Harrison Ford’s Contributions to Solo: A Star Wars Story

Harrison Ford contributed to Solo: A Star Wars Story by helping the new Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and director Ron Howard capture the essence of the beloved character.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said Ford provided Ehrenreich with some valuable insight about what makes Han so special. Ford recalled how George Lucas developed Han in the original trilogy when he met with the new Solo actor.


did so beautifully for Alden was he talked a lot about what he remembered when he first read Star Wars, and what George had done with Han,” Kennedy said. “Who the character was and the conversations he had for so many years with George about how that character developed.”

Continue reading…

The Biggest Hidden Gems Of 2018

While this year is packed with numerous highly anticipated big-budget games, it’s also filled with a wealth of exciting new indie games that you shouldn’t miss out on. With so many hidden gems to keep track of, we’ve compiled the 15 indie games we’re most excited about. Click ahead to see what’s in store for this year.

There’s way more exciting indie games coming this year that we didn’t mention here. Which ones are you most looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments below.

For more on the bigger games this year, check out our individual features highlighting the most anticipated PS4 games, Xbox One games, PC games, and Switch games for a broader look at the year ahead. If you’re curious about exclusives, be sure to check out our features highlighting the most anticipated PS4 games, Xbox One games, PC games, and Switch games for a broader look at the year ahead.

Friday The 13th To Get Brutal Single Player Challenges

The team behind Friday the 13th has been promising a single player mode for some time now, and it looks like we’ve finally gotten a peek. The video above is the first look at the title’s single player challenges, and best of all, they’re going to come free.

Revealed via Twitter, the new demo showcases Jason’s brutal killings of two teens, Bugsy and Adam, attempting to fix their broken-down car. The trailer doesn’t reveal much information on the new mode, as it is taken from a development build. But we do know it will be free, and the team hopes to eventually add unlockable targets and new maps. There is currently no confirmed release date.

This isn’t the first we’ve seen from Friday the 13th’s offline play. Back in December, the team released an update that added offline bots, among other things. It wasn’t a fully fleshed-out single player mode, but the single player challenges might eventually fill that void.

After a rocky launch in 2017 with numerous server issues and bugs, dedicated servers are coming to PS4 and Xbox One in the coming months. The team is suspending regular updates and development to focus on the servers, which are expected to go live in April.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email [email protected]

The History Of Yakuza

Of all the Sega properties still relevant this decade, none have had the staying power of Ryu Ga Gotoku, which translates to ‘Like A Dragon’. The series is more commonly known in the West as Yakuza. Compared to the wildly inconsistent Sonic franchise and the infrequent releases of Valkyria Chronicles sequels, Yakuza emerged as the most prolific series for the Japanese developer-publisher in its post-hardware era. If you count remasters, remakes, and spin-offs–some of which have never come out in the West–Ryu Ga Gotoku has averaged slightly more than one release every year since its introduction in 2005. As Yakuza, the series hits a milestone in 2018 as the story arc of its mainstay protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, reaches its conclusion in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. We thought this would be a fitting time to look back on this franchise in our History Of series.

A Well-Planned Debut

Yakuza was the brainchild of Sega veteran Toshihiro Nagoshi, the hard-as-nails director behind Daytona and Super Monkey Ball. He envisioned a gritty drama complemented by a sense of humanity in both its storytelling and characters. The game would revolve around the Japanese criminal underworld of the yakuza, exploring the power struggles between rival groups as well as their tenuous relationships with foreign organizations. The yakuza’s fixation to their code of honor would play a huge part in the series’ many stories. How its key characters adhere to or struggle with this code led to some of Yakuza’s most compelling narrative moments.

Development began as ‘Project J’, where Nagoshi assembled a team of Sega developers proficient in both arcade games like Virtua Fighter and Super Monkey Ball as well as more story-driven consoles titles like Panzer Dragoon and Jet Set Radio.

