Nintendo Getting Back In The Fitness Game With Ring Fit Adventure

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Rating: Everyone 10+
Platform: Switch

Nintendo has officially revealed Ring Fit Adventure, an all-new fitness game that includes a resistance ring and leg strap for your Joy-Cons. The announce trailer highlights several modes, which include full-fledged adventures, activity-based minigames, and more traditional forms of exercise.

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The Ring-Con peripheral offers adjustable levels of resistance to give players of various strength levels a challenge. Using the Ring-Con in conjunction with the leg strap, players can engage in 40 different activities, arranged in four different categories: arms, core, legs, and yoga-inspired moves.

Ring Fit Adventure is coming to the Nintendo Switch on October 18. 


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Dashing Through The Third Dungeon In Link’s Awakening On Switch

Publisher: Nintendo
Rating: Everyone
Platform: Switch

At PAX West 2019, I played through the third dungeon in Link’s Awakening on Switch, the Key Cavern. While it’s been nearly two decades since I last played the title on the Gameboy, it was surprisingly easy to get right back in the groove. From my opening moments using a pot to smash open the door in the first room to collecting keys, the compass, and the map, adherence to classic Zelda designs within the scope of a new and cutesy aesthetic conjures up the old magic all over again.

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Slaying skeletons, bats, and other creatures leads me to a room with a mini-boss – two giant snakelike creatures that are immune to swordplay. Somehow, my brain remembered how to deal with these hungry chompers – feeding them bombs until they blow up! These snake creatures eat anything in front of them, including well-timed explosive drops. Besting them, I unlock a convenient warp point that shoots me back to the dungeon entrance, perfect for more efficient exploring.

Eventually, I pick up the dungeon’s signature item, the Dash/Pegasus boots that allow me to charge. These boots are instrumental, letting me kill enemies that warp out of the way under normal circumstances and letting me “boost jump” with my feather, clearing massive distances and facilitating passage over big gaps. My dungeon exploration continues, taking me into a side-scrolling segment that features a Thwomp and a Piranha Plant. Using the dash boots, I collect the necessary keys to make my way to the boss room, an seemingly empty chamber with a large shadow looming overhead.

Using the Pegasus boots, I smash into the wall, bringing the dungeon boss down from the ceiling. Known as Slime Eye, some quick slashes allow you to pull the two big chunks of this boss apart – perfect for opening up a running charge through its weak point, cleaving it in half and creating two dangerous but vulnerable medium-sized slimes. Avoiding their jump attacks, I make short work of the boss and claim my instrument prize in the final room.

Link’s Awakening releases on the Switch September 20, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the age old journey through one of the franchise’s best games all over again.


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Luigi’s Mansion 3 Preview – Tromping Through The Weeds

Release: October 31, 2019


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Take A 14-Minute “Deep Dive” Into Cyberpunk 2077

Publisher: CD Projekt Red

Developer: CD Projekt Red

Release: April 16, 2… 繼續閱讀

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Check Out Seven Minutes Of Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince In Action

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Publisher: Modus
Developer: Frozenbyte
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Amadeus the Wizard, Zoya the Thief, and Pontius the Knight are back in another adventure, and are this time tasked to track down an annoying prince. Launching on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on October 8, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is a 2.5D action game that can be played cooperatively by four players either locally or online. 

New footage released today by Frozenbyte and Modus Games at PAX Prime shows off some of the cooperative techniques used for puzzle solving and environment navigation. You’ll also see a little of combat, and the video concludes with a cutscene that shows what happens when the trio reach the prince.

If you haven’t played through any of the Trine games yet, Modus is also releasing a collection of all four games on October 8 called the Trine: Ultimate Collection.


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Heads (And Other Body Parts) Fly In The Surge 2’s New Combat Trailer

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Publisher: Focus Home Interactive

Developer: D… 繼續閱讀

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Returning To A New World

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Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios
Release: 2020
Platform: PlayStation 4

Sega and Yakuza series developer Ryu Ga Gotoku Games have announced Yakuza 7 – a new mainline Yakuza title set for a release in 2020 here in the States on PlayStation 4.

According to Gematsu, who has a translation of the game’s debut in Japan, the game is subtitled Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon here in the West, and in its home-country goes by the name Yakuza: Whereabouts of Light and Darkness.

The series is known for its ferocious street fighting, but Yakuza 7 mixes things up by layering on a “live command RPG battle” system where players select techniques with effects such as attack, recovery, support, etc. How this plays out for gamers moment-to-moment and how it combines with Yakuza’s traditional gameplay will be an interesting challenge for the title.

The game introduces a new protagonist: Ichiban Kasuga – a member of the Arakawa family of the Tojo Clan who has just been released from jail after serving an 18-year sentence. Kasuga was taking the fall for a crime actually committed by a yakuza higher-up in the organization.

Instead of being greeted by a grateful boss, however, he’s literally left for dead in Yokohama – a city that’s apparently three times the size of Kamurocho in previous titles.

