Valve has purchased Campo Santo, the acclaimed developer of Firewatch. In a blog post on the studio's website, Campo Santo said it will continue production on its current project, In the Valley of Gods, but with the benefit of having the likeminded people at Valve working alongside them.
"In Valve we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn't happen every day). In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match," it explained.
"We had a series of long conversations with the people at Valve and everyone shared the satisfaction we take in working with people whose talents dwarf our own to make things we never thought possible. Both sides spoke about our values and how, when you get right down to it, we, as human beings, are hard-limited by the time we have left when it comes to making the things we care about and believe in. They asked us if we'd all be interested in coming up to Bellevue and doing that there and we said yes."
The move is interesting as Valve has had somewhat of a reduced presence in game development and publishing, focusing instead on the business of operating Steam as a digital delivery platform, alongside maintaining titles such as DoTA 2. However, more recently the company has made clear its intentions to return to development and publishing, with Gabe Newell saying Valve is "going to start shipping games again." The first of these new titles is Artifact, a Dota 2-themed card game. However, Newell said the studio has additional games in development.
In GameSpot's Firewatch review, critic Scott Butterworth said its "world is captivating, its design is clever, and its characters are among the most well-written in gaming."
He continued: "Though it might sound counterintuitive, the plot is in many ways secondary to the relationship you build between Henry and Delilah, and that portion of the game is truly inspired. I've already returned to Firewatch for a calming walk in the woods; I imagine I'll go back again soon to visit with Henry and Delilah."
Campo Santo's next game, In The Valley of Gods, was announced during The Game Awards in December 2017. It is still a long time off being completed and is not scheduled to come out until 2019. You can watch the trailer for In The Valley of Gods here. Firewatch, meanwhile, is set for release on the Nintendo Switch in 2018.
Sony's new God of War is finally out now on PlayStation 4. Early reviews came online last week--and critics across the board seemed to love the game. The action-adventure game is a reboot of sorts for Sony's long-running franchise. It mixes things up significantly with major changes to combat and a story that shows a softer side of Kratos who now has a son (and a beard). Ahead of launch, GameSpot spoke with game director Cory Barlog and lead level designer Rob Davis about the new God of War, and they told us about why they changed the combat, the difficulty of making Kratos relatable, and how the game almost didn't have Atreus in it. In a Very Important And Completely Serious Development, we also asked about why Kratos smashes health orbs with his feet instead of picking them up.
So how are you guys feeling right now after so many years of working on it? Just being right on the edge of launch? [We interviewed Barlog and Davis last week, just hours before the review embargo lifted]
Barlog: It is absolutely like the night before Christmas. I didn't sleep at all last night. I'm excited. I remain so proud of what we've done, so proud of the team and sort of the shift our entire studio has made. I feel strongly that this is the best thing that we've ever done. But, I would be lying if I didn't say I'm still afraid of the review embargo lifting, I mean, it's a very exposed time as a creative, right? It's like are they going to swipe right or swipe left? I feel that's literally what our feeling is, we're standing up in front of the class naked and we're being judged. But, I wouldn't want to do that with any other team. I feel incredibly confident because of the team that we have. [Suffice it to say, Barlog is happy with the reviews.]
How do you think about that dynamic between sticking to your guns and being confident in what you've made, versus responding to players if they want something to be changed? How reactionary do you expect to be once this game comes out?
Barlog: It's kind of that weird double-edged sword, right? There is certain stuff that we learn, especially even when you're just doing play tests, to know what is subjective, what is objective, right? That sense of there are certain decisions that we're going to make simply because, creatively, we believe this is a great decision. The realization of that decision is sometimes, like, 'Oh, we should have gone a little bit to the left, not a little bit to the right.' Those are great pieces of feedback, this is why we play test constantly, because then we wanna be able to make all those choices and mistakes before we get it out to the public.
But, there is that final arbiter of once it goes out to everybody; that's when things that we could have been blind to become a big deal. For me, I'm cognizant of it but the creative guns that we've stuck to, we're not going to alter any of that. The things during playtesting like people wanted the classic controls, they wanna be able to map things with Square and Triangle. For us, that was just not a good way to play, but we listened to people and said, 'You know what? Let's put it in.' It's not a terrible thing, the UI to be able to have the immersive mode, which is what I wanted initially, now it's like, no UI whatsoever.
But now, giving the players a choice it's like, you can control all of it. You can put on and off whatever you want in this experience. That kind of stuff I think is fantastic, that is what communication of the community is for.
Yeah. Now, I've played it about an hour, so far, and I've gotten past that first boss fight, which I thought was fantastic.
Barlog: Oh, good. Good, good, good.
The opening of the game ... in the past you've gone with these huge, bombastic scenes with Kratos fighting a larger-than-life character. But this time it's different. Why?
"I wanted people to be surprised, and pleasantly surprised" -- Barlog on God of War's opening sequence.
Barlog: [We wanted to] circumvent the expectation. So, [it was] very deliberate in the beginning that I was talking to people and saying, 'I don't want scale to be the crutch' and it's like, 'Oh, look we've put a big guy there and you take it for granted.' Any sort of resonance would be interactive, I want it to feel like you don't expect what's gonna happen, to happen. So, that feeling of when the Superman new experience begins and two strong characters duke it out, it feels more real, if that makes sense?
Barlog: We always have the Indiana Jones, James Bond opener, but I still wanted that, the soul of that. I wanted people to be surprised, and pleasantly surprised, right? Like you were saying, I think the circumventing of their expectations, which, by Ascension we kind of were not able to do that. Ascension has an amazing opener, but it was like, 'Oh, well we've seen big openers before. That's really cool but I sort of expected it. I'm expecting you to do that, so it didn't really surprise me.'
The opening battle plays out in multiple stages. Can talk about that design decision to make the combat flow that way?
Rob Davis: I mean a part of it is teaching the player without realizing that they're being taught something, right? And part of it is giving you practice, as well. So, any time you can get the player to learn stuff in a way that's actually fun, rather than just pushing them through more of a boring tutorial, that's always gonna resonate in your brain a lot longer and you're gonna be excited to use it again.
So, design and functionality-wise, I think the combat and boss team did such a good job, because you come out of that experience really knowing a lot about Kratos' combat and how to block, how to use rage, how to throw the ax. You get a lot of practice time with all those things, but as a player, you come out of it thinking, 'Whoa, that was a real God of War-style big whole opening.' And, what you don't realize, is that we've played a little bit of a magic trick on you to learn all this stuff.
Barlog: And also the sense that when you walk away from it, there's a stronger emotional connection to it, as well. Keeping things reduced allowed us to actually have that what's at stake, right? Atreus actually being a trigger, so that, as you're going through it, you see that, 'Oh wow, even in this blurry haze, Kratos was rough with his kid, but he's also super protective that when any sort of protection of a threat against him comes, that's when he rages out,' right?
That actually is shorter, that boss fight, than it was originally designed. So, we cut about 30 to 35% out of it, simply because pacing-wise, we were like, 'Alright, well we want that turnover, we want that what's gonna happen next and that feeling of, Wow, this thing is massive. So, that became a little too massive, which is great, I think part of the magic of working with this team, is everybody's just so creative throwing all these great ideas in there that we end up in that ideal situation, which is, you know it's done when there's nothing left to remove, right? There'll be so much cool stuff in there, you just keep removing something and making it tighter and tighter and now and it's like, 'Look, I can't take anything else away otherwise it'll collapse.' Perfect, we've got it.
I'm curious why you wanted to change the combat so significantly in this game.
Barlog: I think because we had made seven games with that combat system, and I kept looking around at how incredibly talented our systems and how my team was and going, 'Alright, I need them to take on the challenge that we had on God of War 1.' That challenge of nobody really knows what the system was...was just kind of a--I don't wanna say a mess, because that would make it seem like it was derogatory--just more like they hadn't found their sea legs in combat and working with [the team] we kind of fleshed out what is sort of the core Kratos, right? The L1 special, Square, Square, Triangle--I animated Square, Square, Triangle the first week I was there. So, and then that L1 and Square spinning special, that was the second week I was there.
I didn't wanna change it for the sake of changing it, I wanted to reflect how all of us have grown up and how all of us ... What we play is different, because God of War is a reflection of what we play, right?
You know, Resident Evil 4 came out in the middle of [God of War 2], right? And that game affected me so dramatically. And then, Resident Evil 7 comes out, and it show creators with, I think, a very strong vision and a really good team, can make these bold decisions, and actually have the audience follow them. Even if there was distance in the beginning, right? It's the, every time James Bond changes, right, they're like, 'Oh, Daniel Craig, who is this guy?'
Every time Facebook changes their layout.
Every time Twitter changes their layout.
Barlog: It is that natural resistance.
Davis: There's an old game design saying that the camera is genre, right? So, put the camera on top, make it more of like a mobile or a Diablo game, right?
Barlog: I love that; that's great.
Davis: You know, maybe more of a navigation game or something like that. Once you put the camera, like as deep as [the developers did], you're now in like more of an intimate, visceral perspective, right? Then, you've gotta start looking through everything in the lens of what does it mean to have it up close and we started talking about, 'Well, there's a lot more observation in this game.' So for the exploration and stuff, and you'll see them all as you keep playing. A lot of it comes from the perspective of, what does it feel like to have cursor on the screen and a camera that is really focused behind the player. So, wherever possible, we try to design with that in mind, and there's so much you can do with it. That sort of keeps it feeling familiar.
Davis: And, I think that's what Resident Evil 4 had when you could drop the pendants down, you would think to yourself, 'I really wanna get this, because I don't wanna waste at all.' So, their combination of poised camera exploration and scavenging was critical. In our case, it's all about recalling that axe.
Barlog: We fought a lot in the beginning over the camera distance. I wanted it close and the systems and combat team wanted it more farther away, something you would see in Arkham or the Assassin's Creed games and that back and forth battle finally led to [lead gameplay designer Jason McDonald] telling us to go away, spending a weekend playing around with it and said, 'I'll tell you what my recommendation is, just leave me alone because I'm so annoyed with you right now.' And, I didn't leave him alone, I annoyed him even more over the weekend.
"We fought a lot in the beginning" -- Barlog on changing the camera
But, on Monday, he kind of sat everybody down with a presentation and just said, 'First of all, you're gonna laugh, because I ended up closer than any of us wanted.' He was like, 'You want it here, I want it here, I ended up here,' and he's like, 'Let me tell you why I think I can make this work.' And, I started weeping inside, I was like, 'You're so great, I love this.' But, I win and then, everybody wins, tell everybody.
