EA has announced that Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, and Need for Speed The Run will be removed from digital storefronts beginning today, May 31.
EA took to Reddit to share the news, saying in-game stores for the previously mentioned titles will also be closed from May 31. While online services will remain on for now, they will be retired on August 31, 2021. From September 1 onwards, the games will remain playable offline.
“Decisions to retire games are never made easy, but we are now shifting gears to focus on the future of Need for Speed,” Community manager Max_Joker wrote on Reddit. “The development teams and operational staff have put a lot of time and passion into the development, creation, release and upkeep of the game over the years, and we love to see you play.
“But the number of players has come to a point where it’s no longer feasible to continue the work behind the scenes required to keep Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed and Need for Speed The Run up and running. We hope you have gotten many victories, satisfying drifts, moments of friendly rivalry, and hours of joy over the last few years out of these games.”
Need for Speed Carbon is the oldest game on the list and was released in 2006, and 2011’s Need for Speed The Run is the newest game impacted by these changes.
Both editions of Minecraft, Bedrock and Java, will get part one of the Caves & Cliffs update on June 8, developer Mojang has confirmed. The latest patch–which includes new blocks and mobs–will be available on mobile devices, Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
Three new mobs will be added with this update: the underwater creatures axolotls, the Minecraft Earth-exclusive glow squid, and goats. Though axolotls only attack Drowned, they’re mostly harmless. The same goes for the glow squids. Goats, on the other hand, are the most aggressive of the three new mobs in Minecraft, headbutting players whenever possible.
On top of the three mobs, Caves & Cliffs brings some 91 new blocks to Minecraft. This includes amethyst, copper, and dripleaves, but Mojang said the rest “might be a bit trickier to discover.” Players can switch to Creative mode to get immediate access to all of the new Minecraft content.
This is just the first part of what has become a massive update. Mojang split Caves & Cliffs in two to focus on the “much bigger changes” planned for the second half. Part two launches this holiday.
Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown hits PS4 (and PS5 via forward compatibility) on June 1, and with it comes an expansion pack bundling original series content like character models and background music.
The $10 Legendary Pack includes exactly what it sounds like it would. The DLC features a plethora of content from the series’ past, like OG character models and various stages from 1993’s Virtua Fighter and beyond. It also packages the background music and battle UI from the series’ older entries.
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Original series content isn’t all the Legendary Pack comes with. There are also character customization items and costumes, as well as emojis and stamps that can be used in Ultimate Showdown’s spectator mode.
Prior to Ultimate Showdown’s reveal, we chatted with producer Seiji Aoki about the series’ return and what could be next for Virtua Fighter. Aoki also talked about the Legendary Pack (which is a separate purchase despite Ultimate Showdown being free) and possible future DLC plans for the game.
“The new Legendary Pack will launch right alongside the new game” Aoki said. “That pack includes over 2000 customization items, and a ton of new and classic content that celebrates the entire history of the Virtua Fighter series. This includes retro UI, stages, alt costumes, never-before-released background music from the previous games in the series, and all the original classic character models from the first Virtua Fighter–which you can use as special costumes. As for additional post-launch content, there are plenty of items and features we wanted to add that didn’t make it in time for launch, and we hope to share those details in the future.”
While Sega is mostly known for the Sonic and Yakuza franchises these days, there was a time where the developer and publisher was also a fighting game powerhouse. During the 1990s, Sega launched the Virtua Fighter franchise, the first 3D fighting game that utilized the now standard polygon-based graphics and physics. The series would go on to have a dedicated following as it set the arcade scene and Sega built platforms like the Saturn and Dreamcast, carving out a fanbase that enjoyed its incredibly technical fighting mechanics. Even today, players still engage in competitive play with the previous entry, 2012’s Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, being a fixture in fan-run tournaments.
With the upcoming Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown, and its placement as a free game for PlayStation Plus members at launch on June 1, the fighting game franchise will be making a comeback in a big way. Before its release, we spent some time getting reacquainted with the game’s uncompromisingly technical combat mechanics, which still manages to give way to satisfying and thrilling matches when you nail the right flow. With VF5’s new look and refined combat mechanics–now running on the Dragon Engine, which powers the recent entries in the Yakuza series–Ultimate Showdown brings the franchise back in serious style. Before the reveal of Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown, we had a brief interview with chief producer Seiji Aoki about returning to Sega’s original 3D fighting game series.
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Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and readability.
It’s been about 10 years since the last Virtua Fighter game. What has it been like to return to such a well-loved fighting game franchise?
