Black Ops 4’s Latest Zombies Update Is A Lurch In The Right Direction

Black Ops 4’s Zombies mode wasn’t a big hit with the community when it arrived last fall, and what’s happened in the months since then hasn’t helped its reputation. But this week’s update is a step in the right direction.

In my initial review of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, I professed my frustrations of being a long-time Zombies player feeling overwhelmed at the menus. There was a buffet of content, offering a million options to decide how you wanted to play. Eventually, the menus became less daunting, and I found the modes and maps I enjoyed the most. I liked the frantic pace of the arcadey Rush mode, but I often wanted to hunt Easter eggs or go for high rounds with my friends. Unfortunately, all of Black Ops 4’s Zombies maps were prone to high-round blue screen crashes, which was especially annoying to the Zombies players who live for speed runs, high rounds, and complex Easter egg hunts.

The crashing plagued Zombies for almost an entire month without any real communication from Treyarch, leaving the community feeling frustrated and forgotten. Treyarch finally addressed the mode’s instability on November 7 in a statement, and patches slowly resolved crashes across all of the maps. Within that announcement was also the promise of more updates and transparency going forward.

When Black Ops 4’s Contraband Streams were announced, a loot progression system similar to Fortnite’s Battle Pass, the Zombies community was bummed to learn that playing their preferred mode wouldn’t help them level up at all. Only gameplay in standard multiplayer or Blackout would advance players in the Contraband tiers, so Zombies players felt left out once again.

On December 11, the “Dead of the Night” DLC map became available for Black Ops Pass holders. Treyarch also added Daily Skip Tiers to Zombies, which allows players to have a match of Zombies count towards advancing one tier in the current Contraband Stream. Regular gameplay still doesn’t count towards the loot grind, but Daily Skip Tiers are a start, I guess.


Personally, I haven’t indulged in very much zombie slaying since the arrival of the Contraband Streams because I’ve been grinding tiers for new guns and colorful Specialist skins. Gunning down the undead in a casual match of Zombies just feels like punishing myself with gameplay that won’t get me much closer to the high-level guns or skins I want.

Up until this week, Black Ops 4 Zombies has felt like a ton of content with very little reward. Treyarch is the original creator of Call of Duty Zombies, so where’s the love?


Some love finally arrived on January 15, which is also known to the community as 115 Day, a nod to the fictional Element 115 that created the zombies in Treyarch’s ongoing narrative. Treyarch kicked off the 115 Day celebration with Black Ops 4’s biggest Zombies update yet.

The most notable feature of the celebration is the arrival of Gauntlets on PlayStation 4, which are 30-round challenges with unique rules that restrict how you must play or finish each round. There’s a melee only round, a headshots only round, and rounds that restrict your perks or guns.The 30 rounds are divided into three sections: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. If you fail any round’s requirements, you receive a strike and must restart the round. Three strikes and you’re out.


This first Gauntlet, “Unsinkable,” takes place on the Voyage of Despair map, but Treyarch has teased that another Gauntlet will arrive later in the month. As always, Xbox One and PC players are waiting a week to have access to the new Black Ops 4 content, so they’ll be celebrating 115 Day on January 22.

There were notable changes to Zombies’ temporary “Elixir” consumable perks. Three new Elixirs were added, and six existing Elixirs received some tweaking. One of the most notable changes is a buff to Sword Flay, which now allows melee attacks to instantly kill basic zombies and vermin enemies for the fixed duration of the Elixir, and it’ll deal 5 times the damage to all other enemy types. The 115 celebration also comes with double experience rewards.

A 115 Day blog post detailed what’s to come in the future for Zombies. Players have been asking for Gold, Diamond, and Dark Matter camos to be available in Zombies, and the 115 announcement promises these camos will arrive in the “coming weeks” along with their own unique challenges. More weapons and a new perk will also be available soon.


115 Day successfully delivered Gauntlet challenges that provide addictive replay value. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to cut down my overall time for completing the challenges, and I can easily see how this could create some intense speed runs for the community.

