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Nintendo says early sale Switch units were stolen, and everyone involved has been fired

20 Feb

Switch units in the wild may result in criminal charges for those who helped them run free.

Switch fever peaked last week when some dodgy shakycam footage showing the Switch setup menu and UI as well as a Switch unboxing video made some corners of the Internet wild with envy.

Hiphoptherobot said at the time that a retailer had supplied the Switch unit early, presumably by mistake; they even said several times that they wouldn’t be talking about the matter if they had done anything shady. Unfortunately it looks like they were taken in by someone else, as the Switch was stolen.

“Earlier this week, individuals claimed to prematurely purchase a small number of Nintendo Switch systems from an unspecified retailer,” Nintendo told IGN.

“Nintendo has determined these units were stolen in an isolated incident by employees of a US distributor, with one system being illegally resold. The individuals involved have been identified, terminated from their place of employment and are under investigation by local law enforcement authorities on criminal charges.”

The original poster of last week’s Switch videos has confirmed this includes their Switch unit. “Nintendo has the console back and I am personally not in any trouble,” they said in an update posted on posted on NeoGAF.

They also said they’d unknowingly bought a stolen Switch, and that everyone has “been very nice and reasonable” throughout the return process – but that they don’t expect to get their money back. The full thread is worth a read, although it’s light on details as the OP is understandably a bit wary of sharing too much.

Switch launches March 3. Buy it from a shop on or after that date. Anybody who offers you an early one is probably doing something dodgy.

A full Switch interface Nintendo Direct is expected this week, if the videos are pulled in the meantime and you’re dying to take a peek.

Battlefield 1 video gives a look at the new Frontlines mode coming next month

20 Feb

Battlefield 1’s new mode is a mix of Conquest and Rush.

Battlefield 1‘s upcoming DLC pack They Shall Not Pass delivers a new game mode called Frontlines.

As you’ll see in the video above, Frontlines brings a sort of tug-of-war mechanic to Battlefield 1. The maps is broken up by a linear series of objectives, only one of which is active at any time, starting in the middle. In order to advance through this phase, one side needs to capture all the objectives on the way to the enemy base.

When one side reaches the other’s base, their objective changes: they need to destroy two telegraph posts inside the base. Unfortunately for them, during this phase the defending team can use the telegraphs to summon artillery strikes.

This second phase ends when the telegraph posts are destroyed or the attacking side runs out of reinforcements. In the latter scenario, the game reverts to the first phase, and players start fighting for objectives again. The round ends after a successful attack on both telegraph posts or when time runs out.

They Shall Not Pass brings new maps as well as a class, vehicle and stationary weapon to Battlefield 1. It’s expected sometime in March on all platforms.

To prepare yourself for the DLC, make sure you have the Winter Update which dropped last week, buffing, nerfing and adding new features and progression systems. Check out the Battlefield 1 Winter Update patch notes, or opt for a more concise rundown of Battlefield 1 Winter Update major changes and features.

Battlefield 1 is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

For Honor trailer reminds you it’s pretty good, in case you’ve been under a rock with your fingers in your ears

20 Feb

For Honor: it’s good. But don’t trust us, trust this promotional video.

For Honor has been generating a huge amount of buzz since its popular beta tests, and there doesn’t seem to have been any die off now that it’s actually out.

The video above is littered with accolades for the multiplayer factional brawler, which Ubisoft apparently thinks is what will convince you to invest in For Honor.

If you’re only just getting onboard now or want an edge on the competition, check out our growing For Honor guide. We’re collecting detailed character guides, with video, in addition to basic and more advanced tips.

For Honor may have a very different aesthetic to Overwatch but like Rainbow Six Siege it seems positioned to occupy a similar sort of hero-driven space, where character choice and knowing how to counter the abilities of the whole roster is an important part of high level play.

This design seems to have crept over from the MOBA space, but the immediacy of the action in games like For Honor and Overwatch mean everyone can get in and have a good time without immediately hitting a steep learning curve. It’s an interesting trend.

Resident Evil 7 was the best-selling game of January 2017, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, other heavy-hitters play musical chairs

17 Feb

The NPD group has released hardware and software figures for January 2017 and it should come as no surprise that PlayStation 4 and Resident Evil 7 topped the respective sectors.

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January 2017 NPD at a glance

Resident Evil 7 tops software charts

PS4 was best-selling console

PC software spend declined 12% year-over-year

All categories – accessories, hardware, software – down 4% year-over-year

Compare month-on-month: December 2016

Compare year-over-year: January 2016

While hardware sales declined, software was up 14% to $313 million. NPD attributed the increase to Resident Evil 7’s release, especially when comparing the year-over-year (yoy) release slates.

It’s also worth noting Resident Evil 7 was only on the market for five days when the NPD reporting period ended.

