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  1. Whether you're making games from scratch or modding popular titles, creating your own games is a total blast. Our biggest games today came from hobbyists modding their favorites. This Unity for Black Friday can help you get started on your game making journey: The 2021 Premium Unity Game Developer Certification Bundle is on sale for only $6 when you use the code BFSAVE70. This bundle will teach you how to use Unity to create your very first game, no matter what genre you are interested in. This bundle will guide you through making battle royale games, 2D platformers, mobile games, and games that are powered by AI. Lessons on rendering and smoothing graphics, designing gameplay, and creating games without code are included. You'll even learn how to sell your games in app stores like Google Play. With over 100 hours included in the bundle, there is plenty of content to go through. With a 4.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, ZENVA is rated highly for those who want a beginner-friendly course that doesn't overwhelm. The 2021 Premium Unity Game Developer Certification Bundle is only $6 (reg. $3,400) with code BFSAVE70 during this Black Friday Sale. Price subject to change This content is from our partner StackCommerce. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site. View the full article
  2. It won't surprise you to hear that game development is hard. And in the ever growing games-as-a-service market, that development sometimes doesn't have an easily defined endpoint. You can see this in hero shooters--the larger ones continuously get new characters every season, forcing the developers to reevaluate the in-game meta and rebalance existing characters over and over again. But what about the new characters? Prior to releasing new playable characters, do developers try to balance them based on what the team perceives that character's role in the meta will be? Or is there some other consideration that governs their approach? Once again, it won't surprise you to learn that different studios have different strategies for how they attempt to balance their new hero characters prior to players getting their hands on them. The one common thing among them, however, is that they all agree it's a big challenge. Respawn, for example, aims to introduce new playable legends in Apex Legends as slightly too strong. It's a trend you can see across the battle royale game's Year 3 legends. Though Fuse did release in too weak a state, the same can't be said for Valkyrie, Seer, and Ash. Seer especially launched in a devastatingly overpowered state, and Respawn had to quickly nerf him within weeks of the start of Season 10: Emergence. Neither Valkyrie nor Ash launched in quite as unbalanced a state, but both characters did (and continue to) draw ire from the community for their powerful passive abilities. "You never really know how strong a character is before you release them to the public," Apex Legends designer Devin Weise told me over email. "We do our best to gather internal feedback, in addition to sessions where we bring in external players (like pros and content creators). We use all of the feedback to iterate on the character and gain an understanding of what tuning knobs we have and what effect is when we adjust those knobs. That gives an idea of how strong they are but there really is no substitute for getting the character in the hands of millions of players in a live environment." He continued: "With that said, we aim towards the stronger side of things for release. After the initial excitement of a character launch, when they are picked on almost every squad, a lot of players tend to go back to their previous favorites (or check out newly-buffed characters). If the new character is too weak, we end up with less data and less experience to guide our balancing decisions. I think the key is making sure the character is good at specific things and not everything. Too much versatility makes older characters feel obsolete and muddies our understanding of the character's identity within the roster." Ubisoft Montreal goes for a slightly different approach when it comes to Rainbow Six Siege, however. Like Respawn, getting feedback from a small pool of professional players and content creators ahead of a public release is still part of the developer's strategy. But instead of aiming for new operators to be slightly too strong at first to gather more data from the public, Ubisoft Montreal tries to get new characters to feel as balanced as possible before the public gets their hands on them, and even then, the character spends weeks on a public test server first to ensure no additional tweaks need to be made. "Our context is a bit different due to our asymmetric gameplay," Rainbow Six Siege associate game director Aurelie Debant said to me via email. Siege does represent a different kind of hero shooter. While most games in the genre--like Apex Legends, Valorant, Overwatch, and Battlefield 2042--have their characters available to pick regardless of what team you're playing on, Siege divides its characters into two separate camps: attackers and defenders. With that constraint in mind, Ubisoft Montreal needs to keep in mind how a new Siege operator will approach each map based on their role. A defender will always have allies who can help them be even more entrenched and protected for example, while an attacker will always have allies that can help them push forward even more aggressively. "We pay a lot of attention to player frustrations: frustration when playing as the operator, and frustration when playing against the operator," Debant said. "Fairness is a major component: in terms of the player, I must feel that I have the tools to act on the situations I encounter and when I fail, I need to identify what I could have done better. We must ensure all operators are fair, that none are underpowered and thus pointless to use and none are overpowered and thus dominate everything." She added: "This is the core to our philosophy. From the conception phase, we must ensure that we have enough balancing levers for each operator developed, including trade-offs, soft counters, and