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Elite: Dangerous’ epic, 8-month space expedition has begun. (Update)
Distant Worlds 2, the epic spacefaring expedition within Elite: Dangerous, kicks off this afternoon at 3 p.m. ET. Numerous players among the nearly 10,000 expected to participate are streaming the adventure; you can watch it all begin right here.
The event, a sequel to 2016’s Distant Worlds expedition, will take place on all three platforms (PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One) in three regions (Europe, the Americas and Oceania). The European expedition, led by Cmdr. Dr. Kaii (a veteran of the first trek) kicks off first, followed five hours later by the Americas (Cmdr. Kancro Vantas) at 8 p.m. ET and then Oceania (Cmdr. Drebin Omega) at 5 a.m. ET.
AGDQ 2019’s 10 best speedruns from a record-setting week
With donations still trickling in, Awesome Games Done Quick 2019 ended its weeklong speedrunning festival with yet another record total raised for charity: $2.39 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
The figure is according to a news release sent by Games Done Quick overnight; usually donations after the event’s midnight finale add to it throughout the following day. Last year, Awesome Games Done Quick raised $2.2 million, another record-beating total for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Season 2 of The Dragon Prince hits Netflix on Feb. 15
The Dragon Prince’s first season was an excellent romp through a traditional fantasy setting, complete with curses, dark magic, elves, and dragons ... but it was clearly just the start of a massive media franchise. Wonderstorm Inc., the team behind The Dragon Prince, are quietly working on a video game, and the second season of the Netflix show. We now have a release date for the show’s second season, which will debut on Feb. 15.
The first season of The Dragon Prince was excellent, but it was also set at a nearly breakneck pace as our three protagonists navigated danger with their dragon egg in store. Season one ends with that dragon egg hatching and our protagonists’ location revealed by dark magic. We’ll likely be picking up immediately after that cliffhanger and resuming their journey to Xadia to bring the titular dragon prince home.
Celeste DLC won’t be ready on its anniversary, will be free
The “thank-you” DLC that Matt Thorson is making for Celeste and its many fans won’t be ready in time for the game’s first birthday (Jan. 25), Thorson said yesterday. But the platformer’s creator did share a few more details about what’s in store.
The farewell levels will be, as promised, hard — “after the current hardest levels in difficulty,” Thorson clarified. There will be new items and game mechanics but no strawberries. And, to reiterate, all this will be free on all platforms.
Fallout 76 players break into developer room, discover Wooby
Turns out there is a human NPC in Fallout 76. But visiting him might get your account banned.
“Wooby,” as he is called, is the sole inhabitant of a developers-only room that some players have gotten access too, potentially for the past several weeks. Eurogamer yesterday reported on the room, Wooby and the ban notices some players are getting as Bethesda appears to be trying to contain the spread of high powered items coming from that location.
Lawsuit alleges Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford improperly siphoned $12M for personal gain
A lawsuit filed in a Texas civil court alleges that Randy Pitchford, co-founder and CEO of Gearbox Software, improperly siphoned $12 million from that company for personal gain. The story was first reported by Kotaku, and is based on public court documents filed on Dec. 21, 2018.
The suit was filed by Wade Callender, former general counsel and vice president of legal affairs at Gearbox, and is made against Pitchford and Gearbox itself. In a remarkable 27-page complaint, Callender alleges that in 2016, at the same time that Gearbox was denying raises companywide, Pitchford secretly arranged a large payout for personal gain.
Epic Games Store now has a refund policy matching Steam’s
The Epic Games Store has updated its refund policy to one matching the terms of the Steam marketplace, providing for unconditional refunds of games within two weeks of purchase and less than two hours played.
The news came this morning on Twitter from Sergey Galyonkin, Epic’s director of publishing strategy. For pre-ordered games, the return window is until 14 days after the game’s launch date. Both the two-week timeframe and two-hour trial period are features of Valve’s return policy, which it implemented in June 2015.
Here’s what the Minecraft movie is about
Warner Bros.’ Minecraft movie has a new director in Peter Sollett, whose work includes TV series The Path for Hulu and films Freeheld and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Sollett replaces It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-creator Rob McElhenney, who bowed out of the film last year.
What’s more interesting than a new director for the Minecraft movie — which, if we’re going by a dozen or so other video game film adaptation attempts, is likely to never reach theaters — is the film’s reported plot. According to Variety, the Minecraft movie will tell the story of “a teenage girl and her unlikely group of adventurers who, after the malevolent Ender Dragon sets out on a path of destruction, must save their beautiful, blocky Overworld.”
Yes, Blue Toad is playable in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, with a catch
When New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (whew!) launches on Nintendo Switch tomorrow, players of the Wii U original will be happy to find that reports of Blue Toad’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
The Wii U version of New Super Mario Bros. U featured four playable characters: Mario and Luigi, of course, alongside two Toads — one yellow, one blue. But with the Deluxe version’s addition of a playable Toadette, it seemed like Blue Toad had been thrown out of the picture. He no longer appeared in any marketing material, replaced by Yellow Toad and newcomers Toadette and Nabbit.
Bungie splits with Activision, acquires rights to Destiny
Bungie and publisher Activision are bringing their eight-year Destiny partnership to a close. The developer announced today that it will acquire publishing rights to the shooter franchise from Activision, and will publish future games on its own.
“Today, we’re announcing plans for Bungie to assume full publishing rights and responsibilities for the Destiny franchise,” Bungie and Activision said in a joint statement. “Going forward, Bungie will own and develop the franchise, and Activision will increase its focus on owned IP and other projects. Activision and Bungie are committed to a seamless transition for the Destiny franchise and will continue to work closely together during the transition on behalf of the community of Destiny players around the world.”
