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Rumor: Microsoft Introducing New Achievement System To Xbox One

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 20:43

Microsoft is prepping a new achievement system called "Careers" to sit alongside the current system, according to a report by Windows Central.

The new system is to compensate for how achievements emphasize playing a wide breadth of games versus players who want to play one game for a long period of time. Careers are designed to give you goals to hit in the game you're playing instead of getting your 1000 points and moving on.

Microsoft hasn't confirmed the plan, but Windows Central reports that they are actively committing resources to it. The new system should take the form of a level-based progression system, similar to the PlayStation trophy system, and give avatar loot crates away as rewards for doing well.

[Source: Windows Central]


Our Take
Microsoft really likes the idea of living games that players engage with every day, so this idea makes a lot of sense. Hopefully it's well thought-out if and when it does happen.

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New Overwatch Patch Allows Players To Watch Overwatch League And Introduces New League Currency

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:47

Blizzard is obviously very eager to talk about the Twitch-exclusive Overwatch League, which is the main emphasis of the new Overwatch patch.

The main thrust of the new patch is an Overwatch is the introduction of the new league skins, which allow you to rep your favorite team with colors for your characters. As an example, I'll rep the San Francisco Shock, which means I'll be wearing garish orange on all my characters. The London Spitfire colors are probably way better.

These costumes are only purchasable with League Tokens. Anyone who logs in before February 13 receives 100 tokens free – normally a $5 cost. Those 100 tokens by you any one character's colors. There are 12 total colors and 24 total characters, so if you wanted to get all the colors for every character, minus the one color you get for free, you're looking at about $1432.13 maximum. If that seems genuinely insane and you only want to cover your team, it'll cost you $114.17.

Other token purchases can be made in other increments, including 2600 tokens for $100. On the plus side, 50 percent goes to the teams.

The update will also add the ability to watch league matches within the client. It does not cost you anything, probably. You can check out the full patch notes at the source link.

[Source: Blizzard Patch Notes]

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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Will Start Allowing Reporting Cheaters Through Replays

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:05

With millions and millions of players, PlayerUnknown's Battleground is also coming to grips with the fact that it has a proportional number of cheaters. Now, PUBG Corp. is allowing players to use the replay feature to report other players.

The previous system more or less required you to be killed by a cheater. It also presented a weird looping issue where video evidence had to be provided alongside a report with the developer often asking for it outside of the client itself, which then might be denied because the report was not made within the client. This made it difficult to punish cheaters, even though there are 1.5 million banned users already.

The update that includes the new replay system also adds Desperado and Biker items to lootboxes for test server users, though the items will only be usable within that tester server.

How do you feel about how the developers are handling cheating and reporting within PUBG? Let us know below in the comments.


Our Take
As someone who has been shot through walls before and hasn't found a good way to let PUBG Corp. know about this, any change can only be a good one.

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Nintendo President Hopes To Announce Mario Movie Partner Soon

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 14:52

Despite not being officially announced, the Mario movie is still on the lips of Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima in an interview with Japanese newspaper Kyoto Shimbun.

When asked about movie rumors, Kimishima states that he hopes to come to an an agreement with a partner soon and hopefully announce quickly after that. If everything goes according to schedule, Kimishima believes the movie could be out in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

There have been rumors about an animated Mario movie for years since the Sony email hack in 2014 revealed correspondence suggesting Nintendo was shopping the plumber to studios looking for a partner. More recently, rumors were abound that Nintendo was in final talks with animation studio Illumination, the studio behind Minions and Despicable Me.

Before his passing, former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata intended to make Nintendo more aggressive in licensing its intellectual property out to other media, listing movies as one possible avenue. Nintendo as a company had been famously guarded about its properties and movies since the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper.


Our Take
I can't possibly imagine who I'd want to do a Mario movie, but if I had to have one, my list would pretty much begin and end with Pixar. I would guess any Mario movie would be aimed at a new generation that likes anything instead of my generation which would be ready to hate it, though.

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Sea of Thieves Closed Beta Starts On January 24

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:35

Microsoft have announced that the closed beta for Sea of Thieves on January 24, this time allowing players to post screenshots, stream, and talk about the game. 

The beta will run its start date 4:00 AM PST on January 24 to 12:00 AM PST on January 29, giving about five days for players. The closed beta is available to players who preordered the game and anyone who joined the Sea of Thieves Insider Program before December 1, 2017.

The previous betas prohibited players from broadcasting thoughts on the game or footage from the beta publicly, while the next beta has no such restriction. The beta will be available on both Windows 10 and Xbox One.

