People in North America can start playing at midnight PT, which comes out to 3 AM ET. You can see the unlock times for Latin America and Australia/New Zealand in the chart below.North America12:00 AM PTLatin America12:00 AM PT/4:00 AM BRTAustralia/New Zealand5:00 PM AEST
Blizzard also published the schedules for Legion's new dungeons and raids. On August 30, after Legion goes live, dungeons will be available on Normal and Heroic difficulties. The Mythic difficulty will launch at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET in accordance with the normal weekly dungeon reset time.
Following on from launch, the Emerald Nightmare raid dungeon will be available on Normal and Heroic difficulties starting on September 20. Also at this time, some special Mythic Keystones will drop in Mythic dungeons that allow for "increased challenge and rewards," Blizzard said.
Here is the remaining Legion dungeon/raid schedule, as written by Blizzard:
- Tuesday, September 27: Mythic difficulty for the Emerald Nightmare Raid dungeon opens. The first wing of Raid Finder difficulty for Emerald Nightmare opens.
- Tuesday, October 11: Raid Finder Wing 2 of Emerald Nightmare opens.
- Tuesday, October 25: Raid Finder Wing 3 of Emerald Nightmare opens.
Legion's first PvP season, meanwhile, kicks off September 20. Though that's not for a while, players can earn Honor for the PvP season as soon as Legion launches. You can learn more about how World of Warcraft's Honor and Prestige systems are changing in this Blizzard post.
Although Legion's Broken Isles region is not yet officially available, the new demon hunter class arrived at the start of the month. The expansion raises the level cap from 100 to 110 and also makes major changes to gameplay mechanics that you can read about in our interview with Blizzard.
Legion is World of Warcraft's sixth expansion. It follows The Burning Crusade (2007), Wrath of the Lich King (2008), Cataclysm (2010), Mists of Pandaria (2012), and Warlords of Draenor (2014). Blizzard does not announce subscriber figures any longer, but the game remains the No. 1 subscription-based MMO on the market, according to Superdata.
Not content to leave the Pokemon Go action to those with modern smartphones, one modder is working to bring a version of the hit game to a much older, stranger, and more niche piece of hardware.
Pokemon Go VMU is being developed by modder guacasaurus_mex, and as the name suggests, it's an attempt to bring Pokemon Go to the Dreamcast's Visual Memory Unit, or VMU (via Ars Technica). Being an accessory for a '90s video game console, there are some necessary changes being made, such as not working off of GPS.
A photo posted by guacasaurus_mex (@guacasaurus_mex) on Aug 19, 2016 at 11:30pm PDT
Instead, the game works off of a randomly generated grid that you'll navigate to track down Pokemon, according to an Instagram post. Once you find one, you can throw Poke Balls by taking part in a "timing-based mini-game."
Pokemon Go VMU remains in development and will release in 2017. The wait is, as guacasaurus_mex puts it, "because I'm lazy and it's going to take forever to draw all those damn Pokemon."
If you're looking for something to play on your VMU in the meantime (this has to be true of someone, right?), guacasaurus_mex offers other games on Instagram, including Flappy Bird VMU and Street Race VMU. Or if you're looking for more ways to enjoy Pokemon Go, you can head to select Target stores to stand next to a giant Poke Ball.
CD Projekt Red today released a new trailer for The Witcher 3's Game of the Year Edition, which comes out tomorrow, August 30.
Given that the new version is aimed at newcomers, this video sets up the game's story and main character, Geralt, and shows off some of the action players will find. Additionally, there is a look at the Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine expansion content, which is also featured in the new package.
Also included with The Witcher 3's Game of the Year--which is called the Complete Edition in some regions--are its 16 pieces of free DLC including smaller things like costumes and items. The package will go for $50 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Also arriving tomorrow is a new patch for The Witcher 3 that makes a series of fixes and improvements. You can see the complete 1.3 patch notes here. The Game of the Year comes with the 1.3 changes out of the box, so players won't have to install this before getting started.
