Category Archives: Gaming News

Gaming News

Atari VCS pre-orders open, will ship in March 2020

The Atari VCS finally has a launch date. Pre-orders for the retro console are available now at GameStop, Walmart, and directly from Atari, with units scheduled to ship in March 2020.

Those who backed the project through the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo can expect their units later this year.

Starting at $249.99 for a console with 4 GB RAM, Atari’s new device costs quite a bit more than the NES Classic or PlayStation Classic did at launch ($59.99 and $99.99 respectively, though Sony’s console has seen several price drops). In fairness, though, it’s a much more powerful system. Rather than just sticking an emulator in a hunk of plastic and calling it a day, Atari outfitted its new device with an AMD processor and 4K and HDR support. It’s essentially a Linux PC loaded up with old Atari games.

Atari is also releasing a classic joystick and modern controller alongside the console. The base model, the Atari VCS 400 doesn’t include either gamepad, nor does the $279.99 Atari VCS 800 (with 8 GB RAM). Sold separately, the joystick is $49.99 and the controller is $59.99. Atari is offering an “All In” bundle with the VCS 800 and both the joystick and controller for $389.99.

While the stand-alone consoles only come in black, each retailer has a different exclusive color console included in the All In bundles. Walmart’s is a “Kevlar gold”, GameStop’s is the standard “onyx”, and Atari itself has the very retro-looking “black walnut”.

Atari will be showing off the new console during this year’s E3 conference, so expect hands-on impressions to start trickling out soon. In the meantime, check out more images of the console and gamepads below.


The missing games of E3 2019

E3 2019 has already been an interesting show, with many fun surprises, but it’s also a year that feels a bit empty in general. Sony isn’t at E3 in any capacity, and many big games won’t be shown again until next year, closer to the launch of the next-generation systems.

That means a lot of big titles are sitting this year out, so let’s take a look at some of the games you might have been looking for during the many press conferences of the past few days to see what may be happening with these titles.

Beyond Good and Evil 2

Beyond Good and Evil 2 had a bit of a rough ride at E3 last year after going through a controversy about the amount Ubisoft was paying for work it was planning on using in the game, and this year the development team said that the game wouldn’t be at E3 in an official blog post.

“This year, as we are focusing on core development milestones, we will not be attending E3 2019,” the developers explained. “We will, however, continue our commitment to the Space Monkey Program and keep you updated on the game’s development and how we’re building the world of Beyond Good and Evil 2.”

Sony games like, as a whole thing

Sony didn’t have any kind of official presence at E3 2019, which meant that many big games like The Last of Us 2 and Ghost of Tsushima were missing from the show. There wasn’t any kind of off-site briefing or even new information given about any of Sony’s games, which means that the company effectively didn’t have any counter-programming to try to compete with Nintendo or Microsoft.

Whether or not this matters is a bigger question, but it definitely made E3 feel a little empty compared to previous years. This is the first time in E3’s 24-year history that Sony didn’t have any kind of booth or event at the show, and it definitely feels strange.

Bayonetta 3

The last, and only, time we saw anything about Bayonetta 3 was a brief teaser back in 2017 that consisted of a logo and the number three.

Nintendo has never been shy about keeping a game behind the curtain until it’s ready to show it off, and that seems to be the case here. On the other hand, we did get the announcement of a sequel to Breath of the Wild, so it all worked out.

Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6

Bethesda’s Todd Howard warned fans that neither game would be at E3 this year, so this wasn’t much of a surprise. It’s likely that both games are headed for next-generation consoles, so it makes sense that Bethesda may be waiting until next year to share more details about the games.

Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics is a turn-based strategy game set in the world of Gears of War that was announced last year, but thus far hasn’t been mentioned by Microsoft at all at E3. We saw Gears 5 gameplay and some footage of Gears Pop!, which is an inexeplicable mobile game that melds the characters of Gears of War with the design of Funko Pops, but no Gears Tactics.

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones is Ubisoft’s open-world game of piracy, and the publisher recently announced that it has been delayed into 2020. This was after the initial delay to 2019, in fact. So, um, maybe development is hitting some snags?

The official account hasn’t tweeted since announcing the delay. It’s always possible that the game is being reworked for next year’s next-generation systems.

Metroid Prime 4

This is another Nintendo special. The game was announced in 2017 with a logo, and was then “restarted,” with development duties returning to Retro Studios.

“The current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to the Metroid Prime series,” Shinya Takahashi, senior managing executive officer at Nintendo, said in a development update video posted to YouTube. “Nintendo always strives for the highest quality in our games; and in the development phase, we challenge ourselves and confront whether the game is living up to that quality on a daily basis.”

