Codemasters has announced a February release date for Grid Legends

Codemasters and Electronic Arts have announced a February 25 release date for Grid Legends.

Annouced during EA Play Live back in July, the racer promises a large variety of game modes, including a deeper Career with over 250 events, a story mode entitled Driven to Glory, the return of Drift and Elimination, and the introduction of Electric Boost racing.

Drivers of all levels will be able to drive over 100 vehicles upon release, race on classic tracks and in cities, and connect with others via cross-platform multiplayer. Not only does it support cross-platform gameplay, but it also updates you when a friend comes online, and it allows you to start racing in three quick button presses thanks to the hop-in feature.

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Dragon Age 4 is definitely a “single-player focused experience”

Dragon Age 4 is definitely a “single-player focused experience”

It’s been three years since the announcement of Dragon Age 4 and we still haven’t had much more than rumours about BioWare’s next title – even details on what type of game it’ll be. While it was previously believed to have multiplayer or be live-service like Anthem, BioWare has finally confirmed what all fans wanted to hear – Dragon Age 4 will definitely be an entirely single-player game.

Much like BioWare, Dragon Age 4 has gone through a lot of changes in its lifespan. While it previously seemed to be a more online-focused game in the style of Anthem, in February this year it was reported that EA and BioWare had killed all form of multiplayer from the new Dragon Age and made it purely single-player again.

It’s now December 4, otherwise known as Dragon Age Day, and the team at BioWare has finally confirmed that Dragon Age 4 – or whatever it’ll be called – will indeed be a “single-player focused experience” and that they’re “still hard at work on building [it]”.

Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Winter Game Fest Demo Event kicks off on December 7

Microsoft will once again host its ID@Xbox Winter Game Fest Demo event as part of The Game Awards.

Starting December 7 and running through December 21, you’ll be able to play over 35 demos of upcoming unreleased games for Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One.

Much like the Steam Fest demos, some are early builds as the games have yet to be completed. This means there could be missing features and possibly some unfinished graphics, which means the demos aren’t necessarily indicative of the final product.

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Spookware is WarioWare With Skeletons, a Plot, and Movie Tropes

What do you get when you cross WarioWare with skeletons? Spookware, obviously.

But Spookware is more than just a WarioWare reskin. It’s a set of clever, film-themed micro games framed by a clever storytelling device of three skeleton bros who decide to leave their basement movie cave and go on an adventure in the world, solving problems and creating new ones as they go.

Developers Adam Pype, Viktor Kraus, and Tibau Van den Broeck didn’t start out trying to recreate themselves and their film-watching habits in the form of micro games. Instead, Spookware came from Pype’s participation in Game a Month, a challenge that (true to its name) asks developers to make one game per month over a set period. Pype and Kraus had worked together previously, and Kraus contributed sound for the first rendition of Spookware, while Van den Broeck joined in a bit later.

The early version of Spookware was just a small, rapidfire micro game set. But they were quickly approached by DreadXP to participate in one of its Dread X Collections, low-cost bundles of small, clever horror titles made in relatively short periods of time. DreadXP asked the trio to flesh out Spookware, and so of course they added skeletons.

Spookware opens with the skeleton trio — Lefti, Midi, and Righti — lounging on a couch and watching horror movies, which manifest to the player as a series of horror-themed micro games. There’s one where you saw off a limb, another where you assemble bones in the right places on a skeleton, one where you dig up a skull out of the ground, and another about defusing a bomb. There are others, too, that feature regular activities with a horror veneer, like chopping wood in a quiet forest or a ghoulish hand filing paperwork. Finish all the micro games for a card sorting boss battle game, and the skeleton brothers will complete their movie watching and venture out into the world. From there, the skeletons visit a school and later a cruise ship, meeting people and overcoming obstacles in the form of, yes, more micro games.

Spookware’s micro games are instantly striking, with over-the-top horror music and bold text making pun-filled quips about each successful game completion. My favorite game involves playing the bongos to accompany a skeleton on the saxophone, with the musical interlude concluding “Now that’s jazz!” upon success. They’re all goofy like that, using horror tropes to delight rather than to scare, and while there are definitely a lot of skeletons, there’s very little repetition in terms of tropes or micro game activities. Also, skeletons are extremely funny and cool, turns out.

We try to limit micro games to one or two actions, because people need to be able to understand it immediately.

