Love it or hate it, Solo is an interesting movie to discuss. On this episode of Spoiled, Game Informer’s Ben Hanson, Matt Miller, Matthew Kato, and Andrew Reiner dive in deep and share their thoughts on the film, how this version of Han Solo compares to the original trilogy’s, and plenty of other geeky details. Heads up, we spoil the entire movie.

Watch us talk about what the movie gets right and wrong in the discussion below.

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Paul Rudd, who is known for roles in Ant-Man, Anchorman, Parks and Recreation, and Friends, is reportedly in talks to join the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Whether you like it or not, Paramount is moving full forward on the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Website TheHashtagShow is reporting that Paul Rudd is looking into joining that runaway train as a live-action police officer who works together with Sonic in what is described as a buddy-cop scenario.

The two will presumably team up together to defeat the villain, who will also presumably be the movie’s villain.

The Sonic the Hedgehog movie is scheduled for release in 2019. It is unknown whether Sonic’s officer buddy will give need to give him a speeding ticket.

[Source: TheHashtagShow]


Spawn as he appeared on the Xbox version of Soul Calibur II.

Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn, co-creator of Venom, and sculptor of detailed toys, is getting into film making by creating a Spawn movie that will star Jamie Foxx.

Foxx will star as the titular CIA Black Ops team member-turned angry demon and McFarlane will direct. Speaking with Deadline.com, McFarlane offered a few details about his plans for the movie. Spawn, the character, won’t speak much, it won’t be an origin story, and and he hopes this first film will the first entry in a trilogy. This will be McFarlane’s first time in the directr’s chair for a full-length feature, though he has dabbled in animation for music videos. Foxx added to the interview saying he has been a longtime fan of the character and universe and has been campaigning to play the character for some time.

[Source: deadline.com]

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the stop-motion animated TV special from 1964. This holiday classic takes a dark turn when Rudolph visits an island occupied by toys no one wants or could love anymore. Forgotton Anne explores this concept as well, but the focus is much wider, expanding to everything a person may have discarded in their life – socks, a lamp, or even a prized family heirloom. This setup is whimsical and colorful, and getting lost in the beautiful anime styling is easy. But the weight Forgotten Anne applies to difficult moral choices turns it into a dark and occasionally disturbing journey.

This is one of those strange games that I finished and immediately thought, “That was okay.” In the time that followed, I found myself thinking more about it, and was able to better understand its messaging and themes. I now recommend it to my friends with this caveat: You might not grasp it right away (or at all), but if you do, it sticks with you and has something interesting to say.

The player assumes the role of a human named Anne. She’s just one of two living beings that are trapped in the Forgotten World, a thriving society just like ours, only its occupants are all castaway junk from lifetimes ago. These so-called Forgotlings even have their own societal hierarchy, such as a gun serving the role of a police officer. Anne lords over them as an enforcer. She maintains peace, and should it be disrupted, wields the power to strip away a Forgotling’s life.

Anne and her mentor Master Bonku believe they’ve figured out a way to reach the world of the living, but their attempt to create an ether bridge linking the two worlds is thwarted by a group of rebels. Anne must repair the bridge, but also figure out who is trying to stop them and why.

This introductory story moment is intriguing, but I need to stress just how slowly it unravels. Progress comes at a snail’s pace, as much of Anne’s actions revolve around lengthy conversations and interrogations with Forgotlings. An old left shoe can be surprisingly long-winded, but you often need to pay close attention to what is said, as choice is frequently sewn into the discussion.

Sometimes your choice determines small things like whether you are kind or mean, but others push Anne into dire situations where a Forgotling could die, and that death may be revisited at a different point in the story. A boring chat about nothing suddenly becomes uncomfortable and engaging, and you may not like what you have to do. These are the moments where Forgotton Anne is at its best – challenging the player to do what they view as just, even if it means a loss of life.

Anne wields a stone that can suck the life out of a Forgotling. Since you need to hold the button down to watch its entire life essence pour out of it, the stone can be a means of torture if used sparingly. Call it sick or wrong if you want, but you will probably use it to make progress. Again, this is a great design decision that adds strategy to the discussions. In one moment, I took a life and thought I made the right call, but immediately second-guessed the choice when a message indicated I could have handled that sequence in a different way.