combos: Which operators could they combine with, and how? Which operator could they counter, and how? Which operators could they be countered by, and how? And we like to favor soft counters instead of hard counters, because soft counters create more gameplay opportunities and imply more skill than a hard counter." Riot Games doesn't even consider balance when first making a new character for Valorant. That aspect of making a new character is important, but worrying about balance comes after the team has clarified how the new agent is supposed to change the core loop of the game. This can create the need to spend a bit more time balancing a new agent in the weeks leading up to their release, as seen with Chamber--his release was delayed, to the point that Valorant Episode 3, Act 3 started without him. "When we first start designing new agents, we don't even think about balance," Valorant co-lead designer Max Grossman told me over email. "We spend months focusing on developing a unique core loop for the agent, usually centered around a single character defining ability (Jett's Dash, Killjoy's Turret, Reyna's Dismiss). The entire reason we even release new agents is to make players think about the game differently, whether they're playing as the agent, or against them." He continued: "We want to make sure that each agent delivers on a unique fantasy that adds new tactical challenges to the game. Once we do that, we have to ensure that every ability has reasonable counterplay to ensure the game stays healthy. After those elements are solidified, we focus on the nitty gritty details, tuning and tweaking abilities down to the millisecond." It's in those details, as well as the soft counters and hard counters for a character, where the most important aspect of balancing a character comes into play. There are two major considerations to a character's place in the in-game meta: a character's implied power and their actual power. A character can actually be well-balanced--even overpowered--but if their abilities don't feel strong, then players will complain that they feel underpowered. "This is a challenge we face almost daily--the way an agent feels to play against is definitely not correlated to their actual power," Grossman said. "Two agents that deal with this phenomenon in opposite ways are Breach and Sage. Breach has one of the lower winrates in Valorant, but players perpetually feel like he is overpowered. Sage, on the other hand, has one of the highest, but the community generally feels she is balanced (and potentially even underpowered)." Grossman added that he feels this is an issue with most hero shooters--a character will feel overpowered when they have abilities that don't afford opponents many opportunities to react to and counter. "This feeling is amplified when you are on the receiving end of very dangerous abilities with devastating effects, like Breach's Flashpoint," Grossman said. "Flashpoint has a really fast windup that is difficult to react to, and once you get hit, you are completely blind. On the other hand, Sage's Slow Orb takes time to travel and expand after hitting the ground, giving players plenty of time to get out of the zone. Even if you're standing in the zone, you can still fight back and use your abilities effectively." He continued: "Now here is where it gets tricky; for the sake of discussing an ability's 'strength,' whenever you use an ability, the more it increases your chance to win the round, the stronger it is. With this definition (and our internal data), Sage's Slow Orb ends up being a 'stronger' ability than Breach's Flashpoint. Breach's Flashpoint is still a powerful ability and it is actually more likely to lead to a kill than Sage's Slow Orb, but it is much more difficult to actually capitalize on the effects." It's a balancing act that all the studios I spoke to said will likely never be 100% right. Playtesting and player feedback can point the developers in the right direction, but it can then take months of time to adjust a character to a place where it feels right. And even once that's achieved, a different character down the line can mess up that in-game meta and force more reworks. Apex Legends has struggled in that space for a while with one of its oldest characters: Wattson, who has been in the battle royale game since Season 2: Battle Charge. She launched in a fairly strong state, quickly rising to be a regular pick for professional players alongside Pathfinder and Wraith. Despite this, casual players soon started complaining that Wattson felt underpowered. Which, from a certain standpoint, is true. As the game's only true defender, Wattson does not possess abilities geared towards dealing damage. She's a deterrent, a character who can construct a bunker that's difficult to breach. So despite being very strong, Wattson didn't actually feel all that strong to play in comparison to other legends who have more easily identifiable contributions to a team's success like healing, teleportation, poisonous gas, or an airstrike. "I think in an ideal world, a player would feel like their character is overpowered while the opponents feel like the character is fair," Weise said. "But power-level is only a part of the discussion when designing and balancing characters. Abilities should be satisfying to use, the character should have an interesting play pattern, and they should bring something unique to the squad. Making sure characters are fun to use is a focus point before and after we release a character." There were numbers to back up Wattson's place in the meta too as she has consistently had one of the highest win rates of any legend in the game. In June 2021, then-Respawn lead game designer Daniel Kleinout told players that her win rate was even outperforming Wraith. Wattson didn't need a buff, but it felt like she did (it likely didn't help that Wattson also suffered from substantial bugs in her ability kit for a few seasons, making her seem even more underpowered). So Respawn obliged the playerbase and decided to rebalance the character, implementing changes to Wattson at the start of Season 11: Escape. These adjustments didn't make her much stronger, but it now feels significantly