The Internet Is Having A Hard Time With The Sonic The Hedgehog Trailer

Screenshot: Sonic The Hedgehog (Paramount Pictures)

The Sonic The Hedgehog movie is a blight upon this weary earth.

I do my best to say positive. On some days, it works. On other days, the horrific trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog comes out. Lord, please help me.

There’s a lot going on. Jim Carrey is devouring the scenery, having what looks like a really good time. Ben Schwartz’s voice is coming out of Sonic’s mouth, which is disorienting. Cyclops is there, and he’s a cop now, and as an X-Men fan, that scans.The trailer contains so many other perception-shaking things in addition to these. Something that’s hit a lot of people really hard is Sonic’s human teeth.

While people on Tumblr are no less perplexed by the movie, they’re also kinda into Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik. Once again, I salute the people of Tumblr for being as horny as possible at all times.

I for one welcome death. Let me be lowered into Sonic’s hungry, gaping maw. He’s got teeth now. For gnashing.


Valve’s Index is the next generation of high-end virtual reality

Valve’s next-generation virtual reality unit, known as Index, is an impressive plaything with a fistful of design advances beyond the old Vive. It’s also expensive, and lacking — for now — any particular reason for purchase in the way of compelling new games.

Last week, at Valve’s offices in Seattle, I got a chance to play with Index (which is expected to ship sometime in June). I liked it a lot. It’s stylish and smart, and it solves a bunch of early VR-related problems. But before we get into the specifics of the hardware, let’s get one thing out of the way. Let’s talk about games.

Valve is known to be working on three big VR games, which we all assume will include one or more Big Valve Franchises. As of right now, Valve refuses to speak of these games. Not even in an elliptical “what if …” speaking-strictly-off-the-record kind of way. (I know, because I tried.)

So if you’re hoping for news about a VR Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, Left 4 Dead, or Dota, you’re out of luck. All that the well-rehearsed Valve spokespeople will say is that a big VR franchise is coming this year. Which means almost exactly nothing.

But if we’re still in the dark about software, the hardware picture is encouraging, starting with the controllers. One of Index’s main attractions is a new input system called Knuckles. These are a pair of controllers that attach to the hand (not the wrist) via an adjustable strap.

a hirsute man using Valve’s Index virtual reality headset Valve

Index - left hand holding a Knuckles controller
A Knuckles controller for Index.

Once I attach my Knuckles, they feel more like a pair of gloves that hang from my wrist than a handheld controller. If I shake my hands in the air, or try to raise the roof, the Knuckles stay resolutely attached to me. They feel great.

My first demo at Valve teaches me about how Knuckles simulates individual finger inputs. It’s a Portal-like series of tests in which I variously shake hands with a robot, high-five, make the peace sign, point, waggle my digits, and shake my pinkie.

It takes me a few moments to figure out the inputs, but it’s soon apparent that I’m able to make use of my VR hands pretty much the same way as I use my real hands. There’s a slight lag in movement and input, but this is a way more intuitive system than I’ve ever played in VR before.

Index’s Knuckles controllers make use of 87 sensors, each, so that the complexities of hand movement are translated into the virtual world. It’s an impressive piece of user interface design that feels akin to magic.

Index - Portal demo
A Portal-themed demo for Index.

Inside a Portal-themed demo, I’m impressed by Index’s visual fidelity. The world looks sharper than I’m accustomed to seeing in older VR units. In particular, text is crisp and clear, certainly when in the center of my vision, though it blurs at the periphery. Index’s screen resolution is 1440×1600 per eye, up from Vive’s 1080×1200 per eye. But I’m told by Index’s designers that this is only part of the picture.

Their task is to marry the display with optics and tracking. If one gets too far ahead of the others, its advantages are moot. For example, great optics will still be blurred by poor visual persistence: Sharp visuals must be designed to account for quick head movement. Fidelity is not a matter of raw power, but of careful balance.

According to Valve, the new headset offers a “typical user experience” field of view that’s 20 degrees larger than Vive. This is aided by a custom dual-element system in which the user can move the lenses themselves.

For me, this means moving the lens right up to my spectacles. The effect is that I feel way more comfortable playing with my glasses on than I’ve ever felt with previous VR units. It’s a much more intuitive, rewarding design than the Vive’s setup of sliding the entire headset forward and backward. Plus, there’s no outside-the-headset light leakage to impede my virtual world.

Index’s standard frame rate is 120 Hz, up from the Vive’s 90 Hz. Index also offers an experimental 144 Hz mode, which I tried while playing a demo of No Man’s Sky. I’d played this on Vive a few weeks before, during an invigorating demo at GDC. Although it’s difficult to make comparisons based entirely on memory, I feel that Index offered a significantly sharper experience. Even after throwing a spaceship around for 15 minutes, I felt none of the queasiness that I’ve come to expect from even the slickest VR games. And I saw far less blur than I’ve seen before.

Index headset, two Base Stations 2.0, two Knuckles controllers
Index, with all the trimmings: two Knuckles controller and two Base Stations 2.0.

Index makes use of Base Stations 2.0 for field tracking. Valve says that these are “longer-range” and with a wider field of vision than the originals. My various demos (in the idealized setting of Valve HQ) offered no problems whatsoever. But still, it’s a departure from rival Oculus’ use of headset sensors for the Rift S, which free the user from cables.

When I asked Valve about this stark diversion in design, I was told that the company does not believe that head-mounted displays with built-in sensors are “there yet.”

