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Culture Gaming

Inside Twitch’s Redesign

If you checked in with Twitch recently, chances are you were taken aback by what appeared on your screen. Your eyes were instantly greeted by a familiar layout, but what probably made you tilt your head to the side in amazement and confusion were the distinctive changes. The designers behind Amazon’s popular live streaming service—millions of people watch Twitch streams daily, making it one of the most-visited sites in the United States and globally—let the world know about Twitch’s first major redesign in nearly a decade. Eight years after its 2011 launch, Twitch has undergone a welcome refresh, strategically revealed during TwitchCon, to match the vibrant community that keeps the platform alive. 

So What’s New with Twitch?
Twitch
https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2019/09/26/nice-to-meet-you-again-for-the-first-time

The classic purple color that the brand is synonymous with has been replaced by a visually stronger shade of the same color. The new Twitch purple is brighter, which has been put in place to match Twitch’s livelier energy. The new lettering font has been changed to “Roobert,” which happens to be based on the Moog synthesizer typeface. And now the old wordmark has also been updated with “bold, blocky letterforms that are strong, playful and inspired by a retro gaming aesthetic.” As for the iconic logo (commonly referred to as the “Glitch”), it’s been given a fresh touch-up that still retains the DNA of its former design. Ultimately, the designers have maintained the familiarity while also trying to make everything appear more striking.

Twitch
https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2019/09/26/nice-to-meet-you-again-for-the-first-time

In another visual shift, Twitch has added 24 new colors—“nicknamed after iconic games and pop culture characters”—that give streamers more freedom to define their personal brand. A newly added tool called “Creator Color” allows content creators to adopt one of those 24 colors to represent their likeness and branding. As a streamer, you’ll notice your signature color as they “show up in hover states over thumbnails, on browse pages, and even message notifications in the chat.” This decision has been done in accordance with “Twitch Purple,” the striking word logo that sports gradient effects underneath it. Streamers now can use any of the 24 colors to change that effect to fit their personal branding as well. This color alteration can also be applied to the updated wordmark and Glitch logo.

Twitch
https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2019/09/26/nice-to-meet-you-again-for-the-first-time

From a visual standpoint, Twitch has taken all the right steps to make sure its typeface, colors and logos pop off the screen. Everything you’re used to seeing on your go-to streaming site/app is still in the same place it was before, although having the option of turning on/off dark mode is a notably worthwhile alteration. What’s been put in place for longtime streamers and loyal viewers is a design that gives Twitch a more powerful mission statement because we all know boldness and flashiness is key in marketing.

“You’re already one of us” is Twitch’s new slogan. It signifies the platform’s welcome mat for incoming streamers who are ready to produce the type of content that helps differentiate Twitch from other live streaming services. With the stable framework put in place and the fresh changes made to the classic design, Twitch’s 2019 facelift is a win-win for everyone involved.

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Culture Gaming

PlayStation 5: Sony Confirms Name, Release Date and Controller Features

The end of 2020 sounds like it’s going to be quite the assault on gamers’ wallets. We finally have confirmation from Sony that the PlayStation 5 (we’re glad it’s a simple name) is arriving during the 2020 holiday season. Microsoft had previously announced its plans to launch the Xbox One successor, code-named Project Scarlett, during the same time span. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan and Wired magazine sent the gaming world into a frenzy on Oct. 8 when they dropped two more important bits of information about the anticipated PS5. Those two slices of breaking news happen to be all about the next-gen console’s controller.

What’s New with PS5 Controllers?

Sony is doing things a bit differently for its evolved controller by leaving the “rumble” technology behind and adapting haptic feedback. This innovative piece of tech has been promised to offer gamers “a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field.” It sounds like the PS5’s controller will alter the usual game-playing experience in a major way by producing a wider range of responses to everything happening onscreen. The impact of melee combat, skydiving through the air or trudging through a pile of snow will be felt in a more realistic manner thanks to the new haptic feedback implementation.

As for the second piece of PS5 controller news, Sony is incorporating an “adaptive triggers” feature. Adaptive triggers are tied to the way the trigger buttons (L2/R2) will act and feel. Developers will now be given the chance to “program the resistance of the triggers so that you can feel the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.” The adaptive triggers tech will be a huge boon to developers who want to further pinpoint the feel of their games by accurately portraying the actions tied to the trigger buttons. First-person shooters and racing games in particular will likely take advantage of this feature the most.

So there you have it, folks. The PS5’s controller will increase the feeling of immersion and onscreen feedback tenfold. And we’ll finally be able to take it for a spin once the weather gets a bit chiller in 2020.

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Culture Gaming

‘Final Fantasy VIII’ Creators Should Remaster These 7 RPGs

Square Enix is in the middle of the comeback arc of the company’s storied run. The Japanese gaming publisher and development studio lost its way on several occasions, but Square Enix is notching more wins than losses nowadays, including 2019’s acclaimed Kingdom Hearts III and 2020’s much-hyped Final Fantasy VII Remake. Oh, and let’s not forget about the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers, the epic developed by Crystal Dynamics/Eidos-Montréal. Simply put, Square Enix is on a roll again.

One of the cooler trends Square Enix is adopting these days is the art of quality remakes and remasters. Just like the FF7 Remake, Trials of Mana is set to introduce the 1990s RPG to a new audience and longtime fans with a fully 3-D paint job. Then there’s the remake of a remake in the form of Star Ocean: First Departure R. And as far as remasters go, Square Enix has released a satisfying lineup of spruced-up versions of several Final Fantasy games, with the most recent one being a remastered edition of Final Fantasy VIII. Future remasters to look forward to from Square Enix include Romancing SaGa 3 and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition, plus a Western localization port of SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions is on the horizon.

Square Enix’s RPG remasters trend seems as though it’ll pick up even more steam in the near future. We just so happen to have a wishlist of important and sorely missed titles that would bode well with a current-day remaster.