more satisfying to use her abilities and that in turn changes the perception of how powerful she is. "While [Wattson] isn't picked very often compared to most of the roster, she performs extremely well in all skill brackets (including in Arenas)," Weise said. "So, the past couple seasons of meta changes were more focused on other characters who were less effective in addition to being infrequently picked. That gave us time to work on changes for Wattson that would improve the experience of playing her instead of just bumping up numbers to make her more enticing." Apex Legends and Valorant are in the first weeks of their new seasons, and Rainbow Six Siege is weeks away from heading into its next season. Apex Legends Season 11 saw the release of Ash, a hit-and-run specialist with abilities geared towards hunting, and Valorant Episode 3, Act 3 added Chamber, a sentinel character who can summon a powerful sniper rifle. Rainbow Six Siege High Calibre will add Thorn, a defender with explosive traps and a unique SMG. Remember: Enjoying games doesn't preclude you from remaining informed about the culture of where the developers behind these games work. In 2018, Riot was accused of having a boy's club "bro culture" environment, and then in January 2021, allegations were made against Riot CEO Nicolas Laurent that he had made unwanted sexual advances and harassed employees (an internal investigation of the company found nothing wrong with Laurent's behavior). Ubisoft is similarly in murky water, having been accused of fostering a "frat house" workplace--allegations that still haven't been adequately addressed by higher-ups at the company according to hundreds of past and present Ubisoft employees. View the full article
  3. Individuals, companies, and even governments are falling victim to ransomware and hackers, which is why a high-quality VPN that can help prevents intrusions, theft, and spying can be useful. For Black Friday, you can get the KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Subscription for just $20 (reg. $199). KeepSolid’s network of secure servers is located around the world, and users will get unlimited bandwidth and speed. KeepSolid states they have military-grade encryption, accessible P2P servers, and numerous VPN protocols, which should keep any spyware, malware, or viruses out of your devices.. The KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Subscription comes with licenses for up to 5 devices, and KeepSolid is compatible with iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, PC, and many other popular operating systems. You'll have access to KeepSolid's 24/7 customer support. This Black Friday deal won’t last forever though, so be sure to pick up KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Subscription for only $20 today and surf the internet with peace of mind. Price subject to change This content is from our partner StackCommerce. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site. View the full article
  4. Black Friday may be over, but Cyber Monday is just around the corner. Retailer Best Buy still has a bunch of great deals to take advantage of this weekend, including big discounts on games for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch, while big price cuts on flatscreen TVs, and headsets, and computer accessories can also be found here. See all deals at Best Buy Best Buy Cyber Monday game deals If games are the reason why you're here, then good news: Best Buy still has plenty of them available, with most of their Black Friday discounts still intact. Even with a few extra dollars added to it, Deathloop for $30 is still astounding value, while a few other games have been added to the sales list. NEO: The World Ends With You is down to $30, you can start working off that turkey supper with Ring Fit Adventure for $55, and Watch Dogs Legion is a well-priced trip to Old Blighty for just $15. Assassin's Creed Valhalla -- $20 ($60) Cyberpunk 2077 -- $30 ($60) Deathloop -- $30 ($60) Demon's Souls -- $40 ($70) Dragon Quest XI Definitive Edition -- $15 ($40) Far Cry 6 -- $40 ($60) FIFA 22 -- $28 ($60) Ghost of Tsushima Director's Cut -- $50 ($70) Guardians of the Galaxy -- $30 ($60) Hitman 3 -- $20 ($40) Immortals Fenyx Rising -- $15 ($60) The Last of Us Part II -- $20 ($40) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- $40 ($60) Madden NFL 22 -- $28 ($60) Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle -- $15 ($60) Marvel's Avengers -- $15 ($40) Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales -- $30 ($50) Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Launch Edition -- $50 ($70) NBA 2K22 -- $40 ($70) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe -- $40 ($60) NEO: The World Ends With You -- $30 ($60) NHL 22 -- $28 ($60) Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart -- $50 ($70) Red Dead Redemption 2 -- $20 ($60) Riders Republic -- $30 ($60) Ring Fit Adventure -- $55 ($80) Super Mario Maker 2 -- $40 ($60) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 -- $20 ($40) Watch Dogs Legion --$15 ($60) Other gaming deals Arcade1Up: Ms Pac-Man and Galaga -- $530 ($600) Arcade1Up: Turtles in Time -- $600 ($700) Arcade1Up: Street Fighter II -- $500 ($600) Astro A40 Wired Headset -- $200 ($250) Corsair Pro Gaming Bundle 2021 Edition -- $100 ($150) Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 -- $100 ($170) HyperX Cloud Alpha Pro -- $60 ($100) Logitech G502 Hero -- $40 ($50) PS Plus 12 month subscription -- $40 ($60) Xbox Game Pass 3 Month subscription for PC -- $30 ($45) Razer Huntsman Elite -- $130 ($200) Razer Kishi for Android -- $60 ($100) Razer Kraken Chroma RGB -- $60 ($130) Razer Nari Ultimate Wireless -- $120 ($200) Razer Wolverine Ultimate -- $100 ($160) Seagate 2TB Game Drive for PlayStation -- $70 ($92) Seagate 2TB Game Drive for Xbox -- $70 ($92) SteelSeries Ultimate Gaming Bundle -- $140 ($200) Turtle Beach Recon wired controller for Xbox -- $45 ($60) Turtle Beach Recon 200 headset -- $45 ($60) WD Black 1TB NVMe SSD -- $150 ($230) Best Cyber Monday TV deals at Best Buy Televisions are still in stock at Best Buy for reduced prices, with big name brands like LG, Samsung, and Sony in the mix. You can't