Game Informer’s Next-Gen Survey Results

Results based on 8,627 responses to a survey conducted on The survey was conducted prior to the announcement of next-gen price points and Xbox Series S

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Original Fire Emblem Game, Previously Japan-Only, Coming To Switch In December

Mario isn’t the only Nintendo icon celebrating a notable birthday in 2020. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Fire Emblem series, and Nintendo is commemorating the occasion by officially localizing the first Fire Emblem game for Switch. The company announced that it is bringing the series’ Famicom debut entry, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light–which up until now has never been released outside of Japan–to Switch in English on December 4.

In addition to full English text, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light will feature a few new modern conveniences, including a rewind feature that lets you skip back to a previous turn, as well as the ability to fast-forward through animations. Nintendo has also added a save state function to the game. You can watch the announcement trailer for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light below.

As the first game in the series, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light established the framework that future Fire Emblem games would follow. The game features more than 50 unique characters, who you’ll need to tactically maneuver around a map to defeat opposing armies. It was also the first title to feature the series’ hallmark permadeath; if one of your characters should fall during battle, they’ll be gone permanently.

Although this is the first time the Famicom installment is being officially released in English, this isn’t the first chance Western players had to play through Marth’s adventure. Nintendo developed a full remake of the game, dubbed Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, for the original DS back in 2009. Its direct sequel, Mystery of the Emblem, likewise received a DS remake, but that was not released outside of Japan.

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light will not be added to Switch Online’s NES library, but rather will be released as a standalone purchase on the Switch eShop. The game will cost $6 USD. Nintendo is also releasing a 30th Anniversary collector’s edition that costs $50 USD and comes with an assortment of physical goodies on top of the game download, including an NES instruction manual, an NES-style box and game pak art piece, and a 222-page art book. You can learn more in our Fire Emblem preorder guide.

Much like Super Mario 3D All-Stars, however, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light will not be a permanent release. Nintendo says the game will only be available to purchase until March 31, 2021.

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Horror Game Visage Releases On October 30

Horror game Visage has been in early access for a long time. Now, it’s coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 30 — just a week away! Hell, we talked about the first pieces of the game years ago around this time. You can check out that video right here, though lots has happened since then!

Visage is an atmospheric trek through a haunted house that tasks the player with discovering the tragic circumstances around each family member, for a total of four “tales”. In early access, two tales were available, this 1.0 release brings the total to four with around fifteen hours of content.

If the rest of the game is like Lucy’s Early Access tale, brace yourself for some serious scares and challenges as you struggle to keep the lights on and your sanity stable. While the game was previously playable on PC in the Steam Early Access program, this full release is also coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Be prepared to wander in the dark as the game taps into classic haunted house fare and then gets absolutely absurd as you enter the darkest recesses of the mind. Sounds pretty wild doesn’t it? Yeah. Well, we can’t wait to give it a try either, just in time for Halloween! Check out the new release date trailer right here, and a much older gameplay trailer as well. The gameplay trailer gives a much better idea of what kind of terrifying things to expect!

You can check out more about the announcement at the official Kickstarter page.


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The DeanBeat: Our next game event focuses on growth and the metaverse

The game industry is so full of surprises, like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drawing more than 4.5 million views for her hilarious get-out-the-vote Twitch livestream of social game Among Us this week. As a political event, it drowned out Rudy Giuliani’s ploy to revive the Hunter Biden controversy via the New York Post.

Video games are prospering during the pandemic, in contrast to so many other less fortunate parts of the economy. But figuring out the surprises and navigating the opportunities is perilous with so many things happening at once. We have new consoles coming, disruptions in the mobile ad ecosystem, and lots of land mines when it comes to finding the right way to monetize gamers.

That’s why we’re going to hold a new event on January 26 and January 27. The first day will be about Driving Game Growth, in a partnership between GamesBeat and Facebook. It will be grounded in the realities of business strategy for today’s game developers and publishers.

We’ll be talking about privacy and major ad ecosystem changes — like whatever comes along to replace the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) — and the cross-platform appeal and accessibility of instant games. We’re busy identifying speakers for a dozen major topics that combine the vision of bigtime CEOs, the sizzle of famous game developers, and the meat of tactical experts on things like in-app purchases and rewarded videos. Yes, we’ll have vision, sizzle, and meat at this all-digital event.

If you’re a developer and you want to be able to navigate the modern landscape of monetization, then this will be your kind of event, brought to you with the help of Facebook Gaming and Facebook Audience Network.