1 & 2. ‘Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth’ & ‘Silmeria’
tri-Ace
“Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria” from 2006

What made the Valkyrie Profile series stand out so much was its unique battle system, clever mix of 2-D/3-D exploration and attachment to Norse mythology. The first two entries in the series allowed players to control fearless Valkyries who set out to gather powerful souls for an impending struggle between the gods and humanity. 

Delving into the backstories of both Lenneth and Silmeria was a fascinating affair. It was fun to travel to realms inspired by Norse tales and to come to grips with impending doom. Square Enix should go out of its way to remaster the enhanced PSP port of the first entry and do the same for the PS2 sequel. Valkyrie Profile may be an obscure series to many, but it still deserves a chance at garnering mass appeal with current-day remasters.

3. ‘Vagrant Story’
Square Product Development Division 4
“Vagrant Story” from 2000

Vagrant Story is best remembered as one of Square Enix’s (then known as Squaresoft) more unorthodox RPGs. Instead of commanding a party of traveling heroes, you were only responsible for one. As Ashley Riot, you set out to fulfill your duties as a “Riskbreaker” and attempt to figure out the connection between a cult leader and a high-ranking member of the Valendian Parliament. 

The game was an untraditional experience that did away with many RPG stalwarts. Players were entrusted with learning a complex combat system that emphasized targeting limbs and utilizing “Chain Abilities.” Vagrant Story was highly applauded at the time of its release and is certainly deserving of even more fanfare in today’s gaming landscape. Remastering this original PlayStation RPG is a must because today’s RPG fanatic needs to relive the dark and dangerous journey of one Ashley Riot.

4 & 5. ‘Parasite Eve’ & ‘Parasite Eve II’
Squaresoft
“Parasite Eve II” from 1999

While Capcom was revolutionizing the survival horror genre with Resident Evil, Squaresoft opted to enter the field with its own mutated monster–filled franchise. That franchise was Parasite Eve, an action RPG that followed Aya Brea, a strong-willed officer who battles against the mitochondria disease. 

Both Parasite Eve games were immensely entertaining experiences filled with survival horror elements and real-time battles against vicious creatures. Watching Aya’s story and connection to Eve unfold in the first game was a blast, plus her Los Angeles venture as a MIST member was equally gripping. A remake of the original Parasite Eve would make our day. We advise easing Square Enix’s workload to make time for remastering two of their finest survival-horror titles.

6. ‘Xenogears’
Square Enix
“Xenogears” from 1999

These days, most fans associate the word “Xeno” with Nintendo and Monolith Soft’s collection of JRPGs. But gamers who played anything and everything during the 32-bit era have another connection to the term “Xeno”: Xenogears. The 1998 JRPG gained a cult following that’s still strong to this day thanks to its amazing story and “Active Time Battle” system that even threw in a few giant robots for good measure. 

One of the main complaints lobbied against Xenogears was the rushed pace of the second half of the adventure. We think that issue can be remedied with an often-requested remaster. In a perfect world, Square Enix would find a way to turn the montage-heavy portion of the second disc into a more involving experience that would satisfy longtime fans. A remade version of Xenogears’ second disc segments combined with a remaster of the engrossing first disc’s adventure is a tall task, for sure. But it’s something that would please a huge swath of Xenogears’ ardent fan base.

7. ‘Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions’
Square Enix
“Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions” from 2007

During Squaresoft’s legendary late-’90s run, the company produced many of the games we’ve already mentioned here. Another one of those classic games is Final Fantasy Tactics, a more tactical take on the traditional battle mechanics seen in the series’ mainline entries. Players eventually found themselves addicted to the game—plenty of love was thrown at the FF spinoff for its excellent plot, intricate battle system and clever job system.

Back in 2007, the game received an enhanced port for the PlayStation Portable with the release of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Somehow, someway, Square Enix managed to make a bona fide masterpiece even better. That unexpected improvement upon a highly lauded strategy RPG needs to return with a home console remaster. We’re sure Square Enix can find a way to get rid of the PSP version’s slowdown issues and high difficulty with the right implementation of development engine improvements and new modes. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions definitely needs to make its home on today’s gaming devices.

Read Next: 8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

Read Next: PlayStation 5 Wishlist: 5 Games We Need on Launch Day

Read Next: Xbox Project Scarlett Is Coming: Our 5 Dream Game Releases 

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Culture Gaming

8 ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Characters We Want on the Game’s Roster in 2020

It’s already been quite the rollercoaster year for Marvel Comics. Marvel has stayed in the public eye more than ever with magnificent highs such as the cinematic release of Avengers: Endgame, the announcement of Phase 4 films, the reveal of Disney+ shows and the comic book run of House of X and Powers of X—not to mention the devastating lows such as Spider-Man’s shocking exit from the MCU and the onscreen demise of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

In the world of gaming, the most iconic superhero team assembled for an exciting reveal in their upcoming title: 2020’s Marvel Avengers. While the unveiling pleased some and disappointed others, follow-up footage of the game has managed to drum up more positive feedback. Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal are clearly doing everything in their power to do right by Marvel’s iconic ensemble in video game form. Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor and Black Widow will unite to do battle with Taskmaster and other Marvel villains. 

The most revealing bit of news about Marvel’s Avengers is the ways in which it will deliver downloadable content (DLC). Along with paid DLC in the form of alternate costumes for each hero, free updates packed with new locations and new characters are planned. That whole “new characters” part gets us frothing at the mouth about who else could be added to the game’s roster. The Avengers have accepted the membership of a who’s who of Marvel characters (some of the most stylish MCU characters at that), which means there’s a daunting collection of do-gooders we’d love to play as. We’ve narrowed our character DLC wishlist to these eight individuals who’d make for an awesome gameplay experience in Marvel’s Avengers.

1. Wasp
Marvel

It would be pretty heartless to leave out one of the founding Avengers members on the cutting room floor. She’s the heroine who gave the Avengers their name. Janet Van Dyne’s shrinking powers and penchant for shooting stinger blasts make her a fine choice for a playable character. Ant-Man has already been teased for the game, so it’d make sense for his comparable sidekick to join the fray. Co-op missions that let us take down evildoers as Ant-Man and the Wasp is definitely needed.

