All month long we’ve been rolling out exclusive features covering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. We’ve asked the game’s developers hundreds of questions, and now it’s your turn. Please leave a comment below for Treyarch’s design director David Vonderhaar about Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and especially Blackout and we’ll ask it on the next special edition episode of The Game Informer Show podcast

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Late last night, Tri-Ace announced that their PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 RPG Resonance of Fate will be getting a 4K/HD Edition for PlayStation 4 and PC.

The sci-fi fantasy RPG was first released in 2010 and caught a lot of attention with its flashy and strategic combat. The game was originally published by Sega, but the company confirmed to us that they licensed the title to Tri-Ace for the HD remaster.

The 4K part of the title refers to the PC and PlayStation 4 Pro enhancements, while the base model will run the game at 1080p. All versions will run at 60 frames per second.

Resonance of Fate 4K/HD Edition will release worldwide on October 18 for $35.

In Xenoblade Chronicles 2, players could easily spend 100 hours fighting monsters, completing sidequests, and collecting items. While that lengthy RPG was worthwhile (especially after post-release enhancements), repetitive and mundane quests made many of those hours feel like bloat. As a comparatively short expansion, Torna: The Golden Country had the opportunity to trim the fat and present a more focused experienced. It doesn’t. Instead, The Golden Country doubles down on the busywork, making more of it mandatory while providing fewer rewards for your effort.

The Golden Country details events that occurred 500 years before Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and that story is the biggest draw. You learn about characters and conflicts that were only briefly explored before, like Jin’s relationship with his driver Lora, and the confrontation between Mythra and Malos. The gravity of the tale depends on the player’s knowledge of these characters and how the world eventually changes in response to their deeds (this is not a good place for newcomers to join), and I enjoyed seeing the narrative threads that connect the two time periods. If you are a fan of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, these moments alone make The Golden Country worth playing, as long as you’re willing to pay the price.

Of the 17 hours it took me to finish The Golden Country, only about half of that time was spent participating in the new narrative. For the rest of it, you can expect to complete a series of boring fetch and collection quests thanks to the new community system. When you complete a sidequest, the quest-giver (and sometimes other characters) join your community, which is a visual representation of all of the people you’ve helped. They don’t impart any bonuses or benefits, but the more people you aid, the higher your community level rises. This seems like a neat idea at first, but the problem is that your community level only has one main purpose: preventing you from progressing in the main story. At a couple points, you aren’t allowed to take on the next central quest until you hit a community threshold. For example, you can’t fight the final boss until level four, which involves sinking hours into tedious chores that aren’t interesting, well-written, or connected to the narrative in any meaningful way. This structure kills the pacing and pointlessly inflates the amount of time The Golden Country requires.

Though it has trouble balancing quality and quantity, the game isn’t a constant slog. You get in a lot of battles along the way, and the combat system has been revamped and improved for this entry. It’s still a real-time affair that has you auto-attacking and activating skills, but an increased focused on character-switching makes the action feel more fluid. This means less waiting for cooldowns and more direct control, and it makes encounters more entertaining and engaging. However, one problem that still remains is variety; enemies rarely require any variation in your tactics, so regardless of your opponent, battles usually follow the pattern of lining up combos and stacking elemental orbs.

 

Despite the legacy issues, developer Monolith Soft has also learned some lessons in the last year. One of the biggest aggravations from the base game, shuffling party members to complete field skill challenges, is no longer a factor in The Golden Country. All available characters are always at your side, and they don’t have redundant skills (only one character has superstrength, for instance). I appreciated knowing my success or failure immediately without wading through menus to see if I can squeeze out one more point of fortitude somewhere. I’m also glad to see features that were added later to Xenoblade Chronicles 2 included here, like new game+ and an auto-battle option.

Cool story moments and combat improvements offset some of The Golden Country’s frustrations, but not enough to entirely redeem the experience. It is missing some of the best parts of the base game (like the thrill of collecting unique allies and completing quests tailored to them), but retains many stumbling blocks that impeded the fun before. However, the way the story fills in gaps and provides insight into the characters makes The Golden Country a satisfying addition for fans who have already built up a tolerance for the sometimes-baffling quirks of Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

If you’ve wanted to play Ghost Recon Wildlands and just haven’t had the time or inclination to pick it up, or are worried you might not stick with it long enough to justify the price, then Ubisoft is offering a free weekend to help solve those problems.

The free weekend begins on September 20th at 12:00 a.m. PDT and ends for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 24th at 10:00 a.m. PDT. PC ends a day earlier on September 23 at 1:00 p.m. PDT. Players will have access to the entire game, including the single-player open world and all the multiplayer during those times.