GameSpot named The Witcher 3 our 2015 Game of the Year. The game took home Game of the Year honors at a number of awards events, including the SXSW Gaming Awards and the Game Developers Choice Awards. The new trailer mentions that the game received more than 800 awards across numerous categories.
In other news about The Witcher, developer CD Projekt Red has announced its financial results for the first half of 2016. Sales were down significantly due to the tough comparison to last year when The Witcher 3 launched.
UPDATE: It has been reported that Deathstroke will be the main villain in Ben Affleck's standalone Batman movie. The Wrap states that a source "with knowledge of the situation" has confirmed the news to them. Original story below:
Batman star Ben Affleck has posted a mysterious new video on Facebook that shows footage of the DC villain Deathstroke. The actor provided no further information about the clip, which was filmed from a monitor, but you can check it out right here:
Affleck is currently working on the DC superhero team-up Justice League, which is released next year. In addition, he is set to direct and star in a standalone Batman movie for the studio further down the line. It is unknown if this Deathstroke footage is from Justice League, a test for the Batman film, or if Affleck is simply having some mischievous fun.
Deathstroke first appeared in a 1980 issue of The New Teen Titans, and the armored mercenary has gone on to appear in a wide variety of DC comics over the years. He is associated with Batman, and is a main adversary to the Green Arrow. On TV, he recently appeared in Season 2 of the CW show Arrow, played by Manu Bennett. He also featured prominently in last year's Batman: Arkham Knight.
This is the second time in recent weeks that one of Justice League's stars has teased fans. Earlier this month, Superman star Henry Cavill posted an image which seemed to suggest that he might wear the distinctive black suit from the The Death and Return of Superman comic books from the early '90s in the movie.
Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017, and also stars Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, JK Simmons, Willem Dafoe, and Amber Heard.
The first custom Xbox One controllers made with the Xbox Design Lab are now shipping to the public, Microsoft has announced. Microsoft sent out the very first orders on Friday, August 26. They should arrive in early September, with more units to follow after that.
You can choose the color of the controller's bumpers, triggers, D-pad, thumbsticks, ABXY buttons, and view and menu buttons, among other things. According to Microsoft, there are 8 million color combinations. The personalized controllers sell for $80, while you can pay an extra $10 to have your gamertag or some other name or message engraved on the controller, up to 16 characters in length.
Controllers are handmade and should ship 14 business days after sending in an order. Right now, the service is only offered in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, but Microsoft said it will make the Xbox Design Lab available to people in other markets in 2017.
You can go to the Xbox Design Lab website to make your own controller now. GameSpot made one and you can watch us unbox it in the video above. The non-personalized pads normally go for around $50.
Microsoft is the only platform-holder with an official design-your-own controller program.
The new Star Trek TV show is still many months from its premiere, but more details are emerging about it. We always know the title (Star Trek: Discovery), its place in the franchise timeline, and the fact that the lead character will be female and not a Captain. Now, showrunner Bryan Fuller has revealed the name of the show's main protagonist.
Fuller spoke to AICN, and revealed that she would be known as "Number One." "When we introduce our protagonist, she is called Number One in honor of Majel Barrett's character in the original pilot," he said, referring to 1965's first episode of Star Trek, titled "The Cage." "As we were first talking about the series, talking to CBS, we said initially we will only call this character Number One."
Fuller went on to mention that Number One's real name will be revealed before the end of the first season. He also told the site that the second episode will be written by Nicholas Meyer, the writer/director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, considered by many fans to be the best of the original cast movies.
Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere in January 2017, with production beginning this fall in Toronto. Last month it was reported that Netflix had picked up the show for streaming outside of the US and Canada. It can be seen in 188 territories within 24 hours of every new episode premiering in the US.
American viewers will able to watch the first episode on the CBS network channel, with all subsequent episodes screening initially on the company's All Access digital subscription service. In Canada, it will be broadcast on the streaming channel CraveTV.
Disclosure: CBS is GameSpot's parent company.
A new patch for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will arrive tomorrow, August 30, alongside the launch of the RPG's Game of the Year/Complete Edition, CD Projekt Red has announced. People who buy the new version of the game won't need to install the update, as it comes pre-loaded.
