If you’re thinking about downloading tomorrow’s Yakuza 6 demo, which is already live in a few regions, then you might want to call your ISP and make sure you don’t have a download cap.

The demo, which spans what Sega describes as the game’s prologue, comes in at a whopping 36.53 GB. If you’re inching close to a full PlayStation 4 harddrive, you also might want to double-check before you start a remote download from work.

On the plus side, Sega has said that you can carry over your save file from the game, so this does get you a leg up when the full game launches on its new date of April 17. The game was delayed from March 20 to just a few days before another big PlayStation 4 exclusive, God of War, which seems a little odd.

You can also check out video of Jeff Cork and Leo Vader playing through some of Yakuza 6 in New Gameplay Today from earlier this month.

Pokemon Day is February 28 and The Pokemon Company is reaching outside its usual comfort zone to offer things like new Pokemon snapchat lenses and Pikachu Talk for Google Home and Alexa.

The date, February 27, is the 22nd anniversary of when Pokemon Red and Green launched in Japan. The small Gameboy game focused on capturing and battling monsters inspired by the idea of fighting bugs and having them crawl across link cables ended up becoming one of the biggest brands of all time.

To celebrate, Pokemon Snapchat lenses based on the Kanto starters – Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmader – will be available. In addition, a Pikachu-themed voice will be available for Google Home and Alexa, which responds with the traditional Pikachu permutations of its name when asked questions.

Finally, a special Pikachu will be available in Pokemon Go. From The Pokemon Company:

When exploring their world in search of wild Pokémon, Pokémon GO Trainers can keep an eye out for a special Pikachu wearing a festive striped purple hat. For Pokémon Day 2018, this Pikachu will know the move Present and will give players triple the usual Stardust when caught. Trainers can look for Pikachu wearing a party hat through February 28 at 1 P.M PST.

Pokemon Red and Blue were re-released on the 3DS Virtual Console and are compatible with the cloud-based Pokemon Bank. What are your memories of the first Pokemon games or the series as a whole?
Our Take
The Pikachu voice thing sounds cute, but the snapchat lenses weird me out a little. I don’t need to look like Squirtle unless I can also get the sunglasses.

If you’re looking to ramp up and rank up in the next PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds season, it might be a good time to get some practice in.

Play is scheduled to be unranked until the next season begins. We don’t know when that will be yet, but the current season wraps things up this evening at 6 PM PT.

Games and matches between the end of this season and when the next begins won’t count toward leaderboards or ranks, so it could be a great time to mess around with car oriented craziness or just try to perfect your motorbike “blow the gas tank” air tricks.

The gaming side of SXSW has announced several
additions to the Austin, Texas, event, including esports tournaments and featured
guests.

Noted speakers this year will be Jordan “n0thing”
Gilbert, professional gamer for 10 years and inactive player on Cloud9, and Ashley
Jenkins, co-founder of Rooster Teeth’s The
Know
video news series. Gilbert, who will discuss his career, will be
interviewed by Duncan McMonagle, general manager of Dbltap. Jenkins will join
with Brendan ‘Playerunknown’ Greene in a featured session titled PLAYERUNKNOWN:
From Mod Creator to Creative Director
.

Arena of Valor and Clash Royale, both
mobile titles, will make their esports debuts at the SXSW Gaming Tournament Stage.
Arena of Valor is a 5-on-5 MOBA, and Clash Royale is a real-time multiplayer strategy game.

Other programs include:

  • Conversations
    with Richard Garriott, Koji Igarashi, and Warren
    Spector
  • Updates
    from the Sonic the Hedgehog team
  • Featured
    speaker Nate Nanzer, commissioner of the Overwatch
    Leaue

SXSW Gaming is from noon to 8 p.m. March 15 and 16, and from noon to 7 p.m. March 17 at the Austin Convention Center. For more information about SXSW Gaming, including ticket sales and registration, go here.

