People who make science-fiction television shows for a living may have played a little Mass Effect in their day. Imagine that! The new trailer for Netflix’s Lost in Space appears to draw inspiration from BioWare’s Mass Effect games, most notably in the design of Will Robinson’s Robot, which looks a lot like Legion, Commander Shepard’s geth teammate. You can see the similarities between Legion and Robot below:

Mass Effect fans will also be reminded of the Nomad, and may even think the Robinson space suits look somewhat familiar. BioWare’s artists knocked it out of the part with Mass Effect, and it really shouldn’t be that shocking to see it be used as inspiration for movies and television shows. If anything, it makes me want to watch the show more. You can see the entire Lost in Space trailer below:

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After the whirlwind last week where the White House announced a meeting with video game leaders, and the Entertainment Software Association subsequently stated that none of its member companies have received invites, the ESA has now announced that they will be meeting with the president this Thursday, first reported by Kotaku.

It was unclear a few days ago when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the meeting who exactly the president would be meeting with for his discussion on violent media, but the invites have seemingly made their way to their intended recipients and the ESA has stated that they will be attending.

The stated focus of the meeting is to discuss the effect violent video games have and any possible contributions to mass shootings.

We contacted the ESA for a statement on their announcement.

Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and
reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and
real-life violence. Like all Americans, we are deeply concerned about the level
of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue:
entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially
higher level of gun violence than any other nation. The upcoming meeting at the
White House, which ESA will attend, will provide the opportunity to have a
fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to
parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.” –
Entertainment Software Association – March 5, 2018

The ESA is a lobbying group representing and comprised of numerous large publishers in the gaming industry. In the past, the group has supported the Trump administration’s STEM initiative and tax plan, and also condemned the president’s alleged comments about third-world countries.

Our Take
I am curious who besides ESA representatives will be at the meeting. It sounds like the ESA wants to plead its case, but I don’t know how effective it will be.

Nintendo announced last month that they were planning to expand the Nintendo rewards system by allowing you to use gold points – points specifically gained as a percentage of money spent on games and associated content – to make purchases on the eShop. Today, that system went live.

If you buy a game or DLC for the Switch, you then earn a percentage back for your Nintendo account which amounts to one cent per gold point. So if you wanted a brand new $60 game for free, you’d need about 6000 gold points. Considering points expire after a year, by and large, the gold points will mostly be used for discounts rather than wholly free titles.

The rewards system is heavily geared toward transitioning customers to digital purchases. You get a higher percentage back when using digital (5 percent versus 1 percent for physical) and physical games can only earn points within a year of the game’s release. I imagine that rule has exceptions, however, as the Switch just turned a year old and launch games seem to be eligible. That limit is two years for Europe, but one year for everywhere else.

Also, DLC only counts for Switch. While game purchases on 3DS and Wii U count, DLC does not. It is not clear if mobile game DLC does or not.

[Source: Nintendo]

 

Our Take
This seems like a good deal if you’re buying lots of Nintendo stuff digitally, as some discounts are better than nothing. Still, I miss the old Club Nintendo, as I felt you got more bang for your buck there.

Some months ago, Ubisoft announced that dedicated servers will be coming to For Honor, the publisher’s weapon-based fighting game. Last month, dedicated servers launched for PC, but it’s coming to consoles tomorrow March 6.

The change makes it so there’s no host advantage in multiplayer matches. A match with multiple people used to only be as strong as its weakest connection, but now it should theoretically not affect everyone connecting to Ubisoft’s servers. Users on PC have been reporting a marked uptick in the quality and consistency of matches since the patch.

The Age of Wolves expansion launched for For Honor last month to coincide with the PC patch. For Honor is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

Last year, Nintendo shocked and baffled the world by changing a single category in Mario’s Japanese profile page: occupation. The change went from Plumber to Adventurer, turning everything we knew about Mario on its head. Thankfully, that has now been rectified.