It may be awhile before we see anything solid on Metroid Prime 4.


The skateboarding game Session was announced last year as an early access game on PC, and a part of the Xbox Game Preview program on the Xbox One. But instead of being released in any way for either the game dropped from view, with no updates coming until a Kickstarter message in May.

“Also, many of you have been asking lately if we’d be at E3 this year… We decided to not take part or going to E3 this year,” developer Vincent Da Silva wrote. “With early access getting closer every day, we knew it would have an impact on the development, so we decided to stay focused on developing session instead … We’ve been purposely silent lately in order to work as hard as we can to offer you the best Early Access and Xbox Game Preview as we can.”

No news about when we may see anything, but at least we know they’re still supposedly working on it.

Babylon’s Fall

Babylon’s Fall is supposed to be released this year, but there hasn’t been much news since the game was announced last year. PlatinumGames is also supposed to be working on Bayonetta 3, which is another game on this very list, so maybe the studio is just a little overworked?


New Apex Legends patch fixes one of Caustic’s most annoying bugs

The latest Apex Legends patch has arrived and it’s full of bug fixes ahead of season 2.

The patch’s biggest update comes to Caustic, whose traps were hurting players through walls. While Caustic mains may have gotten a kick out of the bug, it wasn’t great for other players, so Respawn fixed the issue.

Another change coming with this update is a PC-only upgrade that allows players to cap their frame rate with the new console command, “fps_max.” This can keep the frame rate locked where it’s most stable, and can help players to avoid taxing their graphics cards more than necessary.

This patch is dedicated entirely to bug fixes, but we did hear some of the changes that are coming with the game’s second season next month. During last weekend’s EA Play event, Respawn announced a few details on the new legend, as well as the ranked mode and new battle pass coming to Apex Legends in season 2.

For a look at all the changes that came with this patch, you can check out the full patch notes below.


  • Update from Respawn: this patch also fixed the bug with healing items not functioning when using the keybinds for them.
  • The following config commands are now enabled:




  • Fixed issue with players not being rewarded with Loss Forgiveness after their teammate left during an Apex Elite match.

Also made improvements so that Loss Forgiveness works more consistently in other cases where it wasn’t working correctly.

  • Fixed bug where Caustic’s Nox Gas Traps would damage players through walls.
  • Fixed exploit where you could repeatedly place Caustic’s Nox Gas Traps with no cooldown.
  • [PS4 Only] Fixed bug with in-game reward message not displaying the right image for Playstation Plus subscribers [previously this was showing an orange and purple checker image instead of the right asset].
  • Fixed issue with “nerfed” skydiving from a Jump Tower.
  • Resolved a number of localization issues for Xbox and PS4.
  • Fixed issues with items sorting incorrectly when looting a deathbox.
  • Fixed issues related to heavily decreased accuracy when ADS and sliding.
  • Fixed audio bug related to Octane’s Jump Pad.
  • Fixed a number of game logic script errors.


All hail Nessa, the new water-type gym leader from Pokémon Sword and Shield

Look, I’ve never so ready to end a 22-year-old relationship with a character that I grew up with, but Misty, it is time to step aside. Nessa is the new all-time master of water-type Pokémon.

Nessa is the second gym leader announced for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. E3 attendees will be able to battle her as part of the show floor demo. So far, all we know about her Pokémon lineup is that she will battle with a Dynamax Drednaw. We don’t know if she is the second gym leader that we’ll battle in-game.

Game Freak/Nintendo

Her character design is fire, or uh, I mean, water. She rocks perfectly applied eyeliner and purple eye shadow. I’m obsessed with her hoop earrings and she dons a Poké-inspired swimsuit fit for an athlete. Also, she has floaties on her sandals? OK. Nessa also has fans excited because she is also among a growing list of Pokémon Sword and Shield character cast that are dark-skinned (along with Leon and Hop). This is important given that many Pokémon characters are often white.

And I’m not the only one getting excited at her announcement. The internet is freaking out about her as well.

Fans are already rushing to produce fan art of her. It is less than a couple hours out from the Nintendo Direct, and Nessa already has a steady stream of fan art on Twitter. We stan!

I love her so much and am so excited to challenge her to a battle.

Pokémon Sword and Shield will be released on Nintendo Switch Nov. 15.


10 Minutes Of The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening On Switch

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.  

The Switch remake of 1993’s The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is here at E3, and we’ve capped as much footage of it as we can to show you. It’s beautiful, largely faithful to the source material and just a bit stumbly on the framerate, which they can hopefully smooth out by the game’s September 20 launch.

