Get ready to sing “Rule, Bretonnia!” in Total War: Warhammer

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The Kingdom of Bretonnia is coming to Total War: Warhammer. The DLC faction is free to owners of the base game on February 28th, so Creative Assembly has helpfully posted the above video showing how the prickly and chivalrous nation works in the grand campaign. That chivalry isn’t just an attitude, for players that take up the banners of knightly kingdom, it’s a tracked rating that can have important effects for the army.

As you perform certain actions, such as winning heroic victories in battle and completing quest chains, your chivalry rises, bringing with it benefits such as higher control (keeping your peasant population content and pliant), bonus unit experience and a reduction in corruption. Other actions, such as warring with other Bretonnian factions and sacking settlements, can reduce your chivalry. Low chivalry levels bring negative factors to your campaign, such as reduced Control and army Leadership. In extremis, this can contribute to rebellions across your provinces.

It’s like the Paragon/Renegade meter in Mass Effect, except it won’t end with a star-child and a multiple choice question. Total War: Warhammer Bretonnia will be available on Steam.

You’ll be fighting alone in Space Pirates and Zombies 2

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Multiplayer will not be coming to Space Pirates and Zombies 2. While a full cooperative multiplayer mode wasn’t planned for the early access space ship mercenary zombie invasion action game, MinMax Games had planned to add a multiplayer arena mode. Alas, it seems the developers were unable to overcome the technical challenges as they moved the project onto an updated version of the Unity engine. The network issues coupled with a lack of interest from fans on their forums, means multiplayer is dead. It’s a blow for the sequel to one of Tom’s favorite zombie games, although it’s unclear if the arena mode would’ve added anything substantive to the gameplay.

We have tried to make it very clear on the store page that in its current form SPAZ 2 is a single player game and we requested that people not purchase the game for multiplayer features not yet implemented, but we know many of you are still going to be quite disappointed.

The developers will be offering refunds to those players that did buy the game for multiplayer despite the studio’s warning. Along with the apology, MinMax assured fans that they will be concentrating on fleshing out the endgame, adding more sandbox mode content, and focus on replayability.

Best thing you’ll see all week: Catastrophe

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I have a problem with the first season of the UK sitcom Catastrophe. It sets itself up as two people making the most of a difficult situation. Presumably a catastrophic situation, hence the title. Rob has unintentionally gotten Sharon pregnant; they decide to give it a go. It superficially resembles Knocked Up, the Judd Apatow comedy in which Seth Rogen unintentionally gets Katherine Heigl pregnant and they decide to give it a go. Knocked Up is indeed a catastrophe. She’s a woman with a promising career who behaves like an adult. He’s Hollywood’s typical manchild stoner out-of-shape slob loser whose shortcomings are entirely excused because he’s funny. Obviously, Hollywood says, he’ll make a great dad. Oh, and husband. Never mind what Heigl’s character could have gone on to do with her life, pregnant or not.

But whereas Knocked Up pretends it’s not a catastrophe, Catastrophe pretends it’s not a perfect match. But Rob and Sharon are as perfect a couple as you could ever hope to see on TV.

They’re the opposite of a catastrophe. Continue reading →

What does John Cena, Portal, and milking virtual cows have to do with each other?

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The latest marketing stunt from Nintendo begins with this cryptic bit accompanied by the image above:

Imagine driving in the middle of the desert and seeing a couch, TV and video game system in the middle of nowhere, or skiing down the side of a mountain and seeing another one of these surprising setups sitting there in the snow, ready for a round of gaming.

Imagine instead that you are placed into a glass box that’s been furnished in the latest dentist’s waiting room style, pitted against WWE wrestler and actor John Cena, and made to un-cork imaginary champagne bottles or milk virtual cows with 1-2-Switch. Such will be the fate of those that attend the Nintendo Switch promotion at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch on February 23rd. Thankfully, only those that answer their special invitations will be doomed to being locked into a Portal testing chamber with John Cena and a Nintendo PR liaison, but there will be two more demo events available. Aspen, Colorado on the 27th and New York City on March 3rd will host similar events, sans John Cena.

The first rule of the Just Dance cup is: You don’t talk about the Just Dance cup

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The young male with his arms raised in the center of this image is Umutcan. He’s a sixteen-year-old from Turkey, and he’s the world champion of Just Dance. Yes, there’s a tournament for Ubisoft’s motion controller dancing rhythm game. It’s been going since 2015. The Just Dance World Cup was held in Paris this year, and Umutcan “Technoth” blew the doors off Beyonce’s Single Ladies and Scream & Shout from Britney Spears besting previous champ Diegho San from Brazil. (You can watch the finals here.) Just Dance having a popular World Cup event that gets little mention stateside should come as no surprise when the games routinely dominate sales charts in Europe.

