The Canceled Darth Maul Game Would Have Looked Stunning In Unreal 4

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After suffering a fatal lightsaber wound against Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Maul plummeted to his death. No sane-minded theatergoer thought for a second that he may still be alive. With Maul's torso separated from his legs, George Lucas made it abundantly clear that Obi-Wan exacted revenge on this Sith Lord.

Seeing the coolest character in The Phantom Menace die angered fans. Their roar of disapproval was apparently heard loud and clear by LucasFilm. Darth Maul didn't return in any of the sequel films, but he was resurrected in The Clone Wars cartoon. Much like Boba Fett surviving the Sarlaac Pit in Return of the Jedi, Darth Maul's return was clearly driven more by fan-demand than fiction that makes any lick of sense.

Palmer Luckey Discusses VR’s Bright Future And The Barriers In Its Way

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As part of our January 2016 cover story on virtual reality, we spoke extensively with pioneer Palmer Luckey about where things go from here. The Rift, PlayStation VR, and Vive (all discussed in-depth in our most recent issue) are the culmination of years of innovation and iteration, but they are only the beginning.

Luckey tells us that getting to this point was only possible because of groundwork laid in the gaming industry. “The gaming industry, because it kind of stems out of some of the stuff that was done in VR first, has kind of been building all of the infrastructure needed for VR,” Luckey told me when we met at Oculus’ Menlo Park headquarters. “We have game engines that run at high frame rate. We have game engines that are made to render tons of 3D objects that are very photorealistic as fast as possible. If we didn’t have those things and if we didn’t have the game industry, VR would never be able to work remotely as well as it does.”

It’s because of those game engines and the work done across the industry that Oculus and others in the virtual reality vanguard have been able to get as far as they have. In the near future, virtual reality will likely be more iterative than innovative.

Test Chamber – Cloud Strife's Grand Super Smash Bros. Debut

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Test Chamber – Cloud Strife's Grand Super Smash Bros. Debut

With yesterday's final Nintendo Direct dedicated to Super Smash Bros., we learned not only that Bayonetta and Corrin from Fire Emblem will be joining the roster but that Cloud Strife is now available to download. I'm joined by Kyle Hilliard in this Test Chamber as we test out the troubled youth's fan-service-packed moves and the new stage set in Final Fantasy VII's Midgar. Then, even though we promised that the last time was the final time, we rekindle the fan-favorite eight-player Smash matches with our interns Marcus Stewart, Joseph Knoop, and Parker Lemke. These eight-player matches are an ongoing "multi-part series," so you can find episodes onetwothreefourfive, or six, by following the links.

Check out the video below to see Cloud Strife in action.

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Gaming's Oddest Means Of Traversal

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Gaming's Oddest Means Of Traversal

It’s no secret that half the fun of the imminently destructive Just Cause 3 is spying a location in the distance and using whatever means necessary to get there, whether it be paragliding, skydiving in a wingsuit, or hijacking a military jet with the help of an absurdly competent grappling hook. But before Just Cause 3 spurred the creation of a thousand hilarious gifs, the world of gaming had plenty of odd ways to get around. These are the weirdest means of traversal gaming has to offer.

Squid Form – SplatoonWhen considering the physics of a world inhabited by *** cephalopods and an immortal talking cat, is it really such a stretch to believe that a primary mode of transport relies on swimming through ink? Splatoon keeps players’ bipedal forms comparatively slow, forcing them to convert into an adorable squid to both move across the map faster and refill their ink. One special ability even gives players the ability to morph into the invincible Kraken. The only question is, since it’s a fact that cars still exist in this universe, why isn’t all transport done in the clearly superior squid fashion?

Going Hands (And Feet) On With The Virtual Reality Exercise Bike VirZoom

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Going Hands (And Feet) On With The Virtual Reality Exercise Bike VirZoom

When most of us work out using cardio equipment or go running, we distract ourselves to make the pain and tedium less noticeable. Whether you pop in your earbuds as you run through the park or throw Netflix on your iPad when you jump on the Stairmaster, we're always looking for ways to trick our brains into being more accepting of exercise. Now, several stationary bikes provide you with a screen to give you new sights to see as you pedal miles upon miles. VirZoom, a company based in Boston, has decided to take that concept to a whole new level by integrating virtual reality into the experience.

