Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on May 25 – just 114 days from now – and we still haven’t seen one second of footage from it. Leaked Lego sets provided a glimpse of what to expect, including a different design for the Millennium Falcon. Our first legitimate details come from AMC Theaters of all places. AMC reveals three planets that are in the film.

Fans who are familiar with Han Solo’s expanded-universe backstory likely won’t be surprised by any of these locations. The first is Corellia, Solo’s homeworld. If this planet is designed in the same way it was in the Corellian Trilogy books (which are no longer canonical), it contains within an artificially created star system governed by the Empire. AMC goes as far to say, “certainly that’s where Han’s story will begin,” and we’ll likely see a young Solo trying to make ends meet as a podracer.

Next up is Mimban, swamp world first appearing in the 1978 novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, which takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Mimban is a swampy jungle world, not unlike Dagobah. The leaked Lego sets showed off Mimban stromtroopers, and it appears Solo will tango with them on this harsh planet. The book detailed Mimban as a place rich with Kiburr Crystals. AMC speculates we’ll see the Empire mining them for the Death Star.

The final planet mentioned is Kessel, a location every Star Wars fan knows thanks to Solo bragging about the Falcon making the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. We’ll likely see that moment play out in the film. Thanks to tweeted images from director Ron Howard, we also know we’ll see Kessel’s spice mines. If we witness Solo as a spice smuggler, we may get a look at Jabba the Hutt again. Here’s hoping he looks more like his Return of the Jedi counterpart, and not the abomination that was in the special edition of A New Hope.

Fans of Marvel’s film universe can also learn more about the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie by reading about it. A new Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic-book series released last Wednesday outlines the narrative path leading up to the film. The story shows off Iron Man’s new armor, presents the location where some of the Avengers are heading, and hints at Bucky finding a cure for his Hydra brainwashing. There’s a chance we won’t see those last two beats in the movie. The Prelude comic is a two-parter with the next installment launching next month. Infinity War opens in theaters on May 4.

No one really knows what is happening to God Particle, the next installment in J. J. Abrams’ Cloverfield movie series. The forthcoming film has been delayed numerous times, most recently from February 24 to April 20. The Hollywood Reporter is now saying God Particle may not hit movie theaters at all, and may head to Netflix instead. The story states Paramount is in discussions with Netflix to bring the film to the digital platform, which seems a little odd given just the success of both Cloverfield films at the box office.

Marvel is also giving us an early look at what comes after Infinity War in the first teaser trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp, set for release in July. I loved the hell out of the first film, and the same lighthearted vibe is clearly conveyed in our first look at the sequel. It has more of a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids vibe to it, but it works, especially for the action we’re seeing. Check out the trailer below:

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Nintendo has announced that after being on sale for less than a year, worldwide Switch console sales have surpassed those of the Wii U’s entire lifecycle.

The company has sold 14.86 million Switch units worldwide since its release in March 2017 through the end of 2017, compared to 13.56 million units for the Wii U over more than four years.

On the software side, Nintendo is also proud of the fact that Super Mario Odyssey has sold over nine million copies, Mario Kart Deluxe over seven million, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 6.7 million.

[Source: Nintendo (1), (2)] 

Atlus is bringing Vanillaware’s brawler Dragon’s Crown to the PlayStation 4 this spring. The game features arcade-style action with support for up to four players. Curious about how it looks with a full party? You’re in luck! A new trailer for the game highlights the co-op experience.

Your party can include up to four players, either locally, online, or in any combination. Regardless of how your party is composed, you can expect chaotic, screen-filling action.

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The co-founders of id Software, John Romero and Tom Hall, joked back and forth on Twitter today after confirming a bit of long-rumored piece of lore: Wolfenstein’s BJ Blazkowicz is the grandfather of Commander Keen, and Keen himself the father of the Doom Marine, or DoomGuy.