Pype and Van den Boeck attribute their clever micro game stylings to their main inspiration for Spookware: film. They and Kraus may not have intended to base the skeleton trio on themselves and their regular movie nights together, but to an extent that’s what happened. Pype says that now, when the three get together for movie nights, they’re constantly thinking about ideas for new micro games based on the films they watch.

“Just in terms of coming up with a good idea for a micro game, I think at least I try to look at movies a lot and find small, memorable things,” Van den Boeck says. “For example, in the school you have to grab the paper boats — that’s a very famous scene from IT. I feel like that’s always a good way, you take horror movies or movies that fit into the chapter’s genre, and then think about memorable moments, and usually there’s very simple actions.

“We try to limit micro games to one or two actions, because people need to be able to understand it immediately. Then on that basis, we try to create something easy and quick. You don’t want micro games to be long — I think the longest one we have is 15 seconds, hard max for a micro game.”

While the three were obviously inspired by WarioWare, Pype says they wanted to use micro games in a new way: to carry a story. Like the micro games, the chapters and overarching stories themselves are inspired by film. For instance, the school chapter is based around Mean Girls and Clueless. An upcoming chapter set in the city is reminiscent of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. Every chapter features a different type of film, which then in turn gives each chapter different mechanics.

“Mostly at this point I'm trying to come up with new ways to do things with the buttons,” Pype says. “At the beginning, I was mostly coming from: 'What's a good horror hope?' and then there could be a micro game. But now it's more like: 'What's a kind of input or mechanic that we haven't done before? And then can we turn that into a whole joke or something?' Because after a while you don't want every micro game to just be spamming left and right.”

Aside from its micro games, what’s most striking about Spookware are its sound and art. Kraus tells me he takes inspiration from anime sound effects for the sound of Spookware, looking for “weird pitch wobble things going on” and aiming for something that’s less realistic and more cartoonish, but feels really satisfying.

As for the art, Pype has a rather unusual explanation for why Spookware looks so unique:

“It's very easy to make, like it's all public domain images,” he says. “And it's all projected onto low poly models basically, which is nice because a lot of the lighting information is already in the texture. Even if it doesn't make sense that the lighting in the texture comes from [one direction] but in the scene [the light comes from another direction], just because it looks all very much like HD kind of, you get a lot of like fidelity for free, which makes it like really quick to do stuff because we can really be very sloppy about it.

You don't want every micro game to just be spamming left and right.

“And we have a lot of post-processing on there. There's like a slight painterly filter going on and the thing wiggles a little bit, and there's rain and film grain and so much stuff happening. If you just look at the thing, you'd see the resolution is completely different and all over the place. Because the paint filter is on there and the color grading and everything, it does everything together, which makes it look super clean and polished.

“It's the best look you can get for the least effort,” he concludes with a laugh.

Spookware is an episodic game, so while the chapters is out for PC now, there are four episodes planned in total, and the team is working on episode two now. Pype says he hopes that Spookware inspires more developers to work with micro game sets in the future, something he doesn’t see all that often despite their seeming simplicity.

“I hope more people will try to do the Wario Ware thing, because Nintendo has the [monopoly] on it,” he says. “They shouldn't; there's no reason why all the people shouldn't be trying to make stuff like that.”

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

How Halo Infinite’s Equipment Reshapes Its Golden Triangle

Six long years after Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Infinite is ready to pick up the mantle of Xbox’s flagship franchise. This time, the man in green gets an open-world playground of his own, Zeta Halo. And with a new playground comes new tools to even the odds against the Banished.

What isn’t new is equipment that can be carried and deployed to change the momentum of any game. Equipment was first introduced in Halo 3, and is now a vital part of Halo’s ecosystem.

Why is equipment a big deal? Equipment disrupts Halo’s golden triangle of damage dealing: melee, grenades, and guns. The golden triangle lies at the heart of every Halo game, though the term grew in popularity after being mentioned in a Halo 3 documentary. And while Halo’s approach to health and movement is unique too, the golden triangle is what’s responsible for the skill-based combat that Halo is most known for. Halo Infinite even mentions it by name across hints dropped during multiplayer matches.

Through the last 14 years, equipment meddled with Halo’s golden triangle in both good and bad ways, and nothing Halo devs have introduced since has made such a long-lasting impression. Before we take a look at how Halo Infinite implements it, let's dive into the checkered evolution of equipment through Halo’s formative years to today, where it’s become a staple of gameplay in Halo Infinite.