beat an OLED display when it comes to video games, so grab the best one for your home right now while you still have a chance. Our top pick is the LG C1 OLED TV, which will make your favorite games look amazing. Insignia 55-inch 4K Smart Fire TV -- $300 ($500) LG 65-inch Class C1 4K OLED Smart webOS TV -- $1,800 ($2,100) Samsung 70-inch 4K Crystal Smart Tizen TV -- $600 ($750) Samsung 75-inch Neo QLED 4K Smart Tizen TV -- $1,900 ($2,800) Sony 65-inch Bravia XR 4K Smart Google TV -- $1,200 ($1,500) Sony 65-inch Bravia XR A80J 4K Smart Google TV -- $1,800 ($2,300) Sony 65-inch Bravia XR 4K A8H Smart Google TV -- $1,800 ($2,500) LG 70-inch 4K Smart TV -- $750 ($1,200) Best Cyber Monday laptop and monitor deals at Best Buy There aren't any heavy-duty gaming laptop deals left for Cyber Monday, but there are a few handy upgrade options available. The Samsung Odyssey CRG5 27-inch curved monitor--a Best Buy exclusive--is still on sale for $250. Dell 27-inch IPS gaming monitor -- $330 ($450) Lenovo Yoga 9i 2-in-1 -- $1,350 ($1,750) LG UltraGear 27-inch monitor -- $200 ($330) Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 -- Starting at $900 Microsoft Surface Laptop Go -- $550 ($700) Samsung Odyssey CRG5 27-inch curved gaming monitor -- $250 ($400) Other notable Cyber Monday deals at Best Buy A few other deals can be found floating around on Best Buy, so if you're looking to do some quick Christmas shopping then scope this list out. Sony's brilliant WH-1000XM4 headphones would make a particularly brilliant gift, thanks to the superb noise-canceling functionality that not even a Mariah Carey Christmas jingle can penetrate. Samsung 7.1-Channel Soundbar -- $280 ($500) Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Headphones -- $170 ($350) Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones -- $248 ($350) Jabra Elite 75t Bluetooth Earbuds -- $80 ($150) Arlo Pro 4 Security Bundle -- $400 ($600) iRobot Roomba i7+ -- $550 ($800) Apple TV 4K 32GB -- $120 ($160) View the full article
  5. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have brought tons of deals on games, including JRPGs. If you're an RPG fan looking for discounts on some games that will keep you busy throughout the winter months, you've come to the right place. This year's highlight deals range from new releases to ever-popular classics. Scarlet Nexus, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, and Tales of Arise are currently on sale, even though they only came out a few months ago. In fact, NEO: The World Ends With You is only $15! You can also grab a variety of Nintendo Switch exclusives for less, including Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. While they aren't technically JRPGs, there are multiple Zelda games available at nice discounts. Best JRPGs on sale right now Astral Chain (Digital) -- $40 ($60) Bravely Default II -- $25 ($60) Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny -- $40 ($60) Final Fantasy VII Remake -- $25 ($60) Final Fantasy X X-2 HD Remaster -- $20 ($40) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age -- $19 ($40) Fire Emblem: Three Houses -- $35 ($60) Kingdom Hearts All-in-One Package -- $20 ($40) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Digital) -- $40 ($60) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- $35 ($60) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD -- $50 ($60) NEO: The World Ends with You -- $15 ($60) Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince's Edition -- $40 ($60) Monster Hunter Rise -- $25 ($40) Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin -- $40 ($60) Persona 5 Royal -- $25 ($60) Persona 5 Strikers -- $30 ($60) Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX -- $45 ($55) Pokemon Shield -- $45 ($60) Pokemon Sword -- $45 ($60) Scarlet Nexus -- $25 ($60) Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster -- $20 ($40) Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town -- $30 ($40) Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town -- $30 ($40) Tales of Arise -- $40 ($60) Trials of Mana -- $28 ($40) Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition -- $40 ($60) Ys IX: Monstrum Nox -- $40 ($60) Interested in other great deals? Check our extensive lists for Nintendo Switch Black Friday deals, PlayStation Black Friday deals, and Xbox Black Friday deals. View the full article
  6. There might be something new coming to Returnal in the near future. Housemarque teased an image of some sort of rock creature, saying, "Atropos...?" which is the name of the planet that Returnal takes place on. Housemarque senior narrative designer Eevi Korhonen retweeted the studio's teaser and said, "We filmed something really amazing today. Hope we get to share more soon!" This is possibly going to be new content or DLC for Returnal, as the rock creature doesn't seem to be seen anywhere in the main game. For now, we're left waiting to hear more. Returnal has seen a few updates since it launched exclusively for PlayStation 5 back in April. Patch 1.4.0 was released in June, helping balance the game's difficulty and fix some bugs. The latest 2.0 update came out last month and added the ability for players to suspend their progress when closing the game and shutting down their PlayStation 5 system. A new photo mode was included as well. Housemarque is also now part of the PlayStation Studios family after Sony acquired the developer back in June. In GameSpot's Returnal review, Mike Epstein wrote, "Returnal is constantly unsettling and consistently challenging. Its mysterious story and demanding action feel intense, urgent, and fresh. The fast-moving combat manages to appear incredibly daunting, bordering on overwhelming, without ever actually becoming insurmountable." View the full article
