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    Microsoft Is Releasing An Official Mandalorian Controller

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Releasing on December 31, the Mandalorian wireless Xbox One controller is coupled with a charging stand and retails for $160. It's not made of beskar steel, but it looks like it is, and carries many of the signature armor designs of the famed bounty hunter. If you flip the controller over, you'll see an image of "The Child," who is wanted and on the run with the Mandalorian. Most people call him Baby Yoda, but Lucasfilm has gone with "The Child" as his official title until his name is officially revealed.

    Given the timing of release in December, it's a shame this controller doesn't have the share button or the new directional pad of the Xbox Series X/S, but it is compatible with these systems. Along with the unique artistic design, this controller has textured grips and charges through a magnetic contact system.

    Interestingly, if you run out of battery during play, you can connect the controller to the stand, and, as Microsoft puts it in the official description, engage in "one-handed play while you charge." We don't know how this one-handed functionality is formatted, but the option is there if you need to use it.

    The controller and stand are priced much higher than we'd like to see (the standard wireless controller is $60 and the stand is $40). It's even higher priced than the previous Star Wars controller and stand bundle for Jedi: Fallen Order, which retailed for $140, but is now out of stock.

    The Mandalorian is hot right now, with the first episode of the second season hitting Disney+ this week, but we shouldn't have to pay so much more than the original asking prices just to be reminded of this show when we game. It's a cool collectible though. The gallery below gives you a good look at the controller, it's back, and the charging stand that comes with it.

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    Star Wars: Squadrons Is Adding Free 'The Mandalorian' Loot To Game

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

    mandolarian_squadrons_2.jpg

    The Mandalorian was a hit when season one dropped earlier this year on Disney+ and now that a new season is here, the team over at Motive is celebrating the hit show with exclusive themed content for Star Wars: Squadrons. Despite saying no additional gear would be dropping, the studio is adding The Mandalorian loot to Star Wars: Squadrons. Don't worry, there are no surprise loot box moves here, everything announced is completely earnable. 

    Kicking off on October 28, Star Wars: Squadrons players will be able to earn eight new (and completely free) cosmetic items to make those Starfighters even more badass thanks to The Mandalorian. New cockpit cosmetics are included in the new drop, one for each faction. This includes one new hologram, a new decal, dashboard flair, and a hanging flair; one set for both the New Republic and the Imperial fleet. 

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    The "Mysterious Creature" is also getting some love. According to Motive, "Paying homage to the iconic character, we’ve made sure to create this wonderful new dashboard decoration based on a “Mysterious Creature.” This figure can adorn any dashboard across the New Republic’s starfighters, meaning the fan-favorite Tuggtar bobblehead now has a rival! Both factions will receive one hologram, one decal, one dashboard flair, and one hanging flair, meaning eight new cosmetics in total for you to unlock."

    While Motive and EA previously mentioend that there would be no new post-launch content for Star Wars: Squadrons because they didn't want players to have to pay more than what the base game costs, it's nice to see free surprises like this pop out of nowhere. Given The Mandolorian's popularity, we're going to go out on a limb and assume fans of the show are going to be excited for the new drop. We are! 

    As for season 2 of The Mandalorian on Disney+, the new episodes arrive on October 30th! Are you excited for a new season of the hit show? What about the freebie drops for Star Wars: Squadrons? Sound off in the comment section below! 

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    Check Out Microsoft's Xbox Series X/S Walkthrough

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Today, Microsoft released a long-form video detailing the latest innovations that come with the Series X/S consoles. Harrison Hoffman, a principal program manager that worked on the next-gen Microsoft consoles, co-facilitated the Series X demo. Hoffman provided some insight on a variety of topics that ranged from new, dynamic backgrounds to the much-needed share button that was added to the Series X/S controller. 

    Click here to watch embedded media

    The Series X/S look to prioritize faster load times, higher framerates, and richer, evolving gameworlds. But in addition to these expectations, other features will bolster the overall experience. Players can link their consoles to the mobile Xbox app to download games on the fly but, more importantly, they can also connect their Xbox Series X wireless controller to their phones and play games remotely. This is called – you guessed it! – remote play. Additionally, some titles will have incredible framerate settings. Hoffman noted that Gears 5's multiplayer will be optimized for a whopping 120 fps!

    EA play will be joining Game Pass Ultimate on November 10 as well, so Xbox owners will have an even larger catalogue of titles to choose from on day one. Finally, Hoffman talked about the 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card that replicates the Series X/S custom SSD, meaning that it's just as fast as the consoles that it'll be plugged into. 


    The Xbox Series X/S launch on November 10. Make sure to check out our Xbox Series X preview for more details.

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    Check Out The Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Launch Trailer

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is scheduled to arrive on November 13, coming to Xbox One X, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. The game offers a single-player campaign that takes place after the original Black Ops title, a new zombies experience, and of course traditional multiplayer. The campaign offers multiple endings, scenarios with choices and consequences, and of course some of our old favorite characters like Mason, Woods, and Hudson. 

    Traditional multiplayer is loaded with vehicles for both transport and assault this time around, allowing players to cruise on the sea, drive around dunes, and even take to the sky. Check out some of our thoughts on multiplayer here and here. Warzone is also going to be infused by Cold War, but to what extent and how we have yet to truly see.

    Today, we have a new trailer for the game. What's in it? Ronald Reagan. Super spy Russell Adler. Lots of guns and explosions. Yep, that's a Call of Duty trailer alright. Check out the trailer below for a taste of the action that's getting closer every day.

