Naughty Dog Job Listings Mention Next-Gen And Single-Player

Less than a month after The Last of Us Part II’s launch, developer Naughty Dog is looking to fill multiple positions at its studio, with one role specifically scouting for a single-player Level/Environment Designer.

The job listings on Naughty Dog’s career site run the gamut from animators to programmers to lighting artists and everything in between. While it’s unclear if Naughty Dog is working on a new project, a job post for a Tools Programmer confirms the studio is looking for someone to “work on our next-generation graphics analysis, profiling and debugging tool in conjunction with our sister technology group.” If Naughty Dog is working on another game already, it seems likely it will arrive on PlayStation 5.

Another listing for a Melee/Gameplay Animator says this hire will “help us create compelling gameplay for our future project(s),” with work possibly including “helping shape the hand-to-hand combat system” and more. It suggests that whatever Naughty Dog is prototyping may be some sort of action-adventure experience.

While none of these listings make it explicitly clear what Naughty Dog’s intentions are or whether there is another game in development, the studio confirmed two years ago that The Last of Us Part II would have a multiplayer component with the return of The Last of Us’ Factions mode. This Factions mode, however, was scrapped in 2019, with the studio stating that its scope outgrew game and will become its own experience.

The job posts come not long after Naughty Dog said The Last of Us 3 is not out of the question. However, with the ending of The Last of Us Part II, the studio is undecided on what’s next for the series or ND.

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Pokemon Go Adds Team Rocket's Jessie And James

Team Rocket balloons have begun appearing in Pokemon Go, giving you a new way to battle the villainous group, and the team’s most infamous duo have joined the fight. Jessie and James, Ash’s recurring antagonists from the Pokemon animated series, have arrived in Pokemon Go, giving you a chance to challenge them.

True to form, Jessie and James can be found piloting a giant Meowth-shaped hot air balloon. The duo will appear randomly in the game and only for a limited time, so there’s no telling when you’ll encounter them. If you do spot their distinctive balloon, however, simply tap it to initiate a battle with them.

Coinciding with their debut, new avatar items inspired by Jessie and James have been added to Pokemon Go’s in-game shop, letting you dress your trainer in their signature Team Rocket uniforms. The second weekly set of Pokemon Go Fest challenges also arrives this week, and this one focuses on battling Team Rocket, making Jessie and Jame’s appearance quite timely.

Pokemon Go isn’t the only game Jessie and James have invaded; the duo are also appearing in Pokemon Masters as part of a special Double Trouble event. Right now, you can recruit Jessie and Arbok as a Sync Pair. James isn’t yet available in the game, although it’s heavily implied he’ll likewise debut soon, presumably alongside his Weezing. You can read more about the Double Trouble event on the Pokemon Masters website.

Despite being some of the series’ most well-known characters, Jessie and James have seldom been featured in actual Pokemon games, making this a special occasion. Prior to their arrival in Go and Pokemon Masters, the duo only appeared in Pokemon Yellow and its 2018 Switch reimagining, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee.

Niantic has many other events lined up for Pokemon Go this month, including Pokemon Go Fest 2020, which takes place on July 25 and 26. Before then, the studio will hold July’s Community Day, which features Gastly. The Legendary Kyurem is also available in Raids right now, and there’s a new batch of Field Research tasks to complete this month.

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Get Death Stranding For Free With Purchase Of Select Nvidia Graphics Cards

Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding releases July 14 on PC, but if you’re in the market for a new graphics card, you can get it for free. From now until July 29, all purchases of Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards come with a free Steam code for Death Stranding. With games like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 coming later this year, now might be a great time to upgrade your PC’s hardware. If you’ve already got a great graphics card and just want to snag an excellent deal on the game, then Green Man Gaming has Death Stranding for only $46.79.

Eligible graphics cards include the RTX 2080, RTX 2070, and RTX 2060 as well as all of their Super and Ti variants. You can see a list of participating retailers on Nvidia’s website, though it’s always wise to double-check that the retailer itself states you’ll receive a free PC copy of Death Stranding.

6479543 – RTX Graphics Cards – Death Stranding Promo

RTX graphics cards

Get Death Stranding free with purchase

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Sony invests $250M in Epic Games

Sony is making a $250 million investment in Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games, acquiring a minority interest in the studio, both companies announced Thursday.

According to a joint news release, the investment will allow Sony and Epic to “broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.”