2. Shang-Chi

On Feb. 12, 2021, the MCU will play host to a super powered martial arts adventure. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will place the Master of Kung-Fu on the big screen and hopefully turn him from an obscure oddity into a household name. Before he makes his cinematic debut, Shang-Chi needs to begin his promotional run via a playable appearance in Marvel’s Avengers. This little known Avengers team member is nasty with the hands and can also down his foes with nunchaku and jian weaponry. Add on to the fact that he can create duplicates of himself and you have someone who’s tailor made for Marvel’s Avengers epic battles.

3. Wonder Man

At first, the man known as Simon Williams was far from a good fellow. His evil actions put the Avengers in constant peril and made him a formidable threat. But he eventually came around and became a purveyor of good alongside the team he once tried to eliminate. Wonder Man is the superhuman alter ego of Williams and an individual we’d love to command in battle. His powers may not be all that original, but the simplicity tied to his moveset still makes him an intriguing prospect for the game. Wonder Man can take flight, utilize his amazing strength, emit energy blasts and perform other powerful abilities. 

4. She-Hulk
Marvel

To no one’s surprise, Iron Man has taken to his position as the team’s resident wisecracker quite nicely. The first bit of gameplay footage for Marvel’s Avengers featured a few funny quips from the wisecracking genius, which is incredibly on brand for the guy. The Avengers can’t just have one humor-filled hero though. There’s room for Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters, who is better known as She-Hulk. There’d be plenty of fun to be had with She-Hulk as she jumps high and smashes everything in her path while simultaneously uttering hilarious quotes. She-Hulk is getting her own Disney+ series in the near future. She also deserves more time in the gaming spotlight.

5. Doctor Strange

Minds were blown across every movie theater during Avengers: Infinity War. There’s one particular fight scene from the film that truly had our jaws on the floor. When Doctor Strange attempted to defeat the mighty Thanos, he brought out the magical kitchen sink and then some. If Marvel’s Avengers includes a new area that caters to the more mystical side of the Marvel Universe, then we hope the Sorcerer Supreme comes along for the ride. His mastery of the mystic arts and use of assorted magical artifacts would look and feel amazing in playable form in Marvel’s Avengers. There’s a collection of in-game baddies we’d love to introduce to Strange’s Bolts of Balthakk.

6. Captain Marvel

This pick is a given, right? The smashing success of Captain Marvel’s MCU origin film and welcome inclusion in Avengers: Endgame has placed her firmly in the public eye. With an upcoming movie sequel in the works, it’s pretty apparent that Carol Danvers is going to become an even bigger force on the big screen. Captain Marvel happened to be one of our favorite characters during her starring roles in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. She’s perfect for inclusion in Marvel’s Avengers. Taking flight with Captain Marvel and shooting off tons of energy blasts in the game’s expansive world sounds incredible.

7. Black Panther
Marvel

T’Challa—Wakanda’s proud king and chosen protector—is tailor made for Marvel’s Avengers. His combat prowess, parkour maneuvers and ability to emit kinetic energy bursts are the exact reasons why. The armored savior has appeared in numerous Marvel games and showcased his full repertoire of superpowers in every one. Marvel’s Avengers has made the promise of introducing extra locales to its universe, so we’re hoping and praying that it’ll take us on a trip to Black Panther’s glorious kingdom. And of course we’d be more than pleased with a set of co-op missions that allow us to command the powers of the Black Panther. There’d better be a taunt button that lets us pull off the “Wakanda Forever” hand salute too.

8. Scarlet Witch

There’s a point during the closing moments of Avengers: Endgame where Thanos downplays Scarlet Witch upon meeting her. Mere moments later, the Mad Titan is on the verge of defeat by the Fine Sorceress and is forced to call for backup. Wielding such powers sounds like the type of experience we’d love to inherit in Marvel’s Avengers. Wanda Maximoff is one of the most powerful members of the Marvel Universe and one of the more underrated members of the MCU. Scarlet Witch’s Chaos Magic is nothing to play with, but in this case, that’s exactly what we want to do. A co-op experience that pits Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange against a flood of magical villains is the type of DLC we’re craving.

Read Next: The 8 Best Fight Scenes in the MCU, Ranked

Read Next: The 10 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Has a New No. 1

Read Next: Diversity in the MCU: Marvel’s Evolution Since 2008

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Culture Gaming

Xbox Project Scarlett Is Coming: Our 5 Dream Game Releases

Microsoft is clearly prepared to rebuild the sullied reputation of the Xbox brand in 2020.

At the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo—aka E3—the tech giant gave the gaming world a sneak peek at the next piece of gaming console hardware. Even though we weren’t treated to an actual visual representation of the console, we still grew excited once the machine’s tech specs were unveiled. Microsoft’s run with the Xbox One faltered from the start, mostly due to the PR disaster known as the E3 2013 Microsoft Press Conference. In the years since, the Xbox One has experienced praise-worthy triumphs and a few devastating failures. All in all, though, the Xbox One still managed to garner plenty of hardware sales and dedicated fans along the way.

Come 2020, we’ll all be treated to the next Microsoft gaming juggernaut that will take over our living rooms: the machine code-named Project Scarlett. Once that console hits retail stores everywhere in the fall of 2020, there needs to be a slew of exclusive titles that will make our purchase feel well warranted. The dream games listed below are exactly what plenty of diehard Xbox fans are hoping for.

If the PlayStation is more your speed, check out our dream PS5 releases.

1. ‘Halo Infinite’
343 Industries
“Halo Infinite”

On November 15, 2001, the first Xbox arrived in North America. The three games that defined the new console’s launch were Project Gotham Racing, Dead or Alive 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved. The Halo first-person shooter revolutionized the genre on home consoles and gave the Xbox brand its most recognizable mascot in the form of Master Chief. Copping an Xbox also meant you needed to come home with a copy of Halo.