Kotaku producer Paul Tamayo was at the controls here, experiencing the game for the first time since age five, when he had to settle for watching his brother play it on the Game Boy. Today, he was playing and I watched him. I guess I’m your little brother now, Paul!

The game has some tweaks from the original, according to a Nintendo rep who helped guide us through it. He mentioned that enemies that used to move in straight lines will now move more freely in eight directions. The map now lets you put pins in areas of interest.

We were not able to try out the game’s newest feature, which was described in Nintendo’s E3 press release as follows:

Players can also earn Chambers (Dungeon Rooms) and arrange them to complete objectives in the new Chamber Dungeon.

We’ll have more on Link’s Awakening in the days ahead.


E3 proves that Nintendo is at the top of its game right now

If there’s an underlying theme to this year’s E3, it’s transition. Sony isn’t at the event at all. Microsoft is making moves for the future, banking on ideas and technologies that have not yet reached their full potential. New consoles are in the horizon. Seemingly every game worth talking about is coming in 2020.

And there’s Nintendo, pitching us largely on stuff for hardware we have right now. While there are rumors of an updated system model for the Switch, Nintendo isn’t devoting the bulk of its resources to making entirely new systems. Nintendo can focus on what it does best: games. Given the Switch’s limited graphical capabilities, Nintendo has no choice but to focus on the bones that make up its games, rather than wasting time trying to render the most realistic hair possible or what have you.

This, in combination with the slow death of the 3DS, has allowed Nintendo to devote an extraordinary amount of focus on a single piece of equipment, rather than splitting its focus between a console and a handheld. The company doesn’t have to choose what system gets what property anymore: It’s all for the Switch, of course.

People like to joke that the Switch is a repository for ports and remakes, and many of the announcements for Nintendo’s E3 presentation did little to disprove that. At the same time, portability changes everything for some games. Yes, I already have The Witcher 3. I haven’t beaten it; there’s so much game to get through. But being able to take The Witcher 3 anywhere means I’m that much more likely to actually get through it. Nowadays, I play my Switch way more than any other console. If something is announced, it’s not uncommon for me to think, “I’ll wait for the Switch port.” Nintendo has changed the way I approach gaming entirely this generation. I’m just as excited about old games as I am new games.

This isn’t to say Nintendo has nothing new to show. Super Mario Maker 2’s extended level-creation tools look absolutely bonkers. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate continues to barrel forward with exciting new characters. Seemingly every new monster announced for Pokémon Sword and Shield instantly becomes a fan favorite. Luigi’s Mansion 2 seems to eschew the arcadey nature of the 3DS game, and promises to get back to its roots. My entire social media feed seems to be dying to play Animal Crossing, especially after the disappointment that was Pocket Camp. Link’s Awakening looks cute as hell, and the ability build your own dungeons is a killer new feature. Cadence of Hyrule looks like a rad new take on Zelda. The next Fire Emblem game, which follow the lives of students in an academy, seems to take after Persona franchise in the best possible way. Astral Chain looks great based on what Nintendo has shown off during its Treehouse stream, but really, what else do you need to know other than it’s being developed by PlatinumGames? I’m excited by nearly everything that Nintendo showed off today.

We haven’t even gotten to the biggest bombshell at E3 this year: Breath of the Wild, one of the best games of all time, is getting a sequel. Never mind that it seems likely we’ll finally be able to play as Zelda. Nintendo probably could have announced this piece of information by its lonesome it would have still won the entire show.

As Sony and Microsoft and gear up for their next era, they’re being pulled in a million directions. Nintendo, though? It’s just getting started.


Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s Story Creator Is Simple But Fun

This image was taken from one of my many test runs through my quest.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey released a story creator this week, allowing players to cobble together their own questlines and share them with others. The website for constructing handmade stories is easy to use and fun to tinker with, even in the final results of that tinkering can be a little awkward.

To create your own stories, log into a new website, where you’re able to choose a cast of characters, string together dialog and objectives, and even create larger quest chains, which you can then share and play on any platform. I was able to create a rudimentary quest in about 30-40 minutes. The Story Creator is easy to understand, but it didn’t feel quite as robust as I’d like.

The Story Creator tool works somewhat like Twine, which I’ve used to make narrative games before. It’s extremely basic so long as you have a decent understanding of “If, then…” statements. You pick a node, say, a box for dialog. The dialog appears as text; there’s no voice acting, as you can imagine how expensive that would be. You fill the box with what your characters say and what their body language is based upon moods like “curious, awestruck, or bored.” Then, you can connect those to decision points or objective triggers. These boil down to basic interactions: kill this target, talk to this person, go to this location, rescue this prisoner. In the case of dialog choices, you can list choices and set up triggers that create various outcomes. Kill this person, have the quester giver say X thing. Turn down the job, have the objective marker lead to an alternate path. The most basic quests such as mine are only a handful of nodes, but multiple quests can be chained together into a larger narrative.