  7. Fortnite lore is a bit difficult to get caught up with. Across many seasons and even more story arcs within those seasons, the Fortnite islands have seen more than their fair share of cataclysms, catastrophes, and, well, cats. We won't blame you if you need a refresher on who's who in the Fortnite lore universe. Admittedly, even writing this was a good reminder for us too. Below you'll find a countdown of the major characters in Fortnite lore. As Epic loves to drip-feed its big reveals, we'll update this story as needed--for example, as we meet more of the mysterious Seven or we're introduced to more of the Imagined Order chain of command. For now, here are the 10 most important characters in Fortnite lore so far. 10. The Prisoner If theories prove true, The Prisoner would be the fifth member of The Seven who we've met.We're reserving this tenth spot on the list for The Prisoner, who may actually be one of The Seven, a secretive group that seems to be at war with the Imagined Order (IO) for control of the Zero Point and thus the Fortnite island. The Prisoner was held captive in Polar Peak by the Ice King in Chapter 1, Season 7, before the icy mountain melted and allowed The Prisoner to escape. He later formed a volcano, burning down parts of Athena, before he was never seen again. That is, at least, until his photo appeared alongside confirmed members of The Seven in The Bridge, the facility that houses the Zero Point. Whoever put up the corkboard and decorated it with clues seems to think The Prisoner is a member of The Seven, and judging by his helmet, they may be correct. 9. Midas The man with the supposedly golden touch merely turned everything wet in Chapter 2, Season 3.As the leader of GHOST, an apparent paramilitary and espionage branch of the IO, Midas took on a huge role at the start of Chapter 2, becoming the focal point of the story for almost a year. His actions have led to sweeping changes in the Fortnite omniverse, like when he tried to break through the Storm and ended up causing a major tsunami that flooded the entire island for Fortnite Chapter 2, Season 3. He was clearly given a lot of power within GHOST, though his actions regarding the Storm don't seem to have been sanctioned by the IO, as they could've threatened the stability of the Zero Point. Thus, Midas seems to have defected to SHADOW just before initiating his Device, which would go on to introduce some of the island's biggest changes ever. 8. Raz In the end, Raz seems to have been a power-hungry pawn.We only saw Raz for one season, but he left his mark on the Fortnite world more than many characters ever do. As a member of some sort of cube-worshipping cult, Raz sought to wield the exposed Zero Point's powers for his own mysterious gains in Chapter 2, Season 6, but in working in close proximity with the cubes' dark energy, he became infected by it, and ended up screwing with the Zero Point to the extent that he essentially pinged the island of Apollo on the map for The Last Reality, Fortnite's alien faction, to invade. They did just that, which later led to the catastrophic cube war. The question remains, however, was Raz revealing the location of Apollo precisely what the sentient cubes wanted all along? 7. The Cube Queen This destroyer of realities has set her sights on Apollo.The newest character on this list also seems to be the most dastardly. The Cube Queen arrived during Chapter 2, Season 8, beckoned by Raz two seasons earlier. She appears to be the leader of both The Last Reality and, thus, the cubes themselves, though it's unknown whether that's a role she claimed or was assigned through some sort of indoctrination the likes of which Raz suffered. The Cube Queen is said to have destroyed "countless realities" before, like the leader of some sort of interdimensional invasive species. A single cube (nicknamed Kevin by the community), was presumably sent by the Queen in Chapter 1, Season 5 and nearly destroyed the island a season later. At the time of writing, she appears set to claim Apollo as her next trophy, now armed with a full-on cube army. 6. The Paradigm Some fans suspect The Paradigm and Singularity are the same person.We know very little about The Paradigm so far, but what we do know cements her as critical to the overall Fortnite mythos. She is one of only four confirmed members of The Seven, the game's mysterious group of masked characters that look sort of like Fortnite original superheroes. How much power they wield is not yet known, but we know The Paradigm and her allies are diametrically opposed to the Imagined Order, seemingly because they each intend to grapple with the Zero Point, yet they must have different methods of doing so. The Imagined Order has essentially cast out The Paradigm and those like her, but we may be heading toward their reassembly and take-back of the Zero Point in time. 5. The Scientist The Scientist created the Black Hole which swallowed Athena.Another confirmed member of The Seven, The Scientist had a direct hand in how Chapter 1 ended. When the Zero Point on Athena was vulnerable in Season X, The Scientist arrived to engage with the Zero Point, though his motives remain unclear. Using a complex system of rockets and rifts, The Scientist detonated a rocket directly onto the Zero Point, which resulted in the Black Hole that swallowed all of Athena, spitting it back out later as the renewed Apollo. It appears this drastic measure was the only viable solution to saving the exposed Zero Point, which previously rested safely deep below Loot Lake. Without his efforts, the omniverse may have ended forever--or was that actually his plan? 4. The Visitor When The Visitor arrived, Fortnite lore changed forever.The Visitor was the first member of The Seven we met in the Fortnite storyline, way back when he crashed onto the island in a metal capsule of some sort embedded within a meteor in Chapter 1, Season 3. He quickly went to work and built a rocket, then launched it into the sky which led to Fortnite's first live lore event, Blast Off, in 2018. His intentions with the rocket remain murky at best, but one theory is that he was signaling for the rest of The Seven, so they could reach Athena and possibly take it back from IO control. He later reappeared in Season X, bringing The Scientist with him, and was, until recently, regarded as the assumed leader of The Seven, but that's a role we now know belongs to... 3. The Foundation Do you smell what The Foundation is cookin'?The Foundation is all over Fortnite lore, especially lately, and the fact that he's voiced by Dwayne Johnson tells us Epic has big plans for this fourth confirmed member of The