Although equipment didn’t enter the picture until Halo 3, Halo: Combat Evolved brought a lot to the first-person shooter buffet back in 2001. Bungie’s history with the Marathon franchise shaped the golden triangle and kicked off the studio's obsession with mechanics that threw a wrench into that triangle over the years. Regenerating health, for example, drastically altered the mode of engagement by encouraging risky plays. Master Chief didn’t need to duck behind cover against plasma fire as he tore through Covenant ranks…unless you were playing on Legendary, of course.

Restricting players to carrying two weapons added a pinch of strategy to the mix, making power weapons like the Energy Sword and the Sniper Rifle even more meaningful. These weapons would temporarily sink their teeth into Halo’s golden triangle, forcing players to adapt to the change in rhythm. Bungie wasn’t afraid to experiment with its brainchild and this elevated firefights to the status of a dance to the death.

The second shuffle in Halo’s arsenal were powerups, temporary boosts on the field that could tilt the golden triangle in the wielder’s favor. Overshield beefed up your shields while Active Camo turned players near-invisible until they peppered a poor opponent with lead. Halo’s balance didn’t slip, however, as powerups could still be countered by skill or sheer determination.

Halo 2

Powerups would go on to become a mainstay in subsequent Halo titles, and the LAN party sleepovers were just getting started. But Halo 2 had other ideas when it came to polishing the golden triangle, and the big-budget sequel built on everything that made the original so compelling. Master Chief’s second adventure cranked up the heat with two big additions: Xbox Live multiplayer and dual-wielding.

Emptying a magazine into a Covenant Elite was one thing, but two magazines at once? Glorious. The uptick in versatility meant players could wield a plasma pistol and a Magnum at once, a combination lethal against both enemy shields and armor. This made for some spicy multiplayer encounters. Balance issues led to it becoming a short-lived addition to the franchise, though. Dual-wielding didn’t make it past Halo 3.

Halo 3

But the third iteration of Halo brought about the most radical disruption to the golden triangle yet: powerful single-use pieces of equipment that could be deployed at any time after they had been picked up. Both Covenant forces and Master Chief had access to tricks that gleefully complicated Halo’s refined melee-grenade-gun formula. Exhibit A: The protective bubble shield.

While the Deployable Cover and the Regenerator helped shore up defenses, other pieces of equipment let players go on the attack. The portable gravity lift and shield-depleting Power drain allowed Spartans to rewrite the rules of engagement. Battles could be won before the first shot, a change that sent the golden triangle spinning. Even vehicles like the Warthog weren’t safe from equipment like the Trip Mine.

But the additions divided fans and critics. Some believed Halo had completely lost sight of the golden triangle and was becoming the videogame equivalent of a buffet. Others argued the new equipment brought some welcome spectacle to the sport’s steadfast ruleset. Regardless of where you sat, Bungie knew it wasn’t perfect. The vision-blinding Flare, for example, was deemed unbalanced shortly after launch and met a quick end.

Halo 3: ODST

A year later, players could no longer wield one-time-use equipment in Halo 3: ODST, the spinoff that ditched Master Chief for a band of ODST marines. Players now had a limited health pool and a detective scan that tracked beacons across the game’s semi-open world. Finding a beacon put the player in the shoes of one of five squadmates, defining ODST’s non-linear narrative. Halo Infinite adopts this scan as well but seems to use it solely for useful collectibles.

Even if you couldn’t use equipment in the campaign, it still remained a national pastime of the Brutes, one of Halo’s many deadly foes. Equipment was fair game in multiplayer though as ODST borrowed its multiplayer chops from Halo 3. The golden triangle’s uneasy relationship with Halo 3’s equipment would only deepen with game studio Bungie’s last hurrah, Halo: Reach.

Halo Reach

Halo Reach attracted controversy once again through the introduction of reusable Armor Abilities. Instead of equipment, players could obtain armor abilities from enemies in Campaign missions. While many considered the addition of Sprint heresy, other abilities came under fire too. Multiplayer matches let Spartans pick loadouts with a Jet Pack or an Armor Lock, and the latter was even more notorious than Sprint.

Armor Lock turned players invulnerable at the cost of freezing to the spot. While it did take a moment to work, a Spartan could now make a mockery of power weapons and vehicles. When single-use pieces of equipment disrupted the golden triangle in Halo 3, it did so temporarily to inject unpredictability into firefights. But Halo Reach’s reusable Armor Abilities, despite being restrained by timers, disturbed the positive aspects of the golden triangle that Halo fans had come to respect. After Bungie’s exit, 343 Industries ended up stirring the equipment pot once more.

