It’s almost Christmas, guess we better get those presents wra – who are we kidding, we’ll be repeatedly watching Star Wars all weekend!! Let us know what you’re up to in the comments below.

Javy Gwaltney (@Hurdyiv) – I’m going to see some stars duke it out on the big screen and then spend a good chunk of my weekend trying to get that chicken dinner.

Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) – I’m hoping to finish Hollow Knight this weekend. It’s a big, challenging game, but the end appears to be in sight. I’ll also see Star Wars, but I bet I’ll be seeing Fernidand first. Hopefully the two are equally entertaining. Otherwise, it’s house-cleaning time to make way for the parents-in-law!

Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) – I’m traveling beginning on Tuesday, so this is my last weekend with my stationary consoles for nearly two weeks. As such, I’ll be playing Overwatch, Cuphead, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and whatever else I can fire up on my PS4 and Xbox One. It’s all Switch, 3DS, Vita, and SNES Classic once I head home to my parents’ place for the holidays.

Suriel Vazquez (@SurielVazquez) – I’m going to have to settle down and pick something to play to see if it can crack a spot on my personal top 10 list. The bottom spot is shakey. I’m eyeing Pyre and Nex Machina as front-runners, but I might dive into more PUBG and maybe check out Doki Doki Literature Club and Echo. There’s no way I’m getting to all of this on top of my weekly allotment of Destiny 2, so we’ll see what I end up choosing.

Leo Vader (@leovader) – To my great surprise, I got super into the Division last weekend, and I hope to play more! My friend and I have a great dynamic where he pulls extra aggro down on the ground and I snipe silently from the distance. It’s simple but extremely effective and satisfying, and feels more tactical than a lot of co-op shooters out right now named Destiny 2. Love you!

Ben Hanson (@yozetty) – Oh man, I don’t know what to play this weekend. I basically locked down my top 10 list of games for the year so now I’m wandering the abyss and considering jumping back into the pile of games on my backlog. I’m leaning towards Mega Man Legends 2 … what are you hoping to knock out over the holiday break? Have a good weekend!

Jeff Marchiafava (@GIJeffM) – We’re in crunch mode for our personal Top 10 lists of the year, so I’ve been sampling as many overlooked titles as I possibly can. I hope to get in some cooperative PUBG this weekend, continue plugging away at Wolfenstein II, and maybe return to Assassin’s Creed Origins or Shadow of War. Or maybe I’ll just keep playing Mario Odyssey forever.

Replay – Batman: Rise Of Sin Tzu

Six years before Batman: Arkham Asylum made us all collectively realize Batman games could be amazing, Ubisoft released a game called Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu.

The draw of the game was its inclusion of a brand new Batman villain, Sin Tzu, which was created by artist Jim Lee. Unfortunately, no one was particularly impressed by Mr. Tzu and he disappeared into a level of obscurity so severe, that he didn’t even get a cameo in The Lego Batman Movie. It didn’t help that the game was not particularly fun to play, which is something Andrew Reiner, Jeff Cork, and Leo Vader and I all learned while playing it. Make sure to stick around for part two to see more from the world’s greatest detective.

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The legendary Ground-type Pokemon Groudon is now appearing in Pokemon Go Raids around the world.

Groudon was the legendary of Pokemon Ruby, the Hoenn region, and was part of Team Magma’s plan to destroy the ocean and make the planet entirely land. It wasn’t a super well thought out plan.

Like most Raid Legendaries, Groudon is only available for a limited time. You can start catching him now, but he’s only available until 1:00 PM PST/3:00 PM EST on January 15, 2018.

It’s been a year of ups and downs for Hitman developer IO Interactive, having split from owner Square-Enix but retaining the rights to the Hitman license. The developer is ending the year by giving away arguably the game’s best level, Paris, for free alongside a holiday pack.

The timed pack is only available from December 15 through January 9 as the Hitman Holiday Pack on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It includes the first post-tutorial story mission, the Paris runway mission “Showstopper,” all of the levels escalation missions, challenge packs, and any Paris-related Elusive Targets when they get re-activated in 2018.

Downloading the pack makes it permanent and the remaining episodes can be purchased separately if you want. Whether you do that or get the Game of the Year edition, your progress and unlocks will carry over.

Additionally, last year’s Holiday Hoarders mission, which involves a teleporting Santa and the plot of Home Alone, is coming back. If you have the mission from last year, you also get the ability to wear the Santa outfit in all the levels in the game.

