Whether you’re wishing upon a star, partying under the sea, exploring a whole new world, letting it go, or feeling the love tonight, it’s an accepted absolute truth that Disney films are pure magic. And that’s where our list of the 25 best Disney animated movies comes in.
Microsoft has revealed the four games coming to Xbox Games with Gold in April 2019.
Xbox One users will be able to grab RPG The Technomancer, and open-world sci-fi Outcast: Second Contact, while Xbox 360 players get the original Xbox version of Star Wars Battlefront II and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2. Both 360 titles can be played on Xbox One thanks to backwards compatibility.
The Tehcnomancer will be available all month, from April 1 – 30, while Outcast: Second Contact will kick in on April 16 through to May 15.
As for the classic games, Battlefront II is available between April 1 and 15, and Advanced Warfighter 2 between April 16 and 30.
It’s a mixed bag this month. Our review of The Technomancer scored it a 4.9, citing a poor combat system, unconvincing characters, and bad progression, all of which spoils a complex story and enjoyable world.
Killer Queen Black, Outer Wilds, and Blazing Chrome will all hit Xbox’s all-you-can-eat subscription service on release day. Killer Queen Black is a new arcade multiplayer entry for up to eight players. Outer Wilds from Annapurina Interactive and Mobius is an open-world exploration game that repeats a limited-time challenge as you learn new secrets about the world to help with subsequent playthroughs. Blazing Chrome is an arcade run-and-gun action game. Killer Queen and Outer Wilds are both targeting 2019 launches, while a date wasn’t given for Blazing Chrome.
Microsoft also announced the slate of [email protected] games playable at PAX East, which begins March 28 in Boston, MA. You can stop by the Xbox booth to try Void Bastards, Operencia: The Stolen Sun, Supermarket Shriek, The Good Life, and Afterparty. Like the other games announced today, each of these will launch on Game Pass on their respective release days. You’ll also be able to collect pins that represent the various indie games.
Xbox Game Pass offers an all-you-can-play model with more than 100 Xbox One and backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games as long as you pay the $10 per month subscription fee. The Xbox Game Pass lineup already includes a selection of indie games with more being added regularly. This month’s additions include What Remains of Edith Finch and Operencia among others, and Minecraft will be coming next month.
EA has announced that it will be laying off 350 employees as it makes changes to its marketing, publishing, and operations teams and prepares to ramp down its presence in Japan and Russia.
Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts (EA), released a public statement explaining these “important but very hard decisions,” and and that EA is “doing everything we can to ensure we are looking after our people to help them through this period to find their next opportunity. This is our top priority.”
The full statement can be read below:
Today we took some important steps as a company to address our challenges and prepare for the opportunities ahead. As we look across a changing world around us, it’s clear that we must change with it. We’re making deliberate moves to better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs of our players. As part of this, we have made changes to our marketing and publishing organization, our operations teams, and we are ramping down our current presence in Japan and Russia as we focus on different ways to serve our players in those markets. In addition to organizational changes, we are deeply focused on increasing quality in our games and services. Great games will continue to be at the core of everything we do, and we are thinking differently about how to amaze and inspire our players.
Filmmaker Tim Burton’s later-stage offerings have been a mixed bag, with his directorial choices replacing visual ingenuity with a lot of CG. The early trailers and promos for Dumbo hinted that this might be the film to buck the trend, but alas the faded palette and what looks like massive amounts of post-production work take away much of the visual charm that a circus film by Burton starring Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito promises.
Disney’s current trend of adapting their classic animated films to live-action has thus far served them pretty well. A mix of nostalgia, brand recognition, and curiosity have made box office smashes out of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book. The success of those explains Disney’s eagerness to continue that streak with three flagship ‘live-action’ releases just this year, beginning with Burton’s Dumbo. The film was first announced a few years ago, but sadly for fans of the original and the lauded director, the uneven and uninspiring offering wasn’t worth the wait.
In this special episode of our monthly interview series IGN Unfiltered, filmed at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, game design legend Amy Hennig (Uncharted series, Legacy of Kain series) and Insomniac Games founder Ted Price (Marvel’s Spider-Man, Ratchet and Clank series, Sunset Overdrive, Resistance series) separately join us to discuss their decorated careers. Hennig talks about her canceled Star Wars game with EA, codenamed ‘Ragtag’, experimenting with VR, and much more. Price, after having been a guest on Unfiltered last fall prior to Spider-Man’s release, talks about what life has been like since their open-world superhero adventure took the world by storm and won a number of awards in the process.
Apocalypse Studios and founder Denis Dyack – the developer behind games like Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Eternal Darkness – have released the first gameplay teaser trailer for their new project, Deadhaus Sonata (see it above).
Deadhaus Sonata is an upcoming free-to-play action-RPG that promises Twitch integration as well as cooperative play for up to six players. It was announced last Fall, though no release date has been set as of yet. “We are combining elements of many of my past games into Deadhaus Sonata,” Dyack told us when the game was announced. “Deadhaus Sonata is a cooperative multiplayer, free-to-play RPG where you are an unstoppable force of the dead. There are Lovecraftian overtones from Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, the gothic role-playing elements of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, where you are undead, and finally, some the action RPG elements of Too Human.”
