February 2023

James Gunn's new plan to unify DC universe includes labelling non-canon games as DC Elseworlds

1 year ago

Freshly-installed DC Studios co-chief James Gunn has laid out his plan for the future of DC Comics' movie, TV and video game adaptations, and a vision to unify much of the brand's forthcoming output into a single MCU-style continuity.

In a video statement posted to Twitter, Gunn laid out a series of films and TV series which will form the official DC Universe, or DCU, storyline and tie-in to one another. This includes a new Superman reboot without Henry Cavill, after the star was ditched by DC right after his departure from The Witcher.

Gunn also addressed the various DC projects which will still be made, but set outside the canon DCU timeline. These will be "clearly labelled" as such, and given the name "DC Elseworlds", a phrase that has previously applied to non-canon DC comic books.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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The Sims 4 infant update has a March due date

1 year ago

As part of its latest Behind the Sims presentation, EA announced The Sims 4's new infant update will be making its squishy arrival on 14th March.

When this update goes live, it will bring with it an entirely new life stage, and a host of new activities and interactions for players and their little bundles of joy. Yes, after a brief spell of babyhood (the developers obviously don't want to corrupt any pre-existing save files), we will have the infant stage. At last, babies won't spend their pre-toddler days being immobile objects bound to a bassinet.

Soon, other sims across the household will be able to pick their infants up, walk around with them, sit down with them, hand them over to other sims - you get the idea. In addition to this, the babies themselves will also have a new lease of life, with new infant-centric interactions and animations.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Resident Evil 4 Remake removes Ashley's health bar and adds knife durability

1 year ago

Capcom is making a number of changes to Resident Evil 4 Remake from the original, including a tweak to companion character Ashley Graham.

Previously, Ashley had her own health bar and could be carried off by enemies. Now, according to new details from Game Informer (via IGN), she will no longer have a health bar.

Instead, if she takes too much damage, Ashley will be in a "downed state" and will need to be revived; if hit in this state she will die.

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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Cyberpunk 2077 now has DLSS 3 support

1 year ago

A fresh update to Cyberpunk 2077 on PC has added support for DLSS 3, Nvidia's upscaling technology that allows for much-improved frame-rates.

A video released by Nvidia shows various sections of gameplay with ray-tracing effects enabled, and compares the same rig running Cyberpunk 2077 with DLSS 3 switched on and off. With DLSS 3 enabled, the game's frame-rates are more than doubled.

CD Projekt has continually worked to polish Cyberpunk 2077 since its launch over a year ago. This latest patch allows Nvidia's frame-generating technology to lend its own hand - if you have an Nvidia RTX 40-series GPU for it. You can see how it all looks below.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Naoki Yoshida "extremely disappointed" in Final Fantasy 14 mod use

1 year ago

Final Fantasy 14 director and producer Naoki Yoshida has once again hit back at the use of third-party mods in the game, which are strictly prohibited.

Yoshida's latest post on the Lodestone follows the success of a Japanese raid team who were the first to defeat The Omega Protocol (Ultimate), a new challenging boss added in the most recent patch update.

It has since transpired the raid group was using third-party mods, so their achievement has been stripped.

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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A few days with the Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection

1 year ago

The Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection is a lovely thing, I think, but a lovely thing that arrives in a fairly ugly situation. This new collection of Wonder Boy games comes out just half a year after the last one. That one had four games, and this one has six - although when you factor in the different platform versions included this time, you're actually getting 21. Anyway, confusing things more, I gather that the two new games that weren't on the previous digital version were included on an exclusive physical copy. I don't think there's an upgrade path if you bought the previous collection, either.

This is pretty poor treatment of the fan community for a series like this. It's also - and I appreciate that this is not all about me - personally annoying, because I have to kick this piece off with a bit of grimness, whereas I really want to just say how much I love these games and how good it is to have them all in one place. But it is grim, and I do also love them. What a situation.