Personally, I’ve been a big fan of the series as a player for many years and it’s been very rewarding to take part in a new project. Virtua Fighter is such a historically important series to Sega, well-loved by so many players dating all the way to the initial arcade launch nearly 28 years ago! I think we were able to create an amazing new game that hopefully lives up to the high standard we’ve set for ourselves over the decades.
What do you think is special about the Virtua Fighter series that has allowed it to endure in the minds of hardcore fighting game fans throughout the years?
I think it’s the strategic depth, intricate balance, and wide range of real-life martial arts styles–all performed at a fluid 60fps. That defines Virtua Fighter, and that realism defines it when compared to other fighting games. Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown brings back the combat fans know and love, remade with modern graphics, enhanced online play and spectate features, new background music, and more. We’re really excited to see how fans respond to this new entry.
Given the growth of the esports scene these days, do you feel that competitive Virtua Fighter play can still carve out a following with modern audiences?
With Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown, we’ve remade the infrastructure of 2012’s VF5 to get up to the standards of competitive play in 2021. That includes a number of new features and tools built for organized online competition: expanded match room sizes, new modes and match types like Tournaments and Leagues, live replay and spectate, new hit effects, and communications tools like stamps that enhance the experience for viewers as well as players.
With VF5, we’re preparing our first forays into organized esports, with two official sponsored tournaments in Japan on the horizon, and we’d love to some day participate in global tournaments like EVO and see professional VF players emerge. That all starts by giving our community the tools they need to continue growing in that space.
What led to the decision to release Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown as a free game on PlayStation Plus at launch?
This project started as a part of Sega’s 60th Anniversary Celebration–it was made as a gift for our community. We want as many people to play it as possible. Launching on both PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now allows us to offer the definitive Virtua Fighter experience as an essentially “free”game for millions of players around the world, many of whom may just be trying out the series for the first time!
Modern fighting games see regular updates and DLC components as a part of their roadmap. Are there plans for VF5: Ultimate Showdown to have DLC after launch?
We do! The new Legendary Pack will launch right alongside the new game. That pack includes over 2000 customization items, and a ton of new and classic content that celebrates the entire history of the Virtua Fighter series. This includes retro UI, stages, alt costumes, never-before-released background music from the previous games in the series, and all the original classic character models from the first Virtua Fighter–which you can use as special costumes. As for additional post-launch content, there are plenty of items and features we wanted to add that didn’t make it in time for launch, and we hope to share those details in the future.
On a more fun note, fans of the Yakuza series have been eager to see characters like Kazama Kiryu and Goro Majima show up as guests in fighting games. Would you ever consider having characters from Yakuza join the Virtua Fighter roster?
We actually did discuss adding new characters during development. However, to add new characters we’d need to readjust the balance of the game, which we felt had been perfected in VF5: Final Showdown–so we put that idea aside for now. But we know there’s demand for more characters, and we will continue to look for ways to include them in the future.
Sega has also worked on other fighting game franchises as well, such as Fighting Vipers, Last Bronx, and even a Sonic fighting game (which we see a small return as a bonus game in Lost Judgement). Is there another fighting game franchise that you would like to revisit?
There are plenty of popular Sega games that have their passionate fanbases, particularly in the fighting game space, that I would love to see revisited. But right now I am 100% focused on VF5: Ultimate Showdown and re-introducing the Virtua Fighter series to modern fans now.
With this remaster, do you hope that this will lead to a new beginning for the franchise? Many fans have been clamoring for a new entry in the series.
As a fan of the series, of course, I’d love to play a new Virtua Fighter game. For now, our goal is to get as many people playing Virtua Fighter as possible, and we’ll see what the future holds.
Watch Dogs Legion is a great open-world stealth action-adventure for both current and next-gen consoles. So how do you freshen it up, let alone improve upon it? We’re not quite sure about the verdict on the improving it part yet (we’ve only just started to play the new DLC), but there’s no doubt that adding zombies into the mix will at least freshen up the action. Enter Watch Dogs: Legion of the Dead, the biggest and certainly most surprising part of Title Update 4.5. It will be available tomorrow, June 1.
As you can see in the 22-minute gameplay video above, it turns Watch Dogs into an undead-fighting PvE roguelite for up to four players. The development team wants to make it clear that this new mode is in alpha, and as such it will continue to be tweaked and evolved based on community feedback. We caught up with Watch Dogs Legion online director Jean-Pascal Cambiotti to find out more about Legion of the Dead.
