E3 Will Return For 2021

The ESA has announced that E3, one of the most popular conventions in all of gaming, will be returning for 2021. Scheduled to happen between June 15 to 17, this new plan comes after the ESA noted it would be “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience” for 2020.

It seems that won’t be happening now. Nothing has been confirmed, but it seems unlikely for the ESA to go forward with anything. IGN announced earlier that it would be holding its own digital event and that seems to be replacing E3 for most publishers. A slew of big names are already pledging support for IGN’s alternative, so the ESA likely decided to cut its losses.

Just last month, the ESA made the tough decision to cancel E3 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With cases in the US continuing to grow, it only made sense to keep everyone home instead of gathering in downtown LA. Nothing is a better breeding ground for an airborne disease than a convention hall.

With E3 not 100% dead, 2021 could be the start of a radically different show. It might even be wise for the ESA to go with a different name, though E3 carries certain clout. Either way, if you weren’t exactly thrilled about the convention getting canceled, you always have 2021.

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Lost Odyssey Teams With GameStop For D&D Charity Stream

There’s a lot of need for charity right now, and many big names in the gaming world are stepping up. Esports pros and streamers have taken to holding exhibition contests and streaming them for different causes. Now the Dungeons & Dragons community is stepping up in a similar way by partnering with GameStop for a series of charity streams.

The event is called Lost Odyssey: Champions, and it’s actually been streaming on GameStop’s Twitch channel since April 2. It will continue until tomorrow, acting sort of like old school telethons. There will be several different sessions played by a variety of beloved D&D streamers – all playing from home, of course.

Several DMs will take the reins, including B. Dave Walters, Adam Koebel, and Johnny Chiodini. Players are big names like from Deborah Ann Woll, Joe Manganiello, Chris Perkins, Jeremy Crawford, and some members of the Gygax family.

The proceeds will all go to Treehouse, a program aimed at giving continuing support to foster kids. They believe that now is more important than ever to help these children, as many foster families may be facing economic hardship. As such, viewers will be able to donate to Treehouse to help foster kids get necessary items like clothing and hygiene products, as well as technology they might need to continue schooling from home.

Lost Odyssey has been in the business of charity D&D for some time, so we’re sure to see some compelling stories told by superstar adventurers.

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Verstappen crowned Redline’s Esports series pro champion

Max Verstappen was crowned champion of Team Redline’s Real Racers Never Quit series while Audi factory driver Kelvin van der Linde dominated the final round of the championship.

The final round of Redline’s series saw 35 professional racing drivers race LMP2 machinery around Suzuka on iRacing.

Verstappen had won six of the first 10 races and was only denied a shot at a seventh win after his PC crashed and left him unable to start from pole position at the last round Interlagos. His nearest championship rival van der Linde won both races at Suzuka from pole position, his second double-win in the series, having previously swept the race wins in the Supercars races at Watkins Glen last week.

Verstappen started on the front row alongside van der Linde in both races, and Verstappen passed the 2019 ADAC GT Masters champion on the opening lap of the first race. However, Verstappen was sent wide at the start of the next lap after minor contact and he dropped to seventh.

It went from bad to worse for Verstappen as he attempted to pass ex-Formula E driver Tom Dillmann, he made a mistake and dropped himself further down to ninth place. He recovered well to pass 2019 Macau Grand Prix winner Richard Verschoor, current Formula E points leader Antonio Felix da Costa and Dillmann to finish in sixth place.

Van der Linde won the race ahead of multiple-Argentine touring car champion Augustin Canapino and ex-DTM racer Daniel Juncadella. BMW factory driver Nicky Catsburg was van der Linde’s closest competition early in the race, but a mistake dropped him to fourth place. 

Verstappen was able to comfortably seal the title in the final race with a third-place behind race winner van der Linde and fellow F1 driver Lando Norris.

“Race one, I could have possibly won the race, but it is what it is,” Verstappen said after the race. “It was all about collecting the points, which I needed after my PC crash after Interlagos, otherwise it would have been won already. These cars are fun, it was my first day of driving them.”

Sixty points separated Verstappen and van der Linde after 12 races across Formula 3, GTE, Supercars and LMP2 machinery over the past two weeks. Norris rounded out the top three in the points standings ahead of Juncadella.

Details of a second season of the championship are expected to be announced in the near future.  

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Game Informer’s Top Shelter-In-Place Switch Games

By now, many of you have put a good amount of time into Animal Crossing: New Horizons. You’ve paid off your mortgage, transformed into a weird tarantula collector, and are now at a point of playing the game just for an hour or two each day. Chances are you are wondering what else you can play on your Switch. For some of you, Animal Crossing is your first Switch game. For others, it’s just the latest in a long string of adventures you’ve taken on this amazing hybrid system. No matter which of these camps you fall into, the Game Informer staff is offering a handful of game suggestions you may like. The selection offered is a mix of the Switch’s most celebrated games, along with little gems that may not have gotten the respect they truly deserve. These are personal picks from each staff member they feel will make everyone’s current situation during the pandemic a little better.