The four games from the previous collection are Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World and Monster World 4, while the two new ones are Wonder Boy 3: Monster Lair and The Dragon's Trap. Details of its release aside, if you can put it aside, it's undeniably a nice package. Alongside the games themselves, you get those different versions, and you also get extras like galleries and image options. The collection's also got a bunch of maps for the levels, which I would have committed murder to get hold of when I was eleven. I would never want to get into Digital Foundry territory, but I've been playing the games quite a bit over the last few days and the emulation seems fine - they are just as I remember these games playing back in the day.

Author
Christian Donlan

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Microsoft delisting range of top Xbox 360 games from console's marketplace

1 year ago

There's now just 24 hours left to own a copy of several Xbox 360 classics, before they are removed from sale, likely forever, on 7th February.

Microsoft announced a list of around 40 titles soon to be removed from its Xbox 360 Marketplace, some of which are not available to purchase on later consoles, or do not have newer versions or remasters. This looks like it will include classic puzzler Spelunky, Martin's favourite Xbox Live Arcade game Daytona USA, Valve's excellent The Orange Box compilation, Jet Set Radio, Left 4 Dead and its sequel, plus DoubleFine tank combat title Iron Brigade.

If you already own these games, there's no need to fret. You'll still be able to play any existing purchase - and of course, this also applies if you had them on disc.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Five of The Best: Introductions

1 year ago

Five of the Best is a weekly series we recently resurrected for supporters because we wanted to do something nice for them. It's a series about highlighting incidental features in games. It's also a series about having your say, so don't be shy, use those comments below!

You can find our entire Five of the Best archive elsewhere on the site.

Where would a game be without a good introduction? Well, in the bargain bin, that's where! They are the pivotal first moments of a game as it attempts to throw a grappling hook into our imaginations, which, um, is a bit of a gruesome analogy. Squelch!

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Author
Robert Purchese

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EA cancels development of Apex Legends Mobile, Battlefield Mobile

1 year ago

EA has announced the cancellation of Apex Legends Mobile and Battlefield Mobile, as well as the closure of developer Industrial Toys, which was working on the latter game.

News of the cancellations arrived alongside EA's latest financial results, with the publisher saying it had opted to end development on Apex Legends Mobile - which launched last May - because the "ongoing experience was not going to meet the expectations of our players".

A separate statement by Apex Legends studio Respawn Entertainment shed a little more light on the concerns surrounding the game's development, saying, "We aim to provide players with games that are consistently outstanding. Following a strong start, the content pipeline for Apex Legends Mobile has begun to fall short of that bar for quality, quantity, and cadence."

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Author
Matt Wales

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Iron Galaxy's "brawler royale" Rumbleverse shutting down in February

1 year ago

Iron Galaxy Studios has announced its free-to-play "brawler royale" game Rumbleverse is shutting down on 28th February, a little over six months after launch.

Iron Galaxy first announced Rumbleverse toward the end of 2021, describing the 40-person, melee-focused battle royale game as "big, hilarious playground where spectacular things are always happening". It was initially due to launch last February, but ultimately didn't arrive until 18th August, after the studio chose to delay its release in order to "perfect the experience."

Now though, just six months later, Iron Galaxy and publisher Epic Games have announced the end of Rumbleverse, confirming servers go offline on 28th February at 4pm in the UK/10am CST. All players who spent money on or in Rumbleverse are eligible for a refund, with more details on the refund process set to be shared at a later date.

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Author
Matt Wales

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Star Wars Jedi: Survivor delayed to April

1 year ago

Developer Respawn Entertainment has announced a six week delay for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, confirming its highly anticipated action-adventure sequel will now launch on 28th April.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - the follow-up to 2019's well-recieved Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - was originally scheduled to launch on 17th March, but Respawn has now opted to postpone its release in order to "hit the [studio's] quality bar".

Announcing the news in a statement shared on Twitter, the developer wrote, "For the last three years, the Jedi team here at Respawn has poured its collective heart and soul into Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, and we are proud to say the next chapter in the tale of Cal Kestis is content complete. We are now focused entirely on the final stage: bug fixes to enhance performance, stability, polish, and most importantly, the player experience".