The discussion started in December, when John Romero posted an innocuous tweet saying that BJ was based on Commander Keen, the star of the early 90s space-faring sidescrollers starring youngster Billy Blaze as he defends Earth from aliens. A fan caught that tweet and took the question to id co-founder Tom Hall asking if this lineage extends all the way to id’s other favorite son, the Doom Marine.

Hall was fairly clear: “The lineage isn’t a theory. Fact.”

Romero and Hall then had a bit of back and forth over the revelation, establishing a backstory for the missing generation between William and his grandson. Hall explained that Keen’s father was “an awesome, heroic…newscaster” who went by the stage name of Billy Blaze, explaining where the younger Keen got his new last name from.

So that explains it, id’s heroes are actually just one big family that is really, really good at killing things.

 

Our Take
Billy Blaze shooter when

While Star Wars: Battlefront II, the embattled multiplayer first person shooter from DICE, sold a whopping nine million copies, it fell a million short of EA’s conservative ten million estimate, and considerably below the three-month opening sales of the previous title. The game has also fallen short in terms of revenue, prompting EA to confirm that microtransactions will be returning to the game soon.

After hastily removing the ability to buy crystals, virtual currency for the lootbox-driven progression mechanic of the game, hours ahead of the game’s launch, EA promised that they would bring them back once they figured out how to better make them fit into the multiplayer game. Today, EA explained that the microtransactions will be returning within the next few months.

Additionally, EA CEO Andrew Wilson was quick to clarify that the supposedly acrimonious row between the publisher and Disney was fictional and their relationship was no weaker for the controversy. “You shouldn’t believe everything you read in the press,” explained Wilson. “We have a tremendous relationship with Disney and we have built some amazing games together, and we have been very proactive with that relation in the service of our players.

“We’re at a point where, when we make the decision that we have the right model for players and our community, I have no doubt that we will get the support of Disney on that,” he said when discussing reintroducing the microtransaction model back into Battlefront II.

EA has revised their forecast to expect Battlefront II’s sales to hit ts original 10-11 million goal by the end of the fiscal year, or the start of April. This number still puts it behind the first game in the same time frame, which sold fourteen million by that point.

Star Wars: Battlefront II is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. EA stated last week that they are revamping the progression model in the coming months, a plan that likely includes the reinstatement of the payment model in its structure.

 

Our Take
You can’t accuse them of being misleading about it, as they promised from day one that they would bring the model back eventually. It will be interesting to see if this makes up any of their revenue losses or if people are just done by that point.

In their quarterly earnings call today, Electronic Arts confirmed a new Battlefield title for this holiday season, and indicated that Respawn’s Star Wars action game will release in the 2020 financial year.

Electronics Arts executives Andrew Wilson, Patrick Soderlund, and Blake Jorgensen announced that a new Battlefield game would release this year and praised the success of the Battlefield IP, especially as Battlefield One ended up becoming the biggest game in the series. No other details were provided, but Battlefield One was revealed by DICE ahead of E3, so presumably EA will do something similar again.

The game was announced partly as means to explain why Bioware’s Anthem, originally announced for 2018, is now slipping to early 2019. Jorgensen insisted that they do not look at the new date as a delay and that pushing it back was only done for scheduling reasons, with Jorgensen explaining game has been hitting all its development milestones. “It doesn’t make sense to release [Anthem] next to Battlefield,” he stated.

A question was asked to the executive team about whether or not Battlefront II broke fan trust and if it could be repaired in two years for an inevitable Battlefront III, but Soderlund clarified that Battlefront III has not been announced. He said that he expects Respawn’s Star Wars action game, which has not been shown yet, to be fiscal year 2020’s Star Wars game. Fiscal year 2020 ends in March 2020, so if those predictions are accurate, a holiday 2019 release could be a good guess.

