “the theme” will get discovered somewhere into the process.

Leonard-Morgan: I’ve scored a few games before (Battlefield Hardline and Warhammer: Dawn Of War 3), and with each of those, I’ve been learning about the technical aspects of composing for games. But what I’ve found the most fun part in them all (including Cyberpunk) is coming up with the sound for the game. In Cyberpunk, the three of us were playing with all our synths and experimenting for about 6 months at the start of the process. It’s so important to find a unique sound, and, particularly for a game the size of Cyberpunk, it’s a challenge to create something that hasn’t been done before.

Przybyłowicz: I think it always evolves — every project is different, even if it’s a part of a franchise. It brings different artistic and technical challenges. After years spent on The Witcher, I had to rethink my approach before starting doing anything on Cyberpunk 2077. It’s a completely different universe, characters, story, everything. Plus, the music we’ve made is so different from anything I’ve ever done personally.

With a game like Cyberpunk 2077, there is a grittiness heard in the tracks, and it's not the obvious sounds people might expect from an experience in this genre. What was the creative process like when nailing down the sounds of Night City, especially when looking at how different the three of your tracks are from one another? 

P.T: All the inspiration comes from the game. Whether it’s Mike Pondsmith’s lore, or quest design, concept art you cannot complain about a lack of inspiration while working on a game like CP2077. Grittiness and the hard-hitting beats and bases were our response to the world and the stories that were presented to us. This is not a digital, sci-fi cyberpunk, it’s not retro-futuristic cyberpunk. It’s a special, singular take on the genre, that dares to create a new paradigm. So, as a composer, when you’re tasked to create a musical score for a game like that, you have to give it all you got and look for uncharted musical territories.

Leonard-Morgan: Going back to that whole trying to create a unique sound thing, one of the things we quickly realized was that we wanted to avoid an 80’s synth vibe – it’s been done before, Blade Runner, etc, but synth/electronica definitely plays a big role in our process. But we processed and crushed so many of our sounds on this. From drums to electric cello, to all our synths – distortion can be beautiful. And so many of the sounds that we created was from a process: for example, I would feed my moog into my matrixbrute, then into my vocoder, then finally into this wonderful synth called a Folktek. It was all about creating a hard, edgy sound for Night City. Throbbing Basslines and weird distortion

Przybyłowicz: I think that’s one of Night City’s highlights — musical variety within a very well defined soundscape. Both the story and the city itself are soaking with exciting moments for the composer. It’s not always about the action — sometimes it’s the color, or what’s being said in dialogue lines. Whatever it is, it makes your mind go places. Once you realize what the story is really about, and how it’s executed, you know where that grit comes from.

When composing for a game that has this much of hype behind it, what does a typical workday look like for you? 

P.T: For the past 6 months we’re in playtesting mode (at least Marcin and I) so everything is pretty normal. We just play the game a lot and tweak things according to our music design. Earlier, when I was actually writing and producing the music it was a workday like any other :) cause you know, when you’re in the middle of the ocean, it doesn’t matter how deep it is, you just have to make it safely to the shore :). But in all seriousness, more than anything, the hype is a great motivator. It pushes you to give 100% every day and not cut corners and do everything to justify the anticipation. I felt really lucky to work on this game and the support we got from gamers was overwhelming.

Leonard-Morgan: Hype doesn’t really come into it – you just keep your head down in the studio and be creative. There’s no point thinking “I wonder if the millions of fans will like this”. You’ve just gotta stay true to your artistry/what you believe in and hope that people like it! A typical day would be me looking at a new scene which I’ve been sent a rough movie for (CDPR are in Warsaw, and I’m in LA, so the time difference means that we’ve kind of been working on this “round the clock” for 3 years!), then I start coming up with ideas/sketches, getting into the groove. Then I'll send some stuff back to PT and Marcin a few days later for feedback before I go and produce the track up properly.

Przybyłowicz: As PT said, the last couple of months have been pretty standard, more so than I think a lot of people would think. We played the game all of the time, fine-tuning, making sure everything works as it should. The music phase though was interesting for me, because of the hype - for the first time there were so many people talking about the music for the game - be it specific tracks we announced, or the music of Cyberpunk in general. I can’t wait to see how players react to what we’ve created.

How do you keep yourselves from burning out when ideating for creative musical compositions? 

P.T: New instruments, new sounds, new process. Sometimes you have to shake up and change a few things. I leaned heavily onto synths with unique interfaces so that I wouldn’t rely on muscle memory or the typical ways of making music. If you check how Folktek Mescaline looks like, or Elektron Digitakt or the L.E.P. Loop you will see that they all require different ways of operating.