Nagoshi’s team needed a setting befitting a Japanese mafia tale. They settled on Kabukicho, the red-light district of Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, for their inspiration. Fictionally renamed as Kamurocho, this lively but modestly sized open world would become a staple location of every mainline Yakuza sequel. Much of the city’s immense staying power is thanks to its similarities to its real-life counterpart; this sense of virtual tourism would permeate through all of the series’ other locales. And like avid travellers revisiting Japan, fans–upon revisiting Kamurocho in sequels–would notice and appreciate both the clear and subtle changes to the landscape as storefronts disappear or relocate. The moment you start a new Yakuza and the initial exposition gives way to free roaming, you feel like you’ve returned to a theme park you haven’t visited in years, wondering what has changed, whether that’s an renovated batting center or a new selection of arcade titles at Club Sega.

Much of the city’s immense staying power is thanks to its similarities to its real-life counterpart; this sense of virtual tourism would permeate through all of the series’ other locales.

As the recurring locale, Kamurocho became a character itself, always reflective of its respective time periods. Banter among its locals provides color and context to Tokyo as it was in 2005, 2016 and every other year the games have been set in. Adding further personality to this district are the myriad optional substories triggered by Kamurocho’s many NPCs, the subject matter of which ranges from light-hearted to absurdly funny. Last but not least, this district would be inextricably tied to Kazuma Kiryu, Yakuza’s main protagonist.

No Caption Provided

We’re introduced to Kiryu–nicknamed The Dragon of Dojima–in the first Yakuza as an up and coming member of the Tojo Clan. His plans to one day start his own crime family are derailed early in the game when he takes the fall for a murder he didn’t commit. This was done to protect his best friend, Akira Nishikiyama as well as Kiryu’s lifelong love interest, Yumi Sawamura. Within the first hour of playing Yakuza, our hero ages 10 years in prison, is expelled from the Tojo Clan, and returns to a Kamurocho that is both familiar and foreign. Meanwhile, he meets Haruka, a 9 year-old orphan. She is somehow tied to Kiryu’s former crime family, which is undergoing a tumultuous period of unrest due to the disappearance of 10 billion yen from the Tojo Clan and the assassination of the Tojo chairman who was investigating the missing money.

In a period where one word game titles like Prey, Gun, and Bully were very much in vogue, ‘Yakuza’ was effective in making Ryu Ga Gotoku marketable in the West. Yet in retrospect, the continued focus on Kiryu’s personal journey makes this title inadequate. Here we find a hero who–in his youth–was drawn to the gangster lifestyle yet has been spending bulk of his adulthood trying to leave it. From the get go we learn that his drive to protect those he loves supersedes any kind of Yakuza code of honor. This gets more complicated due to the father-daughter relationship he quickly forms with Haruka, who stays inextricably tied to Kiryu for the rest of the series. This bond is all the more strengthened by their common upbringings as orphans.

Yakuza would also introduce Goro Majima, a fan-favorite character who would be more beloved than even Kiryu to some. His psychotic tendencies are only overshadowed by his flamboyant charisma, attributes that have only been amplified in future appearances. Kiryu’s relationship to Goro plus other recurring characters–like the detective-turned-journalist, Makoto Date–elevates a growing ensemble cast that become as memorable as any you’ll find in Dragon Age or Gears of War.

Kiryu’s relationship to Goro plus other recurring characters–like the detective-turned-journalist, Makoto Date–elevates a growing ensemble cast that become as memorable as any you’ll find in Dragon Age or Gears of War.

And with the announcement of the English voice cast, you could not have picked a better fit than Joker veteran Mark Hamill as the maniacal Goro. Another notable actor was Michael Madsen, whose work on gangster films like Reservoir Dogs and The Getaway made him a natural fit for a brute like Futoshi Shimano, one of the game’s major bosses. Eliza Dushku also proved a match for Yumi. It was a clear message from Sega of America of their well-intentioned efforts to introduce Ryu Ga Gotoku to the West. That said, the localization came with a forced hard edge, featuring more swearing and gangster posturing than the Japanese version. As if to fully own the Yakuza name, this English script played up the game’s criminal element more than what the original writers intended.