Swipe left for the new Vampire game

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Fans of the World of Darkness universe finally have a reason to celebrate. It’s been over a decade since we’ve had a Vampire: The Masquerade videogame. We have a new one now. It’s Vampire: Prelude from Asmodee Digital. Ever since Paradox acquired White Wolf Publishing and the rights to World of Darkness in 2015, people nostalgic for eyeliner, all-black outfits, and dime store fangs have been ravenous for whatever the company was going to do with the license. Vampire: Prelude is an Apple iOS and Google Play text game written by Sarah Horrocks with art by Zak Smith. The game puts players in the role of a newly born (risen?) vampire that has to work through the change via phone messaging. Apparently, there’s nothing scarier than texting on the morning after.

If you’re not into being undead, but still want a touch of Darkness, the similar Mage the Ascension: Refuge, also by Asmodee Digital is available for Apple iOS and Google Play.

PC players can dip into both games with one purchase on Steam. The last videogame based on the Vampire: The Masquerade license was 2004’s Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines from Troika Games.

My Battlefield 1 ribbons. Let me show you them.

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Ribbons are now in Battlefield 1. The Winter Update for Battlefield 1 added ribbons, small in-game achievements, that give a small amount of XP every time you attain one. It’s simple stuff like getting five kills with a rifle during a match, or spotting enemies for your squad. There are twenty available for now. The developers claim they’re intended to foster teamwork. Battlefield 4 had them, and like a really famous short guy once said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” It turns out that it’s true even with virtual ribbon. It’s like collecting Pokemon, but they’re not impressive to anyone but you.

For Honor’s artificial intelligence opponents are jerks

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For Honor, Ubisoft’s knights versus samurai multiplayer brawler, has bots that can taunt you in ways no one else can. A Reddit user uncovered the fact that the A.I. opponents have taunts that are not available to human players just yet. In the linked example, an Orochi tosses his sword after a kill in a distinctive “mic drop” animation. The bots don’t just use exclusive emotes either. Other players noted that someone on the development team must’ve been having fun with the bot programming because they can even teabag you. For Honor, indeed.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s DLC plan is how you know Nintendo is serious

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For a long time, the truism for Nintendo was that they do their own thing. Friend codes, Amiibos, waggle, the Wii U – it’s all part of their ideology. “But when are they going to get serious?” detractors would ask. When was Nintendo going to buckle down and stop being weird? The half-tablet, half-console approach of the upcoming Nintendo Switch seems like a continuation of the company’s quirky strategy. Well, they’re not playing around now. The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild is going to have an expansion pass.

Here’s producer Eiji Aonuma giving everyone the good news. For $20, buyers will get two DLC packs (coming later) and immediate access to three treasure chests in the game’s Great Plateau. The first DLC installment, due in summer, will even follow the industry standard of being a chintzy variety pack consisting of a “Cave of Trials” challenge, the obligatory hard mode, and “a new feature for the in-game map” with no details on what that actually means. Players will have to wait until winter for the second DLC pack if they want actual story additions. If you needed more assurance that Nintendo isn’t messing about, the DLC will only be available in the expansion pass. You cannot buy them separately. Yay for everyone that wanted Nintendo to be more like the other guys!

Blood Bowl 2 asks for a do-over

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Cyanide Studios has announced Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition. Like the first game’s Legendary Edition, this standalone sequel bundle includes all the DLC that’s been released plus a locker room full of new murderous players and features. Purchasers will get the base game’s eight races, the eight additional races from the DLC, and eight new races for the Legendary Edition like Halflings, Amazons, and Vampires. A new solo campaign, a team editor, and more cheerleaders (really!) round out some of the additions.

New cheerleader models (not one per team, but a bit more diversity).
Cheerleaders will have the same colors as the team they’re supporting.

Owners of the regular game can upgrade to the Legendary Edition with a discount, but even folks that hold back will be allowed to play against Legendary Edition owners thanks to cross-version compatibility. Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition is aiming for a summer launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Superman Returns was no Superman 64, but Superman’s groin wasn’t an issue in 1999

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It’s a widely accepted truism that no one can get the formula right for a Superman videogame. (Let’s agree to disregard the difficulty Warner Bros. seems to be having with Superman in their current run of films.) The list of games starring DC Comics’ Big Blue Boy Scout is notable for the many bombs and failures nestled between the mediocre or forgotten titles. Superman: The New Adventures, better known as Superman 64 for being on the Nintendo console, is infamously bad. It’s so bad that it holds a special place on the internet as one of the milestones of bad gaming. Running a close second in badness is Superman Returns from EA Tiburon. The 2006 title was supposed to be an open-world game based on the Bryan Singer movie of the same name. But it went wrong. Gloriously, head-smackingly wrong. As recounted to Polygon by the people that worked on the game, the project was doomed due to a number of factors, not least of which was the movie studio’s interference. A key point of failure? Superman’s junk.

“We would send renderings of Superman, and we would get images back from Warner Bros. with his crotch area circled, ‘Make this part bigger; make this part smaller.’ This went on for months. Somebody trying to get the right balance of, ‘Well, I can see he’s got something but we don’t want to make it too big,'” says the team leader.

The story is even funnier if you recall that a point of concern in the movie’s production was how much time and effort the studio was spending on toning down star Brandon Routh’s crotch when he was in the super-suit.