Although the Forgotlings are objects, developer ThroughLine Games gives them plenty of life, and just enough screen time to make you get to know them. A good example is Anne’s old blankie, which she engages with at a dire time in the story. We get to know the relationship Anne had with this object and learn how it has endured in this new world. You end up developing a relationship with the blankie in a short time – a testament to Throughline’s sold script.

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Ending Forgotling lives never feels right, but you may not see any other way forward, as you may need to use its life essence to power up a lever that will open a door. You also find yourself in situations where two Forgotlings are accused of a crime and you have to determine who did it. One lives. One dies.

When Anne isn’t locked in conversations, she’s tasked to explore this colorful world, sometimes being asked to leap across rooftops or scale ladders. Although she is quite nimble, capable of using a set of steampunk-like wings to reach a jumping height of roughly 15 feet, most of her environmental interaction consists of throwing levers and switches. ThroughLines Games created a number of nicely constructed environmental puzzles usually tied to figuring out how to open a door. The problem the player runs into is that Anne’s movements are not as fluid as you want them to be. She moves a bit like a tank, and needs to be in the precise, near pixel-perfect place to reach a ledge or interact with a switch. Given the timing-based design of certain challenges, this can lead to plenty of frustration, as one false move means restarting. You’ve clearly figured out the puzzle, but now you need to wrestle the clunky controls into submission to complete it. I love that the platforming draws clear inspiration of the Prince of Persia games of old, but the flow just isn’t there.

No matter how much time it takes to solve a riddle or fuss with it, Forgotton Anne’s spellbinding visuals kept me entranced and interested in the world. The art style, fluidity of animation, and overall tone of the experience are beautifully conceived and enchanting to the degree I wanted to see every area and meet all of the Forgotlings along the way.

Forgotton Anne is slow and clunky and a bit frustrating at times, but it has its heart in the right place when it comes to story, which challenges the player morally and concludes with a satisfying choice.

I am so excited to tell you about a big change coming to gameinformer.com. Sometime in the next month, we are switching to a new, faster design. The new technology has been built from the bottom up with entirely new processes for us internally. Our new mobile-friendly site (yes, feel free to make your own “welcome to 2010, Game Informer” joke here) is built for speed. Editors will be able to update more quickly, our developers will be able to make changes at a massively increased rate, and our move to the cloud should give you the site performance you deserve as a loyal Game Informer reader.

We are testing the site’s performance as we speak, so this change could happen as soon as next week (we would love to have it up and ready for E3). I felt it was important to reach out to you before the new site launched, as there are some major changes you need to be aware of.

First, we will no longer be supporting user blogs. This one hurts. We love the great work our community created, but the sad reality is there were more malicious entities attacking us with bots than our company could deal with. Keeping the bots away was essentially a full-time job. That said, while this won’t be ready for launch, the team here is working on a community version of gameinformer.com where we will repost all of your pre-existing content to keep it for posterity, but new content will no longer be allowed. However, we might encounter other unforeseen issues, so with that in mind: If you have content on the Game Informer blogs that you would like to keep, I highly recommend that you create your own backup.

Second, we are closing the forums (for now) and switching our comments to Disqus. This change will give you more ways to interact as a community, and give our moderators more tools to keep the conversations civil. Signing up is easy if you haven’t already, and the integration to the new site is simple and streamlined.

Finally, all our normal content will continue but with a much cleaner, responsive design that will let you enjoy gameinformer.com content (and the digital magazine) however you like. But we will be able to deliver them in new and exciting ways, with enhanced performance and functionality from our video player, higher-resolution screenshots, better galleries, improved readability, and custom-designed previews and features.

I speak for the team when I say this change is just the beginning. I hope you are as excited as we are. I will keep you updated in the coming days as to our status, and I want to take a moment to thank the entire team here at Game Informer. You all know the editors and our video team, but there are so many other people behind the scenes that make the magic happen. These teams worked their hearts out to make this new site happen, and this change is a direct result of their passion.

Enjoy this little sneak peek and let me know your thoughts. This is your site, and we will do our best to listen and make it as good as we can for you.