But, it was so well thought out. And there's a time when you can say, 'I want this,' and the [developers are] like, 'Fine, I'll just figure it out.' And, there's a time when they have an ah-ha and they go, "Oh, I really want to do this." The best stuff we ever do is when people say, 'I really wanna so this and I'm gonna take it two steps further.' And, that is the magic of working with Sony altogether, Santa Monica was great.
Davis: Think it was the right way to go, because you throw the axe a lot in this game and there's a lot you can do with the axe. And, I don't think players would enjoy it quite so much if it was looming all the way out and all the way back in.
In the limited amount of time that I've played so far, just the ax has that feeling of weight to if so when it gets recalled ... And, the camera being where it is, it feels like that's where you are, you're feeling the entire thing.
Barlog: That level of creativity and agency for the player, was something that we had talked about early on, but they didn't really know how we were gonna achieve it. On the previous God of War games we kind of had very fixed things that you would do, and you had some creativity, but the creativity was boxed in, right? And, that's not to say anything was bad about them, it was just how we chose to do it.
In this one, we really wanted to open it up in a sense that all of us could play the game very differently but we're using the same tools. And, the expansion comes from one of the upgrade choices that you're making, what are the moments and moment choices that you're making that make watching you play and watching you play so dramatically different. You can see when one of our really good combat-related testers would record some of the videos that we have teased, right? Because, he's just amazing, he uses every move, he just looks great doing it, and then you would see another person who just picked up the controller, and you're like, 'Wow, that's a completely different game, right?' Because they're making different choices, so I think that, to me, is one of the biggest victories we've had in this game, that sense that there truly is a creative choice you're making.
Also, how do you make a God of War relatable? In the bit that I've played so far, you can tell that he's firm but understanding, with Atreus, but I'm just curious about the motivation for making him a person with feelings.
Barlog: I think so many people have leveled the criticism of, 'He's just one note,' but I knew, alright, look I want to try this apple, this idea of, again, circumventing the expectations of what you have for this. When I was at Lucasfilm, I read some of the scripts that they had done for a TV show they were gonna do, and a very well known Star Wars character, whom I did not like, was written in a way that I felt sympathetic to him, and I was very taken aback by it. One, because it was a written form of it and it was so powerful and I was like, I had really decided who this character was going into it, but then reading it and seeing how he was jilted and how he was manipulated and how sort of exposed his heart, if you will, to this other character and she stomped on it, multiple times, right? Kratos is a little bit of that sense of everybody thinks they know who he is, right? But, nobody is just one thing, right? And, it's not really good to be one thing.
And, I thought, alright, creatively, the best challenge I could ever take on is to actually make people reach the end of this game and go, 'I either feel bad, I feel connected, or I felt like that moment was specifically related to me, or I have gone through that same thing.' If I could achieve that, with a character that everybody thought, 'Whatever, he's just a guy that, in a cinematic, goes to kill people,' now that's an amazing thing.
And, I had just had my son, at the start of this game and I was kind of looking at it like 'Oh, wow, how much of myself do I wanna show here,' right? How much of my faults, right, do I want the mask and cover up and how many of the dumb things that I've done in my life do I wanna prevent him from doing? And, it's like, wow, that's Kratos, that's Kratos to a T, he has made the worst decision in his life, but be able to actually, earnestly, be a parent, right?
Say that he was a soldier off to war, come home every once in a while, then go back off to war, he wasn't really there because he was fairly ambitious in his military campaign. Now, it's kind of like, put him in a situation where he has no choice but to deal with it, right? And, in this game, he'd been trying to avoid it, even though he wants to figure this out, he'd been avoiding it for so long, the beginning of this game is all about forcing him into that situation. Honestly, for me, that's the most perfect dramatic ground to play in.
So, I'm incredibly excited to see where the story goes in that department, so please don't tell me anything else.
Barlog: I'm not gonna tell you anything, no spoilers.
Davis: To be honest, I was gonna say, but I think I'll leave it alone.
Barlog: I mean, the challenge also being thrown to every department, right, was this is thematically where we want to go. I wanna see us challenge ourselves in every part of the game, so that as you're doing exploration, as you're doing puzzles, it is all about the collaboration between the two and it's all about trying to develop their characters even in the lull moments. But, to their credit, the level design people have done amazing things that integrated not only the axe, but also this continually growing father and son relationship.
Davis: You might think, 'Oh, well Kratos is like the biggest badass there is,' so there's all these setups we can do with Kratos, but actually like having Atreus be an expert in Norse language and mythology is awesome because you can do a whole other set of design based on what Atreus is an expert in, that Kratos is sort of not, right? And then you get a bit of an odd couple relationship, right? You know, Buzz Lightyear's good at one thing, Woody's good at another thing, right? So, that's the foundation of a sort of odd couple.
And then, you got the fact that they're both in a strange land, so then you can do a third setup where neither of them really understand what's going on and then you get cool storytelling, level design, and puzzles and exploration intersecting because they're discussing the thing they have to work out together. They end up kind of with things Kratos is really an expert in, things the son is kind of an expert in, and things neither of them are an expert in. And then, when you can write to that, goal to that, design to that, that's where I think you have a new peanut butter and chocolate between Kratos and Atreus, but it didn't exist before.
I read that you were pressured to maybe cut Atreus from the game or at least significantly scale back his role. Could the game have worked without him?
Barlog: It could have, it would have been very different; the early phase when they told me, 'Man, this might be too hard, too expensive, we're already looking at so many challenges, it's maybe too much.' When I went back and said, 'Alright, fine, if it was not with Atreus, what would it be?' And, it would have been a very, very different game, right? The comparison I made was, 'Alright, it's gonna be All Is Lost with Robert Redford, it's gonna be one character who talks to himself occasionally, but generally, it will be very silent,' and everyone will talk in old Norse, so that you won't understand anything anybody's saying. And, I think that threat was enough for them to go, 'Okay, we'll take on Atreus.' So, it was kind of the creative director, passive aggressive, 'Oh, yeah? Well, we'll take all the toys away.'
I know a while ago, you were announced as working on a Mad Max game with George Miller. Is there anything you learned on that project that you took to God of War?
Barlog: Yeah, so nobody ever got to see the things that really excited me and George about that. Some of it definitely inspired what we were doing here, there was such a different thing. But, I think none of them really one to one had a knowledge of transfer over, but it's the developing the relationships on the road, the ideas and characters, figuring each other out as you go, was something that I started to explore in our draft of Max.
And then, it's just unfortunate the way that sometimes games go that they ended up going in a different direction, and George and I ended up not working on that one with them, but the learnings I got from that definitely made it possible, I think, to do this. Like I think if I had attempted this game, I'm not even certain if I would have attempted it, had I not worked with George. That is the impact he has.
I feel like prior to working with him, it would be like reading a book without your glasses and you have terrible vision, so you see the words, but they're blurry. Working with him, and starting to understand why drama occurs, why conflict feeds into the development of all the characters, that kind of put glasses on me to help me understand like, 'Wow, I really don't understand drama,' right? And, even now, I feel like I'm on the road and I'm on a journey that I'm about a quarter of the way through. So, I have a huge learning ahead of me but I started off on that, because I was pushed, I think, by working with so many amazing new ideas, he is surrounded by incredibly talented people who literally just throw gems out like nobody's business. And, I'm just like, 'Seriously? Are you not picking any of this stuff up, anybody? I'm gonna horde all of it, right?' So, yeah, it was amazing.
Why does Kratos smash everything to pick it up? Why doesn't he reach down and pick things up? Why does he have to crush it under his foot?
Barlog: [Turns to Davis] You wanna talk about that one?
I'm just curious.
Davis: I think, if I recall correctly, the animation went in of Kratos punching the chest and internally, we actually call it a punch chest. And, then Cory said, 'This game will never ship with Kratos punching that chest. I hate the punches, I hate the punches.' And, then something happened over time when he just warmed up to it, and it's so fun and snappy and it's so quick to do, and you know, it's that image of old Kratos that I think, once we saw everything in there, originally, it felt like Kratos was trying too hard to be brooding and what Kratos ... But, once you get everything back together, it was actually cool. It was cool to see Kratos doing a bit of his old stuff, especially when you're early in the game.
And the stomp?
Barlog: The systems guys were really hoping at some point I would change my mind, and not have you pick up loot, they were just like, 'I don't wanna go around and pick up loot.' I'm like, 'Seriously? The orbs were the past, and that's cool, but in this one, there's something satisfying about collecting your rewards from a heard earned fight,' right? And, the compromise that I made with them is that they said, 'Well, look, picking up health is super annoying.' They gave me a great example, put me in a fight that was really hard and I kept getting hit when I was ... And, I was like, 'Alright, I get it, that's good point. What are we gonna do?' And they're like, coincidentally, they load something up really quick and they're like, they did a stomp with a crystal and I was like, 'Okay, I get it, I can dig it.'
But, yeah, the punch chest was one of those things where it was so well known for Kratos that I wanted to make sure we didn't overdo that and then end up having him just hit everything because he was just known for that, but like Rob said, I think it fit in the tapestry because he didn't do it for everything. It became the one focal point and then the stomp just became, to me, a great gameplay decision, that they had a great [idea] and said, 'Look, we need speed and pace so that while you're in a fight, you can quickly go over, eat your health, and then get back into the fight.'
The opening track to God of War begins with dark, pounding percussion and a deep, male choir chanting a series of ominous notes. It's a repeating motif that perfectly speaks to the Kratos we've known for decades, a brutal god-slaying monster. But there's another motif that accompanies it, a more uplifting series of horns and strings that seem almost hopeful. It hints at a calmer Kratos, though still prudent and stoic--it's the side of him that we see executed so superbly in this new game in his interactions with his son, Atreus. But the hook of the deep ominous chants remains, like the Ghost of Sparta that still haunts Kratos, and it's a sound that will continue to haunt you throughout God of War.
The idea of somehow instantly hooking an audience with a note or sound that stays with them long afterward has always stuck with Bear McCreary, and was a key factor in creating the soaring and emotional score for God Of War. It was a concept passed down by his mentor of almost ten years, Elmer Bernstein, the legendary composer of The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Ghostbusters, among others. "I always strive to find a sound or instrument that can hook the audience instantly and in this, God of War is arguably an embarrassment of riches. Between the Nordic instruments, choirs, vocal soloists, percussion and the huge orchestra, there are many different sounds fighting for your attention. However, I must say that I think the 3-note low male choir phrase that begins the main theme are probably 'the thing' that will hook people the fastest. When I first played the theme for Santa Monica Studio and Cory (Barlog, creative director), they remarked instantly on that sound. Something about it evokes Kratos instantly. I felt very fortunate to have stumbled on to such an effective idea, so early in the creative process."
