New Mass Effect: Andromeda Trailer Shows 4K PC Gameplay, Talks Up Nvidia's Tech

Nvidia has released a Mass Effect: Andromeda video showing off gameplay running in 4K resolution. It features developers from BioWare discussing the technology it leveraged to bring the new Andromeda galaxy to life.

In addition to HDR, Mass Effect: Andromeda also supports Nvidia’s Ansel technology, which–according to its press release–is “a revolutionary new way to capture in-game photography.” Ansel allows players to capture screenshots in 360 degrees then share them for viewing on PCs, smart devices, and in VR.

According to producer Michael Gamble, combining Nvidia’s technology with the Frostbite engine has also been particularly beneficial for the PC version of Andromeda, allowing the studio to give the game a level of detail it has “never been able to show on screen.”

You can see the video for yourself above. Remember to switch to 4K using the settings menu.

The technical side of Mass Effect: Andromeda has been the subject of much discussion lately, with character animations causing concern among those playing early though EA Access. BioWare has said Mass Effect: Andromeda’s day one patch will not include any animation or character model improvements, despite the widespread criticism it is receiving.

We’ve played Andromeda’s multiplayer–check out what we thought here. And for more on the game, keep an eye out for our Story of Mass Effect documentary series. Episode 1 will be available on Saturday, March 16, with Episode 2 to follow a day later. Take a look at a teaser for the minidoc here.

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No Mass Effect: Andromeda Animation Improvements Coming On Day One, Despite Fan Criticism

Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s day one patch will not include any animation or character model improvements, despite widespread fan criticism of the way characters look and move.

Andromeda’s lead designer, Ian Frazier, responded to a Tweet asking if the day one update will improve the character models by saying, “At day 1? No, that ship has sailed.”

The deadline for enhancements included in that patch has already passed it seems, as the update is included in the now-playable EA and Origin Access early trials. The game releases in full on March 21 (March 23 in Europe).

@JohnCharling At day 1? No, that ship has sailed. We’ll have more patches later on, but exactly what goes into them is still in discussion.

— Ian Soon Frazier (@tibermoon) March 16, 2017

Frazier went on to confirm that there will be “more patches later on,” but he said “exactly what goes into them is still in discussion.”

Since the game went live for EA and Origin Access Members on March 15, reaction has been mixed when it comes to the game’s animations and facial models in particular. The game’s Subreddit, for example, has multiple posts from fans disappointed by those aspects of Andromeda.

Meanwhile, Frazier also confirmed that developer BioWare is looking to add new skin tones to the game’s character creation mode in a new patch. He went on to multiplayer sound issues are “under investigation.” BioWare is encouraging players experiencing any further problems to report them on EA’s troubleshooting page.

In other Andromeda news, BioWare has announced a new companion app for the game’s multiplayer mode. Called Apex HQ, it will track your progression in the mode, displaying information like which characters you’ve unlocked and what items and rewards you’ve collected.

We’ve played Andromeda’s multiplayer–check out what we thought here. Or for more on the upcoming sci-fi adventure, keep an eye out for our Story of Mass Effect documentary series. Episode 1 will drop on Satuday, March 16, with Episode 2 to follow a day later. Take a look at a teaser for the minidoc here.

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Sonic Mania Delayed; Project Sonic 2017 Gets A Name

With the Sonic series recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Sega today hosted a panel at South by Southwest where it talked about two upcoming games: Sonic Mania and what’s been known as Project Sonic 2017.

On the Sonic Mania front, the key news was that the game has been delayed from this spring to summer. A more specific release date wasn’t shared, but Sega did tease new enemies, preorder bonuses, a collector’s edition vinyl album, and the return of the Flying Battery Zone.

As for Sonic 2017, the game is now officially called Sonic Forces. It runs on a brand-new engine called The Hedgehog Engine 2 and is still due out later this year. The name is a reference to the battle between the forces of good and evil. You can see a new piece of concept art for it below.

Additionally, Sega showed off a brief clip of the first Sonic Forces gameplay. It revealed some fast-paced third-person gameplay of Sonic moving through the city seen in last year’s reveal trailer. This will be published online for everyone to see tomorrow, March 17. There will be multiple paths through levels and two other styles of gameplay, one of which centers around the classic-style Sonic seen in the aforementioned trailer.

Sonic Mania Delayed; Project Sonic 2017 Gets A Name
Sonic Forces concept art

Both games are slated to arrive for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

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Top-10 Best Selling Games in the US During February 2017

The NPD Group has released its sales report for the United States during February 2017, including a top 10 list of the month’s best-selling games in terms of dollar sales.

