It’s been confirmed that the upcoming live-action series adaptation of The Witcher is coming to Netflix later this year.

It will hit during Netflix’s Q4 period, which runs from October to December. This gives us a better idea, but we still don’t have an exact date of when it hits the streaming platform. According to Variety, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos says that the show is currently being shot in Hungary.

The Witcher show stars Henry Cavill as Geralt, Freya Allan (The War of the Worlds) as Ciri, and Anya Chalotra (The ABC Murders) as Yennefer.

You can read more about the casting details here, along with a speak peek of the show here.

Frontier Developments’ Jurassic World Evolution continues to deliver new content. Today players of this fun park-building simulation can download the Carnivore Dinosaur Pack to add three new threats dinosaurs to their sprawling prehistoric wonderlands.

The dinosaurs are the Acrocanthosaurus, an oddly postured monster from the cretaceous period, the Proceratosaurus, a small threat from the Jurassic period that is linked genetically to the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the Herrerasaurus, is one of the earliest dinosaurs on record, dating back to the Triassic period.

This pack retails for $4.99 and is readily available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If players log in today, they’ll find a new Capture Mode has been added to the game for free. Capture Mode gives players better tools for taking shots of their dinos.

The image gallery below gives you a look at all of the new dinos and the mode. The trailer shows the carnivores in action and goats and one another.

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Fighting games can be tough to get into. Most are multiplayer-focused affairs, which can be a deal-breakers for many single-player fans. Even among multiplayer offerings, they require a degree of dedication to memorize combos, time to brush up on things like frame data and mix-ups that can be intimidating at first. Not everyone is interested in diving into training mode for hours just to make a game “fun” outside of casual button mashing, but NetherRealm Studios has long been doing its best to turn those casual players into competitors. 

As the team behind one of the most popular fighting-game series around, NetherRealm is well-aware of the impediments some players have to getting into them. “We know there’s a barrier where, anything that’s competitive is automatically a barrier for some people,” says lead designer John Edwards. “And fighting games in particular are kind of daunting, because they seem so scary, and mechanically difficult to get into, and there’s all these terms that are thrown around. It just seems super-daunting just even thinking approaching trying to learn how to play a fighting game.”

While they can seem intimidating at first, designer Derek Kirtzic is confident that once players decide to dive into them, they’re likely to find learning fighting games easier than they think. “Anybody can be really good at fighting games,” he says. “The secret to fighting games is, it’s a lot slower than you actually think it is,” he says. “A lot of people think, ‘The faster I press buttons, the more that’s going to happen.’ But actually it’s taking the time and just [inputting combos like] 1-1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-1 back-forward-1.”

“People don’t play the piano like this,” Derek says, jutting his fingers up and down on the table rapidly, “They do it very slow. It’s very similar to fighting games.”

As developers, it’s NetherRealm’s job teach players how its games work, but the shift in mindset has to come from the player. “It’s up to the player to break out of that thought of ‘The faster I press buttons, the more things that are going to happen.’”

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To that end, Kirtzic tells me Mortal Kombat 11’s will run players through the basics, letting players know all the tools at their disposal, offer a few tips on how to use all of its attacks and techniques, then let players loose to play the game however they want. NetherRealm wants players to have a decent grasp of the game before they get there, however.

While the extensiveness of tutorials in fighting games can vary, lead designer John Edwards says the effect of tutorials on their own is often overestimated. “Having good tutorials definitely helps, but I don’t think that helps to the degree that a lot of people think it does,” he tells me.

While much of the appeal of fighting games comes from learning to play them, many people just want to have fun as quickly as possible, and simply don’t want to spend an hour or two doing what can often feel like homework, according to designer Derek Kirtzic. “We cannot force players to do a tutorial,” he says. “[In our games] we always go ‘Hey, you’ve never played this game before, would you like to play a tutorial?’ And most people are like, ‘Nah dog, let me just go straight to story mode!’” Edwards and Kirtzic aren’t alone on this front; Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada also pointed to a lack of player interest which is why Bandai Namco opted to only include a barebones tutorial in Tekken 7

“And we’re not going to sit there and stalk the player and be like, ‘We noticed you haven’t done training still!’” Kirtzic says. “It’s up to the player what time they’re going to invest in it.”