“With only five days in the market, Resident Evil 7 was the best-selling game in January,” said NPD analyst Sam Naji. “The last time Capcom had the best-selling game of the month (in dollar sales) was in March 2009 with Resident Evil 5.”

First-person shooters Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1 were still two of the best-selling games for the month, and neither title has fallen off the chart since release in fall 2016.

Overwatch also returned after dropping off the NPD software list in October.

The rise in sales could possibly be attributed to various discount offers or the Overwatch Year of the Rooster event; however, that’s just conjecture on our part as NPD didn’t elaborate on why Overwatch was once again charting. It was, however, one of the best-selling games of 2016 per NPD’s yearly report in January.

Action titles Grand Theft Auto 5 and Watch Dogs 2 also remained on the chart, while sports titles Madden NFL 17 and FIFA 17 remained popular with US consumers as well.

PC software came in at $16 million, a 12% decline yoy from $18 million.

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NPD Software Top Ten January 2017

You’ll notice not much changed on the chart since December 2016, as the heavy hitters played musical chairs and that’s about it.

The biggest changes were the entry of new releases Resident Evil 7 and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – the second best-selling PS4 title for the month.

Pokemon Sun and Moon and Final Fantasy 15 fell off the chart, and again, Overwatch reentered it.

The full NPD software chart is below, but keep in mind not all digital stores report sales data. Some publishers who sell through the PlayStation and Xbox Stores report data, but others do not. For example: Microsoft, Sony and Blizzard (Battle.net) do not report first-party sales.

  1. Resident Evil 7 (PS4, Xbox One)
  2. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  3. Grand Theft Auto 5 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  4. Battlefield 1 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  5. NBA 2K17 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  6. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (PS4)
  7. Madden NFL 17 (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
  8. Watch Dogs 2 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  9. Overwatch (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  10. FIFA 17 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

This month, NPD also started reporting catalog sales of titles from the first six months of availability – starting with month seven (thanks, MCV). The winning publisher in the category for January 2017 was Take-Two and it was also the top publisher for 2016. NPD attributed this to continued sales of GTA 5.

NPD Hardware January 2017

Last week, the initial NPD report had PS4 topping hardware followed by Xbox One – which according to Microsoft enjoyed year-over-year (yoy) growth compared to January 2016.

PS4 sold the most units, with Xbox One coming in second place, and Nintendo’s Nintendo Classic Mini: NES in third.

“The PlayStation 4 was the best-selling hardware (in units sold) during January 2017,” said NPD analyst Sam Naji. “And for the fourth consecutive month, PlayStation 4 Slim System 500GB Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Bundle was the top-selling PS4 sku in terms of units sold.”

For the month of January 2017, hardware totaled $127 million, a decline of 19% yoy compared to $157 million in 2016.

Accessories declined 17% yoy to $155, with toys-to-life skus (ex: Skylanders, amiibo, Lego Dimensions) showing the biggest decline.

Total spent in the US on accessories, hardware and software for the month January hit $611 million. While that’s indeed as large figure, it’s 4% less compared to $637 million spent in 2016.

NPD said the lower figure was due to a decline in hardware sales and general lack of growth.

Dawn of War 3 gets suitably epic story trailer, confirms Spear of Khaine is involved

17 Feb

The conflict wrapped up in the story of Dawn of War 3 becomes clear.

Relic has released a new trailer for Dawn of War 3, the first in a long while. It’s called Prophecy of War and is very much story-focused.

The prophecy in question is cited at the start of trailer, as Farseer Taldeer outlines the main story setup that will bring all three races to war. The Spear of Khaine is the impetus behind the events this time around, though not much else is known.

Farseer Taldeer’s prophecy is ominous though, as these usually tend to be. Gabriel Angelos, Farseer Macha, and Gorgutz are all here, and they all seem to be fighting enemies within their ranks, as well as each other.

Alongside the new trailer, Relic also put out a call to action themed around each of the three factions. These videos show a bit more gameplay, and highlight what the Space Marines, Eldar, and Orks are each fighting for.

Dawn of War 3 comes out this year on PC.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands TV spot is all CG, still not using Eric Clapton’s Cocaine

17 Feb

How come Ubisoft couldn’t use Eric Clapton’s Cocaine in any of its promo material for Ghost Recon: Wildlands?

Ubisoft has unveiled the latest TV spot for Ghost Recon: Wildlands. TV spots are typically very short, for obvious reasons, and rely mostly on CG and flashy footage.

This most recent one follows the same guidelines, and succeeds in pitching the game’s main concepts in under one minute. Those being, the open world, the freedom you have in how you can approach each mission, the vehicles you can use, and the big baddies you’ll be going after.

Unfortunately, it’s yet another trailer for the game that somehow doesn’t use Eric Clapton’s iconic cover of Cocaine. C’mon guys, you must find a way.