Halo 4

When 343 Industries took up the helm of Halo 4, fans were surprised they didn’t play it safe. Sprint was now available to every Spartan and Armor abilities returned for round 2. Fortunately, the more divisive abilities like Armor Lock were sent off into the sunset. Unfortunately, Armor Abilities weren’t the only things that made Halo’s golden triangle do a cartwheel this time around.

While abilities like Promethean Vision and Hardlight Shield didn’t break the system, armor mods and support upgrades pushed Halo dangerously close to its modern shooter rivals. Passive armor mods like quicker shield recharges could dictate the outcome of firefights. Faster reloads and stronger grenades were support upgrades that fractured Halo’s earlier emphasis on giving players an even footing. While Bungie’s implementation of equipment wasn’t perfect in Halo 3, it rewarded any skilled player. In Halo 4, players could level up and tinker with custom loadouts to drop in with more powerful gear.

Fans went from skeptical to downright frustrated by these changes, clamoring for a return to Halo’s skill-based combat. And 343 Industries listened. Halo 5 would do things differently. Very differently.

Halo 5

Lackluster campaign aside, Halo 5: Guardians doubled down on the golden triangle fans adored. Armor mods and support upgrades were gone for good. But that’s not to say that 343 Industries didn’t try putting its own spin on Halo once again. Equipment remained absent, and Spartan abilities changed form to now be available to all Spartans. Being able to clamber on edges and slide into firefights felt like a natural evolution of the franchise’s sci-fi heritage.

Halo 5 tried adding more options to Halo’s toolset, with mixed results. 343 wanted to make the triangle more of a square with the addition of another pillar: movement. In Halo 5, players could dash in any direction, letting them drop in and out of encounters. Unfortunately, this served as a “get out of jail” card against well-aimed grenades and rockets.

In addition to dashing, being able to aim down the sights of any weapon or use thrusters to stabilize a fall felt like an attempt to woo modern shooter fans. And at a time when Call of Duty and Titanfall both had their boots off the ground, it looked like 343 Industries wanted a slice of the action without sacrificing its fundamentals.

Abilities like a Ground Pound from above or sprinting into a Spartan Charge were departures from previous titles but didn’t significantly alter Halo’s refined golden triangle. Despite that, fans still heaved a collective sigh of relief when 343 went back to the drawing board for its next title, Halo Infinite.

Halo Infinite

Two decades after it first debuted, Halo remains a cultural juggernaut in the hotly contested FPS space. Halo 5: Guardians may have suffered some setbacks due to its mediocre campaign and lootbox-heavy Warzone mode but its Arena multiplayer remains great to this day. Halo Infinite captures the sense of wonder of Bungie’s earlier titles while catering to the ever-shifting landscape of shooting games.

While 343 Industries abandons some core elements of Halo 4 and 5, the move is ultimately a win for both veterans and newcomers. The golden triangle returns in all its glory, coupled with the homecoming of an old friend: Equipment. What changed, you ask? The objective did.

This time, 343 Industries wanted to put its spin on Halo without drifting away from its core pillars. The equipment that shows up in Halo Infinite is balanced and toned down compared to its predecessors. A potent feature that was once left unchecked is now integrated into the Halo experience.

Powerups can be picked up and deployed at will in Halo Infinite, just like equipment. Halo 5’s dash has been reduced to a piece of equipment with a limited number of uses. Clamber and slide have fortunately made it into Infinite intact. In addition to modified versions of favorites like the Drop Wall, Halo Infinite offers new tools that maintain Halo’s focus on tight gunplay. The Grappleshot and Repulsor fit right at home in the open-world sandbox.

They add a dimension of verticality that was missing from Halo without entirely taking Spartan boots off the ground. These tools encourage players to make use of their environment to gain an edge against rival Spartans. Grappling towards a flying vehicle or pushing a Spartan out of the map with the Repulsor are little wins earned by skill alone. Equipment changes the ebb and flow of firefights just as they did in Halo 3. But clever design coupled with limited uses means they fill a similar role as power weapons. 343 turns the classic melee-grenade-gun golden triangle… into a pyramid.

Halo Infinite’s campaign also features equipment upgrades, letting you shock Banished forces as you zip towards them with your Grappleshot for instance. Despite these additions, the golden triangle is alive and kicking, decades after the franchise found its stride. Master Chief’s brand-new tech promises even more ways to outwit the Banished and we can’t wait to step into his heavy boots once more.