The well-loved and critically-acclaimed 2005 Nickelodeon cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting a live-action reimagining on Netflix, the streaming company announced today.

All that exists alongside the announcement is a single piece of concept art showing a silhouetted Aang petting his air bison Appa in an icy field. It is likely that the project is extremely nascent and the deal was only recently signed, so a product probably won’t arrive for a few years.

The cartoon series spawned a movie directed by Sixth Sense director M. Night Shamylan in 2010, which was financially successful but infamously critically panned. Shamylan tried to tone down the series’ humor for the movie but ultimately was unsuccessful in his goal.

New Gameplay Today – Transference

Transcendence is out today! Remember that one? It’s that weird-looking horror VR game that Ubisoft revealed at E3 a couple of years ago. You know, the one that Elijah Wood directed? Hanson, Leo, and I checked it out today, and you can see what it’s like. Warning: It’s spooky!

Hanson didn’t play in VR, so you don’t need to worry about getting nauseated from wild camera motions. Also, you don’t need to worry about us whizzing through puzzles before you get a chance to figure them out for yourself. Trust us: It was on purpose. You’re welcome?

Transference is out today on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One.

A few weeks ago, Witcher developers CDProjekt Red announced that they were separating Gwent’s single-player campaign out from the card game’s client as a standalone release titled Thronebreaker. Since details were so scarce, not many expected that the excision would be quite so prompt, with CDPR confirming an October 24 release date for PC and a console release on December 4.

Thronebreaker was developed to be the single-player campaign for Gwent, itself spun-off from the side activity in the Witcher III: The Wild Hunt. According to CDPR, the campaign got too big to simply be a side thing for Gwent and is being released with “The Witcher Tales” as a subtitle. It is unclear if this means a new brand categorization that allows for further spin-offs within the Witcher universe.

Gwent itself is coming out of beta on October 23 on PC, one day ahead of Thronebreaker, and the same day as Thronebreaker on consoles. 

When asked on Twitter if Thronebreaker would feature a cameo from Geralt, CDPR merely posted a gif of the white-haired warrior and left it at that.

Square Enix revealed last week that The Last Remnant, a 360 and PC RPG released toward the beginning of the previous generation as one of the first major Japanese games on Unreal Engine 3, would be getting an HD remaster on PlayStation 4. As part of the remaster, the game was getting rebuilt from the ground up for Unreal Engine 4, which has not always worked out for remastered games. To illustrate the difference for this, though, Square Enix provided a comparison video of the original Xbox 360 release and the new PlayStation 4 one.

The remaster has higher resolution textures, a more modern lighting model, and framerate improvements. While the original game on Xbox 360 ran poorly, the PC version ran quite a bit better, and had been considered the definitive version of the game. Unfortunately, Square Enix delisted the game on PC shortly before announcing the remaster, but has provided no information on whether the remastered version will replace the delisted one. We have reached out to Square Enix on the subject multiple times but received no response.

The Last Remnant Remastered releases on PlayStation 4 worldwide on December 6.

The founder of inXile studios, Brian Fargo, recently tweeted out that he’d buy back the studio he co-founded in 1983 if The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep sells over two million copies in 18 months.

https://twitter.com/BrianFargo/status/1041668255528570882

In an interview with Variety, Fargo said that he was entirely serious about the idea stating that “fans have been requesting me to bring back my old Interplay games for years and this would be the most amazing way to make that happen.”

Going bankrupt and then announcing that it would be selling off its IP in 2016, Interplay introduced the world to such acclaimed titles as Fallout and Baldur’s Gate.

Among the IPs that would come with such a deal, Fargo mentioned games like “Earthworm Jim,” “Dragon Wars,” “Sacrifice” and “Kingpin.”

The Bard’s Tale is another IP created by Interplay in 1985. Fargo was able to continue the series with The Bard’s Tale IV being funded by a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 that raised over $1.5 million. The game is currently available on Steam for $35.  

[Source: Variety]

Ongoing games must constantly rediscover themselves to remain relevant. Destiny 2: Forsaken is a robust adventure characterized by darker themes, character-driven storytelling, and a set of thoughtfully imagined missions, enemies, and locations. But it’s also a reinvention of the franchise’s core systems and goals. Catering chiefly to dedicated players, Forsaken’s lengthy grind, complex upgrade systems, and focus on the endgame loop don’t invite easy engagement from newcomers. Accessibility may have taken a hit, but the resulting depth provides replayability and richness, and makes the franchise stronger than it has been in years. The expansion draws on many of the previous iterations’ best traits and melds them into a day-to-day experience that is hard to walk away from.

