With Destiny 2’s Season of Dawn update, Bungie added a bunch of new hidden items to the game’s code. This is normal, and happens every few months in Destiny 2. But, with Season of Dawn, a rare bug after PvP matches appears to show a Trials score card.
Trials — both of Osiris in the original Destinyand of the Nine in Destiny 2 — was a hardcore PvP mode available on the weekends. Players would get a card displaying their wins and losses, and jump into the mode with a group of other players. Each team would battle, and whoever won marked a win on their card, and the losers would mark a loss.
The goal was to win as many games as you could before three losses. At seven wins, you got a great piece of loot. But, if you managed to earn seven wins without losing, you’d go to a special location and get a unique reward.
Currently in Destiny 2, there’s a small chance a purple placeholder card could appear on screen. During a Grym_Games stream, the bug appeared at the end of a custom PvP match. It’s a purple tooltip with placeholder art and a title called “Placeholder Type.” At the bottom of the tooltip, you can see the seven win check boxes and the three loss check boxes, labeled game history. Other players have since corroborated the bug’s existence.
This new card looks very similar to the old Trials of the Nine game card from early in Destiny 2’s life. Trials of the Nine ran from Destiny 2’s launch to just before Destiny 2: Forsaken, when Bungie put it on hiatus for improvements. The studio teased its return earlier this year, but this is some of the first in-game evidence that Trials could be back soon.
It’s not clear what Bungie will call Trials this time around — although it won’t be Trials of the Nine again, according to game director Luke Smith. It’s worth noting that Osiris — the character Bungie named the original Trials after — is a big component in Season of Dawn, so it’s likely the mode’s return could focus on him.
No matter what happens with Trials, players are eager to see the mode return after more than a year of absence. It’s unclear when that will happen, but this most recent bug has players hoping it could be soon.
Last night at The Game Awards, host Geoff Keighley gave me the best gift I could have ever asked for, something so delightful that I didn’t even know I needed it: an Untitled Goose Game and Muppet Labs crossover.
Untitled Goose Game is a slapstick stealth game from indie studio House House that reached mainstream success earlier in the year. Everyone loves the goose. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker from The Muppet Show appeared onstage to give the Games for Impact award — but before they did, they showcased their perfect collaboration with Untitled Goose Game. Beaker donned a very cute Muppet-sized VR headset and wandered aimlessly about the Untitled Goose Game world, and thus was born the Untitled Beaker Game.
Unfortunately, this game is not real. Not real at this time, that is.
As the elaborate mock-up unfolded live last night, Beaker wandered around Untitled Googe Game’s opening levels, only to be chased off by the game’s grumpy storekeeper. Unsuspectingly rounding a corner from an alleyway, Beaker runs into the goose — the horrible goose — which terrorizes the poor little Muppet that I just want to hug.
It was very cute. And look, even Death Stranding star Norman Reedus and director Hideo Kojima liked it. Look at that smile. Norman is delighted.
Later, a goose Muppet materialized into the real world, stepping on stage to cause evenmore chaos. As you may have guessed, that, too, was delightful. It was easily the best moment of the night. I’m not a Muppet connoisseur or anything, but the Muppet Labs crew is now officially my number one Muppet, overtaking the Swedish Chef. I don’t make the rules here.
I think the internet agrees.
marvel: infinity war is the most ambitious crossover of all time untitled beaker game: exists
Most folks show up for The Game Awards for the new games and announcements. But, despite the dozens of trailers at the event, its core conceit is still to give the game industry an international stage on which to recognize the truly outstanding games of the previous year. There’s even a few surprises, and this year was no exception.
The Game Awards 2019 had 29 categories ranging from best esports coach to best indie game. The nominees for all of the awards are selected by a jury of 80 media and influencer outlets, Polygon among them. After all of the nominees are decided, the winners are chosen based on 90 percent of the votes from the nominating jury and 10 percent from a fan vote.