Hitman originally released its first episode in March 2016 and the full season one in January of this year. A Game of the Year edition released recently with the first new content since wrapping up season one. You can watch us play the Game of the Year edition right here.

 

Our Take
Paris was a fantastic level and trying to do the story mission in different ways cemented it as one of my favorite games of 2016. I am glad everyone gets the chance to play it now.

November is generally the biggest month of the year for the gaming industry and this year’s sales grew over last, with Call of Duty: WWII leading the charge in a commanding way.

The PlayStation 4 sold the most units last month, likely due to the $199 Black Friday pricing. Microsoft took the lead in terms of revenue of consoles sold due to the more expensive Xbox One selling quite well on its own. Nintendo’s Switch sold somewhere around a million units, but had no bundles or sale prices of any kind.

In terms of software, Call of Duty: WWII is far and away the best selling game of November. It reverses a downward trend that Activision’s major series has been seeing over the last few releases. It so strongly reverses the trend that Call of Duty: WWII is the best selling game of the entire year from this single month of sales so far.

Call of Duty: WWII is also the best selling game of the 12-month time span that includes the previous November.

“According
to NPD, based on revenues Call of Duty: WWII is the #1 top selling console
video game in North America this year, making Call of Duty the #1 top selling
console video game franchise in North America for the 9th year in a row,” says Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. “As proud as we are of Call of Duty: WWII,
we’re equally proud that our talented teams have found ways to keep Call of
Duty fresh, relevant and on top of the charts for nearly a decade—an amazing
feat. Thanks to the greatest fans in the world for their passion and engagement
with this awesome franchise.”

 

Star Wars: Battlefront II also did well despite the controversies surrounding the game, but analysts believe it did quite a bit worse than the first month debut of the last Star Wars: Battlefront game.

Here is the top twenty of all platforms combined.

Call of Duty: WWII 1 Activision Blizzard 
Star Wars: Battlefront II 2017 2 Electronic Arts
Assassin’s Creed: Origins 3 Ubisoft
NBA 2K18 4 Take 2 Interactive 
Madden NFL 18 5 Electronic Arts
Super Mario Odyssey** 6 Nintendo
FIFA 18 7 Electronic Arts
Need for Speed: Payback 8 Electronic Arts
Destiny 2 9 Activision Blizzard 
Pokemon: Ultra Sun** 10 Nintendo
Pokemon: Ultra Moon** 11 Nintendo
Middle Earth: Shadow of War 12 Warner Bros. Interactive
Grand Theft Auto V 13 Take 2 Interactive (Corp)
The Sims 4 14 Electronic Arts
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild** 15 Nintendo
Mario Kart 8** 16 Nintendo
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus** 17 Bethesda Softworks
South Park: The Fractured But Whole 18 Ubisoft
WWE 2K18 19 Take 2 Interactive 
Just Dance 2018 20 Ubisoft

 

Items denoted with a ** do not have digital sales counted by the NPD.

Sonic Forces, Sega’s first multiplatform 3D Sonic since Sonic Generations in 2011, only charted on the Nintendo Switch top ten, just ahead of Bethesda’s port of Doom. 

 

Our Take
The sales of Call of Duty are actually really crazy. These numbers represent Call of Duty as Activision’s biggest title and show the power of the brand. It also seems like Nintendo would have benefited from having a $300 bundle with a game, though the numbers are not anything to sneeze at.

On this week’s Game Informer Show podcast, Ben Hanson, Ben Reeves, Suriel Vazquez, and Kyle Hilliard talk about the final piece of content for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the Champion’s Ballad DLC. Then Jeff Marchiafava joins us to talk about the experience of jumping into the less-than-stellar port of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on the Xbox One. There were a lot of great game announcements last week, so we Skype in Imran Khan to talk about Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards and PSX 2017. After some great community emails, we’re joined by Bluepoint Games’ technical director Peter Dalton and producer Randall Lowe to talk about the tricky task of remaking Team Ico’s masterpiece Shadow of the Colossus on the PlayStation 4.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to episode 377 on SoundCloud. Also, be sure to send your questions to podcast@gameinformer.com for a chance to have them answered on the show and win a prize by becoming Email of the Week!

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Our thanks to the talented Super Marcato Bros. for The Game Informer Show’s intro song. You can hear more of their original tunes and awesome video game music podcast at their website.