Sea of Thieves will also be releasing on both those platforms on March 20. It is the first new non-Kinect game for Rare Ltd. since Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.


Our Take
This seems like a game that would benefit from having an open beta, so hopefully they'll launch one next month, as well.

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Twitch Signs Exclusivity Deal With Overwatch League

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:40

Tomorrow marks the season opener for Overwatch League, with the San Francisco Shock battling the Los Angeles Valiant. If you're interested in checking out the inaugural match, you have a couple of options. In addition to viewing the action on Blizzard's official site, streaming service Twitch has announced that it has signed an exclusivity deal for the league.

Viewers can check out the first match tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Pacific on the site's Overwatch League channel. You can check out the entire schedule here, if you'd like to plan ahead a bit.

Streams will be available in English, Korean, and French. 


Our Take
I'll happily take a couple of streaming options. We've all experienced technical issues with streaming video, and it's great to have a plan B available if a feed goes down – regardless of whether you're planning on making the Twitch or Blizzard stream your first choice.

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Sony Reports Holiday PS4 Sales Of Almost 6 Million

Game informer - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 09:55

Sony has announced that according to its estimates the PS4 has sold 5.9 million units worldwide during the holiday season (spanning from the end of November to the close of 2017), which is down slightly from the 6.2 million consoles it sold last year during the same time period.

The company says that this puts the system's total worldwide sales at 73.6 million units, and it also announced that 55.9 million PS4 titles (retail and digital) were sold during the holiday season.

In other recent news, Sony hopes to almost double the PSVR software library in 2018.

[Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment] 


Our Take 
Currently, there's no way of comparing holiday sales amongst the three console makers, as Nintendo hasn't released comparable numbers for the Switch and Microsoft stopped divulging its figures years ago. Nintendo has recently declared that the Switch is the fastest-selling home console in U.S. history with 4.8 million units sold in 10 months, and also announced 10 million units sold worldwide in early December. It'll be interesting to see how things stack up once Nintendo releases its own holiday numbers.

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Brand New Black Panther Trailer Brings The Fight Home

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 22:27

Marvel's newest look at their next movie, Black Panther, aired during tonight's National Championship Game in Atlanta.

There's a mix of old and new footage within the trailer, all set to an awesome soundtrack. Of course, everyone's favorite scene of T'challa tearing through a car wheel is included, as it is in pretty much every Black Panther trailer.

Check out the video below. Black Panther is releasing on February 16 in the United States. It is unknown how much if any relevance the movie will have to Avengers: Infinity War this May.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

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Assassin's Creed: Origins Title Update Accompanies First Expansion

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 20:32

This month, Ubisoft is adding content to Assassin's Creed: Origins alongside its first expansion, The Hidden Ones.

The new update adds a mission introducting The Hidden Ones expansion, an update to the Heka chests that adds Nightmare, First Civilization, Gladiator, and Wacky packs to their item pool, and adds an option to sell clothes you don't want to the weaver.

The Hidden Ones expansion itself adds a new region to the game that gives a place for Bayek and his assassins to clash with the Romans across a series of character quests. It also increases the level cap from 40 to 45, so you have five more chances to see Bayek explode into light in the middle of conversations with people.

Assassin's Creed: Origins is available on Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4.

[Source: Ubisoft Blog]

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Next Xbox One Update Adding Mini-Hubs And Do Not Disturb Status

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 18:39

New year, new updates, and Microsoft is rolling out the next Xbox One update to alpha testers today.

The new update's currently announced features won't blow any minds, but they will be useful. First, you can now access a game's hub content shared by other players the world over without leaving the game. Players can now set their status to "Do Not Disturb," which tells your friends not to bother you and suppresses notifications for when they inevitably ignore your pleas.

You can also view comments easier with the new update and more increments for inactivity shutdown options.

The update is going through alpha testing now and may add other features as time goes on.

[Source: Xbox Blog]

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HTC Announces Higher-Resolution Vive And Wireless Adapter

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 17:43

HTC today announced exciting new changes to the Vive, emphasizing both higher resolution and a wireless adapter.

The new headset, named the Vive Pro, boosts the resolution beyond the realm of existing VR headsets. upping the OLED displays to 2880 x 1600, which works out to 1400 x 1600 per eye and 615 pixels per inch. As a comparison to the other product where ppi is often mentioned, an iPhone X contains about 326 ppi on its screen, but the iPhone also isn't right on top of your eye. The new Vive resolution is a 78 percent increase from the 2160 x 1200 resolution of the current market's Vive.