I recently tried out VirZoom's upcoming stationary bike controller and walked away impressed and sweaty. The bike may look small and thin-framed, but I never felt as though it was unstable or not able to support my weight. As I pedaled, I noticed how quiet the bike is. With most stationary bikes, you get either the noise from the internal fan or squeaking from the rotation of the pedals. With VirZoom, I didn't notice any of that – granted, I was using one that I assume is a brand new unit.

10 Gameplay Mechanics That Completely Changed Their Series

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10 Gameplay Mechanics That Completely Changed Their Series

As a game series ages, new ideas are introduced to keep the franchise fresh. Some concepts flop or are forgotten while others flourish. A select few even manage to redefine the way players engage with that series. Here’s a list of mechanics that accomplished the latter for their respective properties.

Spin Dash – Sonic the Hedgehog (Introduced in Sonic 2)Anyone who’s ever booted up Sonic 1 after playing the subsequent entries knows how jarring it is to revisit it because of the absence of the spin dash. The maneuver became the most effective method of instant propulsion, getting the blue blur up and around platforms quickly and easily. Before that, Sonic had to build a running start that took seconds (basically forever in this series) to get the lead out. Spinning is also handy as a semi-invincible form of travel, efficiently taking out enemies that lie in Sonic's path. As far as we’re concerned, Sonic wasn’t truly about speed until he started revving up the spin dash.

Test Chamber – Minecraft: Wii U Edition

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We played the latest version of Minecraft with the Wii U version, and were surprised to see and use the available Skyrim and Mass Effect texture packs.

Join me, Jeff Cork, and special guest Ben Hanson as we try out the Wii U version of the world's most popular game, and try out some texture packs. You can play Mass Effect 3 on Wii U, so seeing the Mass Effect texture pack isn't too surprising, but no Elder Scrolls game has ever released on a Nintendo console. If you're a Nintendo purist, Minecraft: Wii U Edition and the Skyrim texture pack is the closest you will ever get to playing Bethesda's open-world fantasy series.

Minecraft: Wii U Edition releases December 17.

16 New Details About GTA Online's Executives And Other Criminals Update

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Grand Theft Auto Online's latest free update – Executives and Other Criminals – thinks big. Yachts with helipads, armored limos, and a posse of bodyguards aren't just trappings of the good life, they're the tools of the trade when it comes to surviving and thriving in GTA Online's freemode. The update is out now for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and we've got a suitcase full of new details you'll want to know about.

VIPs & Bodyguards

You can become the head of an organization as a VIP when you have at least $1M in your Maze bank account. Once you're a VIP, you can hire up to three other players to serve as your bodyguards. From here you and your armored entourage get special abilities, participate in exclusive jobs and PvP challenges, and more.

Test Chamber – Wii U's F-Zero Stand-In, Fast Racing Neo

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Test Chamber – Wii U's F-Zero Stand-In, Fast Racing Neo

Fast Racing Neo has been drawing comparisons to F-Zero because it's a Nintendo exclusive, and it has very fast future cars.

Released on December 10, Fast Racing Neo is a racing game as its middle name implies, and is fast as its first name implies. The word Neo is also there. Jeff Cork and I decided to take it for a spin, showing off a single-player race, and a split-screen race.

Stay tuned for our full review soon.

10 Characters We’re Voting For As Super Smash Bros. DLC

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10 Characters We’re Voting For As Super Smash Bros. DLC

With the latest Nintendo Direct, Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata revealed the release date for the previously announced Mewtwo DLC for Super Smash Bros., as well as a surprise announcement that Earthbound’s Lucas is returning to the series. Perhaps even more surprising, Iwata also revealed that the Super Smash Bros. team is now taking requests for future downloadable characters through a new ballot on the Super Smash Bros. website.

While we’ve given you some Super Smash Bros. roster wishlists in the past, they’ve always been filled with more outlandish picks or focused on crossover characters. This time, we want to take a look at some of the characters that would have a more realistic shot of appearing in Super Smash Bros. if they received strong enough support in the new Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot. Check out our picks and let us know the characters you’d like to see yourself.

This feature originally ran on April 3, 2015.