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Author
Matt Wales

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Here's a first look at Warzone 2's new Resurgence map Ashika Island

1 year ago

Ahead of its imminent arrival in Call of Duty: Warzone 2's second season, Activision has given a first proper look at Ashika Island, the free-to-play shooter's previously teased new map.

Activision formally unveiled Ashika Island in a series of posts on Twitter, explaining the new "small map" will play host to both DMZ matches and the returning Resurgence mode - which ups the pace by dropping the player count to 40-50 and enabling respawns.

The accompanying aerial view of Ashika Island highlights a number of key points of interest - labelled as Residential, Shipwreck, Tsuki Castle, Port Asika, Town Centre, Beach Club, and Ogaikku Farms - with four of the map's landmarks getting a more detailed reveal via the medium of screenshot and dubious haiku.

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Author
Matt Wales

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Street Fighter: Duel is a free-to-play RPG heading to mobile in February

1 year ago

Street Fighter's back in a big way this June with the launch of the legendary fighting series' sixth numbered instalment, but it turns Capcom has more fisticuffs in store: it's now now revealed Street Fighter: Duel, a "casual" free-to-play RPG heading to iOS and Android in February.

Street Fighter: Duel, a collaboration between Capcom and Crunchyroll Games, features an "original story" in which players take on Seth and the Shadaloo's army of mech clones using a three-strong team assembled from over 40 possible familiar faces.

There's representation from all across the series - the likes of Ryu, Akuma, Cammy, and Chun-Li are all confirmed as playable - and combat unfolds either in real-time or via optional auto-battling if players prefer. Expect new and returning stages as the adventure continues, with the whole thing presented in "beautifully animated" 2D.

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Author
Matt Wales

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Fortnite U-turns on time-limited weekly quests

1 year ago

Epic Games has reversed course on its decision to make Fortnite's weekly quests expire after seven days - a change introduced at the start of the popular battle royale's most recent season.

Prior to the start of Chapter 4 Season 1, weekly quests would release over the course of a Fortnite season and stick around until the end. It meant you could log on at any point and complete the challenges after they were released, without the FOMO-inducing need to finish them within a set timeframe.

Since the start of this season, however, weekly quests were changed to offer a more heavily-themed set of challenges which have just seven days to complete, including several with multiple quest steps (that Epic Games has, in a previous update, already made easier).

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Forspoken PC tested: a confusing, deeply disappointing port

1 year ago

Forspoken’s launch on PlayStation 5 was rocky from a technical perspective, with uneven visuals and inconsistent performance, so I wondered whether the PC version could be the panacea to all of the woes John touched on in his DF tech review. We’ll get into the gory details shortly, but the good news is that the PC version does play better than the PS5 version - at least on high-end hardware. However, there are also some serious issues unique to the PC release that need to be addressed.

So here’s what you need to know, including how the PC version compares to the game on PS5, a look at how DirectStorage cuts loading times and optimised settings to boost performance.

On first boot though, Forspoken on PC provides a positive first impression. There is a comprehensive settings menu with options for selecting image reconstruction techniques, dynamic resolution, ray-traced ambient occlusion (RTAO) and even an in-game benchmark. But while it’s great that these options are there, these PC niceties fall down in their execution.

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Author
Alex Battaglia

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The Crew Motorfest takes Ubisoft's open-world racer to Hawaii this year

1 year ago

Ubisoft has announced The Crew Motorfest, a "new era" for its open-world racing series that'll whisk players off to Hawaii when it launches for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC later this year.

Specifics on the new live-service game are fairly limited right now, but The Crew Motorfest, as its name very much suggests, is themed around a "one-of-a-kind" motoring festival (presumably even more one-of-a-kind if you pretend Forza Horizon doesn't exist) featuring "tailor-made races, themed events, and other unique challenges".

All this unfolds on the island of O'ahu, described as the "perfect playground for players to have fun together in with their vehicles". The entire island will be open to explore - giving players access to the likes of volcano slopes, steep mountain roads, rainforest, and sunny beaches - with The Crew Motorfest promising "hundreds of the most legendary vehicles".