This patch, 1.3, is not the biggest or most substantial for the game, but it does include some welcome-sounding updates and improvements. The full patch notes were published today [PDF] and can be seen below.
Starting off, there is one character update. Dwarf banker Vimme Vivaldi is now "sporting a fresh look," though there is no word on what this really means. I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
The Witcher 3's newest update also fixes a problem where two NPCs from the "Without a Trace" quest were impossible to defeat. Additionally, the Rabid Rock Trolls near the Dun Tynne crossroads are now "slightly less rabid" when playing on the "Just the Story" difficulty level. The update also fixes a problem where your horse Roach's tail could vanish.
Additionally, there are GUI changes/fixes in this update, one of which is that PlayStation controller prompt icons have been added. Additionally, the update fixes problems related to the dismantling of mutagens in bulk from the alchemy lab.
The Witcher 3's Game of the Year/Complete Edition launches on August 30 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This update will come out tomorrow for all platforms, though specific timing was not announced. As mentioned, the Game of the Year/Complete Edition comes with 1.3 out of the box.
The GOTY/Complete Edition, which will sell for $50, includes the base game and all DLC, including the Hearts of Iron and Blood and Wine expansions.
In other news about The Witcher, developer CD Projekt Red has announced its financial results for the first half of 2016. Sales are down significantly, no doubt due to the tough comparison to last year when The Witcher 3 launched.Witcher 3 Update 1.3 Patch Notes:
As compiled by NeoGAFCharacters
- Vimme Vivaldi is now sporting a fresh look.
- Fixes issue whereby oil descriptions were not removed from swords.
- Fixes issue whereby it was not possible to obtain certain dye recipes.
- Fixes issue whereby it was possible to skip the entire second phase of the Eredin fight.
- Fixes issue whereby a silver sword was needed to craft the Mastercrafted Legendary Griffin Steel Sword.
- Fixes issue whereby two NPCs from the "Without a Trace" quest were impossible to defeat.
- The Rabid Rock Trolls near the Dun Tynne crossroads are slightly less rabid on the "Just the Story" difficulty level.
- Fixes issue that allowed users to switch bolts underwater, resulting in lower damage dealt during said submersion.
- Corrects the value of the Adrenaline Rush buff during the fight against a group of bandits in the "Capture the Castle" quest.
- Introduces tweaks to the loot randomization system.
- Dealing a killing blow now generates the correct amount of Adrenaline.
- Fixes issue whereby Roach's tail could vanish.
- For those affected by this issue, swapping saddles, saving the game and then loading that save is recommended.
- Adjusts the maximum level for items, quests and NPCs to address level requirement
- discrepancies if player started NG+ on a very high level. Item and quest maximum level is now 100. NPCs maximum level is 105.
- Corrects the statistics of the Hen Gaidth and Tesham Mutna sets in New Game + mode.
- Fixes issue whereby the Toussaint Knight's Steel Sword Diagram was not added to the crafting page after looting it.
- Fixes issue whereby the Second Life mutation could, under certain circumstances, grant Geralt infinite health regeneration.
- Fixes issue whereby the Wicked Witch in the "Beyond Hill and Dale..." quest could occasionally prove invincible.
- Fixes issue whereby the Euphoria buff was not applied correctly following the imbibing of a decoction.
- Fixes issue whereby it was possible to place a skill in a mutation slot of a different color.
- Fixes Steam controller issues.
- Adds PlayStation controller prompt icons.
- Fixes issue whereby craftable items in New Game + mode could have incorrect level requirements.
- Fixes issues affecting the dismantling of mutagens in bulk in the alchemy lab.
- Fixes issue whereby it was not possible to interact with loot chests in the "Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear" quest.
- Fixes issue whereby Geralt's entry would disappear from the Glossary once he decided to join the tourney under his true name.
- Fixes issue whereby two bandits outside the Nowhere Inn could prove impossible to kill
- during the "Following the Thread" quest.
- Fixes issue whereby players could occasionally become blocked during the "Contract: Bovine Blues" quest due to a dracolizard's overly friendly attitude.
- Fixes issue whereby Reginald's statue could not be placed in Corvo Bianco's front yard.