I finally want to play Zombies again, but I think Treyarch still missed the mark on the rewards as there aren’t enough bragging rights for mastering such a grueling gauntlet. You receive Bronze, Silver, and Gold Unsinkable Calling Cards for your efforts. A unique camo or face paint could be added to beef up the rewards for future Gauntlets, but I think Treyarch could get more creative here. I hope we’re on the path to seeing more challenge and rewards in future updates, and finally moving away from the stumbles and blue screens.


Maybe It’s Time For Some Weirder Star Wars Games

Maybe it’s time for Disney to ditch EA and open up Star Wars to the masses, perhaps even conducting a game jam? On this week’s Kotaku Splitscreen, we discuss.

First up, we talk about the games we’re playing including Resident Evil 2, Danganronpa, and Destiny 2‘s dungeon, Shattered Throne. Then we talk about a wild week of news (32:41) including Bungie’s divorce from Activision, messy litigation at Gearbox, and EA cancelling its open-world Star Wars game. (And, oh, hey, Kotaku broke all three of those stories.) We close things off with an off-topic chat (1:18:58), the NFL playoff story of the week, and Kirk’s music pick.

Listen here:

Get the MP3 here, or read an excerpt:

Maddy: I recall reading a story by you Jason earlier today saying that perhaps EA should not be making Star Wars games anymore. I don’t necessarily disagree. I also saw some fun takes from friends of mine saying, ‘It’d be so great if there were a Star Wars game jam where everybody could make a Star Wars game, and there were a bunch of really small, fun indie Star Wars games,’ because that’s something we really never get to see. That take had me really scratching my head and wondering what that would look like if that were even possible.


Jason: If it were accurate, it’d be a game jam except everyone would have to go through LucasArts’ approval processes. So it’d be a 24-hour game jam except you have to wait two months to get every character change approved.

Maddy: I still think even that’d be better because it’d result in a bunch of different permutations and ideas of ways to do things in the Star Wars universe. I was lecturing you today about how the cartoons are really good in Star Wars because they follow different kinds of characters—

Jason: If by lecturing you mean a one-line note in an article.

Maddy: Briefly noting at you that they’re important and should be noted in an article about any Star Wars property. But yeah I think there are a lot of cool Star Wars stories out there, and I’m just kinda sad that the games tend to be these huge sprawling epics. So in some ways hearing that the game is going to be a smaller-ish game is good news to me, but it’d be neat if it could be something totally different.


Jason: Agreed. I think it’s very early, they don’t even know what the direction’s gonna look like, for what it’s worth. Kirk, what do you make of all this Star Wars news?

Kirk: Not a huge reaction. A game got canceled, to me that’s not that wild. It does seem as though EA has had a hard time getting Star Wars games out.

Jason: Well, what’s wild is the context around Star Wars games. In the past six years, since EA has signed the deal with LucasArts, they’ve shipped two Star Wars games—Battlefront and Battlefront II—as well as a couple mobile games. That’s not what fans were hoping for when they heard that EA would get this exclusive console license to Star Wars.


Kirk: No, but at the same time, games get canceled, it happens. Maybe this was the right decision for them to make. It seems to me like they just haven’t been able to line up a dedicated studio that just makes Star Wars games the way that LucasArts did back in the day, which everybody looks at as this heyday of Star Wars video games where they weren’t all movie tie-ins and there were all these different kinds of games. There are a lot of creative people telling Star Wars stories, and some of them were really good—like Dark Forces has a great story. And so on. And it’d be cool to see that again. I don’t know how that happens because Maddy, like you said, all the games are these huge people-pleasers that you kind of have to be because Star Wars is so massive at this point.

Maddy: Yeah but does it have to be? I feel like even Star Wars has sort of stopped doing that — there are still the big people-pleaser movies but they’ve broken up the iceberg into these little other bits by having the cartoons for weirdos like me, and then the Han Solo movie which like two people liked and I wasn’t one of them, and all this other Star Wars in there… I think it’d be cool if the games went on that same property, like yeah you have a couple of tent pole games now and then, but make some little ones.