But that early acknowledgment is no surprise considering the experience behind the composer who wrote it. McCreary's career has already reached legendary status with his immediately recognizable work on The Walking Dead (including THAT theme music) and Battlestar Galactica. He won an Emmy Award for his work on Da Vinci's Demons and the Cloverfield movie franchise is now safely in his hands. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Sails, Outlander and Black Mirror all combine to make McCreary not only one of the most prolific composers working today, but one that has creeped into your subconscious without your knowledge. For a composer, that's a success.
Carving out an identity in music is not an easy task, so McCreary puts the tools into each job by looking at storytelling and character. "I always strive to find a musical approach that inherently draws inspiration from the story it is supporting. In the case of God of War, I strove to use Nordic folk instrumentation, languages, voices and musical modes to help transport the audience. I was inspired to write for instruments such as the Nyckelharpa and Hardanger Fiddle, because the process of exploring their strengths and weaknesses inevitably led me to discover new forms of musical expression."
Making your own way in the world but knowing the importance of a parental bond is one of the key themes of this new rebirth of God Of War. After being first contacted by Santa Monica Studio in 2014, McCreary's work on the game evolved over a period of years and throughout that time, he had a very personal influence to draw from which paralleled the journey of Kratos. "I had just become a father when I first was hired and my parental experience in the intervening four years has changed my life forever. This life experience was a huge influence on my work for God of War, perhaps in ways buried too deep in my subconscious for me to even be aware of. Practically every musical decision I made for the score was influenced by the relationship between Kratos and Atreus. Parental themes are rarely explored in video games, which helps set this story apart."
From the blind, one-dimensional rage that inhabited the young ghost of Sparta back in the PlayStation 2 days, 2018 has turned him on his head to develop layers of personality, empathy and depth in a character that had arguably reached his natural conclusion on the PlayStation 3. For McCreary, this revolutionary new direction played into the title track he wrote (and performed at E3 2016) and helped give him a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve with the overall score. "When I wrote that theme I was trying to communicate vital and often conflicting, information about Kratos. He is still the same character from the classic games. He retains that rage and power, simmering beneath his stern exterior. That's where the bombastic brass, pounding percussion and deep, male vocals helped. But more importantly, I wanted to communicate that he is older, wiser and calmer now. There are more layers to his storyline. Put simply, he is just a more mature character now. So to communicate that, I included his theme harmonic and melodic components that are quite beautiful, occasionally even soaring. The combination of visceral, powerful instrumentation with lyrical, soaring melodies and chord progressions is something I hope resonates with audiences."
In addition to the pounding bombast and deep choir voices that are typically associated with God Of War, McCreary also wrote numerous somber pieces that look to the past of the franchise while also giving Kratos and his son moments of wistful and perhaps mournful connection. Tracks like 'Echoes Of An Old Life', 'The Healing' and 'Memories Of Mother' have a quiet introspection to them that would have seemed ludicrous for this character when he was spending his time cutting off heads and enjoying quicktime-event sex scenes back in 2007.
There's a distinct sense of growth and self-reflection here, both with McCreary's work and the God Of War franchise itself. A lot of that has come about simply because of the four year lifespan of the music. "The score has evolved immeasurably," says McCreary, "and in some ways that evolution represents a move back towards a sound that is more consistent with the older games of the franchise. My first stab at a theme for God of War was a lonely, melancholy tune for female voices and Nyckelharpa. I was inspired by the new story arc for Kratos, and his relationship with his son. It was heartbreaking!"
"Ultimately, we realized it was simply too sad and subdued to function as the primary theme for Kratos, and for the game, so I put it away. That original theme I composed still ended up in the game, however, becoming the primary theme for Kratos and his Atreus, representing their family storyline specifically. The theme is featured prominently on the soundtrack album in the cue 'Memories of Mother' and ultimately heard in the game almost as much as the main theme."
Travelling to Iceland to record choir voices, McCreary felt an incredible sense of belonging to the Nordic influence of the game. He spent time walking around local glaciers and waterfalls to feel the mythological history of the area. Using Swedish and Norwegian instruments that date back to the 14th century helped push the score to a place that McCreary felt it couldn't have reached otherwise.
If that wasn't enough, the collaboration with Faroese throat singer and musician Eivør Pálsdóttir lent a further level of authenticity on many of the tracks and opened new avenues of collaboration for the composer. "Eivør was a fantastic creative partner, and she brought a whole new level of personality to the music. I was thrilled with the vast dynamic and emotional range her singing voice provided. High, ethereal angelic tones to deep, guttural, percussive bursts. I learned a lot about collaboration on this project. A game score this immense is vastly more complex from a logistical standpoint than a typical film score. Teams of music editors, producers and engineers worked on this score for nearly a year after primary recording was completed in order to integrate it into the game in an impactful way."
McCreary still enjoys this process in his own work to some extent. "I enjoy listening to my previous work, though I don't do it very often. I like to take a moment to recognize how much I've grown as a composer. I'm always looking forward but it's fun to sometimes listen back to older scores and recognize a job well done. The score to Capcom's Dark Void is still one of my greatest melodic achievements, and I am flooded with emotion when I hear it again."
The transformation of Kratos from angry, one-trick god to stern yet responsible father coupled with a parental bond being the key story theme for an entire game is remarkable. In tandem, Bear McCreary's personal connection to this journey over almost half a decade of his career has delivered a collection of emotionally thunderous music which soars through the rebirth of this franchise with confidence and grandeur without forgetting to hook the audience from the beginning. With three simple notes.
God of War is a phenomenal game that everyone should play, no question. And if you're in this article, it's probably safe to say that you're interested in playing it, if you haven't already started. But if you want to really get the most out of its stunning world and its fantastic and definitely not boring combat, then you should really consider playing in Immersive mode.
You'll find an option in the game's setting menu that lets you toggle the game's HUD between Normal and Immersive mode, which removes most of the game's pop-ups, meters, compass, and icons. God of War's HUD is already quite minimal, which is great, but after finishing and playing the latter half of the game in Immersive mode, let me tell you: this is the way to experience God of War.
The idea of no HUD is always a little daunting, for sure. But don't be scared! I wrote this article to assure you that it's totally viable, explain how you can parse information you need, and tell you why the things you're missing out on aren't a big deal.
First of all, why do it, and what are the benefits of not getting every single little detail of information? On a superficial level, God of War is a very, very good looking game. Immersive mode makes sure the entirety of your screen can be used to appreciate the beauty of the environments, character models, and get the full impact of the game's truly impressive camera work with that one, long, 40-hour steadycam shot.
On a more substantial level, being able to pay full attention to the environment without any distractions will help you with your exploration. You'll pay more attention to the details in the environment and you'll almost be guaranteed to never miss a collectible. You'll more easily notice the shine of purposely obscured items, and distinctly hear the tinkling of Odin's ravens. No alternate paths will go unnoticed, and no stray pot or wooden item will go un-smashed, because you're looking so keenly at the world, instead of the icon on a compass.
But most importantly, the Immersive mode will make you better at combat. In action games, it's a common, and completely logical, tendency to always keep one eye on either your health meter, your enemy's health meter, enemy location indicators, your skill cooldowns, whatever. But that's one eye that's not actually watching the fight.
Immersive mode lets you focus completely on using all of your skill to be the best fighter you can be. Hit every parry, dodge every attack, take advantage of every opening. If you're like me, and you know you have a full bar of health, you'll sometimes get a little sloppier because you know Kratos can take a few hits. But why not perform at your absolute best all the damn time? You need to set a good example for Atreus, after all. Is that enemy you're taking on a purple enemy who's supposed to be overpowered for you? Who knows, who cares? If you can beat it, then what does it matter? Free yourself from self-doubt!
Now, I do recommend that on your first playthrough you should definitely spend the early hours with the default HUD just so you can get a basic feel of how combat operates, especially how the stun mechanic works. But by the time you get to the Lake of Nine and the game opens up, you should be good to go Immersive.
However, if you're STILL a little scared to go on a grand adventure without all of this info, there's one thing I've been keeping from you: God of War also has a Custom HUD option which lets you toggle certain elements of the HUD on or off. But best of all, it allows you to assign some HUD options to the PS4's touchpad, meaning you can turn everything off, but take a brief look anything you want to with a gentle tap of the touchpad. So if you're finding Immersive mode hard to get used to at the beginning, give the touchpad stuff a try. Bet you forgot that function was even there!
Okay, so how do you actually manage all the information you need for combat without seeing bars or indicators? Well, God of War has a bunch of in-world cues that make Immersive mode accessible and tell you literally everything you need to know. They're all pretty obvious, but let's run through them for peace of mind.
Watch for enemy attack rings! If an enemy is attacking you, and there's an expanding golden ring coming from them, it means you can and should parry this attack by blocking at the last minute. If there's an expanding red ring, it means it's an unblockable attack, and you should dodge the hell out of there or get Atreus to interrupt it. The game teaches you both of these things.
If you've been wailing on an enemy with light attacks or your bare fists, and see the pulsing red circle around them, it means you can execute your takedown move. Not being able to see how much stun you’re dealing to an enemy might seem like a disadvantage, especially against Revenants, who have a rapid stun recovery. But just keep in mind that if you’re looking to stun someone, you need to maintain focus on them and keep the pressure up regardless, otherwise you'll never get there.
If the screen has a glowing red vignette, it means you're low on health. That's a pretty standard thing. But Atreus will also tell you as much just in case it wasn't obvious enough. If Kratos is blue and icy, it means you've been affected by frost, and your attack speed will be slowed. Poison and shock effects are also pretty obvious--you'll see the distinct colors on Kratos. You don't need to see a little icon to know you're poisoned!
You also don't need the enemy indicator ring to know when you're being blindsided, just listen carefully to Atreus, because he'll tell you when you're being attacked, and from where. When he says “Watch out behind you!”, or “Fire from your right!” it's a good idea to act on that advice immediately.
You see what I mean? All of that knowledge is pretty straightforward and pre-existing. They’re all things you’ll be accustomed to by the time you internalize the combat system. I’m sure you have a bunch of questions and concerns, such as: How do you know when you need to heal? Well naturally, it’s a good idea to save green gems for until you really need them, and you know that when Atreus is yelling at you and your screen is turning red, you need to find some health gems to stomp on, pronto.
