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Wii games are still being made in 2019 because people are using it

Ubisoft announced the latest Just Dance title, Just Dance 2020, at E3 2019. The trailer and announcement were good fun, with all the celebration you’d expect from the series, but the most striking thing might have been the Wii logo included with the rest of the platforms. Why would Ubisoft bring such a popular game to a system that is all but dead?

Users on Reddit and Twitter quickly latched onto the idea that Ubisoft was bringing Just Dance 2020 to the Wii so that senior citizens and hospital patients in rehabilitation could play it. d

This post on Reddit was upvoted over 4,300 times:

Then there was this twitter post, which also went viral:

Neither explanations are correct, however. “It would be inaccurate to say that Just Dance is available on the Wii solely because it’s developed for physical therapy purposes,” an Ubisoft representative told Polygon. “Just Dance 2020 is coming to the Wii because our audience wants it.”

Who is playing Just Dance on Nintendo Wii these days?

I asked the representative if they had an idea what the demographics of the game’s audience are. “A lot of our players are children and families who continue to play on Wii,” they told Polygon.

The explanation really is that simple: There is demand for Just Dance on the Wii, and Ubisoft is happy to meet it.

The social media posts from fans weren’t far off the mark, though. We were told that Ubisoft has “donated consoles and Just Dance games over the years to children’s hospitals where they use the game with patients to help with movement, exercise, rehabilitation and just for fun, bringing a smile to their faces.”

So the game is used in those contexts, that’s just not the primary reason the game is being ported to Wii.

Just Dance 2020 will be coming to Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Google Stadia, Xbox One, and yes, Nintendo Wii on Nov. 5, 2019.


Your biggest Harry Potter: Wizards Unite questions, answered

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is finally out for iOS and Android, but getting started is a little bit confusing.

With all the Harry Potter universe language used to describe things, nothing is really explained without having a vast knowledge of the world. Lucky for you, we’re here to answer any of the questions you might have surrounding this new world.

How do I log in?

Players can choose to make an account through Facebook or Google. Simple enough!

How do I customize my wizard?

You can’t customize the model you see on the overworld map, but you can customize a profile image. You can use AR filters to take a selfie of yourself in a Hogwarts robe, or perhaps with Hagrid’s hairdo. If you don’t want your face to be visible, you can also pick from some preset icons and customize them with stickers.

What about my name?

You can input whatever you want to be called as your first and last names. Players you friend will not see this information. It’s simply for immersion, so Harry will refer to you by your name instead of your gamertag. The second name prompt you put in is what players can see when they add you as a friend.

Do I get sorted into a house? What about a wand fitting?

You get to choose whatever house and wand you want. You can also change these at any time. There’s no Sorting Hat or wand fitting involved.

There is so much going on. What am I doing?

Your job is to run around and collect all the magical creatures, things, or people who have gotten into sticky situations in the muggle world. These are called Foundables, and they get added to your Registry. With a swoosh of your wand, you send them back to where they belong.

What are professions? Which should I pick?

There are three professions you can pick from, starting at level six. This adds an RPG-like element to the game, as each profession has a unique skill tree. If you pick a profession you don’t like, you can totally change it later.

Aurors are DPS-oriented and you do tons of damage. Magizoologists are tanks or supports. They don’t do much damage, but they’re necessary for any good team. Professors are a hybrid of the two and are a balanced damage and support class.

Each profession also has their own mentor. Aurors have Harry Potter, Magizoologists have Hagrid, and Professors have Minerva McGonagall.

Did you just say there are skill trees in this game?

Yep! It costs Scrolls and Spell Books to put points into the skill trees. As expected, the skill trees will improve your stats. You can check out a skill tree simulator via Game Press for Aurors, Magizoologists, and Professors.

Wait, why do I need battle stats and professions if I’m just wooshing my wand and sending stuff back to the wizard world?

You do have to fight some hostile creatures. You’ll need to aim your wand, cast spells, and defend yourself against mighty beasts of the Harry Potter universe.

What’s up with Fortresses?

Fortresses are big castles you see on the map. Players can take them on by themselves or with other players.

Entering a Fortress costs Runestones (depending on the difficulty). Once inside, players will face increasingly difficult enemy encounters. When in a Fortress with other players, it helps to have varied professions, ensuring that the strengths and weaknesses of each are covered.