- Fixes issue whereby it was not possible to kill Morkvarg in New Game + mode during the "In Wolf's Clothing quest".
- Fixes issue whereby it was occasionally not possible to use the Alchemy Table at Corvo
- Fixes issue whereby the progression of the "Equine Phantoms" quest could occasionally be
- Fixes issue whereby the objective to wear attire befitting the occasion could be displayed
- indefinitely after the player fulfilled it in the "The Man from Cintra"
- Fixes issue whereby the quest "Contract: Bovine Blues" could not be completed if the "Big
- Feet to Fill" point of interest had not been completed.
- Fixes issue whereby Vivienne could despawn in the "The Warble of a Smitten Knight" quest.
- Fixes issue
- whereby the progression of the "Feet Cold As Ice" quest could occasionally be
- Fixes issue whereby it was possible to inadvertently reactivate the objective of the "Feet Cold
- As Ice" quest.
- Fixes additional instances of an issue whereby the borders meant to exist only during the "Night of Long Fangs" quest would sometimes become enabled outside the duration of the quest, preventing users from exploring Toussaint.
- Hughes is now spawned correctly following the "One more day" choice in the "Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Granite!" quest.
- It is no longer possible to get trapped inside The Pheasantry during the progression of the "Gwent: Never Fear, Skellige's Here" quest.
- Fixes issue whereby the progression of the "Big Feet to Fill" quest could occasionally be blocked.
- Fixes issue whereby the statues in the "Extreme Cosplay" quest occasionally would not
- Fixes issue whereby the bruxa in the "The Beast of Toussaint" quest would display pacifist tendencies, whereas the progression of the story needed her to turn hostile.
- Fixes issue whereby it was not possible to interact with the footsteps during the crime scene investigation in the "The Beast of Toussaint" quest.
- Fixes issue whereby it could be impossible to talk to the quest giver in the quest titled "Knight
- for Hire."
A new gameplay trailer for Shank and Don't Starve developer Klei Entertainment's new game Hot Lava has been released, giving us a look at the most extreme version of "the floor is lava" we've ever seen.
Hot Lava, which is Klei's first 3D game, is the team's take on the classic children's game where the only rule is you can't touch the floor. In the game, however, there is lava everywhere. As you can see in the gameplay trailer below, you start off inside a house flooded by lava and eventually make your way outside to larger locations that present new challenges and opportunities with ropes and wall-running (via Kotaku).
There is no word yet on when Hot Lava will come out, but you can sign up for a beta at the game's website.
"Hot Lava transports you back to your childhood imagination," reads a line from the game's Steam page. "Relive those moments of excitement, joy, and chaos. Traverse distinct worlds, from school hallways to the memories of your darkest fears. This is a game of dexterity and ingenuity, you will have to use all your skills to complete the treacherous obstacles that await. But whatever you do…don't touch the floor."
Founded in 2005, Klei is an independent studio based in Vancouver, Canada.
The Battlefield 1 open beta is almost here.
It's scheduled to kick off on August 31 for everyone on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You may be able to play earlier than that, however, as Battlefield Insiders can jump in a day early, starting August 30.
To be able to play early, you needed to have signed up for the free Insider program by August 21 and made a platform preference selection. Codes for Battlefield Insiders will be sent by email, though these do not appear to have been sent out as of 9 AM ET today, August 29. With the beta scheduled to begin tomorrow for Insiders, we'd expect codes to go out soon.
On August 31, you won't need a code to play the Battlefield 1 beta. You will be able to find it from the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, and on PC through Origin.
There is no official word yet on the Battlefield 1 beta's file size, but a recent report claimed it would be around 6 GB on Xbox One. Presumably the file sizes for the other platforms would be similar.
The Battlefield 1 beta takes players to the Sinai Desert map, which features horseback combat, a deadly armored train, planes, and more. There are two modes in the beta: Conquest and Rush. Matches can support up to 64 players. Check out this post to learn even more about Sinai Desert.