Index also allows for hardware modifications. A front-mounted space on the headset’s brow, just behind the visor, would allow designers to come up with who-knows-what kind of peripherals, which plays into Valve’s ideals of an open-sourced world. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out as developers get their hands on the unit. Valve is calling this slot the “frunk.”

Index is designed, in all its particulars, to be backward-compatible with Vive. If you want to use “classic” controls with Knuckles, you can. If you want to play first-generation VR games with Index, that’s fine.

You can also purchase just the bits you need. Although the whole kit and caboodle comes in at $999, the headset alone is $599. The head-mounted display plus the Knuckles controllers cost $749. The Knuckles alone are $279. Valve is taking pre-orders starting May 1, with a launch slated for mid-June.

During Valve’s demonstration, a spokesperson said that Index is the sort of thing that is likely to appeal to a virtual reality enthusiast who (a) must have the latest thing and (b) enjoys sufficient disposable income to satisfy that desire. It’s an interesting contrast with Facebook’s strategy for Rift, which is pushing hard for the price tipping point when VR suddenly becomes a mass-market thing, like smartphones did a decade ago.

The fact is that Index requires a powerful PC. It’s expensive. Its software base is currently unknown. If you’re in the market for a top-end VR deck and you’re willing to pay upward of a thousand dollars, Index looks like a good option. But for most people, this may feel like a technological marvel, rather than a fully fledged member of consumer electronics’ mainstream elite.


New Black Ops Pass content for Black Ops 4 available now on PS4

The latest set of Black Ops Pass content for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is available now on PlayStation 4 with the launch of the next Operation for the game called Operation Spectre Rising. The content is live now on PS4 Store here.

Operation Spectre Rising includes three new MP maps for Black Ops Pass owners, alongside the final Blackout character:

  • New Multiplayer Map, Masquerade – A medium-sized map set amidst an embassy under siege. Masquerade is structured for mid-range combat as players must weave through markets and city alleyways to get to the fortified embassy courtyard.
    New Multiplayer Map, Artifact – A larger-sized map set in a remote landscape where treasure hunters have located and unearthed an ancient artifact. The map is filled with a variety of rock formations from thermal geysers to ice caverns. Combat is fierce with engagement ranging across environmental hazards on a vertical map.
    New Multiplayer Map, WMD – Remastered from the original Call of Duty: Black Ops, WMD is a medium-sized map set in an active weapons manufacturing facility. Combat takes place in a combination of interior and exterior engagements at different ranges that supports all types of weapon types and playstyles.
    New Blackout Character, Uncle Frank – Black Ops Pass owners get instant access to Uncle Frank, also known as the older version of Frank Woods. This iconic, fan-favorite character originally from Call of Duty: Black Ops II makes his debut in Blackout.

New content is available in Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 with the Black Ops Pass! Black Ops Pass owners get instant access to three exciting Multiplayer maps in Operation Spectre Rising. Fight amid the chaos of an assassination attempt in ‘Masquerade’, and explore the natural wonder of ‘Artifact’. Plus, revisit a remastered classic Black Ops map, ‘WMD’! Finally, drop into Blackout with a new exclusive character.

The new Black Ops Pass content will be available starting May 7 on Xbox One and PC, alongside the launch of the new Operation for those platforms.

With this content launch, the Black Ops Pass has thus far released a total of 7 of the 12 multiplayer maps, 4 out of the 4 Blackout characters, and 2 of 4 Zombies Experiences.

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Borderlands 3 Gameplay Reveal Stream: Start Time And Watch It Here

Gearbox is soon giving fans another look at its upcoming loot shooter, Borderlands 3. The developer is livestreaming a “worldwide gameplay reveal” tomorrow, May 1, starting at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET, which will showcase “the first hands-on gameplay of Borderlands 3.”

Gearbox hasn’t shared many details about what the stream will entail, only that fans will be able to potentially earn some in-game loot by watching Twitch streamers play the game via a new Echocast extension. The stream will be broadcast on the Borderlands website and Twitch channel. You’ll also be able to tune in right here on GameSpot and watch the stream above.

Borderlands 3 Gameplay Reveal Stream Start Times

  • 10 AM PT
  • 1 PM ET
  • 6 PM BST

Borderlands 3 had long been rumored, but Gearbox officially announced the title last month in a rather…memorable livestream presentation during PAX East 2019. A few days later, the developer shared another trailer for the game. This one introduced its cast–including its four new playable Vault Hunters–and confirmed its released date: September 13, 2019.

The latest Borderlands 3 trailer also gave us our first look at the game’s antagonists, the Calypso twins, and confirmed a handful of returning characters. You can read more about the upcoming game in our roundup of what we know about Borderlands 3.

Borderlands 3 is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC. However, players hoping to pick it up on the latter will need to do so from the Epic Games Store, as the game will be exclusive to Epic’s storefront until April 2020. That move certainly wasn’t met without controversy, however, and users began review bombing previous Borderlands games on Steam in response.


Fallout 76’s New Camera Quest Helped Me Fall In Love With The Game’s Broken Beauty

The Harper’s Ferry Armory.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

Fallout 76’s world is lonely. Despite being a multiplayer game, it hosts just a couple dozen people around a sprawling map in any session you play. Other Fallout games might have a lot of computer-controlled civilians to chat with. Not this one. All of the non-player characters died long ago, or mutated beyond recognition. This limits the game’s drama, but the more I play Fallout 76 the more I’ve come to appreciate what it gains from being so empty.

