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News

Best new mobile games on iOS and Android – July 2020 round-up

The reviews of the month’s best smartphone games includes Beyond A Steel Sky, Slay The Spire, and Yoko Taro’s SINoAlice.

Even though the country remains in the grip of a pandemic for which there’s no vaccine or effective treatment, the pubs are open and some of the children are back at school. Against this perplexing backdrop, it’s nice to have a clutch of mobile games that instantly reaffirm your faith in humankind. The tactical genius of Slay The Spire, the dreamlike If Found… and the nostalgic whimsy of Beneath A Steel Sky are all hugely welcome diversions to carry in your pocket.

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Crying Suns

iOS & Android, £8.99 (Humble Games)

Set in the future on the galaxy’s outer rim, colonies are in trouble after all their AIs simultaneously stop working. Your job is to figure out what’s going on and you do that in the style of genre classic, FTL.

Crying Suns is a sci-fi roguelike specialising in ship-to-ship combat and random encounters, but this time it’s less interested in crew management, focusing instead on various squadrons of drones and use of your ship’s big guns.

It can’t match FTL’s perfection, and its assortment of 300 events start repeating much earlier than you’d imagine, a problem exacerbated by how story-focused it is, making the repetition particularly glaring. It’s still very good though, with a solid script and beautiful pixel art styling.

Score: 7/10

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Beyond A Steel Sky

iOS and PC, included with Apple Arcade (Revolution Software)

It’s been 26 years since Beneath A Steel Sky was released, making this one of the longest awaited sequels in the history of games, but fans will be delighted to discover that not that much has changed.

It’s still a dialogue-heavy adventure set in a dystopian, cyberpunk future, and maintains its Broken Sword-esque sense of humour and charmingly British sensibilities. Sadly, it also suffers from the same peccadilloes as its ancient forebear.

Chief amongst those is the need to figure out sometimes non-intuitive sequences of actions to solve its puzzles, and sitting through reams of chat that sometimes isn’t quite as amusing as it imagines. It’s still worth it for the sweet pang of nostalgia though.

Score: 6/10

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Slay The Spire

iOS, £9.99 (Humble Games)

With a PC incarnation that’s already very fairly hailed as a classic, Slay The Spire makes its way to touchscreen with this excellent port.

Mechanically, everything is as it was; a roguelike deck builder that relies on tactics that get increasingly deep as you unlock cards and reach a fuller understanding of their interactions and combat possibilities.

It’s exquisitely designed, both graphically and in terms of its ruleset, and gives the distinct impression of being a labour of love. It’s also monumentally addictive and despite its high – at least for mobile – price is an essential purchase. The Android version is due for release later this year.

Score: 9/10

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Flick Solitaire

iOS & Android, free-to-play (Flick Games)

The world is in absolutely no danger of running out of solitaire games, whether on PC or mobile. However, it’s fair to say that some of those versions of the classic solo card game are far more playable than others.

Flick Solitaire is certainly extremely easy to enjoy. Its lean interface, pleasing sound effects, and the mellow formation ballet your cards perform when you complete a level are never less than winning. It also comes with basic solitaire, and its Pyramid and Elevens variants, both of which add new facets to the game.

You have to watch a short ad every few games, or you can spring for a subscription that removes advertising and lets you select the table surface you play on. It’s up to you whether that’s worth the frankly ludicrous £1.99 per week.

Score: 7/10

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The_Otherside

iOS, included with Apple Arcade (The Label)

The_Otherside is a board game-meets-role-playing game about clearing out monsters from a small town. You do that by finding and destroying ‘spirit anchors’, which rid a section of the board of its infection.

Each turn your heroes spend their three action points moving, searching rooms, looking for ammo, kicking down or erecting barricades and attacking monsters. Each turn fresh horrors teleport in from the Otherside, which seems to be a bit like the Upside Down in Stranger Things.

Earn XP to level up, unlocking new creatures, equipment, heroes, and bigger maps. While finding a decent weapon early on can make a big difference, the randomness isn’t too brutal, and the game gets more interesting as you progress, with more characters and larger levels forcing you to make judicious use of each hero’s skills to survive.

Score: 8/10

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Oceanhorn 2: Knights Of The Lost Realm – Golden Edition

iOS, included with Apple Arcade (Cornfox)

Oceanhorn 2 has been out for a while, but the recent Golden Edition adds two expansions: The Shield Of Chronos and The Criminal Hunt. The first is a dungeon containing a shield that bounces projectiles back towards assailants, and the second casts you as a bounty hunter pursuing a series of miscreants.