Some other unknowns right now include the Battlefield 1 beta PC system requirements, if other maps and modes will be made available as the beta progresses, and when the pre-release play period will wrap up. GameSpot will update this post with new details on the Battlefield 1 open beta as they become available.
Battlefield 1 comes out on October 21.
Sonic has had a tumultuous history. The fast-running hedgehog is one of the most well-known video game characters, and many people have fond memories of playing the 2D side-scrolling Sonic titles, but recent games haven't been received particularly well.
Publisher Sega is attempting to revive the Sonic brand with a handful of upcoming projects, one of which is Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice. It's a sequel to the critically panned Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal--but according to creative director Mat Kraemer, developer Sanzaru is working hard to overcome the failings of the first game. We were able to sit down with Kraemer and talk about how the studio is building upon the successes of Shattered Crystal, but also acknowledging what went wrong. We also discussed virtual reality, Sanzaru's older games like Sly Cooper, and the existence of a Sonic Bible.
GameSpot: Could you speak a little about what you changed from the first Sonic Boom?
Matt Kraemer: One of the biggest changes is the level design. It's a lot more streamlined, it's a lot more made for speed. A lot of the stages that you see here are built for combo-ing. You can literally combo stages from the start all the way to the end. It was something that we didn't have in the first game, it was more maze-like where you had progression where you would get to a dead-end and then you would have to go back and go at a different pace.
And there's no progression blockers in the game. In the original game, you would play a stage, and then you couldn't move forward because you had to collect these badges. We removed those gates so you can freely move forward at your will.
What were some other main points of feedback you got from the last game that you really took to heart?
The backtracking people really didn't like; and just generally the sense of speed, the sense of combo-ing. The last game--I would [compare] it more to a Sonic game that has more of a maze-style layout. Like a labyrinth, you get to a dead-end and then you turn back. [in Fire and Ice], the path from A to B is a lot more straightforward.
You worked on some pretty different stuff before taking on Sonic Boom. Did any of the team members working on Sonic Boom come from those projects?
Yeah, I was the lead designer on Sly Cooper, I'm the one that pitched the original game... Most of the core Sly Cooper team was on this. Not that many because on Sly we had 80+ people and on this we're much smaller. But the core group was on this.
And Sly's a fairly different game than this.
It's different, but it's also pretty similar. In Sly we had a number of different characters, all with different abilities, all with different mechanics. Here, we have a bunch of different characters, all with different abilities. But they're in a more simple format, whereas in Sly you had very complex characters.
At the studio, we have three core groups. Those three groups are making three different games at the same time, but this group—the Sly Cooper and Sonic group—have been together now probably going on eight years.Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
What was it like working on a series as storied and popular as Sonic?
It's been fantastic... To get the opportunity to work on Sonic, I mean, we grew up with Sonic, and it's really an honor.
The first game kind of fell onto our lap. We're not going to pass it up, it's Sonic. I don't care what time frame or situation we have, it's Sonic, we have to do it. But I wish we had a lot more time to give that game the love that it needed. But I feel that we did that here with this [new game], and the team is really proud of it.
So this is making good on a lot of the stuff you wanted to do with the last one?
Yeah, and that's something we always do, especially me. I read every single comment--I go on all the forums, I go on NeoGAF… but you have to take things with a grain of salt, especially with Sonic. Everyone's going to hate on Sonic and have something to say, but you look at those comments constructively. I take all the information and granularly break it down, and [say], "People really didn't like that feature, or they really wanted this," and those are the things you focus on.
Most times when you finish a game, you don't have much time when the game is completely together to keep playing it and [think about what needs to be improved]. With this game, we had that extra time, and we did a lot of play tests… and we could see people literally play the game as a whole and see where people got stuck and rectify those.
You mentioned that you wanted to make this accessible to everyone. Were there instances that you ran into where you were developing something and you had to tone it back?
Oh yeah. The original races when you're racing against bots were way too hard. We toned those back a lot and did a lot of rubber-banding.
And the boss fights--some of those we had to tone back. And it's surprising when you go into those playlists because you always try to get a really wide [demographic]. And you know who's the better players? The younger kids. And the old dudes over there are saying, "Man, this is too hard for me!"