The Vive Pro has also reformed the top headband for comfort, added a sizing dial for adjustments, integrated on-ear headphones built into the headset, and added dual-microphones and cameras to increase the capabilities inherited from the previous headset.

In addition, HTC has announced a wireless adapter to make the Vive wire-free and severely reduce risk of tripping over the cords. The adapter uses Intel's WiGig technology, which is explicitly designed to reduce latency and eliminate interference. The intention is to make a wireless headset unable to be discerned from a normal HDMI connection. The adapter will work for the existing Vive headset as well as the Vive Pro.

The Vive Pro will be releasing this quarter alongside the current headset, which will be available through 2018. A full bundle, as well as pricing, for the Vive Pro will be detailed in the future. The wireless adapter is due in the summer, but Vive is saving pricing information for down the road.


Our Take
While I can't imagine wireless VR is free of kinks, I am happy manufacturers are pursuing that so soon. Ideally, all headsets will be cord free in the future.

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Here Are 2017's Biggest News Stories From Video Games

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 15:00

With the book closed on 2017, it is hard to deny that it was an incredibly strange year. Not only did global geopolitics get aggressively nuclear, but sentient artificial intelligence both blessed and abandoned us, and alien forces subjugated the world to its will. It was a year with a lot of good and a lot of bad. Now that we're all on the other side of the it, it seems like a good idea to take a look at those 365 days in news one more time and pick out the biggest stories.


Captain John Price Kills Terrorist Leader Vladimir Makarov
What Happened: Known terrorist Vladimir Makarov, having staged an attack on Zakhaev International Airport and escaped the custody of the International Criminal Court, was found hiding at the Hotel Oasis in the Arabian Peninsula. Captain John Price of the British Special Forces killed Makarov during a tense shootout. Price's mission partner, a Russian loyalist once under Makarov known only as Yuri, did not survive the mission. 

How It Worked Out: With Marakov dead, his ultranationalist terrorist network has been slowly deconstructed. After several wars, the world has mostly decided it is time to rest. There are also conflicting reports of Marakov and Yuri being assassinated by Price while sitting in a Jeep in 1996, which no one is quite sure what to do with. (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3)


WAREZ President Goodman Attempts To Take Over NeoGeo World
What Happened: Sponsored by the top corporation WAREZ and its president, Goodman, the NeoGeo Battle Coliseum tournament drew to a close with a shocking revelation. The top entrepreneur stepped out of the shadows to reveal that two of the fighters, Yuki and Ai, were actually secret agents of the government. Goodman, who arranged the tournament in an effort to topple the NeoGeo world heroes that stood in opposition to him taking over the world took on the role of fighter himself.

How It Worked Out: Goodman showed off his fighting prowess, including a flaming ghost ape that is bound to him for some reason named Gorilla King. Despite this, however, he was defeated by Yuki and Ai and his evil plans never came to fruition. (NeoGeo Battle Coliseum)


Ethan And Mia Winters Disappear In Dulvey, Louisiana Several Years Apart
What Happened: Mia Winters was reported missing in 2014, having told her husband, Ethan, that she was leaving on a babysitting job. Upon receiving a cryptic message from her, Ethan tracked her last known location down to Dulvey, Louisiana, near a farming property belonging to local recluse Jack Baker and his family.

How It Worked Out: There has been no information on what occurred after Winters stepped onto the Baker estate, which is less than two miles from the 2014 crash site of the Annabelle, a cargo ship that ran aground and split in half from the shock. The Baker estate is also presumed to be the last-known location of a film crew that was shooting footage for a paranormal-investigation documentary. Reports of helicopters bearing circular logos have been sighted in the area. (Resident Evil VII: Biohazard)


A Blackout At Underwater Theme Park Threatens Massive Explosion
What Happened: A blackout at the underwater theme park LeMU trapped multiple people inside the park after a dome sprung a leak, causing water pressure to rise to levels that made it unsafe to even swim. The water pressure was so great that the unintentional prisoners could only be expected to survive 119 hours before the buildings they were in would be crushed.

How It Worked Out: There has been no public acknowledgement of the LeMU disaster, though multiple people who once claimed to have firsthand knowledge of it have claimed to feel a presence watching and occasionally guiding them. (Ever17)


The Earth Is Attacked By Alien Bugs
What Happened: Aliens invaded Earth in early June, beginning not from little green men from the skies, but with giant insects burrowing up from underground. While the world governments initially wanted to understand if the creatures came in peace, it soon became clear that they only sought to kill and destroy. The bugs were found to be living in massive colonies underground and were soon joined by troops coming from space in flying ships and giant robots.