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Instead, Edwards points to the other ways NetherRealm gets players to invest in fighting games: By giving them lots of content that just happens to involve playing and improving at the game itself. By playing through the story mode, players get an early feel for how fighting works, and then, according to Edwards, slowly learn some of the instincts the genre requires by playing single-player modes, such as Mortal Kombat 11’s Towers of Time, which has players tackle single-player objectives, tough bosses, unlock items, and invest in creating their own rendition of their favorite character using the game’s custom variation system. 

This creates an attachment to fighting games that doesn’t rely solely on being able to play them well. “And then once you’ve kind of got them hooked on fighting games in general, it’s much easier to transition them into the more competitive scene,” says Edwards.

That transition is easier said than done, however, as there is a major difference between enjoying a fighting game by beating up computer opponents and playing online against other learned players. Edwards acknowledges the transition can be tough. “You’re going to be playing against people who may have been playing for their entire lives,” he says. But it’s a transition NetherRealm is keen on making, since learning to play satisfying matches against other players is the best way to keep players hooked.

Over the years, NetherRealm has experimented with different ways to do this, and many of the incentives for players to play against others are back in Mortal Kombat 11. Once again, Kirtiz says the team is hoping to keep players engaged online by being more up-front about how their opponent is matched against them. In casual matches (as shown in the recent online beta), both players can see their opponent’s win-loss record, as well as their chances to win a particular match. If a player sees they have an edge, or that they’re at least evenly-matched, they might be more inclined to play. This isn’t too different from most games that match players against each other, but the way NetherRealm surfaces this data more readily makes the expectations the game has of your more clear.

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On the other hand, NetherRealm wants players to challenge themselves and improve, so that on the occasion they come across a lopsided matchup they may choose to decline, but may just as likely face their opponent knowing they probably won’t win, but could stand to learn a thing or two from their opponent. “Hopefully it gets to an extent that the casual player will see progress in their online skill,” Kirtzic says. “We want to make sure that when we match more casual players up, that they’re actually seeing that ‘Yeah, actually I can beat these guys, and I’m getting better and better, and I’m seeing my rank is getting higher,’ and things like that. We want to give positive encouragement to the players that are usually kind of standoffish when it comes to a ranked system.” 

Another way to keep players coming back to multiplayer is to offer them something besides a higher matchmaking rank for playing. Edwards wants to incentivize casual players by letting them earn koins to unlock stuff in the Krypt, and level up their profile through experience. It also means introducing time-limited modes that use some of Mortal Kombat’s wacky combat modifiers (Kirtzic points to the classic “Juggle Kombat” as an example) that offer exclusive rewards for participating in them.

“Having those fun modes takes down the competitive shield that players have,” Kirtzic says. “You’re more willing to play characters that you may not necessarily play, and play less strategically than you normally would – especially the casual players. The casual player is like, ‘Oh dude, I’ve been playing this modifier in the Towers of Time, I totally know what to do against this totem while I’m fighting this dude, right?'”

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Edwards sees this slope, of getting single-player fans to slowly dip their toes into Mortal Kombat’s competitive side, as key to breaking down the misconception that fighting games are a difficult genre to get into. “The more we can kind of incentivize the non-competitive guys into playing competitive for whatever reason, the more they’re going to learn naturally, and the more they’re going to realize that it’s not super-scary,” he tells me. “It just has a little bit more of a difficult of a barrier of entry because there’s so many moving parts, as opposed to like a first-person shooter, where they’re kind of ultimately all boiled down to kind of the same mechanic [of shooting].”

“It’s always a goal for us to try and take the casual player to that next level, so that everybody can enjoy the game that we’re offering,” Kirtzic says.

Of course, NetherRealm knows some players will never be the kind of player who sticks with fighting games for the long haul, and would prefer to treat them the way they do most other kinds of games – more as entertainment than hobby. “Some people just don’t want to put all this time into practicing good enough that you can beat the average person online,” studio creative director Ed Boon tells me. “They just want to have fun on the couch next to their friends playing story mode, and they’re happy.”

For more on Mortal Kombat 11, check out our recent dive into the game’s story mode, a match between NetherRealm’s two best players, and more by clicking on the hub below.

Biplanes return to Fortnite this week in Air Royale, a new limited-time, duos-only mode that pits players against each other in an aerial dogfighting arena. Touch the ground? Dead. Fly too high? Finished. Park your plane? Boom. Each plane has three lives, and players will respawn until their plane loses its last life.

Food fighting – well, some form of it – comes to the game in this week’s update, too. Deep Fried is a limited-time mode where both teams start on either side of the map, separated by a barrier down the middle. Each team has its own restaurant with a mascot inside. The mode gives teams time to build defenses around their restaurant, and once the barrier comes down, the winner is the team that can eliminate the enemy’s mascot.