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[Source: Gematsu, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio]


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Exploring The Terrifying Future Of Militarized Drones

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

When Ubisoft debuted Ghost Recon Breakpoint, a fair number of series purists groaned when they saw footage of the Ghosts fighting off legions of killer drones. But if you’ve been paying attention to the cutting edge of the military-industrial complex, that future is already here. 

When brainstorming ways to up the difficulty in Breakpoint and present new cooperative challenges to players, Ubisoft spoke with Matthieu Bonnery, a former operations officer in the French Ministère de la Défense. He told them to take a meeting with Milrem Robotics, a military contractor that’s been making drones since 2013. If you’re unfamiliar with the company, here’s what they’ve been up to recently. 

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Using this technology as inspiration, Ubisoft felt good about making drones a centerpiece of the adversarial experience in Breakpoint. Drones are the ultimate soldier. They are highly resistant to the environment and can operate on any terrain. They don’t need much downtime, and armed with machine learning, they can adapt to the threats they face. Their modular design means they can be equipped to handle a variety of tasks, and one militarized drone can carry more weapons and ammo than any fleshy super soldier you can name. If a drone is destroyed on the field of battle, you don’t need to send a letter to a grieving family. And perhaps most importantly for the power-hungry, morally questionable leaders in the world, a drone won’t second guess its orders. 

To create some variety, Ubisoft designed more than 20 drones for the world of Breakpoint, each of which has different strengths, weaknesses, and operational objectives. 

The flying drones are a problem no matter where you are. These militarized sentries are used to keep the wilderness and base camps under supervision. They often move in swarms like bees, and their unpredictable flight patterns make them a tricky target. 

The toughest part about fighting the flying drones is they are smart enough to try and preserve line of sight, repositioning when you try to take cover. They also don’t give up pursuit easily. Even if you hop in a vehicle and high tail it out of a fire zone, they will give chase. Either you kill them or you die. 

The ground drones may not have the agility of their aviation-based brethren, but they pack a serious punch. Many of the ground-based drones have multiple mounted guns, which allows them to target multiple players at once. Each of the ground drones carries different weapons, but all are well armored. You need to shoot off protective plates to reveal the glowing heart of these steel beasts. Each also has a glowing eye. If you deal enough damage there you can momentarily stun the drone, opening up a brief window to line up critical shots with heavy payloads like grenade launchers and rocket launchers.

The most dangerous drones of all are the hulking Behemoths, which provide one of the toughest challenges in Breakpoint. At launch, 21 of these monsters will be patrolling secured regions of Auroa, and they require strategy and precision to take down. Ubisoft wants them to feel like a mythological beast that should be feared, and the multiple Gatling guns and burst rocket launchers do a good job of commanding respect. Their rockets can shoot at up to four players at the same time, and when you drain their health enough they start indiscriminately unleashing mortar salvos. 

Ghost Recon Breakpoint releases October 4 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. You can get your hands on the game in advance during the beta that kicks off September 5. To learn more about the game, read our previous coverage: 


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See The Awesome, Extended E3 Gameplay Demo Of Dying Light 2

Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: Techland

Release: 2020


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The Impressive New Tech Behind Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward is showcasing impressive tech through a new engine that is able to deliver photorealistic character models and gorgeous scenery within gameplay. The engine has been slowly making itself apparent through Infinity Ward’s recent games like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.

In fact, seeing the early parts of this engine through those games was one of the main motivating factors for current studio art director Joel Emslie’s return to the studio. “I looked at Remastered and I looked at Infinite Warfare and I was like, ‘Man, the production value of this game,” he says. “There’s so much potential and this new engine was five years in development. Parts of that engine were alive and well in Infinite Warfare, and you could see it.”

We spoke with Michal Drobot, principal rendering engineer at Infinity Ward Poland, about the tech his team created for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Game Informer: We understand the Call of Duty series’ engine is always evolving. Can you explain what’s different here? Are things being rebuilt from scratch or is this just a big leap?

Michal Drobot: We need to go back in time, before our previous release. At that time, the Infinity Ward team realized that the engine, in its form, could not really scale further as is. New features, or systems, were resulting in cumbersome bolt-ons, and not always playing very well with the rest of the existing tech. It is not even about so called tech debt (where a development team consciously decides to sacrifice robustness in favor of performance or bug fixes under time pressure), but rather some fundamental design decisions, that served their purpose well.

I was brought on board, along with many great engineers, with a task of taking care of long-term Infinity Ward engine rendering architecture – to make sure it will be able to scale and excel in the future. It became clear quite quickly that we needed to scrap or fundamentally rewrite pretty much everything rendering related and as you can imagine, this is not something you can do quickly, while shipping a game of this franchise’s scale. Certain parts of the engine went through a full rewrite for Infinite Warfare – such as the lighting engine, while others were retrofitted to somewhat still work with new pieces. That was the moment when you could see the big leap in quality, but we had so much more to do.