IGN: Zombie modes in non-zombie games seem to be popular nowadays (arguably started by Call of Duty). What is it about zombies that make them so much fun in practically any game?
Jean-Pascal: I think there’s something inherently fun about playing with zombies, beyond the instant gratification of destroying them. We were inspired by the multiple portrayals of zombies across popular culture, and in the game, we made the decision to make zombies slower but lethal. They can be used as a gameplay tool to create chaos by luring them into fortified Albion layouts while you sneak in and save your precious ammo for another fight.
IGN: Could Legion of the Dead ever spin out into its own game if it proves popular enough?
Jean-Pascal: The design strategy on Watch Dogs: Legion of the Dead was to expand on existing systems and flip them on its head – like creating a rogue-lite approach with Watch Dogs: Legion’s unique gadgets. We want to keep an open line of communication with the community and see where they want to take the game mode next.
IGN: Similarly, what is the metric of success internally for this content? What will the team be watching for?
Jean-Pascal: We want players to have fun using different strategies and feel like there’s always something different to try. That’s why we’re starting small, and plan to update the game frequently so we can react to things like adjusting the difficulty level based on the feedback we get.
IGN: Are there any Easter eggs in here that players should watch out for? Either about Watch Dogs stuff or larger pop-culture stuff?
Convenience has always been the driving force of human ingenuity. From its simplest forms such as hand tools, wheels, and inclined planes, technology has allowed humans to live more comfortably. Most modern technology essentially does the same thing, though it’s gotten much more complicated. Your automated sprinkler systems, voice-controlled lights, and smart doorbells are just a few examples of modern conveniences that are controlled by the internet, aptly earning these devices the name “Internet of Things.”
While you can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars outfitting your home with the latest IoT devices, many people are taking matters into their own hands by learning how to make these gadgets themselves. Whether you’re looking to save a buck or are simply interested in tinkering with such devices, The Internet of Things & ESP32 Arduino Beginners Course Bundle offers the opportunity to broaden your horizons in ESP32 and Arduino. Best of all, this bundle is currently available for only $24.99, less than $4 per course.
This course bundle consists of seven separate courses totaling 70 lessons across seven hours of instruction. Students will learn the fundamentals of IoT by programming ESP32 boards for creating web servers, sending email alerts, and even controlling a garden that monitors soil moisture, air moisture, and humidity. You’ll also find a course that teaches you how to program ESP32 without traditional coding. By the end of these courses, total beginners will know how to use microcontrollers with confidence.
The courses are offered through the Educational Engineering Team, a leading organization in the microcontroller industry with more than 13 years of experience in teaching students practical projects using ESP32, Arduino, and more. Students love Educational Engineering for its ability to break down often complicated processes into bite-sized, step-by-step instructions that are both engaging and easy to digest, earning it instructor ratings of 4 out of 5 stars and higher.
We fight our way through the Arcade Mode in Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown as Vanessa, We take on Lion, Sarah Bryant, El Blaze, Pai, Jacky, Jeffry, Akira Yuki and the Boss Dural. Find out if we clear the run or if the hard end boss Dural stops us in our tracks.
As for what is in the update, it looks to include “bug fixes and changes based on community feedback.”
“We are working on the pacing of dialogues, narrator settings, difficulty settings, video settings like depth of field and motion blur, loot and enemy tuning as well as sound and combat,” Biomutant’s Tweet reads.
In our review of Biomutant, we discussed some of the above issues, including that, while the narrator is “initially kind of quaint,” we “found it a bit wearisome over time.”
“It’s not so much the narrator’s random interjections; it’s more that his regular attempts at profundity write a lot of cheques that a game that’s really just about hamsters bashing the crap out of each other with toilet brushes struggles to cash. Biomutant seems to have a lot it wants to say about the past, the future – and possibly forgiveness – but its fortune cookie wisdom feels a fraction too earnest,” IGN’s Luke Reilly wrote.
Welcome to our Sunday deals page, where the games are cheap and the headphones are also cheap! The Beats Solo Pro Wireless have hit their lowest price ever over at Amazon, making them a stellar pick up for anyone looking for headphones. Tons of games are still on sale thanks to Memorial Day as well, including Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man Miles Morales, two must have titles for PS5 owners.
Let’s not forget that it’s also Memorial Day Weekend, and we’ve done up a few extra articles to help you sift through the special events and promotions going on there. We’ve added a few of those deals here, but you can find out more by checking our Best Memorial Day Sales page!