The NBA 2K League announced plans to host its first league draft on April 4 at The Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden’s lobby. The NBA 2K League Draft Lottery, which will determine the draft order for the 17 teams, will be held next week on March 13.

The league has selected 102 of the best NBA 2K players after a tryout process that began in January. The order of the draft will be determined at random, with each team’s logo appearing on a ping-pong ball and selected from the same machine that the NBA Draft uses. The process will start with the 17th overall pick and work its way up to the first overall pick. The draft itself will be serpentine, meaning that the order will be reversed in each round, for six total rounds.

“The NBA 2K League Draft is going to be incredible as we watch dreams become reality for our players,” says NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “We cannot wait to introduce the world to the first-ever NBA 2K League professionals and, most importantly, we are eager for our players to meet their teams and teammates for the first time. This will be a milestone moment for our league.” 

After the draft, the inaugural season for the 2K League will begin in May. For more information about the NBA 2K League, check out their website

 

Our Take
The NBA and Take-Two Interactive are going all out for this event, between securing Madison Square Garden and using the NBA’s draft equipment. Hopefully, this league will set a good precedent for the relationship between professional sports and professional esports.

Neil Druckmann, one of Naughty Dog’s most well-known developers, has been promoted to the position of vice-president of the studio.

The announcement came as part of a blog post from Naughty Dog president Evan Wells, assuring fans hopeful for The Last of Us Part II that Druckmann is staying on as creative director despite the new position. Wells also confirmed that Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau are serving as joint directors for the game.

Druckmann started at Naughty Dog as an intern in 2004, getting a chance to work on Jak X: Combat Racing and Jak 3 before eventually joining Naughty Dog’s design team. His biggest break was serving as game designer for Uncharted and Uncharted 2, eventually becoming Naughty Dog’s headlining name.

Newman was a gameplay designer that is best known for his work on The Last of Us. Margenau has worked as a game designer on the second and third Uncharted games and The Last of Us, lead game designer on Uncharted 4, and director of Lost Legacy. We spoke with Margenau last year about Uncharted: Lost Legacy.

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The Last of Us Part II currently has no scheduled release window, but Neil Druckmann pegged the game as 40-60 percent complete at PSX last December.

 

Our Take
Congratulations to Neil, his work at the studio has been stellar so far and he will likely have a strong creative influence over the studio in his new position.

A Korean Ratings Board listing indicates that Konami’s Bomberman revival might be coming from the Switch to the PlayStation 4.

The Bomberman title launched with alongside the Nintendo Switch last March, becoming a marked success for Konami, which was widely thought to have mostly removed themselves from console game development. A year later, Konami seems keen on trying to see if the game succeeds elsewhere, according to the Korean ratings board.

This wouldn’t be the first time the Korean ratings board has leaked a game ahead of its announcements, with the most notable recent example being Assassin’s Creed Rogue HD a bit before its official announcement.

Konami has stated that Super Bomberman R has sold “very well” and has been quietly supplying the game with free DLC since launch, including numerous options for multiplayer and new characters from Rumble Roses, Zone of the Enders, and Castlevania.

 

Our Take
A port certainly isn’t surprising, but I wonder if the game will do as well separate from the Switch’s local multiplayer focus and not at a system’s launch.

At a reveal event for Artifact, the upcoming digital card game set in DOTA’s universe, Valve CEO Gabe Newell talked about his company and made a statement that will surprise (and possibly excite) those who have followed the company’s output:

Artifact is the first of several games that are going to be coming from us. So that’s sort of good news. Hooray! Valve’s going to start shipping games again.

According to PC Gamer, Newell chalks up Valve’s sluggish release of games, with 2011’s Portal 2 being the last non-VR singleplayer game the company put out, to “investing” in the company’s future with its digital storefront Steam as well as hardware innovation. Newell didn’t talk about what kinds of games would be coming, but  we know at least three upcoming titles are VR-based

For more on Valve’s games, check out our feature on trying to track down what happened to Half-Life 3.

[Source: PC Gamer]

Our Take 
Half-life 3 woes aside, I would love to see Valve put out another original game, even if it’s a new IP and not in the Half-Life/Portal/Left 4 Dead family. It’s been so long. Hopefully we’ll get a closer look at whatever the company is planning soon.

Nintendo happily reported that the remade trilogy of Crash Bandicoot’s first few games is coming to the Switch, but Activision has announced that the collection is also coming to Xbox One and PC, as well.

The trilogy, which is the best selling remaster on the PlayStation 4 bar none, has been long-rumored to come to other systems. A year later, Activision announced that the other platforms will be releasing on the other consoles on July 10.

The port comes to other systems with all the content in place. While the Crash Bandicoot license eventually transferred to Activision, players familiar with the games in the N.Sane trilogy might remember the days when Crash was the fierce-fighting mascot who stood outside Nintendo headquarters with a megaphone calling out Mario.

Crash Bandictoot N.Sane Trilogy will release on Xbox One, PC, and Switch on July 10 for $39.99.

 

Our Take
While it’s no surprise the game is coming, I am curious what Activision’s marketing will be for the ports. The PS4 release was an unqualified success.

Determined to keep on top of the wave of popularity Fortnite has been enjoying, Epic has announced that it is bringing the battle royale mode to mobile platforms.

According to Epic, this is far from a compromised version – in fact, it’s the same version as everything else. 

On phones and tablets, Fortnite is the same 100-player game you know from PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Mac,” Epic wrote. “Same gameplay, same map, same content, same weekly updates… We believe this is the future of games. The same game on all platforms. Console quality graphics and action. Play when you want, where you want.

The game will support crossplay between PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and mobile platforms. At the moment, the game is only coming to iOS, and Epic is holding an invite test for that version, but an Android version is on the cards for later.