How It Worked Out: Japan's Earth Defense Force confronted the alien mothership over a small town north of Tokyo. A single EDF soldier was able to defeat the mothership by launching hundreds of rockets into its core over the span of 10 to 15 minutes. With that victory, it is assumed that the aliens will never, ever attack Earth again. (Earth Defense Force 2017)


The World R:2 Launches, But Quickly Devolves Into Player-Killing
What Happened: Three years after the disappearance of the benevolent A.I. Aura that restored and governed the popular MMORPG, The World, CC Corp. has attempted to release a follow up to what was once the world's most active video game. CC Corp. has very little choice in the matter, as the Restore Aura process that they attempted ended up destroying 80 percent of the original game's servers, but it does not seem most players are eager to participate in the World R:2, as it has quickly become a den of hostile players doing nothing but killing each other.

How It Worked Out: The World R:2 immediately came under fire after one player named Shiho fell into a coma as a consequence of being killed by another player in the game. Additionally, rumors are about about players in the game receiving special boons by random draw that give them similar powers to the ones that destroyed the previous game during the Restore Aura process. (.hack//GU)


Coyotes' Leader Slick Clyde Travels Back In Time To Take Over America
What Happened: The leader of the international hitmen group, The Coyotes, lays on his deathbed near his foster sons, one of whom is a cyborg, and laments that he was unable to take over the United States like he wanted. To fix this regret, Slick Clyde steals plans for a time machine and travels back to 1977 to take over the country.

How It Worked Out: It worked out poorly because being a cyborg does not actually enhance your driving ability, and all the conflicts were solved with driving. (Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense)

Those were the major news stories of 2017, though 2018 is already looking difficult to handle. Doctors at Caduceus are warning of possible new virus strains, while the dismantling of the Patriots has given way to Private Military companies as major world forces and influences. Still, it probably can't be worse than aliens, right?

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Shoryuken Forums Closing At The End Of January

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:30

Shoryuken, long known as the premier website for fighting game discussion, has announced that they will be closing their forums at the end of January due to decreased usage.

The website and community are likely best known for the genesis of the Evolution fighting game tournament, also known as EVO, which started in 1996. The community that has grown out of SRK is dedicated to discussing, learning, and mastering fighting games and tried to encourage a welcoming atmosphere to teach new players.

The announcement today acknowledges that a dedicated genre forum is strange to have in a world with subreddits, streaming, Youtube, and social media. To allow people time to archive content from the forum, it is being kept open until the end of the month. It is unlikely that this affects Shoryuken as a news site or EVO.


Our Take
With major fighting games coming out this month, hopefully the community lands on its feet and finds places to regroup.

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Showtime Insists Halo TV Show Is Still Happening

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:02

Back when Microsoft was first showing off the Xbox One and emphasizing TV as a major vector for audience entertainment, the Washington tech company also announced a Steven Spielberg-developed Halo TV show launching on the Xbox One. After nearly five years without hide nor hair of the show, it would not be unfair to assume it has been quietly canned. Not so, say Showtime executives.

Speaking to TV Guide, Showtime president David Nevins stated that "it is absolutely still in development." Nevins did not elucidate much beyond that, echoing similar statements he made in 2015 on the subject. "It's still live action, and it will definitely satisfy the fans of Halo and I think also satisfy the drama audiences of Showtime."

Microsoft closed down their Xbox Entertainment TV studio, a major initiative ahead of the Xbox One's launch, in 2014. The studio only successfully completed one project, a documentary about the fall of Atari titled Atari: Game Over.

[Source: TV Guide]


Our Take
I am sure any producer would be eager to have the Halo license, but it doesn't really seem like there's been any movement on this.

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Switch Outsells Entire Lifetime Of Wii U In Japan

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:50

Over in Japan, gaming magazine Famitsu has reported that the Switch has officially blown past Nintendo's previous console, the Wii U, in Japanese sales after less than a year on the market.

According to Famitsu's sales tracking, the Switch has hit 3.4 million, which leapfrogs the Wii U's 3.3 million. It does not seem like a huge difference until you remember that the Wii U achieved that number over the span of four years, from December 8, 2012 to its discontinuation in January of 2017.

On one hand, the Wii U was sort of a sales failure, but the introduction of Splatoon did wonders for the system, especially in Japan. In 2016, Splatoon was the best selling first-party new IP across Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U, which also explains why Nintendo was so eager to get Splatoon 2 out for the Switch. If it continues selling at this current pace, the Switch should outsell the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 in Japan this year.