Users on Reddit noticed the change yesterday, realizing that Nintendo had seemingly adjusted the Mario profile page once again this week. After some Google translation and comparing of archived pages that referred to him only as a plumber “a long time ago,” it was revealed that Occupation had been changed back to Plumber, putting Mario back in touch with his pipe-based roots.

Maybe Nintendo knows this is just one of those changes where calling him Adventurer provides no benefit but changing it from Plumber bothers some people because it’s an unnecessary change. Or maybe Bowser’s line in Mario Odyssey calling Mario “plumber boy” finally got to him and he realized that, while he may also be an adventurer, he’ll always be a plumber at heart.

[Source: NintendoLife]

Most horror games are about limited the player with scarce resources or having them evade a ferocious villain stalking them. In Carrion, an upcoming horror game from Phobia Game Studio, the roles are reversed. This time, you’re a fearsome, bloody, monster blob lurking around and killing its prey.

You make your way through an industrial complex going head-to-head with various heavily armed humans, all hoping to end the terror you cause. Unfortunate for them, you have a range of otherworldly abilities at your disposal to send them to early graves. You can view a short trailer below.

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Carrion is expected to release on PC, though no release date has been announced just yet.

Good Smile Company, a Japanese retailer known for its pop-culture collectibles, is releasing a Nendoroid figure of the Guardian from Breath of the Wild later this year, and it’s available now to pre-order. 

This adorable collectible features a movable head and eyeball, along with removable legs. It also comes with a number of accessories including a translucent “Game Over” screen, which you can view in the image gallery below. Other accessories include an eye beam attack, and an Ancient Bow.

Currently being sold for 5,800 yen (approximately $55), you can pre-order the collectible by heading here. It is expected to ship as of August. Good Smile is also re-releasing its Nendoroid Link (4,500 yen) and Nendoroid Link DX (5.800 yen) which are both up from pre-order as well, and will ship in September.

Take a look at our photo gallery below for more images of the Nendoroid Guardian.

Welcome to a very special episode of The Game Informer Show podcast! The magazine just hit our 300th issue, and we’re celebrating by rolling out five unique covers and listing what we consider to be the 300 greatest games of all time. To reveal the new covers and dive in deep on the creation of the list, we streamed this episode of the podcast live from Fulton Brewery in downtown Minneapolis in a room filled with the Game Informer community. Thanks again to everybody that came out for the event, and we hope you enjoy the episode!

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to this episode 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…

1:25 – Revealing Game Informer’s 300th issue covers
17:10 – Fulton Brewery’s Tucker Gerrick on the Game Informer collaboration
23:14 – Creating the list of the Top 300 Games Of All Time
1:31:30 – Community questions
1:43:00 – Media Molecule’s Abbie Heppe on Dreams
1:52:05 – Even more community questions

Chucklefish, the creator of the infectiously popular farming simulation game Stardew Valley, is working hard on its next title Spellbound. Spellbound has a similar aesthetic and vibe to Stardew Valley, but this time revolves around magic schools instead of agriculture.

In an interview with Red Bull Games earlier this week, Chucklefish’s founder Finn Brice provided plenty of new tidbits about what we can expect from this school of wizardry sim where you attend classes, build relationships, craft, brew potions, and learn magical spells.

“The game revolves around your path through school, the relationships you build, and your mastery of the several schools of magic at your disposal,” Brice told Red Bull Games. “Players should expect to build up their magical proficiency by undertaking school projects. This might have them growing magical crops and creatures in herbology or taking on the denizens of the forest in elemental magic.

Although Brice explains that the team was unsurprisingly influenced by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, they describe Spellbound’s world as “very unlike Hogwarts.” The magic in this universe is more “practical,” taking inspiration from Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, Studio Ghibli animations, and Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe.

Brice explains that a lot of emphasis is put on your path through school, where you increase your magical proficiency through academic projects in classes like Herbology, where you might create magical creatures and crops. School and social life will provide many opportunities for befriending characters, delving into quests, dating, and more. Brice hints that there will be some surprising elements to dating in Spellbound, where players may be “a little shocked the first time they get dumped.”

