Xbox Games With Gold for June 2020 includes Destroy All Humans! and more

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Xbox Games With Gold for June 2020 includes Destroy All Humans! and more

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the Games With Gold titles for June. There are four titles in all, equaling roughly $64 in value for Gold members. Top billing goes to the Xbox classic Destroy All Humans!, an action-adventure game first released in 2005. (A remake is also on the way this year.) Fans also get access to Sine Mora, an old-school shoot-’em-up that relies on a novel time-manipulation mechanic.

There’s also two more lesser-known titles. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a lavishly animated game about a bellydancing genie teamed up with pirates. Coffee Talk, on the other hand, is a chilled out barista simulator. From our review:

The next phase of Star Wars universe delayed into 2021

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The next phase of Star Wars universe delayed into 2021

Star Wars: The High Republic, the ambitious cross-media collection of books and comics, has been delayed into 2021. The announcement came Tuesday at the official Star Wars website.

The High Republic is a new setting in the Star Wars universe that takes place 200 years before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The media onslaught will now begin on Jan. 5, 2021 with Charles Soule’s adult novel Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi and Justina Ireland’s middle grade novel Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage. Then comes the young adult novel by Claudia Gray titled Star Wars: The High Republic: Into The Dark on February 2, 2021. Release dates for the comics, Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic and IDW’s Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, will be announced some time in the future.

No Man’s Sky landing on Xbox Game Pass in June

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No Man’s Sky landing on Xbox Game Pass in June

Xbox Game Pass subscribers will get access to developer Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky when it lands on the service in June. Hello Games programmer Sean Murray made the announcement on the Xbox Wire blog.

No Man’s Sky was originally released on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC in 2016. The game came to Xbox One in 2018. Hello Games has consistently updated the exploration game since its 2016 release date. Because of that, No Man’s Sky has maintained a dedicated community of spacefarers, who do stuff like build tiny homes all over the procedurally-generated world.

Call of Duty: WWII free on PlayStation Plus starting May 26

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Call of Duty: WWII free on PlayStation Plus starting May 26

PlayStation Plus subscribers will get access to Sledgehammer Games’ Call of Duty: WWII as part of their subscription, starting on May 26. It’s the only title that Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced as part of next month’s PS Plus lineup, but the company said on Twitter it will share additional details of its June lineup later this week.

Call of Duty: WWII was originally released in November 2017. Sledgehammer’s game brought the Call of Duty franchise back to the era of World War II, the setting of the original Call of Duty from 2003.

The big video game events happening this summer in lieu of E3 2020

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The big video game events happening this summer in lieu of E3 2020

With E3 2020 canceled, the summer is without a major event to anchor the biggest video game announcements. But in E3’s absence, publishers, media outlets, and event organizers are filling the vacuum with events of their own. They’ll be spread throughout the summer, with many events scheduled for the week that E3 2020 was supposed to take place, stretching out through late August’s Gamescom, which will exist in a digital format only.

Major companies like Microsoft and Sony are sure to have plenty of events throughout the summer (and fall) to hype up the launches of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, respectively. Xbox will get its big coming-out event in July, while Sony will reportedly lift the veil on PS5 games in June. As for Nintendo, it appears content to drop big game announcements on any given Thursday, Nintendo Directs be damned.

Bungie nerfing Destiny 2’s popular reload perks, adding new ones next season

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Bungie nerfing Destiny 2’s popular reload perks, adding new ones next season

Since Destiny 2’s debut in 2017, players have sought the same two kinds of perks on their weapons: damage and reload. Bungie nerfed damage perks last year, and it will change reload perks in only a few weeks. To compensate, the studio also announced some buffs to old perks, and said that new perks are coming in season 11.

The idea behind reload perks is that players “reduce weapon downtime” in the heat of combat. The less time spent reloading, the more time spent shooting at enemies. Bungie broke down how exactly reload perks work in this week’s blog. Each weapon has a reload stat, and perks increase that stat up to a cap of 100. But most reload perks also have a small multiplier on them, so as to increase speed even at the cap.

Call of Duty: Warzone adds BR Trios Classic — a mode with no Gulag

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Call of Duty: Warzone adds BR Trios Classic — a mode with no Gulag

Call of Duty: Warzone adds a few twists to the battle royale formula. Most notably, players can respawn once per match, or buy back their fallen allies. But on Friday, Infinity Ward added a new kind of playlist: BR Trios Classic.

In BR Trios Classic, players cannot collect cash, complete contracts, buy loadouts, or enter the Gulag and respawn. This new mode is a major shift for Warzone players, as the game’s Gulag and cash systems help it stand out from other battle royale modes.

Footage from Arkane’s canceled Half-Life episode will surface in a documentary

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Footage from Arkane’s canceled Half-Life episode will surface in a documentary

The release of Half-Life: Alyx already makes this the busiest Half-Life year since 2007, but it turns out fans still have more to look forward to. The team at Noclip, which produces lavish documentaries about video games, is working on a series of episodes about Arkane Studios. While it’s probably best known for the Dishonored series, Arkane also worked on unreleased sequel to Half-Life 2. On Friday, Noclip teased footage from that game, which will be included in the episodes which begin airing next week.

On social media, Noclip teased footage with a short gif that shows off a character — possibly Gordon Freeman himself — fighting off a very strong zombie. The zombie eventually rips a door off its hinges before our hero punches it in the face. It’s not much to go on, but any entry into the history books of Half-Life is cause for some excitement.

PlayStation’s Days of Play deals return June 3

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PlayStation’s Days of Play deals return June 3

PlayStation’s annual Days of Play event will return this year on June 3. Sony’s usual summer sale will once again include a variety of PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games and accessories as well as PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now membership discounts. The sale will run through June 17.

In a blog post on Friday Sony gave players a preview of what kind of games will be discounted. Action RPG Nioh 2 will be $39.99 along with MLB: The Show 20. Last year’s outstanding Death Stranding will also be on sale along with Dreams and Predator: Hunting Grounds for $29.99. The sale will also include the Days Gone, and the new MediEvil remake for $19.99. Finally The Last of Us Remastered, will be just $9.99 along with several other PlayStation Hits games.

40 years after Pac-Man’s debut, Nvidia re-creates the game with AI

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40 years after Pac-Man’s debut, Nvidia re-creates the game with AI

Bandai Namco is celebrating Pac-Man’s 40th birthday all year long, but Friday is technically the big day: Namco began publicly testing Pac-Man in Tokyo arcades on May 22, 1980. A lot has changed in the intervening four decades, including, of course, the capabilities of computers. Artificial intelligence has advanced to the point of being able to drive cars and produce reasonably convincing “deepfakes” in both audio and video. Now it’s understanding how video games work just by watching them being played.

Nvidia Research announced Friday that it has produced a new iteration of Pac-Man that was generated entirely by AI. The company built an AI model that was able to create a fully functional, playable version of the seminal 8-bit arcade game without access to the underlying game engine. With no innate understanding of Pac-Man’s gameplay, the AI “trained” by watching sessions of Pac-Man — the official version from Bandai Namco — to learn the game’s rules and mechanics.