Now, remember when I talked about Immersive mode giving you way more awareness in combat? You’ll likely be avoiding more hits overall, which means you’ll likely have more spare health gems lying around, and as you play more you should organically get an idea of roughly how many blows you can take before hitting the red zone. Health then becomes more of a gut feeling thing. For example, if I enter a fight and am aware I’ve taken three or four hits from some Draugr, I can be pretty sure that grabbing one of those green gems will bring me back up to max health. Once the fight is over, you’ll naturally want to clean up all the pickups on the battlefield, which should put you in perfect shape for the next battle. You can check your health with the touchpad just to be sure.
Things a little clearer for cooldowns on your runic weapon and talisman skills, as well as Atreus' abilities. When an ability comes off cooldown and is ready to use, there'll be a handy chime from either the left or right of the screen, where the meters would normally be. Atreus will say "I'm set! Or "Tell me when!" when his arrows are ready after using them all up. That said, it's good to keep in mind roughly how long the cooldown on your chosen abilities are (anywhere from 30-90 seconds) and keep rough track when you use it. Personally, I found myself having a lot more fun with them in Immersive because I would see myself identifying the perfect situation to use a skill before activating it (rather than noticing that it was available to use, thinking “I should use that”, and then kinda wasting it and missing out on a better opportunity moments later).
The tricky one, depending on your play style, is knowing when Spartan Rage is ready to go. I typically only used Spartan Rage during boss fights or particularly large mobs, so I rarely found myself in a bad situation with it. But if you like to use it as soon as you can, as much as you can, you might want to use the custom Touchpad HUD to periodically check on the meters.
Finally your compass. God of War’s open areas are not so convoluted that you’re going to need to constantly follow an objective marker to get where you need to go. Glancing at your world map in the main menu, making a note of your orientation and where your next main or side objective might be, and set off in that general direction, allowing the natural pathways and your perception of major landmarks to guide you usually enough to get you where you need to be.
Okay, so how about all that sweet loot you’re going to find along your journey? In Immersive mode, most of the white highlights you pick up off the ground, and the stuff you find in chests, coffins, and on the water won’t activate a popup. But seriously, don't sweat. It’s probably either just some hacksilver, a small XP boost, or crafting materials. None of these are things you need to worry about immediately!
And let’s face it--every time you come upon a weapon stall, you’re going to check in and see if you can craft or upgrade any new gear anyway. If you have the prerequisite hacksilver and crafting materials, great! And if you don’t, well, see you next time! With Immersive mode, you’ll likely be a lot more aware of hidden paths and pickups along the way, so it’s not like you’re going to miss a whole mess of stuff that's going to stop you from upgrading something, because you wouldn't have been able to anyway.
Now, if you find significant items like new Runic Attacks, uncommon, legendary, or epic gear, legendary materials, Iounn Apples, or Mead Horns, a big pop-up will come up regardless, because that’s stuff that you might find useful immediately. Lore popups and new bestiary entries are pretty straightforward--You can safely assume that once you stumble upon a lore stone for Atreus to decipher, or encounter an enemy you haven’t seen before, there’ll be a fresh passage of text waiting for you to read in the main menu.
Unfortunately for those of you who are super into lore, Both the loot and lore popups are things that can't be toggled individually in the custom HUD screen, and can't be assigned to the touchpad menu. You're either all in or all out. So this might have to be a personal decision based on how badly you want to read the lore immediately, and seeing a popup saying you picked up 5 hacksilver every time you smash a pot.
So that’s a lot of words and time spent to assure you that, yes, playing God of War in Immersive mode can be a completely practical and good option. Again, it's something that I implore you to do because it’ll give you a greater appreciation of just how well designed its environments are for exploring, how deep and exciting combat can be, and just how stunning every facet of this game is. I wish I had done it earlier. Turn on Immersive mode in God of War. It’s the best way to play.
We're giving away a God of War Limited Edition 1TB PS4 Pro, grey DualShock 4 Controller, and copy of the game!
This special bundle features a fully customized Leviathan Grey 1TB PS4 Pro console inspired by Kratos’ Axe, a matching DualShock 4 wireless controller with insignia, and a copy of God of War Day One Edition.
Entry is open to United Kingdom residents only, since the prize is shipping from the UK. Competition ends Monday, April 30 at 7:00 PM BST. One (1) winner will be chosen.
Enter below (the additional entries are OPTIONAL to increase your chances of winning):
Throughout God of War's many realms lie hidden chambers sequestering powerful Valkyries. These cursed warriors offer some of the toughest fights in the entire game and grant you access to impressive-looking armor. You won't be able to fight them until you acquire the tip of a certain giant's chisel, but once you have that key item it's time to start thinking seriously about hunting Valkyries down.
Below, we will show you the exact location of each Valkyrie fight, and provide general tips on how to take them down and protect yourself from their attacks. For more on God of War, check out GameSpot's God of War review. For more guides, check out our progression system explainer and our feature detailing 11 tips you should know before starting.
With four fights to discover, Midgard contains more Valkyries than any other realm in the game, but you can also find them in Alfheim, Helheim, Muspelheim, and Niflheim. The eight images below display their exact locations in each realm.
While you shouldn't have too much of an issue coming across these locations throughout the course of following the story, Muspelheim in particular is a bit deceiving at first. To get to the Valkyrie, you actually need to complete every trial and work your way to the top of the mountain, which wraps around--hence why it looks like it's near the entrance, even though it isn't.
God of War doesn't present a clear order in which to fight the Valkyries, and not all Valkyries are created equal. That said there are a few key strategies you can take into battle that should help you regardless of the Valkyrie in question.
Whether or not you ultimately need it, be sure to take a resurrection stone into battle. Valkyries are punishing and in some cases are able to wipe you out with little warning. Having a stone in hand ensures that you get a second chance, and you'll be glad you thought ahead if you ever get knocked just before finishing off their last bit of health.
You should also prepare yourself for a bit of trial and error. Valkyries are highly mobile and capable of attacking in many different ways from near or far. It can take a few fights before you begin to recognize their attack patterns and learn how to avoid taking damage. Always go in knowing that you're better off being patient and waiting for an obvious moment of opportunity, versus risking progress on a moment of over-confidence.
The best tip you should always keep in mind: Whenever you see a Valkyrie leap into the air and telegraph an unblockable attack with a red ring of light, have Atreus fire an arrow to knock them to the ground. In most cases the attack they would otherwise activate is an arena-wide flash of energy that's impossible to dodge.
It's also smart to closely manage your runic attack cooldowns, and consider using the Talisman of Unbound Potential, which you can use to refill your meters in an instant. Simple combos will do damage to Valkyries but there's nothing quite like a powerful, magic-infused axe blow when you get the chance. Avoid spamming attacks and make the most of the opportunities that arise.
What's My Prize?
Some say victory is a reward unto itself, but this is a video game we're talking about. For every Valkyrie you defeat, you are guaranteed to get Epic-grade items in return, including plenty of enchantments and armor. Armor in particular is very desirable as each piece usually comes with powerful perks that may prove especially useful while trekking through Niflheim or Muspelheim.
After you defeat all eight Valkyries, well, you get to fight one more. Each Valkyrie you kill leaves a head behind that you can return to the council of Valkyries. The location of the council is pinpointed on your map--just to the left of the oarsmen--after you kill your first Valkyrie.
Returning the eight heads creates a tear that can be used to initiate a fight with the Queen of the Valkyries. She has far more health than any of the others, and even has a few new attacks to catch you off guard. The best advice for beating her is to just be patient. Don't rush, and do your best to survive. It's a long fight. Good luck.
With the Spring Blossom Fest in the rear view mirror, a major new update for Monster Hunter World has arrived. PS4 and Xbox One players can now take on a new Elder Dragon, Kulve Taroth, and that means there's new gear to get your hands on. Here's how to get the newly added armor and weapons (which are known as Relics).
In order to take on Kulve Taroth, you'll need to be at least Hunter Rank 16. While exploring the world, you'll begin to find new tracks, which belong to Kulve. Find enough, and you can take part in a new type of limited-time quest called a Siege. Everyone in a single game session--up to 16 players--can join together to deal with Kulve. These players are split into groups of four to gather tracks and attack the Elder Dragon, specifically with the aim of breaking off parts. Breaking parts and gathering tracks add to a progress meter for the Siege. The more progress, the better the rewards; Capcom specifically encourages players to try this in a multiplayer session.
As per usual when fighting a monster, this will unlock two new High Rank armor sets at the smithy: Kulve Taroth α and Kulve Taroth β. (There's also a matching Palico armor set and weapon.) Crafting them primarily requires materials you'll obtain through this fight, though you'll also need gems from other Elder Dragons, too. Here are the skills you'll earn by equipping each piece:
While the armor and Palico gear side of all this is very simple, weapons are much different. They're handled unlike anything else in the game to date, as you'll receive them as drops at the end of a Siege. The quality depends on your Reward Level, which is dictated by the contributions made by you and your teammates (though you'll receive more from your squadmates). These are referred to as Relics and have randomized stats but otherwise operate as standard weapons, using the models for existing ones.
This first instance of the Kulve Taroth Siege is available from now until May 3 at 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET (1 AM BST / 10 AM AEST on May 4). The Siege was added as part of a broader 3.0 update, which you can read about in the full 3.0 patch notes.
We've known for some time that Blizzard planned some kind of overhaul for Hanzo, Overwatch's bow-wielding hero. Now, we know exactly what it has in store for the character, as these changes have been implemented on the PC version's Public Test Realm, alongside the new Rialto map and other changes.
Most significantly, Hanzo's old Scatter Arrow ability--the one that shot a bunch of arrows that would ricochet off of surfaces--is gone. It's been replaced by Storm Arrows, which allows him to "rapidly fire up to six arrows that deal reduced damage but are always fired at full power." He also gains the ability to leap horizontally with Lunge (by pressing the jump key/button while in mid-air), and the projectile speed of his basic attacks has been increased from 85 to 100. Finally, Sonic Arrow--which reveals enemies near its impact--can now be used more often but is less effective: Its cooldown drops to 12 seconds from 20, but its duration is only six seconds (down from 10) and its radius is seven meters (down from 10).
"The goal of these Hanzo changes is to allow him to have new options and maintain his high damage output, while removing the frustration of fighting against the old Scatter Arrow," Blizzard explained in the full patch notes. "Hanzo is now much more mobile with his new Lunge ability, and with the combination of the bow projectile speed increase and the new Storm Arrows ability he can now deal his high damage more consistently than ever before."