Forsaken takes a hard turn from the quippy characters of Destiny 2’s base game, opting instead for a story about grief and the way it drives us into questionable action. The lead Guardian launches into a quest to mete out vengeance for the fallen Cayde-6, whose murder is a figurative death knell to Destiny’s more frivolous narrative tendencies. The campaign dovetails into lead side character Petra’s grief-fueled opening of a Pandora’s Box, and the evils subsequently unleashed. In both overall tone and character interactions, this is the most sophisticated narrative the series has presented.

Several excellent story missions evoke a classic Western, and play out on the wonderfully chaotic Tangled Shore destination. As I hunted down the members of a malicious criminal cadre, the level design helps each boss feel distinct, like the Mad Bomber’s scattered explosives, or the deceptive loot drops of the Trickster. These battles also showcase the aggressive new Scorn enemy group. From the swinging lanterns of the Ravagers to the totem-powered Chieftains, every one of the new baddies is fun to fight and challenging to juggle when arriving in mixed packs. The sneering Uldren is a great antagonist to wrap it all around; he’s a character we love to hate, even as his ultimate motivations are sympathetic.

The Dreaming City opens up after the campaign as Destiny’s first dedicated endgame zone. The pastoral mountains and dreamy mists of the Awoken’s hidden sanctuary make for some excellent exploration fodder. Dozens of hidden chests, secret bosses, magical portals, and plentiful collectibles are a joy to discover with friends. The new Blind Well wave-based arena is frantic and fun, but the absence of matchmaking is limiting.  

This new endgame locale also hides an innovation that plays to Destiny’s strength as a living game. The completion of the incredibly difficult Last Wish raid triggered new activities across the area, including a fantastic strike, lore-focused patrols, new Gambit map, and a story mission, with more to come in future weeks.  This sense of an evolving gameplay landscape should be the template for the series moving forward, letting players feel like they are in on a dynamic journey that is changing before their eyes and in response to their actions.

The introduction of Gambit is a welcome mingling of cooperative and competitive play. This new core mode challenges players to battle increasingly powerful waves of enemies, bank resources, and occasionally engage in tense asymmetrical showdowns with a single overpowered enemy player. Gambit is thrilling and accessible thanks to a smart interface that presents info you need, accompanied by helpful dialogue voiceovers that guide the action. The current matchmaking algorithm leads to an unfortunate number of blowouts, but I’m surprised at how frequently losing teams can turn things around and earn a big comeback. It all leads to some pulse-pounding round conclusions.

Forsaken also ushers in a total rework of several core systems. The new weapon slots are a triumph, offering flexibility and empowerment in equal measures, and bringing fun weapons like shotguns and fusion rifles back into regular usage. Character power and weapon damage have been rebalanced, leading to a faster and more lethal Crucible, but one that is less friendly to novices. Power progression is slow but mostly fair, with a ton of clearly marked activities each day that can lead to character improvement. Random rolls on weapons and armor means greater investment in your rewards as you chase the perfect loadout. New bounties and quests are a blast to layer on top of one another, but it’s frustrating to have to run back and forth between so many vendors.

Equipment infusion is currently too expensive, and the weapon mods are too hard to acquire. Likewise, new exotics are vanishingly rare to drop, and the current path to new super unlocks (after your first) obscure that desirable content behind high-level activities. All of this combines to limit the ability to experiment with playstyles or gear setups, and hides much of the best equipment and variety so deep into the grind that many players may never encounter those experiences, which is a shame. I’m all for making rewards meaningful again, but the current model has swung too far to the extreme.

Cementing its strength as a hobby game, Forsaken introduces an excellent scheme for tracking in-game Triumphs and Collections that act as a trophy wall to your gathered treasures. The Triumphs supply dozens of tasks to chase across every aspect of the game, and I’m particularly delighted by the collectible lore tabs and the fascinating stories they tell. Equipment collections solve part of the problem of bloated inventory management, but I’m bummed that most of the new Year 2 items can’t be retrieved in some form because of their random rolls. 

As a dedicated Destiny player, I’m gratified by the breadth of opportunities for adventure to be found in Forsaken, but I’m also aware that less dedicated players are going to miss out on a lot of the most compelling weapons, modes, secrets, and missions on offer. Even so, this release has the potential to draw lapsed players back into the fold. Forsaken is deep, mysterious, and vast, three words that echo what players most want from this growing universe.