The popular teenage YouTube personality Trevor “McSkillet” Heitmann’s life came to an early end when he veered his speeding McLaren 650S sports car into oncoming traffic along the I-805 freeway in San Diego this past Thursday. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the accident involved more than a dozen cars and also took the lives of a 43-year-old mother and her 12-year-old daughter. The Times reports he was driving more than 100 mph at the time of the crash.

https://twitter.com/SDFD/status/1032838776563720192

Heitmann, 18, rose to popularity playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and trading skins for the popular competitive shooter. At the time of his death, he had nearly 900,000 followers on his YouTube channel. He also owned the popular skin trading website CS:GO Magic, which Valve shut down during its recent crackdown on gambling sites. 

The fallout from the Valve crackdown caused Heitmann to step away from his YouTube channel, which hasn’t been active in several months.

Daybreak’s standalone survival game H1Z1: Just Survive just couldn’t live up to its name. In a letter to players on the official website, the developer announced plants to retire the game later this year.

“After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to sunset Just Survive on Wednesday, October 24 at 11 a.m. PT,” the letter reads. “The excitement of the game’s promise was palpable and its loyal community is still full of ideas for its future. Unfortunately, we are no longer in a position to fulfill its greatness and the current population of the game makes it untenable to maintain.”

While the survival game’s time is coming to an end, H1Z1’s battle royale game King of the Kill is still alive and kicking on PS4 and PC. The studio said this past April that it is “open to exploring” other platforms like the Xbox One as well.

Overwatch fans always have something to look forward to, whether it’s a new hero, map, mode, or animated short. This week, Blizzard gave the faithful community two things to get excited about: news of a new Busan Map, and the long overdue animated short for D.Va, called “Shooting Star.”

You can now learn how Blizzard put this exciting look into D.Va’s life together in a video featuring commentary by director Ben Dai and editor Jake Patton. They outline just how difficult it was to find a balance between the upbeat D.Va we know from the game, and what she’s like when she isn’t in front of the camera.

If you haven’t seen the animated short yet, you can view it below.

Fortnite Battle Royale’s map would be a terrible place to live, not just from the constant barrage of firefights that occur in every neighborhood, but by the unstable sky, which just spit out a giant, purple cube. The rift that has been a fixture in the map’s sky is not just a pretty thing to look at; it may be controlled by aliens or something worse. The rift became active recently, spitting out lightning strikes in the desert. That electrical storm gave way to the cube, which sometimes looks like it contains a universe in its square walls, and other times appears to hold symbols.

You can see the origin of the cube below, which was captured by LootLake.

Is Epic Games teasing the next season through the cube, or could it represent something else? I’m hoping it means Thanos is coming back because I loved that mode. I doubt that’s the case, but you never know with this game. Players are reporting they are hearing dinosaur sounds in Salty Springs. Maybe it’s teasing a prehistoric theme for the next season? Or a Godzilla tie in? Let me know what you think it means in the comments below.

Dota 2 players have a new hero to get to know. Grimstroke was added to the game last night, and appears to be quite powerful. Game Informer’s Dan Tack says Grimstroke is “OP as hell.” This frightening new face is listed as a ranged, support, escape, disabler, and is said to be able to manipulate the battle from the outskirts. He apparently uses a brush to paint a painful path of ink, and can even cover himself in ink. He can also summon a phantom that uses its claws to tear at enemies, and can bind enemy souls so they can’t move away from each other.

We also learned of Mars, another new hero who is coming this winter. We don’t know much about him yet, as he just teased in a video. If the video says anything about who he will be in game, he wields a giant spear and shield, and can apparently summon soldiers to fight at this side. You can check out both heroes in the video below:

 

 

The company that likes selling stormtrooper toys to collectors is back with a new television series, and more importantly, a brand-new stormtrooper color! If you loved Captain Phasma’s shiny silver armor, wait until you see the shiny gold stormtrooper! This First Order soldier will make his or her debut in Star Wars Resistance, a new ongoing series coming on October 7 to Disney Channel, Disney NOW, Disney Channel VOD, and later airing on Disney XD. I love the idea of stormtroopers customizing their gear, but introducing an all-gold stormtrooper in the same time frame as Phasma’s reign diminishes her unique stance in the Star Wars universe.

Resistance takes place before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. An eagle-eyed fan who studied Star Wars’ website code, believes the show takes place six short months before the film. Oscar Isaac is lending his voice to Poe Dameron, and Gwendoline Christie returns as Phasma, hopefully getting more screen time than she did in her two films.

