How to watch Method’s Battle of Dazar’alor World First race stream for World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft’s newest raid has been out for a week now and that means it’s time for Mythic, the raid’s hardest difficulty, to be released. In Battle of Dazar’alor, just like every other raid, the release of the hardest difficult comes with a fanfare of competition as the world’s top guilds race to see who can finish all of the encounters first. Just like last time around, when it managed to capture the coveted title of world first, one of the world’s top guilds, Method will be stream all of its progress through the raid.

The race through Uldir was the first time that Method had ever streamed its progress during a raid. Some of the guild’s most well-known members set up at Red Bull’s esports facility in London, with the rest of the raiders streaming from home. The stream was hosted by a variety of Method personalities, and since the set-up worked so well last time, the guild is doubling down this time around and pulling out all the stops.

For the Battle of Dazar’alor race, Method will once again have a few players stationed at the Red Bull’s esports sphere, but it will also have a large group ready to host the event including popular World of Warcraft and Method streamers. The hosts will include people like Alan “Hotted” Widmann and JB “JdotB” Daniel from Method, as well as Mike Preach and Adam “Bay” Knych that players might know from Twitch or YouTube.

The entire race will be hosted on Method’s official Twitch channel — which is embedded at the top of this post — as well as point of view streams from almost every one of the guild’s raiders, whose streams can be found on Method’s streaming page. The stream is set to start as soon as Blizzard puts World of Warcraft’s European servers back online, which should be sometime around midnight ET on January 30.


Top Smash Bros. Commentator Is No Longer Accepting Feedback On Her Speaking Voice

Victoria “VikkiKitty” Perez
Image: Victoria Perez (Twitter)

Victoria “VikkiKitty” Perez had been competing at Super Smash Bros. 4 for five months when local tournament organizers plucked her out of the contender’s pool and threw her on stage to commentate. Over the PA one 2015 tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, everybody heard the words, “Victoria, come into the stream room.” It wasn’t a question, not that Perez would have give herself the option to say no.

“I’m already talking about the game,” Perez said matter-of-factly over the phone last week. “Just point a camera at me.”

Three years later, Perez is one of the biggest names in Smash commentary. If you’ve ever tuned into a pro Smash tournament, you’ve heard the breathless play-by-plays of who attacked whom, whether attacks got dodged, who came out on top, and how the results measured up to expectations. Chances are, you’ve heard Perez’s voice in the mix. On her Twitter, she jokes, “I’m the one who sounds like a little boy when I commentate your matches.”

Perez, 22, is on top of this world now, commentating national tournaments, including Overwatch and Arms, viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. Most notably, Smash publisher Nintendo invited Perez to commentate the 2018 Smash Ultimate invitational at E3, the first tournament of the much-hyped upcoming game. For hours, Perez was perched on stage breaking down the brand new game and seamlessly transitioning between descriptions of its most basic elements (“When a fighter is knocked off the stage, it is a K.O.”) and deep analyses of spatial control and “tech.” 200,000 viewers tuned in at its peak.

Perez commentating Nintendo’s E3 Smash Invitational
Image: Nintendo

Perez is also just about to graduate college in Miami, Florida. Between studying for her communications degree and living the student life, Perez’s part-time job has her traveling the world to sportscast Super Smash Bros. on livestreams. When her face appears on camera, it’s usually framed by long, blonde hair, dyed neon colors at the ends, and an enormous pair of headphones.

“Her style of commentary is very informative, based on her experience and preference of other players,” said Josh Kendall, a Smash commentator with whom Perez formed the duo “Biggie Smalls” in 2015. (The name is a joke about their height difference; Perez is 5’1” and Kendall is 6’6”.) “She has always been textbook-heavy when it comes to knowing about specific character traits like moves doing a certain percent. She also picks up common player habits.”

Amassing the huge amount of knowledge and background a commentator needs to be authoritative is intensely time-consuming. Perez estimates that she spends nine to 14 hours each week studying the game, either on stream or offline. “I’m a hands-on learner,” she said. “Any character I play—that’s how I learn their toolkit. I need to play against other characters to really understand them, too.”

Commentators narrate the facts, but they are also are hype machines, laying out the matches’ stakes and stoking the flames of fan enthusiasm. In addition to that, Perez says, commentating plays an important role in the scene at large, serving as “a bridge. We are essentially selling a player. The first thing the audience will hear is the commentator. You have to be the bridge for the community to the audience.”