If you have a fancier iPhone or iPad, this update will also allow you to lock the frame rate to 60fps, adding to the beauty of its colourful landscapes, azure sea, and Sega blue skies.

Although frequently compared to Zelda games, and indeed sharing a similar structure and pastoral charm, it unfortunately lacks Nintendo’s magic and feels plodding and workaday despite its undoubtedly lofty production values.

Score: 6/10

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If Found…

iOS, £4.99 (Annapurna Interactive)

Like Annapurna stablemate, Florence, If Found… isn’t quite a game, more a work of elegiac interactive fiction. Set in a 1990s world without social media or mobile phones, you read the illustrated diary entries of an Irish teenager returning to her small hometown, having been at University in Dublin.

Your interaction with every single part of the story is to obliterate it, either using an eraser, or slowly spreading splodges of watercolour to rub out written memories, each of which is ironically framed as ‘Things to remember’.

The light touch of the writing offsets the slightly melancholy content, and its Emerald Isle setting makes for a welcome break from the usual Americana, fantasy violence, and crime fighting.

Score: 8/10

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SINoAlice

iOS & Android, £Free (Pokelabo)

Coming from the mind of NieR:Automata creative director, Yoko Taro, the much-anticipated SINoAlice was released in Japan in 2017 and now finally makes its way West.

Taking place in a mysterious library, it remixes the plots and protagonists of fairy tales from Snow White to Little Red Riding Hood, its battles taking place in semi-real-time, feeding the usual gacha loot box mechanics that let you claim random new kit for your heroines.

Despite its elegant art style and stirring musical score, it’s crushingly dull. The narratives don’t branch, and with auto-fight turned on, your role is reduced to that of spectator rather than player, and no amount of fourth wall-breaking humour or twisted fairy tale storylines make up for the boredom at its core.

Score: 4/10

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PS4

Ghost Of Tsushima Reviews Will Go Live Soon–Here's The Embargo Date And Time

Now that July is officially here, we’re inching ever closer to the release of Ghost of Tsushima on PS4. The highly anticipated exclusive launches on Friday, July 17, and now we know exactly when reviews for the game will go live.

The review embargo for Ghost of Tsushima is Tuesday, July 14 at 7 AM PT / 10 AM ET / 3 PM BST. That means that in less than one week you’ll begin seeing outlets–including GameSpot–publishing their reviews of the game ahead of its release.

Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world action game developed by Sucker Punch, the studio behind the Sly Cooper and Infamous franchises. The title features only one playable character, Jin Sakai, who is fighting to reclaim his home island from the invading Mongols. Throughout the story, players will have the choice to face their foes as an honorable samurai or become the “Ghost” and use stealth and other deceitful tactics.

In the lead up to its release, Sucker Punch has been sharing more details about Ghost of Tsushima. The studio gave us a much closer look at exploration and combat in May’s State of Play broadcast, and last week it detailed stances and the deadliness of Jin’s katana. Sony also recently shared a new trailer to get you ready for war.

While Ghost of Tsushima’s release date is quickly approaching, there’s still time to pre-order a copy of the game and snag some extra bonuses, including a mini soundtrack and dynamic PS4 theme. You can learn more in our Ghost of Tsushima pre-order guide.

Ghost Of Tsushima News

  • Ghost Of Tsushima's Long Journey To Release, Unlikely Inspiration, And Intricate Combat
  • Ghost Of Tsushima: Everything We Know So Far
  • Ghost Of Tsushima Pre-Order Bonuses, Collector's Edition Announced (PS4)

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PC

The US Army Is Banning Twitch Users For Mentioning War Crimes In Chat

Recently, Twitter users raced to get banned from the US Army Esports official Discord server, with the influx of users causing the server to shut down completely to new users. Now, with the Discord server still unreachable, people have taken to the US Army’s Twitch chat instead, Vice reported.

During a stream on Wednesday night where Green Beret Joshua “Strotnium” David played Call of Duty: Warzone, esports personality Rod “Slasher” Breslau posted a video of him getting banned after asking about war crimes. Breslau discovered that the Army had automatically moderated the phrase “war crimes” after attempting to ask “whats your favorite us war crime?” After changing it to “whats your favorite u.s. w4r cr1me?” Breslau then linked the Wikipedia page for United States war crimes, a tactic also used by users speedrunning bans on the Army’s Discord, and was banned moments later.