Cheers

Andy

A glimpse of the home page on various devices

The mobile edition is one of the biggest changes for the new site

 

Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled a new accessibility-minded controller designed to give disabled gamers new, more comfortable avenues to playing games. The Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) was designed with help and feedback from many disabled gamers, including AbleGamers, the charity most associated with furthering accessibility in the video game scene.

The announcement is a major deal, showcasing that hardware manufacturers are doing more than just nodding their heads at the problem of accessibility and saying “we’re listening.” They’re actually trying to do something inclusive. However, I’m very able-bodied, with only a mild form of physical disability in my hands, so I’m coming to that notion from a privileged position. With that in mind, I put a public call on social media to get opinions from disabled gamers about Microsoft’s efforts to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to making games a more inclusive space.

Attention To Detail
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is highly customizable, letting you remap buttons and even presents two larger buttons for players with certain disabilities to use. External ports also allow players to jack in joysticks and other peripherals they may prefer, with the XAC functioning as a conduit of sorts.

Accessibility advocate AbleGamers’ COO Steven Spohn, who worked with Microsoft, is excited about the promise of the controller when it comes to servicing people with various disabilities. “The Xbox Adaptive Controller was designed for people with various physical disabilities,” he says. “In 2011, we unveiled a controller called Adroit that allows you to use switches as buttons just like the XAC. But Xbox managed to take that to a whole another level. It’s like watching a Pokémon evolve. With two giant programmable buttons and a d-pad built right onto the controller, and the ability to interface with just about all of the most popular joysticks on the assistive technology market today, there is going to be quite a demand for this controller. Now it’s our job at AbleGamers to keep up with the fundraising to match the new outcry for this amazing controller.”

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Spohn also talked at length about the importance of the controller’s visuals. “I love that the controller looks like the other standard Xbox controllers. If you put the controller side-by-side, they look like an Xbox controller and another Xbox controller. Many times in the disability community, things are designed for a purpose and not to be elegant or sleek. It doesn’t look pretty but it gets the job done – pretty much the motto of many assistive technology devices. But with the XAC it looks pretty and it feels smooth as ice.”

Spohn isn’t alone in his enthusiasm for the device. Harrison Barton, an indie developer and gamer who has Amniotic Band Syndrome, says, “I am excited about the potential of the controller, I think its focus on customization makes it very viable for people with different abilities.” Disabled gamer Grant Stoner “loves the endless possibilities for customization with [the] device.” “If I’m having trouble reaching the Y button for instance,” he says, “I can just pull the Y switch closer to my body. If I don’t need a particular button, I can just remove the switch, or relegate that particular button to, let’s say R3.”

The Price Is Right?
While the controller has received positive feedback from all the disabled gamers I spoke to, there is one universal point of discussion that disappoints them: the price. The controller costs $99.99, a good $40 more than your standard Xbox One controller.

Nikki Jeske says that while she respects Microsoft for building the controller, she’s afraid that $99.99 is too expensive for the majority of people who would benefit most from such a device: “While I understand WHY it costs $100, it still seems to me that most people in the community this is for, are people like me – who are unable to work and therefore could never hope to buy something this expensive to help.” 

Katriel Page chimed in with a similar sentiment: “I wish $99.99 wasn’t the price of that controller. Take a loss or make it around the same range as default ones – people with disabilities often are more poor (and people on Social Security Disability Insurance can only have up to a certain amount of money in assets, which may only cover a computer or TV and no controllers or anything). We shouldn’t have to choose between exploring the world of Witcher 3 on PC or relaxing to Stardew Valley, or using that $100 for grocery delivery because we can’t carry that many cans/heavy bags either.”

As someone with spastic hand movements, Twitch affiliate Andre Daughtry tells us he’s excited about the controller and thinks it will be a welcome addition for disabled gamers. However, he’s also concerned about the price as he lives on fixed income.

Stoner doesn’t mind the price too much, saying that comparatively speaking, other accessibility-minded controllers are more expensive. “Four years ago, I purchased a customized PlayStation 4 controller from Evil Controllers,” he says. “I needed to have additional buttons on the sides to replace the bumpers and triggers. That set me back about $150. “

After hearing from everyone else, I asked Spohn about the price point. He called it “spectacular,” compared to the prices of other accessibility peripherals. “I’ve already had some people say, ‘This controller is $100! That’s almost double the price of the standard controller! What a ripoff!’ But those are from people that don’t live in the disability world. For those of us who live here, we like to say we have a disability tax on life. Everything is more expensive if you are disabled, including controllers… $100 is practically a dream.”