Perez sees her role from a birds’-eye industry viewpoint, too. “Even with sponsors, when they’re picking up a Smash player, the first thing they’ll hear is the commentators. The way a commentator talks about a player could be an influence for whether they’re picked up by a sponsor.”

Commentating wasn’t something Perez had planned on doing. As the elder of two sisters, Perez had a casual Smash sparring mate throughout her childhood, but also enjoyed longer role-playing games like Kingdom Hearts. She hadn’t considered competitive gaming until a couple of years ago when she unearthed her copy of 2008’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl from her living room along with some high school friends. She became obsessed.

Once Smash 4 came out, Perez and her friends began to take the game more seriously. “We thought we were the best,” Perez laughed, explaining her impetus to start attending tournaments with her well-honed Kirby. Soon, she learned, “We were literally nothing.” Perez kept grinding, though, until she saw the results she wanted.

At one tournament, “I sat down at a setup and I beat eight people consecutively,” Perez said. “I was like, ‘You know what? I’m all for it.’” She’d drive an hour away from her home to play competitively, cutting her teeth against others’ skillsets until she’d honed her own. At the same time, Perez found herself seduced by the game’s deep mechanics and talking about them with mentors and competitors. On the drive home, she and her friends would tease apart which small mistake landed them in the loser’s bracket or which small success thwarted their opponent. That ability to dissect the game’s particulars caught the attention of others in her local scene and ended up getting her pulled on stage in October 2015 to commentate her first local tournament at South Florida’s Versus Gaming Center. It’s also why, in her words, she was “fed to the sharks” three weeks later when she was asked to commentate at a regional tournament called Frame Perfect.

“I went from being completely chill—literally just looking at the game and talking about it—to getting more nervous as time progressed,” Perez said. The nerves showed up as Perez realized how much more she had to learn. Perez had not yet memorized the game’s match-ups—hundreds of combinations of how one fighter’s toolkit matches up to another’s—or the game’s more specialized mechanics. She was disappointed by her performance, but she welcomed the feedback from her fellow commentators, who gave her tips like to let her co-commentator finish talking before she injected her own analyses.

More and more invitations brought Perez more and more work, including from Nintendo, as she continued pursuing her degree full-time in Florida. Over a few short years, Perez became the first notable female Smash commentator. As she rose to prominence, she got a lot more feedback, but not all of it was helpful.

Over time, Perez says, she’s learned to discern which comments are productive and which aren’t. “People say, ‘She has a higher voice than the men I’m used to’ or ‘Her voice is too low for a woman,’” she said, also citing her old tendency to end sentences in a higher, question-style tone. “Comments like that just aren’t constructive. There’s nothing I can do about my voice.” Her attitude is this: “I’m gonna get hired whether they like it or not and I’m gonna do my best… I personally don’t pay attention to any of that. They’re not my peers. They probably don’t commentate or aren’t good commentators.”

Perez chose to listen to her peers’ criticism and push everything else to the side. “Some people legitimately wanted me to get better. I’m gonna listen to them and do my best. Eventually the criticism became not constructive at all.” In her first month commentating, a peer she trusted told her never to look at Twitch chat while she worked. To this day, she says, she hasn’t, describing it as “a disaster waiting to happen.”

2016 brought more scrutiny on Perez, but not the kind she had been working towards. That year, Perez went to EVO to commentate its enormous Smash tournament. During the event, her then-boyfriend invited high-profile Smash player Cristian “Hyuga” Medina to crash in their hotel room because he was intoxicated. Perez says she fell asleep next to her boyfriend and woke up to Medina groping her. At the time, Perez explained the situation on Twitter and wrote that she was coming forward “only to prevent future incidents like this from happening ever again” and to warn other tournament attendees to be careful. Medina, who said he didn’t remember anything from that night, was consequently dropped from his sponsorship.

When I asked Perez how it felt to be known, in part, because of Medina’s alleged harassment, she explained with calm confidence, “It was definitely a setback. It was people’s focus. People ignored everything I’d accomplished prior to that happening. It sent me back mentally; it made me not want to continue on.” She also pushed back against the people who have said that the incident had somehow benefited her career: “I’ve had people tell me I was nobody and that’s what got me to where I was. Little do they know I’d worked with Nintendo prior to that, that I’ve done plenty of tournaments and locals.”