From Software’sSekiro: Shadows Die Twice took home the night’s top prize for overall Game of the Year and also won Best Action/Adventure Game. The night’s biggest winner was probably Disco Elysium, which won all four categories it was nominated in including Narrative, Role-Playing Game, Independent Game, and Fresh Indie Game.
You can find the full list of winners and nominees from this year’s Game Awards below.
Prior to this week’s episode of The Mandalorianwe’ve seen a lot of death — dog-faced men impaled on spears; dozens of anonymous thugs gunned down with an automatic blaster; the hot smoking wreckage of a stormtrooper hit with a flamethrower — but it’s never been quite as sudden or graphic as it is in episode six.
Star Wars has a history of getting away with high body counts. Lightsabers and blasters yield bloodless kills, with a shower of sparks instead of fountains of blood. We never see the billions sacrificed on Alderaan, or the thousands of contractors that went up with the second Death Star. But Lucasfilm has pushed audience comfort levels in the past. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, which torched Anakin Skywalker in order to turn him into Darth Vader, earned a hard PG-13 from the MPAA. And yet, Lucasfilm has somehow managed to keep this galaxy far, far away family friendly.
The Mandalorian episode 6 plays out like an interrogation of the way Star Wars has tiptoed to the gory edge over the years. In the end it’s the Mandalorian himself who pulls up short and refuses to step over.
[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian episode 6.]
In “The Prisoner,” the Mandalorian joins up with a group of mercenaries to rescue one of their crew from a prison ship, which he’s told is manned entirely by droids. It’s an action-packed heist film through and through, with actor Pedro Pascal’s stunt team doing some of their best work in the series. Mando eviscerates a half-dozen droids while the mercenaries look on, using all of the weapons in his arsenal and even bits of the droids themselves to accomplish the task. Later in the episode, our hero rips the arm off another droid, spraying a fountain of oil all over the walls of a pristine white starship.
There’s no way that Lucasfilm would ever show the Mandalorian doing something like that to a group of humanoid creatures. Just like The Phantom Menace, which features one of the largest ground battles ever seen in the history of the franchise, traditionally droids are the targets of Star Wars’ most grisly deaths.
But there’s a moment, midway through the episode on the bridge of the prison ship, when the mercenaries realize that they got some bad intelligence. Turns out there’s a human onboard after all, a young and frightened New Republic officer, and the only way to complete the mission and get out alive is to kill him.
The Mandalorian tries to intervene. “Nobody has to get hurt here” is a very odd thing for a hired gun whose shot his way into a prison ship to say, and yet here we are. It seems like our hero has gotten a bad case of the ethics since his break with the bounty hunters guild.
In a flash, one of the other mercenaries throws a knife. The officer falls dead, and the tone of the entire episode shifts uncomfortably into PG-13 territory.
At that moment “The Prisoner” effectively transitions from Oceans Eleven into The Predator. The Mandalorian methodically isolates each of his enemies and proceeds to silently hunt them down. The confrontations are brutal, but each one of them stops just shy of showing the bodies hit the floor.
Honestly, it might be just a bit too short for my liking. One moment in particular it looks like a guy gets his head smooshed by a blast door. It definitely made me jump. I’m honestly not sure that my kids are going to see this one for a few years.
But, even though the audience doesn’t see the moment of impact, the mercenary’s deaths have already been alluded to. We saw what Mando did to those droids. As the lights go down, alarm klaxons begin sounding and flashing red lights turn the interior of the ship bright red, and we know that the Mandalorian could just as easily paint its walls with the blood of his humanoid enemies.
And yet he doesn’t.
In the final moments of the show we learn that our hero doesn’t kill anyone. The only person who dies was that solitary New Republic officer, and the Mandalorian makes those mercenaries pay for what they did by locking them in a cell and leaving them stranded on the derelict ship. It honestly makes me wonder if they even needed all the ultraviolence as he hunted them down, or if they could have gotten the same message across and toned it down somewhat for all the children Baby Yoda invited into the room.
It’s all water under the bridge for what amounts to another stellar episode, but it’s a signal to audiences about how far Lucasfilm is willing to go to make The Mandalorian an adult experience. Human characters will die as the story unfolds. Baby Yoda will be put in harm’s way. It all adds up to a show that comes very close to PG-13 territory, but similarly refuses to step over.