If you’re looking to try out Wildlands before it’s release, there’s going to be a beta next weekend, open to all. The open beta will feature a sizeable amount of content, even more so than closed beta.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands is out March 7 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Watch Tekken’s Katsuhiro Harada nerd out over For Honor’s combat mechanics

17 Feb

Katsuhiro Harada had a few things to tell For Honor producer Jason Vandenberghe about his game.

For Honor‘s combat mechanics are rooted in fighting game fundamentals, this much is clear. Hearing creative producer Jason Vandenberghe describe how Ubisoft Montreal wanted to translate this well into a 3D action game format is eye-opening.

And who’s better suited to have this chat with Vandenberghe than longtime Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada. In the video, Harada gives his impressions of some of the main features of For Honor, and answers a couple of questions in a way only someone with his experience can.

The most interesting part of the video is when Vandenberghe talks about how the directional attack indicators were devised as a solution to having a behind-the-back camera. According to him, this particular perspective doesn’t display all the information about players’ moves to each other, unlike what the 2D perspective – typical of fighting games – would.

In case calling For Honor a fighting game scares you, we’re here to help. We’ve been analysing and breaking down every part of the game to put things in simpler terms that anyone can understand. Don’t hesitate to give our guide a look, it’s constantly updated and full of useful information.

Halo Wars 2: 11 crucial tips for beginners

17 Feb
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11 crucial Halo Wars 2 tips for beginners

Halo Wars 2 may be one of the most accessible RTS games ever. Being designed to – at the very least – be playable with a controller is part of the reason why, but it also means you’ll have an easier time understanding its main mechanics than you’d expect.

That said, if this is your first RTS, or your first in a long time – let’s face it, we haven’t seen that that style of RTS for years – then you’ll want to get a refresher course. A lot of what you may remember about how the genre typically works will help you here, but not everything will transfer over.

We’ve been playing the PC version, and being RTS fans ourselves, we found that there are certain design elements and unique quirks here that are not commonly seen in other games in the genre.

The tips to follow are essential in helping you nail down how Halo Wars 2 works on a fundamental level. Some may seem obvious, but are worth being spelled out, just because of some of the differences that will throw you off at first.

You can use these tips when playing skirmish, multiplayer, and the campaign missions that don’t limit you for story reasons.

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Play the tutorial

There are three tutorials in Halo Wars 2. The first deals with basic unit movement and teaches you some handy keyboard shortcuts. If you played an RTS before, you probably don’t need to do this one, but it’s worth spending the ten or so minutes it takes to complete to get a Blitz card pack and some XP.

If this is your first RTS game, playing this tutorial is a must, especially since you’ll be introduced to concepts like “control groups,” “waypoints,” and other RTS vernacular.

The next one is where the game gives you control of a base, and exposes how base building, unit queuing and other integral parts of its core loop work. You don’t want to skip this one, as there are a few things Halo Wars 2 handles differently than say, Command & Conquer or StarCraft.

The third and final one is for Blitz mode, and like the previous two, gets you a free card pack and a bit of XP for your trouble. Blitz is relatively straightforward to get to grips with, so you’ll mostly just be learning the controls.

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Build a Supply Pad and a Power Generator ASAP

Now that you know how RTS games work, it’s time to talk about some of the better ways to start your match off. First and foremost, you’re going to need to build a Supply Pad (or Harvester for the Banished) before doing anything else. Every single unit, ability, and building will require a certain amount of supplies to build, and you really don’t want to wait until you’re all out before you start worrying about this.

The next building you should construct is the Power Generator (or Power Extractor for the Banished). Some units require both supplies and power to be produced, and the same goes for certain buildings.

Supplies and power are the only two resources in Halo Wars 2. They’re both produced in a linear fashion and through buildings that don’t require any input or upkeep from you once they’re up, and they’re both necessary.

Once you have one of each, you can then move on to other structures that’ll actually produce units. You should also consider buying the upgrade for both structures. The Heavy Supply Pad upgrade is cheaper to get than a Power Generator upgrade, so do that first.

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Scout, scout, and scout with mobile units like the Jackrabbit and Chopper

The Jackrabbit and the Chopper are fast, lightly-armoured units designed as scouts. Regardless of how ready you think you are, you should send one of those around the map to have a look around while buildings get constructed.

Everything that isn’t under your control will be covered in the fog of war, which is why you must physically take control of a scout unit and command it around to reveal what the fog of war is hiding.

The most obvious reason for doing this is to find out some of your opponents’ plans by surveying the type of buildings and units they focused on first. Scouting is also incredibly useful to learn if your enemies are building multiple bases outside their main ones, and how many they have.

Whatever your goal is, you must always send a very mobile unit around every couple of minutes to assess the situation and stay on top of the goings on. You should not engage any targets, no matter how tempting.

One other reason you want to be scouting is to locate strategic objectives that you can capture, which we’ll cover a bit more in the next point.