Kirk: I completely agree, and I’d love to see that, but it just seems like there haven’t been the tentpole games so they keep swinging for that. Because understandably, they want to make the game that makes a kajillion dollars—the Uncharted Star Wars game, or the Red Dead Redemption Star Wars game. The huge, unbelievable open-world triple-A billion dollar thing. It almost feels like they need to get that out of their system, and they need to make that. Because Battlefront has never been that, and everybody wanted that from the first Battlefront—oh, it doesn’t have a story campaign, I just want to play Dark Forces, Jedi Knight. Instead it’s a multiplayer shooter, and it’s fun, it makes money, but it’s not what people want.


And then the news that keeps coming out is, oh another thing that might have been what people want got canceled. So the expectations get built up, and it raises the stakes to the point where it’s probably really hard to meet the expectations and make the thing, so it perversely makes it more and more difficult to actually make the game everybody wants to play. Instead of doing that, it’d be cool of they changed focus—let’s make a bunch of whatever. A Telltale adventure game, lightsaber VR, a mobile game, a whole bunch of different things. I don’t know if I see that happening, unless Jason, your prediction comes true and Lucas and Disney are like OK no more EA, let’s let a bunch of people make games for us, which would be great.

For much more, listen to the entire episode. As always, you can subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts and Google Play to get every episode as it happens. Leave us a review if you like what you hear, and reach us at with any and all questions, requests, and suggestions.


Destiny 2 Xur location and items, Jan. 18-21

If you played Destiny, you may be familiar with Xur, the weekly Exotic item merchant. In Destiny 2, he’s back, and he now appears all over the map. This week, he’s on Io. You can find Xur hanging out in a cave just north of Giant’s Scar.

Destiny 2 Xur Io Bungie/Activision

Xur’s inventory this week consists of the following:

  • Vigilance Wing, exotic pulse rifle: 29 Legendary Shards
  • Orpheus Rig, Hunter legs: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Hallowfire Heart, Titan chest: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Verity’s Brow, Warlock helmet: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Isochronal Engram: 97 Legendary Shards

Xur’s inventory caps out at 631 if you’re at 650 power — one Light above your Collection. He also offers specific rolls on each armor piece each week, giving out different perks for the same pieces. We’ve highlighted any great rolls below.

Vigilance Wing

Vigilance Wing is one of Destiny 2’s coolest and most unique exotic weapons. It’s a pulse rifle that, due to the exotic perk Harsh Truths, fires in five-round bursts instead of three. (Harsh Truths also provides healing when an ally dies.) Vigilance Wing can do very high damage very quickly, especially if you hit an enemy in their critical spot.

The second exotic perk, Last Stand, gives better stability and handling when you are the last living member of your fireteam. Vigilance Wing is a PvP exotic through and through. That isn’t to say that you can’t use it in PvE, but it’s designed for action against real players.

After Forsaken and the time to kill adjustments, Vigilance Wing has lost some serious power when compared to other tools in the Crucible. However, it’s still a fun gun to use and extremely unique.

Orpheus Rig

Orpheus Rig is also one of the best exotics in the game. Its main perk, Uncanny Arrows, generates additional Super energy for each enemy tethered with Shadowshot. The Moebius Quiver variant also has more shots. With Orpheus Rig, a well-placed Hunter Super can quickly start regenerating your Super. This is extremely helpful in a few different endgame scenarios, including Nightfalls and Raids. These did get significantly nerfed in Forsaken, but are still very potent. If you like Nightstalker, you have to get these legs.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Fusion rifle dexterity, hand cannon dexterity, outreach (class ability use reduces melee cooldown)

Slot 2: Scout rifle scavenger, special ammo finder

This is actually a pretty decent roll on a pretty great exotic. However, that’s only if you intend to use hand cannon dexterity and special ammo finder. (Outreach can be pretty useful as well, considering how often Hunters can dodge.) Those perks together can be very useful, and shouldn’t be underestimated — even in the packed Hunter exotic landscape.