Notably, the period tracked by NPD ends on February 25, which means Horizon Zero Dawn wasn’t yet out. For Honor led the way in the No.1 spot, while another big release, Nioh, made it to the No. 9 spot. The remainder of the list was primarily made up of the usual suspects.

January’s top 10 was led by Resident Evil 7, which dropped to No. 2 in February.

Overall, total video game sales were down 21 percent year-over-year, dropping to $724 million from $918.7 million last February. This was due primarily to a 30 percent drop in video game hardware, which fell to $204 million from $292.2 million. Software was also down 14 percent to $344.2 million from $402 million.

Last week, Sony confirmed that PS4 outsold Xbox One in the US during February, though it didn’t have a statement to share, as has become the norm. Microsoft did comment on the NPD report, though it focused on Xbox Live usage during the month. We’ll update this story with anything Nintendo has to share.

Top-10 Best Selling Games in the US During February 2017

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella noted, “3DS unit sales were up 77 percent versus January 2017 driven by the 3DS New Galaxy Style model and the 3DS Limited Pikachu Yellow model.

You can see all of the top-seller lists NPD shared below. As is now the case every month, these lists are ranked by US dollar sales and combine physical sales with digital sales from select publishers (absences include Nintendo and Games marked with an asterisk are those that don’t include digital sales.

February 2017 Top 10 Games

  1. For Honor
  2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. NBA 2K17
  5. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  6. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  7. Madden NFL 17
  8. Battlefield 1
  9. Nioh*
  10. Overwatch (no sales)

February 2017 Top 10 PS4 Games

  1. For Honor
  2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Nioh*
  5. NBA 2K17
  6. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  7. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  8. Battlefield 1
  9. Madden NFL 17
  10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege

February 2017 Top 10 Xbox One Games

  1. For Honor
  2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  3. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. NBA 2K17
  6. Halo Wars 2*
  7. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  8. Battlefield 1
  9. Madden NFL 17
  10. Overwatch (no sales)

February 2017 Top 10 Wii U Games

  1. Super Smash Bros.*
  2. Paper Mario: Color Splash*
  3. Minecraft*
  4. Yoshi’s Wooly World*
  5. Super Mario Maker*
  6. Pokken Tournament*
  7. New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U*
  8. Splatoon*
  9. Super Mario 3D World*
  10. Mario Kart 8*

February 2017 Top 10 Portable Games

  1. Poochy and Yoshi’s Wooly World*
  2. Pokemon: Sun*
  3. Pokemon: Moon*
  4. Super Mario Maker*
  5. Super Smash Bros.*
  6. Mario Kart 7*
  7. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King*
  8. Pokemon Omega Ruby*
  9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D*
  10. Mario Party: Star Rush*

2017 Top 10 Games

These are the top-selling games year-to-date based on dollar sales.

  1. For Honor
  2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  5. NBA 2K17
  6. Battlefield 1
  7. Madden NFL 17
  8. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
  9. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege
  10. Overwatch (no sales)

12 Months Rolling Through February 2017

These are the best-selling games (again, in terms of dollar sales) for the 12 months rolling through February 2017.

  1. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
  2. Battlefield 1
  3. NBA 2K17
  4. Tom Clancy’s The Division
  5. Madden NFL 17
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Overwatch (no sales)
  8. FIFA 17
  9. Final Fantasy XV
  10. Dark Souls III

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Titanfall 2 Dev Talks Game's Future, Says Star Wars Game Staying Under Wraps For Now

In a blog post today, Titanfall 2 developer Respawn talked about the future of Titanfall, addressed its communication shortcomings, and stressed that you shouldn’t expect to hear anything about its Star Wars game soon.

On the subject of Titanfall 2, which publisher EA said failed to meet sales targets, Respawn said in its blog post that the game is “healthy and growing.” It’s adding more players every week, the developer said, though no official figures were shared. Looking ahead, fans can expect more free DLC for Titanfall 2, while Respawn is tinkering with ideas for future games in the series.

Titanfall 2 Dev Talks Game's Future, Says Star Wars Game Staying Under Wraps For Now

“Right now we’re focused on the long term future of Titanfall and we’re excited about it,” Respawn explained. “The core Titanfall team is working away on lots of cool stuff, whether that be DLC for Titanfall 2, action blocks, and prototypes for future Titanfall projects, or other crazy science experiments.”

For Titanfall 2 DLC specifically, Respawn admitted that it did not do a good enough job at communicating what the game’s free expansions were all about. Most recently, Respawn launched a new mode called Live Fire; past DLC included a new version of the Angel City map.