Perez didn’t quit, and over time, more commentating opportunities presented themselves to her, including one of the most discussed Smash 4 matches in history: number one Smash 4 pro Gonzalo “Zero” Barrios’ loss to underdog Saleem “Salem” Akiel Young at EVO 2017. It was a gig for Disney XD, which, she said, presented a special challenge. “They wanted us to cater to a more general audience, not a competitive one,” Perez said. “Your grandma watching Smash isn’t going to understand what a ‘back air’ is, or a roll—even if they see a character roll.”

Perez pulled it off, contextualizing the match for both newcomers and pros alike by describing a recent game patch that gave Barrios more of an advantage against Young, who was playing the fighter Bayonetta. With gravity, she then intoned, “But he is not going down without a fight.” Over the course of the match, Perez broke down point by point how Young continued anticipating Barrios’ positioning and capitalizing on the the most subtle of openings. In their last game, each with one stock, Young had a brutal 101% damage to Barrios’ 25%. Young shocked the audience by spinning Barrios straight into the sky with an inescapable combo. Perez’s commentary heightened the moment as she yelled “And this is the first time we’re seeing the sealing combo, Salem taking it over Zero here at EVO 2017!”

The crowd goes wild.

Perez isn’t the only female Smash commentator in the game anymore. One commentator who goes by Cinnpie told Kotaku that Perez has been “nothing but encouraging towards every upcoming commentator she meets.” ChellyToms, another female Smash commentator, has been getting notice, too. When I asked Perez whether she’s noticed her career paving the way for other female Smash commentators, she said she has, and it’s only increased her dedication to her craft. She wants up-and-comers to know that “growth is very possible.” She continued, “My job isn’t just to educate an audience but to entertain them, add some personality, and encourage people at home that they could commentate and play, too. That’s the whole purpose of showing these tournaments.”

The next generation of Smash fans will grow up watching Perez. Last year, at the Frame Perfect 2 tournament, Perez was walking around the floor when she saw a little girl, not older than 7. “She literally pointed at me and said ‘gatico,’ which means ‘kitty,’” Perez recalled. “That was amazing.”


What’s going on in Kingdom Hearts 3’s epilogue?

With the official launch of Kingdom Hearts 3 comes a major new piece of content, available only as a downloadable patch: the epilogue. And if you expect it to be a nice, tidy bow on the adventure, hoo boy. Hoo BOY. You are in for a ride.

It’s time to get into serious spoiler territory, as we take our best stab at eking out some sense of what’s going on in the epilogue to Kingdom Hearts 3. But please note that it involves a whole mess of information that, frankly, does not make a lot of sense.

[Warning: There are plenty of spoilers below as we discuss the biggest questions — and reveals — in the epilogue.]

How do I watch the Kingdom Hearts 3 epilogue?

First off, to access the epilogue, you must complete the game and watch the ending. Then, should you have downloaded the update, the game will prompt you to check out a new video in the Theater mode. It’s called “Lost Masters” — a clear reference to the Keyblade Masters that make up the backbone of Kingdom Hearts’ lore, dating way back before Sora was even a twinkle in his unseen parents’ eyes.

What happens in the epilogue?

From out of the sky, a mysterious, Keyblade-like weapon shuttles down into the sand of a desert.

“Finally,” a hooded figure says, picking it up. “Back where it belongs.”

This is a version of the Keyblade graveyard seen in the final hours of Kingdom Hearts 3, albeit most likely from a time long ago. The hooded figure is quickly joined by four people in animal masks, who appear out of portals into the area. Now that the group of five has gathered together, the figure pulls down his hood: It’s Xigbar, a member of Organization XIII that we could have sworn died during the events of the game.

A boss fight with Xigbar in Kingdom Hearts 2.
Here he is — Xigbar. He’s back. OK.
Square Enix

Xigbar used to be known as Luxu, which is how the group still knows him. One person is missing, however; it’s Ava, whom Luxu may have just not invited to the party. As he’s vaguely telling the group about how he goes by Xigbar now, not Luxu, we see two familiar figures watching silently from afar: Maleficent and Pete, who were seen early on in Kingdom Hearts 3, only to be forgotten halfway through the game. They were hunting down a mysterious black box that contained … something mysterious. But we never saw how their story played out.