One of the awesome things about this event is that our partners will enable us to offer major parts of the event, such as day one, for free. That will help us attract not only the traditional audience of CEOs and executives who will come for the content and the networking, but the aspiring developers and international audiences who otherwise could never afford to come to an in-person event in a very expensive hotel. This event will be all virtual and available to see online.

Into the metaverse

Above: The Omniverse is where robots learn to be robots.

On the second day, we’ll go someplace entirely different: the metaverse.

The Zoomverse isn’t the place where I want to spend the pandemic. I’m still sheltering in place and playing games like Call of Duty: Warzone. But I don’t have a way to be as social as I once was. Can’t travel. So I can’t wait to be in the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

I think a lot of people feel the same way. We could dismiss the metaverse, or the Xverse, the Magicverse, the Omniverse, the Holodeck, the Oasis — whatever sci-fi name we want to give it — as pure fiction. But we have come a long way since Will Wright, the famous game developer, said that “a dog-eared copy of Snow Crash” is the business plan for every startup in Silicon Valley.

Many Silicon Valley technologists and game developers have thought about the metaverse and how to make it, but more as a hobby, a pipe dream, or a night job. But we need it now more than ever, and an increasing number of tech and game leaders are thinking about this as their day jobs.

Above: Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki talks about the metaverse.

That’s why we’re going to have an event called Into the metaverse. It will take place on January 27, on day two of our event, with speakers from across games, film, venture investment, and big platform companies. Our speakers include uber-geeks such as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and other visionaries who are investing heavily in the metaverse, like Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki; Gumi CEO Hironao Kunimitsu; Schell Games CEO Jesse Schell; Fable Studio CEO Edward Saatchi; Nvidia media and entertainment general manager Richard Kerris; Frederic Descamps, CEO of Manticore Games; and Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity.

These are some of the pioneers who are making the metaverse real, like Nvidia’s Omniverse, which is like a metaverse for engineers and is opening this fall. And we hope to show you demos of what these companies are working on, as well as broadcast part of the event on Oculus Venues in virtual reality.

We’re going to discuss whether we’re going to have a multiverse with lots of little metaverses, or a single big one like the Oasis from Ready Player One. We’ll discuss whether the best path to the metaverse is by building a giant virtual world or if we’ll get there through games such as Fortnite, which has been adding features such as concerts. Or maybe the metaverse will emerge from something simpler, like Animal Crossing, where we’ll use 3D avatars on a Nintendo Switch.

Above: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about family.

We will look at the plumbing of the metaverse, such as blockchain technology that will let us verify our virtual property and help us take our avatars from one world to another. How critical will virtual beings and AI be in fleshing out the virtual worlds?

We can talk about how AR/VR could help us get there. We can discuss the enterprise side of the metaverse, such as I’m thinking of adding a session on sex and the metaverse, but maybe that one is still the stuff of science fiction. We will talk about the investments we still have to make and the startups that look promising. And we’ll try to predict what we’ll do in the metaverse, with topics such as transmedia and storytelling.

Our speakers will address topics like ethics, diversity, and, of course, transformative technology. I’m very excited about this event, and I hope you can attend it.

Registration is free and open to all levels of the gaming community. Register today or reach out to [email protected] for speaking or sponsorship opportunities.

And since this is about events, I’d like to point out some other events that we have coming. On November 11, we’ll have an event with Oculus Venues and Zoom on Next Generation Games. On November 19, we’ll talk with Akamai and game studio heads on what it takes to build a new studio and new infrastructure to go with it. On December 2, I’ll moderate a webinar with Yellowhead on optimizing creative elements for advertising, and on December 9 we have an event with talks about diversity in games.

It’s going to be a busy event season, for sure. But we hope to do our part to help the game ecosystem, and we invite you to join us on the front row of gaming.

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Video game architecture is full of secrets

Architecture plays a huge role in games. It’s most obviously associated with aesthetics. Think the Art Deco underwater city of Rapture in Bioshock, or the Brutalist concrete in Control.

But architecture is more than surface-deep. It keeps players immersed, it reinforces story, it tells us how to play, and it messes with our emotions. The cool thing is, it does all that in real life, too.

Architects consider every single part of a building, from the layers of material in a wall to where your toilet will go. They measure the light that enters each room, and they think about how people will behave in the finished space.

And with the advent of new game technologies like ray-tracing, architecture and game design are more simpatico than ever. We spoke to several architects, as well as Stuart Macdonald, the world designer for Remedy’s Control, about how the secret language of architecture manifests in games. Watch the video above to see how game designers, thinking like architects, are changing the way you play.