After the video was posted to Twitter, other users decided to join in on speedrunning bans in the Twitch channel by mentioning US war crimes. Some cited grievances with the use of Twitch as an Army recruitment tool, while others protested the 2019 ruling that banned transgender people from serving in the military.

“I think every post that I do from now on is going to say UwU in it just to flex,” David said on the stream, referring to the US Army esports tweet that drew attention to the Army’s esports channels in the first place. “Ya’ll are gonna talk all that crap to my angels on the esports team, the nicest person in the entire world, you little internet keyboard monsters. No, I won’t stand for that. I’m bigger than you.”

The stream was soon stopped, coming back later with follower-only chat–where only users who had followed the Army’s account for over 24 hours could post in the chat. The channel gained over 660 new followers during the Strontium stream according to TwitchTracker, one of the highest seen on any US Army stream, suggesting a number of users were trying to circumvent the chat restrictions.

The US Army esports team later sent a statement to Vice about the bans.

“The U.S. Army eSports Team follows the guidelines and policies set by Twitch, and they did ban a user from their account,” the statement read. “Team members are very clear when talking with potential applicants that a game does not reflect a real Army experience. They discuss their career experiences in real terms with factual events. Team members ensure people understand what the Army offers through a realistic lens and not through the lens of a game meant for entertainment. This user’s question was an attempt to shift the conversation to imply that Soldiers commit war crimes based on an optional weapon in a game, and we felt that violated Twitch’s harassment policy. The U.S. Army offers youth more than 150 different careers, and ultimately the goal of the Army eSports Team is to accurately portray that range of opportunities to interested youth.”

The US Army, Navy, and Air Force all have their own esports teams, though the initiatives have come under fire for their use of videogames to recruit young people. The Twitch channel has been especially controversial as a site that’s popular with young people, with users as young as 13 able to sign up for the platform.

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PC

Psychonauts 2 Brought Back Cut Content After Dev Was Acquired By Microsoft

Psychonauts 2 developer Double Fine was acquired by Microsoft in 2019, and it turns out that the buyout had a major impact on the company’s newest game. Double Fine founder Tim Schafer told GI.biz that when his studio was acquired by Microsoft, it allowed the developers to bring back content for Psychonauts 2 that would have otherwise been left on the cutting room floor.

“With Psychonauts 2, we could see the end of our budget coming up, and so we had cut a lot of stuff,” Schafer said. “We had cut our boss fights. Now we are able to put those back in, and we’re like, ‘We think people would have noticed if we didn’t have those boss fights’. Being able to complete the game in the way that it was meant to be was very important.”

Psychonauts 2 was initially funded on Fig, where it raised more than $3.8 million USD, before the Microsoft acquisition. The game, which was announced all the way back in 2015, is now due to launch later in 2020 following a delay.

Now that Double Fine is owned by Microsoft, and has the backing of a trillion-dollar company, Double Fine is able to think about doing “what is right for the game” instead of focusing too much on time and budget issues.

“I’m looking forward to doing things for the right reasons,” Schafer said. “When you only have a certain amount of time and money, you might jump into a part of the game that you’re not ready to jump into, or start working on art before you’re ready with design. But now I look forward to this era where we are doing everything for what is right for the game.”

Also in the interview, Schafer spoke more about Double Fine’s decision to sell to Microsoft. He recalled that Double Fine was initially hesitant, and not interested in selling. However, Schafer became convinced after speaking with Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty and hearing about his vision for Xbox Game Pass in particular.

“I started to see two things that were important to me. One was that we could keep our culture. I was concerned, I was like: Will I need to put up a big Windows logo in our lobby, and change my email address to @ microsoft.com? And he was like, ‘No, none of that, you stay your own company, you’re just part of our team’. Of course, everyone would say that, but I kind-of believed it because I started to understand their vision for Game Pass,” Schafer said.

For more on Xbox Game Pass, check out GameSpot’s opinion feature, Microsoft’s Secret Weapon For Next-Gen Is Xbox Game Pass.

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News

Games Inbox: When should Nintendo release the Switch 2?

The Friday Inbox tries to understand spending £150 on cosmetic DLC, as one reader looks forward to the Sega Astro City Mini.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Unexpected sensibleness
Personally I think Nintendo would be crazy to make their next console anything more than just a more high-tech Switch. Which is why I assumed that would be the last thing they tried. But no, it seems like they are going to do the sensible thing. I don’t imagine it’ll arrive any time soon but they’ve definitely already got my attention.