Antony Terence writes about everything from video games to tech and fiction. Yes, that includes to-do lists. Find his work on Medium, Twitter, and Instagram.

BioShock 4 may be taking notes from Half-Life 3

BioShock 4 may be taking notes from Half-Life 3

A number of possible BioShock 4 details may have been leaked. If the rumours are accurate, we may now know the proposed time period, setting, and even the city name of the new BioShock – and some of these details might sound a little familiar to Half-Life 3 followers.

These rumours come from podcaster and game journalist Colin Moriarty on the latest episode of his Sacred Symbols PlayStation podcast. Reportedly the Cloud Chamber-developed BioShock 4 is targeting a 2022 release, is internally codenamed “Parkside” – which has been rumoured previously – and “the development team has incredible latitude to get it right”, according to Moriarty.

While all this is rumour until announced, sources at VGC and Eurogamer support Moriarty’s findings. The game will supposedly take place in the 1960s – the same time period as the original BioShock. It’s the setting, however, that Half-Life 3 devotees will raise their eyebrows at – as BioShock 4’s version of Rapture or Columbia may be an “Antarctic city called Borealis”.

The Matrix Awakens is an Unreal Engine 5 experience coming to PS5, according to leak

Some sort of tie-in between The Matrix Resurrections and Unreal Engine 5 is coming to PS5 and it’s called The Matrix Awakens.

This is according to reddit user the_andshrew who posted the information on the GamingLeaksAndRumours subreddit.

The image posted was apparently made available on the PSN backend. No details were included, only that it mentions PlayStation 5.

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Fortnite Chapter 3’s leaked trailer reveals Spider-Man and Gear of War collabs

Fortnite Chapter 3’s leaked trailer reveals Spider-Man and Gear of War collabs

Fortnite Chapter 3 launches in just a few days and now we have a good idea of what it’ll look like. A leaked Fortnite Chapter 3 Battle Pass trailer has hit the internet, revealing some major map changes, modes, skins – and at least two major crossovers for Marvel’s Spider-Man and Gears of War.

The whole of the year-long Fortnite Chapter 2 comes to a crashing conclusion tonight with a big ending event cunningly titled “The End”, after which Epic Games will presumably debut the first details and trailer for Chapter 3 – which launches on December 6.

Despite Epic asking the community not to leak any Chapter 3 info – and then proceeding to accidentally leak part of the trailer itself in a TikTok ad – the full Battle Pass trailer for Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 1 has completely leaked online ahead of The End event. The trailer reveals massive changes coming to the game, including a completely revised map, new locations, new skins, a racecourse, a giant statue of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character The Foundation, and at least two major collabs.

RELATED LINKS: Fortnite V-Bucks, Fortnite Skins, Fortnite Creative Codes

Halo Infinite players are getting Fiesta, SWAT, other multiplayer playlists before the end of the year

Halo Infinite players have plenty to look forward to when it comes to multiplayer.

According to 343 Industries community manager John Junyszek, there are additional multiplayer playlists in the works for the game including Slayer, SWAT, and Free-For-All.

“We’ve been reading your feedback, and we’re working on plans to add Fiesta, Tactical Slayer (SWAT), and Free-For-All playlists as we speak,” said Junyszek on Twitter. “They won’t land by December 8, but the team is pushing to get them in before the end of the year.

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Halo Infinite has an absurd desync problem which devs will “look into”

Halo Infinite has an absurd desync problem which devs will “look into”

Since the surprise early beta release of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer last month, it’s clearly been incredibly popular but hasn’t been without problems. Now, one player has managed to record a truly incredible case of desync which may be causing hit registration issues – and developer 343 Industries has now confirmed it will “look into” the problem.

Since the launch of Halo Infinite multiplayer on November 15, players have frequently reported odd hit detection issues – especially on PC – that have prevented them from getting kills or progressing normally. The issue certainly seems to be desynchronisation and server lag, but with the game’s full release coming in just a few days the situation doesn’t seem to have improved.

This week, Reddit user TonySoprano3000 recorded the best example yet of this desync issue, which is presumably the reason for all the hit registration problems. The video shows the player’s point of view – or client-side – on the left along with what is actually happening server-side on the right, so what other players see.

RELATED LINKS: Halo Infinite release date, Halo Infinite system requirements, Halo Infinite ranks