I had this epiphany thanks to the game’s newest quest, Bucket List, which adds a new playable object to the game: a film-based camera. This is distinct from the game’s photo mode, which requires players to open a seperate menu and temporarily disables their character. The new camera, a ProSnap Deluxe, lets you capture moments with the ease of zooming down the sights on a gun, one of the most natural instincts in any shooter. Ever since getting the camera I’ve been eagerly snapping pics.

The New River Gorge Bridge.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)

To begin the quest you first have to find the corpse of a tourist, one which wasn’t in the game prior to last week’s update but now randomly spawns at any number of locations across the world. I found mine after climbing up through the Landview Lighthouse. Looting a skeleton draped across the wrought iron railing at the top I learned it belonged to Anne Litzinger, a college student who moved from San Francisco to go to school in West Virginia and didn’t like it at first. “I thought this place was antiquated, filled with ignorant hillbillies. I hated it,” she says in a holotape. “Eventually, I guess I got over myself. It turns out, people are people. Brains aren’t regional and our birthplace doesn’t define us. I decided that once I graduated, I’d really explore West Virginia.”

Even though Fallout 76’s world doesn’t have living non-player characters, their ghosts continue to haunt the world, imbuing it with low key melancholy that makes it feel like one of the most relatable in the series. As Litzinger tried to mine through Appalachia’s cultural and architectural heritage the bombs fell. Her sightseeing list became a bucket list instead, knowing the radiation would kill her before she could finish it. She asks that whoever finds her body does so for her.

It’s not enough to loot Anne’s corpse and start taking pictures of the locations that remain on her list. You first have to repair her broken camera and make some film for it. I was missing some of the aluminum and crystal necessary to do so first before going back to my camp I made a detour into the Morgantown high school. The cafeteria pantry is full of cans and the classroom has microscopes, both of which could be broken down into the ingredients I needed. I couldn’tt help but think about the students told to duck and cover under their desks when the alarms went off as I walk the hallway of broken lockers.

One of the places on Anne’s list is the Red Rocket Mega Stop, a 1950s-style gas station and diner for vacationers coming in off the highway. Another is the Pumpkin house, an old Victorian home surrounded by jack ‘o lanterns where a robot programmed to harvest the orange gourds continues to do so in perpetuity. It’s inspired by a real world location in West Virginia where people carve and display thousands of pumpkins every year.

The Pumkin house
Screenshot: Kotaku (Fallout 76)

At the end of the quest the Fallout 76 gods dump a random legendary weapon and an assortment of other lesser loot directly into your inventory for your trouble, since neither Anne nor anyone else is alive to give it to you.

Fallout 76’s landscape is dotted with so many strange, decaying monuments to space age Americana that I can’t help but marvel at them, especially when one unexpectedly catches my eye as it peeks out over a tree line or from around the side of a mountain range. But some part of me also feels compelled to take pictures to document the beautiful parts of a disappointing game so many people will never get to see. It’s a sentiment that’s also subtly reflected in the Bucket List.

Games fit into the various nooks and crannies of our lives in all different ways, and where Fallout 76 failed as an ambitious new type of story-driven multiplayer sandbox, it’s performed admirably as a destination for virtual camping trips and strange archeological hikes. I’ve come to fall in love with the sounds and sights of Fallout 76’s post-apocalyptic Appalachia in the dozens of hours I’ve spent combing through it. Players might never be able to rebuild it as Bethesda once suggested, but even as a graveyard for the victims of a nuclear war it’s the one I keep returning to.


Mortal Kombat 11 update makes the game less of a grind

NetherRealm Studios rolled out an update for Mortal Kombat 11 on Monday that addresses the game’s economy and the divisive Towers of Time, two changes that make the fighting game less grindy and more player-friendly.

For players looking for more of Mortal Kombat 11’s various currencies, NetherRealm is now giving them two to three times as much of the post-fight currency rewards (Koins, Soul Fragments, Hearts) than before. In the Towers of Time, for example, battles I played earned me somewhere between 1,100 and 1,500 Koins per match, as well as 10 Soul Fragments and three Hearts per match. That’s a considerable boost in in-game currency.

That increased payout is on top of a new “Community Gift” that NetherRealm rolled out to PlayStation 4 players on Monday (the update and the same gift is promised for Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, and Xbox One players soon). The gift includes 500,000 Koins, 1,000 Souls, 1,000 Time Crystals, and 500 Hearts, all of which should make exploring the Krypt more fruitful.

NetherRealm has received blowback over how it implemented Mortal Kombat 11’s in-game currency rewards and how those currencies were used in the game’s Krypt. Players complained that the time investment required to unlock the game’s hundreds of skins was compounded by the random nature of unlockable cosmetics, augments, and other items found in the Krypt. Similarly, the Towers of Time mode has been criticized for pushing players to use consumable items to overcome extremely difficult (and not-at-all-fun) challenges.

On top of the economy, Towers of Time received a major overhaul, in terms of difficulty, payouts, and how Konsumables work. Here are the relevant patch notes from NetherRealm’s update, as posted to Mortal Kombat subreddit.