“This is something that we will get better at and the studio remains committed to supporting Titanfall 2 with free content as well as new Prime Titans, store items, and more,” Respawn said.

The developer will make specific announcements about future Titanfall 2 DLC on March 23, while, at some point in April, the studio will talk about what fans can expect “over the next few months.”

There are ongoing Titanfall projects outside of Respawn, including games that are in the works at Nexon, one of which is a free-to-play version of Titanfall for Korea. Nexon’s first Titanfall game, the free-to-play mobile title Titanfall: Frontlines, was canceled before it even left beta. More mobile games set in the Titanfall universe are in the works at Nexon and they will be announced “in the near future.”

Outside of the Titanfall franchise, Respawn is working on a third-person Star Wars action game that’s being directed by God of War veteran Stig Asmussen.

“That project is still wrapped in secrecy and we won’t be talking about it for a while,” Respawn said.

Finally, Respawn announced that it is launching efforts to communicate better with the community through efforts like a video series and blog posts from developers.

“Our goal is to start providing regular content that gives more insight into the people and work they do at Respawn and give a more satisfying feedback loop to players so that their voices feel heard,” Respawn said.

What would you like to see from Titanfall 2 and Respawn in general in the future? Let us know in the comments below!

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Civilization 6 Now Has A Free Demo

Whether you’ve been hesitant to pick it up or have never tried a game in the series before, Civilization VI now has a demo to give everyone a taste of what it has in store.

The newly released demo is out now on Steam and allows you to play as China with Qin Shi Huang as its leader. Given how long a full match can last, you’re only getting a fraction of the full experience–you’re limited to playing the first 60 turns. Once you’re through, you can either start over again for another 60 turns or purchase the full game.

Civilization 6 Now Has A Free Demo

Those that are new to Civilization can take part in the full game’s tutorial to make the experience less daunting. Additionally, Firaxis has published a new list of beginner’s tips that may prove handy.

Coinciding with the demo’s release, Civilization VI will be part of a broader 2K sale on Steam going live soon. You’ll be able to pick up the base game for $48, down from the usual $60.

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This Nearly Finished Game Is Taking A Different Approach To Kickstarter

Whereas a lot of game developer turns to Kickstarter to help their projects become a reality, Borealys Games is hoping that crowdfunding can help its game reach the finish line in better shape than it otherwise would.

Borealys is at work on Mages of Mystralia, which I recently got to play at PAX East and walked away very impressed with. Think of it as a Zelda-style game in which the core mechanic is a spell-crafting system with a huge range of possibilities. (You can see some of the wild spells you can create in the video above.) It also boasts a story from Ed Greenwood, who created the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms world, and a soundtrack by Shota Nakama, who worked on Final Fantasy XV‘s score.

Mystralia is nearing its completion and is due out the second quarter (which runs from April through June). Today, Borealys launched a Kickstarter campaign for a fairly modest amount: $25,000 CAD, or $18,787 in the US. One of its goals is to facilitate a beta that will be used to improve the game and iron out any lingering issues. As business manager Dan Adelman told GameSpot at PAX East, the type of game-breaking spells Borealys wants to stomp out are those that prevent the game from being played, not those that allow you to one-hit kill a boss.

“If someone can come up with a spell that can do that–like, they think it through and they figured out how to do that, then more power to them,” Adelman explained. “But that’s why we’re doing a lot of beta testing. Since there are potentially millions of spells you can make, we want to see if there is something that’s really game-breaking. Being able to one-shot kill a boss isn’t really game-breaking if they thought it through. That’s kind of the game: can I outsmart the game? But if by doing a spell, you can bypass an entire area [where] you needed this thing and you didn’t realize that, that wouldn’t be fun.”

The Kickstarter campaign will also feature stretch goals to add new features to the game, though the first of these won’t be revealed until tomorrow, March 17. The studio said it has new game modes it intends to implement post-launch but that the Kickstarter could help to get them released more quickly.

“Recently, there have been several Kickstarter campaigns that have raised an amount of funding to prove that the concept is viable, but then seek publisher or outside investor support for what they really need,” Borealys explained in the Kickstarter. “We are taking the opposite approach. We built our proof-of-concept, got investment, and made our game. It is fully playable beginning to end, and many would consider it complete.

“But as we’ve observed our playtesters and gotten feedback, we’ve generated a ton of ideas that would not take too long to implement but have the power to take this game to the next level. Adding all of those little tweaks and extra polish will only add a couple months to our schedule, so for a relatively modest sum, we can have a huge impact.”