The initial plan was to hit infliction point at the 5-year mark, exactly for the launch of Modern Warfare. After Infinite Warfare, we focused on re-architecture of all the other systems, essentially rewriting them from scratch, while letting the production team prototype and rely on the foundation built for our last shipped title. Then we reached critical mass, when technology could finally evolve fast. It is fantastic when you see it. You wait for years, meticulously recreating some basic things in the engine, and then suddenly at a specific point, it all starts to work together, and you jump years ahead of what you could have achieved before. It is truly a revolutionary moment for the whole team. And Modern Warfare is the first fruit of that revolution.

What’s the oldest bit of code you’ve noticed in Call of Duty’s engine prior to this game? 

It is more of an anecdote, but for many years we had this one rendering system responsible for setting some low-level data variables for draw calls (singular rendering subroutines). It was extremely efficient, but somewhat risky to extend and very rigid. It actually had a comment in code, that read something like “Please rewrite this right after ship.” I believe it stayed in code for way more than a single project, until finally for Modern Warfare we had to man up and rewrite it for real. Basically, the amount of data we are pumping right now into each draw call was significantly beyond that system’s capabilities. Now it is way more flexible and much faster due to working better with new engine architecture.

Will this tech also be used by all other Call of Duty studios moving into the future?

We are currently 100% focused on Modern Warfare, therefore it is a bit too soon to talk about what comes next.

It seems odd to reinvent so much of Call of Duty’s tech right before the next generation of hardware, are you confident this technology will be future-proof?

Our technology horizon is quite far ahead and ever adjusting to whatever comes next. The whole point was to rely on highly scalable technology, where algorithms, hardware insight and quality engineering comes first, as opposed to being overly reliant on specific platform features. Obviously during the optimization phase for any shipping title, we do highly focused optimizations to make sure we are taking the best approach for specific hardware, but that is the final polish pass, not the foundation. With this approach, we are very confident in our engine’s ability to adapt to any future hardware.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Can you talk about the biggest challenges in shaking up Call of Duty’s tech? How difficult is it to reinvent the technology when the series never stops moving and you have a concrete ship date in mind?

I think you hit the nail on the head here. Reinventing the technology that drives Call of Duty, while making a new Call of Duty game, is the biggest challenge. It requires excellent planning, trust between departments as well as a group of extremely talented people who are not afraid to change the course when they see an obstacle ahead. I think this process of balancing out tech development and production is the biggest challenge. From my experience, I’ve seen it go sideways so many times before in my career. “You guys go out there and make a new engine. Come back in a few years and let’s ship a game.” When you hear this, you know there will be a year of excitement, followed by a year of tears, and maybe even canceled projects. Technology can’t evolve in isolation, without constant iteration cycles with production teams. Also, it can’t be fully driven by production, because then it will end up rigid, tightly fitted to the one and only title it is supposed to ship, sometimes being not flexible enough to even elevate the project to its potential heights right before the finish line. Striking a balance here is a tough act, that requires everyone to be on board – and I truly believe we hit that mark for Modern Warfare.

Did you worry about shaking things up too much and slowing down development?

There is always a risk of slowdown due to the initial cost of progress. Therefore, it was crucial to make sure that all planning for the project content development was well understood ahead and matched different pushes on engineering. To give you an example, we would do the riskiest changes affecting art production when the project was mostly in pre-production, thus the number of affected artists was minimal. This would go hand-in-hand with Tech Art research and development to make sure all effort put into the engine will translate into better visuals and efficiency once the main production team hits the floor running. At the end of the day, what is important is the throughput of the team throughout the production years, and that was always the main focus for us.

Can you give examples of the communications you regularly have with the development team in California?

I think it would be unfair to distinguish communications as something happening “between teams.” We operate as one big team, we are just spread out in terms of physical location. Obviously, there is an additional hurdle of operating in multiple time zones, but this actually works to our advantage, as the engineering team can provide almost 24/7 coverage and support. Furthermore, we have a lot of people flying back and forth between all our locations, which definitely helps in team building and guarantees everyone feels like part of the same big family.

What’s the single biggest difference players will notice about the new tech when they get their hands on the game?

I think the general bar for photorealism has been pushed really far. It is just that the scenes feel very much alive, and make a great impression as a whole picture. This drastic improvement is therefore mostly driven by material and lighting systems, so I would bet that those would get the first spotlight.

What does the new tech mean for A.I. in the game?

This is more of a question for A.I. team. However, on the pure rendering side of things, we have some very significant improvements to how A.I. actors perceive lighting in game. In short, A.I. can “see” light and shadows exactly the same way as players do. This leads to significantly more reactive A.I. as well as more emergent behaviors when dealing with light and shade situations, where visibility would play a significant role in gameplay experience. You can clearly see this when using NVG (night-vision goggles) or fighting against NVG-equipped A.I.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25.

To learn even more about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, click on the banner below and check out our month of coverage.


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