A Series Is Born

As Sega of America was localizing Yakuza, fans in Japan were treated to the series’ first spin-off, a film by the prolific and renowned director Takashi Miike as well as a shorter prologue film. These movies were fitting tie-ins to a game with strong cinematic qualities. The Yakuza games’ filmic storytelling would only get better as the series made its way to the PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles, rendering the idea of additional film adaptations obsolete. These later games would go on to use known actors familiar to Japanese audiences like Riki Takeuchi, Hitoshi Ozawa, and even New Japan Pro Wrestling stars playing as themselves. This would culminate in Yakuza 6 with the casting of one of the country’s biggest celebrities, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, who has directed and starred in his share of gangster films.

Capitalizing on Yakuza’s success, a sequel naturally followed. Whether it was a financial decision or an attempt to provide a more authentic experience, Yakuza 2 was released in the West with no English voice acting, preserving the original Japanese audio.

Whereas the main conflict among the yakuza in the first game was from within the Tojo Clan, Yakuza 2 explored their struggles in maintaining peace with outside organizations, not just with other clans in Japan but also a crime group from Korea. It’s a dispute that takes part of the story to Osaka, particularly the tourist magnet of Dotonbori, now fictionalized as Sotenbori.

It also continues to portray Kiryu as the reluctant gangster who doesn’t hesitate to take the fight to his aggressors when his loved ones are threatened. He exhibits shades of Michael Corleone, though the Godfather never had someone as loving and kind-hearted as Haruka to keep him grounded. Wanting to get out but only to be pulled back in is a dilemma Kiryu faces time and time again, all the way to Yakuza 6. While this repetitiveness is amusing, it’s never to the detriment of each game’s respective story. After all, it’s satisfying to see Kiryu take out his frustrations on his inability to escape his yakuza roots by beating up countless gangsters in finely tailored suits. All he wants to do live out the rest of his life with Haruka and the orphans they watch over in Sunshine Orphanage, which the two establish in Okinawa.

Wanting to get out but only to be pulled back in is a dilemma Kiryu faces time and time again, all the way to Yakuza 6. While this repetitiveness is amusing, it’s never to the detriment of each game’s respective story.

And given all the peacemaking Kiryu does with his fists, Sega would continue to refine the series’ melee and fisticuff-focused combat sequel after sequel. It never quite achieves the classification as a 3D successor to classic beat-em-ups like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage. At its worst moments, combat has been clunky, repetitive, and shallow. Minor improvements to fighting would come with each subsequent release, accompanied by violent and often amusing finishing blows, like the memorable tiger punch in Yakuza 2.

No Caption Provided

In 2008, an Asia-only spin-off followed. Set during the dawn of Japan’s Edo period, Ryu Ga Gotoku Kenzan followed a reimagined Kiryu as Kazumanosuke Kiryu, whose real identity is the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Once again tied by fate to Haruka, Kiryu reluctantly agrees to help this Edo period version of the young woman by assassinating an imposter posing as Musashi.

Sega would eventually explore the twilight of the Edo period 200 years later in the Japan-only Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin! in 2014 for the PS4. It takes creative liberties with two real historical figures of the time. Sega reimagined two samurai, Ryoma Sakamoto and Hajima Saito as the same person with Kiryu’s personality, taking on a dual identity as they survive this era of unrest as the reign of the Tokugawa Shogunate ended.

Lost In Translation

With Yakuza 3 in 2010, Sega was still trying to find the series’ footing in the West, the least of its problems being its poorly conceived box art. Citing time constraints and the presumption that some sections wouldn’t resonate with audiences outside of Japan, Sega of America released an incomplete version of Yakuza 3 in the West. The most notable omissions were the hostess clubs and historical trivia quizzes.

Rainbow Six Siege Outbreak And Chimera Update: Everything We Know So Far

Year 3 of Rainbow Six Siege is set to kick off soon with the launch of the Chimera update. While it will bring some of the features we’re accustomed to seeing with each new season of content, like new Operators and maps, this one will be even bigger than usual, due to the Outbreak event.