Looking Ahead
Outside of the price, the XAC has received positive feedback and points to a more interesting future in regards to how manufacturers approach disability. Microsoft’s initiative makes it the first of the three big manufacturers to take a concrete step into making its hardware handicapped accessible, which raises the question about how Sony and Nintendo will respond. Sony has done a lot of accessibility within its games, but has no hardware options on the level with the XAC. Meanwhile, the Switch is aggressively difficult to make accessibility-minded modifications to because of Nintendo’s approach to third-party hardware mods.

Spohn says the lesson here for both Sony and Nintendo is “that the disability community is here to stay. This isn’t a flash in the pan or a fluke, an organization like AbleGamers getting some attention and we will eventually go away. Players with disabilities are a real demographic that need attention. If a juggernaut like Xbox is willing to work with organizations like AbleGamers for over three years to make a controller, you know that means they’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do and because they think it will sell. PlayStation is doing a good job of accessibility, but they need to be careful they don’t get left behind. Nintendo, on the other hand, they might want to consider taking some power-ups and getting into the game.”

Stoner shared the sentiment with both publishers. “In 2015, Sony introduced the PlayStation 2.50 system update. This added a bevy of accessibility features, including customizable controls, colorblind options, and the ability to adjust text size across all video games. For me, this update became the pinnacle of accessibility features.” His look on Nintendo and Switch is dour as well: “The tablet is too big, and the controller for the Joy-Cons is egregiously small. On top of which, very few games allow players to customize controls. The Xbox Adaptive Controller could be the catalyst for Nintendo to begin adding accessible options, but, I don’t want to get my hopes up.”

Time will tell, but I’m curious to see if Microsoft’s move here results in Sony making the jump from small but meaningful software-focused updates to hardware innovation and Nintendo making any effort at all to court disabled gamers. There’s also the matter of how the XAC plays out for the community it’s geared toward and whether or not it will find its audience. “Getting [the controller] into the hands of actual people who could benefit from it is gonna be the key thing,” says disabled gamer William Carpenter. “I think there are a lot of outreach programs that would love to get a few to have. Microsoft should probably be open to losing money on this for it to have max impact.”

Regardless of how this initiative plays out for Microsoft, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a huge deal for the disabled community. It’s physical proof that one of the biggest companies in the world is using its power to make gaming a more inclusive place for those who have often themselves pushed to the fringe.

For more on gaming and disability, you can read out in-depth feature on it here.

If you can wrap your brain around what developer Villa Gorilla calls an “open-world Metroidvania pinball adventure,” and you don’t mind playing as a spry dung beetle, you’re in for a unique and wholly satisfying treat. Yoku’s Island Express turns the simple action of hitting a ball with a flipper into a joyous journey through a world filled with quests and secrets galore. This odd mash-up of genres works better than you might think.

The player assumes the role of Yoku, who happens to be tethered to a ball of petrified dung. As disgusting as this object may sound, Yoku uses it as a means of locomotion. He’s tied to it via a short rope, and he mostly has to hold on for dear life. Yoku has just taken on the role of Mokumana Island’s postman, and he needs to cover ground quickly if he wants to deliver mail before the island god brings torrential rain and quakes. Yoku can freely push the ball to the left or right, but can’t jump or do much of anything other than blow on a whistle. When stacked up against the Samuses and Aluchards of games of this ilk, he’s easily the weakest and most useless of the lot. Thankfully, the world itself is filled with colored flippers that can propel Yoku and his ball wherever he needs to go.

The island design is so good that a flipper is always where you want it to be, yet the placement doesn’t tip off a clear path to where you need to go. You know the flipper propels you upward, but it may take you to a ramp that swirls into an underground cavern, or it may launch you into a bumper that sends you off in an unintended direction. I frequently looked at the map trying to make heads or tails of the puzzle-like world design. Figuring out which flipper or path is the right one is part of the fun; even when you have a path charted, timing sometimes comes into play, as some locations can only be reached from a precise hit on the flipper.