Since its debut with Metro 2033  in 2010, 4A’s in-house engine has proven to be a powerful piece of evolving software. Metro: Last Light launched five years ago, and many publications, us included, use that game as a benchmark test for new gaming PCs. Despite its dark setting, Metro has always boasted beautiful visuals and memorable effects, like water droplets collecting on Artyom’s gas mask and impressive shadow effects as a lamp swings in the darkness. However, with Exodus moving into new environments and embracing new gameplay styles, 4A had to overhaul its engine to meet the team’s ambitions.

Exodus’ version of the engine includes physics-based rendering, an overhauled lighting systems, as well as full-facial capture for cinematic sequences. Given Exodus’ focus on its sandbox spaces, this engine also has to account for day and night cycles, dynamic weather, and simulated biomes for the inhabitants of each sandbox. Like everything else about Exodus, the graphics engine itself is an upgrade in ambition.

“Hopefully we’re able to keep the Metro games as a standard for everyone’s benchmarking needs,” says executive producer Jon Bloch says, smiling. “We love blowing up video cards.”

If the final version of Exodus’ graphical fidelity matches what we saw during our demo, 4A will likely hit that benchmark ambition. As someone who recently played through the Redux versions of both 2033 and Last Light, games that still look utterly fantastic, the jump in visual quality is still impressive. Take Moscow for example.

Here’s a shot from Metro 2033 Redux’s version of Moscow:

And here are two from Exodus’ version of the capital:

Notice the increased detail of textures on the objects on the ground? See how the light cuts through the radioactive fog of Moscow? This is because of what this new engine affords the game. In the gameplay demos we watched during our trip, the environments were lusher, the character models were more detailed, and there was a significant improvement in character and creature animation compared to the stiffer models in both 2033 and Last Light.

While players with high-end PCs will definitely reap the most from Exodus’ visual offerings, console players don’t need to worry too much about missing out on eye candy. 4A says that the engine’s power translates to consoles, and that the developer plans to have native 4K resolution as well as full HDR support for Xbox One X. The studio plans to also make use of the PlayStation Pro’s extra boost in power, but didn’t talk specifics during our trip.

For more on Metro Exodus, be sure to check out our coverage by clicking on the banner below.

The tag team between Rocket League and WWE is going strong as Psyonix announced that Rocket League is adding WWE-themed customization items later this year. More information about the specific items is coming in April.

Rocket League has integrated themselves greatly into the WWE promotional machine, from sponsoring live events like last night’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, to making regular appearances on WWE’s YouTube channel UpUpDownDown, a gaming-centered show featuring WWE Superstar Xavier Woods, to setting up booths for people to play the game during the weekend of April 8 for Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans.

This announcement comes on the heels of news that a DC-themed DLC pack is coming to Rocket League in March.

[Source: Psyonix]

Each Monday, come here for a rundown of all this week’s big events that we know about, from game releases, to betas, to recapping the biggest continuing news stories from the previous week. If there’s anything we missed, feel free to let us know! This week covers the dates from February 26 to March 4.

Upcoming Releases

Gravel (Xbox One) – February 26
De Blob 2 (PS4, Xbox One) – February 27
Immortal Redneck (Xbox One) – February 27
Payday 2 (Switch) – February 27
Riftstar Raiders (Xbox One) – February 27
Darkest Dungeon (Xbox One) – February 28

Things To Watch Out For

Dead Space Is Free On PC Origin For A Limited Time – You can grab the horror classic free on PC for a limited time still, so don’t wait too long.
Chun-Li’s June (Star Gladiator) Costume Challenge – The second part of Chun-Li’s June costume is available through SFV’s Extra Battle challenge until March 1.
Monster Hunter World Ryu Costume Quest Still Available – You can get the Ryu’s skin now if you have SFV save data on your PS4 until March 1, after which the quest should open up to everyone.
Monster Hunter World Aloy Costume Quest Launches Soon – The Horizon: Zero Dawn quest that allows you to earn an armor set that makes your hunter look like Aloy starts on February 28.
Remastered Turok Games Coming To Xbox One – The first two Turok games are coming to Xbox One on March 2.
Overwatch League (Stage 2, Week 2) – Shanghai Dragons take on the L.A. Gladiators, while later in the week the Philadelphia Fusion meet the London Spitfire.

