World of Warcraft’s first Shadowlands patch is an invasion into the Maw

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World of Warcraft’s first Shadowlands patch is an invasion into the Maw

World of Warcraft’s first major content patch for the Shadowlands expansion is on the way, and at Blizzard’s BlizzConline event we learned that it will be quite a doozy. Patch 9.1 is called Chains of Domination, and it has players taking a decisive strike against the Jailer ... and finding out exactly what happened to Anduin Wrynn after a cliffhanger cutscene in Torghast, the Tower of the Damned.

The new endgame zone is Korthia, the City of Secrets. The Jailer has used the power granted to him by Sire Denathrius’ anima hoard to pull this lost city into the Maw itself. It comes packed with new quests and outdoor activities, as players race The Jailer in an attempt to figure out what he’s looking for.

Three classic Blizzard games come to PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One today

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Three classic Blizzard games come to PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One today

Three of Blizzard Entertainment’s earliest games — The Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, and Rock N Roll Racing — are being re-released on consoles and PC today. The Blizzard Arcade Collection drops Friday on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, Blizzard announced during BlizzConline’s opening ceremony. (The PS4 and Xbox One versions are playable on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, respectively, through backward compatibility.)

The Blizzard Arcade Collection costs $19.99 — it’s also included as part of Blizzard’s Celebration Collection on PC and The Blizzard 30-Year Celebration Collection on console — and includes Original Editions and Definitive Editions of each game. Enhancements include custom key mappings and the option to rewind gameplay up to 10 seconds.

Surprise! There’s a 3D platformer hidden in Firewatch on Switch

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Surprise! There’s a 3D platformer hidden in Firewatch on Switch

It’s been just over five years since Firewatch was released. And oh, what a five years those have been. Created by Campo Santo and published by Panic, Firewatch is a first-person game about a fire lookout in Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest.

The adventure has been lauded over the years, with hundreds of stories written about it, numerous awards won. But apparently, there was one thing that lots of people have been missing. In the Nintendo Switch version, which was released in December 2018, there’s a 3D platformer hidden in the game’s Free Roam mode. The platformer, dubbed Forrest 64, turns Firewatch into a Nintendo 64-style 3D platformer. It’s incredible.

The name Forrest 64 is an homage to Forrest Byrnes, a Firewatch character that serves as a Forest Service mascot of sorts (think Smokey Bear), with “64” — for the Nintendo 64 — tacked onto the end.

This official Pokémon popularity contest is pure chaos

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This official Pokémon popularity contest is pure chaos

As an internet connoisseur, I can tell you with certainty that nothing tastes as good as drinking entropy straight from the content spigot. And let me tell you, the discord at the heart of this official Pokémon popularity contest is as baffling as it is delicious.

To celebrate Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, there’s now a Japanese Pokémon Day website that, among other things, displays the results of a live contest. Via Twitter, fans can vote for their favorite pocket monsters, and the site refreshes with the latest numbers. Most of the participants are Japanese, though there are efforts from Westerners now as well. As of this writing, there are nearly 700,000 ballots. And the top contenders might surprise you.

How to watch BlizzConline

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How to watch BlizzConline

Blizzard Entertainment is holding BlizzCon in a different format in 2021. This year, the event will be virtual and known as BlizzConline. And while the annual fan-focused convention won’t happen in person, Blizzard will still give fans an update on its slate of games, offering new details on Diablo 4, Overwatch 2, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft.

Fans will be able to watch this year’s BlizzCon for free on a variety of streaming platforms, including YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter. BlizzConline 2021 will kick off Friday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST with Blizzard’s opening ceremony presentation. According to Blizzard’s schedule, the BlizzConline keynote will run approximately one hour.

Combat Mission: Cold War expands a franchise with roots in old-school wargaming

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Combat Mission: Cold War expands a franchise with roots in old-school wargaming

On Tuesday, independent game developer and publisher Battlefront announced Combat Mission: Cold War, the latest in its long-running series of PC-based wargames. The series itself dates back more than 20 years, and is the spiritual successor of the seminal wargame known as Squad Leader.

Originally published by Avalon Hill in 1977, Squad Leader and its sequel, Advanced Squad Leader, is about as old-school as modern wargames get. Aficionados use cardboard chits smaller than a postage stamp to recreate historic battles on the table. Actions between small units can take hours, often days to play out with tweezers.

Hideo Kojima’s book The Creative Gene getting English translation

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Hideo Kojima’s book The Creative Gene getting English translation

Game designer Hideo Kojima’s book The Gifted Gene and My Lovable Memes, originally published in Japanese in 2019, is getting an English-language translation. Publisher Viz will release the translated book this October under the fittingly lengthy name The Creative Gene: How books, movies, and music inspired the creator of Death Stranding and Metal Gear Solid.

The Creative Gene will consist of a collection of essays written by Kojima that explore his personal inspirations. That includes opinions and reviews of music, films, and books beloved by Kojima. The book will also include a conversation between Kojima and musician/actor Gen Hoshino, whose song “Pop Virus” appears in Death Stranding.

Shovel Knight joins the fray in For Honor

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Shovel Knight joins the fray in For Honor

Shovel Knight, the indie platformer hero with a set of blue armor and a distinctive shovel, has been around the block and cameo’d in quite a few games. Now, the knight is coming to Ubisoft’s For Honor, or at least his armor is.

For Honor is all about big fighters brawling it out with melee weaponry, so the fighters will have access to his big, blue, horned helmet, as well as some other Shovel Knight-inspired outfits, emotes, and executions. These are all pleasingly pixelated, reminiscent of the Shovel Knight art style, which is a little anachronistic in For Honor, but it still scores major style points.