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Why Xbox Game Pass is the best deal in PC gaming

When I say an Xbox Game Pass for PC subscriptionRemove non-product link is the best deal in gaming today, that’s no idle recommendation. I have a deep-seated hatred of today’s subscription culture. Yes, many streaming and subscription services are worth every penny, but in general, I hate that everything from Microsoft Office to Adobe’s Creative Cloud to freaking underwear tries to tie you up with monthly payments. So when I say Game Pass is worth it, I really mean it. Step aside, Humble Bundles.

At first, I actually refused to pony up for Xbox Game Pass for PC, because again, I’ve had just about enough of subscriptions. But I succumbed to its siren song when Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds debuted, thanks to its day-one inclusion on the service. The service’s hooks sunk deeply and quickly. Paying a mere $5 a month for access to over a hundred games during the beta period was a ludicrously good value, and it remains so even at the full $10 price. Now, Xbox Game Pass for PC is just as much of a mainstay in my house as Spotify and Netflix. I can’t see ever letting my subscription lapse.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Day-one access to Microsoft games

The superb Gears Tactics costs $60, but it was on Xbox Game Pass for PC on day one.

Historically, most gaming subscription services offered access only to ancient games that you’ve probably played before. Microsoft’s first-party exclusives come to Xbox Game Pass for PC the day they release, meaning Xbox Game Pass for PC members can start playing new titles in the Halo, Forza, and Gears franchises immediately, among others. More specific to PC gamers, Microsoft now owns Obsidian and InXile studios, two of the most celebrated developers of modern CRPGs, so you can dive into The Outer Worlds and the hotly anticipated Wasteland 3 as part of your subscription.

Xbox Game Pass for PC also includes hot games from other developers, like Yakuza 0, Ark: Survival Evolved, No Man’s Sky, and Metro: Exodus. Its stockpile of big-budget games from other publishers isn’t nearly as deep as its first party selection, but that’s mitigated by my next point. You can see the full list of Xbox Games Pass for PC titles here. As I write this, it stands at a whopping 193 games.

It’s going to get even deeper soon. Later this year, EA will bring its EA Play (formerly Origin Access) subscription games to Xbox Game Pass at no extra cost. Microsoft says it will add “More than 60 of EA’s biggest and best console and PC games like FIFA 20, Titanfall 2 and Need for Speed Heat, as well as titles from some of EA’s most popular franchises like Battlefield, Mass Effect, Skate, and The Sims,” along with extended trials for newer games like Madden 21.

2. Abundant, excellent indie games

Excellent indie games like Frostpunk abound on Xbox Game Pass for PC.

For PC gamers who like deep cuts, Xbox Game Pass for PC offers an incredible selection of critically acclaimed indie games, spanning a wide variety of genres. If you like giving quirky new games a whirl or don’t feel comfortable paying full price for games from lesser-known studios, Xbox Game Pass for PC is your answer. (Seriously: Go play A Plague Tale: Innocence, Frostpunk, Slay the Spire, and Dead Cells if you haven’t already!)

The vast selection of indie games makes Xbox Game Pass for PC much more appealing in my eyes than rival subscription gaming services like EA’s Origin Access or Ubisoft’s Uplay+, whose libraries tend to include only games from those specific developers. Microsoft’s subscription offers a wider range of games, though Origin’s plan also includes a nice indie selection.

3. New (good!) games are added regularly

Xbox Game Pass for PC adds games regularly and puts new releases front and center.

There’s always something fresh to play on Xbox Game Pass for PC. New games are added all the time. The curated selection ensures they’ll always be good games—even indie titles you haven’t heard of before are worth playing.

In the past month alone, Observation, Minecraft Dungeons, Alan Wake, Cities: Skylines, Dungeon of the Endless, Battletech, No Man’s Sky, and The Bard’s Tale Remastered are just some of the new games that landed on the service. They’re all great, and collectively offer hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gaming fun before you even start digging deeper into the backlog.

Third-party games don’t tend to arrive on Xbox Game Pass for PC until they’ve been out for a while, so if you’re the sort of gamer who needs to play the new hotness now, the service holds slightly less appeal. That said, it’s a great way to play lesser-known titles you might not be inclined to pay full price for. Just be aware that games can shift back out of Xbox Game Pass for PC support as well—similar to how shows dip in and out of Netflix—so don’t wait too long to get around to an intriguing-looking game

4. Free Spotify and more

Microsoft throws in some nice extra perks as part of your Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription. Right now, you can claim six free months of Spotify Premium, along with free goodies for online games like Warframe, World of Tanks, Phantasy Star Online 2, and Smite.