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Author
Matt Wales

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Nearly 100 staff axed from Halo developer, report claims

1 year ago

Microsoft has cut "at least 95 people" from Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries, according to a new report that sheds fresh light on this month's layoffs.

The list of those now left without a job includes "dozens of veterans including top directors and contractors, upon which the studio heavily relies", Bloomberg has claimed.

Temporary staff members were also affected, with their contracts reportedly terminated with "just a few days" of warning.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Original GoldenEye 007 developers weigh in on new remasters

1 year ago

Members of the original development team behind the legendary GoldenEye 007 for N64 have shared their thoughts on the recent re-releases of the game for Nintendo Switch and Xbox.

Responding to a tweet by Rare, the game's original developer, game designer David Doak questioned where the love was for "the team who actually made it".

"Obviously marvellous to see GoldenEye 007 re-released and I hope people have a lot of fun with it!" Doak continued. "But yeh, bit shabby all round that we weren't invited."

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Konami PVP mystery game Crimesight will shut down after just one year

1 year ago

Konami is calling time on Crimesight, its anime-inspired PC social deduction game that launched last April, blaming "various circumstances".

Servers will go dark forever on 1st May 2023, only 12 months on from launch. In-game items have already been removed from sale, while the game itself will be delisted on 27th February.

As Crimesight is an online game, this really is the end. "Online battles will not be available after the service ends," Konami noted. "Also, the game itself won't be able to play," it helpfully added.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Mycologist seeks to calm fungal worries from The Last of Us TV show

1 year ago

Top mycologist Paul Stamets (namesake of Star Trek: Discovery's top scientist who also studies fungi) has sought to reassure viewers that while fungi clearly make for good viewing, they are not the enemy.

In a recent Twitter thread, the mycologist praised HBO's The Last of Us adaptation and applauded the show for "seeing this opportunity to take us on a literary adventure into the realm of sci-fi while exploiting the public's fascination, fear, and joy of fungi".

He went on to note that though "these mixed emotions make for great writing... the sets, although apocalyptic, are strangely beautiful as nature digests the cities with flora and mycelium".

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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40 staff stage strike at Ubisoft Paris development studio

1 year ago

A group of around 40 Ubisoft staff downed tools to strike last Friday, following calls by unions for workers to take action.

Staff held a meeting in the cafeteria at Ubisoft's Paris-based development studio, where the company builds games in the Ghost Recon and Just Dance series, Axios reported.

According to a worker who was present, the discussion included talk on the current troubled state of Ubisoft, the pressures of crunch and plans for future strike action.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Activision exec thinks Sony's Last of Us TV success means Microsoft buyout should be fine

1 year ago

HBO's The Last of Us TV adaptation has been met with scores of praise from fans and critics alike since its debut earlier this month. Its most recent episode has been lauded as a particular highlight not just for the series, but for TV in general.

And its success, according to one Activision Blizzard executive, is surely all the proof the FTC needs to give Microsoft's buyout of the company the all clear. After all, Sony is clearly doing ok.

In a fairly lengthy Twitter thread, Activision Blizzard's chief communications officer Lulu Cheng Meservey moved to alert the FTC to the most recent episode of The Last of Us, calling the show a "true blockbuster".

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Sony reportedly halves PlayStation VR2 shipment forecast due to disappointing pre-orders

1 year ago

UPDATE 1/2/23: Sony has issued a statement on yesterday's report by Bloomberg that it had internally decided to cut its PlayStation VR2 shipment forecast due to lower than expected pre-order sales.

In a comment passed to Eurogamer, Sony said it had not cut PSVR2 production numbers.

"We have not cut PlayStation VR2 production numbers, and we are seeing enthusiasm from PlayStation fans for the upcoming launch, which includes more than 30 titles such as Gran Turismo 7, Horizon Call of the Mountain, and Resident Evil Village," a Sony spokesperson said.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Coral Island's Spring Update to include bathing suits and a tree planting festival

1 year ago

A new dev update for farming sim Coral Island details its Spring Update, due in March 2023.