Leonard-Morgan: Ha! Good question. I tend to be working on multiple projects at the same time (a film, a tv series, a game, a classical composition), so I guess that’s what stops me from burning out. If I was just doing the same thing over and over I think it's very easy to become stale – you need to challenge yourself as a composer. I also go for walks first thing in the morning to try and clear my head.

Przybyłowicz: Every once in a while it’s good to have change — after those few years spent on The Witcher, I went straight into another few years for Cyberpunk. Opportunities like this let you stay alert and try out new things — and there are so many ways you can make music.

Was there any particular part of the game that acted as a catalyst for inspiration? A moment where you thought 'this, this is what this project is about'? 

P.T: I love Johnny Silverhand. I did most of his material and it was a pleasure to score. You definitely don’t want to skip through his lines (laughs). 

Leonard-Morgan: I freaking loved working on anything relating to Arasaka — creating the sounds for that was a blast. Detuning various basses, distorting, adding electric cello, processing Koto’s and a few Eastern instruments so you can’t tell what they are, but it adds a flavor to the score.

Przybyłowicz: I was blown away when I saw the cyberspace sequence. I’ve spent a good time with Sound Designer Piotr Malinowski, talking about how cyberspace should sound. I really enjoyed working on it.

Did you ever have a moment where you felt stuck or hit a creative roadblock? 

P.T: Obviously, when working on a project this big, there are times when things are not clicking. In moments like that, you just have to get into the groove again somehow. For me it usually meant, getting a new piece of gear, or using one that I own already in a way and I haven’t used it before. Something to make things interesting again and to forget about the work that needs to be done.

Leonard-Morgan: Actually, no! Night City is such a huge place, once you immerse yourself in it, as a composer, it’s just fantastic fun to imagine yourself there, composing for all the different parts. And the wonderful thing about having the 3 of us collaborate means we could always bounce ideas off each other if ever we wanted a second opinion.

Przybyłowicz: It may happen you get short of breath eventually during a marathon, but with a project of this scale, there’s always a different angle you can look at it and find something new to create. You relax, clear your head, and create a new thing. And if you really need a break - you get a new instrument or another piece of gear and play with it. That always helps with finding new perspectives.

Are there any Polish influences found within the music? 

P.T: I wouldn’t say Polish, but while doing research for CP2077 I listened to some electronic music from Poland, Ukraine, Russia and I think there might be a common denominator, but it’s hard to pinpoint a specific thing. Maybe it’s in the harmonies...I’m no musicologist.

Przybyłowicz: I wouldn’t say it is, at least intentionally. We did research many paths, including music from central Europe, but eventually, I guess it didn’t matter whether or not it had those qualities. Our music draws from many places but tries to do it on its own.

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For The Witcher and Gwent fans, can they expect to see any of that influence within this new score? Do any other previous projects bleed into this set?  

P.T: Not that I'm aware of, to be honest. As a composer, you're not always conscious of the what's and the why's and the how's. So maybe? I don't know, I really can't say.

Leonard-Morgan: It’s massively different from scoring soundtracks — the whole process is different, from length of time for delivery (a few months as opposed to multiple years), to the actual technical process. But compared to other games I’ve scored, like Warhammer, I would say the sheer scope of this game was the major thing. I had thought Warhammer was massive, but Cyberpunk 2077 is something else…so many hours of music, all scored specifically for scenes and spotted (whereas often you might just use a track and its stems in various places after writing it for one scene, so much of this game is uniquely scored.)

Przybyłowicz: Well, they are, actually, few hidden nods to The Witcher. I won’t say where though, it’s better to find them yourself :)

Game composition is not an easy task, what about the process are you the most passionate about? 

P.T: I love when music brings out colors, emotions, and contexts out of the story or quest that weren’t there before you scored it. That’s why I’m always conscious of the instruments and tunes I use when certain characters are on-screen or a particular subject is discussed — I like adding the additional layer of meaning to things. I also love it when music can just follow the action seamlessly. Also picking and sequencing the soundtrack release is a lot of fun because you get to present the music in its best form.

Leonard-Morgan: We have lived and breathed this game for so long now, and every time I think we’ve peaked, we get inspired by the next thing in the game. The graphics are insane, and getting to create a sound for Night City is just a dream. Really getting into the zone with the attack cues, or chase scenes, pulsing sounds and thumping drums, to atmospheric tracks with soul, it’s been a huge undertaking, but blasting it out loud while we’re composing, it’s a total adrenaline rush!