Towers of Time Adjustments

• Adjusted AI difficulty curve

• Further opponent health reductions in higher level Towers

• Performing a Fatal Blow while standing in an active modifier will no longer sometimes cause unexpected behavior or a crash

• Ice based modifiers will no longer attempt to freeze players during invalid states

• Adjusted and removed modifiers from many Daily Towers

• Increased Koin Rewards for kompleting Towers and Tower Platforms

• Increased Dragon Challenge Koin rewards

• Increased post fight Koin rewards

• Increased amount of Hearts earned from Fatalities, Brutalities, and Mercies

• Lowered modifier damage for many modifiers

• Adjusted the lifespan of several modifiers

• Dramatically increased cooldowns on Tag Assist modifiers

• Fixed a missing Reduced Damage modifier in The Gauntlet

• Several Gift/Curse Modifiers are now considered projectiles allowing them to interact with moves that effect projectiles as intended

• Adjusted Gauntlet difficulty and progression requirements

• Disabler Konsumables now work with all intended modifiers

• Improved targeting for several Konsumables

• Sektor Hunter Killer Protocol Modifier is now disabled by the Rocket Disabler Konsumable

• Corrected some multipliers on Augments for some characters which were inconsistent with others

• Fixed incorrect Armor interactions with some Modifiers

• Decreased Konsumable cooldowns for players


Operation Spectre Rising for Black Ops 4 live now on PlayStation 4

The new content season for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 starts today on PlayStation 4 with Operation Spectre Rising! The new Operation brings a new Specialist, new modes, and more throughout the course of the Operation over the next few months.

“The community has anticipated Spectre’s return for a long time, and that’s inspired us to build Operation Spectre Rising all around this shadowy, fan-favorite assassin and the wetworks theme,” said Dan Bunting, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “This new Operation delivers lots of new game modes and fun ways to play Black Ops 4, including some really cool changes to the Blackout map following Spectre’s dramatic introduction – players won’t want to miss this event!”

With the launch of the new patch on PS4, Operation Spectre Rising is now live in Black Ops 4!

Here’s some of the highlights of what’s new”

Checkout the roadmap of what’s to come in this Operation here.

Spectre Rising Trailer:

[embedded content]

Operation Spectre Rising is now live on PlayStation 4 and bring a new batch of content and updates across all modes of play. The Operation will be available on May 7 on Xbox One and PC.

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11 surreal ways the Sonic movie is and isn’t like the games

After all of that hullabaloo over live-action Sonic’s looks (Is Sonic swole now? Does he have hedgehog eyes?), the first full trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog has finally arrived. Once you get over your initial shock (he’s not swole, but he does look like a small man in a blue bodysuit, and he does have two human-ish eyes), you may wonder: how does this all stack up against the actual Sonic games?

Needless to say, there are some significant differences between the two mediums. Below, we’ve compiled a list of key differences and similarities between the live-action Sonic movie and the video games, as well as posing a few questions we’d like answered.

Look at those furry arms!
Look at those furry arms!

Live-action Sonic has blue arms

The Sonic we know and love does not have blue arms. I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but our hero basically wears a sleeveless blue onesie; his arms are … flesh-colored, like the area around his mouth, rather than being covered in blue fur. I know this sounds bad, but for those of you unfamiliar with game Sonic, just trust me when I say it’s better. I mean, live-action Sonic also has human body proportions, human teeth, and two distinct eyes rather than just one big swoopy one.

Check out those red kicks!
Check out those red kicks!

Sonic’s red shoes are still intact

Sonic still has his classic red kicks.

But this is live-action Sonic we’re talking about here, and every answer only leads to five more questions. In this case, those questions are:

  1. Why does he have a whole pile of other old tennis shoes in his cave home?
  2. If he’s just been wearing shoes out because he runs so fast, what’s the expectation for the red ones to survive?
  3. Does he even need to be wearing shoes?
  4. Where is he getting these shoes from?
  5. Is this his Earth look, or his alien planet style (see below)?

Sonic is an alien now

As we all know, Sonic is from Nebraska, and he and his mother and five sisters live peacefully together under a hedge. No, really.

You can take or leave that Sega-approved backstory — maybe he’s just a speedy boy! — but this is the first time that it’s explicitly been posited that Sonic is from an entirely different planet. “It looks like I’m going to have to save your planet,” he says. Your planet. Not his planet. So why is he here? Did he even come here on purpose?

For further evidence of his extraterrestrial status, look no further than the final shot of the trailer, which is of Robotnik (!) in a mushroom-heavy environment one can only presume is Mushroom Hill Zone. Speaking of which …

I am (he is) the Eggman.
I am (he is) the Eggman.

Mushroom Hill Zone exists in the live-action movie

The very last shot of the trailer feels almost Max Max-ian, with a sweaty Robotnik traipsing through a field of gargantuan mushrooms. It’s not looking as lush as it does in the games, but, in fairness, nothing in the live-action trailer that’s been drawn from the games does.

The sequence also definitely isn’t set on Earth given how photorealistic everything else on Earth is, which means we may be treated to a look at Sonic’s home planet.

The updated Robotnik.
The updated Robotnik.

Dr. Robotnik’s classic look is on its way

In case the first image of Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik had you worried that he wouldn’t be sporting the classic Eggman look, the trailer’s got you covered. Though it seems like Robotnik will be rocking a more contemporary villainous look for the bulk of the film, the tried and true Robotnik costume will make an appearance, too.

Notably, nobody refers to Robotnik as Eggman in the trailer — maybe it’s a nickname reserved for his post-Mushroom Hill Zone self?

Sonic on the road.
Sonic on the road.

We don’t know if you know this, but Sonic the Hedgehog was developed for the Sega Genesis

In case you forgot that the original Sonic the Hedgehog game was developed for the Sega Genesis, the trailer includes a handy joke to remind you. “Every hero has a genesis.” I mean, sure.

James Marsden taking a gander at a blue quill.
James Marsden taking a gander at a blue quill.

Sonic’s quills are magic (or just have “gotta go fast” residue)

Both Sheriff Wachowski (James Marsden) and Robotnik encounter Sonic quills, which are either magical or are still just coursing with energy after falling from the fastest animal (alien) on the planet. There’s a sort of blue lightning surrounding them, which actually zaps Robotnik when he tries licking one.

