Red Dead Online’s battle royale mode is quiet and intense (and needs its own playlist)

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Red Dead Online’s battle royale mode is quiet and intense (and needs its own playlist)

Red Dead Online launched in beta on Tuesday, letting Red Dead Redemption 2 players explore the Wild West together. There’s an entirely separate story to discover, missions you can tackle as a posse, and a chance to rub elbows with other players — or shoot them in the face — as you freely roam the world.

There’s also a series of more traditional competitive multiplayer modes called the Showdown Series. Right now, that exists as a trio of playlists, a rotating set of modes that includes traditional deathmatch, team deathmatch and control point game types. There’s also a separate horse racing playlist.

This week’s Nintendo eShop update is the quiet before the storm

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This week’s Nintendo eShop update is the quiet before the storm

This week’s Nintendo eShop update is light on new Switch games, filled mostly with ports and smaller titles. The reason seems obvious: Arguably the biggest Nintendo Switch game of the year is out next week — it’s called Super Smash Bros. Ultimate — and at this point, it’s probably best to just stay out of its way.

There’s at least one notable newbie: Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is out Dec. 4, about a month after its originally scheduled release date. It’s the latest attempt at reviving Sega’s classic platforming series Wonder Boy. DotEmu published a remake of Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap last year, and Monster Boy also draws upon that old game. First announced in 2015, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is considered the first canonical entry in the Wonder Boy franchise since 1994, when its last game launched.

What Laser League’s launch tells us about Xbox Game Pass’ future

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What Laser League’s launch tells us about Xbox Game Pass’ future

In Laser League, teams of players activate neon-colored laser barriers and use them to trap or wipe out opponents on a futuristic playing field. It has no single-player component. This is the kind of video game that depends on large numbers of players, as opposed to buyers, on the very first day if it’s going to be worth anyone’s attention. That kind of problem isn’t solved simply by throwing more marketing money at it.

Not that Tim Woodley, the senior executive for global branding at publisher 505 Games, had a lot of money to throw around in the first place. That’s where Xbox Game Pass came in, and that’s why launching on that all-you-can-eat subscription service made sense, even when the game was going on sale the same day at $15.

The Nintendo Creators Program draws to a close this December

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The Nintendo Creators Program draws to a close this December

Nintendo has announced an end to its controversial Creators Program. The company announced the news via Twitter, along with a brief statement that states that the program will come to a close by the end of December. Nintendo also states the reason they are ending the Nintendo Creators Program is to “make it easier for content creators to make and monetize videos that contain Nintendo game content.”

The system is no longer accepting new videos and channels, nor will Nintendo review any remaining in the queue. Creators can continue “showing their passion for Nintendo” by following the company’s guidelines, which were updated along with today’s announcement.

Fallout 76’s $199 Power Armor edition wasn’t what buyers were promised

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Fallout 76’s $199 Power Armor edition wasn’t what buyers were promised

Bethesda originally advertised a “canvas West Tek duffel bag” as one of the items that would come with the $199.99 Power Armor Edition of Fallout 76, but fans were surprised by the quality of the item that ended up shipping with the final product.

“Basically people who bought the collector’s edition were given a cheap nylon bag to house the Power Armor helmet that doesn’t match the product description or the image of a ‘West Tek canvas carrying bag,’” an individual wrote on Reddit. “In the product listing to this day, it still says it’s a canvas bag and it even looks completely different to what was delivered.”

Tumblr’s top ships of 2018 paint a picture of a community in constant debate

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Tumblr’s top ships of 2018 paint a picture of a community in constant debate

Tumblr buzz-tracker Fandometrics released its Year in Review stats today, showing off the top shows, movies and other media that the community’s been talking about all year. One of the highlights from the Year in Review is the Top 100 Ships — the top romantic pairings posted, liked and reposted by Tumblr denizens. But while a Top 100 list may appear to just show off what’s popular, examining it more closely reveals deeper undertones of the fandom debate that populates Tumblr. In addition to the heated conversations regarding some of the most popular fictional pairings, there’s a more macro-conversation of the validity of the Real People pairings that trickle in on the list. A simple list of popular ships is a reminder that when it comes to shipping, nothing is really that simple.

