Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord “hopefully” won’t spend years in early access

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord is finally about to enter a form where you can both buy and play it. But even though it enters Steam Early Access next year “pretty much finished” in terms of features, there’s still plenty of polish, bug fixes, and other changes that’ll need to happen before the game goes 1.0. Don’t worry, though – developer Taleworlds doesn’t plan for the game to spend another eight years unfinished. “It’s difficult to really pronounce any specific thing,” Taleworlds founder Armagan Yavuz tells us in regards to how long the game will be in early access, “but it’s not going to be years, hopefully. We just want to make sure that the game is reasonably polished and balanced, and we’re happy, and we’ll be able to say that ‘ok, now we’re ready.’” Mount and Blade 2 will already be a rich experience when it hits early access, but the trouble is in how all those details fit together – and that’s why the studio needs player feedback, Yavuz says “we have pretty much all of the features figured out and everything working, but we can’t really control all the millions of different combinations of how things play out with each other and what happens when different features combine or different paths play out in the game.

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Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy Once Again Crossing Over Into Monster Hunter: World On PS4

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Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy has already appeared in Capcom’s Monster Hunter World game, so it’s only fitting that her Frozen Wilds DLC persona also graces Monster Hunter World: Iceborne on PS4 (out September 6).

The quick teaser trailer for the crossover doesn’t go into any detail beyond showing her in her armor with a bowgun, but if it’s like her appearance in Monster Hunter World, she will likely be involved in timed events.

[Source: Capcom]

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Catch Generation V Pokémon In Pokémon GO Starting 16th September

Unova batch to catch.

Niantic, the makers of a little app that seems to have caught on – GO Pokémon, is it? – has announced that Pocket Monsters from the Unova region will start appearing on 16th September.

As part of the rewards (as if they weren’t coming regardless!) for completing all three parts of the recent Global Challenge, three weeks of Ultra Bonuses have been unlocked, and Week 3 sees the arrival of Pokémon that fans first caught back when Pokémon Black and White launched on Nintendo DS.

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Fortnite – Neo Versa PS4 Bundle Introducing the Fortnite New Versa PlayStation®4 bundle. PlayStation and the PS family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Greatness Awaits is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment LLC. All trademarks and copyrights are properties of their respective owners.

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Need For Speed Heat’s Police Chases Are A Chaotic Thrill

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Ghost Games
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

There’s little doubt among fans that Need For Speed is also in need of some new life. The series’ past few entries have been bogged down by intrusive microtransactions, poor storytelling, and lackluster settings. However, a beautiful new Miami-inspired metropolis called Palm City – as well as a particularly chaotic implementation of NFS’s classic boogeyman, the street-racer hating police force – might do just enough to propel the series back to the top.

During Gamescom 2019, we got to spend 30 minutes fiddling with customization options and competing in two street races. There is a large array of customization options for those who want to deck out their rides. We were given a sleek-looking Mercedes AMG to play with in a garage before the first race, and I spent a few minutes switching out various models of canards, wheels, splitters, and skirts just to see how it would change the car’s look. Stance tuning, paint and decal options, and even modifying the sound of your exhaust are also options you can tweak. Alongside your car, you can customize your driver’s hair, clothes, and shoes. There weren’t that many options in the demo, but they did run the gamut from mundane (like curly hair) to wacky – including being able to don serial killer masks.

The difference between the two races in the demo are night and day – literally. The first race has you gunning around Palm City’s harbor, passing ships and dockworkers in a giant circle. Heat leans more in the direction of arcadey than realistic, with turbo-boosted collisions and spectacular particle effects creating the sorts of crashes that wouldn’t be out of place in The Fast And The Furious. Hitting the nitro, which slowly refills over the race, sends you barreling ahead at breakneck speed for a brief instance of time, letting you hit trees hard enough you rip them for their roots and smashing small walls to pieces. The nitro is also practical, with careful uses of it letting you overtake other racers at a critical juncture. Admittedly, outside of the spectacle and how satisfying it is to pull off a tight turn and eclipse your opponents, the day race is traditional, without any notable modifiers or hooks to make it stand out. The next race, which takes place at night, is anything but and does a great job of demonstrating the tension and surprising amount of emergent storytelling that Heat is aiming for.

The race which took me and the A.I.-controlled racers through the middle of Palm City, crossing through busy intersections and tearing across bridges, started normal enough. We zipped down the road, ramming into one another as we vied for an early lead. However, once I hit the nitro, cop cars showed up out of nowhere. Unlike the cops in Payback and the 2015 reboot, these officers were much more relentless – usefully so. Bumping into cops calls in more cops. When I realized that, I started ramming every one I saw, creating an influx of police cruisers that were smashing into my opponents’ cars and sending them flying off the road. My agent of chaos strategy eventually backfired, as one plowed right into me and forced me to lose the race. However, in the moment, the thrill was so exciting that the loss wasn’t even close to being a bitter pill.