In 2020, we all know that the green armor–wearing soldier is returning for another round of alien blasting and universe saving. Halo Infinite is said to be a return to the tried-and-true days of pushing Master Chief through an epic struggle against a universal threat. Debuting Halo Infinite on the very same day that Project Scarlett launches is a win-win situation. A quality entry in the Halo franchise being available on day one of the next Xbox’s lifecycle guarantees Microsoft the system seller it needs.

2. ‘Fable 4’
Lionhead Studios
“Fable III” from 2010

Can you believe that not one mainline Fable RPG came out for the Xbox One? Fans were left questioning the future of the franchise once Fable Legends got was canceled. Even more questions arose once Lionhead Studios, the primary development studio behind the series, shuttered. A Fable collectible card game is fine and dandy, but we’re sure everyone is ready to get back to navigating mythical locales and weaving their own fate in the world of Albion.

It’s been rumored for a while now that Playground Games (Forza Horizon) has been secretly working on the fourth mainline game in the Fable franchise. And by the sound of things, it seems like the series revival Fable so desperately needs. Recent leaks have pointed to town building, multiplayer mode, a more robust character creator and even time travel. All we know is this new Fable sequel would make for an exciting adventure on the very first day the next Xbox arrives.

3. ‘Killer Instinct 2’ (a sequel to the 2013 reboot)
Double Helix/Iron Galaxy
“Killer Instinct” from 2013

Round of applause for Double Helix Games and Iron Galaxy. Both studios managed to bring back a ’90s fighting-game staple and turn it into one of the best fighters of the current-gen era. The 2013 reboot of Killer Instinct may have started out small, but it eventually morphed into an immensely entertaining fighter with one of the best rosters we’ve ever seen. Ken Lobb’s crucial directorial work helped KI retain its best elements and add new mechanics that made its combat a gloriously good time.

Now we’re ready for another round of combo breakers, ultra combos and ultimates. Project Scarlett’s beefy features could do wonders for Killer Instinct’s flashy hit sparks, booming soundtrack and outlandish stage fatalities. A full-fledged sequel to the 2013 KI reboot is a must-have at this point. New characters, new mechanics, new modes, new guests and new everything else. Jago and the gang need to be fully prepared to demand everyone’s attention on the next Xbox’s launch day.

4. ‘Amped’ reboot
Indie Built
“Amped 3” from 2005

It may be hard to believe for today’s younger gaming crowd, but there was a time when snowboarding games were all the rage. Franchises such as Cool Boarders, Snowboard Kids, 1080° Snowboarding and SSX were everyone’s go-to games for digital snow shredding and trick pulling. The Xbox brand was once linked to its very own line of snowboarding titles in the form of the Amped series. Over the course of three games, gamers were treated to some extreme ventures throughout wonderfully crafted snowboarding courses.

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a snowboarding title as good as the ones from past generations. Microsoft needs to revisit such a sorely missed trend in gaming and bring back the Amped series in a major way—a full-on reboot that mashes up the best parts of the previous three games. Add an online multiplayer suite and plenty of gamers lamenting the loss of snowboarding games will be overjoyed at Amped’s return to greatness.

5. ‘Brute Force 2’
Digital Anvil
“Brute Force” from 2003

What else could fill out the launch lineup for the next Xbox? How about the return of another forgotten Xbox title that fits right into the role of a squad-based third-person shooter? The franchise we’re alluding to is 2003’s Brute Force, an Xbox exclusive that was all about blasting baddies amongst a squad of AI/player-controlled badasses.

The original game definitely had its faults, but it still managed to entertain thanks to its multiplayer component and competent gunplay. It’s been a good while since we’ve seen Flint, Brutus, Tex and Hawk in action. Now is the perfect time to bring them back into the Xbox fold and deliver a sequel that drastically improves upon everything seen in the first game. A second Brute Force would be legendary if handled correctly by a first-party studio that knows a thing or two about co-op squad shooters.

Bonus: A new AAA title

Xbox Game Studios has a ton of talented development studios under its umbrella. During the past two E3s, the company announced the acquisition of Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games and Double Fine. Alongside all those studios are two new internal ones, plus Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. With so many development arms in their midst, we’d be more than happy to see any (or all) of them produce a fresh franchise that would see its debut on the next Xbox. The coming-out party for Project Scarlett needs to be exciting, and the best way to do that is by showcasing the power of the new console with a new title that defines the future of the Xbox brand.

Read Next: PlayStation 5 Wishlist: 5 Games We Need on Launch Day

Read Next: 8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

Read Next: 6 Video Game Crossovers That Need to Happen ASAP

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Culture Gaming

6 Twitch Streamers Worth Watching to Fill Ninja’s Void

The unthinkable has actually happened.

Ninja, one of Twitch’s most prominent and profitable Fortnite streamers, shockingly left the live streaming service, where he had accumulated 14 million followers. Ninja, born Richard Tyler Blevins, grabbed a new bag full of blue faces and fruitful endorsements when he announced his move over to Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming platform. Ninja pretty much pulled a Snoop Dogg by moving from one major company (Twitch = Death Row Records) to another (Mixer = No Limit Records). Judging by the video views tied to Ninja since moving to Mixer, his fan base hasn’t abandoned him.

If you’re still an avid watcher of Twitch streams and need someone new gamers to fill Ninja’s void, we’re here to help. The following lineup of streamers offers everything from intense Fortnite matches with hilarious commentary to moments of fighting game mastery backed by, well, even more hilarious commentary.

1. DrDisrespect

If you don’t know DrDisrespect by now, then you must be taking refuge underneath an oversized boulder. When Herschel “Guy” Beahm IV dons his alternate personality’s attire, he transforms into the gaming rebel everyone knows and loves. DrDisrespect enjoys hourslong gaming sessions spent in a nice variety of battle royale games and all the while chatting it up with fellow streamers. Watching him tear through the opposition while dropping fire quotables (“I’m on top of the mountain and I’m only halfway up!”) is always a good time. If you have a battle royale live stream itch that needs scratching, DrDisrespect should do the job.