The investment solidifies an already close relationship between the two technology companies — a relationship that was recently affirmed in May, when Epic revealed Unreal Engine 5 running in real time on Sony’s next-generation console, PlayStation 5.

“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony Corporation. “There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”

“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic. “Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike.”

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Finalists for the 2020 VR Awards Include Half-Life: Alyx, Valve Index & Qualcomm

This November the annual VR Awards will hold its fourth event, going digital for the first time via VRChat. In the run-up to the event, nominations are now in and the finalists have been revealed for the 13 categories, with some expected and unexpected entrants.

The VR Awards 2020 is set to be the biggest yet for organiser The Academy of International Extended Reality (AIXR). Now that the nominations are in a judging panel of industry experts will make their decision for the 12th November ceremony.

Additionally, tickets have now been made available, with a free tier providing access to the VR Awards 2020 via desktop or VR headsets. The £35 GBP ticket also gives holders access to online 1-to-1 matchmaking pre and during the event plus networking with similar ticket holders. The Professional VIP ticket at £199 then adds a bespoke and curated academy meet and greet sessions and collectors edition digital access.

Here’s the full list of award nominees:

VR Healthcare of the Year

  • Make Real & NHS – Blood Identification VR
  • FundamentalVR – Fundamental Surgery HomeVR modality
  • Sector 5 Digital – Galderma Interactive Anatomy (GIA) VR
  • Health Scholars – Health Scholars ACLS VR Simulation Trainings
  • Oxford Medical Simulation – OMS: Interprofessional
  • PeriopSim – PeriopSim
  • Oxford VR – Social Engagement
  • Exonicus – Trauma Simulator

VR Education and Training of the Year

  • VirtualSpeech – Collaborative Soft Skills Training in VR
  • Orka – DHL SLAM
  • GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy International LTD – Large-Scale Multi-user Fuel Movement VR Training Simulator
  • ITI – ITI VR Construction Hazard ID
  • TANTRUM Lab – McDonald’s Hospitality Training
  • MEL Science – MEL Chemistry VR
  • Accenture – Police Stop and Search VR Training
  • Make Real & Lloyds Banking Group – Relationship Management
  • TAFE NSW – VR in Vocational Education & Training: Evaluating Effectiveness & Efficacy

VR Enterprise Solution of the Year

  • Neutral Digital – British Airways First Class VR
  • MEDIASQUAD GmbH – BRP-Rotax VR Job Assessment
  • Enduvo – Enduvo 1.0
  • Accenture – Immersive Collaboration Platform (ICP)
  • Vrgineers, Inc. – US Airforce Flight Simulator
  • Immerse – Virtual Enterprise Platform

VR Social Impact Award

  • AARP Innovation Labs – Alcove
  • RT – Lessons of Auschwitz: VR tribute by school students
  • East City Films & Chartered Society of Physiotherapy – Some Inattention On The Left

Rising VR Company of the Year

  • Cybershoes GmbH
  • Emperia
  • Evernever Games
  • Klip VR Immersive Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
  • VR Inn

Innovative VR Company of the Year

  • Ballast Technologies
  • Cleanbox Technology
  • EVA Esports Virtual Arenas
  • Kagenova
  • Orka
  • Qualcomm
  • Skydance Interactive
  • VISBIT Inc

Out-of-home VR Entertainment of the Year

  • ILMxLAB & The VOID – Avengers: Damage Control
  • SOMNIACs – Birdly – Paradise Lost 
  • Ballast Technologies Inc. – DIVR+
  • Vertigo Arcades – Ghost Patrol VR
  • The VOID – Jumanji: Reverse the Curse
  • The Dream Corporation – OTHERWORLD
  • Frontgrid – ParadropVR City Flyer
  • Wevr – TheBlu: Deep Rescue
  • REWIND – Universal Monsters Presents: Bride of Frankenstein holoride

VR Marketing of the Year

  • Khora – 360° VR Space Safari
  • Glassworks Barcelona – Audi e-tron Room: The Future Paradox
  • Imagination – Land Rover Defender VR Experience
  • ICEF – LONDONIST Student Accommodation Agency
  • EAB – This is USAFA
  • HIKKY CO., LTD. – Virtual Market 4
  • MALVI – VR Accommodation Experience

VR Film of the Year

  • Felix and Paul Studios – Algeria: A Spark of Light
  • Fabio Rychter & Amir Admoni – Gravity VR
  • Samantha Quick – Lutaw
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios – Myth: A Frozen Tale
  • Enrique Agudo – The Pantheon of Queer Mythology