One slightly upsetting aspect of Sonic being “real” is that we have to contend with the idea of him shedding. Like Detective Pikachu, the fact that he’s been rendered into a 3D environment means that he is no longer smooth, and his quills can apparently come off.

The point in Detective Pikachu’s favor is that the filmmakers leaned into how a photorealistic cartoon creature can be kinda gross. Sonic the Hedgehog definitely could have gone a greater distance, à la The Lion King remake.

A blue hedgehog.
Artist’s rendering.

What’s wrong with a blue actual hedgehog? Nothing. Just one woman’s opinion.

Rings around the Paramount logo.
Rings around the Paramount logo.

Gotta catch (er, collect) ’em all

The rings that are ubiquitous throughout the Sonic games as the collectible of choice are back, this time surrounding the Paramount logo. The noise they make when you hit them is audible just as they complete the circle, in a nice nod to the source material.

City escape, via ring.
City escape, via ring.

Rings are also portals

It seems like rings will also be serving a larger purpose in the movie besides being fan service, as Sonic is seen flinging a ring that then turns into a portal, saving James Marsden and Tika Sumpter from falling to their deaths. He’s like a fast Doctor Strange!

Rings have been portals before — they mark the ends of levels, transporting you (well, Sonic) away when you jump through them — but this is the first time they’re really been in action like this.

Sonic, looking surprised.
Look, this is all as much of a shock to me as it is to you, buddy.

Sonic can be stopped

It had never really occurred to me that Sonic could be tranquilized until this very moment. Something about the fact that he goes so fast made me think he’d be impervious to that sort of thing, but I guess not. In the trailer, Marsden shoots Sonic with a tranquilizer dart — and it works! How this changes the debate on alien physiology (or how it makes sense when Sonic later handily dodges a million military-grade missiles), I don’t know.


Patch Update 1.17 for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 now live

Treyarch has released the latest patch update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Patch Version 1.17 is now live on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with PC release to come on May 2. The patch is 11.4GB on PS4 and 12.49GB on Xbox One.

This patch brings the new Operation Spectre Rising content to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PlayStation 4, including new Black Ops Pass MP Maps, new Specialist, new Blackout update, and more. The Operation is live on May 7 on Xbox One and PC.

For all platforms, this update also brings some weapon tuning, League Play updates, and other changes across all modes.


There’s plenty of content scheduled throughout the Operation, with the following coming to Black Ops 4 during launch week on PS4:

  • New Specialist: Spectre
  • Black Ops Pass Multiplayer maps:
  • Masquerade
  • Artifact
  • WMD
  • New Game Mode: Prop Hunt (arriving Friday, May 5th)
  • Tuning changes for SMGs, Specialist, and Scorestreaks.
  • New Map Updates:
  • Wetworks: Hydro Dam has been sabotaged and the map has flooded
  • Alcatraz: Improvements to gameplay flow and layout
  • New Game Mode:
  • Bounty Hunter
  • New Equipment: DART
  • New Gauntlet: “Super Blood Wolf Moon”
  • New Mystery Box Weapon: Tigershark LMG
  • New Feature: Classic Elixir Restock
  • New Customization Items:
  • Death Effects
  • Weapon Charms
  • New Weapons:
  • Tigershark LMG
  • Nifo’Oti Melee Weapon
  • New Mastercrafts, MKIIs & Camos
  • New Specialist Outfits, War Paints, Gestures & Jump Packs

Here’s the full list of what’s new this week in Operation Spectre Rising:

  • Multiplayer
    • Spectre playable in MP and Blackout after unlocking Tier 1 in the Black Market (PS4).
    • 3 Black Ops Pass Multiplayer maps: Masquerade, Artifact, and WMD (PS4).
    • Tuning changes for SMGs, Specialist, and Scorestreaks.
    • Search & Destroy bug fixes.
  • World League Hub
    • Players who leave matches are now temporarily banned for a brief amount of time. The more suspensions a player accrues, the longer their ban will be.
    • Players now lose more points when they leave a League Play match.
  • Blackout
    • “Wetworks” map update now live in Blackout, flooding several areas of the map (PS4).
    • Bounty Hunter mode now live in Blackout (PS4).
    • DART now available to find and equip in Blackout (PS4).
    • Uncle Frank character now playable for Black Ops Pass holders (PS4)
    • Weapon tuning and Mesh Mine updates.
    • Alcatraz map improvements to gameplay flow and layout now live in Blackout.
  • Zombies
    • New “Super Blood Wolf Moon” Gauntlet (PS4).
    • New Tigershark LMG added to Mystery Box (PS4).
    • Classic Elixir Restock feature now places a Classic Elixir into an empty Elixir slot.
    • Improvements to the Winter’s Wail Perk.
    • Halved Camo kill requirements for weapons only obtainable through the Mystery Box.
    • Gameplay improvements for “Dead of the Night” and Mystery Box.
    • Various gameplay and stability improvements.
  • Black Market
    • 50 Tiers with new Contraband items to earn.
    • New Death Effects and Weapon Charm item types added to Contraband.
    • New weapons in the Contraband stream: Tigershark LMG and Nifo’Oti melee weapon.

The following is now live on PS4, with other platforms to follow.