[Source: Famitsu]


Our Take
Nintendo has been quiet about 2018 prospects, which is puzzling as we are more than a week into the year already. If they plan to keep momentum up, and there's no reason to assume they don't want to, they need to detail what software will do that.

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PUBG On Xbox Gets Performance Patch

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:56

Bluehole has released patch notes for its latest version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Xbox Game Preview, with some small changes aimed at improving the play experience for Xbox players. 

In-game, players can expect new options to adjust aim acceleration in-game, and player weapon damage has moved up when combating vehicles, among other minor adjustments. Server and client-side FPS has also been slightly increased, which should be welcome news to players frustrated by stutter. Perhaps most importantly, the new patch attempts to address some of the crashes that are ending matches prematurely for some players. 

Check out the full patch notes from Bluehole. 

[Source: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Forum]


Our Take
The PUBG phenomenon recently found a new home on Microsoft’s home console, but many players have been frustrated by technical issues on the new platform. It’s good to see the developer making moves to improve the experience. 

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Sony Expects PlayStation VR Library To Nearly Double In 2018

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:21

If you took the PlayStation VR plunge, this could be an interesting year for you. The virtual-reality library could be expanding by nearly 80 percent before the end of 2018, if Sony's expectations pan out.

Speaking to Nikkei, the company says the slate of games on the PlayStation VR platform could jump from 150 to 280. The company cites hardware sales figures that now surpass two million PSVR units – perhaps driven, in part, by recent price cuts – as one of the catalysts for a surge in new development.

[Source: Nikkei via Siliconera]


Our Take
That's great news for people who have forked over the money for a PSVR unit, but I do wonder what's behind these numbers. Will there be many meaty, fully formed games in the roster, or a continued parade of brief, novelty-fueled experiences?

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ESRB Listing For Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition Appears

Game informer - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:20

An ESRB listing has appeared for Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition for PS4 and Xbox One, seemingly indicating a new version of the RPG on the horizon.

The website entry offers no further information about the title such as its release date or whether it's a Game of the Year-type all-encompassing release.

[Source: ESRB via Siliconera] 

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Splatoon 2's Next Splatfest Pits Action Against Comedy

Game informer - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 17:40

Nintendo recently revealed that the next edition of Splatfest, which begins on January 12, will have the theme of action versus comedy.

Splatfests have two teams go face off against one another over two days of multiplayer matches. You can view the announcement made by Nintendo Versus below.

It’s #TeamAction vs. #TeamComedy for the first 2018 #Splatoon2 #Splatfest! And this time the theme and results are global! The event kicks off 1/12 at 8:00 p.m. PT.

— Nintendo Versus (@NintendoVS) January 6, 2018

Last month's Splatfest was holiday-themed, and delved into the topic of bad Christmas presents. Read our review of Splatoon 2 here.

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Varric From Dragon Age Gets His Novel Published For Real

Game informer - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 15:04

Varric Tethras, a chest-haired dwarf with a dry sense of humor, is a beloved character in the Dragon Age series. In the world of Thedas, he's also a successful author, due to his novel Hard in Hightown. Now, his work of fiction is getting a real-life release.

Thanks to publishers Dark Horse Books and Penguin Random House, Hard in Hightown will soon be readable in its entirety for $20. The illustrated novel is just under a hundred pages, telling a crime thriller tale about rival cult factions in Kirkwall, a city most Dragon Age 2 fans are familiar with. You can read a description of the book below:

Twenty years of patrols have chiseled each and every stone of the Kirkwall streets into city guardsmen Donnen Brennokovic. Weary and weathered, Donnen is paired with a recruit so green he might as well have leaves growing out of his armor. When the mismatched pair discover a dead magistrate bleeding out on the flagstones, they’re caught up in a clash between a shadowy organization known only as the Executors and a secretive group of Chantry agents–all over some ancient artifact.

The novel lists Varric as the author, and says that it was "co-written" by BioWare's Mary Kirby, the real wordsmith behind Varric's stories. The book's illustrations are by Stefano Martino, Álvaro Sarraseca, Andres Ponce, and Ricardo German Ponce Torres, along with a painted cover by artist E.M. Gist. You can take a peek at the cover below.

Hard in Hightown releases in hardcover on July 31. You can pre-order it now by heading here. BioWare unveiled its next game, Anthem, at this year's E3. Check out a trailer here.

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