2. Bugha

Kyle Giersdorf aka Bugha is a pro gaming prodigy. In Fortnite, he performs at an extremely high level alongside his team, the Sentinels. The 16-year-old pro Fortnite competitor recently displayed his dominance by winning the 2019 Fortnite World Cup and netting more than $3 million in one sitting. When Bugha’s not claiming cash prizes during major tournaments, he spends his time live streaming his masterful Fortnite play for the world to see. Watching a teenage master of his craft put in work in Fortnite is beyond fascinating.

3. NICKMERCS

The bodybuilder/esports personality known as NICKMERCS is legit—so legit that he once notched a Fortnite world record when he and his team garnered the most squad kills in a game. Watching his live streams always provides the possibility of him pulling off another amazing feat during hotly contested Fortnite matches. Nick Kolcheff can teach everyone how to dominate in Fortnite and work like a well-oiled machine with fellow players. NICKMERCS’s FaZe Clan affiliation and partnered streams with other popular Fortnite players easily makes him entertaining to watch.

4. Maximilian_DOOD

If you’re an avid fighting game player, you’re probably a devoted follower of the online exploits of Maximilian Christiansen. If you don’t know who Maximilian_DOOD is, you’ll most certainly become a fan after this. Max’s claim to fame is his adoration of fighting games such as Killer Instinct, Marvel vs. Capcom and Soulcalibur. When he’s not handing out Ls online, he provides commentary on the games he loves most and hangs out with his YoVideogames crew. Max’s wild personality is endearing, his live streams are engrossing and his best friends are equally entertaining. Oh, and his dog Benny is just so darn cute too.

5. AvoidingThePuddle

Aris is a well-known member of the fighting game community and an avid Tekken player and commentator. But that’s not all that he’s known for. His AvoidingThePuddle brand is tied to the man’s live streaming get-togethers with his passionate fan base. You can find Aris delving into random topics while smashing fools in Tekken, running the slot machines in Grand Theft Auto V or “flushing” any other game that piques his interest. Aris is a live streaming gem who is full of wisdom and 3D fighting game wizardry. 

6. TheBlackHokage

Our final pick is the realest of them all. TheBlackHokage goes out of his way to drop quotables and push his fans to become better versions of themselves. His live streams are full of sage advice on how to approach women, how to stay healthy and how to avoid getting duped by Snapchatters. Gameplay streams of NBA 2K, Apex Legends and other popular games are backed by TheBlackHokage’s humorously blunt rants. When he’s not streaming by himself, he enjoys funny streams alongside his Gaming illuminaughty crew. Just make sure you don’t say anything stupid in his chat—the threat of a “six hunnid” ban is not to be played with.

Read Next: PlayStation 5 Wishlist: 5 Games We Need on Launch Day

Read Next: 8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

Read Next: 6 Video Game Crossovers That Need to Happen ASAP

Categories
Culture Gaming

Our Ultimate PlayStation 5 Dream Releases in 2020

2020 is going to be an all-out assault on gamers’ wallets.

The first few months of the year will bring with them a flood of heavy hitters such as Final Fantasy VII Remake, Watch Dogs: Legion, Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Avengers. And rumors are circulating about the newest pieces of hardware set to drop from Sony and Microsoft in the months ahead. Speaking of Sony, a 4chan leaker recently pointed to Feb. 12, 2020, as the day we can look forward to learning official details about the PlayStation 5 during the next PlayStation Meeting. 

Come launch day, there needs to be a collection of games that inspires us to pony up plenty more of our hard-earned cash. Just take a quick peek at the games that were available on day one for some of your favorite consoles from back in the day—the NES, SNES, Dreamcast, Xbox and even the Game Boy Advance offered some of the best titles each system featured during its lifespan.

Once the next PlayStation lands in gaming stores everywhere, we hope the following games come out alongside it.

1. ‘Horizon Zero Dawn 2’
Guerrilla Games
“Horizon Zero Dawn” from 2017

Everyone doubted Guerrilla Games’ foray into open-world action games once it unveiled Horizon Zero Dawn. The Sony first-party studio was primarily known for producing the first-person shooter franchise known as Killzone, so gamers everywhere had every reason to doubt their expertise in a genre they’ve never delved into before. Critics were silenced once Horizon Zero Dawn turned out to be one of the greatest gaming highlights of 2017. 

PS4 owners flocked to Aloy’s journey within a world overrun by mechanical beasts and warring tribes. Hopes are now running high regarding a potential sequel to this action RPG epic. The PS5 needs to pull in potential buyers with the promise of a graphical powerhouse that pushes the boundaries of open-world games. A sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn would stand out as the centerpiece title that’s a true testament to the PS5’s unlimited potential. Hunting down new wild machines in an entirely new location with Aloy sounds like the perfect recipe for launch day success.

2. ‘PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale 2’
SuperBot Entertainment
“PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” from 2012

Every console on launch day needs a good fighting game. If Sony hopes to get PS5 adopters to pick up an extra controller for some multiplayer fun, they need to abide by that unavoidable rule. Street Fighter V is still alive and kicking, which means the odds of another console’s exclusive entry in the series arriving on PS5’s launch day is low. If Sony’s willing to produce a multiplayer title for the PS5 worth investing in, they need to take another stab at their PS3 party fighter. 2012’s PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was a respectable attempt at mimicking the winning formula mastered by Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series.

Unfortunately, the game’s lackluster roster, uninspired presentation and puzzling methods needed to attain victory knocked the crossover fighter down a few pegs. Sony shouldn’t abandon this concept, however. Now that it knows what not to do, it has the means to put together a studio that’s willing to build upon the solid foundation established by the first game. Spruce up the visuals, add in memorable songs from each represented fighter’s franchise and make sure there’s a more fun way to get a KO. And most importantly, make sure the roster is filled with more PlayStation icons and less third-party characters nobody asked for.