Combat is also a key feature, and the team describes this iteration as reminiscent of “Zelda-like retro action RPGs, with spellcasting taking the place of swords, bows and bombs.” By combining and unlocking elements, players will be able to activate different kinds of spells which can then be used in the forest dungeon.

You can read our review of Chucklefish’s previous game, Stardew Valley, by heading here.

[Source: Red Bull Games]

 

Our Take
I love both Harry Potter and Stardew Valley, so a hybrid of the two is really exciting to me. I’ve been eagerly awaiting more information about Spellbound, and this interview helps shed light on some interesting mechanics. I’m really curious about how Steven Universe influences this game and what both classes and spellcasting will be like. Sounds neat so far!

On Friday, the Xbox One version of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, which is currently in Xbox Game Preview, received an update. In particular, the starting area where you spawn at the beginning of the game has been removed. 

Instead of the lag-induced starting area that spawned hundreds of players in one place, the game will now introduce several pre-match starting locations to help optimize performance. However, this isn’t the only notable change in this update. Sound effects are also being adjusted, along with quality of life improvements in some menus and bug fixes.

You can view the full patch notes below:

Gameplay

  • Introduced multiple pre-match starting locations in order to optimize both server and game client performance
  • Weapons are removed from the starting island prior to the match starting
  • Game DVR is now supported for automatic recording of gameplay highlights. This feature must be enabled within the Options / Settings menu.
  • We continue to listen to your vehicle feedback and have lowered the damage taken from objects throughout the world such as rocks, trees, and uneven terrain
  • Adjusted the sound effects of both water and red-zone bombing
  • Party matchmaking is now influenced by the player’s MMR
  • Adjusted long-range blood VFX back to the original colors

UI/UX

  • Improved visibility of squad member colors (yellow, orange, blue and green)
  • Players can use the right thumbstick to rotate their character model during customization
  • When customizing character appearance, the D-Pad can be held to switch between menus
  • Preview is supported when customizing appearance or creating a new character

Items

  • Updated the design of the energy drink

 Bug Fixes

  • Fixed water sound effects
  • Fixed Red Zone disappearing immediately after it starts
  • Fixed random character teleportation following initial landing 
  • Fixed an issue where some doors could not be entered despite appearing open
  • Fixed issue of recovery and boost items being able to be used when underwater
  • Fixed the character animations when transitioning from jump-prone to standing
  • Fixed unexpected character death caused by falling while moving
  • Fixed areas of fencing where specific sides could not be penetrated by bullets
  • Fixed buildings with missing stairs
  • Fixed bug which caused objects to float in the air
  • Fixed areas of terrain which were causing player characters to become stuck
  • Fixed an issue which prevented team members being displayed following acceptance of an invite
  • Fixed the issue of revive being cancelled unintentionally
  • Fixed hand animations when reloading/shooting the Kar98 in a prone position
  • Fixed the issue limiting peak parachuting speed in FPP mode
  • Fixed character animations when moving from prone to entering a vehicle

Optimization / Stability

  • Optimized textures, landscapes and buildings throughout the island to improve performance
  • Fixed a crash occurring when HDR was enabled
  • Fixed a frozen character issue when reconnecting following a crash
  • Fixed a crash occurring when the player opened their inventory
  • Fixed a crash occurring when the spectated player was using a scope

Localization

  • Applied new Russian, Japanese and Chinese (simplified/traditional) fonts
  • Japanese only: Adjusted the Katakana font
  • Japanese only: Fixed incorrect order of wording during object interactions
  • Portuguese only: Fixed the display of height meter when parachuting

 Known Issues

  • B button incorrectly displayed to cut parachute cable; this should be X
  • When viewing the map, the X, Y, and B buttons are fully functional – please be aware that this can cause you to exit the plane or vehicle whilst in motion. Please only use the map button to return to gameplay until this is resolved.

As of late January, PUBG on Xbox One has amassed over 4 million players. For more on the game, read our review.

[Source: PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds Official Forum]