Combat is similar to what you experience in the wild, requiring that you cast spells by tracing different patterns, while reflecting enemy spells. As you get weaker there are potions to top you off.

Clearing a Fortress will net you Foundables. These are generally not ones you’d find in the wild, so you’re going to have to do some fighting.

What do Portmanteaus do?

If you’re familiar with Pokémon Go, Portmanteaus are essentially eggs. If you have key, you can unlock the Portmanteau and then you will have to walk a certain distance to finish unlocking it.

After unlocking it, you will be teleported to another place using AR. Note that you have to use AR in order to use Portmanteaus. From there, you’ll have to tap on glowing orbs to be rewarded with foundables, items, and EXP.

I need keys for this?

Yes! Players will always have a Gold Key that can be used forever, but only on one Portmanteau at a time. Silver Keys vanish after one use, but can be earned or bought throughout the game.

Do I need to keep my phone open or will it track my movement when the app is closed?

As of right now, you need to keep your phone open. Niantic did add Adventure Sync, a system that lets you track your distance walked while your game is closed, for Pokémon Go, so it could be coming in a future update.

I have so many different potions. When should I be using them?

There are a lot of different potions and they all do vary different things. Some of them are used for battles and should be saved when going against tough enemies or while you’re in Fortresses. Some other ones may increase the amount of XP you get from challenges or Portkeys. There’s not really a point in hoarding potions too much, as you’ll be able to brew more.

How do I get more potions and items?

Items spawn around you and you can tap them to pick them up. You can then use said items to brew potions. The game will tell you what you need and how much time it will take to brew each potion.

You can also buy potions with coins that are both given to you for completing rewards and also just straight-up buyable with real money.


The Harry Potter Wizards Unite Friend Code Spam Has Begun

Harry Potter Wizards Unite has launched early, offering an experience similar to Pokemon Go but set in JK Rowling’s Wizarding World–and with a little more polish at launch to boot. Like Pokemon Go, Niantic’s latest game has you scouring the real world for items to collect and taking part in social challenges with other players. That means if you want to get the most out of your wizarding experience, it’s time to start making some friends.

“In the course of your efforts to contain the Calamity, you’re sure to encounter other witches and wizards of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force,” a prompt in the game reads. “When you add them to your Friends List and work together, you’ll earn social benefits. The more Friends you have, the better the rewards!”

It goes on to state that if you meet up with friends at a Fortress to take on a Wizarding Challenge together, you’ll earn bonus Wizarding XP as well as extra Wizarding Challenge XP.

If you’re looking for friends in your area, a fan site called Accio Wizards Unite is already up and running and mapping friend codes. You can search by area or add your own to the database to find other local wizards and witches.

For more on Wizards Unite, check out how it differs from Pokemon Go and how to pick the right class for you. Or for a primer, read up on the basics of how the game works.


New StarCraft graphics pack turns the entire game into a cartoon

StarCraft: Remastered is about to get a dramatic new look. Carbot, the animation team that has worked with Blizzard on a bunch of parody cartoons for StarCraft, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft, is bringing its cartoonish style to StarCraft: Remastered with an official graphics pack.

Carbot’s StarCrafts graphics pack — named for the longrunning animation series of the same name — will be available for StarCraft: Remastered on July 10. It’s a “complete overhaul of all the graphics in the game,” Carbot said in an announcement video. It’s an official graphics pack that will alter visuals for gameplay, mission briefings, menus … “everything,” according to Carbot. The graphics pack will be available game-wide, in ladder matches, custom games, Arcade, and the campaign.

“It feels like a brand-new game,” Carbot said in the preview video above. “It’s weird how a simple graphics change makes the game feel completely new and different.

“The cool thing too is it’s especially good for kids. It’s super kid-friendly now. It’s also a really good time to go back and play the campaign, because now you get to play with hilarious graphics and the mission briefings … it’s hard to take seriously because they look like a bunch of goofballs.”

Pricing for the graphics pack was not announced, but we’ve reached out to Blizzard for more details.