The rankings are based on how many posts were created under specific tags, how often those tags were searched for, and how many times those tagged posts were liked and reblogged. Based on those metrics, the number one ship of the year comes from Voltorn: Legendary Defenders and its the ever-popular (and ever-contentious) Klance: Keith and Lance.

Popular Japanese mascot Chiitan does her best to recreate Just Cause 4

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Popular Japanese mascot Chiitan does her best to recreate Just Cause 4

Loveable Japanese mascot Chiitan has gained viral fame from a strange amalgamation of adorable looks and Jackass-type antics on YouTube and Instagram. A baby fairy otter with a turtle for a hat, Chiitan represents the city of Susaki in Japan’s Shikoku region while also serving on Tokyo’s tourism board. But that’s not what she’s primarily known for. Chiitan is mystifying — she exudes cuteness in everything she does, even in the face of utter disaster. She’s often seen furiously punching balloons, flipping over a car, attempting to use stilts or beating inanimate objects until she falls over from exhaustion.

In a promotion for Square Enix’s Just Cause 4, Chiitan recreates some of the in-game stunts and feats performed by protagonist Rico Rodriguez. Spanning across four videos, the stunts include flying into a tower of metal boxes, surviving a wind tunnel, leaping across a gap with a grappling hook and using a series of umbrellas glued together to break her fall on yet another assortment of boxes.

PlayStation Plus games for December include SOMA, Onrush

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PlayStation Plus games for December include SOMA, Onrush

PlayStation Plus subscribers will get free access to a good variety of games in December, especially on PlayStation 4. Horror adventure SOMA and team-based racing game Onrush will be free for PS Plus subscribers next month.

SOMA is from Frictional Games, developer of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The creepy PS4 game sends players to the undersea facility Pathos-2, home to corrupted humans, maniacal robots and an omnipresent artificial intelligence. Codemasters’ Onrush was developed by former members of Evolution Studios, creators of the Motorstorm series. Onrush is team-based vehicular combat racer where the goal isn’t to finish in first place.

Pokémon Go’s Sinnoh Stones no longer a guaranteed reward

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Pokémon Go’s Sinnoh Stones no longer a guaranteed reward

Not long after dedicated Pokémon Go players received their first Sinnoh Stones, new reports suggest that Niantic has already changed the reward parameters. Instead of giving the special evolutionary item away as a guaranteed weekly prize, The Silph Road fan community is finding that Sinnoh Stones appear to be part of the random reward pool.

Sinnoh Stones came to Pokémon Go earlier this month, alongside an event encouraging players to hatch as many Eggs as possible. The Stones are the only way for players to evolve certain Pokémon into their newly added fourth-generation forms. When the company announced that it would introduce these special items into the game, it also detailed how players would be able to collect it: as an award for those who completed a full seven days’ worth of daily research tasks. (Polygon news editor and resident Pokémon Go phenom Michael McWhertor received a Sinnoh Stone on Monday as a result of his weeklong research breakthrough accomplishment, for example.)

2K Sports ‘would fully expect’ women to make NBA 2K League in 2019

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2K Sports ‘would fully expect’ women to make NBA 2K League in 2019

The NBA 2K League has already set out on the road to its sophomore season. Qualifiers for the esports organization’s 2019 campaign ended Tuesday night, with NBA 2K19 players competing in online games for the chance to move on to the next round: the NBA 2K League Combine in December.

About 72,000 people qualified for the inaugural season’s combine, which was held in February; this time around, the requirements were a bit more stringent. But there’s presumably a greater level of awareness of the league after its first campaign, which may lead to a larger pool of qualifying applicants for the upcoming season despite the increased challenge.