Xbox Game Pass will feature Xbox exclusives on the day they launch

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Xbox Game Pass will feature Xbox exclusives on the day they launch

Xbox Game Pass, the all-you-can-eat game subscription for the Xbox One, will now include all games exclusive to the console on the day they launch, beginning with Rare’s multiplayer pirate adventure Sea of Thieves in March, Microsoft announced this morning.

The announcement means future exclusives, such as Crackdown 3, will be available to Xbox One owners who sign up for the $9.99 monthly subscription. Xbox Game Pass launched in June with more than 100 titles in its library and has added more than 70 games since then, from both the Xbox One and Xbox 360’s back catalog.

John Cena might be in a Duke Nukem movie

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John Cena might be in a Duke Nukem movie

Beloved WWE wrestler and burgeoning actor John Cena may star in the titular role of a Duke Nukem movie adaptation, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. Cena is said to be in negotiations to star as loudmouthed action hero amalgam Duke Nukem in the project.

Paramount picked up the rights to the Duke Nukem franchise with Platinum Dunes, Michael Bay’s production company, set to produce. Platinum Dunes is responsible for lower budget horror series like The Purge and Ouija, as well as remakes of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Former PlayStation and Xbox exec Phil Harrison goes to Google

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Former PlayStation and Xbox exec Phil Harrison goes to Google

Game industry stalwart Phil Harrison announced today that he is joining Google as a vice president and general manager, working from the company’s headquarters in California.

Harrison’s resume includes 15 years as head of Sony’s network of game studios, as well as three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. In recent years, he’s served as an adviser and board member to various companies, including Gaikai and Atari.

Dragon Ball FighterZ has a loot box system that won’t annoy you

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Dragon Ball FighterZ has a loot box system that won’t annoy you

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the latest game to feature loot boxes, but Arc System Works developed a system that won’t annoy their fans — or bully them into dropping real-world cash.

In the game, there are two currencies: Zeni, which you earn through in-game actions, and Premium Z Coins. Zeni can be racked up pretty fast in just about any mode, but Premium Coins are different. As the game describes it, Z Coins are earned when you get a duplicate item from a Z Capsule, the game’s version of a loot box. You can rack up a lot of Zeni just by enjoying the game at your own pace, and within the first few hours of playing, I made enough Zeni to buy a few dozen Z Capsules.

Enjoy this H.P. Lovecraft poem sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’

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Enjoy this H.P. Lovecraft poem sung to the tune of Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’

The work of H.P. Lovecraft led to the creation of the Cthulhu Mythos, a series of non-fiction stories about nameless, ageless beings of pure power and hatred. Some claim that the work is fantasy, but they did not stand with me in the dark library, speaking the dreaded words of He With All Those Apostrophes In His Name For Some Reason.

Also, one of Lovecraft’s poems is remarkably close in rhythm to a Billy Joel song.

How to win at PUBG without firing a single shot

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How to win at PUBG without firing a single shot

You can win a round of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds without firing a single shot. It’s actually fairly difficult, and requires a decent amount of luck.

A pacifist run of Battlegrounds is complicated by the game’s diminishing blue circle. The longer that a round goes on, the smaller the playing area becomes and players stuck on the outside slowly take damage over time. In the final moments, that circle is only 50 meters across before it collapses down to nothing.

Civilization 6: Rise and Fall adds new perils to world domination

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Civilization 6: Rise and Fall adds new perils to world domination

Last week, I got some play time with Civilization 6’s forthcoming expansion, Rise and Fall. My demo was only 150 turns long, but I played a few games and am starting to get a sense of what the expansion’s gameplay changes actually mean. That said, many of the changes really affect mid- and late-game situations, most especially in regards to diplomacy.

So, let’s take a look at developer Firaxis’ new ideas.

Brand new ballgame: A look at MLB’s in-house development of R.B.I. Baseball 18

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Brand new ballgame: A look at MLB’s in-house development of R.B.I. Baseball 18

The New York Yankees weren’t the first sports team to don pinstripes, but the distinctive pattern is as closely associated with the baseball club as it is with boardroom suits. The Yankees’ home uniform, a simple design featuring thin navy stripes on a white background, is an enduring classic: It has barely changed in more than a century.

Basic though it is, the pinstriped design presents some challenges for the makers of baseball video games. In the kind of discussion that happens all the time at studios working on sports titles, the developers of R.B.I. Baseball at Major League Baseball Advanced Media were debating last fall how best to bring the Yankees’ uniform to life in the game. Areas where the pinstripes met a seam didn’t look quite right, so the team fetched some nearby reference material.

Square Enix hires Sonic mastermind Yuji Naka

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Square Enix hires Sonic mastermind Yuji Naka

Acclaimed game designer Yuji Naka announced on Twitter this morning that he was joining Square Enix.

Naka is best known as the former head of the Sonic Team at Sega. Naka left Sega in 2006 to start his own independent studio, Prope. The studio released Let’s Tap in 2008 for the Wii, in which players tapped a corresponding cardboard box to match the cues on screen. (In an age of Nintendo Labo, Nintendo’s own cardboard-gaming project, Let’s Tap feels ahead of its time.) Prope also developed a few Digimon games, including Digimon Adventure in 2013 for the Playstation Portable and Digimon All-Star Rumble in 2014 for the PlayStation 3.