StarCraft: Remastered was released in August 2017. The game is a “full graphical upgrade” of the 1998 original and its expansion, Brood War. StarCraft: Remastered features widescreen high-definition visuals — up to 4K resolution — as well as higher fidelity music and sound. Other new features, including matchmaking, leaderboards, cloud saves for campaign progress, hotkey customization, and game replays, were also added to the classic real-time strategy game.


Wit And Charm Are Powerful Weapons In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2

Illustration: Paradox, Hardsuit Labs
E3 2019It’s time for the biggest gaming show of the year. We’ve got articles, videos, podcasts and maybe even a GIF or two.  

While I was playing Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2’s demo at E3 last week, I was feeling pretty smug about bluffing my way through a problem. Then, the developer holding the controller hit the wrong button, and a fight broke out regardless.

Bloodlines 2 looks like it has a wonderful breadth of experiences to offer the player, and it has a lot of vampire murder power options on top of that. The game isn’t just about picking what kind of powers you want to use, although that is a cool part of it; I picked the power set that allowed my vamp to turn into mist. Bloodlines 2 is also about deciding the kind of vampire you want to be, personality-wise. Are you a brute, using your powers to get your way, or are you more seductive? Is your word your bond, or are you willing to screw people over to get what you want? In the mission that the Hardsuit Labs developers showed me at E3, I could run the gamut from being like NoHo Hank in the HBO dramedy Barry—in other words, a total softie—to becoming the ultimate dirtbag.

In the E3 demo mission, one of the factions of vampires in the game needed me to get some data from another vampire called Slugg who was in hiding. The faction gave me ten thousand dollars to exchange for it, though it was also really clear that I could just murder him if bribery didn’t work. Slugg is a Nosferatu, which is a vampire who has been scarred by their transformation into a creature of the night, and he was also on everyone’s shitlist for generally being a shady guy. When I met up with Samuel, the contact who could find Slugg and an amusing character who had been turned during the ’80s tech boom, Samuel asked me to let Slugg live and come into the Nosferatu fold for protection. Samuel even said that I could still take the data and deliver it to the faction leader, as long as I didn’t kill Slugg.

I chose to side with Samuel, because, why not? I was still figuring out what kind of vampire I was.

It turned out, up until my vamp accidentally ended up in a shoot-out, I was a vampire who was very respectful of the masquerade, but generally disdainful of hierarchies. Using my misty powers, I was able to traverse buildings and choke out unsuspecting humans. This allowed me to keep to the masquerade, which is the lingo this game uses to refer to the secrecy vampires have about their existence and powers.

There are clearly delineated areas in the game where the masquerade is in play, meaning that vampire authorities will get pretty upset if you flaunt your powers there. Other areas are blindspots, which are areas where you won’t break the masquerade by using your powers. These are nice spots to grab a snack or try out Thaumaturgy, which is blood magic that makes people vomit blood ’til they pass out. You can also explode them. It’s very fun.

All that sneaking around brought me to Slugg, who ran into the sewers as soon as I spotted him in an underpass. I followed him, getting into a few scrapes with humans I very easily overpowered along the way. My vamp tracked him to what was very clearly a drug dealer’s house. There was a line of people outside who all had strong traces of delirium in their blood, which I could see, thanks to the emotional resonance system.

“We actually have a few ways to incentivize feeding, besides just the blood,” Rachel Leiker, the lead UI/UX designer on Bloodlines 2 said. “You of course have blood, which fuels your vampire powers, but we also have a secondary resource called resonance, that’s sort of the emotional flavor of the blood.”

Screenshot: Paradox, Hardsuit Labs

“The difference resonance types are delirium, desire, fear, pain and rage,” she continued. The more you feed on people with a certain type of resonance, the more of that emotion your vamp will feel, which in turn benefits certain actions you can take. Leiker was vague about these details, saying she couldn’t share too much just yet. “It incentivizes frequent feeding, so even if you have full blood, you can still hunt for a resonance type. It also makes it a little bit more meaningful and strategic as to how you’re feeding.”

If you want to be a friendlier vampire, you can also feed on animals like rats, which Leiker called a “little Capri Sun of blood.”