Seven. You'd need to have read the Batman/Fortnite: Foundation one-shot comic to be totally caught up with his goings-on, but here are the spark notes: The Foundation arrived during the Zero Crisis Finale in Chapter 2, Season 6, and after a brief altercation with Jonesy, decided to help fix the Zero Point in exchange for information on the whereabouts of Genō and The Sisters, whose identities remain secrets to this very day. The Foundation was stuck inside the Zero Point, holding it together like Atlas, until he was blasted out of it during the alien invasion and sent flying into Gotham (yes, that Gotham) where he worked with Batman to get back to Apollo. The last we saw of him, The Foundation had made it back to Apollo and is now searching for Jonesy. He also helpfully explained his mission--to Batman of all people--saying, "I lead a group... The Seven. Our goal is to stop The Order, liberate The Zero Point, and destroy The Loop." Why? We're not sure yet. 2. Doctor Slone For Slone, the end always justifies the means.Slone has made a name for herself by being the ruthless leader of the IO--or at least the highest-ranking member we've met so far. Her ruthlessness is not in question, anyway. She first appeared in Chapter 2, Season 7, and recruited loopers (players) in fighting back against the invasion of The Last Reality. But she would later betray them when she left loopers to die in the blast zone of the bomb they helped sneak onboard the alien Mothership. Her betrayal didn't go entirely to plan though, as the cubes awakened and took over Apollo, saving some loopers, but leading to the Chapter 2 finale. Slone's history is hinted at throughout Fortnite, including an unlockable loading screen that depicts the lifelong training she underwent in order to get her to where she is today. While we don't yet know whether she answers to anyone higher than herself, we do know she looks to remain pivotal in the Fortnite storyline for a long time to come, as she is directly tangled up in the web of intrigue that surrounds The Seven and the Imagined Order. 1. John Jones As goes Jonesy, so goes the entire Fortnite storyline.John Jones AKA Agent Jones AKA, most famously, Jonesy, is the protagonist of Fortnite. It's through his eyes and Troy Baker-voiced words that we experience much of the Fortnite story. Jones was a member of the Imagined Order who was sent to repair the Zero Point in Chapter 2, and to that end, he recruited many of the omniverse's greatest hunters to help protect it, such as Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, and The Mandalorian. When he was unable to protect it, Jones defied his IO commands and contacted The Seven in the desperate hope that they might save reality. The IO wasn't ready to do such a thing as it would re-ignite the struggle between the two sides, so Jones ditched them for what he saw as the greater good. With The Foundation's help, Jones was able to protect the Zero Point, at least for a while. Throughout Fortnite, we've seen Jones reappear as various "snapshots," or alternate versions of himself. When players loop back onto the island and fight for or against the Zero Point, (the in-universe justification for rounds of battle royale), they can often come back changed. The many faces that Jonesy wears are thus alternate versions of the same hero, whether he's dressed like a cabbie, a cow, or like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. Jones is caught squarely in the middle of the feud between the IO and The Seven, and his story is not nearly complete just yet. In all likelihood, Jones will remain at the heart of everything Fortnite for years to come--no matter how he's dressed. View the full article
  8. Fortnite Chapter 3 is, by all accounts, just around the corner. Even though Epic hasn't officially confirmed Chapter 3 by name, we do know Chapter 2 ends on December 4, and it's safe to assume a new chapter with a new island awaits us on the other side. Epic's latest tweet seems to wink at players holding out for more clues as to what lies ahead, and the potential for a brand-new island looks strong. In fact, we may already be looking at it. Epic's tweeted tease includes an image of Chapter 2's map, but its accompanied caption is the first sign since the announcement of the Chapter 2 finale that what's coming on the other side of that battle with the Cube Queen may be a whole new world, much like we saw when Fortnite moved into Chapter 2 in 2019. Back then, Epic sent off the original island, named Athena, in favor of the current island, Apollo, adding things like fishing, vehicles, and NPCs as the chapter went on for the two years since. According to rumors, the next island is to be named Artemis, and while we're actively investigating the mythological significance behind these naming conventions, it's also worth noting that some players think the Chapter 3 map has already leaked. A fan-made sketch of an island "concept" is being passed around online and rumored to actually be a leak. Sometimes it's the case, with Fortnite and probably other games too, where legitimate leaks are sent out as "concepts" or "theories" so as not to burn insider contacts. That's possibly what's happening with this elaborate drawing of an island that would seem to fit the Fortnite mold, though that certainly doesn't mean it's a confirmed leak either. The map features mostly brand-new named places of interest, though in traditional Fortnite fashion, also reimagines past locations such as Pleasant Park, which has been featured in nearly all 18 seasons of Fortnite so far, and Tilted Towers, which Epic has never stopped teasing in the two years since it disappeared. Different biomes and long PUBG-like bridges make sense too, but bear in mind these ideas could just be coming from a fan who has a good understanding of the way Epic designs its maps. It's worth noting, however, that the same user who designed the concept based on an early Epic rendition now says the Chapter 3 map looks different, though added that some POIs and all biomes are expected to appear in the final version. While Fortnite leaks come nearly as often as sunrises, we won't need to wait long until Chapter 3 begins and we can see the new island for ourselves. The Chapter 2 finale begins on December 4 at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET. You can queue into the playlist for The End with up to 15 others as early as 30 minutes beforehand to reserve your virtual seat for the show. It's expected to be one of the biggest spectacles we've ever seen in Fortnite, so don't miss it. View the full article