[Source: Fortnite Blog]

 

Our Take
This is a smart move by Epic and they’re really going for the throat of the Battle Royale genre. Mobile, especially crossplay with other versions, is going to expand the audience quite a bit.

Welcome back to The Game Informer Show podcast! On this week’s episode (recorded before the Nintendo Direct… sorry), Ben Hanson, Ben Reeves, Kyle Hilliard, and Andrew Reiner talk about the natural comparison between Deep Rock Galactic and Red Faction, what it’s like to actually play with Nintendo Labo on Switch, and have a Mario Party-off between Frantics on PlayLink and Scribblenauts Showdown. Javy Gwaltney joins the podcast to talk about The Behemoth’s Pit People and the new throwback FPS from 3D Realms called Ion Maiden. After some great community emails about Batman and Super Smash Bros., we’re joined by Funomena’s Robin Hunicke to talk about The Sims, Wattam, and Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox.

You can watch the video below, subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes or Google Play, or listen to episode 389 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…

3:10 – Deep Rock Galactic
10:00 – Game Informer’s 300th Issue Celebration
12:50 – Nintendo Labo hands-on impressions
27:20 – Frantics
29:15 – Scribblenauts Showdown
33:15 – Fear Effect Sedna
38:15 – Pit People
45:30 – Ion Maiden
51:49 – Community emails
53:20 – The #GIShowChallenge’s winner reveal
1:47:06 – Robin Hunicke interview

Today, President Donald Trump met up with several politicians and video game industry leaders to discuss the impact of violent games on children and whether it is connected to gun violence. This roundtable discussion included company representatives from Bethesda, Take-Two, Rockstar, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), as well as vocal critics of violent media like founder of the Parents Television Council Brent Bozell, and Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Republican Congresswoman from Missouri.

According to Rolling Stone, the hour-long meeting began with Trump demonstrating a video reel to the group. These clips depicted violent scenes from games that no one in the room could name. The videos were “so violent it shocked some in the group to silence,” writes Rolling Stone. Following these clips, Trump asked all in attendance for their thoughts. Attendees say the meeting was more of a listening session than anything else. Future meetings are a possibility.

“They started by showing some violent video games and [Trump] was pointing out how violent those scenes were. I think for many of us there, there was a shocked silence,” says Parents Television Council spokesperson Melissa Henson, in a press call after the session. “Those from the video game industry were quick to defend [the video games] saying they were meant for a mature audience and that they weren’t intended for kids to see.”

Rolling Stone reports that The Parents Television Council was quick to say early in the meeting that there is in fact a correlation between real-life violence and violent video games. That claim comes despite numerous studies that expressly defy that conclusion, along with clear statements from the ESA stating that there is no proven connection.

It’s unclear if Trump has further plans to discuss or address the issue.

[Source: Rolling Stone]

 

Our Take
For many game players, the concept of a real-world connection between gun violence and video games is a tired and well-trod argument with very little evidence to back it up, and no relation to our own experience of socializing and enjoying the hobby. It’s easy to feel exasperated and frustrated by the attempts to politicize an entertainment medium that feels like it has no place in the broader conversation about violence in society. 

Nintendo livestreamed a Direct today, their first since January, showcasing 3DS and Switch titles for the first half of 2018. While a lot of the announcements were detailing things they have previously announced, a few big and small announcements also came through. Didn’t have time to watch it? We got you covered.

3DS

WarioWare Gold Announced – The 3DS compilation brings together all a number of microgames from the series’ history in all different styles.
Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers Comes West May 24 – The newest 3DS Dillon game is more action-and-speed focused.
Luigi’s Mansion Coming To 3DS This Year – A 3DS remake of Luigi’s Mansion arrives later this year.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story Coming To 3DS – The third Mario & Luigi title is being remade with new content for 2019.

Switch

Okami Coming To Switch – Hideki Kamiya’s Zelda-like adventure is wielding its paintbrush on Switch with multiple control options.
Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido Coming to Switch – The puzzle game announced for 3DS is also coming to Switch.
Octopath Traveler Releasing July 13 – The classic-looking JRPG will have a special edition, as well.
More Details For Travis Strikes Again – The 2018 title goes through different action levels with new bosses.
Dark Souls Getting Amiibo – Praise the sun with Solaire’s Amiibo on Switch.
Mario Tennis Aces Arrives in June – The tennis game also has optional Wii Sports-like motion controls.
Captain Toad Coming To 3DS And Switch – The Switch version will have new content from Mario Odyssey.
Undertale Announced For Switch – The much-loved RPG is coming to Switch in the future.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole Coming to Switch – You can buy it on April 24.
Little Nightmares Getting A Complete Edition – It includes all the DLC and a Pac-Man mask with the Amiibo.
Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy On Switch – The first three Crash games arrive on a Nintendo console for the first time.
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition Releases May 18 – The game includes all the DLC from other versions.
Splatoon 2 Gets Free And Paid Expansions – Play as an Octoling in a new story mode.
ARMS Online Tournament – Show the world you rock at ARMS.
Kirby Updates Add Characters – Star Allies adds some oldschool Kirby characters.
Super Smash Bros. For Switch Announce – Inklings join the fight.

You can also watch the Nintendo Direct right here.

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What did you think of Nintendo’s show today?

During today’s Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced a tournament for their fighting game ARMS, as well as another Global Test Punch coming later.

To participate in the preliminaries, players go through the game’s online Ranked Match mode March 8 – March 18. The top players then move on to the online finals on March 31, which will be streamed live from Nintendo of America headquarters. All finalists get official art from the game sent to them, as well.

Starting on the same day as the finals, Nintendo will also be hosting a three-day Global Test Punch for the game. The Test Punch acts as an online demo for players without the game to test it out and see if they like the game.