What I would like to see is an approach similar to the Xbox Series X with everything on the Switch is guaranteed to be backwards compatible with the new machine, no questions asked. Let’s face it, no Nintendo console is going to be the powerful so they should go all out on the extra features, including… a version of Game Pass.

I’ve never really heard anyone suggest this before but considering so many people buy Nintendo consoles just for the first part games wouldn’t a Game Pass be incredibly popular. I’m sure Nintendo wouldn’t do it, because they’re Nintendo but I’d love to think they’re considering it at least. Beyond that, it’s just the games as usual and that’s why people are getting upset at the moment with no news on any of them.
Streetdive

Sudden death
The Xbox One has already been discounted. Seems unlikely but you can’t argue with the Amazon listings at least. Suddenly it all seems very reminiscent of the original Xbox, where they ditched that puppy the second they had a better alternative. I don’t blame them but it shows just what a colossal failure the Xbox One was.

As long as Microsoft keeps its promises about backwards compatibility it doesn’t matter but it does make the decision to have no exclusives seem even weirder. The assumption originally was that it was to not annoy Xbox One owners that they were being replaced (even though the Xbox One has had a perfectly long life at this point).

But now what’s the point of it? What would have bene lost if Halo Infinite was an exclusive that really pushed the new console? OK, they’ll get a few more sales from Xbox One owners (who have just been told their console is extinct) but the benefits seems much more important. Ah, well. Games companies, who can ever understand them?
Wotan

Crazy Town
I will never in a million years explain anyone that spends money on microtransactions and loot boxes but this stuff about Valorant and Dota 2 and whatever. £90 to make your gun (not) look like a dragon? The animation for that was laughably bad! And £150 for a single character skin? £150! Who in their right mind would pay that. The characters are so tiny on screen in these MOBAs I don’t even see what difference it would make.

I guess this means I’m out of touch or something but it also means I’ve saved a heck of a lot of money to spend on actual games. £150? You could buy three full price games for that. Tell me that I’m not the only one that thinks all this belongs in Crazy Town?
Luceto

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Next gen gaming
I am extremely excited about the new Sega arcade home machine and can’t wait to find out about the other games. In fact, it’s strange in a way that my next home games machine will probably now be made by Sega!

I’m writing in as Inbox magic has a great track record, so fingers crossed for OutRun, After Burner and Virtua Fighter 2, to name just a few I’m hoping will be on there. Also, that this is released over here as there’s been no confirmation of that and also that the games are a good arcade port, not sure who is in charge of that but pleeeeaaase do this system justice! I know that’s quite a bit of Inbox magic to ask but this is such a good idea I can’t help but get my hopes up.
Rob

GC: M2 did the Game Gear Micro so there’s a good chance they’d be working on this, in which case there should be no concerns about the emulation.

Next gen sequels
My suggestion for a future weekend hot topic is the following: which video game franchises do you think should make a return and why? With PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X coming up would you like to see any specific video games franchise return and do you prefer newer titles or a remaster or reboot? It can be any games franchise providing that the developer of that franchise is still around and as long as it is recognised as a popular franchise.

Finally, what would you like to see be implemented if a franchise makes a comeback, for example VR and online gameplay? And would you welcome further titles to ensure that the video games franchises will continue to provide the great entertainment that they have done so in the past?
gaz be rotten (gamertag)

GC: We had pretty much exactly that just the other week.

Physical capability wall
Since accessibility in gaming seems to be a popular theme at the moment I thought I’d share some of my own frustrations:

I used to love playing Call Of Duty, but now I can’t since I have limited movement in my fingers on my right hand. I get frustrated that my hands can’t keep up with inputs as fast as I can think them up. I’ve always been mediocre at the game, but my disability just sucked out all of the enjoyment I was getting. I have a similar problem with racing sims. Where complete manual control used to be a must for me, I now feel cheap having to rely on automatic gears and such. I no longer enjoy what was once one of my favourite genres.

I get irrationally angry with games that insist on locking Trophies/Achievements behind what I call a ‘physical capability wall’. I’m the kind of person who enjoys mopping a game of all its Trophies/Achievements, but many games now have a high-level achievement specifically for beating it on an unlockable super hard difficulty setting. Many people with disabilities are just physically incapable of doing that and I find it hugely unfair. I’m not saying that all game achievements should be easy. I do though think it’s worth exploring to find the point at which these achievements start to exclude people with physical disabilities.