Well, Luxu/Xigbar now has that black box with him, so it looks like Maleficent and Pete either gave up on their task or helped him. He promises to explain, but it’s a long story, he says.

The epilogue then jumps to Young Eraqus and Xehanort playing chess, as seen in the very beginning and end of Kingdom Hearts 3. But now Eraqus wants to play a new game that involves seven black pieces, as Xehanort notes, and a single white piece, which Eraqus smashes onto the board as the scene cuts to black.

OK. So. We have questions. And thankfully, there are answers.

Who is Luxu?

Luxu, a.k.a. Xigbar, is one of the Master of Masters’ apprentices. An all-knowing, all-powerful Keyblade wielder, The Master of Masters deputizes his students to watch over the world before he disappears without a trace. The group of six went on to become a group of five, known as the Foretellers, each of whom is a Keyblade Master. The Foretellers had to contend with the world’s looming darkness and protect it from a prophesied apocalypse. They ultimately fail, and the Keyblade War breaks out among them and the rest of the world.

Luxu from Kingdom Hearts
Luxu dresses like an Organization XIII member, because … well. Duh.
Square Enix

But the prophecy also told of a traitor in their midst. Luxu is the odd one out, as the Master of Masters tasks him with watching over his powerful Keyblade, which is imbued with foresight into the future (and, it seems, the ability to time travel). He must also protect, and keep closed, a Black Box that hides an important secret. While his fellow students engage in the War, Luxu watches from the sidelines, committing its history to memory.

Luxu continues to travel and observe throughout the years. A long time later, Luxu assumes a new form, as one often does in this series. That form is Xigbar, or Braig, a sort of sleeper agent in Organization XIII. But now it seems that Xigbar is ready to return to his Luxu days, bailing from Xehanort’s clan to meet back up with his old crew.

Who is Ava?

Ava is the one Foreteller who doesn’t succumb to the same anger that ruins her fellow apprentices. The Master of Masters instructs her to find the other Keyblade users and create a separate group from the Foretellers, called the Dandelions, who must avoid the inevitable Keyblade War and illuminate the world once more.

Foreteller Ava from Kingdom Hearts
This is Ava, leader of the Dandelions.
Square Enix

Although she is mostly successful in this, Ava is prone to suspicions. The prophecy mentions that there is a traitor in the Foretellers’ midsts, and that they would cause darkness to fall upon Keyblade wielders. After running into Luxu, she wonders if it’s him, and they end up fighting, as Luxu insists that the Master of Masters knows best — that the Keyblade War will happen, and that Ava and the Foretellers will lose no matter what. Their fight signals that Luxu was right, and the War will soon break out.

Who are those four masked, robed people?

They’re the Foretellers, who wore white-and-pink robes, unlike the black robes worn by the Master of Masters and Luxu/Xigbar. And they also covered their faces with masks, each one inspired by a different animal.

Artwork of the Foretellers from Kingdom Hearts X.
The entire group of Foretellers, including Ava.
Square Enix

There’s just four of them, and Xigbar points out that Ava is missing from the group. That means we can safely assume that the robed people are the four other apprentices: Aced, Gula, Invi, and Ira. (These are the folks who caved into the rage that begat the Keyblade War.) We don’t know much else about what Xigbar wants with them, but they, too, demand answers.

When does all of this backstory stuff happen?

Most of it happens before the series even starts. The rest is part of the storyline for Kingdom Hearts χ, the mobile game whose story was thankfully recapped in Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover, which you can view in the PS4 series compilation The Story So Far. The game covers the beginning of the end of the Foretellers, watching them fall apart and fight each other. Ava is a big part of the storyline, as she tries to keep the other apprentices at peace. The game also features her fight with Luxu, and thus the beginning of the Keyblade War.

Where is Sora?

The end of Kingdom Hearts 3 tells us that Sora is still on the hunt for Kairi, the series’ perennial damsel in distress. The epilogue doesn’t answer this question for us, however; all we know is that Sora continues to venture from world to world as he tries to find his ever-missing friend. Thankfully, there’s a “secret movie” that’s still on the way, so maybe we’ll find out more about Sora from that.