You can check out all of this week’s updates in the patch notes here, including the return of the egg-themed Grenade Launcher skin and a new Infantry Rifle (shown above).

For our Avengers fans out there, rumor has it that last year’s Thanos event may return in time for Avengers: Endgame. And because Fortnite news is never normal, Prince Harry recently called to ban the game, saying “it’s created to addict.”

[Source: Official Fortnite Blog]

The Last of Us Part II director Neil Druckmann has teased on Twitter that the ending scene of the game has now been shot. Whether this means that all motion capture work for the actors is complete or not is unclear, but it’s still exciting to hear that it’s all coming together.

Sony won’t be attending E3 this year, meaning that The Last of Us sequel will also be missing in action. We don’t know when we’ll be seeing the game on center stage again, or how far along it is in its production.

You can read our coverage on the game from last year’s E3 by heading here.

Ubisoft has a lot of big changes planned for the third title update for The Division 2, which includes the introduction of the first eight-player raid. Wrangling all the tweaks is taking longer than expected, so today the company announced the update is sliding from its original April 25 release into May. 

The delay may be a bummer, but the proposed changes are generally exciting and show the teams at Massive and Red Storm have their ears glued to the ground. Players have all lamented the weak punching power of most exotic weapons, so Ubi is giving them damage buffs across the board. Alongside that news, Red Storm creative director Terry Spier wanted to relay their intentions with exotics – they’re not all supposed to be about world-beating damage per second (DPS), but rather an opportunity for the developers to create different styles of play. Still, knowing those weapons that take much longer to acquire have a little more power is nice. The LMG Pestilence also received a PvP buff.

Speir also addressed the fans clamoring for the developers to raise the poorly performing weapons/gear rather than nerf the popular ones. Their intentions with nerfs are to align the game so the play feels more balanced. The reason they don’t buff everything is there is only so high they could go until everything feels too overblown. Other long-standing games like World of Warcraft have had to perform stat squishes when things get out of control, and they want to avoid that if possible. Ubi also outlined a ridiculous amount of proposed talent buffs and nerfs.

Dark Zone Changes

Many players have griped about the low player counts and weak gear drops in the three dark zones. Guess what? Ubi also has plans to fix these issues. When Title Update 3 drops in May, gear that drops in the dark zones can now scale up to Gear Score 515, making these areas the only places in the game where you can power creep above the 500 cap. To address the population complaints, Spier made a point to say they are not going to raise the player caps, but rather tweak the system to make sure each instance more regularly has 12 players roaming the streets. Right now the game creates too many brackets of players, which is why the regions feel dramatically underpopulated. The Red Storm test servers always guarantee 12 players are participating, and Spier says they feel like this is the sweet spot between being overcrowded and underpopulated.

Several other dark zone changes are planned as well, including returning loot ratios. After TU3, less non-contaminated loot will drop in favor of more contaminated loop, which should drive more players to engage in the extraction loop. In addition, named bosses will guarantee contaminated loot drops. To compensate, Ubi will increase the contaminated loot bag size to six. The Tier 1 dark zone perk will increase this to eight, and the Tier 10 perk will up the bag size to ten.

Weapon Normalization Changes

Weapon/gear normalization plays a big role in the dark zones and the Conflict PvP mode, and Ubi has some proposed tweaks on this front as well to make it feel more in line with the PvE experience. Right now, the game takes your stats and pushes them toward the middle to make the fights fairer between players with divergent gear scores. After TU3, they will respect item rolls. That means if you have a weapon with a higher change for a critical shot, it will still have a higher chance after the normalization occurs. Ubi is also adjusting how skill power is normalized so any skill mods you have equipped in the open world work when you venture into the dark zones or Conflict. 

Another big change coming to PvP encounters is a global tuning that drops the damage modifier from 70-percent to 40-percent, which means players have more time to react once the bullets start flying and kill times should feel more in line with the PvE experience. Skills won’t one-shot players, but they are getting buffed to be more effective. 

Red Storm is putting new tuning mechanics in place so it can alter specific weapons and weapon archetypes in both the dark zone and occupied dark zone without affecting the PvE experience. The first big change coming is buffing assault rifle damage across the board in PvP and removing the ability for players to get crits when hip firing. 

The Division 2 PTS went live today on PC, so if you want to check out these proposed changes you can log into your Uplay account, download the client, and join the feedback loop.  