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Capture Forerunner structures, supply and power crates

Hopefully you’ve now located a few Forerunner power relays (lightning bolt icons on the mini-map) in your scouting run. Any standard infantry unit will capture these, but be careful, you’ll have to first fight the Sentinels protecting them. Once any of them is captured, they’ll provide a decent stream of power as long as they’re yours, which is even more important in the mid to late-game.

Outside of these Forerunner structures, there are a couple more items you should be aware of. You will notice that there are blue crates and yellow, battery-shaped cylinders lying around in some parts of the map. As you may have guessed, blue crates give you supplies and yellow cylinders give you power.

You can pick those up by sending any units to their location. They take time to get scooped up, and they don’t respawn once collected.

Finally, there are plenty of buildings all over every map that allow you to garrison infantry within. Garrisoning units in remote outposts – especially overlooking critical sections – can serve as an early warning for when your enemy makes a move. This is thanks to the line of sight advantage they provide, not to mention how safer your units will be inside.

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Basic infantry are created from the Firebase, not the Barracks

This is a tip for those who played RTS games before and whom we guarantee will be perplexed by this during their first few hours. The basic infantry units (Marines and Grunts), come out of your Firebase, not the Barracks.

There are other types of advanced infantry units you need a Barracks for, but for the Jackrabbit, Chopper, as well as the Marines and Grunts, you’ll need nothing more than your main building to recruit them. There are even upgrades for these early units that can only be purchased at the Firebase.

It’s a bit of Halo Wars thing, and it probably makes sense from a balance standpoint, but it’s still weird.

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Branch out early and build other bases

As soon as you’ve placed your first Barracks, make sure to expand into other bases. All maps have empty lots you can build new bases on (square icons on the mini-map). They vary in size, and the smallest allow you to attach a single building to them – not counting the mini-base itself.

All you need to do to claim said lots is for them to be empty, and for you to have a line of sight on them. You can send a small squad to their location just so you can clear the fog of war and build your new base.

Spreading out your forces and production across a number of bases, means the enemy will have a harder time eliminating you, all eggs in one basket and all that. Halo Wars 2 makes this easy, too, because all bases share the same tech and resource pool.

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Keep note of your base and factory levels

Each base has its own level, but your overall army level can be seen on the bottom right hand side, to the left of the mini-map. This level affects the types of buildings you will have access to. Keep in mind, though, that you will still need to upgrade each base separately to gain more building spaces.

Not every base you build later can be upgraded, but your home base always will be. Being able to raise the base level requires power.

Depending on the map, and how aggressive your opponent is, you may be forced to focus all your attention on your home base and one more at most. If you find yourself in that situation, remember to upgrade your base level regularly to expand the usable space.

If you can’t venture out, you may as well turtle up and be as powerful as you can.

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Upgrades you buy are universal

Any upgrade you purchase at any of your production buildings like the Barracks, Garage, and Airpad, apply to your entire army. This goes for unit upgrades like improved armour and added abilities, as well as the actual building levels, which grant passive bonuses like extra health and so on.

Even if you lose all buildings of the same type (all Barracks, for instance), your upgrades will not revert.

With that in mind, you should only upgrade factory levels when you’re trying to unlock a higher unit or upgrade tier, not just because you have a surplus of power and supplies.

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Power is your gateway to acquiring advanced tech

Assuming supplies aren’t an issue, your power production is going to be strained in the mid and late-game. This is for the simple fact that advanced units require a chunk of power to produce.

Some units you won’t even have access to until you reach a certain power thresholds. This is how Halo Wars 2 uses power as a gating mechanic, keeping powerful tools of destruction out of your reach until you’re ready for them.

When you feel you have a decent defence force of Marines and other cheap units, focus on expanding your power supply by building more generators or upgrading existing ones. Ideally, you’ll have already established multiple bases by that point, so space should be no issue.

Basically: worry about supplies early and power later.

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Get comfortable with the main keyboard shortcuts

This is a PC-only tip that may seem obvious, but is worth mentioning. Keyboard shortcuts open up a whole world of possibilities for you. Don’t play Halo Wars 2 using only the mouse – though it is possible, hitting buttons to quickly travel between bases and hot spots is a godsend.

Don’t get us wrong, this is no StarCraft! You won’t need to memorise 20 of these and combo them together like a pro or anything. Mostly, you’ll need to create a couple of control groups and learn how to quickly switch your view to where the action is, whether that be at one of your bases, or out in the field.

The tutorial should help you with a couple of these, but you’ll have to explore the rest in the controls menu. Best of all, you can customise them to your liking if you aren’t feeling the default options.

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Understand Leader Powers and how to best spend your leader points

Leader Powers are sort of like kill or scorestreaks. By pressing ‘F’, you’ll bring up the commander wheel, which allows you to spend your points on any of the available options. The skills you see in this wheel differ depending on which of the six heroes you’re playing as.