  • Specialists
    • Spectre
      • Unlocked at Tier 1 in the Black Market during Operation Spectre Rising.
      • Specialist Weapon: Shadow Blade.
      • Special Issue Equipment: Smoke.
  • Black Ops Pass Maps
    • Masquerade, Artifact, and WMD added to rotation in Core and Hardcore playlists for Black Ops Pass holders.
  • Wetworks Map Update
    • An explosion at Hydro Dam has flooded the map, affecting several areas in Blackout.
    • Hydro Dam, Factory, Cargo Docks, Hijacked, and the farm near Firing Range have been transformed, allowing for new types of engagements and new avenues for water-based vehicles to turn the tides of battle.
  • Bounty Hunter Mode
    • Drop in and find the beacons of light that indicate new Spectre Stashes, which contain the Shadow Blade and other valuable items, including Level 3 Armor, Smoke, stealth-related Perks, and Trauma Kits.
    • Equipping the Shadow Blade transforms the player into Spectre, giving them unique skills including increased movement speed, the ability to see digital footprints of nearby enemies, and full third-person camera perspective.
    • Spectre can carry both the Shadow Blade and a normal weapon. When the normal weapon is equipped, Spectre will return to first-person view.
    • With each new Collapse, players with the most kills will be marked as Bounty targets that only Spectre can see.
    • Eliminate the target or survive the Bounty attack to be rewarded with a Supply Drop on your position.
    • Unique to Bounty Hunter, players can also perform Humiliations on downed enemies. These are fatal finishing moves to end an opponent in dramatic fashion.
    • Last team standing wins the game.
  • Equipment
    • DART
      • DART now available to find and equip in Blackout.
      • Use for a bird’s-eye view of your opponents and detonate the DART on command or when it hits its target.
  • Black Ops Pass Content
    • Uncle Frank character now playable for Black Ops Pass holders.
  • Gauntlets
    • Super Blood Wolf Moon
      • New Gauntlet now available for “Dead of the Night” featuring 30 unique challenges.
  • Weapons
    • Tigershark LMG added to the Mystery Box.
  • Black Market
    • Weapon Charms are now available in Blackjack’s Reserves and can be equipped on weapons through the Weapon Personalization menu.
    • Death Effects are available in Blackjack’s Reserves and can be equipped on weapons through the Weapon Personalization menu. Death Effects play when shooting an enemy and are only visible during first-person, Best Play, and Killcam.
  • Weapons
    • GKS
      • Increased 5-shot range from 5 meters to 7.5 meters.
    • MX-9
      • Increased 5-shot range from 7 meters to 7.5 meters.
      • Slightly increased 5-shot range damage.
    • Daemon 3XB
      • Created a 5-shot range out to 7.5 meters.
      • Increased 6-shot range from 11.5 meters to 19 meters.
      • Increased 7-shot range from 19 meters to 25 meters.
      • Increased 8-shot range from 25 meters to 32 meters.
    • Switchblade X9
      • Increased 5-shot range from 2.5 meters to 7.5 meters.
      • Increased 6-shot range from 16.5 meters to 19 meters.
      • Increased 7-shot range from 19 meters to 25 meters.
      • Increased 8-shot range from 24 meters to 32 meters.
    • Saug 9mm
      • Stock II: Slightly reduced move speed during ADS.
    • Cordite (consoles only)
      • Increased 5-shot range from 4 meters to 7.5 meters.
      • Increased 6-shot range from 16.5 meters to 19 meters.
      • Increased 7-shot range from 22 meters to 25 meters.
      • Increased 8-shot range from 26.5 meters to 32 meters.
    • Spitfire (consoles only)
      • Increased 6-shot range from 7.5 meters to 8 meters.
    • Miscellaneous
      • Closed an exploit where players could fire faster than intended from sprint by starting a slide, then immediately firing.
  • Specialists
    • Nomad
      • Increased cooldown time for Mesh Mine.
    • Ajax
      • Increased cooldown time for 9-Bang.
    • Torque
      • Increased cooldown time for Razor Wire.
    • Ruin
      • Grav Slam’s kills no longer feed its ability meter to be consistent with other Specialist Weapons.
    • Firebreak
      • Reactor Core kill notifications now take up less screen space.
  • Scorestreaks
    • UAV
      • Duration increased to 30 seconds.
    • Counter-UAV
      • Duration increased to 30 seconds.
    • Drone Squad
      • Damage increased for lead and buddy drones.
      • Minimum and maximum burst fire times increased for lead and buddy drones.
      • Drone clip size increased.
    • Mantis
      • Reduced the amount of time the Mantis can be temporarily disabled.
      • Increased the damage threshold for temporarily disabling the Mantis.
  • Game Modes
    • Search & Destroy
      • Addressed an issue where players would see teammates as enemies if the last player died to a bomb detonation.
      • Addressed an issue where the briefcase bomb could reduce bullet damage.
  • Match Leave Penalties
    • Players will now be banned for a brief amount of time after leaving a League Play match. The more suspensions a player accrues, the longer their ban will be.
    • Players will also now lose more points when they quit League Play matches.
  • Weapons
    • Melee weapons have been restricted.
  • Scorestreaks
    • Attack Chopper
      • Rockets required to destroy the Attack Chopper reduced to 2 including the flare.
    • Gunship
      • Rockets required to destroy the Gunship reduced to 2 including the flare.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Addressed an issue that allowed 6 players in a 5-player party.
    • Addressed an issue in the Event End notification that displayed Top 10 when players finished in the Top 5.
  • Alcatraz
    • Various environmental updates and mantling improvements added to aid player traversal.
    • Lighthouse foghorn sound effect added at the end of each wave spawn delay timer.
    • Addressed an exploitable area in the Alcatraz map.
  • Weapons
    • Mozu
      • Increased close range damage.
      • Increased headshot multiplier.
    • VKM 750
      • Reduced recoil.
      • Additional recoil reduction during the first 4 shots.
    • Hades (Gold)
      • Reduced hits to kill from 6 to 5.
      • Increased maximum damage range.
      • Replaced 4x Scope with 2x Scope.
  • Equipment
    • Mesh Mines
      • Increased visibility of visual FX to make Mesh Mines easier to spot.
  • Personalization
    • Character personalization and selection will now be shared between Blackout lobby and Blackout Custom Games.
  • Classic Elixir Restock
    • Empty Elixir slots will now be filled with a randomly-chosen Classic Elixir during a match.