While Hanzo's changes are by far the most extensive, he's not the only character with some balance tweaks in this update. Lucio's Wall Ride has been reworked; Blizzard said it's a "huge improvement," and it's now less likely to be interrupted if you're sticking to the same surface. He can also go around corners using it without leaving the wall, and it's possible to jump away from a wall and then return to it. Additionally, Soundwave no longer consumes ammo when used.
Brigitte, the game's newest hero, has had her Shield Bash's cone angle reduced from 90 to 60. Blizzard said this should prevent some frustration when using it (or being hit by it), as "the ability is more accurate to its visual representation." Junkrat sees some minor adjustments; his default attack's projectile size has been decreased (to 0.2 from 0.3), as has the movement speed of RIP-Tire (to 12 from 13).
Genji sees a bit of a nerf involving his Deflect ability; its hitbox size has been reduced. This sounds as if it's specifically meant to avoid deflecting projectiles that are further away from him than it should. Finally, Tracer's Pulse Bomb max damage has been decreased from 400 to 300, making it "less powerful as a tank-destroyer, while keeping it lethal against most other heroes."
This PTR update also makes some other bug fixes and tweaks. This is all live on the PTR right now, which you can access through Blizzard Battle.net if you own the PC version. There's no word on when these changes will make their way to the live game, although bear in mind that these specific changes could always be tweaked further.
Ahead of its upcoming release, we've now gotten the last full trailer for Deadpool 2. The superhero sequel hits theaters in May, and this latest promo doesn't hold back on what you'd expect to see--namely, insane action and irreverent humor. It looks as if there will be a lot of amazing-looking confrontations between Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) and Cable (Josh Brolin), plus plenty of references to rival superhero movies. Brolin's role as Thanos in Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War and the dark tone of the DC universe are both mocked in this trailer.
It also reveals the identity of some of the other members of X-Force, the superhero team that Deadpool puts together to fight Cable. We already knew about Domino (Zazie Beetz), and the video confirms that Terry Crews is indeed playing Beldam. Beyond that, we have Shatterstar (played by Iron Fist's Lewis Tan), and er, Peter, a normal guy who replied to Deadpool's ad. Check the trailer out above.
Deadpool 2 also stars TJ Miller, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, and Julian Dennison. It is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde). He replaced Tim Miller, who reportedly clashed with Reynolds over the direction of the movie. Last month, it was reported that the film had undergone reshoots to add more footage of Cable and Domino, who had proven very popular with audiences at test screenings. The movie hits theaters on May 18 in the US and May 15 in the UK.
In a recent interview with Collider, Brolin spoke about the physical challenges of playing Cable. "I got beat to s*** on that movie," he said. "I had stuntmen throwing me all over the place. I've got a shoulder issue, I've got a knee issue that I've got to deal with now, but we got through it. We got through it. I pushed hard and I suffered because of it."
Hearthstone's latest expansion, The Witchwood, was released last week. A little piece of it was held for after launch, though, and Blizzard is beginning to open up about it. The single-player portion of the expansion is coming next Thursday at 10 AM PT. The new Monster Hunt mode will be similar to Dungeon Run from Kobolds & Catacombs, with a few significant differences.
Rather than your regular Hearthstone classes, Monster Hunts will be undertaken as one of four characters with their own unique hero power. Tess Greymane is a Rogue-type with Scavenge, which lets you Discover a class spell that has been cast during the game. Darius Crowley has a cannon that fires at enemies positioned directly across from it, and if it kills them, it refreshes and can be used again. The other two are Houndmaster Shaw and Toki the Time-Tinker, but Blizzard didn't reveal their powers yet. Similarly, there are new treasure cards as well as some returning from Dungeon Run.
The Monster Hunt will also introduce 45 new boss characters, each with their own unique powers and dialogue. The big new addition comes in the Nemesis characters, unique bosses that match up with the four playable characters. The final boss, Hagatha the Witch, will unlock after each Nemesis has been defeated. Blizzard teased that it will take all four heroes together to beat her, but it stayed mum on what exactly that means.
Presumably defeating Hagatha and completing Monster Hunt will unlock some special reward. Finishing Dungeon Run with all nine classes unlocked a special card back, for example.
If you haven't tried The Witchwood yet, Hearthstone is still offering three packs and a class Legendary for logging in during the launch event. You can check out all 135 Witchwood cards to start formulating your strategies, and read up on why this expansion may be the best time to get on-board.
God of War now has the distinction of being the highest-rated PlayStation 4 exclusive, based on aggregate scores at GameSpot sister site Metacritic ahead of its release. It ties The Last of Us Remastered for an aggregate of 95, but God of War has a larger pool of scores--as of time of writing, 89 to TLU's 69. Uncharted 4: A Thief's End rounds out the top three with an aggregate 93.
This result almost makes God of War the best-reviewed PlayStation 4 game overall, but that spot belongs to Grand Theft Auto V. It stands at a 97, where it's unlikely to be shaken anytime soon.
God of War takes Kratos out of his usual Greek environment into the realm of Norse mythology, this time watching over his son, Atreus. In our God of War review, Peter Brown said it's a "spectacular action game with epic set pieces, big-budget production values, and hard-hitting combat." Our review roundup showed a definite consistent tone among critics, who almost universally agreed that a refocus on building character paid off in a big way for this half-sequel, half-reboot.
If you need a refresher course on Kratos's bloody tour through the Greek pantheon, check out our history of the series. And if you're diving into the new game, we have 11 tips to know before starting.
Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon players will soon have a chance to add another free pair of Legendaries to their teams. Beginning this weekend, The Pokemon Company is giving away Entei and Raikou as part of its ongoing Year of Legendary Pokemon celebration, but they'll only be available for a very limited time.
To claim the Legendaries, fans in the US will need to travel to a specific retailer and pick up a download code for the Pokemon. This time, the free code will be available at the electronics section of participating Target stores across the country from April 22-29. Players in Europe, meanwhile, can download the Legendaries via an online Mystery Gift from the games' main menu until April 25.
The code is redeemable in any seventh generation Pokemon title, although the Legendary you receive depends on which game you're playing. Those with Sun or Ultra Sun will get the Fire-type Entei, while Moon and Ultra Moon players will receive the Electric-type Raikou.
If you redeem the code in either of the Ultra games, the Pokemon will come equipped with a rare Gold Bottle Cap, which can be exchanged to max out a Pokemon's IVs in Hyper Training. The Legendaries also know different moves depending on the version. You can see their movesets in each game below.
Pokemon Ultra Sun
Entei -- Level 100
Entei -- Level 60
Pokemon Ultra Moon
Raikou -- Level 100
Raikou -- Level 60
To redeem the download code, first select Mystery Gift from the games' main menu, then choose the option to receive your gift via a code/password. Input the code you picked up and your Legendary Pokemon will be downloaded. You will then have to retrieve it from the deliveryman, who will be waiting inside any of the games' Pokemon Centers. You'll need to have an empty slot in your party to claim the Legendary.
The Pokemon Company has been giving away a different Legendary each month in 2018 as part of its Year of Legendary Pokemon promotion. Next month, players will be able to claim Xerneas and Yveltal, the cover monsters from Pokemon X and Y. In the meantime, you can see all of the free Pokemon available for Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon right now.
Capcom is shutting down services for its recent mobile game, Puzzle Fighter. The publisher announced that it will remove the puzzle game from app stores on July 1, while the option to spend money on in-app purchases will be disabled on April 23.
Servers for Puzzle Fighter will continue to operate for a few more weeks after the title is de-listed, but they will be shut down on July 31, after which point the game will no longer be playable. In the meantime, Capcom is offering 10,000 gems--Puzzle Fighter's in-game currency--to all players as a thank-you gift.
The company is also releasing Puzzle Fighter's upcoming characters and stages for free. Two new characters, Regina and Dr. Wily, will be added to the game later today, April 20, while Ada Wong and a pair of stages--Darminor and Uroboros Laboratory--arrive on April 23.
Puzzle Fighter officially launched for iOS and Android devices in November 2017. It was developed by Capcom Vancouver, the studio best known for the Dead Rising series. According to the publisher, the zombie series factored into the decision to shut down Puzzle Fighter.
"As the studio is dedicating its focus to our flagship Dead Rising franchise, we have decided to sunset Puzzle Fighter," Capcom explained in a post on the Capcom Unity blog. "We appreciate the fans who have supported Puzzle Fighter until this point. We thank you for playing the game and hope to ensure your remaining time with Puzzle Fighter is an enjoyable one."
Earlier this year, Capcom Vancouver was hit by a wave of layoffs that impacted "approximately 30% of the studio." Capcom hasn't formally announced a new Dead Rising game, but most recent release in the series, Dead Rising 4: Frank's Big Package, launched for PS4 in December and packaged 2016's Dead Rising 4 with all of its DLC and new bonus content.
The second round of Monster Hunter World's Street Fighter crossover event is starting soon. This time, players will be able to embark on a Challenge Quest to acquire a set of Sakura armor, and as before, it will only be available in the game for a limited time.
The Sakura gear can be acquired through a three-part Challenge Quest called Empress in Full Bloom. The quests kicks off on May 3 at 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET (1 AM BST on May 4) and runs until the same time on May 10.
Capcom still hasn't detailed the particulars of the Challenge Quests, but they take place in the Arena, with the objective being to slay a Pink Rathian. Players will need to have a Hunter Rank of 12 or higher to be eligible for the quests.
The Sakura gear is a full armor set that changes your hunter's appearance to that of the Street Fighter veteran. This marks the second set of Street Fighter armor that players will be able to acquire in Monster Hunter World; earlier this year, Capcom held an Event Quest called Down the Dark, Muddy Path, which rewarded players with materials to craft a Ryu costume.
The Street Fighter Challenge Quests arrive on the same day that Monster Hunter World's first Siege--a new, raid-like quest type for up to 16 players--ends. The target of the first Siege is the new Elder Dragon Kulve Taroth, which arrived alongside the game's big 3.0 update. We've put together a guide on how to get the new Kulve Taroth armor and weapons.
Homeland, the acclaimed, award-winning drama-thriller starring Claire Danes, is coming to an end. Danes confirmed in an interview with radio host Howard Stern that the Showtime program is ending after its eighth season. "Yeah, that's it," the actress said when Stern asked about the rumors that the next season will be the show's last one.