Quality assurance is a process. Merely knowing that a bug exists isn’t enough: testers need to be able to reproduce the bug in order to access the root cause. Easier said than done.
Yesterday, Obsidian Entertainment QA Lead Taylor Swope took to Twitter to explain how the developer figured out and eventually fixed an annoying bug that caused The Outer Worlds to believe that a player’s companions are dead. The problem should be obvious: companions can’t die, and indeed, people who encountered this bug could see their pals behaving as they normally would. But, because the game treated companions as deceased, some players weren’t able to complete certain quests.
Obsidian was aware of the bug before launch, Swope says on Twitter — but the RPG-maker couldn’t recreate it, nor could it figure out what was causing it.
“One reason it was so hard to pin down is that it was impossible to tell when the bug actually happened,” Swope explained. “All of the cases we had were essentially ‘hey something bad happened in the last ten hours and now my quest is broken.’”
Swope says Obsidian went over “every script and line of code” that could have possibly affected companions this way. No dice. This, it turns out, was the start of a long and convoluted process, as Swope detailed on Twitter:
The only place in the game when a companion is present but *not* in the active party is when the player is on their ship The problem is, when companions are on the ship, they are undamageable (8/18)
The problem with *that* is that there are no spots in the player’s ship that are high enough to result in a lethal fall So now we had to figure out how companions were mysteriously ending up way above the level (10/18)
Unable to suss the issue out, Obsidian crossed its proverbial fingers and hoped that the issue would be a “rare fluke” that may not appear in many players’ games. And then The Outer Worldscame out, and lo and behold, reports of dead companions seemed to be everywhere. No good! Obsidian was back on the case. But despite all the poking and prodding, what eventually led Obsidian to figure out what was going on turned out to be completely random: Swope came across a user review that complained of a companion who was “climbing nothing.” Suddenly, everything clicked into place:
Somewhere deep in the complex beast that is the furniture system, we had code that disabled all NPCs from starting new furniture interactions if the player was in a conversation (16/18)
Incredible. The bug is fixed now, of course — but Swope says that pinning this down took him more time than any glitch he’s encountered over the course of his entire career.
So, next time you wonder “why hasn’t this game developer fixed this common bug that screws with my experience,” remember that QA might have known about everything before the game even launched … but actually remedying it is way harder than you might think!
Inspired by Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Galar region, The Pokémon Company is launching a seven-episode web series called Pokémon: Twilight Wings. The limited series will broadcast on the Pokémon YouTube channel beginning in January.
The Pokémon Company said Pokémon: Twilight Wings will focus on the everyday details of Galar’s residents, including “the realities they face, the challenges they must overcome, and the conflicts they must resolve.” It doesn’t sound like we’ll be purely following a Pokémon trainer like in the core series anime, but we certainly will see a bunch of different Galar-region exclusive Pokémon.
Honestly, Pokémon: Twilight Wings sounds delightful — and looks stunning, too. Animation for the series was done by Japanese company Studio Colorido, which most recently created the 2018 film Penguin Highway.
Pokémon: Twilight Wings will debut on YouTube on Jan. 15. Pokémon Sword and Shield, on the other hand, is available now on Nintendo Switch. The new mainline Pokémon game was released on Nov. 15.
Two hours and eighteen minutes into The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) projects his avatar from across the galaxy to confront Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and save the Resistance. Both times I saw the film theatrically, once in Mumbai, and then in New Delhi a thousand miles away, the image of Luke floating cross-legged, deep in meditation, was met with thunderous applause. This wasn’t just a clever twist for fans of Force magic; for many eastern audiences, the image of the Jedi levitating cross-legged above a mound evokes depictions of Siddhārtha Gautama, the first Buddha, in sculptures and paintings across the centuries.