    • Classic Elixirs will be placed into any empty slots at the start of a match.
    • Team-friendly Elixirs like “Nowhere But There!” have a greater chance of being chosen when playing in co-op matches.
  • Gameplay
    • Dead of the Night
      • Werewolves now spawn less frequently and take more damage when weak points are hit.
      • Adjusted the base health of the Nosferatu and reduced the maximum and minimum number of Nosferatu spawns per round.
      • The Crimson Nosferatu now spawns less frequently, summons reinforcements less frequently, and has lower base health.
      • Removed zombie speed increase that occurs when the Sentinel Key is acquired.
    • Mystery Box
      • Removed some of the Wall Buy weapons from the Mystery Box.
      • Prevented duplicates occurring in consecutive Mystery Box weapon pulls.
      • Reorganized Mystery Box probabilities by weapon tier.
  • Perks
    • Winter’s Wail
      • Now fully recharges with Max Ammo and at every round completion.
      • Will only proc if the player is not at full health in order to reduce the number of times it activates.
      • On Realistic difficulty, Winter’s Wail will still activate on contact since players will rarely survive more than one hit.
      • Players will now gain one charge every 60 seconds.
      • Increased base maximum charges to 3. Modifier charges increased to 4.
  • Camo Requirements
    • Halved Camo kill requirements for weapons only obtainable through the Mystery Box to make them more attainable.
  • Server Pause
    • Addressed an issue where, if a player left a match during a Server Pause, their character model would remain in-game for an extended time.
    • Addressed an issue where players could move during a Server Pause.
    • Addressed an issue where initiating Server Pause could cause players to lose connections to the host.
  • Host Migration
    • Addressed an issue where, if a Host Migration occurred at the beginning of a public match, the wave would unintentionally proceed after the migration ended.
    • Addressed an issue where, if the host used Quacknarok and left, the effect would remain after the Host Migration.
  • After Action Report
    • Addressed an issue where the Rewards section of the Custom Mutations After Action Report would show rewards earned from the previous public or private match.
    • Addressed an issue where incorrect information could display in the After Action Report after a player left after a Host Migration.
  • Visuals
    • Ancient Evil
      • Addressed various visual issues that could occur during natural gameplay, the Main Quest, and the Outro Cutscene.
      • Pack-a-Punch Runes are now correctly aligned for the Wonder Weapon Pack-a-Punch Quest.
      • Addressed an issue where the Pegasus Strike did not appear correctly in third-person when the player was holding the Equipment button.
  • Custom Mutations
    • Global
      • Fixed multiple issues related to the Enhanced Only setting in Custom Mutations.
    • Ancient Evil
      • Addressed an issue where players could be prevented from progressing past the first round in Custom Mutations.
      • Addressed multiple issues related to the Equipment and Regen Speed settings in Custom Mutations.
  • Weapons
    • Saug 9mm
      • Stock II: Slightly reduced move speed during ADS.
  • Stability
    • Ancient Evil
      • Fixed a crash that could occur if players killed a Blightfather during the initiation for a Wonder Weapon.
      • Fixed a crash that could occur after players destroyed the final statue while inside the Charon Charge Attack during the Main Quest.
      • Fixed a crash that could occur after players shoot all Chaos Crystals off of a tree during the Gaia Wonder Weapon Quest.
    • Blood of the Dead
      • Fixed a crash that could occur when firing the Spectral Key and changing targets.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Global
      • Addressed an issue where power-ups and special round Max Ammo could drop outside of the playable area.
      • Addressed an issue where using an Elixir while shooting the Shield’s Pistol could result in the Elixir’s ability not activating.
      • Addressed an issue that prevented Shields from receiving ammo from Max Ammo power-ups.
      • Addressed an issue where, if a player had Mule Kick from the Secret Sauce Perk and lost it, they could not get Mule Kick again unless it was in that same slot.
      • Addressed an issue where Perk descriptions would not update when hovering over Perks equipped to Altars in the Create-a-Class menu.
    • Ancient Evil
      • A prompt now lets the player know they are unable to pick up a Dormant Hand when already holding a Wonder Weapon.
      • Players can no longer accidentally cancel the Pegasus Strike when repeatedly pressing the Equipment button.
      • When fast-travelling with Bots, the Bots will no longer disrupt player movement.
      • Addressed various issues relating to voiceover being interrupted and incorrect subtitles being played.
      • Addressed an issue where, if a player died and entered spectate with a Tribute reward available, their progress could be reset upon returning.
      • Addressed an issue where, if a player used the charge attack with the Hand of Ouranos or Hand of Hemera, the channeling animation would play but nothing would happen.
      • Addressed an issue where a player could be in the Shadow’s Bank and get stuck by receiving help from other players.
    • Classified
      • Addressed an issue where zombies could get stuck pathing in Groom Lake.
  • Weapons
    • Bullets that travel underwater will now inflict reduced damage.
    • Fixed an exploit where players could fire faster than intended from sprint by starting a slide, then immediately firing.
    • Selecting a weapon that has a Signature Weapon available will now display both the base and Signature Weapon to choose from.
  • Black Market
    • Gestures and Tags are no longer character-specific, and the UI has been updated to start with the Slot assignment.
    • Gestures, Tags and Jump Packs in Blackout can be now be accessed from the Extras menu in the Lobby.
  • Personalization
    • Gestures and Tags can be played in the Lobby in Multiplayer, World League Hub, and Blackout.
    • Outfit personalization can now be accessed from the Specialist button in the lobby in Multiplayer and World League Hub.
    • Outfit personalization will now be shared between Multiplayer and World League Hub in Custom Games in each mode.
  • UI
    • “Clear All Markers” has been moved to the right stick button on consoles.
    • Player Prestige Master level number is now Gold.
    • Tier Reward animations are faster in the After Action Report.