    Click here to watch embedded media

     

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    Silent Hill's Ito Masahiro And Akira Yamaoka Collaborate On World of Tanks Halloween Event

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    World of Tanks has a special Halloween event beginning today that features work from Silent Hill art director and monster designer Masahiro Ito and composer Akira Yamaoka. While it's been a long, long time since we've seen anything out of the Silent Hill universe, perhaps this weird PVE event can give a taste of the strange and scary.

    Starting today on October 26 and running to November 9, players can group up in teams of five to take on the dangerous denizens of the mysterious town of Mirny-13. Bizarre events have transpired that make the town a terror to navigate, and perhaps intrepid groups can solve the riddles as they make their way through the haunted town.

    Players can unlock special crew members, styles, expereince and credits in the event that they can carry over to the core game even after the event ends. These include special skins designed my Masahiro Ito!

    We shipped off a few quick questions via email to Akira Yamaoka about his involvement in the project, which you can check out below. Check out the trailer for the event as well!

    GI: Have you ever played World of Tanks?

    AY: Of course. It must be a game I really like to work with.

    What's your favorite soundtrack that you've ever worked on?

    The soundtrack for Silent Hill was very well-received, and I was personally happy with the final product as well.

    What are your favorite composing techniques to build spooky/creepy and suspenseful feelings in your music?

    Making the listener feel uneasy and uncomfortable. You can break music conventions by staggering chords, or intentionally adding sounds that conflict with chords. There is a process to finding a tone which evokes physical disgust. There are many other methods.

    Click here to watch embedded media

     

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    Grounded Preview: Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Yard…

    GameInformer
    By GameInformer,

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    Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
    Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
    Release: July 28, 2020 (Xbox One, PC), November 10, 2020 (Xbox Series X/S)
    Rating: Teen
    Platform: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC

    Obsidian Entertainment has kept its promise so far of using feedback regarding Grounded to make the game a better experience. Since it hit Xbox Game Preview back in July, the team has added new areas to explore in the backyard, a new zipline travel, and a fearsome encounter against a (comparatively) massive crow. Its latest update is the biggest one yet, adding a koi pond and its fearsome fishy resident. Players who choose to explore the pond’s depths do so at their own peril, thanks to its patrolling koi and, unfortunately, the new diving-bell spider. 

    “The koi pond was designed in November of last year, so that’s how far in advance we were prepping this,” says game director Adam Brennecke. “We always knew we wanted a koi pond. We were designing and discussing what we could do with this area and make it cool. We made a big list of how many creatures could exist in this area, and one of them was the diving-bell spider.” That real-life creature has a remarkable habit of securing air bubbles so that it can breathe while hunting for prey underwater. “We were like, ‘Yep, that one’s on the list,’ just because we knew, even at that stage, how cool spiders were in the game and how scary they were, and we just wanted to expand on that.” 

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    The koi itself isn’t exactly something that glides around a beautiful suburban water feature. For one, the pond, like the rest of Grounded’s back-yard setting, has entered into a state of neglect. The water is murky and foul-looking, which makes it easy to get surprised by any number of water-based critters. “We’ve all seen those koi fish that are the big badasses in the pond, and they look so gnarly, like they’ve been there forever,” Brennecke says. “They’re all scraped up. That’s what we wanted to get across; this thing’s been here for a long time, and it basically owns this area. This is the koi’s turf. This creature owns this area, and you’re just a little speck in it.”

    The big fish isn't outright hostile to you, but it will become aggressive if you get too close or approach certain areas within the pond. There’s a good chance you’ll find one of those spots as you explore, along with several other points of interest. An underwater lab provides some tantalizing new narrative details, and your tiny character can find objects like toy dinosaurs and quarters in and around the pond.

    Brennecke says this is the biggest update that Grounded has received so far, but that the team isn’t about to stop thinking of ways to improve its survival game. Combat is getting some tuning, after early feedback indicated that element of the game was too static. “We took a step back and we looked at a lot of games with combat that we liked and analyzed them in depth, and one thing we found was we felt like we didn’t have enough creature attacks,” he says. “The spider, for example, had three attacks. What if we added three more variations? What would that do? That’s kind of what we’re doing right now with all of our creatures.”

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    The team is also looking at the concept of pets, and how they might fit into Grounded’s world. “We want to have the pet aphid, for example, where you can have that aphid and it follows you around and you can name it,” Brennecke says. “These are all just ideas right now on paper. I think that’s something where we really want to have that experience of having something that you can take care of. I think that’s the goal of that.”

    They’re not pets, per se, but Brennecke says his team is trying to find ways that players could interact with the game’s ants in more interesting ways. “I think that’s a really cool thing that we want to explore, of having ways of making ants be controlled by the player and you can have the ants do certain things. … I think once the player can interact with that layer of the A.I., I think there are going to be a lot of cool opportunities for us as game developers but I think the players will enjoy that, too.”

    Brennecke says his team has grown to add a couple of engineers to help with incorporating the Xbox Series X/S. Those new consoles are shrinking load times and also enhancing the overall framerate and gameplay responsiveness. Those hires aside, Brennecke says he wants to maintain the small size of his team. “Overall, the team is the same size and we’re going to continue to make cool stuff. We have tons of ideas, and we just hope we have enough time to get those features in and make them shine.” 

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