Setting up the story nodes and a few flags didn’t take very long. I snuck all of this in before this morning’s Nintendo Direct, assembling the most basic quest structure. I called my quest “Eagle Bearer of the Curse,” and it involves a dangerous witch who brands the player character with a life-sucking curse. She demands they go kill a bandit king whose souls has eluded her. Meanwhile, the bandit claims killing the witch is actually how to break the spell. It’s stupid stuff, mostly an excuse to have a simple branch between two objective. Believe the bandit? Go and kill the witch. Think he’s lying? Kill him. Either option ends the quest.

Testing my story took more time than constructing it, but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey makes it easy to jump to the start of your quest and begin playing through. It’s here that the cracks begin to show, although some of that is undoubtedly due to my hasty assembly. On my first time around, I found that placing the bandit king in a camp of actual bandits was a bad idea: wandering close to the camp, he somehow was slain and the quest ended immediately. The Story Creator doesn’t make it easy to toggle invulnerability for essential NPCs on the fly, so I had to risk making them vulnerable from the start. This meant a stray wolf or overeager soldier could kill my characters. Moving the bandit king to a remote location was as easy as selecting a new location on the map, but because he was a member of the bandit faction, he attacked the player on sight. Not great for someone you’re supposed to listen to. These are the sorts of little things that the Story Creator doesn’t make completely clear, and I spent time playing my simple quest over and over to iron out wrinkles.

There’s also a few other issues that I haven’t figured out. For now, there appears to be a only a handful of character templates to choose from. That means taking characters from the main game and recasting them in made up roles. Making NPCs that you can talk to and, in the case of my quest, who are then supposed to engage you in combat is tricky. From what I can tell I don’t have control over variables like how much health they have or what weapons they might use. Maybe that’s buried in menus that I’ve not yet explored, but there’s definitely a sense that this is a limited tool better suited to narrative quests than combat challenges. I’m sure other players will crack the code and make intricate stories as time goes on.

Over time, the Story Creator could lead to some really magical quest lines, but players should manage their expectations when using it. This is a chance to expand the world of Assassin’s Creed, but there’s no way to match the main game’s expansive stories. Spare some imagination and you might have some neat stories, even if there are some awkward puppet people and glitches along the way.

I’ll publish my quest later today after a bit more testing. Be on the lookout for a witch in the Argolis area if you want to enjoy a very basic example of what the Story Creator can offer.


All the trailers from Nintendo at E3 2019

Nintendo might have won E3 by finally showing off footage from a new Animal Crossing game and then surprising everyone by announcing a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. And I’m personally very excited about an updated version of the first Panzer Dragoon game.

You can catch up on all the news if you missed anything, or if you just want the trailers we have you covered below. This was a very strong showing for Nintendo, although you might notice a lack of content discussed for the Nintendo 3DS? If you want to play Nintendo’s newest and biggest games, it seems like you’re going to have a buy a Switch from here on out.

Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Pokemon Sword and Shield gameplay

Luigi’s Mansion 3

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Astral Chain

Daemon X Machina

Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the Necrodancer featuring The Legend of Zelda

Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age — Definitive Edition

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete Edition

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics

Trials of Mana

Collection of Mana

Contra Rogue Corps

No More Heroes 3

Empire of Sin

Panzer Dragoon: Remake

Resident Evil 5 and 6

Various other Switch games


Fire Emblem: Three Houses E3 2019 trailer shows off battles and people yelling

There’s not much left in the way of news for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, given that the strategy game drops next month, but Nintendo did hand us a brand new trailer during its E3 2019 Nintendo Direct presentation.

The trailer features some of the familiar faces we’ve seen in previous stills and videos, including Eldegard, Dimitri, and Claude, the three main allies of the game. We also get a look at school life and some pretty intense battle sequences. We still have a few questions about some of the gameplay mechanics, specifically about whether we’ll see the return of the triangle weapons system, but for now we’ll just have to settle for pretty pictures.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is scheduled to be released on July 26 for Nintendo Switch. If previous installments are any indication, we can expect to see a fair amount of post-release DLC in the year following release.


Virtual reality seems like a great place for sniping, doesn’t it?

Virtual reality seems like a great place for sniping, doesn’t it? Rebellion and Just Add Water team up for Sniper Elite VR for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, SteamVR and Viveport. Set just before the events of Sniper Elite 4, it’s got a brand new story by Tony Schumacher  and all the x-ray kills you can stomach.