Why are Eraqus and Xehanort still here?

The scene with these two friends-turned-foes comes from way back when, before the days when their friendship went south and Xehanort broke bad. Just as Xigbar has a story to tell, Eraqus does, too. There are seven black pieces on that chess board — which could be the six apprentices, plus the Master of Masters — and a white one we can’t identify. There’s likely some explanation … whether it makes sense or not.

Eraqus in Kingdom Hearts
Young Eraqus is back at the end of the epilogue to make things more confusing.
Square Enix

Is the epilogue a teaser for Kingdom Hearts 4?

We can’t say that for sure. We know that Kingdom Hearts as a franchise isn’t over — please, like that would ever happen! — but this saga, known as the Dark Seeker saga, certainly is. Whenever or however Kingdom Hearts continues, we have to imagine that Xigbar, the Foretellers, Xehanort, and Eraqus will play into the events somehow. Which means we’re going to head back into the past, baybeeeee.

And it’s crucial to remember this: We still don’t know who the Master of Masters is, or was, or where he is now. This is the biggest question without an answer, so we have to guess it’s the next stop on this Kingdom Hearts train to who-knows-where.


Me (Tim Rogers) and Paul are going to tear through Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III over on our

Me (Tim Rogers) and Paul are going to tear through Toy Story world in Kingdom Hearts III over on our Twitch channel. We will skip all cutscenes and not discuss spoilers! Come yell at Woody and Buzz with us in the chat!

About the author

Tim Rogers

I make videos for Kotaku. I make video games for myself and my friends. I like writing fiction. Someday I will publish a novel. Who knows!


PC Building Simulator leaves early access on Steam, adds Nvidia hardware

PC Building Simulator, a game that allows you to simulate building a new PC inside your current PC, is a real thing. It’s also an officially finished thing, available now on Steam.

Today’s full release comes with word that developers The Irregular Corporation have partnered with graphics card manufacturer Nvidia. This launch edition of PC Building Simulator therefore includes simulated versions of Nvidia’s popular GeForce GTX 1080 Ti as well as its brand new RTX 2080 Ti.

That inclusion alone transforms the goofy-sounding piece of software into a tremendously useful tool for planning your next real-life PC build. Other hardware partners announced today include Deepcool and Thermaltake.

PC Building Simulator launched into Steam’s Early Access program in March 2018. Since then, The Irregular Corporation has slowly built out the sim’s functionality to include an actual career mode, where players can try to make a living as independent system builder. The game also includes a simulated workshop where players can try their hand at diagnosing and repairing hardware for their virtual customers.

But the real benefit of this game is that it serves to demystify the act of building a PC from scratch. According to the Steam description, the entire system is aimed at novices. You can choose the parts you want, examine them in 3D, and then see how they fit together. More experienced builders can also spend time tinkering and tweaking their settings before testing things out with in-game benchmarking software.

The list of partners includes the following:

  • 3D Mark
  • AMD
  • Antec
  • Arctic
  • Asus
  • Cooler Master
  • Cryorig
  • Corsair
  • Deepcool
  • EKWB
  • EVGA
  • Fractal Design
  • Futuremark
  • Gamer Storm
  • GSkill
  • Gigabyte
  • In Win
  • Intel
  • MSI
  • Nvidia
  • NZXT
  • Patriot
  • Raijintek
  • Razer
  • Republic of Gamers
  • Team Group
  • Thermaltake
  • UL, formerly known as Underwriters Laboratories
  • Viper Gaming
  • XPG
  • Silverstone
  • Zotac

That’s a fairly exhaustive list and, according to Steam’s own hardware survey, accounts for pretty much all of the most popular bits on the market.


Chucky TV Show Brings The Killer Doll Back To Screens

Even though the latest movie in the long-running Child’s Play series was released less than two years ago, last July it was announced that the franchise was to be entirely rebooted as a new film without the involvement of creator Dan Mancini. However, it has now been confirmed that Mancini’s story of killer doll Chucky will continue as TV show.

The show will be simply titled Chucky and is being developed at Syfy. Mancini will write the series, and will produce alongside long-term partner David Kirschner, as well as Nick Antosca, who worked with Mancini on the hit horror anthology series Channel Zero.