It may be, but Showtime isn't ready to confirm anything. A representative for the network told The Hollywood Reporter that it has not made any decisions about the show's future. Homeland is currently in its seventh season, which wraps up on April 29.
Danes added that she is "really conflicted" about ending her run as Carrie Mathison, though she acknowledged that she is looking forward to having a "reprieve" from the demands of playing a character who is almost always under duress.
Earlier this year, showrunner Alex Gansa told THR that he was planning to leave the show after Season 7, adding that he's not sure sure Danes or co-star Mandy Patinkin would return either if the show is to continue. "I can't speak for Claire or [co-star] Mandy [Patinkin], but it will be my final year and it will be designed to be the end of an eight-season story," Gansa said. "If Showtime, Fox, Claire. and Mandy want to take the show further, that's their decision, and we would leave some room for that to happen--if there's an appetite."
Disclosure: Homeland airs on Showtime, which is owned by GameSpot parent company CBS.
PUBG Corp. has been regularly expanding PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds with new features since it officially launched on PC back in December, such as the recently added event mode. The developer has announced it is currently at work on another highly requested feature, which will be implemented on the game's test server "soon."
In a post on Steam, PUBG Corp. revealed that it is introducing the ability to select which map you want to play. "Map selection is something that players all over the world have continuously asked for," the developer wrote. "We take your feedback extremely seriously, but we also want to be thoughtful about how we implement changes to PUBG."
Once the feature is available, players will be able to select if they'd prefer to play on the original Erangel map or the newer Miramar when starting a game. If both maps are selected, the game will randomly choose between them. You can take a look at a screenshot of the map selection UI below.
"Work on the feature is almost complete," PUBG Corp. says. The developer hasn't revealed a time table for when players can expect it to arrive in the live game, but it will first be implemented on PUBG's test server, with an official launch following "soon" after.
In addition to Erangel and Miramar, PUBG Corp. is currently working on a third map dubbed Codename: Savage, which is a quarter of the size of the previous two. PUBG Corp. recently held a second round of testing for Savage this week, though that was only available to select players who received a beta key for the Closed Experimental Server. PUBG Corp. is also working on an underground cave system for Savage.
Fortnite's v3.5.2 update is now available for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile, and it introduces a handful of new content to both Battle Royale and Save the World modes. On top of a new limited-time playlist, Epic has thrown in another incentive to play the game this weekend: double XP.
From now until Sunday, April 22, all Fortnite players will earn twice the normal amount of XP when playing Battle Royale mode. Save the World fans also have an enticing reason to play this weekend, as Epic is offering free Into the Storm llamas. Players will receive a llama each day they log in this weekend, with four to collect in total.
The double XP weekend coincides with return of the 50v50 game type. Epic had originally planned to hold the limited-time mode last week, following the release of the 3.5 update; however, it was postponed due to ongoing account issues, which came after the game experienced a significant bout of downtime.
50v50 v2 is a "new and improved" version of Fortnite's first limited-time mode. As its name suggests, it pits two teams of 50 players against each other in a fight for survival. Each team has 10 minutes to loot the map at the start of a round, during which time the storm closes in on an already-visible circle. Supply drops will also fall every two minutes in batches of three to six, but they will only land within the final storm circle.
In addition to the new limited-time mode, update 3.5.2 introduces another new weapon to Battle Royale: the Light Machine Gun. This gun can be found as floor loot and in Treasure Chests or Vending Machines, and it has a fast fire rate and a 100 round magazine. The update also addresses an assortment of bugs and adds a new weapon to Save the World. You can find the patch notes here.
A new community event is underway in Call of Duty: WWII on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Beginning today, April 17, players can take part in the limited-time Blitzkrieg event, which introduces a new game mode, weapons, and more to the online shooter.
The Blitzkrieg event will run until May 8 and features a new, limited-time mode called Ground War. This game type will only be available for the duration of the community event and pits two teams of nine players against each other across Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Domination, and War modes.
In addition to that, Activision has made the HQ a playable map in Party Games. Unlike Ground War, the map is a permanent addition to the game and can now be selected in Prop Hunt, Gun Game, and Free-For-All modes.
Beyond the new map and mode, Activision has introduced six new weapons to the game: the Type 5, ITRA Burst, and M2 Carbine rifles; the Type 38 sniper; the Sterling SMG; and the baseball bat. Additionally, players can take on a new Community Challenge, which will net them various rewards, such as a new helmet, weapon charm, and an exclusive Rosie II Grease Gun variant.
Later this week, Activision will kick off another challenge for all Call of Duty: WWII players. Starting April 20, players will be tasked with collectively completing 75 million Orders and Contracts in multiplayer. Even if that goal isn't achieved, Activision says players will earn rewards "at each step along the way." You can read more about the Blitzkrieg Community Event on the official Call of Duty: WWII website.
Big things are afoot with Netflix's The Witcher adaptation of the series of novels that also inspired the video game franchise. Though it's still very early in the process of getting the show made--showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich revealed the finished pilot script in February--lots of details about the project have arrived.
First and foremost, Hissrich says the first season will consist of eight episodes. "I know, I know, it may not seem like enough for you, but creatively, it's the right call," she writes on Twitter. The episodes can be tight, action-packed, rich in character and story, without lagging in the middle of the season." Given how often Netflix originals feel like they last too long--we're looking at you, Marvel shows--it's hard to not be excited about this decision.
Still, as Hissrich continues, the scripts for episodes beyond the pilot aren't done yet. "I've finished the pilot, which yes, will be polished more when we cast/shoot," she says. "The other 7 episodes don't yet exist, except in my head. And guess what? New writers are joining me soon, too!"
As for when to expect the series, Hissrich says it likely won't premiere until 2020. Netflix is taking its time with the show to make sure it's as good as it can be. "We're moving quickly ahead with everything--like, my head is spinning around Exorcist-style, except with enthusiasm, not evil possession--but one thing is certain: quality comes before speed," she says.
Lastly, the showrunner confirms that the series will be filmed in Eastern Europe, which is where the novels and games are set. "This show couldn't exist anyplace else. Period," Hissrich writes. "Also, I just spent ten days surrounded by Slavic eye-candy. I MUST come back, soon."
No casting has been announced for Netflix's Witcher series yet. Chances are, though, if it's aiming for a 2020 release, that news will start happening soon.
Happy Friday! So much information coming out of the @netflix event in Rome. I'm told by my friends and colleagues that the level of excitement and anticipation for #Witcher was crazy! Let's sort through it...— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) April 20, 2018
EIGHT EPISODES. Yes! I know, I know, it may not seem like enough for you, but creatively, it's the right call. The episodes can be tight, action-packed, rich in character and story, without lagging in the middle of the season. Sounds good to me, sound good to you?— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) April 20, 2018
2020. Who knows?! We're moving quickly ahead with everything -- like, my head is spinning around Exorcist-style, except with enthusiasm, not evil possession -- but one thing is certain: quality comes before speed. You'll get it as soon as humanly possible, and it'll be good.— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) April 20, 2018
THE SCRIPT NEEDS POLISHED. I'd take a step back from that to say: the scripts need WRITTEN. I've finished the pilot, which yes, will be polished more when we cast/shoot. The other 7 episodes don't yet exist, except in my head. And guess what? New writers are joining me soon, too!— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) April 20, 2018
WE'LL BE SHOOTING IN EASTERN EUROPE. Yes! This show couldn't exist anyplace else. Period. Also, I just spent ten days surrounded by Slavic eye-candy. I MUST come back, soon.— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) April 20, 2018
It's been a busy week for deal hunters, with loads of sales and discounts on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC games to choose from. Here's a roundup of some of the best deals from a variety of sources.
Let's start with the best kinds of deal you'll ever find: free games. Peggle is currently free for PC on Origin. Download it. Play it. Love it. PC gamers can also download a free copy of Satellite Reign from the Humble Store. It's yours to keep and play forever.
Xbox One owners will be pleased to see that PUBG is free to play all weekend long. Any progress you make carries over if you decide to buy the full version after the weekend's over. Speaking of Xbox One, horror fans will be pleased to hear Microsoft is running a big horror game sale this week. So if you've been meaning to scare the pants off yourself playing games like Outlast 2 ($10) or Layers of Fear ($6), head over to see the full list.
The PlayStation Store's weekly promotion is the Double Discount sale. It has discounts on games like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy ($24) and Star Wars Battlefront II ($30). If you have a PS Plus membership, you get twice the discount on each of the games.
Best Buy's weekly video game sale is particularly good this week. It has discounts on everything from Overwatch ($40) and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands ($20) to a foam replica of Kratos's axe. As always, Gamers Club Unlocked members get additional savings.
On the PC side of the gaming aisle, the retailer GOG is putting its customers' wishlist data to good use. This week, it's dropping prices on some of the "most wishlisted" games, including The Witcher 3, Divinity: Original Sin 2, and more. Additionally, the Humble Store has a number of excellent games on sale this week, including Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for $5. And the new Razer Game Store is having a sale on Rockstar and 2K games. You can get GTA V for $24, which is a deeper discount than we're used to seeing.
If you're into gaming apparel and collectibles, you have two big sales to check out this week. Both the BioWare Store and the Bethesda Store are shutting down temporarily. They'll be back up eventually, but now they're trying to liquidate tons of apparel, accessories, and collectibles by putting them on sale for cheap. So if you want major discounts on gear based on franchises like Mass Effect, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls, visit the respective store for savings.
This one isn't quite a deal--in fact, it's kind of the opposite--but it may be of interest to fans of Nioh. You can now pre-order a statue of the protagonist and his spirit guardian. The only catch? It costs $1,000.
We can't spend all of our free time gaming. If you want to expand your leisure activities to movies, you're in luck: Best Buy is running special offers on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. For instance, you can grab a Kubrick collection and the Lord of the Rings trilogy for $20.
Some links to supporting retailers are automatically made into affiliate links, and GameSpot may receive a small share of those sales.
Heads up, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch owners. Newegg is running a promotion that saves you money when you buy Xbox or Nintendo Eshop gift cards. That means, if you're planning to buy a digital game from either store in the future, you're guaranteed to save money, whether the game is on sale or not. And if the game is on sale, the savings stack, sweetening the deal even more. But don't delay, because the gift card deal ends April 25.
Xbox One owners can buy a $100 Xbox gift card for $85 by entering promo code EMCPTEY48 at checkout. That gives you a guaranteed 15% off any purchase you make--for instance, on a popular game like PUBG. If you buy a game that's already on sale (like these horror games this week), you'll get even more savings.