Because nothing else about the army changes, you’re going to have to decide before the game starts which hero you want to go in as, based on what you prefer from each of their available skills. Each leader also emphasises a certain playstyle, to make things interesting.

These abilities can either be passive, or active that you can call in to help you or devastate the enemy. They all have separate cooldowns, and require both supplies and power to call in, but they could be the deciding factor in your next skirmish – don’t neglect them.

For Honor getting big guard break counter changes, Valkyrie buff, more

17 Feb

For Honor has been out mere days, and already, the developers are talking about making changes.

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Ubisoft has announced the first round of fixes and changes hitting For Honor, just a few days after the game’s official launch.

Community manager Eric Pope took to the game’s sub-Reddit to outline some of the biggest issues fans have raised with the developer, and how the team is responding to them.

First up is the issue of bots replacing disconnecting players in Duel, Brawl, and Elimination. The issue is not that bots can take the place of human players, it’s that they spawn with full health mid-fight. When your opponent rage-quits as you were about to win – for instance – you’re suddenly forced to fight a full-health bot to win the round.

Ubisoft Montreal recognises this isn’t fair, and will be making a change. Now, the replacement bot will spawn-in dead. This means you get to win the current round, and both of you can start fresh the next one.

Another big change has to do with how guard break countering currently works in the game. Right now, you can’t counter a guard break during the attempt, and must wait until the grab animation hits you to counter. In the beta, if you saw it coming, you could easily counter the guard break as your opponent was attempting it.

Pope confirmed that the guard break behaviour will return to what it was in the beta.

As for hero balance and bug fixes, Conqueror, Berserker, Peacekeeper, and Valkyrie are all getting touched up. There’s a bug in the game currently that means any light attacks you block from a Conqueror or a Berserker allows them to combo that into a free guard break. This will be fixed.

Peacekeeper is currently also affected by a bug that prevents the second and third stabs after a guard break from applying bleed. This, too, will be fixed.

As for Valkyrie, well, the class is getting a number of buffs. Here they are:

  • Light attacks: reduced recovery time
  • Light chains: reduced time between attacks
  • Pouncing Thrust & Hunter’s Strike: increased damage and link options after those moves
  • Shield Crush: add link to Light Attack chains
  • Hunter’s Rush: reduced recovery time

Pope did not say when we should expect these changes to hit the live game, or if all fixes will be included in one patch.

If you’re looking to step up your For Honor game, maybe give our guide a look. We’re updating it every day, and it covers everything from basic gameplay concepts to how you can create your own emblem.

Destiny: Xur location and inventory for February 17, 18

17 Feb

Xur’s supply of Exotic wares never runs dry.

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Xur: Agent of the Nine, Destiny’s one-man Exotics trading operation, has made his weekly appearance once again. Xur brings different Exotic weapons and armour pieces each week to sell you, in exchange for some Strange Coins.

Xur has been spotted in the Reef this weekend. You should get what you want from him before 9am GMT on Sunday, February 19.

Here’s what Xur brought this week:

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – here’s exactly when the open beta goes live in your region, and what’s in it

17 Feb

The Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta is just a few days away. Here’s all the information you need in one place.

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After a successful closed beta round earlier this month, the Ghost Recon: Wildlands beta will be returning once again – only it will be open to everyone this time.

That’s right, the open beta will be available to download on PC, PS4, and Xbox One without prior need to register or redeem keys anywhere. The open beta goes live on Thursday, February 23 and will remain online all the way through Monday, February 27.

The download client size is not yet known, but we suspect it’ll be bigger than that of the closed beta. In any case, you’ll be able to pre-load the open beta starting Monday, February 20, so there should be plenty of time.

As for content, the Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta includes two regions of the full game’s 21. Itacua, the region from the closed beta, as well as a new region called Montuyoc, will both be accessible during this open beta.

Finally, if you play the open beta and buy the full game before March 31, you’ll unlock a free, extra mission in the full game. The mission is called the Unidad Conspiracy, and it tasks you with sparking war between the militia group Unidad and the Santa Blanca cartel.

Although Ubisoft has not yet announced if those who participated in the Ghost Recon: Wildlands closed beta can just update their clients to play the open beta, it’s recommended you don’t delete it util we get word.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands officially releases on March 7 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

Feast your eyes on this Switch unboxing video, courtesy of the same early shipping mistake as before

17 Feb

Switch is in the wild. One can only imagine the conversation between Nintendo and its retail partners tomorrow.

Switch hopefuls can torment themselves with a further tantalising glimpse of the hardware as it will appear in their very own homes when Switch launches in a few weeks.

This video comes courtesy of the same source as the Switch start up UI and OS overview video from earlier today, which was provided exclusively to FloKo. Unfortunately the site is being hammered, and we weren’t able to get the page to load – hence the YouTube mirror above.

The unboxing itself is pretty standard fare – all the bits are in there, enfolded in that mysteriously labyrinthine packaging digital devices favour – but stay right to the end for an additional look at the Switch menus, for those of you wanting to pore over the hardware settings immediately.