VR Experience of the Year

  • Accenture – All Kinds of Limbo
  • Dimension – Britannia VR: Out of Your Mind
  • Magnopus – Elixir
  • Charlotte Mikkelborg – Fly
  • Funktronic Labs – Fujii
  • Force Field Entertainment – National Geographic Explore VR
  • Atlas V – The Dawn of Art
  • Tender Claws – The Under Presents
  • Zenart VR – Zen Universe

VR Hardware of the Year

  • Pimax Artisan
  • Valve Index
  • Oculus Rift S
  • Varjo VR-2
  • VRgineers, Inc. – XTAL 8K

VR Game of the Year

  • Sanzaru Games – Asgard’s Wrath
  • Stress Level Zero – Boneworks
  • Cortopia Studios – Down the Rabbit Hole
  • Valve – Half-Life: Alyx
  • nDreams – Phantom: Covert Ops
  • Cloudhead Games – Pistol Whip
  • Insomniac Games – Stormland
  • Kluge Interactive – Synth Riders
  • Fast Travel Games – The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets
  • Fireproof Studios Ltd – The Room VR: A Dark Matter
  • Skydance Interactive – The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
  • Schell Games – Until You Fall

VR Social Influencer (New Category)

  • Cas and Chary VR
  • Eric for President
  • Kent Bye
  • Nathie
  • ThrillSeeker
  • Virtual Reality Oasis

For further updates on the VR Awards 2020, keep reading VRFocus.

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Inaros Prime Heads To Warframe Soon

Warframe developer Digital Extremes has announced Inaros Prime will be available from July 14 in all regions and on every platform. The new Prime Gear will include saw launcher Panthera Prime and heavy blade Karyst Prime. It includes stylish-looking weapon that should make you the envy of your fellow players. You won’t want to miss it.

Inaros Prime boasts “altered mod polarities for greater customization,” Panthera Prime has been upgraded with “a larger mag, faster fire and a radial, slashing ricochet,” while Karys Prime is described as “the heavier, oversized and far more lethal version of the signature weapon of an extinct order of Tenno assassins.” Inaros Prime’s accessories include the Mittahk Prime Armor, Kahtuss Prime Syandana, and 90-Day Credit and Affinity boosters.

In-universe, Prime refers to “technology as it was during the height of the Orokin Era,” as opposed to the non-Prime copies of that technology used by the Tenno.

Digital Extremes’ online Warframe event Tennocon is coming up on August 1, after a slight delay. This will be the developer’s first online-only event, due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sony has reportedly been looking into buying Digital Extremes’ parent company in a move to acquire more studios, as competitor Microsoft has been busy doing in the last few years.

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Fortnite: Season 3 Coral Buddies Secret Challenge Guide

Epic Games has dabbled in secret challenges with Fortnite over the years, including a secret war between bears and gnomes last season, and this newest season is no different. There is one secret “Coral Buddies” challenge that nets you a hefty reward and a new back bling. There will most likely be more secret challenges similar to this one in the near future so check back for more guides on that front.

The challenge is called Coral Buddies Wood Age Quest and is pretty simple if you know what to look for on the Season 3 map.

Where Do You Find The Coral Buddies?

The Coral Buddies, weird little blue creatures, are situated on a small island completely surrounded by water on the northwestern corner of the map. You’ll find the creatures and a small encampment on the sand. There is usually very little loot so be ready to start the game off with few weapons if you decide to land here first.

The island is not shown on the map until you’ve been there once. Here’s the rough location:

How Do You Complete The First Secret Challenge?

Once you land at the island you’ll see a small group of the blue creatures. Give them 100 wood by following the in-game prompt and they’ll instantly build little walls and ships. Don’t worry about wood—there are enough palm trees on the island to harvest that needed amount of wood. Once you do that you’ll a banner will pop up saying you’ve completed the challenge.

What Reward Do You Get For Completing The First Secret Challenge?

You’ll get paid handsomely for helping the Coral Buddies. Donating 100 wood to their cause will net you 25,000 experience points and a new back bling, pictured below.

Check this post throughout the season for guides on how to complete future secret challenges. Jump over to our Fortnite Season 3 challenge hub for help on the hardest tasks that Epic Games throws your way.