The show kicks off with a two-hour episode called “The Recruit.” In it, we are introduced to a new character named Kazuda Xiono, a pilot who joins the Resistance. No, we shouldn’t start the “he isn’t in Force Awakens so he must die in the show” rumors just yet, but yes, he’s totally going to bite it. One explanation for his lack of participation in the film is his location in the show. His first tour is on the a refueling platform called the Colossus located in the Outer Rim. There’s a good chance he’s stationed there during the film’s time frame. We’re also going to get to know Dameron’s friend Yaeger, an old pilot who owns a repair shop, who is joined by a comic-relief droid named Bucket, who appears to get into Jar Jar-like trouble. Keep an eye on that droid. I have a bad feeling about him.

I was nervous about Star Wars Rebels before it aired, thinking Ezra Bridger might be annoying, and I have the same thoughts about Resistance and Xiono. I ended up adoring both Rebels and Bridger, and hope the first taste we have of Xiono is just a bad sampling of who he really is.

I know many of you are suffering from “Star Wars fatigue,” and another new show isn’t going to help things, but I love the art style Disney is going with on this one. The colors really pop, and will make it stand out nicely against Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a canceled series that is coming back!

If you have a lot of time on your hands, all 20 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe films are returning to theaters on August 30, and will disappear again on September 6. You’ll only find them in IMAX theaters during this time. This will be the first time The Incredible Hulk is shown on an IMAX screen. It’ll be interesting to see which of these 20 films ends up pulling in the most box office receipts. I’m guessing it will be Spider-Man: Homecoming or Black Panther, but the Hulk may get the bump since people haven’t experienced it on the big, big screen yet. If you want to see a number of the films’ stars gush about the IMAX experience, click the video below.

Star Trek continues to make news. Nothing will likely top Patrick Stewart returning as Captain Picard, but CBS has found a new Spock for Star Trek Discovery. Ethan Peck, who was in Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Gossip Girl, and voiced Thorne in Halo 4, will get his Vulcan ears in the forthcoming season of Discovery. Spock’s inclusion in the show was teased in the first season, when it was revealed Michael Burnham was raised on Vulcan Ambassador Sarek and Amanda Grayson. Sarek is Spock’s father. Much like Anakin making C-3PO and racing in Jabba the Hutt’s pod race, the Star Trek universe is apparently incredibly small. Everyone knows everyone.

Over in games, Zen Studios is releasing three tables inspired by Solo: A Star Wars Story for the fantastic Pinball FX3. This pack is releasing on practically every system out there on September 12. The first table is simply called “Solo,” and covers a lot of the film, including the Conveyex heist, speeder chase, and Kessel Run. The second table is called the Calrissian Chronicles, and true to its name, spans beyond Solo to Marvel’s Lando comic series and to the Star Wars Rebels show. The final table is called Battle of Mimban. This table gives players a different perspective of Han meeting Beckett and Chewbacca for the first time. The Chewbacca mission features something called Mudball multiball.

If you’re looking for something to play now, Daedalic Entertainment’s State of Mind released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC last week. State of Mind takes place in Berlin in 2048, at a time when humanity has drained most of its resources. Diseases are also killing off those who are left. The government has risen in power, and has created a policed state, where everyone is watched either through drones or robots.

I’ve put roughly two hours into this trashumanism tale, and have enjoyed its world and sci-fi themes, but hope the gameplay and pacing pick up. The narrative moves slowly, an is constantly at odds with protagonist Richard Nolan, who disrupts most moments of discovery with angry quips and complaints about everything. He’s an unlikable lead right now, but he is going through a lot. He can’t keep his thoughts straight as he tries to figure out what happened to his family. I don’t mind the gameplay mostly pushing me to click on objects for narrative reasons, but there’s rarely a clear indication of what I need to do to other than make sure I click on everything in an environment to make the next sequence trigger.

Daedalic’s official listing for State of Mind teases a much bigger narrative arc than just Nolan dealing with personal hell. “This domestic drama evolves into a thriller about a worldwide conspiracy, which at its core aims to determine the fate of humanity: Could a perfect digital utopia be the answer? A virtual paradise not affected by material needs and quarrels? Could a super-AI be our savior – or would it simply declare us as dispensable since it could not be taught the value of philanthropy?”

I’ve enjoyed State of Mind enough to keep playing, but Nolan needs to chill out a little, and the pace needs to accelerate. Here’s hoping the narrative payoff is worth the time I invest.

That’s it for this week, folks. Let me know what you think of the topics above, and I’ll see you again in seven days.

No superhero film has grossed more than Marvel Studios’ Black Panther. With an impressive $700 million earned in the U.S. box office, Black Panther ranks as the third-highest grossing film of all time, trailing only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936 million), and Avatar ($760 million).