SNK’s once-prolific output in the ’90s has slowed in recent years, but thanks to Neo Geo ports arriving weekly on Switch and other platforms, some of the company’s most popular arcade series are once again vying for players’ attention. Samurai Shodown is one of those. The weapons-based 2D fighting series thrived for close to 15 years, but it has largely remained dormant since 2008’s Samurai Shodown Sen. While it’s great to revisit the series’ past on modern consoles, it’s also exciting to know that a brand-new Samurai Shodown fighting game is on the way–and it feels even better to report that my time with the game has only increased my anticipation for its upcoming June release.
In order to get an inside look at the new systems and to discuss the game’s overall direction, I recently played a few rounds during a meeting with three Samurai Shodown developers: producer Yasuyuki Oda, game director Nobuyuki Kuroki, and game designer Josh Weatherford. Oda and Kuroki have experience working at SNK during its heyday in the ’90s, and though they both worked on 2016’s King of Fighters XIV, each had spent years away from the publisher working with other companies. While Kuroki helped ship a number of Sonic the Hedgehog games, Oda worked on Street Fighter IV at Dimps, the studio that co-developed the title with Capcom–which may help explain the similar inky rendering effect seen in the new Samurai Shodown. The team at SNK, we’re told, is roughly a 50-50 split of veteran SNK developers and fresh talent from across the industry.
Weatherford, Oda, and Kuroki are all very good players, as you’d expect, and in their capable hands the new Samurai Shodown looked very impressive. Familiar faces like Nakoruru and Galford clashed with great speed and ferocity, with spurts of blood and blots of ink accenting the action. As with the ink, characters were vaguely reminiscent of Street Fighter IV‘s expressive and slightly exaggerated designs, yet it all feels distinctly Samurai Shodown, where beauty and brutality clash with ease. It’s a testament to the strong character designs that have evolved with the series over the years, and proof that lessons were learned after King of Fighter XIV’s poorly received graphics had to be overhauled post launch.
“I’ve led the charge on the art style,” said Kuroki, “and I was really worried prior to the announcement and reveal of the game what the reaction would be to the visuals. I went really hard on the Japanese style with everything, from the UI, to the colors, and the textures. It’s not what the Western image of ‘Japanese’ would be, it’s a very original style, no corners cut or anything, and I wasn’t sure if that would be popular in the West. Still, so far, everyone has been positive, so I’m happy to see that.”
We now know that the roster will feature a total of sixteen characters, including 13 returning faces and three new fighters. The new characters remain a mystery, but we can now confirm that the 13 veterans are: Charlotte, Earthquake, Galford, Genjuro, Hanzo, Haohmaru, Jubei, Kyoshiro, Nakoruru, Shiki, Tam Tam, Ukyo, and Yoshitora. For Oda, seeing these familiar characters shine in a new light is a relief. “If you think about how the old 2D art was made,” he posited, “it was very stylized, to the point where if you viewed the same character from the front, their hair would be so ridiculous and it would make no sense. I’ve loved the reaction so far, with everyone saying it looks like the old games, but in 3D; not like a reimagining.”
If you’ve played Samurai Shodown in the past with any amount of regularity, you should have no problems picking up where you left off with the returning fighters. The rage gauge system is back, where each fighter has a meter that fills as they take damage, activating powerful buffs and attacks when it maxes out–including the disarming weapon-flipping technique. And once per match, you can activate a rage explosion with a simple button combo that destroys your rage gauge but gives you the chance to use a Lightning Blade attack, a move powerful enough to dramatically turn the tide of a contested battle.
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Having left the series after Samurai Shodown V in 2003, it felt great to take control of these characters again. The speed, the hard-hitting fights, and the attitude is there. The visuals truly pop, giving me a newfound appreciation for a series that had until last year felt all but forgotten. I’ve only played a handful of fights so it’s too early to say whether or not Samurai Shodown will have what it takes to excite casual and competitive fighting game players alike, but it will be tested soon enough.
“People always ask why we brought the series back,” said Weatherford, “and as Kuroki always says, it’s not just that the community’s request via polls was very high, but it’s also, even among other fighting games, it has a very different style and a different pace. We felt, with the current trend towards esports, that it could stand out on its own very easily.”
The team at SNK won’t have to wait long to see how its revival shakes out with fans and pros alike. The new Samurai Shodown is currently scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June (Switch and PC at a later date), and shortly after, it will share the spotlight as one of the nine main games at EVO 2019 in August. That will be a big test, for sure, but having had a taste of what’s possible during my demo, I already know it will be one of my most anticipated tournaments when the annual fighting game event kicks off in a few months’ time.
Microsoft has refreshed its weekly sale on digital Xbox One games, which means there’s a whole new set of deals to check out. Some good stuff is on here, including deep discounts on Soulcalibur VI and Batman: Arkham Collection, though you’ll need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to take advantage of some of the discounts. You can find our picks for the best games and hardware on sale below, or head over and see the full list at the Microsoft Store. Just make sure to finalize your purchases before the prices go back up on April 1.
Welcome to Daily Win, our way of giving back to the IGN community. To thank our awesome audience, we’re giving away a new game each day to one lucky winner. Be sure to check IGN.com every day to enter in each new giveaway.
Today we’re giving away an Xbox One copy of Square Enix’s action role-playing game Kingdom Hearts 3. To enter into this sweepstakes for a chance to win, fill out the form below. You must be at least 13 years old and a legal U.S. resident to enter.