The climactic reveal of Luke, lost in deep meditation on Ahch-To (the site of his self-imposed exile, where he lives a similarly material-free life), takes the place of the typical “cowboy shot,” where a subject is framed from the thigh-up as they grab their weapon from its holster — a technique Star Wars has used in the past. Instinctively, most audiences in the west know what this image means whenever it appears, especially if it’s accompanied by the camera pushing closer for emphasis (as it does on Rey when she first wields her weapon in The Force Awakens). It’s a precursor to heroic action scenes; a familiar visual shorthand that tickles the senses, as all genre tropes do. But in The Last Jedi, as the camera pushes in on Luke, the shorthand of the climax is an image more familiar to viewers in South and Southeast Asia. For me, the image recalled an enormous statue of the Buddha in the Ajanta Caves, a series of rock-cut Buddhist monasteries built as far back as the 2nd century BCE.
Cross-legged depictions of the meditating Buddha are most often depictions of the revered monk achieving nirvana, a form of deep spiritual understanding in South Asian religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The latter, now the world’s fourth-largest religion, is believed to have been founded in the 5th century BCE by Siddhārtha Gautama, who most historians agree renounced the material world before embarking upon a journey of learning and teaching until his eventual death; more specific details are harder to verify, though most biographies cite his birthplace as Lumbini — modern-day Nepal. In Buddhist traditions that arose in subsequent centuries, nirvana (or “the great quenching”) became one of Buddhism’s central tenets, an escape from cycles of death and rebirth, achieved through deep concentration, helping others, and a state of peaceful, desireless living.
Despite its political and aesthetic touchstones, the Star Wars series’ philosophy has historically been a hodgepodge of eastern ideas, mixing Taoism, Buddhism and Zen. In the first film in the series, the Jedi’s belief in the Force and its “light” and “dark” sides mirrored the Taoist concepts of Qi (or Ch’i; a “life force”) and the yin-and-yang. Shortly thereafter, The Empire Strikes Back re-enforced, through characters like Master Yoda (Frank Oz), the idea that using the Force was akin to Zen — or at least, the simplified version of Zen Buddhism that captured the attention of Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, and leaked into the western zeitgeist of the ’50s and ’60s. In the west, the word “Zen” has since come to mean “a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition,” not unlike Luke’s education on the Force. “How will I know the good side from the bad?” Luke asks, to which Yoda replies, “You will know when you are calm. At peace. Passive.”
However, the contradictory behavior of the Jedi would come to light in Return of the Jedi, when Obi-Wan insists that, in order to defeat the Emperor, Luke must vanquish Darth Vader in an act of physical dominance. This course of action would require Luke to detach himself emotionally from his own father, but it also contradicted the very things Yoda had taught him. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense,” Yoda said, “never attack.” By the end of the film, Luke rejects both extremes of the Force equation, neither buying into the visceral hatred of the Dark Side nor following the dispassionate Jedi dogma that would’ve also lead him to violence. After pummeling Vader in a fit of rage, Luke tosses his own lightsaber aside, and offers him a path to redemption.
By The Last Jedi, Luke has cut himself off from the Force, having failed to exorcise the darkness in his nephew Ben Solo. In flashback, we see Luke momentarily tempted by both sides of the equation once more: the violent potential within him that the Dark Side could draw out, and the Jedi’s dogmatic call to ascetic detachment in order to vanquish evil. In this moment, as in the moment Luke nearly took Vader’s life, the Dark Side and the ways of the Jedi are one and the same. Luke thinks about (and nearly acts on) killing Ben. He doesn’t follow through, but it’s too late: The betrayed Ben, denied the road to redemption by his own uncle, is set down on a dark path of his own. A second Skywalker villain is created by Jedi zealotry.
“The greatest teacher, failure is,” Yoda tells Luke, setting him on a path of amends. While simply appearing in person at the battle of Crait would have fulfilled the same plot function, the mechanics by which Luke appears, battles Ben (now Kylo Ren), and subsequently dies, serve to complete his story thematically. Luke uses the Force not to “walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order,” as he jokes earlier in the film, but as means of spiritual communion, the way it manifests elsewhere between Kylo and Luke’s new protégé, Rey (Daisy Ridley). While Rian Johnson got the idea for “force projection” from the Star Wars reference book The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force, astral projection as a spiritual concept takes hold in Buddhist scripture. In the Samaññaphala Sutta, or “The Fruit of Contemplative Life,” the Buddha says:
With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, the monk directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body … He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird.