For Nintendo Switch, 3DS, and Wii U owners, you can get a $50 Eshop gift card for $45 by entering the promo code EMCPTEY49 at checkout. That's a savings of 10%. If you're looking to add that discount onto an existing deal, you can find all the deals currently available on the Eshop right here. For Switch owners, Darkest Dungeon is a solid bet. As for 3DS, you can't go wrong with Etrian Mystery Dungeon or Persona Q.
In either case, the gift cards come in the form of codes Newegg emails to you. Just enter the code on the respective digital store, and it'll be added to your account. Then, the next time you buy a game, you can apply it to the purchase for instant savings.
Some links to supporting retailers are automatically made into affiliate links, and GameSpot may receive a small share of those sales.
It seems like every retailer is offering up a Spring Sale these days. Green Man Gaming is hopping aboard the Spring Sale train and offering discounts on lots of excellent PC games. These temporary price cuts take up to 75% off titles like Dead Rising 4 and Warhammer: Vermintide 2. The sale ends April 30.
As a bonus, creating a free GMG account lets you into a VIP area, where you get additional savings that stack on top of the Spring Sale discounts. So if you want to buy any of these games, you'll definitely want to take advantage of that.
Even without the extra VIP discounts, many the sale prices are already appealing. You can Warhammer Vermintide 2 for $27, or Dead Rising 4 for $28. The crossover fighting game Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is on sale for $20, which is half off its normal price. Resident Evil 7, a pared-down first-person take on the series, is available for $22. Rocket League is down to $12, while the Sim-City-inspired Cities Skylines is $8.
Remember, anyone with a GMG account can get at least an additional 20% off of these sale prices. These VIP discounts are way more complicated than they probably should be, but the savings are good. Here's what the VIP area offers right now:
Regarding that last bullet point, if today is any indication, stock of the free game goes fast.
Here are our picks in Green Man Gaming's Spring Sale. Check out the sale page to see every game on sale, including temporary flash sales. And remember, the sale end April 30.
Some links to supporting retailers are automatically made into affiliate links, and GameSpot may receive a small share of those sales.
God of War launches today, and fellow developers are lining up to give Sony Santa Monica a pat on the back for the achievement. A series of tweets from studios like Insomniac and Naughty Dog have been offering their congratulations, some with custom artwork or cheeky photos to mark the event.
The revival of the long-dormant franchise has received critical acclaim, including from GameSpot's own God of War review. All of that has made it the highest-scoring PS4 exclusive on our sister site Metacritic. And in a moment of reaching across the console divide, Xbox boss Phil Spencer was among the first to offer his own congratulations last week as reviews first started breaking. In a nice reminder that real humans pour their blood and sweat into these games, game director Cory Barlog recorded an emotional video of himself seeing the review scores for the first time.
If you've picked up the game, check out some tips before you get started, and familiarize yourself with how progression works. Plus, check out just a small selection of some of the other studios offering kudos to Sony Santa Monica below.
The new Halloween movie, which will see Jamie Lee Curtis return to the series, isn't in theaters until October. However, details about the film are finally starting to trickle out, now that production is wrapped. The first poster for the film has been released, and now Curtis is talking about the plot.
It was known that the new movie will serve as a sequel to the 1978 original, disregarding the seven sequels and two rebooted films from director Rob Zombie. As Curtis tells Yahoo, she sees the new movie as a retelling of the first film, 40 years later. "There was the idea of, 'What do you call it?'' If I had had my druthers, I probably would've called it Halloween Retold. Because it's being retold," she explains. "It's the original story in many, many, many ways. Just retold 40 years later with my granddaughter."
What this says is that clearly, Laura had at least one child after the events of Halloween. That said, it's unclear whether the new film will make use of either of her children introduced previously in the series.
Her daughter Jamie Lloyd was introduced in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. However, she was killed off two movies later in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. In Halloween H20, the timeline of the franchise was altered, and it was decided that Jamie never existed. Instead, Laurie has a son named John. After this movie, John was never mentioned again.
Given that the series is essentially retconning everything that happened after the first movie, perhaps it'll be best to just start from scratch and bring in Laurie's third only child--this is a confusing bunch of movies. Whatever the case, the script written by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride sounds like a winner.
"I've seen a trailer and I've seen some footage, and it's terrifying," Curtis says. "They went full-tilt boogeyman. And I've never said that in my life, and I will say full-tilt boogeyman for the rest of the year as I go around talking about this."
The next Halloween, which will also see original movie director John Carpenter returning as executive producer, creative consultant, and composer, will be in theaters on April 19.
God of War on PS4 introduces a surprising number of changes to the series. The latest game does away with the linear structure and progression from past games. Now you can explore an open-ended environment, earn XP to unlock abilities from a skill tree, and even acquire armor sets that improve your stats. In addition, you can collect accessories known as Talismans and Enchantments that further improve your equipment's stats and give you special perks.
There are a lot of systems in place this time around, and it can get overwhelming trying to manage it all at first, especially if you assumed this game was going to be just like its predecessors. To help you get a better understanding of God of War's upgrade progression, we've compiled details on its major systems and mechanics. For more guides, check out our feature detailing 11 tips you should know before starting. And be sure to read our God of War review.
God of War slowly introduces you to its mechanics, encouraging you to explore and pick up resources scattered about the world--but for reasons not quite stated. As you progress, it's revealed that the resources you pick up can be used at shops to purchase and upgrade Kratos' equipment. There are a variety of different avenues to upgrade and strengthen Kratos and Atreus. In the sections below you can find detailed explanations of each.
Armor plays a big part in God of War, not only for increasing your stats to improve your chances of survival, but for specializing in traits that you value in combat. For example, if you like using Runic Attacks, you should equip armor that increases Runic Attack damage. Take time to think about what statistics you value the most, and stick with them, as the sooner you can funnel your resources into crafting and upgrading the armor that best supports that, the better.
The same philosophy applies to Atreus. At the blacksmith shop, you can buy him armor sets that enhance his characteristics in different ways. For instance, one set increases his arrow damage, while another improves the damage he does when strangling enemies. Atreus can be incredibly effective in battle, so it's important to think about which armor best suits how you want to use him.
Enchantments are special items you can slot into your armor that further enhance their stats. Each piece of armor can hold at least one Enchantment, as long as it has an available socket. If an armor piece doesn't have any, you can unlock sockets by upgrading them at the blacksmith shop. Throughout your journey, you'll get your hands on a ton of Enchantments, so always make sure to check your inventory to see if there are any that you should replace from your current loadout.
Oftentimes an Enchantment has a special perk that gives you attack buffs and resistances that are either inherent or activate randomly during battle. While it's useful to be aware of Enchantment perks, you'll generally want to focus on equipping ones that best increase your stats, as they give you the most significant boosts compared to other items in the game.
It's important to note that whenever you purchase a new armor set, make sure to re-equip all of the Enchantments from your old armor onto your new one. Unless you're a fan of playing at a disadvantage, don't make this mistake.
Axe Pommels further increase the Leviathan Axe's power. Similar to Enchantments, they offer perks that activate either randomly or after you perform a specific action in battle. For example, the Deadly Grip of Fury has a perk that grants you a Rage Burst after a successful axe kill. Since you can only equip a single Axe Pommel, you want to lean towards the ones with the best perks, as they often don't offer the most substantial stat boosts. But the choice is up to you; you're not punished for focusing on stats over perks.
Talismans are special accessories you can equip that allow you to perform a special ability in battle. They come in two varieties: active and passive. Active Talismans can be triggered manually by pressing a special button combination. Passive Talismans are activated by performing a specific action in battle, like dodging an attack at the last second.
While Talismans also offer boosts to your stats, you'll generally want to focus on equipping one that best suits your needs in battle. For example, if you'd like to have a little insurance when nearing death, the Talisman of Concentrated Vitality allows you to manually give yourself a health boost mid-battle by pressing L1 and the circle button. It's best to be practical when it comes to choosing a Talisman. Their stats boosts may provide an initiative to equip one over the other, but it's their perks that are most important, as they can directly impact and change the tide of battle.
God of War's combat is fairly limited at first, but once you start acquiring more Skills and Runic Attacks, battles start becoming more complex. Enemies only get tougher as the game goes on, so it helps that there are ways to defend yourself. Below we run through the two avenues you have to increase the power of your fighting prowess.
The first way to increase your strength in combat is by unlocking combat abilities in the Skill tree with the XP you earn in battle. Skills are special moves you can perform, like combos, charging attacks, and active attack buffs. Both Kratos and Atreus have their own skills you can upgrade, which are all available for you to unlock right at the start. You eventually unlock more skills from the tree after acquiring or purchasing key items that boost the level of your weapons.
You don't earn a lot of XP early on, so it's important to start thinking about which skills best suit your playstyle. But don't fret, you're not forced to unlock certain skills over others the whole way through; you'll eventually nab enough XP to unlock every ability on the skill tree. Until then, choose your skills wisely.
While you might be inclined to utilize the default attacks and combos available to you to dispatch foes, don't forget to use your Runic Attacks. These powerful special moves can be equipped to your weapons and are triggered by holding L1 and pressing R1 or R2. There are two types of Runic Attacks: Light and Heavy. The game features a variety of different Runic Attacks to equip, each sporting their own unique effects, attributes, and cooldowns.
It's possible to upgrade Runic Attacks with XP to enhance their power. You might feel inclined to upgrade combat skills over them, but don't underestimate how they can aid you in battle. A well-placed Runic Attack can give you the upper hand when your chances of survival seem low. Upgrading them improves their damage, stun, and overall capability. Do not forget to use and upgrade your Runic attacks. They're well worth it.
The Greatest Royal Rumble will stream live on the WWE Network on Friday, April 27, at 12 PM ET / 9 AM PT. However, it'll be an evening show at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Every men's title will be up for grabs, and additionally, there will be a 50-man Royal Rumble. It's the most participants in the format's WWE history.
It's always major news when the WWE performs a show of this magnitude overseas. And it's a particularly big deal when it's a country like Saudi Arabia--a relatively new market for WWE's evolving, global brand.
Here are the the biggest rumors leading up to the Greatest Royal Rumble. Also, check out the updated fight card and our match predictions. In addition, you can find out more about the Rusev/Undertaker drama for the PPV.
The poster above on WWE's website might give us some clues as to who the "surprise" Rumble entrants are. You can see Mark Henry, The Great Khali, The Big Show, and Rey Mysterio scattered amongst the full-time workers.
There are 62 people on the poster; it's possible that all the entrants are already accounted for. Also, can title holders compete in the Rumble? If not, that would free up several spots for some complete surprises.