Hallowfire Heart

This is a pretty situational exotic chest piece. The main perk is Sunfire Furnace, which improves the recharge rate of your abilities when Hammer of Sol is charged. This exotic forces you to play Sunbreaker, which is great, since it’s probably the Titan class you’re using thanks to Hammer Strike. Additionally, Hallowfire Heart will only benefit you when you are holding onto your Super and not using it — it definitely takes some getting used to. This is one of our favorite Titan exotics nonetheless, and can be really powerful if you learn how to use it.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Unflinching bow aim, unflinching fusion rifle aim, unflinching kinetic aim

Slot 2: Scout rifle reserves, special ammo finder

Unflinching kinetic aim is a pretty potent perk and special ammo finder is always useful. If you’re a Titan that loves Sunbreaker, this is a potentially really powerful exotic to add to your arsenal. If you’re a frequent Super hoarder, this chest might be for you!

Verity’s Brow

This Warlock helmet is fairly mediocre. Its exotic perk is The Fourth Magic, which causes your energy weapon kills to regenerate grenade energy for you and your nearby allies. This perk is fine and always useful. However, when compared to many of the other Warlock exotics out there — Crown of Tempests, Geomag Stabilizers, Chromatic Fire, etc. — there is almost no situation where this helmet is worth using.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Fusion rifle targeting, hand cannon targeting, hands-on (Super energy on melee kills)

Slot 2: Sniper rifle reserves, machine gun reserves

This roll is totally usable, but on a fairly mediocre helmet. If you ever want to use Verity’s Brow, this is worth picking up. But if the helmet’s not for you, this doesn’t deserve your vault space.


I’m Now Playing My Switch Vertically

And here’s my colleague Ethan playing my Switch vertically, too. He’s the better hand model.
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

I’ve played my Switch in TV mode, handheld mode and tabletop mode. Now I’ve got a game that lets me play it like I’m holding an oversized unwrapped candy bar. It’s great.

The game is Downwell, a wonderful mobile game about diving and shooting your way deeper and deeper into some Metroid-looking caves. The creators of this game call this configuration “tate mode.”

Sure, you can also play the game horizontally.

That might even be the smarter, safer way to do it, since you can then hold the Switch with two hands.


But I prefer to have the game running in its vertical configuration, which emphasizes the verticality of a game all about plunging ever further down, down, down.

You can play “tate mode” with the Switch controllers detached.


I guess you could prop it up against a wall while holding the controllers.

I was more pleasantly surprised that the vertical mode works with the controllers attached. No matter how you play, you use the stick to move your character and a face button to jump and shoot downward. When you’re in “tate mode”, the stick movements are correctly reconfigured. For example, if my left, blue Joycon is at the bottom of the system, then tilting the stick in the direction that would have been downward then moves my guy to the right. You can rotate the game’s graphics either way and use either Joycon controller to play the game.

I’m all for game developers experimenting with how our game machines can display what we play. Many years ago, I admired the makers of the GameCube port of the shoot-em-up Ikaruga, which offered a similar 90-degree-rotated mode for people bold enough to turn their TVs on end. I enjoy DS and 3DS games that spread their action across two screens, and I was delighted when I saw how some of the Mario & Luigi games use rotation and a dual-screen display at particularly epic moments in their games. The rotated view for Downwell also reminds me of the funky optional vertical display for DS games on the Wii U’s tablet, which of course then just makes me yearn for some DS games to make their way to the Switch.


Here’s to the weirdness of the Switch and the ingenuity of developers making that system all the more innovative with modes like this. 


Fortnite’s first tournament of 2019 is the Secret Skirmish invitational

Fortnite’s first competitive event of the year will be called the Secret Skirmish, and Epic is already letting the event live up to its name. The developer’s post announcing the tournament is sparse on details, but does give us a bit of an idea on what we can expect.