I think that a lot of the really difficult things are best left as optional. You don't have to do them, but for the players that like the challenge, that's there for them.
I think making it easier is better.
Are there some other ways you're tying this into the classic games, as well as the animated series?
A lot of the motion, a lot of the combo-ing, the designs of the enemies, the characters—some of those were directly designed by Sega Japan. We went back and forth on character sketches and what they look like. I would go through my Sonic Bible and say, "Oh this guy is like a rhino…" and then we'd go back and forth.
Do you actually have a Sonic Bible?
We do have a Sonic Bible. There is a Sonic Bible. And it's very helpful, because you want it to be close to the animated series, but you want it to be recognizable to those fans [of classic games] as well.
Have you guys been working with VR?
A little bit, yeah…
The boundary of ease of use, now with VR, that's even worse. We have to dumb it down even more. In 10 years that won't be a problem.
What do you think of it so far?
I love it. We've been doing a bunch of stuff with [Oculus head of studios] Jason Rubin, and everyone's of course like "Oh, Sly Cooper and Jak, are you guys doing that in VR?" But like, that's been really fun to work with that group on that stuff.
We got a bunch of cool stuff cooking.
Who knows, Sonic in VR one day?
What are some little things about Fire and Ice that people might not recognize immediately, but would appreciate?
Definitely the attention to the props, the textures, character motion, character animations, poses at the end of the scenes, how [Sonic] stands, how their eyelids are, where their faces are positioned, all those things are little details that we work on to make it feel like Sonic. You want him to be in the right pose, you want him to act a certain way.
And if you change anything, you'll have a lot of angry people.
Working with franchises like Sonic and Sly Cooper, it's difficult because you want to change it, but you don't want to change it too much. And then you have to pick the things you want to change. With properties like this, you really look at it, like "What makes this property so popular? Here are the things. Okay, we can't change those." And picking that right balance… and sometimes you change too much, and sometimes you don't change enough.
And it's about listening to people. When I go to E3 and someone's playing the game for the first time, I'm looking at how they're holding the controller, I'm looking at their face, I'm looking at why they got stuck there.
And that's something I think our studio does very well. We always try to make something that's for everybody. We're gamers, we're not making games to get a paycheck, we're making games to make fun games that we would want to play. Really identifying and listening to the community is something we take to heart.
Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal wasn't a good game for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common knocks against it was that it just didn't feel like a Sonic game. Its follow-up, Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice, has taken this criticism to heart. Gone are most of the barriers preventing your progress; you'll run into dead-ends much less frequently, too.
In Fire and Ice, moment-to-moment gameplay emphasizes speed and flow. You can chain actions together into level-long combos, and levels are built to get you from point A to point B as fast as possible. There are secrets along the way, of course, but I had a hard time ever pulling myself away from the entrancing flow of moving through the levels. That flow is Sonic at its best, after all. And parts of Fire and Ice feel like the Sonic games of old.
This is the core of Fire and Ice's gameplay: running, jumping, dashing into enemies, and getting through the level as fast as possible. And these parts of the game feel as good as they've been in a long time; these moments are exhilarating, exciting, and fun. In my hands-on time with Fire and Ice, I fell into familiar gameplay grooves created from long hours with old Sonic games, and I was impressed with how natural it felt to control Sonic through the levels.
I was also surprised to find myself enjoying the fire and ice mechanic. Using the shoulder buttons, you can flip your character between fire and ice modes. Fire allows you to fall or run through giant ice blocks, while ice freezes those blocks and lets you skate across them. It's a simple way to add some complexity to traversal, but when you're running at high speeds, it's satisfying when you can time those switches perfectly and continue your combo.
But there's a lot built on top of the fun, fast 2D platforming that feels out of place. During my demo, I saw a level in which you take control of Tails' submarine, the Sea Fox. It was short and simplistic, and it stood out in sharp contrast to the rest of the game.
Then there are the levels where the camera shifts behind Sonic and the game becomes a runner. It's Temple Run in a less exciting form, tasking you with dodging obstacles and either melting or freezing ice with your abilities. It doesn't even have the relatively interesting randomness of a game like Temple Run: these levels are set, and you just have to endure them to move on.