In the video above, we recap everything that we’ve learned so far about Chimera and–in particular–Outbreak. There’s a lot to look forward to on both the PvP and, for a change, PvE sides of the game. PvP will benefit from the introduction of the aforementioned map and character releases, which tend to offer dramatic shake-ups of the meta.

For PvE players, the Outbreak event is an exciting addition that is unlike anything Siege has seen before. Currently, the only co-op mode is Terrorist Hunt, but Outbreak presents three-person missions where you’re taking down zombie-like monsters. However, this mode will only be available for a limited time, and it’ll only be playable with select Operators (plus the default Recruit character). It features three exclusive new maps that are more open than the standard PvP maps.

In addition to the new playable content, there will also be a special event loot box that offers new cosmetics. 50 unique items can be obtained through these new Outbreak packs, none of which will have any impact on gameplay, according to Ubisoft. These packs will cost 300 R6 Credits, though a few rewards will be obtainable just by playing. And by simply logging in during the event, you’ll get four Outbreak packs for free. Among the included items are a new Elite uniform, universal weapon skins, headgear, charms, and more.

For much more on what to expect from Siege’s forthcoming update, check out the video above. If you’re eager to try the game out but don’t already own it, you’ll soon have the opportunity to try Siege for free.

Fortnite: Battle Royale Beginner’s Guide – 13 Tips And Tricks

Though you might be familiar with other games in the battle royale genre–games that tend to stick one player (or a small team) on a map where they fight against others to be the last one standing–Fortnite: Battle Royale is a little different. The game takes the basic premise of the genre and adds its own twist that changes everything: You can instantly construct stuff like walls and stairs, allowing you to build fortifications to protect yourself and create your own tactical advantages.

Fortnite drops you onto an island with 99 other players, and the last player (or team) left alive wins. Though it’s similar to games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, plenty of small differences make Fortnite into a very distinct experience. Knowing what to carry, when to shoot, and what to build are essential if you’re going to be the last person alive on the island.

You won’t find a tutorial in Fortnite Battle Royale, so when you drop onto its island, all you have are your wits and whatever you can find along the way. Here’s everything you need to know to get a strong start–and maybe survive long enough to find yourself a minigun.

And if you’re already a Fornite: Battle Royale veteran, check out our advanced tips guide, as well as our guide covering all the things that we wish we knew before playing the game. You can also watch our video guide on how to build more effectively.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is available as a free download for PlayStation 4, Xbox One. The mode supports up to 100 players competing to be the last person (or team) standing as they hunt other players and avoid being killed themselves. For the differences between Fortnite: Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, check out our in-depth feature discussing the two games and what sets them apart from one another. You can also check out more details on Fortnite’s recently released Crossbow update.

The Latest Xbox One Update Is Live, Here’s What It Does

Xbox One‘s UI is ever-changing, but the latest update isn’t about a visual makeover. Instead, this update is more about ease of access, making small changes to game hubs, do not disturb and inactivity options, and next achievements.

Game Hubs and Next Achievements have found a new home in the guide in this update. Now instead of leaving your game, having to track it down, and then go to the game hub to find all that extra community content you love, you’ll find your favorite hubs with just a press of the home button.

Next Achievements works in a similar way in terms of ease of access. But, instead of giving you all the information you could possibly want for a game, it’s all about achievement hunting. Not only can it show you which achievements you’re closest to unlocking, the function can also be sorted by common, rare, most common rare, and highest gamerscore.

Stepping away from the guide, muting notifications and power saving just got easier. Do not disturb mode mutes your notifications for as long as you have it on, and lets your pals know it might not be the right time to bombard you with party requests.

This update also added additional inactivity options. Instead of your Xbox turning off after one or six hours of inactivity, you can choose to have it automatically switch off and save you some power after two, three, four, or five hours.

In other Xbox news, February’s Games With Gold titles are available now. Splinter Cell: Conviction is now available as part of Xbox One’s backwards compatibility, and a new Kingdom Hearts III trailer dropped at the D23 Expo.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email [email protected]