In a statement, Mancini said: “I’ve long wanted to bring Chucky to television and Syfy is the perfect network for us. The show will be a fresh take on the franchise, allowing us to explore Chucky’s character with a depth that is uniquely afforded by the television series format, while staying true to the original vision that has terrorized audiences for over three decades now.”

The Chucky series kicked off in 1988 with Child’s Play, which was followed by two direct sequels in 1990 and 1991. The series took a more overt comic turn with 1998’s The Bride of Chucky and three subsequent films. Mancini has written every movie in the series to date and directed the last three, including 2017’s The Cult of Chucky.

The Child’s Play remake is being produced by MGM but will not have any involvement from Mancini. In a recent interview on the Post Mortem podcast, he explained that he wasn’t happy about the new movie version. “Obviously my feelings were hurt,” he said. “You know, I had just done two movies… forgive me if I sound defensive, [they] were both at 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though they didn’t get theatrical releases, they were well regarded. And I did create the character and nurture the franchise for three f***ing decades.

“That’s how I feel. The people who are making that movie, they don’t know how that’s going to affect my livelihood. It’s not just a paycheck. It’s very personal. MGM’s screwing with that potentially.”


PSA: Destiny 2 Now Lets You Get Whisper Of The Worm Anytime

Good news, Guardians: Destiny 2 now allows you to chase the Whisper of the Worm Exotic sniper rifle at any time. Gone are the days of waiting until the weekend rolled around to complete the steps necessary to access the hidden special mission, or to unlock one of the best guns in the game.

Bungie made the announcement on Twitter, revealing that The Whisper mission is now available on the moon Io any day of the week. The change is part of Update 2.1.4, which rebalances a ton of Supers and weapons throughout the game. The update also adds in The Draw, another Exotic weapon quest.

The Whisper quest only appeared in the game last summer, and it took the Destiny 2 community a while to discover what it was all about and how it worked. Used to be, from Friday to Sunday on any given week, you could access the quest by waiting for a particular public event to occur in the Lost Oasis area of Io. When the right event popped up, a special enemy would also appear, and killing it would open up a portal to the special mission.

From there, you had to complete a long, elaborate platforming puzzle, before engaging in some extremely tough battles with hordes of Taken enemies–all within a 20-minute time limit. The mission was difficult enough that most people required a team to complete it, but The Whisper was so super-secret that it didn’t include matchmaking. Finishing the mission, though, granted you Whisper of the Worm, a powerful Exotic sniper rifle similar to Destiny 1’s Black Spindle. The weapon has become a mainstay for players taking on big boss fights like the ones found in Destiny 2’s raids.

With Bungie’s latest change, The Whisper is available all week in Lost Oasis, and it can be activated from any public event in the region, which should drastically reduce wait times. The mission itself is still pretty tough, but removing the weekend requirement should make it a whole lot easier for Guardians to band together and finally unlock Whisper of the Worm if they’ve been waiting.


The Real Story Behind Pioneer, The Troubled Sci-Fi Game Teased In Watch Dogs 2

A tweet two weeks ago from a former Ubisoft director led the gaming world to believe that Pioneer, the sci-fi game that was teased inside of Watch Dogs 2, was canceled. Is it, though? The answer to that question is hazy, and may depend on your definition of “canceled.”

Some background: In November 2016, a side mission in Ubisoft’s hacking adventure Watch Dogs 2 tasked the player with infiltrating an in-game version of the company’s San Francisco offices. Play through the mission and you’d uncover a sci-fi trailer that looked a little too good to have been made just for Watch Dogs. It blended Western guitar twangs with gorgeous shots of colorful satellites as a small ship flew through space, reminiscent of No Man’s Sky. We did some digging at the time and learned from our sources that it was in fact a real-life Ubisoft video game project, code-named Pioneer, that had been going through some trouble.

News remained quiet on Pioneer until earlier this month, when former Ubisoft creative director Alex Hutchinson implied on Twitter that the project was dead. “RIP Pioneer,” he wrote on January 14, with a link to the trailer. Naughty Dog animator Jonathan Cooper, formerly of Ubisoft, also wrote the same. The tweets understandably led gaming sites and enthusiasts around the world to believe that Pioneer was canceled.

Yet as I’ve asked around since then, I’ve heard from three people familiar with goings-on at Ubisoft that there’s still a project called Pioneer in development. It’s just very different now. “Old Pioneer is dead,” said one. “Pioneer’s half-undead brother is here.”