All of the pinball basics are firmly established in this adventure, outside of tilting. The drain between the two flippers is often occupied by thorny briar, which hurts Yoku and makes him drop some fruit (the game’s form of currency). Collecting fruit isn’t a hassle, but this act encourages thorough exploration, as you’ll need to cash it in to open up new routes, quests, and handy items.

Yoku never needs to score points or keep a ball alive for extended periods of time. That said, some areas on the island are essentially pinball tables. They are closed-off spaces featuring ramps, bumpers, and switches. These tables are designed well, delivering frantic flipper action and skillful shooting, all while maintaining the feeling that they are a part of an adventure.

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The nerve-racking concept of multiball is used in a clever way in Yoku’s Island Express, but I don’t want to spoil exactly how, as it is tied to the larger story and one of its better quests. You find quests littered across the sprawling map, many leading you to new locations or back to previous ones (with new powers that allow you to access a different area). Powers include the ability to swim by latching a fish onto the dung ball, and a grapple-like swing using the mouth of a hungry plant. These skills add variety to the ball-smacking action, although the timing of the of the grapple is tricky, often forcing me to retry a sequence over and over again.

Secrets and collectibles emerge as Yoku uncovers more of the map – which is hidden behind fog of war until he reaches new areas. Some of the world’s biggest elements are tucked off to the side, and can only be unearthed if every little area is explored. To reach these spaces, you need to keep your eyes peeled and search the beautifully detailed areas for secret passages or points that a ball can be launched in a specific direction.

Some areas lead to boss encounters. These giant or agile beasts don’t like getting smacked with a ball, and may have some ways to create obstacles that prevent you from lining up shots. These battles get the blood pumping, but never once do you fear you will fail in any way, as Yoku’s Island Express doesn’t have any fail states. At worst, you lose fruit and have to obtain more, or have to fire off shot after shot to hit your mark. The most stress comes from figuring out how to navigate the land without getting lost. Exploring the island is a little annoying in the opening moments, but becomes hassle free once a slick fast-travel system is activated.

When the credits rolled, I had only unearthed 57 percent of the content, and was eager to jump back in to unlock the big secrets, which are teased nicely at specific points during play. Yoku’s Island Express critical path can be completed quickly, and there could definitely be more meat on that bone, but it’s a journey I urge every pinball and Metroidvania fanatic to play. Villa Gorilla doesn’t just introduce a new concept to gaming – it has full ownership of it, and shows us just how fun it can be.

If you purchased the Far Cry 5 season pass, you can now download the Classic Edition Of Far Cry 3 on your respective console.  PC owners will get the full edition of the game as well, indicating that the release will contain all of the previous DLC for console players at well. 

At the time, there is little information on what else is in the Classic Edition other than the expanded content and there is no solid information on whether the game has received framerate or resolution upgrades on console. The Classic Edition will get a standalone release on June 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Our Take:
Far Cry 3 was the start of what we now see as the Ubisoft formula for the games it produces. While it may not be a classic just yet, the game was a great title that really re-invigorated the series (I am a ride or die Far Cry 2 man myself) and spawned a litany of sequels.  This re-release will give another generation a chance to see where the Far Cry we know today started. 

Following Saints Row 2’s addition to the Xbox One BC list earlier this month, its predecessor Saints Row 2 and the most recent game in the series, the standalone expansion Gat Out of Hell, have both joined the list.

The first Saints Row launched in 2006 and was initially criticized for being a clone of Grand Theft Auto, but has come to be appreciated as something different and unique that had its own distinct feel. Gat Out of Hell is more in line with later Saints Row games and functions as a standalone open world where players control Johnny Gat. 

The tabletop racer Toybox Turbo is also included in this wave of newly-BC titles.

As with most Xbox 360-on-Xbox One games, if you own the title digitally, it should simply be in your games and apps list ready to download. If not, you can throw the disc in and download the game or buy it from the Xbox Live store.

Refusing to consolidate to a single handheld system, Nintendo announced a new Zelda 2DS XL today. Its case features the Hylian shield design and it comes with a pre-installed copy of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. 

Like the Detective Pikachu version before it, this Hylian Shield Edition has a vibrant color scheme and is priced at $159.99 exclusively at GameStop.

[Disclaimer: GameStop is the parent company of Game Informer]