  9. Fortnite has added Nick Fury this holiday, bringing yet another Marvel hero to battle royale as part of Epic's years-long agreement with the company to sprinkle in new heroes routinely. The burgeoning metaverse has already seen most of the Avengers arrive, and now their S.H.I.E.L.D. recruiter has dropped in as well. Here's everything that comes in the Fortnite Nick Fury set. Fortnite Nick Fury skin Nick Fury comes alongside a full set of cosmetics. Bundled with the character no matter what is his F.I.E.L.D. back bling, while an additional pickaxe and glider are available as well. If you buy the Nick Fury bundle, you'll also get an exclusive loading screen that features Fury's famous VTOL. By name, the Nick Fury bundle includes: Nick Fury skin F.I.E.L.D. Pack back bling Director's Scythe pickaxe First Strike Infiltration glider Quinjets In Flight loading screen Now you can recruit the recruiter.Like most of Fortnite's Marvel skins, the hero is modeled loosely on his MCU counterpart, but it's not meant to be Samuel L. Jackson. Instead, Fury is the latest Marvel character to bring an original look to the game, always familiar but rarely identical, which allows Epic to establish its own canon in the Fortnite world. After all, every character that comes to the game is an official part of the canon, so yeah, in the grand Fortnite universe, Iron Man, Naruto, and Ariana Grande all know each other. They maybe even sling back pancakes at the Butter Barn on occasion. Nick Fury will likely be in the Item Shop for a few days, though Epic doesn't tend to say when its characters will cycle out, so jump on him soon if you want him, or wait til he rotates back in weeks or months later. In case you missed it, Fortnite Chapter 2 is coming to an end--or rather, The End. View the full article
  10. If you've ever wanted to make your own games, you'll need experience in a programming language and a graphics engine. This Black Friday bundle deal can get you started on both, with The Unreal & Unity Game Development for Beginners Bundle available for $9 (reg. $1,200) after you use the code BFSAVE70. The Unreal game engine has been around for 25 years, and has become one of the top engine choices for game developers. Unreal is a mainstay in the gaming community for its graphical power and visual scripting. Taught by ZENVA Academy, the lessons on Unreal will cover all you need to know to get started, even if you have never coded before. Useful for games on both PCs and smartphones, Unity has flexibility and ease of use that beginners and indie developers should find welcoming. This bundle will take you through the steps of scripting in C# to create all the components that you'll need in Unity, and by the end, you'll have more than 20 mini-projects of your own to use in your portfolio. Taught by developer Raja Biswas, the founder of Charger Games, the course teaches you the ins and outs of Unity. Grab The Unreal & Unity Game Development for Beginners Bundle today and get going on the dream game that you've always wanted to make. Just $9 when you use the code BFSAVE70. Price subject to change This content is from our partner StackCommerce. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site. View the full article
  11. Nier Replicant is a fantastic upgraded version of the original 2010 Nier, with much-improved visuals, better combat, and extra story content that fits more in line with the creators' original vision. It's currently available at Amazon for just $30--at least for the Xbox version--and it's fully compatible with the Xbox Series X, as well. See at Amazon Taking place before Nier: Automata, which became an unexpected success and retroactively ignited interest in writer-director Yoko Taro's earlier work, Nier Replicant is a sci-fi action-RPG that takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth ravaged by a mysterious plague. Already on the verge of complete collapse, civilization is threatened by shadowy creatures who may hold the secret to humanity's past. Its story was acclaimed at launch in 2010, but the new version includes much better combat that will feel familiar to those who played Automata. It retains composer Keiichi Okabe's incredible music. Nier's North American release originally included an older protagonist and was known in Japan as Nier Gestalt. With the remaster, it's the first time a Western audience has been able to play as the younger character, though almost all story elements are retained between the two versions. If you're a fan of Automata, the game is an absolutely essential addition to your collection. View the full article
  12. Destiny 2's favorite Exotic arms dealer is back for another weekend, and while the agent of the Nine isn't hosting a Black Friday sale on his wares, he still has an assortment of gear to offer. With Trials of Osiris, upcoming Anniversary celebrations, and the Dawning around the corner, now's a great time to stock up on any weapons and armor that might be missing from your arsenal. While we don't know where Xur is exactly or what he's selling this weekend, we'll update this post as soon as we have those details. Xur usually hangs around the European Dead Zone, Nessus, or the Tower hangar, and he'll be active in one of those areas from November 26 - 30. Alongside changes in his location every week, Xur's inventory is also refreshed on a weekly basis. That means it's worth visiting him each time to check out his new weapons and rolls on Exotic and Legendary armor. You can visit him any time between his arrival Friday and the weekly reset at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET the following Tuesday when Xur exits the solar system. View the full article