The tournament will include two days of competition, as players compete for their portion of the $500,000 prize pool. The competitors themselves will be made up of players from the community that Epic has invited, including professional players and competitive streamers. It will also include players who performed particularly well during previous events and other Open Fortnite competitions.

The event will take place at an “undisclosed testing facility” on Feb. 14-15. The good news is that, no matter where the players are and the game is hosted, everyone will be able to watch on Fortnite’s Twitch channel, just like with previous tournaments.

The announcement also mentions that players can expect Epic to “explore additional … operations … during the two days of competition.” There’s no real sign of what that means just yet, but Epic is sure to release more information as the tournament gets closer — unless they’re going to keep leaning hard into the “secret” part of the event.


Skyrim Together multiplayer mod nears full release at last

Skyrim Together, a mod supporting eight-player cooperative multiplayer in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, will go into a closed beta “soon” with the intent of releasing it to everyone very soon thereafter, the creators said earlier this week.

The news sent jags of excitement and anticipation through the game’s community — and inevitable mentions of Fallout 76. Commonly disparaged as a game that should have been a Fallout 4 mod, Bethesda Softworks’ beleaguered semi-MMO (a sem-MO?) was often called “Fallout with friends” by developers in the run-up to its November launch.

The closed beta will be opened “soon” to those who have backed the project via Patreon, The Together Team said on the mod’s subreddit. But that will not last long. “We currently have no release date of either the closed or open beta,” they wrote. “The open will be announced potentially a week or two after the closed.” That post was made on Saturday.

About a week before that, the mod-makers streamed three hours of play inside the mod. The beta will shore up the stability of the mod, but the mod team is already rather confident that it’s in good working order. The Together Team says most mods made within the official Bethesda Creation Kit should be compatible with Skyrim Together, too, although that’s not a flat guarantee. (It doesn’t sound like swapping out dragons for Thomas the Tank Engine or Macho Man Randy Savage will work, because the modders say dragon events aren’t yet working, for example.)

The mod includes its own launcher, mainly because Bethesda objected to releasing the mod via Steam Workshop. Servers, for now, are located in Europe and the mod is limited to eight players in-world but modders say that could be raised in the future. The beta mod is about a 200 MB download, for those wondering how big the finished version may be.

Modders have made many attempts at co-operative multiplayer for Skyrim going back to 2012; this one seems like a cut above earlier attempts. Skyrim Together was originally expected to launch sometime in 2017, but based on that stream, it seems like this was worth the wait.


Next Destiny 2 update to revive scout rifles, exotics

Since the launch of Destiny 2, there’s one type of weapon that’s had a tough time keeping up with the rest of the pack: the lowly scout rifle. Once a major player in the meta of the first Destiny, scout rifles have slowly been relegated to near-worthless, thanks to various nerfs. A forthcoming patch for Destiny 2 (version 2.1.4), planned for release on Jan. 29, is expected to revive long-ranged pea shooters to their former glory.

In this week’s entry of This Week at Bungie, designer Victor Anderson shed some light on the plans for scout rifles, along with several other archetypes that have either over or underperformed.

Regarding scout rifles specifically, Anderson wrote that slower- and faster-firing variants will all see bumps in damage. That said, he did mention that scout rifles will always lag behind the other weapon types in Destiny 2, “due to the safety that their range affords you.”

This is not the first time scouts have gotten a bump. A few months back, scout rifles saw an increase of damage against opponents, but it seems it wasn’t quite enough to make them a viable option. We’ll have to wait and see if the newest buff is enough to push them over the edge.

Other buffs coming in the January patch include increased damage for assault rifles, sniper rifles and Legend of Acrius, an exotic shotgun from the Leviathan raid that has struggled to compete since the dawn of the Ikelos shotgun last summer.

Nerfs are also coming, specifically for Telesto, a fusion rifle that has become particularly nasty in Crucible.

These changes join last week’s announced changes to a variety of supers that have been underperforming since the launch of Forsaken.

The full details on the weapon changes can be found below. The full list of upcoming changes can be found on Bungie’s site.