That’s not where the fun ends either. After a night race concludes, the police will chase you, forcing you to evade them and seek out a safe house. This might sound like a chore on paper, but I found the experience immensely entertaining as I darted through alleyways and crashed through barriers in a desperate attempt to evade cruisers and SWAT vans as they tried to bounce me around like a ball. Hearing the officers have detailed, convincing conversations over the police scanner about what me and the other racers were doing also added to the tension and made the chase feel particularly cinematic.

In the end, the justice brigade got me with a spike strip and a fantastic pile-up spectacle that rivals any of the police chases I’ve had in Grand Theft Auto V thanks to the overwhelming aggression and limited means to fight back. There is no other means of defense except your skills behind the wheel. Be crafty or get caught, losing whatever prize money (used to buy upgrades for your car) you gained during the race while also gaining some reputation currency. It’s not clear yet what reputation affects in the game.

There remains a number of questions about how Heat will handle progression and storytelling. However, the strength and intensity of the demo we played as well as EA’s confirmation that Heat is ditching lootboxes entirely after Payback’s grindy inclusion of them has our hopes up that this entry might be the one that puts the series back on track.

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The Yakuza Remastered Collection Is A Pretty Solid Way To Revisit The Classics

Yesterday, Sega simultaneously announced the existence of The Yakuza Remastered Collection and released the first part. The collection, which is initially available as a sort of season pass, includes remastered versions of the PS3 games Yakuza 3, 4, and 5, running at 1080p and 60 fps on the PlayStation 4. 

I asked series producer Daisuke Sato why the games aren’t getting the full Kiwami treatment, and he says it came down to a question of time. If his team were to fully remake those games, it would require their full attention and would take more than three years. Since the games featured in this collection were originally released on PlayStation 3, the visuals hold up significantly better than their PlayStation 2 predecessors. 

Yakuza 3 is available now, and the next games in the series will be unlocked automatically as the team completes the remastering process. Yakuza 4 is slated for an October 29 release, and Yakuza 5 should be unlocking February 11, 2020. February 11 is also the release date for a limited run of physical copies of the game – the first time Yakuza 5 is available as a physical release in North America. To mark that occasion, the Day One Edition of the game includes a PS3 case for Yakuza 5, to let collectors fill the gap on their shelves.

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I played a bit of the Yakuza 3 remake, and while it’s a noticeable step down from the Kiwami games – crowds have a tendency to pop into view and the UI is a bit clunky – it’s fairly easy on the eyes overall. More than anything, as someone who got on board with the series when Yakuza 0 was released, I’m excited to finally fill in an important gap in Kiryu’s saga.

The Yakuza Remastered Collection is available for digital purchase now for $59.99, which is the same price as the Day One Edition.


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Video: Digital Foundry Takes A Detailed Look At The Updated Switch SKU

More battery life for your buck.

We’ve been keeping a very close eye on the new Nintendo Switch SKU that’s in the process of hitting store shelves, and it certainly seems to make multiple minor improvements to the launch model, but is it worth buying as a replacement if you already own a Switch? After taking delivery of a new model fresh from the shelves in Hong Kong, Digital Foundry has posted its analysis of the updated Switch SKU with a breakdown of all the small upgrades it offers, so hopefully this will help you decide.

Taking a look at all aspects of the newer console, from the screen and power consumption to things like Wi-Fi reception and operating temperature, Eurogamer’s technology editor Rich Leadbetter is generally impressed with what he’s found. Power efficiency seems to be the big win with the newer model. Here’s the entire video if you want every last morsel of information on the revision:

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Dear Game Informer Community

Dear Game Informer Community,

Yesterday, as part of a GameStop restructuring plan, our parent company eliminated the positions of about 120 employees across its various offices. We lost seven members of our team – our cohorts, compatriots, and friends (out of our 38 Team Members). They shaped us and made us who we are today, just like every member of the Game Informer team who passes through this company. 

Here is the official statement from GameStop:

As part of the previously announced GameStop Reboot initiative to transform our business for the future and improve our financial performance, we can confirm a workforce reduction was implemented impacting more than 120 corporate staff positions, representing approximately 14% of our total associate base at our company headquarters as well as at some other offices.

While these changes are difficult, they were necessary to reduce costs and better align the organization with our efforts to optimize the business to meet our future objectives and success factors. We recognize that this is a difficult day for our company and particularly for those associates impacted. We appreciate their dedication and service to GameStop and are committed to supporting them during this time of transition.

I’m saddened by yesterday’s news; the Game Informer team means the world to me. You, our readers who have supported us over the years – mean the world to us. I can’t thank them or you enough. 

We appreciate the love that has poured out for GI and the affected team members: Matt Bertz, Elise Favis, Javy Gwaltney, Kyle Hilliard, Imran Khan, Jeff Marchiafava, and Suriel Vazquez. They are so talented and so passionate – please support them if you are hiring. Each of them has my highest, most glowing recommendation.

For now, Game Informer lives to fight another day. Your support is appreciated. 



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