The Last Jedi’s cut away from the duel to Luke’s cross-legged meditation signals the achievement of a greater, clear-minded understanding. The concept of nirvana ties back to the central Buddhist idea of escaping cycles of life and death, or attaining moksha, i.e. salvation from pain; what pains Luke, it would seem, is the guilt of his failure. In Buddhism, in order to attain this moksha, one must ascend — as Luke does — from ceto-vimutti, a state of simple, desireless living, to pañña-vimutti, the escape from physical suffering through vipassana, or meditation. The term nirvana, when literally translated, means “blowing out,” as in a candle. As Luke fades from physical existence, backed by the sun-drenched horizon, his life ends like a fading flame.
Fittingly, Luke’s enlightenment, and his rejection of Jedi dogma, mirrors the rift between two major sects of Buddhism: Theravada, or the School of the Elders, and Mahayana, or the Great Vehicle. Theravada, the oldest and most orthodox form of Buddhism, teaches the path to nirvana as a strict endeavour embarked upon only by chosen monks living according to a rigid monastic code, whose enlightenment takes precedence over helping others. In response, Mahayana, which arose cir. the 1st century BCE, introduced newer, more lenient teachings considered inauthentic by many Theravadins. It allowed laypeople the chance to walk the path to enlightenment, and placed a greater emphasis on helping struggling humans, even if it meant delaying one’s own nirvana in order to do so(Mahayana, as it happens, was also the origin of Zen Buddhism).
This divide also echoes the paradigm of the new Star Wars films, which dramatizes the tensions between the rigidity of bloodline legacy — from Vader to Kylo Ren — and the arrival of an outsider Rey, who uses the Force and upsets the established order.
Rey is also a key fixture in the film’s use of Buddhist imagery. Her own moment of enlightenment, while searching for her parents’ identity in the cave on Ahch-To, comes in the form of gazing into infinite mirrors. In some sects of Buddhism, the mirror is considered a point of spiritual reflection; seventeenth century Zen master Hakuin Ekaku considered the mirror a false or illusory reflection of reality. Similarly, the “truth” Rey seeks in these mirrors presents itself first as illusion — two silhouetted figures, perhaps her parents, walking towards her — before finally reflecting the reality of the world as it truly is. In seeing these two shadows merge into her own reflection, Rey, the girl who raised herself on Jakku, begins to accept that it’s neither the phantom parents she clings to, nor idols like Luke or Han to whom she runs, nor Kylo Ren by whom she’s tempted, that will show her her path. It’s something she must forge herself.
Rey isn’t the only important outsider in The Last Jedi either. Rose (Trần Loan) and Finn (John Boyega) help a young stable boy (Temirlan Blaev) on Canto Bight, the Casino city frequented by the galaxy’s war profiteers. The capital is a nexus of violence and materialism, in contrast with the Buddhist tenets of ending suffering (dukkha) and detaching oneself from the material desires that cause it (samudaya). At the end of the film, a young slave boy who finds inspiration in a Rebel ring given to him by Rose, as well as in the legends of Luke Skywalker, appears to use the Force. In an immediate sense, this child is a symbol of the continuing rebellion, the birth of a new generation of Jedi, and like Rey, a spiritual successor in the Skywalker story.
But where does the Force go from here, after Luke’s ultimate rejection of violence and the Jedi dogma? How will this mysterious tool and spiritual fabric be seen, and canonized, in and after The Rise of Skywalker? The answer may partially lie with the new live-action Star Wars show on Disney Plus, The Mandalorian. The series, currently six episodes in of a planned total of eight, introduces a character colloquially dubbed “Baby Yoda.” This mute infant, of the same species as the Yoda we know, exhibits sensitivity to the Force, and in his innocent moments, tries to use the Force to heal the Mandalorian’s wounds. The Force as a means of physical healing is a concept yet unexplored by Star Wars, though it feels tethered to Luke’s use of the Force as a great vehicle for spiritual healing in The Last Jedi.