3. ‘Ape Escape 4’
SCE Japan Studio
“Ape Escape 3” from 2005

One of Sony’s lesser-known but still beloved franchises is Ape Escape, a collection of games focused on capturing rambunctious monkeys with all sorts of inventive gear. Hopping around colorful 3D worlds and attempting to round up tons of intelligent simians ended up being more fun than anyone could have ever imagined. 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the long-running platforming franchise, which is an occasion that was marked by plenty of fan adoration on Twitter.

Those same fans lamented the lack of a new mainline entry in the series, which is understandable since the last official Ape Escape platformer came in 2005. Sony doesn’t need to bore us with another Knack sequel—it needs to mark the launch of the PS5 with a fan-requested platformer worth getting excited about. A new Ape Escape is the perfect launch title for gamers of all ages. A well-produced platformer is usually the go-to game for a console’s launch lineup. Bringing back some good ol’ fashioned monkey nabbing in a next-gen Ape Escape is the day-one platformer the PS5 needs.

4. ‘Bloodborne 2’
FromSoftware
“Bloodborne” from 2015

FromSoftware has done an incredible job of popularizing a subgenre catering to gamers looking for a challenge. The Japanese development studio’s punishing action RPGs have earned high praise, thanks to their atmospheric locales, mysterious lore and heart-pounding boss battles. PS4’s Bloodborne was yet another successful entry in the studio’s collection of incredibly difficult yet immensely rewarding games. 

Fans of Dark Souls were enamored with Bloodborne’s nods to the horrifying works of H. P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker. Plus the game’s blood-fueled combat gave FromSoftware fans another reason to appreciate it. We know the development studio is hard at work on finishing the recently announced Elden Ring. But it’d make sense for them to give another promising group of in-house developers the chance to craft a fitting sequel to Bloodborne. The promise of another harrowing hunt that’s powered by the PS5 gets us giddy with glee. There are still a lot of mysteries to uncover in the dark and dreary world of Bloodborne. And the best way to uncover them all is by allowing PS5 adopters to seek them out in a proper next-gen sequel.

5. A new ‘Ridge Racer’
Bugbear Entertainment
“Ridge Racer Unbounded” from 2012

You know what else a console needs on day one? A quality racing game. Back when the first PlayStation launched in the United States in 1995, Namco’s Ridge Racer took the top spot as the debuting console’s standout racer. The series has had its highs and lows over the years, but it’s sadly gone dormant for far too long. 

Now we all know it takes forever and a day for Sony’s Polyphony Digital to put out a new Gran Turismo, so a launch day sequel is a dream scenario. Bandai Namco should be given the honor of crafting a launch day racer for the PS5 that embraces the arcade-y feel most gamers tend to enjoy. A fresh entry in the Ridge Racer series would be a must-have if handled properly by the studio entrusted to create it. We’d be fine with a new Ridge Racer that embraces the best parts of the first game and the newly added modes and mechanics featured in 2012’s Ridge Racer Unbounded.

Bonus: A new AAA IP

Simply put, Sony Interactive Entertainment has the golden touch. The company’s incredibly talented development studios have produced modern-day classics and are certainly on the verge of creating even more. Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studio, Sucker Punch Productions and a slew of other SIE’s first-party studios are known for developing the titles that make PlayStation a winning brand. With so many top-notch creators under its belt, Sony needs to reach out to them and task them with crafting an entirely new franchise. Japan Studio and San Diego Studio in particular have the potential to produce something new that gives the PS5 its very first original IP. We don’t care what genre this new franchise sticks to, as long as it’s great, we’ll be more than satisfied.

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Categories
Culture Gaming

6 Video Game Crossovers That Make Too Much Sense Not to Happen

Crossovers are a sensible—or even sometimes a nonsensical—mashup that has the potential to please two fanbases simultaneously. Pull it off in a blockbuster superhero movie with a well-established cinematic universe and watch the billions of dollars roll in. Produce a weird culinary concoction between two popular food franchises and prepare to see a whole lot of taste-testing videos. And combine the rosters of two wrestling companies and get ready to be in awe of a sellout crowd.

In the world of gaming, crossovers come a dime a dozen, and for the most part, they work like a charm. Fighting games have allowed us to pit Capcom’s world warriors against Marvel’s mutant superstars, see who’s more dominant in a war between the Mortal Kombat and DC universes and participate in a clash between Capcom’s best and Tatsunoku’s finest. Other games have done an awesome job of teaming up our favorite characters and throwing them into crossover experiences we’ve come to adore: Kingdom Hearts, Battletoads/Double Dragon and Project X Zone

Someday, we hope to play these dream crossover games.

1. ‘Devil May Cry’ x ‘Bayonetta’

If you happen to be a Devil May Cry fan, chances are high that you’re also fond of the Bayonetta series. Both franchises let you pull off flashy combos and drop corny one-liners during climactic clashes with supernatural beings. Dante and Bayonetta herself are iconic gaming protagonists who are pretty much mirrors of each other in every way. If Capcom and PlatinumGames ever decide to link up, their first priority should be a joint action game that combines the demon and angel hunting endeavors featured in Devil May Cry and Bayonetta.

2. ‘Wolfenstein’ x ‘DOOM’

The Nazis were practically obsessed with cases of the occult and black magic, right? What if they figured out a way to command the hordes of Hell and use them to win World War II? Could you possibly put an end to their hellish reign? Seems like an easy question to answer, if you’re Bethesda, with the first-person gorefest that gives the chance to run gun-first into battle with B.J. Blazkowicz and the Doom Slayer sounds like a recipe for disaster. And by disaster, we mean the “pull off sick headshots and melee kills” kind of disaster that’s always fun to play. This Wolfenstein x DOOM crossover is essentially a first-person shooter that 1980s/1990s babies and new generation gamers would equally enjoy.