The immense success of this film took everyone by surprise. Disney’s CEO Bog Iger tweeted that “the world has embraced Black Panther, which has obliterated expectations, broken records, and shattered myths. Powerful storytelling that touches hearts, bridges cultures, and opens minds.” More people went to see it than any Batman, Iron Man, or Spider-Man film. Let that sink in for a second.

Black Panther’s stratospheric rise in popularity should lead to a video game. The fact that we don’t have one yet is absurd. When I sat in the theater watching the film, I continually found myself saying this hero, world, and story are perfect for video games. He has the superhuman strength of Wolverine, and he’s decked out in armor that rivals Iron Man’s. Who wouldn’t want to take control of that kind of might?

Black Panther, and the man behind the mask, T’Challa, have fascinated comic-book readers since first debuting in Fantastic Four issue 52, which released in July 1966. Not only is T’Challa one of the first heroes of African origin in American comic books, he broke the mold for masked characters. He doesn’t need to conceal his identity – he is king to his people, and the costume he wears is a symbol of the position he holds. He’s more concerned about hiding his kingdom of Wakanda, its culture, and its people. Wakanda is far more advanced than any other nation on the planet, and its breakthroughs need to be kept secret, as they could unleash untold destruction if they fell into the wrong hands.

Marvel has provided decades worth of great Black Panther comic book stories, ranging from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ A Nation Under Our Feet to Christopher Priest’s lengthy run on the core series. While Black Panther’s adventures are sometimes isolated in Wakanda, he frequently moonlights as an Avenger, and is often integrated into the lore of other characters. He’s one of Marvel’s beloved characters, yet he hasn’t had much of a pulse in video games.

Black Panther’s video game appearances show just how little game developers either respected or understood who he was. He first appeared as an unlockable character in Raven Software’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance for PlayStation 2. Wakanda is a featured location in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, yet its protector wasn’t included in the core game, and had to be purchased separately by fans. In recent years, he has been included in roster-heavy games like Disney Infinity, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.

Now that the movie has propelled his stardom to the heights of the Spider-Mans of the world, it’s time for him to headline a video game. Thor has done it. Iron Man has two games under his belt, and even the Guardians of the Galaxy have their own Telltale series. Marvel appears to be opening the doors to more developers to work on their properties, and I’m hoping Black Panther is next in line after Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man and Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers Project.

Writer Evan Narcisse, who recently penned Marvel’s excellent Rise of the Black Panther comic book series (and just happens to be a game journalist) is baffled by the fact that we haven’t seen a triple-A Black Panther video game yet.

“There are two characters who seem to be screaming for video games. T’Challa is one of them, and Wonder Woman is the other,” he says. “Both of their worlds are set up so well for big, wide-ranging open-world games. For Wonder Woman, you would be running around fighting giant mythical monsters. For T’Challa, you have the makings of a great action/RPG built into the character – from the technology for a tech tree and gadgets, to his history, which could start centuries ago. You don’t have to tether it to the modern era.”

The sophisticated technology hidden away in Wakanda is just one way the Black Panther stories explore afrofuturism, a movement that sews together black history and culture with science-fiction themes. Something people don’t realize: Black Panther is science fiction at heart, often going far beyond Tony Stark’s crazy inventions.

Few games have explored afrofuturism, but one of the most-played multiplayer experiences out there right provides an excellent (albeit brief) look at a futuristic African society. Overwatch’s Numbani map shows us how technology has advanced in the African savanna, turning this region into a thriving utopia known as the “City of Harmony.” Other video game examples include League of Legends’ champion, Ekko, who wields wild time-bending sci-fi tech of his own design, and Halo’s New Mombasa port city, located in south Kenya. The Dreamfall series explores cyberpunk themes in Africa, which has transformed into an economic superpower.

While there are some examples of games featuring African characters, we rarely see games set in Africa that focus on its culture and people. Even though it’s heavily sci-fi, a Black Panther game would be a great vehicle for exploring these largely untapped themes. Many people who walked out of the movie theater wanted to immediately return to Wakanda, as writers Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole did a fantastic job of teasing just how big a secret world it was. “It reminded me of Star Wars: A New Hope,” Narcisse says. “Wow. I just got a glimpse into this other world that seems like it’s been existing all this time and I didn’t even know about it. Black Panther felt the same. It’s amazing how they constructed the world.”

Creating a game based on the movie world may not be the right call, however. For one, movie-based games carry the stigma of being disasters. We have an entire graveyard full of heroes that failed out in this way. The better avenue would be taking a page from Rocksteady’s work on the Batman: Arkham series and creating a standalone story that pulls heavily from all of the great Black Panther works.