To jump to a particular point in the discussion, check out the time stamps below…

3:40 – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Champion’s Ballad DLC
17:15 – Never Stop Sneakin’
22:30 – A Hat in Time
26:25 – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Xbox One
44:45 – The Game Awards 2017 Recap
52:37 – Death Stranding
1:02:40 – Lost Soul Aside
1:05:20 – Knights and Bikes
1:06:55 – Firewall: Zero Hour
1:10:30 – Community emails
1:41:25 – Calling out The Rock
1:47:10 – Bluepoint Games Interview on remaking Shadow of the Colossus

Outright Games, a developer known for licensed games, has announced an open world Adventure Time game for all the major consoles next spring.

The game starts of in the Land of Ooo, where rising tides are risking every kingdom with flooding. Player characters Finn, Jake, Marceline, and BMO decide to go check out the problem in the various kingdoms by crossing the newly created sea. Finn captains the ship and recruits various other characters to join.

You can see a few shots of the game here. Pirates of Enchiridion will release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch in Spring 2018.

Disney announced that it is acquiring large portions of 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion stock deal. This grants Disney 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, as well as cable and international TV businesses.

Disney now owns X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool, opening the door for them to be included in the Marvel cinematic universe. The deal also increases the company’s stake in Hulu to 60 percent.

According to Ars Technica, 21st Century Fox retains some of its news and sports-broadcasting businesses.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

[Source: Disney, Ars Technica

 

Our Take 
The MCU ramifications are certainly exciting, but the media aggregation in the big picture is scary.

Nintendo has announced it is bringing Pokémon Crystal to the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop next month. The game is launching near the end of January, and it will feature full Pokémon Bank support. It will be available on January 26 for $9.99.

If you’re not entirely familiar with Pokémon Gold and Silver – the games that Pokémon Crystal expanded upon – or you could use a refresher, check out our feature on the game’s development, based on our conversations with its developers at Game Freak.

I accidentally
took a week off (working late!) when I forgot about Blog Herding, but we are
back! And it seems everyone is thinking about awards, EA, and money. This is one
of the more eclectic collections of
blogs we’ve had in a while, so dig in!

Community Blogs
For November 31 – December 13:

Ineffective Commercialism
StarterPack writes about Battlefront 2 and how EA really messed up one of the
biggest IPs in, well, everything. Maybe things will get better in due
time, but I haven’t enjoyed this sequel nearly as much as the first game and
previous iterations of the franchise before EA got a hold of it.

A Vision for the Next Overwatch Character
I haven’t played Overwatch yet, but I recognize quite a few of the characters.
Here Brendon Curzio breaks down the character he’d like to add, and he had me
at ninja. This may sound odd, but I’m way more interested in
these characters and their stories than the actual game.

Why Do People Spend Hundreds of Dollars on
a Video Game?

I ask the same question, MikComposer. I rarely spend money on games unless it’s
for DLC, and even then, I try to buy that on sale. But throwing down bones for
something like Pokémon Go coins? Not a chance. Kudos to you if it makes you
happy. I just can’t justify it.

The Game Awards 2017 Special – Gaming At
Its Best

I’m not one for video game awards shows, but GerardoExber’s account seems to be
a mostly positive one. Like FIFA each year, the awards show seemed to make some
positive strides while also regressing in some ways.

The Best Five Games I Played in 2017
Doctor Apozem writes up a little recap of the best games from 2017. I was
surprised to see what made the list (partly because it’s not all games made in
2017), but it’s a pretty solid one. Resident Evil 7 and Wolfenstein (one of my
favorite games this year and my favorite in 2014), are all fantastic. Oh, and
Mass Effect: Andromeda made the list, sort of. It received the Golden Poo
award.

Community Reviews:

Doki Doki Literature Club Review: A Niche
Masterpiece

Boo is on the same page as a lot of gaming Twitter. Apparently,
Doki Doki has a huge twist and is a must-play. I’ve seen one video game
journalist say it’s quite the slog in the beginning before quitting, so I’m not
sure I really want to put myself through that. But everyone keeps writing about
this twist! I guess it’s kind of terrifying.

Writing Challenge:

StarterPack has a challenge for everyone in this
blog
. It’s an interesting and tricky one, so check it out!

I hope you enjoy
the blogs! Please contact me via my Game Informer page or on Twitter at @LouisGarcia12 with
any blog news or playdate suggestions.