It was at this dealer’s house that my vamp accidentally stole a whole lot of drugs. Clearly, that upset the dealer and his cohorts, and the guns came out, and we had to kill them all. That wasn’t my intention. I had already more or less established myself as more of a talker than a fighter, and I was proud of having navigated this conversation with an angry drug dealer without it rising to violence. I had even been able to convince him I was there to see his boss with an offer on pharmaceuticals. They were going to let me through.

Alas, it was not to be, but it was cool to learn that there was basically no way to render the mission unwinnable. Combat is usually an option, but it’s sometimes at odds with the goals of vampire-kind. If you do opt for combat, you can use human weapons, but they’re not necessarily something you can rely on. The most effective combat choices are going to involve using your vampiric powers, but that has the potential of breaking the masquerade. The other vampires in Seattle might not take too kindly to that, as it puts the entire vampire community at risk.

“Their main aim is to drink blood and continue to drink blood for the rest of eternity,” said Cara Ellison. She’s a writer on the game, as well as a former Kotaku contributor and a friend of mine. “They really want that low risk, high reward, traverse the city and continue to drink blood until the end of their life. So, a lot of the time, the options are there to strong-arm your way through conversations. It really tries to give you the most amount of options possible.”

Screenshot: Paradox, Hardsuit Labs

I saw that when we finally caught up with Slugg. He was on the defensive, which was understandable, as we had been chasing him. At first, he was reluctant to join up with the Nosferatu, but we eventually persuaded him to go. It was at this point that I realized that we had forgotten to get the data from him and would be going back to the faction leader empty-handed, most likely locking my character out of friendly interactions with that faction. Still, we had done a favor for the Nosferatu, and that might come in handy for my vamp later.

“There are multiple ways to finish the quest as well,” Leiker said. “You can go directly into combat. You can negotiate, you can give him the money and he exchanges the data. You can also threaten him, and he exchanges the data. You can keep the money. There’s also another option where you can be like, ‘Oh, they gave me five thousand to give to you,’ and you can pocket the other five thousand.”

Roleplaying the way I had done ended up putting my vamp into a very specific social situation that would affect the choices they could make later in the game. The Nosferatu would appreciate the favor I had done them, but that other faction would now dislike me. The way that Bloodlines 2 asks the player to roleplay makes them really examine the social cost of sticking to their guns when it comes to their personal ethics. I personally didn’t want to murder poor old Slugg, and I didn’t even really care about the data that faction wanted. But pursuing the mission the way that I thought was best had social ramifications for my character.

“We’re just really excited to see how people play,” Leiker said. “There’s so much the player can do, so many options for the player to customize their specific character for their specific playthrough.”

I don’t know what the end result will be of my throwing Slugg a bone, but when Bloodlines 2 comes out in 2020, I’ll get to really figure out what kind of vampire I’ll be, when push comes to shove.


Gears 5: Free DLC Maps, No Season Pass, No Random Loot Boxes

Microsoft exclusive Gears 5, which unveiled a haunting cinematic trailer during the company’s E3 2019 presentation, is only a few months away. Details about the upcoming third-person shooter continue to emerge with its September release right around the corner, and a new post on the Gears 5 official website provides some enticing information, including free content and the lack of a season pass.

The news post outlines a bunch of the game’s details. We get a cinematic glimpse at new Gear Fahz Chutani (played by Rahul Kohli, Rage 2‘s Garcia the Gregarious). The post also goes over the game’s new 3-player co-op mode Escape, which you can check out 10-minutes of gameplay footage above. But the biggest piece of news centers around additional content.

Developer The Coalition touts a “player-first experience,” stating some of the game’s additional content will be free. According to the post, Gears 5 will feature no season pass, no loot boxes, and free DLC maps for matchmaking and private play. The maps sound similar to Gears of War 4, but where that game required you own the map to play them in private matches after they left the playlist, this game doesn’t seem to have that limitation. Though Gears 5 will have microtransactions, the post confirms that “all store purchases are direct,” meaning no RNG (random number generator) will play in a role in what you get. An IGN report reveals that Gears 5 will feature seven different types of cosmetics that can be purchased will real money: costumes, weapon skins, banners (emblems with more surface area), expressions (emotes), executions, blood sprays, and marks (to mark targets). “The only random kind of chance you have is that there’s a type of content that we essentially give to the player for free just for playing,” The Coalition boss Rod Fergusson told IGN during E3 2019.