In Case You Missed It

Finding Relief In Overwatch – Chronic Pain And Gaming 
Alicia Vikander On Reinventing The Role Of Lara Croft 
Dragon Age’s Mike Laidlaw Opens Up On Why He Left Bioware 
Is Metro Exodus More Or Less “Hardcore” Than Last Light? 
Secret of Mana Remake Review 
Florence Review 
Retro Games Author Talks Pioneering Video Game Journalism, Upcoming SNES Book
Student Meets Retweet Goal To Change AP Chem Exam To Fortnite Exam 

What are you looking forward to this week? Let us know in the comments below!

After falling just short of the playoffs in Stage 1, Seoul Dynasty is deepening its roster with the addition of Heo “Gambler” Jin-woo, a support player who has excelled in tournament play since the game launched. Jin-woo will be a dedicated healer for Seoul, an area rival teams have been exploiting this season. Given the new meta for heroes, Lucio will likely be the primary healer used, but should other support characters receive tweaks in future Stages, Jin-woo is considered one of the best Mercy players in the world. He’ll likely be in the starting lineup moving forward, taking some of the healing weight off of Yang “Tobi” Jin-mo’s shoulders.

“We’ve finally assembled our prefect roster,” says coach Baek Kwang-jin. “Stage 1 provided us insight into each team’s strategies and matchup potentials. Now we are working to create new strategies by incorporating and coordinating with Gambler. You can expect to see us perform with innovative tactics during Stage 2.”

Seoul returns to action against Dallas Fuel this Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT. Jin-woo’s previous Overwatch successes, include placing in first in 2016’s Intel Extreme Masters Season with his previous team LW Red. That win netted the LW $50,000.

Subset Games made a name for itself with its first game, FTL: Faster Than Light. Its latest release, Into the Breach, proves that it wasn’t a fluke. Matt Miller has been playing – and enjoying – the strategy game, which pits squads of mechs against kaiju-like monsters. Check out what he has to say in our latest episode of NGT.

As Miller explains at length, there’s a lot of depth in Into the Breach that might not be immediately apparent. Fortunately, he’s been able to play through the game multiple times and can articulate just some of its nuances to me and Leo. Don’t worry, however. This is a game that involves huge robots slamming giant monsters into buildings, pushing them into the ocean, and generally ruining their monster lives. 

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Into the Breach is coming to PC on February 27.

Twitch has teamed up with charity organization The 1,000 Dreams Fund to help promote up-and-coming female streamers on the platform. By offering financial grants, Twitch hopes to sustain and support these channels.

The goal of these grants is to help women succeed despite the gender gap in the streaming industry. According to a 2016 study, women make up 35 percent of Twitch’s streamers, and the industry remains predominantly male. 

“Many of the problems women face are because of lack of respect,” caster Tina “shadowfoxx086” Degenhart told Polygon. “But gaming is just another platform that we shouldn’t shy away from. The industry won’t understand how to treat women if we don’t show them how to treat women.”

The 1,000 Dreams Fund aims to award grants to at least two high school or college students each semester, ranging from $500 to $2,000. The grant money aims to help fund streamers’ equipment, travel expenses for conferences, workshops, and more. The organization is also hosting a livestream next week to bring awareness to the campaign. Titled Streams for Dreams, the event will begin on March 1 and run through April 1.

You can read more about the cause by heading to The 1,000 Dreams Fund’s website.

[Source: Polygon]

 

Our Take
The games industry as a whole is still predominantly male, and I’m always excited to hear about initiatives that help immerse women or young girls into the competitive field. Video game streaming is only growing in popularity, and creating avenues to help women find success despite the gender gap can make for a promising future.