  13. If you haven't picked up Battlefield 2042 yet, now's your chance to grab it for less on Black Friday. The newly released online multiplayer shooter is on sale for $47 at Walmart. This deal is available for the PS5, PS4, and Xbox physical editions of Battlefield 2042. This is the first significant discount we've seen on Battlefield 2042 since it launched last week. It's just one of the many great game deals available for Black Friday. See at Walmart Battlefield 2042 is a multiplayer-only shooter that has a lot to love, even if it's still a tad rough around the edges at the moment. Portal allows you to take a trip down memory lane to revisit popular content from the franchise's history as well as create your own custom game modes with the included editor. Battlefield 2042 has large, sprawling maps and a nice variety of game variants, including Hazard Zone, which implements some of the key ideas from the battle royale formula. It earned a 7/10 in our Battlefield 2042 review. "What's really impressive in Battlefield 2042 is the variety that's on offer," GameSpot senior writer Phil Hornshaw wrote. "It lets you play a bunch of different kinds of FPS experiences--in different game modes, in different Portal rule sets, and even in the same match as you switch between characters." View the full article
  14. The weekly Bungie posts have been hefty leading up to the Bungie 30th Anniversary event, which brings tons of new updates. Just this month, the This Week At Bungie posts have gone over grenade and melee abilities regeneration and Super cooldowns, but another important part of the upcoming update is weapons and mods. A recent TWAB listed changes coming to weapons in player-vs-environment and player-vs-player modes. In PvE, slug Shotguns will have their damage reduced by 10%, while pellet Shotguns get a 10% increase. Linear Fusion Rifles are the go-to weapon currently for damage against large enemies and bosses because of the Particle Deconstruction mod from the Seasonal artifact. Linear Fusion Rifles will become more powerful with a 10% damage increase in PvE. Bows will do an extra 10% damage against rank-and-file enemies, which are basic red bar enemies. Lastly, Fusion Rifles and Sidearm will have increased projectile speed, and Caster Swords will have a reduced ammo cost of 5 instead of 8. Exotic Weapons Changes to Exotic weapons will revitalize older weapons that players rarely use and fine-tune some newer ones. A total of 14 Exotic weapons will see changes, including this season's Lorentz Driver. Lorentz Driver Removed ability energy regeneration when picking up telemetry. Dead Man's Tale This weapon will get a significant buff to make the weapon tuned for a console. The Scout rifle will have increased reticle friction falloff distance. It will have less recoil and improved accuracy, note that this will have a reduced effect on mouse and keyboard. Vex Mythoclast Aim Assist will decrease stat by 25, and Aim Assist will decrease for the Linear Fusion Rifle mode too. It will also need 3 eliminations for full Overcharge instead of 2. Sleeper Simulant PvE damage will increase by 6%, and magazine size will be 4 instead of 3. Heir Apparent Catalyst The catalyst will have reduced damage resistance against players in PvP by 50%. Arbalest Will have Anti-Barrier as an intrinsic perk. Malfeasance Explosion damage increased by 50%. Whisper of the Worm Tuned so players can use it in short damage phases. Damage is increased by 10% in PvE, and the Whispering Breath catalyst has a reduced delay. The White Nail magazine will refill 2 from inventory and 1 from thin air. Suros Regime Dual Mode Receiver will have a +30 range and +3 zoom. D.A.R.C.I. The sniper will have reduced flinch, recoil, and accuracy degradation by 50% when Personal Assistant is active. Also, the damage will increase by 50% in PvE. Traveler’s Chosen It will grant 10% ability energy per stack on activation and reduce stacks granted on a Guardian defeat from 3 to 2. Cryosthesia 77K Variable Trigger will be removed. Also, Charged Shot will move special reload, and revert back to Sidearm mode after firing a Charged Shot. Leviathan's Breath This heavy ammo bow's catalyst will have an additional perk called Archer's Tempo. Fighting Lion There will be no multi-hit requirement, and it will have an increased reload stat. Weapon Perks and Mods Weapon perks and mods will also see changes in the December 7 update. Weapon perk Adrenaline Junkie will have a shorter duration. Defeating enemies with weapons with this perk will add a bonus damage stack or extend the active one, and landing a grenade kill immediately increases the number of damage stacks to five. The Vorpal Weapon perk currently boosts weapon damage by 15% against bosses and players using their Supers. Starting in December, heavy weapons with the perk will get a 10% damage bonus, special will get 15%, and primary weapons will get 20%. It used to be 15% across the board. The Whirlwind Blade perk for Swords, which increases damage as you string rapid attacks against enemies, will require more attacks to reach its full damage potential. After the update, you'll need 10 damage stacks to reach maximum damage, rather than 5. Also, the Pulse Monitor perk will activate from 90% health and 30% shield instead of activating when your health is much lower. Legendary weapon mod Quick Access Sling will have a consistent .9 ready/stow time. With the December update, Bungie is also adding an accessibility option called Full Auto Retrofit. The new option will enable fully automatic fire when holding the trigger on Legendary Sidearms, Hand Cannons, Scout Rifles, and Pulse Rifles. The Bungie 30th Anniversary is an event DLC that begins on December 7. View the full article
  15. A good gaming desk can be both functional and stylish, and with Black Friday here, deals on cutting-edge slabs of horizontal storage for your gaming rigs have gone live. We've rounded up the best Black Friday gaming desk deals that we've seen so far. For more PC gaming deals, check out our roundups of the best gaming monitor and best gaming laptop deals. If you opt for the Secretlab Magnus, make sure to take a peek at our Black Friday gaming chair deals, which features the new 2022 Titan Evo Series from Secretlab. View the full article
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