Gears 5 follows Kat Diaz (played by Laura Bailey, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End‘s Nadine Ross) as she searches to uncover the truth behind her heritage and her connection to the Locust. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Gears 5 was ” looking great” when he visited the Vancouver-based studio in March 2019.

Gears 5 will release on September 10 for PC and Xbox One. A versus technical test is scheduled for Friday, July 19, with Horde Mode getting its own test sometime this August.


Activision brings Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to NBA Draft in New York

Activision is allowing select NBA Draft players, alongside some New York Yankees MLB players, to get an early hands-on look at the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in New York this week.

The sponsored event was available for certain athletes this week in New York ahead of the upcoming NBA Draft.

Activision has been bringing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to events like this over the past month, including the NFL Draft in late April, prior to the game’s official announcement.

Activision does these types of events because they can bring their games to massive areas and free promotion from the athletes to get the game and its reach out to people beyond the gaming community. It’s effective marketing.

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The Mystery of Star Wars Legend Willrow Hood Has Finally Been Revealed

That’s no ice cream maker…
Photo: Lucasfilm

He only appeared for one second in The Empire Strikes Back, but Willrow Hood became a Star Wars icon. Not for any reason in particular, however. Just because he looked kind of funny running across Cloud City with what Star Wars fans have long since settled on is an “ice cream maker.”

Well, io9 can exclusively reveal that’s no ice cream maker. In fact, it’s a safe.

A camtono, actually. The word briefly made it out into the world at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year when, in an extended clip from The Mandalorian that never made it online, Werner Herzog’s character shows the titular bounty hunter a piece of beskar—an ancient, valuable, Mandalorian alloy—and tells him he’ll give him a camtono of it when he completes the mission.

We don’t know what the mission is yet and we don’t know the name of Herzog’s character. What we do know, thanks to a source close to the production, is that a camtono is like a safe or a lock box, Herzog’s character has one full of beskar, and it’s the same item Willrow Hood is running around with in The Empire Strikes Back.

You may remember, Mandalorian executive producer Jon Favreau even teased the connection late last year.

A Star Wars safe makes so much more sense than an ice cream maker, doesn’t it? Ice cream is great. But if you’re trying to escape your home from an imminent Imperial take over, what do you grab? The thing that makes ice cream, or the secure container that holds your valuables? [Editor’s Note: io9 writer’s opinions on this vary. -Jill P.]

How, or if, The Mandalorian makes this connection between Hood’s camtono and Herzog’s camtono, we do not know. Are they the same one? Doubtful. But we do know they’re the same general thing, so you can now cross that long-running Star Wars mystery off your list. We’ve reached out to Lucasfilm for comment and will update if we hear back.

The Mandalorian will debut on Disney+ November 12.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated the item was a “kamtono.” In fact, “camtono” is the correct spelling. We regret the error.

For more, make sure you’re following us on our new Instagram @io9dotcom.


Grav Weapon unlocked in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PS4

The Days of Summer Community Challenge in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has officially been completed on PlayStation 4!

Players on PS4 completed 15 million matches online throughout the last few weeks during the Days of Summer event, and now a new weapon is available to use on the PS4: the Grav Assault Rifle! It’s unlocked in all modes on play.

The new weapon will be available on Xbox One and PC when players on that platforms complete the respective community challenges separately, as it appears this Community Challenge is per platform bases versus entire community.

Treyarch also revealed today that Contracts are coming to Black Ops 4 across platforms on June 25. Check out details on that here.

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Why everyone wants to sell you a gaming subscription

You have certainly heard the pitch: play all the games you want for one low monthly fee. Game subscriptions have been around for a few years now, but the race to make the ‘Netflix of games’ is kicking into high gear. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Sony, Electronic Arts, Verizon, and now Ubisoft either have gaming subscription services on the market, or on the way.

But why?

Game subscriptions have the potential to upend the industry in a way not seen since consoles replaced arcades, but who will see the most benefits is still an open question. In the video above, I’ve tried to explain why gaming subscriptions are on a trajectory to take over the industry in the same way they’ve taken over TV, music, and movies. For developers, it could also mean a massive shift in how they finance, develop, and sell their games. And for consumers, it wouldn’t just change how we pay for our games, but how we play them.