3. ‘Guilty Gear’ x ‘BlazBlue’

So Arc System Works already tapped into the power of crossover fighting games with the release of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle. As a 2v2 team fighter, it gets the job done. The ever-growing roster features a bunch of fan favorites from the BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, RWBY and Arcana Heart franchises. But the one crossover fighter that we’ve been dying to see is a clash between the rosters of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. The rosters of both games are damn near identical, plus the likelihood of another classic 2v2 fighter from this mashup is high. Teaming up Sol Badguy with Ragna the Bloodedge and letting them hash out their issues with rivals Ky Kiske and Jin Kisaragi is a scenario we’d love to play out someday.

4. Lego x Nintendo

The Lego brand has practically worked with every other brand that matters. Whether it’s an extensive building set or a brand new platforming game, Lego has been tied to numerous franchises known the world over. We’ve gotten our fill of playing through Lego-ized renditions of familiar Marvel, DC and Star Wars adventures. The next logical step is to align Lego with another kid-friendly company: Nintendo. Blocky renditions of the Mushroom Kingdom, Planet Zebes and the Hyrule Kingdom sounds amazing, right? And exploring those popular Nintendo worlds and others like it with blocky versions of Mario, Samus and Link would make our day. 

5. ‘Shantae’ x ‘Shovel Knight’

There’s a reason why Shantae and Shovel Knight are highly requested as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC characters—they’re two equally endearing heroes that star in quality throwback platformers. But here’s an even better proposition: How about a game that combines the wild and wacky worlds of the half-genie hero and the armored savior? The one element that would make this dream game even better would be its art style, watching Shovel Knight come alive in a beautifully realized 16-bit world would do wonders for the man. Running around and hair whipping baddies while the famed Shovel Knight hops and bops close by sounds so enticing. The same can be said about the possibility of WayForward Technologies and Yacht Club Games working together in perfect harmony.

6. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ x ‘Freedom Planet’

Spend a few minutes playing Freedom Planet and this thought will immediately enter your head: “Man, this feels like a lost Sega Genesis game.” GalaxyTrail’s fast-paced platformer evokes memories of Sega’s 16-bit adventures thanks to its cast of anthropomorphic heroines and topsy-turvy stages. In a perfect world, Sonic and his pals would run at top speeds alongside Avalice’s saviors as they take on Doctor Eggman and Lord Brevon. Exploring colorful 16-bit worlds is always a good time. Those good times would upgrade to great times if we ever got to do them with Sonic, Tails and Knuckles and their newest allies Lilac and Carol. If this dream crossover game combined the best parts of Sonic Mania and Freedom Planet, then you’d have yourself the perfect throwback platformer.

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Categories
Culture Gaming

‘Super Mario Maker 2’ Craze: These 4 Game Franchises Should Build on the Trend

Thanks to RPG Maker, LittleBigPlanet and Dreams, the barrier to entering the world of game development has been lowered. Some of the most amazing creations within games that push players to produce their own content have come from amateur developers. Creators who just happen to be working out of their living rooms and basements could possibly be future development studio talent.


Over on the Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Maker 2 recently launched and built upon the solid foundation introduced by its predecessor. The Mushroom Kingdom and its many themed environments, gorgeous art styles, iconic power-ups and clever gimmicks have made way for a collection of cleverly designed stages. Nintendo’s marquee game creation tool is a winning formula with a replay value that is practically limitless.

With so many other gaming franchises out there, there’s a selective group of them that would fit right in with the game creation craze. Let’s all hope that the publishers who hold the keys to the kingdom for these icons make the smart decision to follow Super Mario Maker’s lead.

1. ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’
Sega
“Sonic Mania”

Sonic Mania was clear proof that the Blue Blur’s rabid fan base could create a quality 2-D Sonic game. The updated version of that passion project offered even more goodies for longtime fans, like the return of two obscure series characters and newly reworked stages. We’d love to see this whole “fan-made Sonic project” concept expanded upon with a custom game creation engine from Sega and Sonic Team.


Sonic the Hedgehog games have adopted 2-D sprites and 3-D visuals, plus they’ve introduced a swath of characters, catchy music, power-ups and boss scenarios. Getting access to the best of Sega’s platforming series and having the ability to produce our own side-scrolling adventures would be a smash hit. The possibilities are endless when the topic of a Sonic maker game comes to mind. It makes a whole lot of sense for Mario’s one-time rival to get a piece of the game creation pie.

2. ‘Mega Man’
Capcom
“Mega Man 11”

Anyone remember Mega Man Universe? If your memory is a bit fuzzy on this topic, allow us to bring you up to speed. Back in 2010, Capcom announced its plans to release a new Mega Man game. The biggest draw of this title was its custom creation mechanics that allowed fans to craft custom stages. Besides Mega Man himself, the game promised a roster full of other Capcom idols such as Ryu from Street Fighter and Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins. But once 2011 rolled around, news of Mega Man Universe’s cancelation arrived and greatly disappointed fans.


Ever since Mega Man 11 came out, it seems as though the Blue Bomber is back in the good graces of the company that birthed him. Now is the perfect opportunity to return to the Mega Man Universe concept and revive it for a modern audience. The art style for that game was admittedly ugly, so it’d make sense for Capcom to allow would-be stage creators to choose from a variety of art styles attached to the Mega Man franchise. It’d be even cooler if this dream game allowed fans to develop their own Robot Masters, which would be the ultimate icing on this Mega Man game creator cake.

3. ‘Bomberman’
Konami
“Bomberman 64”

The art of bombing other players while navigating maze-based stages has been mastered by Konami’s Bomberman franchise. The cutesy bomber who represents the series is a gaming icon, so it’s about time that he got to run around in his own game creator. The simple joys Bomberman is known for could get even better if they were placed in the hands of home game creators.


Producing our own custom mazes, utilizing 8-bit and 16-bit art styles and playing around with the whole Bomberman gang sounds so enticing. And who knows? Maybe there’s someone out there who can play around with the series’ main concept and create other game types within it. Could Bomberman find himself competing in a custom-created sport? Or quite possibly be placed within a side-scrolling setup? And how about access to the 3-D world exploration featured in Bomberman 64?