Facebook rejects Gris ad for ‘sexually suggestive’ content
Nomada Studio’s lovely Nintendo Switch and Windows PC game Gris is artwork in motion — an interactive mood board, or a canvas awash in watercolors that convey a deep, trenchant melancholy. It’s the last game that anyone with a strong aesthetic eye would expect to offend, but publisher Devolver Digital says Gris has done just that. Facebook passed on a trailer the company requested to run on the platform over what it called “sexually suggestive” imagery, a decision that Devolver says is “really stupid.”
“Facebook rejected a GRIS launch trailer ad for this ‘sexually suggestive’ scene so this year is going great so far,” reads a tweet on the official Devolver Digital account from this afternoon. The attached image is of a statue of a woman, her body obscured by shadows and darkened shades of blue. There appears to be no nudity, as nothing beyond her shoulders is visible; the rest of her torso takes on the look of a tower. This figure features prominently throughout the game, and even in differently colored settings, the amount of her body that’s visible remains the same.
PlanetSide Arena’s weapons should feel familiar to PlanetSide 2 players
Ignoring the hammy segues, this behind-the-scenes video for PlanetSide Arena contains a lot of information on the vehicles and weapons players will be using when Daybreak Game Company’s new multiplayer shooter launches at the end of the month.
PlanetSide Arena, which we previewed last month, is a class-based shooter featuring traditional multiplayer types as well as, yeah, a battle royale. The variations Daybreak is touting include a weapon upgrade system whereby players can “purchase” better equipment on the battlefield after a certain score has been reached (somewhat akin to the way Star Wars Battlefront 2 will spawn you a hero or a vehicle with a certain score). Vehicles are another differentiator that designers hope will quicken the pace of an expansive 250-on-250 mode called Massive Clash.
Legendary Eleven is a fun slice of arcade retro soccer
From the mega-afros and big perms to the teensy little shorts, Legendary Eleven takes its soccer style cues from the golden age of the 1970s.
This arcade-style sports game has been out on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch since the middle of last year. But this week, it arrived on Xbox One. I gave it a go, and enjoyed a brief transportation back to the time of Zico and Beckenbauer. But Legendary Eleven also offers a time warp to ’90s-style soccer games, with all that entails.
Bungie caves after new Destiny 2 puzzle stumps players
Destiny 2’s newest puzzle has players completely stumped.
With Destiny 2’s weekly reset on Tuesday came a new event known as Niobe’s Torment. After players found their way to a previously hidden area on the EDZ location, Niobe Labs, they discovered a multi-tiered puzzle. Completing that puzzle will unlock the fourth and final forge in Destiny 2’s Black Armory Annual Pass content.
Bungie changes this week’s Nightfalls after Destiny 2 fans complain
After weeks of frustration from Destiny 2 players, the Corrupted strike has finally become available again as part of the Nightfall rotation. However, this wasn’t originally the case this week, as Bungie had to alter the rotation early this morning.
When this week’s reset hit — bringing the mysterious Niobe Labs event with it — the Nightfalls were a random collection of strikes. The absence of The Corrupted for another week caused an uproar on Reddit, with most of the new posts focused on the issue.
With 91.6M PS4s sold, Sony continues dominating console generation
Sony sold over 91.6 million PlayStation 4 consoles worldwide as of Dec. 31, 2018, according to the company’s own internal estimates. But what does that number mean?
To give Sony’s victory lap more context, it helps to take a few minutes to break down where each console manufacturer is at the beginning of 2019. One thing is clear, however: The more information you share, the more confident you tend to be. And Sony has a lot of reasons to be confident when it comes to this current console generation.
Metro Exodus Xbox One X bundle includes the entire trilogy
Today Deep Silver and Microsoft announced a Metro Exodus-themed Xbox One X bundle for $499.99, launching day-and-date with the upcoming game. The 1 TB console will include a digital version of 4A game’s latest post-apocalyptic, open-world, survival horror game, as well as the high-definition remasters of its predecessors, Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light.
The announcement was also accompanied by a new story trailer, the game’s first. Players take the role of the same character in all three Metro games, a member of the Spartan Order named Artyom. Today’s trailer, however, is told from a very different perspective: that of Anna, Artyom’s wife.
HTC unveils Vive Cosmos stand-alone VR headset, designed for ease of use
After it unveiled a new business-class virtual reality headset, HTC also revealed first details on its new consumer model. Called the HTC Vive Cosmos, the stand-alone device was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, and appears to be HTC’s answer to the Oculus Quest stand-alone headset.
Perhaps the biggest impediment to consumer adoption of VR headsets is the stuff you need to attach to them, namely a beefy gaming PC or a PlayStation 4. That’s what makes stand-alone VR headsets so compelling.
Nintendo Switch and 3DS games now sold on Humble store
Nintendo Switch and 3DS owners have a new option for buying their games: the Humble store. The company behind the Humble Bundle, which donates a portion of (most) purchases to charity, is now selling Nintendo games, expansions, season passes and Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions through its web store.
Humble is selling new and recent Switch releases like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Pokémon Let’s Go!, Super Mario Party, and Mario Tennis Aces, alongside bestsellers The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey. On 3DS, Humble offers a long list of classics, including most of the mainline Pokémon role-playing games and NES titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda.
Blizzard quietly confirms another LGBTQ Overwatch hero
Former sniper Ana comes across a wounded Soldier: 76 in the streets of Cairo, and takes him back to her hideout. It’s the first time they’ve been reunited since the explosion rocked the Overwatch headquarters in Switzerland — neither of them knew the other one was alive for sure until now. She catches a glimpse of him going through a few photos, and sees an old one of him with a dark-haired man named Vincent.