When asked about the impact of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, EA president Andrew Wilson equivocated, and would not confirm similar long-running battle royale modes for Battlefield. “What PUBG has done is change the level of innovation that changes the way people play first-person shooting games,’ Wilson said. “We’ve also seen it in Fortnite, so people are clearly interested in it. That doesn’t mean just putting battle royale in Battlefield, though. Our Battlefield teams are looking at how they innovate, including core gameplay and map design.”

Finally, the specter that has been hanging over EA since Battlefront II’s release, lootboxes were eventually brought up. “We do not believe that lootboxes are a form of gambling, and a lot of countries agree with us,” the executives reiterated after a question. “It’s not just us, the entire industry and the ESA agree, and are helping to explain to people what those are. People are enjoying games all the time that some are misconstruing as lootboxes or gambling.”

Battlefront II has sold nine million copies, though EA pointed out that this is weaker performance than Battlefield One.

 

Our Take
It is interesting that they consider 2018 a bad time to release a game next to Battlefield and not 2016, when Titanfall 2 infamously launched a week ahead of Battlefield One.

The “what ifs” of the video game industry’s trajectory are monumental to contemplate, such as if Nintendo had gone through developing a console with Sony or the recent rumor that Microsoft is considering buying out EA. One such rumor that’s floated around or some time is whether Valve and Nintendo have ever considered working with each other. Apparently, they did.

Gabe Newell’s son, Grey Newell, appeared on a live stream with Valve News Network’s Tyler McVicker and was discussing if he had met any celebrities before. Regarding whether he had met Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto or the late Satoru Iwata, he casually mentioned how his father met with one of them (which is not clear) seven years ago:

 “My dad was meeting him about some joint thing…project. I think it was about the original Wii and it ended up not happening. But we stopped by in Japan […] This was like probably seven years ago. It was super casual.”

You can watch the live stream below. This particular conversation starts at 2:22:17.

[Source: Valve News Network via Nintendo Everything]

Our Take
It’s likely buried history at this point, but the prospects of what Newell discussed with Miyamoto or Iwata are fascinating. It’s likely that they briefly considered Valve developing a title for the Wii, but what if that had led to more projects down the line? Considering the Nintendo Switch is built on technology outside Nintendo with an Nvidia processor, perhaps Valve could’ve played a part in the console’s technical development. Ah, the possibilities are endless.

Rockstar and Humble Bundle have teamed up to bring a great gaming deal and help save the planet at the same time. For every purchase made on this bundle, Rockstar is donating 100% of its proceeds to the Rainforest Alliance, an organization that aims to educate people in more sustainable practices and spread those benefits to forests, communities, and wildlife around the world.

Here is what each level of donation will net you:

  • Donate $1 or more to get Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Max Payne, and Manhunt
  • Donate more than the average donation (currently at $8.58) will also unlock Bully: Scholarship Edition, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, L.A. Noire, and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
  • Donate $15 or more to also get Grand Theft Auto IV with all DLC, Max Payne 3 with all DLC, and all of L.A. Noire’s DLC

To get in on this humble bundle before it ends on February 12, head here. To learn more about the Rainforest Allliance, check out their website.

Due to a leaked presentation from UK-based developer Sumo Digital that vaguely referred to in-development projects, rumors have been swirling that a new Sonic & All-Stars Racing game is in the works. Sega’s social media and PR face, Aaron Webber, has come out to deny the project exists.

“Hi guys – saw rumors floating today about another SART game,” Webber wrote on Twitter today. “Just wanted to confirm it’s not a thing!”

The last Sonic All-Stars Racing game was released in 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, with Wii U and 3DS versions following after. It is widely considered a rival to the Mario Kart series in terms of quality, with many fans preferring it to Nintendo’s racing juggernaut.

 

Our Take
The wording is suspicious, as the leaked presentation never referred to the kart racing game as Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed specifically, just a new kart racing title which people assumed would be in the same series. I wonder if claiming there is no SART game is very intentional wording or not, especially since the “Transformed” moniker was only added for the sequel.