Destiny 2 - Telesto exotic Bungie via Polygon

Weapon archetypes

Auto Rifles

  • Damage increased for rapid-fire, adaptive, and high-impact families. We find that Auto Rifles are a little unforgiving for the ranges they ask you to occupy in a world with special weapons, and as a result, we’re increasing the damage to offset the higher risk.

Scout Rifles

  • Damage increased for lightweight and rapid-fire families, as well as an increase to all Scout Rifles in PvE. Scout Rifles are always going to be on the lower end of damage due to the safety that their range affords you, but the difference currently between them and other primary weapons is too drastic. As a result, we’re reducing the size of the gap.

Sniper Rifles

  • Increased the damage on the rapid-fire archetype to be able to kill in two bodyshots. Although snipers are still finding success, we believe that allowing you to clean up a kill easier with a Sniper Rifle will allow the sniper to have that success at more ranges and in more situations.

Exotic weapons

Legend of Acrius

  • Increased the damage and bumped out the range slightly. As time moves on, things tend to trend upward in terms of power, and in a post-Forsaken world, Acrius simply didn’t have the output to match other heavy weapon Exotics.


  • PvP damage brought down to match a standard Fusion Rifle charge rate. Optics (zoom) was also increased to match Fusion Rifles with long-range scopes. Telesto has become fairly notorious in the Crucible for its effectiveness, even in some cases getting accidental multikills due to how damaging the explosions were. To combat these, we’ve reduced its (PvP) damage to match its charge rate. This brought up an issue where doing so was significantly hurting the usability of the weapon, so the optics were buffed in return. In general, you should still find it an effective weapon, it just won’t be quite as generous as it was before.

Trace rifles

  • Increased the minimum amount of ammo you could receive from special ammo boxes. Trace Rifles had a pretty rough time keeping ammo reserves in the Crucible as it doesn’t have access to scavenger perks. You should have more success using it more often in the Crucible now, and the changes also affect PvE bricks.
  • Reduced the strength of Wavesplitter in PvP. After the ammo changes noted above, Wavesplitter had its one weakness removed, so we’ve opted to bring it in line with the other Trace Rifles before this patch hit the public.

Weapon tuning is an ongoing process. We’ll be sure to talk to you about it again in the future. Some topics we’re looking at for future potential adjustments include Trace Rifle damage in PvE, Submachine Gun damage adjustments, Shotgun adjustments, and taking a holistic look at the heavy slot options and how much of an impact it has on loadout choices for PvE content. We are always looking at what’s currently in use and what isn’t in use, as having more choices is always better than being locked into a narrow band.

These changes are currently planned to land on Jan. 29.


Destiny 2: Where Is Xur? Location And Exotic Weapons And Armor Guide (Jan. 18-22)

The Iron Banner is in full swing and the final Forge of The Black Armory has been unlocked, so there’s plenty to do in Destiny 2 this week. The weekend also means that Xur ventures back into the solar system, ready to sell to Guardians from his batch of Year One Exotic weapons and armor. If you’re still chasing Izanagi’s Burden and have to wait three more weeks to complete the Dreaming City’s Shattered Throne, Xur’s offerings might tide you over.

You’ll find Xur on Io this week. Head to the Giant’s Scar region, then ride your sparrow north to look for a cave in the northwest wall of the area. As is always the case, he’s offering three pieces of Exotic armor, one for each class, and an Exotic weapon. While all copies of Exotic guns are identical, it’s worth checking out Xur’s armor: Each piece of Exotic armor gets random perk roles, which means you might be able to buy a more useful version of something you already have.

No Caption Provided
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This week’s Exotic weapon is Vigilance Wing, an Exotic pulse rifle that packs a punch. Instead of the usual three-round burst of weapons in the pulse rifle class, Vigilance Wing fires five rounds with each pull of the trigger. It also gets more accurate when you’re the last living person on your fireteam, which includes amping up your recovery time to make you a little more likely to survive–which makes it great for Crucible.