For more on The Division 2, check out our review of the game here.

The Switch is a great little device. Most people who own it tend to agree that playing both new games and classic titles on the go to be a fantastic experience. One of those recent classics that has been ported to the system is Final Fantasy VII, one of the most renowned JRPGs of all time.

I bought the Switch version of the game to give it the old college try to see if I could come to appreciate it in spite of how many years have lapsed since its release. To my surprise, I found that I was enjoying the story and even the aesthetic to the point that I felt compelled to keep playing…right up until I hit a gamebreaking bug about three hours into the story. What’s worse is that this bug was reported over a year ago in the PC version. The game is also on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and might have the same bug but can’t confirm that since I only encountered it in the Switch version.

You can read the specifics of the issue here but generally what happens is an event that needs to trigger for you to progress doesn’t happen. Restarting the game doesn’t fix it. If you have an earlier save stretching back, you might be in luck but otherwise you’re probably looking at a full restart. PC players were savvy enough to identify the issue and come up with a fix by fiddling with the game’s config files. Switch players (like yours truly) are out of luck since they can’t dive into the game’s backend. The lack of a eShop refund option coupled with the fact this bug has been reported for over a year makes this issue completely unacceptable.

So just be aware if you’re considering purchasing the Switch (or Xbox One) version of Final Fantasy VII either to relive some of your favorite JRPG memories or you’re wanting to see what all the fuss is about, because there’s a decent chance you’re buying a broken game.

Days after a fire caused extensive damage to Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral, Ubisoft is making an effort to commemorate the landmark and also help aid its reconstruction efforts. The company says it’s donating €500,000 for restoration and, as reported earlier, the scans of the structure created during Assassin’s Creed Unity’s development could be a valuable reference source in the coming years. PC players who didn’t get to tour the structure before the blaze (or didn’t visit via Unity) have a week to do so on Ubisoft’s dime, too.

Assassin’s Creed Unity is free on PC for the following week. To claim your copy, just visit Ubisoft’s online store here. Its DLC is also discounted, if you feel like taking a deeper dive. Otherwise, you’re free to wander around Notre Dame and take in the sights of Paris. 

The game had a notoriously rocky launch, but a series of patches and updates brought it up to series standards. If its bumpy release kept you away, this is a great excuse to check Unity out.

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No More Robots just announced that it will be publishing Nowhere Prophets, the new digital card game from Sharkbomb Studios. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future (with delicate notes of cyberpunk), where you play as the leader of a ragtag group of survivors. At least, that’s what I’m told – Leo scrolls through the text so awfully fast in today’s episode.

As a prophet, it’s up to you to make decisions that keep your burgeoning convoy safe, while adding to their numbers. Play your cards right (AHAHAHA!), and your decisions will lead to prosperity, earning food, batteries, and other valuable resources to keep things running smoothly. Even if you make all the right calls, you’re going to end up fighting in Nowhere Prophets’ tactical battles. Thankfully for us, Leo and his big brain are leading this train. Toot toot!

The game is available now on itch.io First Access, or look for it on Steam this summer.

Star Wars: Knights of the Republic is one of the most popular Star Wars video games to date, empowering players with the ability to venture down the light or dark side of the force in an era set 4,000 years before the Empire came to power. While delivering a powerful Star Wars fantasy, Knights of the Old Republic is also praised for its story, which delivered one hell of a plot twist.

Although Knights of the Old Republic received a sequel, was adapted into comic books, and it’s setting was later explored in The Old Republic MMO, fans have long wanted to see it leap to the silver screen for a live-action film. At this year’s Star Wars Celebration, MTV News’ Josh Horowitz interviewed Lucasfilm’s president Kathleen Kennedy, and asked her if Knights of the Old Republic was something they were considering for the future. “You know, we talk about that all the time,” Kennedy said. “Yes, we are developing something to look at. Right now, I have no idea where things might fall, but we have to be careful that there is a cadence to Star Wars that doesn’t start to feel like too much.”

Kennedy’s words begin hopeful, but end with no real answer. The big takeaway is that Lucasfilm is looking at Knights of the Old Republic, and is considering doing something with it, but we have no idea what it could be. It could be as ambitious as a movie trilogy or Disney+ TV series, or as simple as a new comic-book series or a remastered versions of the original games. Heck, it could even be Knights of the Old Republic 3. We’ll have to wait to see what comes of Lucasfilm’s exploration, but one thing is certain, whatever may come from it doesn’t sound like it will happen any time soon.