There’s a secret cow level in Minecraft Dungeons

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Minecraft Dungeons is a mostly okay take on the ARPG formula. It’s maybe a tad simplified, but it’s got the Minecraft branding all over it so the kids will like it. But wait! There’s a little something for us old-timers tucked away in there too. In what can only be a nod to Diablo II, Minecraft Dungeons has a secret cow level. As first reported by Lords of Gaming, you need to beat the game at least once, then do a bunch of silly things (I won’t spoil it here) and you’ll get access to this homage to Blizzard’s game. Moo!

Make others pay the Bounty of Blood in Borderlands 3

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Gearbox has announced Bounty of Blood: A Fistful of Redemption. It is the next chunk of season pass DLC for Borderlands 3. In it, players will travel to the planet Gehenna and Man With No Name it up in a town beset by bandits. Borderlands is no stranger to classic Western movie tropes, but Bounty of Blood looks to push the homage even further with overt imagery and characters. of course, it’s still Borderlands, so there’s bound to be toilet humor and clumsy robots besides the oat opera.

Bounty of Blood launches on June 25th. It will be the third of four planned season pass DLC installments.

Also announced today, Takedown at the Guardian Breach, a new endgame mission for high-level groups, will be released on June 4th. It will be a free permanent update for all owners of the game.

Black Ops Cold War could be the next Call of Duty

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According to multiple independent sources, the next Call of Duty will be a return to the Black Ops timeline. It is rumored that Cold War would essentially be a reboot of the first Black Ops game, taking players back to the post-Vietnam War era. Like the current Modern Warfare game, it wouldn’t be a straight up remake, but more of a do-over that recontextualizes the old game’s elements in the more modern style.

Lending credence to the rumors, the bunker locations in Modern Warfare’s battle royale Warzone map recently became accessible, and they are filled with Cold War details like a U-2 spy plane. The next season of the battle pass will feature bunker-related missions and the timing of the next season’s start would match the release of past Call of Duty annual game announcements.

Expect conspiracy theories and battle pass seasons to meld and say hello to The Numbers again!

The newest features in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater are dad bods and grey hair

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 collection is the inevitable high resolution remaster of the classic skating games, but the lineup has something the old games didn’t. Middle age. The titular star is 52 years old and he appears in the game with his modern look thanks to developer Vicarious Visions’ decision to update the in-game models to match his real age. He looks damn good for 52! That goes for all the other skaters, too. You’ll get Bucky Lasek at 47, Steve Caballero at 55, and Bob Burnquist at 43. Even Elissa Steamer is depicted as the 44 year old she is now. (You can see the new models at around the 38 second mark of the trailer.) It’s a nice change of pace for an industry that usually panders to a younger audience.

At least Civilization VI isn’t getting a battle pass

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2K Games and Firaxis are releasing months-long DLC plan for Civilization VI. The New Frontier Pass, launching on May 21st, will kick off a content schedule that extends to March of next year. It starts with the addition of the Maya and Gran Colombia civs in the first drop and continues until owners of the pass get eight total new civs, six new game modes, and a host of new buildings, map resources, and other goodies. There are even free updates that will benefit non-owners as well.

There are no plans to make the individual content updates available separately. Check out Tom’s review of Civilization VI here.

Battlegrounds may not be Number 1, but he’s in their commercial anyway

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I guess this is what you do when you’re Jonathan Frakes. You come off Star Trek Picard and narrate a faux Unsolved Mysteries ad for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegounds. It’s another convoluted backstory for the battle royale genre. This time, it’s an attempt to explain how and why people are killing each other on the island of Vikendi, home to the Dinoland theme park. Something, something, cursed family or some-such. Here’s a simple solution. Don’t bother. Players spawn in and they shoot each other. The end.

You can be the bad guy in Jedi: Fallen Order’s new content

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May the 4th and all that hooey for Star Wars fans and marketing drones everywhere! Electronic Arts and Respawn have released a free update for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that makes use of the various arena sets in the game. Fight your way through waves of enemies to unlock new cosmetic bits, or even design your own custom horde attack session. Who doesn’t want a snazzy new space poncho? There’s even an Inquisitor outfit and red saber blades to unlock if you’re feeling especially emo.

The internet isn’t safe at all for The Last of Us Part II

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Last of Us fans, take note! There are massive spoilers being posted on the internet for The Last of Us Part II. The game was “indefinitely delayed” near the beginning of the global COVID-19 crisis, and although that has been updated to launch on June 19th, apparently that wasn’t good enough for some folks. Someone, rumors say perhaps a disgruntled Naughty Dog or Sony employee, has leaked a ton of footage and story details for the highly anticipated sequel.