According to PWInsider, the 4-way Intercontinental Title ladder match is being promoted as a 5-way match on local advertising. Joining The Miz, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, and Finn Balor will be Bobby Lashley. Although this has not been officially confirmed by WWE, they probably wouldn't advertise anything, in any location, that they could not deliver on.
Cageside Seats noted that Kane, who's been a longtime, reliable worker for WWE, has been removed from event advertising for the Greatest Royal Rumble. While disappointing, the man behind the character, Glenn Jacobs, is currently running for mayor in Knox County, Tennessee. The primary election is May 1; when every vote counts, Jacobs probably doesn't want to be too far from his potential constituents.
According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Rajah.com), Brock Lesnar is expected to put over Roman Reigns before he leaves the company; that could very well happen at the Greatest Royal Rumble, when they face each other in a steel cage match. And, if they can schedule it afterwards, WWE wants Lesnar to put over Braun Strowman as well.
These two younger wrestlers are the right choices. And best of all, their wins will set up a potential WrestleMania 35 title match between Strowman and Reigns, which is what we should have gotten this year to begin with.
The Twitter account @stagecreatorwwe is posting pictures of the Greatest Royal Rumble set, currently in the process of being built in the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Check their account for more leaked photos.
Thus far, the set looks appropriately grand--more in line with a WrestleMania atmosphere than a standard pay-per-view's.
Make sure to come back to GameSpot on April 27 for live coverage of the event, including a list of every surprise entrant in this year's Royal Rumble match.
Spoilers for Westworld Season 1 below!
Watching Westworld can sometimes feel like being a host in the show's titular wild west park: You're not entirely sure where (or when) you are, and you're powerless to do anything about it. Westworld fans don't obsessively comb through each episode for clues to stoke their theories out of love alone; we do it out of necessity, too. It turns out some of the show's actors feel the same way.
"Every script I get I have to read three times, just understanding what's all happening, but even then, I think I don't really understand it," Luke Hemsworth, who plays Westworld head of security Ashley Stubbs, told GameSpot during a group interview recently in Los Angeles. "It's been so long. I'm always surprised, I think. I'm always like, 'Oh yeah, I remember! And that leads into that, and that's going to move that. Oh, yes!'"
The first episode of Westworld's second season will air next Sunday, April 22. Without spoiling anything, it's safe to say it picks up the story near where the first season ended. Jumping right back into this hosts-versus-humans fray after so long--Season 1 aired back in 2016--will feel like whiplash if you haven't revisited the show recently.
The last time we saw Stubbs in Season 1, he was ambushed by the Native American warrior hosts known as the Ghost Nation. We've known for some time that Stubbs isn't dead, but it's still a bit jarring seeing him in the opening scenes of Sunday's Season 2 premiere. Hemsworth wouldn't say how his character survived, but he did tease that Stubbs is "pretty stoic. He's resilient. He finds a way."
Angela Sarafyan, who plays the host Clementine, said we're going to see new sides of her character in Westworld Season 2. Clem was out of the loop for most of Season 1, but began to gain more agency by the end. In the final episode, she shot the Man in Black (AKA old William) in the arm as the hosts rebelled.
"You'll get to see elements of Clementine that are a bit different," Sarafyan said. "You find your strength in the most unfortunate situations. That's what she does. And I love that I got to find that strength in her."
"That's the direction that we're going in, this newfound freedom," she said. "To be the oppressed, and then, what do you do with that freedom that you're given, especially if you're a host? How do you bring that to fruition?"
For some shows that are particularly vulnerable to spoilers, like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, the creators will go to extreme lengths like writing scripts in code or shooting multiple versions to guard against leaks. Hemsworth said shooting Westworld can be chaotic, though he attributed that more to the show's massive scope than any deliberate attempts to befuddle the cast or crew.
"It's a huge beast, and I think they're figuring a lot of it out as they go," Hemsworth said. "When they're editing they're picking up things and going, 'Oh yeah, that's right. We need to do that.' It's this constantly evolving, tome amount of scripts. And it does evolve right up until the point that we're shooting. Sometimes we're getting scripts at midnight the night before we're shooting."
If showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy are keeping Hemsworth in the dark about anything, he says he doesn't know about it. "I guess we'll find out, because they don't tell me, right?" he laughed. "There's definitely stuff that changes at the last minute. Whether it's on purpose or not is another question. Sometimes you're like, 'Come on, you knew that was going to happen. You could have told me that!'"
One thing we know for certain is that the showrunners have a sense of humor about it all. A video they promised to release earlier this week that they said would reveal Season 2's entire plot--in some twisted attempt to stop fans from spreading theories across the internet--turned out to be one giant troll, a "Rick Roll" of epic proportions. They did release a video that gives a brief glimpse at an early scene from Westworld's Season 2 premiere, where Stubbs finds Bernard passed out on a beach. But it quickly transitions to star Evan Rachel Wood singing Rick Astley's song "Never Gonna Give You Up," with Sarafyan on piano, followed by around 20 minutes of a dog sitting on a piano bench.
Sarafyan said she didn't know how the video was going to be deployed when Nolan asked her to be in it. Her brother explained to her what a Rick Roll is after the video went out.
"We were going to do press that particular day, and Evan and I were both there, and [Nolan] asked her to sing and me to play the piano piece," Sarafyan said. "So I learned it that night and then played it the next day. That's why I'm so focused [in the video]--because I'd just learned the piece!"
The two actors didn't have much more to share about Westworld Season 2, but they do have their own theories.
"I always believe that the hosts are constantly taking in information, kinda like your phones," Sarafyan said. "I think that they're always feeding off things. Even when they're asleep, I've made the decision that she is still awake. She's asleep, she's in sleep mode, but then she's still hearing and receiving, like you would in a dream."
We do learn a few new things about the hosts in Westworld's Season 2 premiere, though I won't say what they are. "It's an evolution," Hemsworth described. "They delve into pulling the hosts apart, but also pulling the humans apart and how we react to losing our control."
As for what happened to Stubbs between the last time we saw him and now? "There's definitely a cool journey there."
Finally, Sarafyan teased something Westworld fans have been looking forward to since the Season 1 finale: "I think [Shogun World] is gonna be a really special story," she said.
Westworld Season 2 airs on HBO beginning next Sunday, April 22.
Universal has started work on a new movie adaptation of Doom, according to actress Nina Bergman. Screenrant reports that she teased that she gets to work with a "super cool director" and film in Bulgaria, but otherwise the details are scant. This follows recent rumors that a new Doom movie was on the way from the picture studio.
Doom had previously been adapted in 2005, with Dwayne Johnson playing in the lead role. It used the source material loosely, focusing on a Martian science facility that created monsters, rather than unleashing actual demons. The most game-accurate moment may have been too on-the-nose, as it went into a first-person action sequence as homage. It was widely panned and underperformed at the box office, failing to make back its production budget.
Since then, the game series was rebooted in 2016. It had a more complex story, but still placed the central focus on fighting demons on the surface of Mars. Universal may be looking to adapt that successful update of the franchise, after the last attempt didn't go so well. Even Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson recently criticized the original's shortcomings, prompting a response from the official Doom account. That was in the spirit of celebrating the (relatively) high reviews for Rampage, another video game adaptation.
Bergman, for her part, apparently agrees with Johnson about that first Doom movie. She assured a fan that this one has a "much better script."
Each week, Best Buy puts a new selection of video games on sale. This week has some fantastic offerings, featuring many of last year's biggest games available at deeply discounted prices. The sale runs between now and April 21, when a new batch will go on sale.
As always, the deals are even better for members of Best Buy's Gamers Club Unlocked program. A two-year membership costs $30 and gets you 20% off of pre-orders and new (non-used) games. You don't have to buy many games for the membership to pay for itself. GCU prices are in parentheses below.
Let's dig into this week's deals. For starters, if you don't have Grand Theft Auto V on current-generation hardware, you can get it for $30 ($24). Overwatch - Game of the Year Edition is on sale for $40 ($32). It just got a limited-time co-op mode called Retribution. And Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands, whose Year 2 content will be free for all players, is on sale for $20 ($16).
If you're more interested in historical weapons, you can check out Kingdom Come: Deliverance for $50 ($40). On that same note, Assassin's Creed Origins and Middle-earth: Shadow of War are both on sale for $30 ($24).
A number of remastered collections are also on sale. You can get BioShock: The Collection for $20 ($16), Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for $15 ($12), or Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix for $30 ($24).
There's a good chance you're looking forward to the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 in October. In that case, you might want to grab Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition for $15 ($12) for Xbox 360/Xbox One. Even though it came out last generation, Rockstar just released an update that makes it look significantly better on Xbox One X.
God of War launches on Friday, April 20. Best Buy has the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Limited Edition God of War Bundle available for pre-order for $400. If you're interested in that, you might also want to check out the life-sized foam replica of Kratos's Axe. It's available for $40.
Lastly, Best Buy is also offering some Switch games for a discount. These aren't listed in the weekly ad, so their prices could go up earlier than April 21. As of now, though, Switch owners can buy the turn-based tactical game Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle or Just Dance 2018 for $30 ($24). Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and LA Noire are $40 ($32), while Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition and Monopoly are both on sale for $20 ($16).
You can see the full list of Best Buy video game discounts here.
Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is getting a lot of upgrades for Avengers: Infinity War. Though it hasn't been revealed in trailers, the new Iron Spider suit Peter Parker wears in the movie has an interesting addition--and it was revealed thanks to a toy.
The Spider-Man collectible from Hot Toys is incredibly detailed and, in a sneak peek at it on Instagram, it looks like the new suit has something in common with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Both suits have palm repulsors. There's a couple of reasons this should come as no surprise. First and foremost, the Iron Spider suit in the comics features these. Additionally, Tony Stark designed Peter's new gear. Why wouldn't he include some of his favorite weaponry?
The repulsors, in addition to the mechanical arms that are also seen in the toy images, should make for some interesting new assets for Peter in the battle against Thanos (Josh Brolin). After all, if he can fire blasts of energy at his enemies, in addition to his webbing, Spider-Man will be a pretty useful ally.
That said, he's still a fledgling superhero, so chances are it will be a bumpy road as he gets used to his new abilities. That's what makes Spider-Man such a joy to watch. He's a kid who is still getting accustomed to what it means to be a hero, learning the ropes.
It just so happens that when it comes to Infinity War, those ropes are all that's holding together a universe than Thanos is desperate to destroy. Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters on April 27.