Button mapping absolutely has to be a must for all games going forward. I know that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have the capability of remapping in the system settings, but as yet there is no option to save profiles for individual games. To many, it’s an inconsequential thing, but for some it’s the difference between being able to play and enjoy a game or not.

I find that with some games I have to turn down the difficulty setting to easy mode, which again feels cheap so I stop enjoying and subsequently stop playing those games. Some of the most critically acclaimed games of this generation sit unfinished on my shelf for this reason, and in most cases I feel the addition of a button mapping function would enable me to finish them, and more importantly, enjoy them.
Disadvantaged Gamer

Just wonderful
The Wonderful 101 is what I would describe as the sort of jaunty, inventive pure action game that PlatinumGames does best.

I’m around four or five hours in now and this Wii U cult classic is consistently starting to live up to its moniker at this point.

Even at this relatively early stage in the game it almost feels like it’s bursting at the seams with novel ideas, fun mechanics, and a colourful, charming cast of characters.
Galvanized Gamer

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

All Greek to me
Well, my mellowing out is over for now. I finished What Remains Of Edith Finch, what incredible storytelling, and done in such varied styles. I particularly liked the pulp horror Creepshow-like comic for scream queen Barbara. I also finished Firewatch, nice adult themes and conversations. Sadly, two short gems that the vast number of gamers will probably never play.

Back to the killing sprees. So I’ve been bashing away on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for a couple of weeks, or The Witcher 4 as it might as well be called. I’ve seen others comment on it, but was still shocked by how much it wants to be a Witcher game with message boards for quests, and even how you call your ever present just out of sight horse Greek Roach.

And the grinding, again commented upon, or moaned about to be more accurate. When I start up the game I sometimes feel like I’m going to work rather than settling in for some fun. Did they put any thought into the side quests? At least The Witcher 3 had some fun and interesting side quests, hallucinogens and ghost horses anyone?

For balance, it’s not all terrible of course. I love Ikaros, and what a fun way to tag people, and some of the scenery is breathtaking. I’ve spent a lot of time with Greek friends, even started learning Greek, and I love that we get lots of Malaka (look it up). I’m also avoiding killing any animals, it just makes me sad to do it. I didn’t clear a bandit camp because they had a dog. Stop laughing, I know they’re virtual.

The bottom line is that Odyssey being open world and dripping with Greekness should of been my perfect game to invest hundreds of hours in. I should love it, but it feels like a soulless experience, which is why I simply don’t care about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. And I’m still not that happy if you play as a foreign invader with Brits as the killing spree bodies to rack up XP, but let’s actually wait for details on that.

I’ve started a wish list of indie mellowing out and weird games, grabbing them during sales just in case they turn out to be less than enjoyable (GC’s suggested Outer Wilds in the list), hoping to find another hidden gem, and most importantly keep me loving my gaming.
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)

Inbox also-rans
I always love the questions Nintendo gets asked at its AGMs. They’re always so weird and shows that the shareholders have no idea bout gaming whatsoever. I mean what was the question about doing without screens even getting at? Beaming it into your head?!
Bronson

Can’t pretend I’m not a bit gutted to learn that the new Paper Mario isn’t a role-playing game. Glad it turned out well anyway but I wonder why Intelligent Systems are so opposed to making one? Did Final Fantasy steal their girlfriend or something?
Tim

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Cranston who, inspired by the release of The Last Of Us Part 2, asks what is the best ever video game story?

No matter what kind of game it was, or when it was released, what do you feel has been the best story told in a video game, and why? Was the story the main element of the game or just part of the overall package? Did it work so well because of the script, the characters, the voiceovers, the integration with the gameplay, or something else?

How important is the story to you when playing a video game and how much do you care when it’s not very good? And how much do you put up with poor gameplay when it’s good?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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Categories
PS4

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.

Play For All 2020 News And Events

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Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Mobile

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.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/K0Q-BgCfLw8

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.

Pokemon Go News & Announcements

  • Pokemon Go Is Finally Getting Mega Evolution, Galarian Farfetch'd
  • Pokemon Go Zekrom: Raid Hours, Weaknesses, Counters, And Battle Tips
  • Pokemon Go June 2020 Events: Zekrom, Bug Out, Solstice Event, And More
  • Pokemon Go June 2020 Field Research Tasks

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PC

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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News

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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News

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
  • Entropia XR – GALERIKU – A VR MUSEUM LIKE NO OTHER
  • 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
  • HOLOGATE – HOLOGATE ‘BLITZ’
  • 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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