This Switch was reportedly shipped to the lucky new owner by a retailer, which has not been named, rather than leaked or otherwise acquired from the distribution chain. If that’s true, someone’s going to have answer some pointed questions tomorrow. I’d hate to be the poor schmoe who put this in the post, even if the order came down from on high.

Pokemon Go’s big update is rolling out now, so you can get your hands on over 80 new Gen 2 ‘mon

17 Feb

Pokemon Go developer Niantic produces a heck of a lasso and ropes you right back in.

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A Pokemon Go update is rolling out now on Android (0.57.2) and iOS (1.27.2), so check Google Play and the App Store to see if your region is ready to rock the new content, which includes more than 80 new Pokemon.

This is the big Pokemon Go update Niantic revealed earlier this week, and represents the first major expansion of catchable Pokemon since the app launched in July 2016.

The new Pokemon are Generation 2 beasties, first found in the Johto region. Some of them come in gender variations, so be sure to grab them all.

There are some other cool changes to Pokemon Go in this update, including increased rewards when catching evolved Pokemon and new night mode map and music.

Here are the full patch notes for the Pokemon Go Gen 2 update:

  • Over 80 additional Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region can be caught.
  • Gender-specific variations of select Pokémon can be caught.
  • Added new encounter mechanics.
  • Added Poké Ball and Berry selection carousels to the encounter screen.
  • Added two new Berries.
  • Added new avatar outfit and accessory options.
  • Added new night-mode map and encounter music.
  • Added bonus Candies for catching Evolved Pokémon.
  • Implemented Apple Watch connection stability improvement.
  • Various bug fixes.
  • Minor text fixes.

Payday 3 development has kicked off, but don’t hold your breath for it: “you simply don’t rush” Starbreeze’s most important brand

16 Feb

Payday 3 is the “most important” thing on Starbreeze’s radar, so expect it to go slow and careful.

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Payday 3 development has formally kicked off, Starbreeze told investors in its most recent financial releases.

“It is with great satisfaction that we also can announce that Payday 3 production is officially initiated and at a full design stage,” CEO Bo Andersson Klint said.

Klint stressed that Starbreeze isn’t setting any timeframe right now and Payday 3 will be in the works for “as much time as we deem needed” and “will be done when it’s done”.

“This is our single most important brand today and the cornerstone of our business and we will treat it accordingly. Updates in the near future might be scares and far between. You simply don’t rush Payday 3,” he emphasised.

Payday 2 has been an enormous success for Starbreeze and its Overkill studio. Continuous content and support from the team has overcome stumbling blocks like hugely unpopular microtransactions and abandoned console ports, enabling a lively community – which obviously coughs up money in huge dripping wads given Starbreeze’s description of the IP as its cornerstone brand.

Starbreeze gave some figures regarding the Payday franchise’s earnings this quarter, but as it wasn’t immediately clear which was GAAP (the one we care about) and which was non-GAAP (useless to us), we’d better not randomly regurgitate them.

We did get an update on the 505 Games situation, though. Since Starbreeze regained the rights early last year 505 Games is not providing any extra funding, but is still taking console revenues as it hasn’t yet received the $5 million it is entitled to.

“We expect 505 to have reached their $5 million recoup in Q1 2017 as we see impressive Payday performance through digital distribution on consoles following the latest update,” Klint added.

Starbreeze receives 100% of all PC revenue on the Payday franchise, and describes this revenue source as “healthy”.

Someone got a Switch two weeks early so let’s watch its startup sequence and critique the OS UI

16 Feb

Switch isn’t supposed to be in consumer hands yet, but there: what’s a hardware launch without a few egregious leaks?

Switch launches March 3 but for whatever reason NeoGAF user hiphoptherobot got their Switch retail pre-order a few weeks early.

Elsewhere in the thread the lucky new Switch owner says multiple times he won’t be selling the early Switch unit, tempting as the offers have been, because he doesn’t want to risk legal trouble from Nintendo.

Unfortunately the retailer in question apparently managed to stick to game release dates despite failing to lock down the Switch hardware, so all the lucky owner can do is look through menus. This gives us a good look at the user interface of the operating system though, which is nice.

Switch has 32GB of internal memory, but looking at the video above it seems it has about 25.9 GB left after the initial firmware. You’ll be able to expand Switch’s capacity up to 2TB of storage via memory cards – not that 2TB cards exist yet, unfortunately. Let’s all hope you’ll be able to hot swap cards without resetting the console, as the Vita requires.

So what do you think of the Switch UI? PS4 and especially Xbox One have refined their UIs since launch, and we can expect Nintendo to iterate on this design as the console ages, too. Start giving your feedback now and kickstart the firmware cycle.