When the filmbegins, Luke has taken a dark path akin to Yoda’s didactic prophecy many years ago: “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering.” But by the end, Luke breaks this painful cycle by finding an alternative to Yoda’s three-pronged mantra, one that echoes the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the core of the Buddha’s teachings: Suffering exists. It has a cause. It has an end. And there is a noble path to ending it. The future of the Force, it would seem, lies in the ending of suffering, rather than in answering the call to violence; or, as Rose puts it, “Not fighting what we hate. Saving what we love.”
The saga thus far has woven a harmonious fabric, in which Luke Skywalker, the young farm boy from Tatooine who just wanted to be part of something greater, fulfills his destiny by becoming one with the Force. He’s helped along his path by none other than Master Yoda, whose own enlightenment has seen him become one with nature; “We are what they grow beyond,” Yoda tells him, of their Jedi students. “That is the true burden of all masters.” As the saga leans further into Mahayana tradition, the goals of its wise Jedi, and its older generations, are to guide these new heroes — and outsiders — toward their own forms of spiritual understanding.
Luke does not appear in front of Kylo Ren to fight, but to guide others to safety. When his astonishing new abilities are revealed, they are a path to salvation — for Kylo, for the entrapped Rebels, and for the Jedi master himself — instead of bloodshed. When Luke is revealed floating on the mound, the awesome power audiences applauded was not violent fantasy, but a path to peace.
The Fast & Furious film franchise is coming to consoles and PC next year with a new video game: Fast & Furious Crossroads, pitched as a “team-based, vehicular-heist action game” that stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson reprising their roles as Dom, Letty, and Roman, respectively.
Slightly Mad Studios will release Fast & Furious Crossroads on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One in May 2020, the same month that the ninth Fast & Furious movie hits theaters.
According to an announcement from publisher Bandai Namco, Fast & Furious Crossroads will feature “an authentic storyline … packed with heroes, gadgets, cars and non-stop cinematic-style action.” The racing game will feature a single-player story mode and a “soon-to-be-revealed multiplayer mode.”
That single-player story mode will also feature actors Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery, The Walking Dead) and Asia Kate Dillon (Billions, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum).
Fast & Furious Crossroads is being developed by Slightly Mad Studios, the team behind the Project CARS series. Slightly Mad was recently acquired by Codemasters.
The Game Awards showcased an additional League of Legends title as part of Riot Forge, called Conv/rgence: A League of Legends Story.
This game focuses on Ekko, an inventor who has figured out how to time travel back seconds at a time. Conv/rgence is another single-player game, though this one is an action platformer, that’ll have Ekko exploring the streets of Zaun, an undercity filled with pollution and crime. The game is in development by Riot Forge and Double Stallion Games and will be released for PC and console.
Amazon Game Studio released a new trailer for its multiplayer co-op survival game New World at The Game Awards. It looks like major changes have taken place since we last saw the game.
New World is a team-based player-vs-player-vs-environment survival game with elements of exploration, resource exploitation, and expansion. I become part of a guild that creates a new culture, arriving on the shores of a strange island. I work with team-mates to scavenge resources, craft tools and build a base. Together, we seek to destroy other bases, and to survive attacks from those already on the island.
Back in February, Amazon showed the game to reporters. We felt that, while it looked good and played well, some of its themes were overtly imperialistic, with a heavy emphasis on colonists exterminating residents of a “new” country. Today’s trailer shows a much more fantasy-based story that looks to have eschewed the quasi-historical setting.
The settler now appears to be some kind of fantasy warrior, rather than a quasi-17th century colonist. More clarity is given to the fact that the enemies already on the island are previous settlers from earlier eras who have been corrupted by the land’s power. There’s a lot more variety to the monsters than the generic zombies that we saw earlier this year.
New World is out in May on Windows PC. We’ll have more on this game in the weeks ahead.