Developer Sanzaru wants to build this game for any type of player, from kid to adult, and this philosophy underlies the decision to include these incongruous minigames. But I couldn't help but wish that they weren't included at all. I didn't feel that they provided much in the way of gameplay diversity, because they seemed so superficial. The difference between these modes and the rest of the game is particularly dramatic considering that Sanzaru has, in fact, improved a lot upon the core gameplay.
I was impressed by the boss fight that I played, however. Although the minigames feel like afterthoughts, the bosses feel much more meaningful. In my fight, the boss towered across both screens of the 3DS, looking menacing and dangerous. What struck me, though, was that the boss and the way to beat it both evoked boss fights from Mega Man (or, more recently, Shovel Knight). Indeed, creative director Mat Kraemer confirmed to me that he drew inspiration from Mega Man games when making the bosses. This fight was also the only time during my demo when I still had fun even though Sonic wasn't running. It was encouraging, and hopefully the other boss fights in the game can make good on this.
I came out of my demo with reason to feel hopeful about the future of Sonic. It felt good to run through the levels of Sonic Boom: Fire and Ice, and I had a blast navigating worlds that are more streamlined and more classically Sonic than those in Shattered Crystal. But Fire and Ice also needs to prove why the other parts of the game are necessary. Beyond a well-designed boss battle, the additional modes I played felt unnecessary and shallow.
And yet, when everything is going right, it still feels great to string together a super-fast combination of attacks, jumps, and running into a level-long sequence. That challenge is the cornerstone of Sonic games, and at its best, Fire and Ice seems like it might be able to pull it off.
Don't expect to learn the name of Star Wars Episode VIII anytime soon, it seems. Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in Episode VII and will reprise the role in the next film, said in a recent interview that it's going to be "a while" before Lucasfilm publicly discloses the name of the 2017 movie.
She appeared on a recent episode of the My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast and said she's heard a title for the movie, but acknowledged that it might not be final.
"I heard a title, and I'm not sure if it's going to be that," Ridley said, according to Entertainment Weekly. "I really don't know much about anything."
Asked for more details, she explained, "I have heard it, but I heard it a long time ago before we started filming. So I feel like some things have tweaked slightly during [production], but it's going to be a while before it's released, I'd imagine."
As EW points out, Lucasfilm did not give The Force Awakens its official title until November 2014, which was 13 months before the film eventually came out in December 2015. The Rian Johnson-directed Episode VIII, whatever it ends up being called, is scheduled to come to theaters on December 15, 2017. Whether or not that 13-month announcement-to-release period stays true for Episode VIII remains to be seen.
Disney and Lucasfilm have a new Star Wars film, Rogue One, to promote this year, so we'd expect most or all of the focus to be on that film and not the one coming a year later. Rogue One, which is directed by Godzilla's Gareth Edwards, comes to theaters in December this year. It is the franchise's first spinoff movie and stars Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, and Ben Mendelsohn. Darth Vader will be in it.
You can listen to the full My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast here. It gets its name from creator Jamie Morton, who discovered a dirty book his dad wrote--and decided to read it to everyone, one chapter at a time.
The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red has released financial data for the first half of the year.
Thanks to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the company is riding high for the period of January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2016. The Polish studio pulled in 319 million Zloty, which comes out to $82.7 million. The company recorded a profit of 135 million Zloty, which is $35 million. These numbers are down substantially from the same period last year, when CD Projekt Red made 512.7 million Zloty ($133 million) in revenue and a 236.3 million Zloty ($61.2 million) profit, though this period obviously benefited from the massive release of The Witcher 3.
Results were bolstered by continued sales of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its DLC. Sale of the game itself were "high," but CD Projekt Red did not share a specific figure. Additionally, the game's Blood and Wine expansion came out in the last six months. The Witcher 3 and Blood and Wine "generated most of our sales during this period," CD Projekt Red said, without provided any specific sales numbers.
The Witcher 3's first expansion, Hearts of Stone, came out in October 2015. It is now counted in this first-half report, as this only covers January 1 to June 30, 2016.