Those people, and others who talked to me about Pioneer, spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to press about development at Ubisoft. Ubisoft declined to comment on this report.

So what is Pioneer, exactly? Originally conceived in 2013, not long after the launch of Assassin’s Creed III, it was at first envisioned as a non-violent space exploration game that would be made by a small team of people at Ubisoft Montreal. It was directed by ACIII’s Hutchinson, who would also go on to helm Far Cry 4 (2014), and its development happened in fits and starts over the years. “We wanted to be as new as possible: new forms of navigation, new ways of gaining objectives, no overt violence,” said a person who worked on Pioneer. “The scale of the newness made it very hard to coalesce into a finished game.”

As Pioneer progressed between 2014 and 2016, the Watch Dogs 2 team decided to design a mission in which you’d infiltrate fake Ubisoft, and they thought it might be fun if you got to steal a trailer for an actual Ubisoft video game. Pioneer was a good fit. “We needed something to leak that would be more fun than Division or Assassin’s Creed DLC,” said a person who worked on Watch Dogs 2. “And not a big announcement, like the next Assassin’s Creed. So the footage of [Pioneer] covered the right amount of ‘What the hell is this?’”

But a confluence of factors had led Pioneer to struggle, including tensions between Hutchinson and other staff. In the fall of 2016, Ubisoft removed him and other leads from the project and rebooted it with new creative leadership, according to three people familiar with what happened. Some of Pioneer’s leads, like Hutchinson, later left Ubisoft to go indie, while others moved to other internal Ubisoft projects or went over to EA Motive, which at the time was primarily working on the single-player campaign for Star Wars Battlefront II.

As Watch Dogs 2 came out in November 2016, we all saw the trailer for a project that was already in trouble, as we reported then. Pioneer continued under new creative leadership, however, and it turned into something of a running joke as staff at Ubisoft Montreal exchanged whispers about whether it might actually ever come out.

Then, in early January 2019, word came out that Pioneer was canceled for real. Except it wasn’t. Instead, according to three people familiar with the project, Ubisoft actually rebooted Pioneer once again, transforming it from a non-violent exploration game into a coop multiplayer alien shooter that uses some of Pioneer’s old features. What’s more, Ubisoft has told Pioneer’s staff to use the Rainbow Six branch of the publisher’s Anvil game engine (in other words: the code and tech that helps make Rainbow Six games), suggesting that the new Pioneer may be related to or at least inspired by that series.

The Rainbow Six games are realistic military shooters, but in the past, according to two people familiar with the publisher, Ubisoft has greenlit and then canceled a Rainbow Six spin-off in which you’d fight zombies and/or aliens. So this won’t be the first time the company has used Rainbow Six’s game engine for science fiction.

In other words, the project called Pioneer is still in development, and it may still even resemble the trailer that was snuck into Watch Dogs 2. But it no longer resembles the Pioneer that was originally planned. And we’ll have to wait and see if it ever actually comes out.


Kingdom Hearts 3 Exploring The Pirates Of The Caribbean World (Mid-Late Game)

Tune in as we dive into the mid to late game in Kingdom Hearts 3 as we fight alongside Captain Jack Sparrow.

Fortnite’s NFL skins returning for Super Bowl LIII

Last year, during the NFL regular season, Epic Games partnered with the National Football League to release official team uniforms as cosmetics items inside Fortnite.

The items were wildly successful, but, as with all Fortnite cosmetics, they were only in the store for a brief time. Now, Epic is bringing the NFL uniforms back for a limited time. In celebration of their trip to Super Bowl LIII the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots will also be getting a new white version of their uniforms to commemorate their trip to the big game.

The skins themselves will be available starting on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. ET, though Epic hasn’t yet made clear when they’ll be removed from the shop again. Since the Super Bowl is on Sunday, Feb. 3, it’s safe to say they’ll last that long, though they’re unlikely to stick around long after that, since a new patch is likely to arrive on Tuesday.

Also coming to Fortnite in celebration of Super Bowl Sunday is the new NFL Rumble Limited Time Mode. The mode allows teams of 20 to face off against one another with everyone decked out in either a Patriots or Rams uniform, in Fortnite’s equivalent of the teams’ on-the-field competition.


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