New features include bathing suits, the tree planting festival, a new mining area, and - of course - the addition of beards to the character creator.

Coral Island was released in Early Access last October following a very successful Kickstarter - this update is the first round of new content since then.

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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I'm pretty sure Tchia is going to be a classic

1 year ago

A friend once said that the best way to have fun in an open-world game - the best way to see if an open-world game was likely to be fun in the first place - was to pick the first story marker and run in the absolute opposite direction as fast as possible.

Out of the cave in Skyrim? Head wherever the game isn't telling you to go. Boots down in Just Cause? Ignore that first invitation to chat with a resistance leader. Emerging from the ramp in Crackdown? Actually, Crackdown never really tells you what to do anyway. Point made.

I've followed this advice while playing a demo build of Tchia over the last few days. Here's the thing, though: I didn't follow it on purpose. Reader, I was compelled to. Tchia is an open-world game set in a sun-dappled archipelago inspired by New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific Ocean. You play as a child exploring and gadding about the islands, and I'm pretty sure there's a bit of narrative in the build I played - a quest that leads to another quest maybe, a cut-scene, a gradual introduction to the powers at my disposal.

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Author
Christian Donlan

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Dead Space fans translate mysterious New Game Plus message, which may hint at future locations

1 year ago

Dead Space may have only released a few days ago, but some intrepid players have already started working their way through the remake's New Game Plus mode.

This mode offers up a variety of features, such as new phantom variant necromorphs for players to test their will against, a new suit and a secret ending. Additionally, it also brings with it new logs that players can collect and learn more about the USG Ishimura from.

One of these logs, however, is described as being "indecipherable" by the game. And yet, someone has deciphered it, and now many in the Dead Space community think the text is talking about events from later Dead Space games and media.

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Author
Victoria Kennedy

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Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to skip E3 2023 - report

1 year ago

E3 2023 will not include a showfloor presence by Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft, a new report has claimed.

IGN states that all three of the industry's console makers will skip the event, putting a significant dampener on the show's long-awaited return.

E3's annual showcase, held in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center, has long been the video game industry's key marketing drumbeat. But recent years have seen major companies turn elsewhere due to reported disagreements with its owner, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), even before Covid stopped the show from running altogether.

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Author
Tom Phillips

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Final Fantasy 7 DLC coming to PowerWash Simulator

1 year ago

Final Fantasy 7 is the next game to receive DLC in PowerWash Simulator.

The Midgar Special Pack will include the Hardy-Daytona - Cloud's motorbike from the iconic city escape sequence - as well as Tifa's bar Seventh Heaven, and Guard Scorpion - the first boss encountered in the game.

There's currently no release date for this DLC, which has been announced by Square Enix Japan.

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Author
Ed Nightingale

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What's in a look: the comic appeal of Hi-Fi Rush

1 year ago

Have you noticed something about Hi-Fi Rush? Beyond it being a lot of colourful fun, that is. It's to do with the look of it, those lines and dots you see applied to environments around you. It's a bit like shading but oversized and deliberate, and layered on almost like a filter.

Hi-Fi Rush is not the first game to do it. XCOM: Chimera Squad did it a couple of years ago, and 3DS game Code Name: STEAM did it a few years before that. Superfuse, which comes out today (in early access), does it too. And if you cast the, um, web a little wider, you'll see it in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - and what a wonderful film that was.

But why - why are they all doing it? Well, the obvious answer is that they want to look like an old-fashioned comic strip. That's absolutely the case for Spider-Man and it's probably not far from the thinking behind the games too.

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Author
Robert Purchese

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Xbox Games with Gold February titles announced

1 year ago

Microsoft has named its two Xbox Games with Gold titles for February as roguelike RPG For the King and soccer beat 'em up Guts N Goals.

As usual, this latest duo will be offered for four weeks apiece over the next month, with For the King available to claim from 1st to 28th February, and Guts N Goals available from 16th February to 15th March.

The pair will replace January's current Games with Gold offerings: Iris Fall (available until tomorrow) and Autonauts (available until 15th February).

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Author
Tom Phillips

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