SOURCE: Treyarch

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Team Sonic Racing And Crash Team Racing Signal A New Age Of Kart Racers, But Can They Keep Up With Mario Kart?

Kart racing games are back, baby. By the time Team Sonic Racing launches on May 21, it will have been almost seven years since the last game in the series, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, graced our consoles. In that time, only one kart racing franchise of note has stuck around: Mario Kart.

Compare that with the glory days of the early 2000s and you can see the contrast: Looney Toons Racing, Toy Story Racer, Digimon Racing… I could go on, but you get the point. Around this time, every major franchise had a kart racing spinoff, and while these attempts persisted half-heartedly into the early 2010s–ModNation Racers and LittleBigPlanet Karting, we hardly knew ye–the genre has all but died off save for Nintendo’s frontrunner, which continues to dominate. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling game on Nintendo Switch with nearly 17 million copies shifted. Mario Kart 8 was also the best-selling game on Wii U with 8.5 million units sold.

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That’s all well and good, but it’s a five-year-old game, and there’s only so many times I can go round Mario Kart Stadium (and only so many times I can bear getting hit by a blue shell). I need some new challengers.

Luckily, Sumo Digital and Beenox are entering the fray with their own respective kart racers: Team Sonic Racing and Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. They’re each their own experiences, of course, but it’s encouraging seeing more developers and publishers greenlight these kinds of projects. As Mario Kart’s success shows, there’s a huge audience for kart racing games out there.

Derek Littlewood, studio design director at Sumo, agrees. “I don’t think the market for great karting games has ever gone away,” he tells me. “I think part of the success we had with a game like [Sonic & All Stars Racing] Transformed was … because it was a cracking game, but it was also because those people were there, and they wanted that game. And they didn’t have Nintendo systems and they weren’t playing Mario Kart. [Transformed] did really well on Nintendo systems as well, which just says even those people who are playing Mario Kart are still saying, ‘I want more of this.'”

Still, it’s strange–though pleasing–to see two big names in the genre returning so close to one another: Crash Team Racing’s remaster will launch just exactly a month after Sonic’s new car-focused adventure. That’s before you get to Mario Kart Tour, Nintendo’s first mobile kart racer, which is also scheduled to launch this summer.

Of course, each game offers different flavours, and Team Sonic Racing’s distinguishing features offer a surprising amount of depth. The game is centered around team play–even if you play alone, you’re put into a team with two other Sonic heroes. Each team member contributes to a shared ultimate meter, which when filled can be activated to accelerate your team and sharpen up their handling. You fill the ult meter by performing team-oriented actions, such as helping them up when they spin out–passing close to them will get them back in the race more quickly–or slipstreaming behind teammates to gain a small boost.

This focus, Sumo says, was decided by Sonic Team head Takashi IIzuka, who wanted a game he could play with his kids where they could all contribute to a shared success. Littlewood, however, says Team Sonic Racing isn’t just family-friendly fodder: “I think the unique thing that the team play allows us to do is make the game more accessible for less skilled players, because you can play with someone who is better than you at the game, and they can help you be better at it, rather than you always competing with each other. But at the same time, we’ve added a lot of depth to the different team actions and team play in general that allow high-level players to get more out of it.”

Sumo clearly believes this is enough to set Team Sonic Racing apart from its competition. The inclusion of such iconic characters also helps, of course, but there’s no doubting TSR’s team play and kart customization, which allows you to tweak the stats of each character to make them quicker or easier to handle, for example, provide a decent amount of depth. The different classes–speed, technique, power–and their respective strengths of speed, handling, and offroading, do the same.

Tracks are a joy to race around, too, with some beautifully diverse styles and different optimal routes depending on which class you opt for. Sonic, for example, is best staying on smoother roads and racing in straight lines wherever possible. Tails, as a technique character, can slalom around obstacles, but Knuckles is best equipped to power straight through them.

However, at the preview stage at least, Sonic Team Racing lacks the shine of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Power-ups don’t feel quite as fun to play with, and handling is currently less satisfying thanks to a somewhat loose-feeling drift. There is a story mode–which is the justification for excluding non-Sonic characters after Transformed–but is a text-based narrative much of an attraction for players, or would they rather skip it and get back to the racing?

I’m skeptical the game can unseat Mario Kart as the reigning champion of the kart racing genre, but perhaps overtaking Nintendo isn’t the point. “For people who are fans of that kind of game, they each offer something different,” says Littlewood. “The moment-to-moment gameplay of our game is different enough from Crash or Mario Kart that we don’t really think about it in terms of competition. In my mind they have completely different pace and feel. We’re happy there’s more for fans to play.”