“Things that are divergent like that have been great,” Narcisse adds. “I’ve been playing Telltale’s Batman games for two seasons, and I love how unexpected it’s been. They’ve established this lore that they can completely upend. This could work for T’Challa. You don’t have to be beholden to one vision of him.”

Beyond Black Panther, Wakanda offers a robust lineup of characters that could either be used in a secondary role or to take over the spotlight at times. Okaye and her Dora Milaje would be great additions to a game, as would T’Challa’s tech-smart sister, Shuri, who could provide new gadgets and upgrades or lend a hand in combat should you need assistance. Villains could range from series staples like Klaw and Man-Ape to universe-wide threats like Doctor Doom and Baron Zemo.

We’ll have to wait to see what the future holds for Black Panther in the video game space, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel Games is having serious discussions with numerous developers and publishers that have interest in this property. He’s as big as Spider-Man and Batman right now, and the universe he inhabits is perfect for games. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Crystal Dynamics’ take on the Avengers has T’Challa on the roster, and perhaps even playable. He’s king of Wakanda and king of the superhero box office. He deserves a shot, and there’s no doubt people will line up to play it. If a project comes to fruition, I just hope Marvel finds the right studio and creators capable of doing the license justice.

(This article originally ran in Game Informer issue 303. The box office data was changed to reflect its current numbers.)

Earlier this week, Bandai Namco revealed that fan favorite character Tira would be coming to the soon-to-be-released Soulcalibur VI as a bonus character for the season pass or as separate DLC. The initial announcement was fairly confusing, as wording implied it might be a preorder, and fans in general reacted poorly to the idea of DLC being announced before the game even released. We got clarification from Bandai Namco, but it was pretty late and fans were already confused by that point.

At Gamescom, professional Soulcalibur player Marie-Laure Norindr, who goes by the tag Kayane within the FGC, got a chance to sit down with the game’s producer, Motohiro Okubo. Kayane asked Okubo what the deal with Tira was and why she wasn’t just included in the roster.

“Having her as part of the season pass and unlocked day one was the result of a lot of internal discussion and debate within the company,” Okubo told Kayane. “As for the reveal, the pre-orders for the season pass started [on the day of the announcement] and, since she’s a season pass bonus, we had to make both announcements at the same time. Opinions do differ wildly about these announcements. I personally think we should’ve been more careful about the way we have announced all this.”

Okubo also explained that Tira was only added because of fan feedback, so she didn’t make the initial roster, thus the decision to make her DLC.

“Having her in Soulcalibur VI needed some pretty complicated adjustments, so much so that she nearly didn’t make the cut,” Okubo said. “After we had announced Soulcalibur VI, a lot of fans asked for Tira, so I went to see the development team and asked them to put her in the game, so that’s why she isn’t in the main roster and is DLC.”

Soulcalibur VI releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 19.

[Source: Kayane.fr]

In 1969, writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears had a dream to create a television show about a talking dog, a genius, a stoner, and two other characters with no definable traits. The show was a hit for some reason and spawned a franchise that continues to find success and receive new entries even today.

To celebrate Mystery Incorporated and their talking dog, we decided to take a look at a few of the games the series inspired starting on the Genesis and then moving to the PlayStation 2. You also get to learn, with a professional prepared essay, why I don’t like Scooby Doo, but must admit it may be the most important entertainment franchise of my professional life. Andrew Reiner, Leo Vader, and Javy Gwaltney are there, too.

It’s been a bumpy road for Guardians of the Galaxy’s third movie. After certain groups made hay about director James Gunn’s tweets from circa 2008 that made tasteless and rude jokes, Disney fired Gunn from their blockbuster Marvel series and has refused to reverse that decision. While the cast has done gone from threatening to walk to issue a letter of support, it seems Gunn is gone.

That process is not going as smoothly as Disney hoped, however, as pre-production has been halted on the movie, says The Hollywood Reporter.

THR reports that the production team that was gathered to prepare for principal photography later this year has been let go and told to look for other work in the meantime. The outlet’s source suggests Disney is trying to find a new director now and is pushing the entire timeline out a bit. It is unknown how this disrupts Disney and Marvel’s plans for a serial storyline.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was likely a few years off regardless, as it does not currently sit on Marvel’s announced movie schedule, even though a script had been written and the movie was set to begin filming soon. The cast is obligated by contract to stay, but the vocal Dave Bautista, who plays the blue alien Drax, had threatened to walk out if Disney did not use Gunn’s script for the movie.

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]