Latest Conan Exiles patch contains some nice fixes, but it broke waterskins

16 Feb

If you have been on a short break from Conan Exiles, you should know a patch was issued yesterday. It fixed quite a few things, but also broke a rather important item: the waterskin.

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The patch notes on Steam main mention of various fixes being applied to the loading screens and server performance, and NPCs in Conan Exiles should also be “less jittery” when rotating.

However, along with those welcome fixes, some known issues have occurred with the update in the process.

One is the aforementioned waterskin which can no longer be filled at a nearby river once the patch is applied.

It can still be filled from a well, so hopefully you aren’t far from one. Funcom said it currently investigating the issue.

Other issues include inventory issues which can be solved upon relogging, and it seems issues are also being reported with explosive jars and jump “boosting”. Also, foundations and placeables no longer have a a visible preview when in single player/local mode. Dedicated multiplayer servers aren’t experiencing this issue, it seems.

Here’s more known issues currently being addressed:

  • Looting several bags with “Loot All” causes items to disappear.
  • Dropping multiple items into a bag causes items to be invisible.
  • Dismantling crafting stations with items in them will sometimes not drop a loot bag. Other times, a small lootbag will drop, which grows in size once players interact with it.

Now that the known issues are out of the way, you can look over the latest patch notes below.

Performance and Tech fixes

  • Fixes to loading screens
  • Server performance fixes
  • NPCs should be less jittery when rotating
  • Fix for connecting to servers via the Steam server browser and when using Steamconnect
  • Buildings should now load in much faster
  • Placeables placed on foundations and ceiling tiles are now saved correctly
  • Several improvements to how rocks behave when they are harvested

General Bug Fixes and Improvements

  • Small Placeables no longer claim land
  • NPC camps now have their own land claim zone to prevent people from building so close to them that they stop spawning NPCs
  • You should no longer get phantom duplicates in the wheel of pain
  • T2 Altars should no longer disappear after a server crash
  • Surrender should no longer break early when using fists
  • Removed invisible collision that was blocking a certain chest in the world
  • Arrows no longer shoot in “Random crazy directions”
  • Ranged weapons should now always fire correctly
  • Rhinos should no longer try to walk through players
  • Palisades now correctly deal damage on contact
  • Palisades should now be easier to place
  • Fixed a case where players were able to destroy rocks with their fists. Sorry, but this privilege is reserved only for Conan himself.
  • Fixed an issue where interactable objects would spam “Press E to interact” on the GUI
  • Added a directional arrow to many Placeables to help players orient them correctly
  • The Offering of Mitra recipe now correctly requires 1 human heart and 1 unblemished meat
  • Fixed an issue with stair placement detection
  • Gongs and Horns are now audible over greater distances
  • Added new emotes that can be learned by tracking down Story NPCs and getting them to teach you

Balance and Gameplay Fixes

  • Some skill requirements have been simplified or removed. For example, it is now possible to learn Journeyman Craftsman as soon as you hit level 10. Due to the impact of this change all players have gotten a free skill respec.
  • Ansel now respects collision, preventing people from moving through walls and other structures
  • Non Admins are restricted to 2 meters of movement when using Ansel
  • We have done an overhaul on what monsters can damage which tier of buildings. If you haven’t upgraded from sandstone you might want to think about doing that.
  • Increased crafting XP across the board with greater increases for crafting more complex (higher tier) items
  • Inverted Wooden Roof Wedge and Stonebrick Frame now require Journeyman Craftsman instead of Master Craftsman
  • Black rocks in the starting desert are now harvestable
  • Higher grade tools now yields greater amounts of secondary resources (Bark/branches)
  • Resetting your Knowledge Points no longer causes you to lose your selected religion
  • Removed Corruption sources from starting area caves
  • Removed the Regen component from Purified Meat. This perk is reserved to Mitra’s Ambrosia and Healing Potions. Purified Meat is still an extremely good food source
  • Player corpses can only be harvested for religious purposes once every 30 minutes
  • Balance pass on the amount of materials requires for basic chemistry potions
  • Armor drops removed from chests
  • Emus now give less XP

Balance pass on Bows

  • Simple Bow range has been increased
  • Hyrkanian Bow range has been dramatically increased
  • Crossbow range has been reduced but they now shoot much faster

Visual Improvements

  • The Dogs of the Desert finally got their uniform shipment and are now donning their new outfits
  • Visual adjustment to the Medium Tasset to reduce clipping issues
  • Visual adjustments to the Setite Choker and Shendyt to reduce clipping issues
  • Updated Cutlass and Falcata icons
  • Visual flair added to several hairstyles
  • Visual improvements to female heads

Conan Exiles is in development for PC,PS4 and Xbox One.

It will also be made available as an Xbox One Game Preview title in the spring , with PlayStation 4 planned for a later date.

We’re livestreaming For Honor – join us for some brutal, bloody action

16 Feb

Join us as we livestream some glorious For Honor gameplay.