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Indian Tech and Entertainment Company JetSynthesys Closes $40M Investment Round

Indian digital entertainment and technology company JetSynthesys has received an investment of 3B INR ($39.9M USD). JetSynthesys is a part of the Navani family owned JetLine Group, which is headquartered in Pune, India, and has a presence in Japan, the U.S., Europe, and India. The infusion of capital will be used to deepen its global foray into gaming, digital entertainment, and interest-based social community platforms over the next 36 months, according to a release announcing the investment. 

The investment in JetSynthesys comes from its existing shareholders led by the family office of Adar Poonawalla and Kris Gopalakrishnan.

JetSynthesys has been involved in both the gaming and esports spaces over the years. It developed mobile games such as Sachin Saga Cricket Champions and has invested in NODWIN Gaming (NODWIN Gaming is a minority investor in and a client of AFK Gaming), an Indian esports company known for organizing tournaments such as the ESL India Premiership and the PUBG MOBILE Pro League, and for bringing DreamHack to India with events in 2018 and 2019.

In the announcement, the company said that the investment will be used for the development of digital products and mobile games with network play. It will also be used to deepen JetSynthesys’ global presence in esports, and help the company create global IPs and forge new strategic partnerships with gaming companies across markets such as Japan, the United States, and Europe. The company has also revealed plans to launch a vehicular combat-racing game called WWE Racing Showdown for mobile platforms.

Shounak Sengupta is a staff writer for AFK Gaming.

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PSA: CrossCode And Fallout 76 Are Now On Xbox Game Pass

Quite a few games have been added to Xbox Game Pass in recent weeks, but there are two standout titles that have just joined the subscription service’s vault: CrossCode and Fallout 76.

Both games are now available to subscribers of either Xbox Game Pass for Console or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, meaning you will be able to check out CrossCode and Fallout 76 on their Xbox One without having to buy the game outright. It’s worth noting that Fallout 76 is also available on Xbox Game Pass for PC. CrossCode is relegated to the console-specific Xbox Game Pass tiers.

Developed by Radical Fish Games and published by Deck13 Interactive as a homage to classic 16-bit RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana, CrossCode is an isometric 2D RPG with challenging combat and puzzles. You play as a mute protagonist named Lea who plays a fictional MMORPG to regain her memories of what happened in the real world. The game has been well received by critics and fans alike, with its score hovering around the high 80s on Metacritic.

Much has been said and written about Fallout 76. Despite a rough launch period, developer Bethesda Game Studios has been polishing Fallout 76, adding free content updates and implementing multiple patches to stabilize the experience. Recently, Bethesda announced the start of Fallout 76’s first Season The Legendary Run, which kicked off June 30 for free and introduced a battle pass-type system where players can earn cosmetics and premium currency through completing challenges.

CrossCode and Fallout 76 aren’t the only two games to have been added to Xbox Game Pass recently. The service also saw No Man’s Sky, SoulCalibur VI, The Messenger, West of Dead, and more join its vault.

Unfortunately, new games coming to Xbox Game Pass also means some will be leaving soon on July 15. This includes Blazing Chrome, Dead Rising 4, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and others.

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Apple Back-To-School Deal Gets You A Pair Of AirPods With Purchase iPad Or MacBook

Apple tends to be one of the more popular back-to-school brands whether you’re in the market for a new laptop, iPad, or even earbuds for listening to music in between classes. Both educators and students can take advantage of a pretty great back-to-school promotion at Apple right now. When you buy select MacBooks, iMacs, or iPads, you’ll get a $159 credit to use toward a new pair of AirPods, Apple’s premium Bluetooth earbuds. The promotion runs all summer long until September 29.

Since the base AirPods cost $159, you’re essentially getting them for free. However, you can put that $159 credit toward the more expensive models. AirPods with Wireless Charging Case will cost you just $40, while the AirPods Pro will set you back $90, down from their high $249 price. When checking out, you’ll simply need to choose which model AirPods you want, as shown above.

This deal applies to most new Apple products with the exception of the iPhone. Naturally, the deal feels even better if you’re buying a lower-priced laptop or tablet like the MacBook Air or iPad Air.

Eligible products

6478688 – Apple Back to School Deals – Apple

Starting at $899

Starting at $1,199

Starting at $1,049

Starting at $4,599

Starting at $479

Starting at $749

If you head to an Apple store to take advantage of this deal, you’ll have to show proof of your educational status as either an teacher or student at any level. We’re not saying you should lie, but if you shop online, you don’t need to provide any proof.

More AirPod deals

  • AirPods — $140 ($160)
  • AirPods with wireless charging case — $180 ($200)

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