CD Projekt Red's GOG division also had a strong first-half, making 69 million Zloty ($17.9) in revenue. This represented a new record, thanks in part to the launch of Blood and Wine and "good sales of the back catalog."
Here is a chart that clearly shows how much CD Projekt Red benefits when it launches a new Witcher game:
One of CD Projekt Red's next games is Gwent: The Witcher Card game. A beta launches in October, while the full release is scheduled for later this year. The game is free, though, like other games of its type, you can spend real money on microtransactions.
On the more immediate horizon is The Witcher 3's Game of the Year/Complete Edition, which lands on August 30. It comes with the base game and all previously released DLC. CD Projekt Red is also working on Cyberpunk 2077, but don't expect this game soon; it's coming out in the 2017-2021 window. Interestingly, another "AAA RPG" is coming out in this window, but it hasn't been announced.
The Witcher 3: Wild was the last game in the series to feature Geralt in the lead role. While The Witcher 4 may not be coming very soon, CD Projekt Red's Marcin Iwinski said in a previous interview that the world of The Witcher is ripe with storytelling opportunities.
"We definitely are not annualizing a franchise or anything--it's about the experience," he said about The Witcher. "The world of The Witcher is gigantic and it's great to tell these stories, but I don't know when [The Witcher 4] will happen."
There appears to be a clear business opportunity for another Witcher game, as The Witcher 3 itself has reportedly sold more than 10 million copies. The entire franchise has moved 20 million units.
For lots more on CD Projekt Red's business results, check out the documents linked below.
Suicide Squad is no longer the No. 1 movie at the US box office.
The latest weekend numbers are in and the DC Comics movie, after three weekends on top of the charts, has fallen to No. 2. Deadline reports that Suicide Squad made $12.1 million in its fourth weekend that wrapped up today, August 28. It was beaten by Don't Breathe, which pulled in $26.1 million for its opening this weekend.
Suicide Squad was the fifth movie this year to stay at No. 1 for three straight weekends, following Deadpool, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory.
The R-rated horror movie Don't Breathe, from Sony's ScreenGems, had an incredible Saturday, according to Deadline, as box office receipts only fell 1 percent from Friday. As Deadline points out, other recent horror movies Lights Out and The Conjuring 2 had box office drops of 22 percent and 15 percent respectively from their first Friday to Saturday.
Sony marketing chief Josh Greenstein said in a statement that the company's huge digital marketing campaign paid off.
"This is the strongest digital campaign we've had to date at Sony where we used the power of social media to sell and reflect the experience that director Fede Alvarez created in the movie," Greenstein said. "He's a master filmmaker and to have a B+ CinemaScore and 87% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score is incredibly rare for a horror movie."
Go to Deadline for a full breakdown of this weekend's US box office performance.
Lawmakers in California would like to see the existing ban on texting while driving to include playing Pokemon Go, among other things that could distract motor vehicle operators.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the state Assembly this week sent a new bill proposal to governor Jerry Brown outlining the measures. Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) said it's time to expand the texting-ban law to get with the times.
The bill would ban using a handheld device in any way that distracts the driver. It's an "important step in reducing distracted-driving accidents, injuries, and deaths," Quirk said.
It does more, too:
"The bill also plugs a loophole that has made it difficult for law enforcement to enforce existing laws. In 2014, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the existing ban only prohibits a driver from holding a wireless telephone while talking on it, Quirk said," according The Times.
Earlier this week, multiple fatalities were reported in Japan related to Pokemon Go, including one where a woman in her 20s was reportedly struck on her bicycle by a person playing the popular game.
Through in-game messaging, Pokemon Go itself warns players to be aware of their surroundings while playing the game. Pokemon Go encourages players to go out into the real world in search of Pokemon to catch, but playing behind the wheel is obviously a bad idea. A recent update introduced a prompt stressing that you should not play while driving a car.
Recently, two people walked off an oceanside cliff in California in search of Pokemon, while someone crashed their car into a tree after reportedly admitting to playing the game behind the wheel. Also, a man hit a parked police car because he was reportedly distracted by the game.