In the armor department, Hunters can snag the Orpheus Rig boots, which give you more shots in the Moebius Quiver version of the Shadowshot super, and gives you back ability energy for each enemy you tether with your Shadowshot arrows. For Warlocks, it’s the Varity’s Brow helmet, which is great if you have an energy weapon you particularly like. The helmet restores grenade energy for each energy weapon kill you make, for nearby allies as well as yourself. Finally, Titans get Hallowfire Heart, a chest armor piece that amps up the recharge rate of your solar abilities, especially when your Super is active.

Here are all the Exotics Xur offers this week and what they’ll cost you:

  • Vigilance Wing (Exotic pulse rifle) — 29 Legendary Shards
  • Hallowfire Heart (Exotic Titan chest armor) — 23 Legendary Shards
  • Orpheus Rig (Exotic Hunter leg armor) — 23 Legendary Shards
  • Verity’s Brow (Exotic Warlock helmet) — 23 Legendary Shards

You can also buy a Fated Engram, if you can afford it. Dropping 97 Legendary Shards on the item will grant you one Year One Exotic you don’t already have for that character. Xur also offers the Five of Swords challenge card for free, which allows you to add difficulty modifiers that increase your score in Nightfall runs.

The Iron Banner this weekend also means you have something to do while we wait on the next big event of Destiny 2’s ongoing content rollout. That’s another Exotic weapon quest, known as The Draw, which drops on January 29. If you’re hungry for even more Exotics, check out our guide for hunting down Jotunn, one of The Black Armory’s best.


Glass’ twists speak to M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero philosophy

Nineteen years after Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass finally concludes the director’s Eastrail 177 trilogy. Continuing the story of 2016’s Split, the new film reveals the full breadth of the director’s imagining of a world in which people with superhuman powers live among us.

Glass picks up with Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, a strong and durable man with a sixth sense for crime; James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed young man with 24 distinct “personalities,” one of which is immensely strong and bloodthirsty; and Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price, an unnervingly intelligent mass murderer who is obsessed with proving that superhuman people walk among us, their powers unknown even to themselves.

Glass throws these three characters together, alongside Sarah Paulson’s Dr. Ellie Staple, to decide the future of their world.

Shyamalan’s film actually has a number of late-game plot reveals, each of which could be considered a decent twist, and all of them have big implications for the trilogy’s setting. So let’s unpack them, one by one.

[Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for Glass.]

Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass in “Glass,” written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Mr. Glass himself.
Universal Pictures

Twist #1: It’s all about the origin story

As you probably know by now, a large portion of Glass takes place within a mental institution, where Dr. Staple is attempting to convince David Dunn, Kevin Wendell Crumb, and Elijah Price that they are normal — if delusional — baseline human beings. Eventually, Elijah’s genius gets the better of the security measures.

He breaks Kevin, aka The Horde, out of incarceration and encourages him to wreak destruction in a public way. He wants the world to have irrefutable evidence that superhumans exist — and unleashing Kevin’s super-powered personality, the Beast, on the highly public opening of a new office building will do it. Mr. Glass also frees David, dubbed The Overseer by press and public, in the hopes that the two will provide a thrilling good-vs.-evil clash that no one could ignore.

But David winds up confronting the Beast just outside the mental institution instead. As the Overseer and the Beast are egged on by Mr. Glass, all the secondary human characters watch in horror. But one of those characters, Dunn’s son Joseph, has discovered a vital link between all three men.

Kevin’s father didn’t abandon him, leaving him with a mother who abused him so badly that his psyche shattered. His father was killed in the wreck of Eastrail 177, the train derailment at the opening of Unbreakable, of which David Dunn was the only survivor. Thought to be an accident, the twist ending of Unbreakable revealed that it was actually one of innumerable deadly disasters caused by Elijah Price in his search of an unbreakable man.

Twist! Mr. Glass created both The Overseer and The Horde.

Joseph screams the revelation at Kevin, and The Horde turns on his “bad guy” partner.