Watch live video from vg247 on www.twitch.tv

Today, Shabana is starting from scratch, so be prepared to get a look at the tutorials before she heads into the campaign.

Because of this, I have no idea which faction she will choose, but I’m crossing my fingers for the Berserker because chaotic and brutal viking are my thing. In games, obviously.

It’s also possible we’ll see some multiplayer later on. Wish her well.

If you’re playing For Honor and need some tips, give our guide a read.

For Honor is one of the first big releases for the year, and arrived on PC, PS4 and Xbox One this week.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – give the minimum and recommended PC specs a quick read

16 Feb

The Ghost Recon: Wildlands team has released the official specs for the PC version.

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With the open beta for Ghost Recon: Wildlands running next weekend, you may wish to give the list below the once over to make sure you can run it properly.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Minimum Specs

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2400S @ 2.5 GHz or AMD FX-4320 @ 4 GHz or equivalent
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660/GTX 750Ti/GTX 950/GTX 1050 or AMD HD 7870/R9 270X/R9 370X/RX 460 (2GB VRAM with Shader Model 5.0 or better) – See supported List */**
  • System RAM: 6GB
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Video Preset: Low

Ghost Recon: Wildlands – Recommended Specs

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.5 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4 GHz
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/GTX 1060 or AMD R9 290X/R9 390/RX 480 (4GB VRAM with Shader Model 5.0 or better) – See supported List */**
  • System RAM: 8GB
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Video Preset: High

Supported NVIDIA cards at time of release

  • GeForce GTX600 series: (minimum) GeForce GTX 660 or better | (recommended) N/A
  • GeForce GTX700 series: (minimum) GeForce GTX 750Ti or better | (recommended) N/A
  • GeForce GTX900 series: (minimum) GeForce GTX 950 or better | (recommended) GeForce GTX 970 or better
  • GeForce GTX10-Series: (minimum) any GeForce GTX 10 card | (recommended) GeForce GTX 1060 or better

Supported AMD cards at time of release

  • Radeon HD7000 series: (minimum) Radeon HD 7870 or better | (recommended) none
  • Radeon 200 series: (minimum) Radeon R9 270x or better | (recommended) Radeon R9 290X or better
  • Radeon 300/Fury X series: (minimum) Radeon R9 370X or better | (recommended) Radeon R9 390 or better
  • Radeon 400 series: (minimum) Radeon RX 460 or better | (recommended) Radeon RX 480 or better

Gamepad Support

  • Microsoft Xbox 360
  • Microsoft Xbox One (Original/Elite)
  • PlayStation 4 (Original/Pro)
  • Steam controller

Other controllers may work, however they are not officially supported and may require third-party software to work. Examples include:

  • Any third-party Xbox-compatible controller
  • Logitech Chillstream
  • OUYA controller

Ghost Recon: Wildlands releases on PC, PS4 and Xbox One March 7.

If you plan on participating in the beta, you can pre-load the tester starting Monday, February 20.

Also, as mentioned in the open beta announcement, beta participants who purchase and play the entire game by March 31 will be handed an exclusive mission.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta kicks off next weekend, pre-load it on February 20

16 Feb

The Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta will kick off next weekend on all platforms.

Each player participating in the Ghost Recon: Wildlands beta will have access to the exclusive “Unidad Conspiracy” mission if they purchase the game and “play it in full by March 31.”

Players will need to use the same Ubisoft account for both the beta and full game in order to acquire the content.

The Unidad Conspiracy mission, players are tasked with “sparking a war” between the corrupt militia group Unidad and the Santa Blanca cartel.

As previously reported, the open beta will also introduce a not one, but two provinces among the 21 included in the final game.

These are Itacua, a mountainous province where the grip of the cartel is looser and Montuyoc, set in the snowy Altiplano, a much more challenging area. Luckily, the player will have gained XP and skills boosts by suppressing the Itacua bosses in the first province.

They can, of course, jump right into Montuyoc if they wish but it sounds unwise.

As in the full game, all the content in the open beta will be playable with up to three friends on the same platform via four player co-op, or in single player.

Players will be able to make use of a large variety of vehicles, tactical equipment and weapons as well.

The Ghost Recon: Wildlands open beta will run February 23-27, and you can start pre-loading the beta on Monday, February 20.

If you are unable to view the trailer above, the UK one is through here.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands will be released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One March 7.

PS4 owners in US without PS Plus can play online multiplayer free for a week

16 Feb

PlayStation 4 users without a PlayStation Plus subscription can hop online and play multiplayer free starting tomorrow, February 17.

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Sony has waived the sub free for the week instead of just the usual weekend. All multiplayer modes will be available for any PS4 game owned.

The free multiplayer period ends in North America on February 23.

Those who live in Europe will be able to enjoy a free multiplayer period from February 22-26.

Sadly, it’s not as long of a period as North America gets, but it’s free.