Przybyłowicz: For me, the best moments are when you’re taking action and actively working with other teams to create something special. I got to work every day with a bunch of wizards on a project that has insane ambition. I’ll remember working with our CD PROJEKT RED cinematic team on polishing certain scenes. You see how every day this game shines brighter, and how all the elements — story, narrative, visuals, sound, music, and so on — come together. It’s fantastic.

Do you have a favorite track? Don't be shy! 

P.T: My favorite tracks were done by Paul with Mining Minds and The Sacred and the Profane. They're great, I can't stop listening to them! 

Leonard-Morgan: (He winks) Just about all of Marcin (Przyblowics) and P.T's tracks. 

Przybyłowicz: Hands down Paul's The Sacred and the Profane and P.T's take on Never Fade Away. Absolutely brilliant stuff!

OK, slightly weird question. When I have a big project, I get super weird dreams about it. Have you ever had a completely bizarre dream relating to your work? You compose a soundtrack for a nightmare, show up to work and can't hear anything? Anything like that, or am I just weird? 

P.T: Yeah, so many dreams where I just work on a cue and things are happening, and everything sounds great, then I wake up and can’t remember a note. Or the other recurring one is I am backstage at some gig, and all of a sudden some guy hands me a trumpet and tells it’s my turn and pushes me on to the stage (I never played trumpet in my life…). It's horrifying. 

Leonard-Morgan: Often! Mostly to do with a cue that I’m working on, and go get a few hours to sleep at maybe 4 AM, I go to sleep dreaming the tune/beat. I actually have recurring dreams about standing in front of an orchestra, and there are record turntables on everyone’s chairs, but no musicians are there. What the hell does that mean?!!

Przybyłowicz: Sometimes it happens, but most of the time I can’t remember a thing. But I do have moments before I drift away when ideas come. Nothing else occupies your mind, it’s you and the music in your head. It's kind of beautiful! 

It was a genuine pleasure speaking with the team, it's obvious that this is an A-squad for the game. After listening to Cyberpunk 2077's soundtrack and playing some more of the adventure, I genuinely think this OST quickly rose to the ranks of top five video game soundtracks for me of all time, which is saying something! I'm super picky with music, but everything about this tracklist was perfect. Especially when in the moment within the game, it's paired so expertly that you forget you're playing something sometimes! It's wild. 

As for the track list, the Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack includes new music from Grimes, SOPHIE, the Armed, Ratboy, and more. Volume one will be available on December 11, one day post-launch, with volume two coming a little bit later on December 18. Check out the tracks below: 

Radio Volume 1:

01 Run the Jewels (Yankee and the Brave): “No Save Point”
02 SOPHIE / Shygirl (Clockwork Venus): “BM”
03 Le Destroy (The Bait): “Kill Kill”
04 Yugen Blakrok (Gorgon Madonna): “Metamorphosis”
05 Konrad Oldmoney (7 Facas): “Dinero” [ft. Cerbeus]
06 Deadly Hunta / Maro Music (Footage Missing): “When It’s War’
07 The Armed (Homeschool Dropouts): “Night City Aliens”
08 Converge (Shattered Void): “I Won’t Let You Go”
09 Aligns (Rubicones): “Friday Night Fire Fight”
10 Tomb Mold (Bacillus): “Adaptive Manipulator”
11 Deafkids (Tainted Overlord): “Selva Pulsátil”

Radio Volume 2:

01 Namakopuri (Us Cracks): “PonPon Shit”
02 Grimes (Lizzy Wizzy): “Delicate Weapon”
03 Rat Boy (IBDY): “Who’s Ready for Tomorrow”
04 HEALTH (Window Weather): “Major Crimes”
05 Rosa Walton (Hallie Coggins): “I Really Want to Stay at Your House”
06 Nina Kraviz (Bara Nova): “Surprise Me, I’m Surprised Today”
07 Raney Shockne (Point Break Candy): “Hole in the Sun” [f. COS and Conway]
08 Gazelle Twin (Trash Generation): “History”
09 Poloz (Tinnitus): “On My Way to Hell”

With the DMCA takedowns being such a prevalent concern among content creators, there will be a streamer mode to disable a few of the songs that will not meet DMCA guidelines. This won't remove every song, just the ones that might be caught up in the ongoing issues that have resulted in takedowns. For those worried about missing spaces, this feature will replace those songs with custom tracks that won't be striked by DMCA. 

You'll be able to see how the music of Night City intertwines with the story when Cyberpunk 2077 debuts on December 10th. 

Posted on 19 November 2020 | 5:30 pm