Sarah Paulson as psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple in “Glass,” written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Jessica Kourkounis/Universal Pictures

Twist #2: Everything is a conspiracy

That’s only revelation number one. The second comes swiftly after, as a heavily armored police force arrives on the scene of the fight. As Elijah lies dying of his wounds, gunmen shoot Kevin through the heart, killing him. And just when we think David Dunn might get his due, another armed man presses the water-phobic hero’s face into a rain-filled pothole, until he drowns.

The gunmen all have the same tattoo of a three-leafed clover on the inside of their wrists, and so does Dr. Staple.

This leads into our second major reveal: This whole time, Dr. Staple has been working for a anti-superhuman conspiracy that is thousands of years old. Superhumans are real, and there’s a multi-generational conspiracy to make sure nobody knows that they are real.

When superhumans crop up, it is this secret society’s practice to try to gaslight them into believing their superpowers are figments of their imagination, or very clever but not supernatural mental tricks. If that fails, as it did with The Overseer, The Horde, and Mr. Glass, the organization simply kills them.

It’s like a dystopian Incredibles.

Twist #3: Wake up, super-sheeple

All our heroes are dead. The bad guys won. Game over, man, game over.

But wait! There’s one more endgame reveal!

It turns out that Mr. Glass was using the mental institution’s own security cameras to record The Overseer and The Horde duking it out, and stream it to a secure, untraceable location. Each of Glass’ secondary, non-super characters now have a copy: David’s son, Elijah’s mother, and Kevin’s only escaped victim, who has a soft spot for him.

In the final scene of the movie, the three gather in Philadelphia’s Penn Station approximately two hours after they made the footage publicly available online. As they watch, all over the station, people pick up their phones, like the world’s most Bruce-Willis-iest game of Pokémon Go!, and marvel at the sight of one shirtless man throwing a guy in a poncho into a car.

As Dr. Staple rages, Samuel L. Jackson’s narration takes us out of the film, as he explains to the world that an organization of unexceptional people conspired to blind the world to the existence of exceptional people. Superpowers are a real phenomenon, and the only thing that kept people like David Dunn from reaching their true potential was the belief that superpowers only existed in comic books.

Shyamalan takes the old adage that we can do great things if we only believe in ourselves and makes it literal in his setting. Mr. Glass tells the people of the world that if they believe in themselves hard enough, they just might discover their own superpowers.

The clear implication is that a new dawn of superhuman empowerment has begun.


Atlas Player Gets Into Admin’s Account, Summons Swarm Of Whales And Other Mayhem

A Steam account belonging to an admin of the controversially received survival game Altas was compromised yesterday, after which point the account thief went on a server-wide rampage that involved spawning countless whales and even tanks. Eventually, the Atlas team stepped in to stop the chaos eventually and perform a rollback on the server.

As reported by Rock Paper Shotgun, the person who accessed an Atlas administrator’s account used the opportunity to summon a variety of objects into the game’s North American PvP server. Some of these were objects that would ordinarily have appeared in the game, like a massive swarm of whales. Other objects seemed more out of place, including a cadre of warplanes and tanks. Once other administrators became aware of the matter, Atlas developer Grapeshot Games shut down the server and rolled back progress by about five hours. This prevented lasting damage but also undid any player progress during that time.

“Earlier today, an admin’s steam account was compromised and used to cause some devastation on our Official NA PvP Network,” Grapeshot’s Lead Community Manager wrote on the game’s official forums. “To be clear this was not caused by a hack, third party program, or exploit. We have taken the appropriate steps to ensure this does not happen again.”

The chaos is over, but there are still a few clips of airplanes crashing into ships and players battling tanks that serve as a testament to this monumental breach.


Even before this incident, Altas has had a rocky launch. It was delayed multiple times and launched to less than stable server status. A combination of laggy infrastructure and the discovery of a menu from ARK: Survival Evolved led many players to decry the game as seeming like a quick asset-flip. Still, this is a game about pirates, so account piracy seems like an almost fitting problem. Hopefully, the admin in question has now changed all of their passwords.


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