You can also save 10 percent on any games you decide to buy that are part of Xbox Game Pass for PC. That’s not very enticing when you can play a game as part of your subscription, but it’s a great deal when it comes to DLC packs and other add-ons (and it’s especially useful when a game you love exits the service). Be aware that those DLC packs are tied to the Microsoft Store version of the game, so they won’t necessarily carry over to Steam or other PC platforms.

5. Games actually work

Finally, the games install and play without any headaches. This shouldn’t be a big plus, but when it comes to Microsoft’s PC services, it definitely is.

You’ll see actual “Play” buttons like this in the Xbox app, unlike the Microsoft Store’s endless error messages.

Games downloaded via Windows 10’s Microsoft Store app have been notoriously buggy for years now, running rampant with authentication errors and aborted downloads that require a full reinstall. It’s bad enough that I’ve sworn off buying Microsoft Store Games after blowing through my data cap trying to get Gears 4 installed. I spent $60 on Forza Horizon 3 only to spend hours suffering through errors.

Xbox Game Pass for PC skips the Microsoft Store. Instead, you download games via the Xbox app. I’ve never once encountered an issue installing or playing a Game Pass game. They just work—unlike the Microsoft Store. I don’t know why the Xbox app works so well while the Microsoft Store consistently works so poorly with big games, but I know that it does. If it weren’t for Xbox Game Pass for PC, I’d never be able to play Forza Horizon 4 or Gears Tactics (though Microsoft now plans on publishing some first-party games on Steam as well). 

Bottom line: Try it out

Even if you typically only pay for games you actually own, consider giving Xbox Game Pass for PC a shot. At just $10 a month, it’s less than the cost of a pizza. Even after months of subscribing I’ve barely scratched the depths of the service. Between Xbox Game Pass for PC, the Epic Game Store’s weekly freebies, and perhaps the odd Humble Bundle, you can unlock a virtually endless amount of gaming goodness for the cost of a single new triple-A game. Affordable games are a big part of what makes PC gaming so great compared to consoles, and Xbox Game Pass for PC holds firm in that tradition despite its console namesake.

And no, you don’t have to pay for multiplayer.

Give it a shot. Microsoft will even let you try Xbox Game Pass for PC for just $1 for the first monthRemove non-product link. I did after months of hesitance and fell deeply in love. Maybe you will too?

Editor’s note: This article originally published on July 3, 2020, but was updated to include Microsoft’s new $10 price after the beta ended and EA Play games coming to the service.

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Avengers game hit with double whammy DLC and next gen delay

While some new content has been released, the first major DLC for Avengers, that was supposed to win back players, has been delayed.

Despite a seemingly successful launch, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game has been losing players ever since, which isn’t good for a game that’s aiming to survive for several years à la Destiny 2.

Crystal Dynamics head Scot Amos has previously suggested players would come back once the new content, namely the first DLC character Kate Bishop, was released, but now that has been delayed.

While there was never a set release date for the character, an official blog post from Amos has explained that she and her campaign have been pushed out of October and will be made available later in the year.

‘Moving forward, we intend to have a fixed, predictable patching cycle to ensure all new content meets both our and your high standards and has time for extensive internal testing,’ the post reads.

‘We know fans are hungry for new content, but delivering a fun experience is our priority. With this in mind, we’ve decided to push Kate Bishop’s Operation launch back a bit, out of October. We’re sorry for this slight delay, but we are dedicated as a team to quality first.’

The post does tease that her story, which takes place after the main game’s campaign, will involve the new Tachyon rifts that have recently been added and that the other Hawkeye, Clint Barton, and a new, unannounced character are still to come.

This isn’t the only major delay, though. Avengers was meant to release on next gen consoles, the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, this year, but it’s been decided those will be pushed back to 2021.

‘We’ve also made the decision to shift our PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S launch to next year to ensure that we give our team the time to deliver a next gen experience showcasing all that this game is meant to be.’

Amos points out that you will still be able to play the current gen versions on next gen hardware via backwards compatibility, where you will benefit from improved loading times and frame rates, and you can carry your save progress over.

Amos also promises another War Table livestream in November, which will no doubt reveal more planned content, but these delays are another blow to a game already struggling to hold on to its audience.

While brand-new mission types have been added, like the aforementioned Tachyon Rifts and Mega Hives, they lack the kind of star power a new character would bring.

On the bright side, recent updates have brought with them several fixes to bugs that have plagued the players that have stuck around.

Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics clearly have a lot of plans for Avengers’ future, but none of that will matter if there’s no longer anyone who wants to play it.

Avengers is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S releases will arrive next year.

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