4. ‘The Legend of Zelda’
Nintendo
“Link’s Awakening”

How has this game creator idea not come to fruition yet? It’s pretty evident that The Legend of Zelda fan base is chomping at the bit for such a release—just take a look at the finely crafted levels within Super Mario Maker 2 that are inspired by the classic dungeon crawler. Sooner rather than later, Nintendo needs to tap into the enduring legacy of its green-tunic-wearing hero and give him the game creator treatment. 


This dream game creator would come with everything you’d expect: access to dungeon creation tools and the series’ massive collection of characters, weapons and music. The Legend of Zelda has several fan favorite visual styles to choose from. We’d be more than happy to see the visual styles of the original game, A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening and A Link Between Worlds get represented by a Zelda game creator. A bonus theme in the graphical style used for the Link’s Awakening remake may be asking for too much, but we’ll throw it out there anyway. Hope you’re listening, Nintendo.

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Categories
Culture Gaming

8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

The first six months of 2019 brought with it a number of amazing albums, quality films and pop-culture happenings that dominated everyone’s timelines. Gamers also got a piece of the action this year with the release of several games that lived up to the massive levels of hype attached to them. 

January marked the releases of the Resident Evil 2 remake and Kingdom Hearts III. February introduced Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, Apex Legends, Tetris 99 and Metro Exodus. March blessed us with Devil May Cry 5, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The following three months continued to be prosperous with the launches of Mortal Kombat 11, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, the Samurai Shodown reboot and Super Mario Maker 2.

Amid all those marquee titles were a slew of equally impressive games that may or may not have come across your gaming radar. If your backlog is nonexistent and you’re on the lookout for something fresh, then the following lineup of games should keep you busy. These eight underrated games most definitely deserve your attention.

1. ‘Wargroove’

For fans lamenting the lack of a new entry in the Advance Wars series, Chucklefish heard you loud and clear. The independent development studio delivered its own take on the turn-based tactics franchise with Wargroove. Chucklefish refined a familiar formula, gave it a beautiful pixel art sheen and made its story and battles are engaging. Wargroove’s ode to Nintendo’s strategic IP is a triumph—a feature-rich experience that maintains its appeal long after you’ve completed the single-player campaign. 

2. ‘Blood & Truth’

Virtual reality may not have taken hold of the mainstream gaming audience just yet, but it’s still delivering a multitude of worthwhile experiences that are pushing the platform closer and closer to more relevance. PlayStation 4’s VR headset happens to have one of the better experiences in that regard. If you’re looking to get tangled up in a fictional crime drama set in London, then look no further than Blood & Truth. This adventure is full of wild shootouts, outlandish leaps of faith and plenty of tense espionage work. And the best part of all? You’re performing all these actions from a first-person viewpoint that makes you feel like a total badass

3. ‘A Plague Tale: Innocence’

There aren’t a whole lot of games that touch on the plague that ravaged Europe in the mid-14th Century. A Plague Tale: Innocence offers an engrossing adventure that delves into such a dark historical period. You take control of a young woman named Amicia as she protects her sickly brother Hugo from a bevy of threats. The unique setting and time period gives this stealthy venture a flavor all its own and helps establish its dark themes. As you carefully maneuver through swarms of rats and evade vicious Inquisition soldiers, you’ll find yourself enthralled with the emotional highs and lows.

4. ‘World War Z’

A World War Z game in 2019 sounds like Walmart bargain bin material. It has everything working against it: It’s a licensed video game based on a book that got a mediocre theatrical release in 2013. But somehow, someway, Saber Interactive’s third-person co-op shooter is much better than expected. Gathering up four survivors to shoot down the rampaging undead in four global locations is always a good time. It’s especially fun and a bit nerve-wracking when a mountain of zombies appears on-screen for you to blast and hack to pieces. Valve may never give us a third Left 4 Dead, sadly, but at least World War Z fills the void for gamers looking for another engaging co-op zombie shooter.

5. ‘Katana ZERO’

Katana ZERO feels like a lost ’80s neo-noir film that ended up getting adapted for the small screen—and that’s part of the reason why it’s such an incredible action platformer. There are plenty more reasons to give it a full playthrough. The melee skills of the main character are incredibly fun to master, the plot is wonderfully told and the soundtrack is pretty damn impressive. If you’ve ever spent any time getting through the pixelated dangers present in Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi, then Katana ZERO will quickly become one of your go-to games for 2019.

6. ‘Observation’

Imagine this terrifying prospect: You’re stuck on a space station that has lost its crew. One of the last surviving members of the station’s personnel sets out to discover what happened to her fellow crew members and get to the bottom of this space mystery. The biggest twist of all, though? You’re not actually playing as the human survivor—you’re in control of the space station’s advanced AI. This clever premise presents a thrilling adventure that tells a gripping tale on par with classic films such as Interstellar and Gravity. Observation sucks you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.  

7. ‘Outer Wilds’

What we have here is another title that places you beyond the stars. Outer Wilds places you in the boots of an astronaut who’s smack dab in the middle of a mysterious solar system. You set out to uncover the many truths behind your current journey while a 22-minute expiration timer ticks down in the background. The local sun’s supernova repeatedly wipes you out, but the following retry gives you a chance to go even further than your last one. Outer Wilds does an admirable job of giving you even more reasons to progress on each subsequent playthrough and explore its vibrant galaxy.

8. ‘Judgment’

Sega’s Yakuza gameplay structure made for a great playable adaptation of the Fist of the North Star manga/anime. That same approach to open-world exploration and combat worked equally as well for Ryu Ga Gotoku’s latest spinoff, Judgment. The city of Kamurocho is in danger due to the presence of a mysterious serial killer. As a private detective, you set out to bring the killer to justice while dealing with angry gang members, hilarious side cases and hard-fought encounters. Getting to the bottom of big and small cases alike while exploring every corner of Kamurocho is infinitely fun. Judgment does right by the Yakuza series and is the perfect entry point for anyone who’s ever wanted to give the franchise a spin.

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