Borealys isn’t the first developer to take this approach with Kickstarter–Subset Games did something similar with FTL toward the end of its development.

The low-end for Kickstarter tiers comes in at about $19, which gets you beta access and a copy of the game for PC, PS4, or Xbox One. However, the beta–which launches immediately after the campaign wraps up–will be PC-only.

After launching earlier today, the Kickstarter has raised just over $4,000 USD of its goal as of this writing. It runs for the next month, ending on April 15.

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Xbox Adds New Speech-To-Text Feature, But Only For One Game

A new “pilot feature” is now available on Xbox One and Windows 10, but only for one game. Halo Wars 2 on both platforms has added a feature called Game Chat Transcription. As its name suggests, this is a speech-to-text service that also supports text-to-speech. Microsoft says in a blog post that it is a “way to communicate that creates a more accessible and inclusive gaming experience for everyone.”

Xbox Adds New Speech-To-Text Feature, But Only For One Game

Using the feature, you can covert voice communications in the game chat into text, with this text popping up on screen in real time. You can also have your written out text spoken aloud to other players in a match.

Game Chat Transcription is only available in Halo Wars 2 right now, though Microsoft says it wants to bring it to more games down the road.

If you’ve played a game on Xbox Live with voice chat enabled, you’re well aware of how gross and unsavory some people can be. We can only imagine what some of those comments may sound like coming through Microsoft’s new text-to-speech feature. Microsoft notes that there are multiple voice options.

Here are instructions for how to turn on the Game Chat Transcription feature, as written by Microsoft:

  1. Go to Settings > All settings > Ease of Access > Game Chat Transcription.
  2. To transcribe other players’ voices into text, select Speech-to-text.
  3. To have your chat text read aloud to other players, select Text-to-speech.
  4. To choose the voice that other players will hear when your chat text is read aloud, select one of the available voices in the Text-to-speech voice menu.

For more on Halo Wars 2, which is available as an Xbox Play Anywhere title for Xbox One and PC, read GameSpot’s review here.

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The LawBreakers Closed Beta Starts Today, Here's How To Sign Up

Following an alpha test last year, a closed beta for Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski’s new PC shooter, LawBreakers, will begin today.

A tweet from Bleszinski today confirms the timing. It begins today, March 16, at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET and ends on March 19, at 9 PM PT / 12 AM ET.

Be there.

— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) March 16, 2017

It’s a closed beta, so you’ll need a code to get in. Everyone who participated in the alpha is automatically in the closed beta, while those who signed up for the alpha but didn’t get in will have a “much higher chance” of getting into the beta, developer Boss Key said in a post on its website.

Newcomers can register for the closed beta here on the LawBreakers website. If you get in, you’ll be notified via email. If you don’t get in, your registration will keep you in the running for a future closed beta. Additionally, an open beta is planned, so everyone will get to try the game…eventually.

There is no non-disclosure agreement on the closed beta, so participants can talk about the content and show it off as much as they want.

You can read this detailed FAQ to learn more about the LawBreakers closed beta.

For more on the game, which is confirmed only for PC (but console editions are possible), check out GameSpot’s interview with Bleszinski below.

Cliff Bleszinski Talks Making Medics And Inception-Style Hallways In LawBreakers

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Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 Trailer Teases The Mysterious Story And Shows Brutal Kills

A new cinematic trailer for Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 has arrived. Titled “Brothers,” the video shows off the relationship between brothers Jon and Robert North–they have seen better days. You can watch the trailer in the video embed above.

Jon and Robert enlisted in the military service, with Jon becoming a Marine and Robert a US Navy soldier. And there’s a lot more to the story, leading up to Robert’s capture. Here is the game’s official synopsis:

“While Jon has been shaped into a resolutely “follow the book” type of Marine, Robert quickly rose through the ranks of the US Navy–despite sometimes using unorthodox methods–and became more rebellious and skeptical of authority along the way. Robert deeply loves his older brother, but also believes that an old-school way of thinking in warfare will inevitably leave Jon behind.

“The question that remains is who captured Jon’s brother, Robert, and did he want to be captured?”

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 Trailer Teases The Mysterious Story And Shows Brutal Kills

You play as Jon and the story involves finding Robert and unraveling the mystery of his capture. The new cinematic trailer also shows off some of the game’s brutal-looking headshots and melee combat.

Ghost Warrior 3 marks a major departure from the previous games, as it shifts to the style of an open-world game and features multiplayer. You can read more about all of the major changes in our interview with CI Games’ CEO Marek Tyminski, or take a look at the game in action with some beta gameplay.

The game, after multiple delays, is now scheduled to launch worldwide for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 25.

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