While the development studio and the publisher are diligently stamping out the offending videos with copyright claims, tweets and posts that could ruin your enjoyment of the upcoming game are hiding in the wild, so beware. Get off the internet entirely, just to be safe!

Super Mario Maker 2 signs off by letting you make whole games

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Nintendo has announced the final content drop for Super Mario Maker 2. The free update for all owners arrives tomorrow and features World Maker Mode and some additional treats like Mario’s frog suit. World Maker Mode will finally give players the ability to stitch up to 40 levels (eight worlds of five levels each) together to make their own toadstool-hopping experience.

Let’s take a moment to imagine the millions of Super Mario sadists primed to jumble up all their soul-crushing death gauntlet levels into symphonies of frustration. How many will you give up on?

How long until we get Godzooky in Magic: The Gathering?

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Godzilla is in Magic: The Gathering and Magic: The Gathering Arena. The “King of Monsters” is now a card in the latest expansion for the digital and physical CCG. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths features heavy-hitter beasts from the game’s lore, but the real stars are Toho creations like Mothra, Biollante, Ghidorah, and Rodan. There are 19 Godzilla themed cards spread throughout the set. Collectors will likely be scrambling for the three Japanese exclusive cards, so hoard away, little monsters!

Blizzard finally noticed how much World of Warcraft’s beginning sucks

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Blizzard is adding a new starting zone and newbie quests to World of Warcraft. Exile’s Reach, a small island springing up in the upcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion, features a “new starting experience” for levels 1-10. It’s a more guided and linear set of quests meant to present a better first impression to new players. It even has tutorials for signature class powers.

Since the MMO was overhauled in 2010 with the Cataclysm expansion, scant attention has been given to the beginner experience. Blizzard has focused most of its development on providing a steady stream of high-level content for vets, but the opening twenty levels have remained the same slog it’s always been. The current unguided, and largely lore inconsequential, opening is infamous for being something players just have to grit their teeth and bull through to get to the good stuff. The studio hopes to change that roadblock for attracting new players with Exile’s Reach.

The ESRB steps up its euphemism game with a new way to call out loot boxes

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“Includes Random Items” – that’s the new descriptor the ESRB is adding to its “In-Game Purchases” warning text on videogames. It’s meant to call out when a game features randomized loot boxes, card packs, or prize wheels. The group has been on the forefront of doing everything it can to prop up loot boxes as a legally and morally fun way to enhance games. It’s not gambling, the ESRB has pointedly reminded everyone. It’s opt-in random rewards.

“According to research, parents are far more concerned about their child’s ability to spend real money in games than the fact that those in-game purchases may be randomized.”

The ESRB introduced the “In-Game Purchases” text in 2018, so why did it take the ESRB so long to add a descriptor for loot boxes? Surely, the fact that some high-profile games have started stepping away from loot boxes had nothing to do with it.

At least there’s another game in Borderlands 3 to play

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There’s a new mini-game in Borderlands 3. If you go to the infirmary in Sanctuary III, you can find an arcade machine with Borderlands Science, a matching puzzle game that can unlock cosmetic doodads for your character as well as some in-game temporary XP or money boosts. It’s all in the name of real science, as Mayim Bialik explains in the intro video. The simple matching game ties into the Microsetta Initiative’s effort to map strands of DNA in poop. Yes, dookie. It turns out computers aren’t great at lining up the sometimes vague data from our doo-doo, and players can contribute to the task by simply being better at guessing.

It’s not always possible to line up all of the tiles correctly, but attempting these puzzles is still helpful as you’re identifying errors in real-world computer analyses.

Congratulations, vault-hunter. You’re a real science person now.

The next version of Artifact won’t have the most common part of collectible card games

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Valve is still working on Artifact. In the latest blog post, Valve revealed that their big plans to revitalize the virtual card game include a feature that bucks the trend of most other collectible card games. In the future, they’re not going to have any ways to purchase cards with real money. The only way to gain more cards will be to play the game. No cards for sale! Valve will undoubtedly sell something to players to generate a stream of revenue, but the actual bread and butter of the genre will be awarded by actually playing the game.

We have some ideas about what we’d like to sell, but none of them are cards/packs.

Vets of card games are likely scratching their heads over the decision. How will they buy their way into winning decks? How will they use the power of their wallet to overwhelm their opponents and fill their collections?