We hope everyone is healthy and safe. We’d love to hear how things are going in the comments section below, and also would like your help in giving Switch owners choices for new games to play. List those games in the comments with a description of why people should be paying attention to them. We’re going to get through this tough time, and games that keep us inside and occupied in fun ways will help us get there. Without further delay, here are the games:

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Looking for something that will consume countless hours while sparking your creativity? Divinity: Original Sin 2 immerses you in a fantasy land that offers unparalleled opportunities for problem solving amidst tight tactical combat. Varying difficulty levels allow you to meander through the story if you wish or dive into punishing battles that will tax your mind, but the real key here is playing the game your way – whether that’s an element-slinging sorcerer, a burly brute, a summoner, a telekinetic wunderkind, or even someone who just loves to load as much trash into a barrel as possible and dump it on an enemy’s head. The sky’s the limit, and experimenting with all of the systems in Divinity: Original Sin 2 is likely to take priority over making headway in the game itself. Get lost in one of the best RPGs of the last decade by yourself or with a friend through online co-op – it’s one of the best adventures you’ll ever take, and you can do it from bed! – Daniel Tack

Sonic Mania Plus

With his major motion picture debut a big success and now available to watch at home, there’s a chance you may be looking to check out one of the Blue Blur’s recent games. While many of Sonic’s recent outings have fallen short of expectations, one game has garnered universal acclaim for its ability to pay homage to the past while innovating and modernizing: Sonic Mania. Created by a team of independent developers in conjunction with Sonic Team, Sonic Mania delivers old-school Sonic action that would look at home on a Genesis; you even play through several familiar stages, including Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, and Flying Battery Zone. However, it’s more than just a stroll down memory lane as you not only get a collection of all-new zones, but the returning zones are remixed to the point they feel like new areas with familiar dressing. Pick up Sonic Mania Plus for an additional mode that adds new twists to the original game, as well as two new playable characters. – Brian Shea

Golf Story

Much like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Golf Story is charming, violence free, and delivers enough humor and heart to keep a smile on your face on every fairway and green. You play as a golf prodigy who travels to Wellworn Grove to make a name for himself. As you show off your skills and compete in tournaments, the people of Wellworn also turn to you for help. You’ll assist them in digging up fossils (using your sand wedge), become a part of a war against molerats, and also throw down in a rap battle. You never really know what to expect from Golf Story next, other than it being well made and fun throughout. A three-click swing meter is put to good use to make the golfing challenging, and the courses push for precision. Sandtraps are the least of your worries, however, as Wellworn’s animals don’t necessarily like seeing your ball in their territory. Golf Story is unlike any other RPG out there, and should be a nice ray of light in a dark time. If you enjoy it as much as I did, there’s good news for the future: developer SideBar Games is making a sequel called Sports Story for Switch. – Andrew Reiner

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I know, I know, this isn’t exactly a deep cut, but hear me out: If you’re one of those folks who have been pulled into Switch gaming thanks to New Horizons, you may not know that the Animal Crossing series has tiptoed around the Switch sidelines for quite a while now. There’s a great level set in that world in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, for instance, which has you tearing through town. I’m particularly fond of the Animal Crossing crossover in the Super Smash Bros. series. When you get tired of relaxing on your island, fire up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and pick the Villager character. Then you can battle a host of other well-known game characters using familiar AC tools. My favorite? Growing a sapling into a mighty tree, which can then be knocked down in a walloping blow. Again, the majority of y’all are familiar with this one, but in the event that you aren’t (or haven’t gotten around to playing it for whatever reason), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a must play. – Jeff Cork

Into the Breach

People often say you should turn your brain off to enjoy certain things, but that hasn’t been working for me lately. Sometimes I need to put my brain into overdrive, and Into The Breach is a great funnel for that mental energy. It’s a perfectly built tactics game with punishing decision making, and it’s endlessly replayable either in bite-sized pieces or by binging a massive campaign. The story elements are a compelling wrapping for this fight for humanity’s survival, and I’ll say this: It feels really good to save the world right now. – Leo Vader

Luigi’s Mansion 3

He may not be as famous as his brother, but Luigi has a certain charm that is hard to deny. This third edition in the series is easily its best, featuring a world filled with interactivity and challenge. As you battle your way through a haunted hotel with your trusty ghost vacuum at your side, you get to explore all types of crazy environments full of puzzles and pesky ghosts to capture. The controls can be a little persnickety, and the bosses can be a tad challenging, but I loved every minute of it. The game drips with that Nintendo magic, from the addition of Gooigi (a slime-based clone used to solve puzzles and also allows for co-op play) to the sea of tiny details throughout the world that make this game feel alive. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a world you want to escape to, and a must-have for any Switch owner. – Andy McNamara

Valkyria Chronicles 4

Though it may look like a straightforward tactical game at first glance, Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a clever hybrid with RPG progression and puzzle-like encounters that create immensely satisfying victories. You formulate your strategies using a zoomed-out map of the battlefield, but then take control of individual units (like tanks, grenadiers, and snipers) to attack. Your plucky squad is almost always outnumbered, so part of the fun is gradually thinning the enemy ranks through careful planning and turning an unwinnable situation into a triumph. Between battles, you get to customize and upgrade your team, opening up exciting new options for your next encounter. Plus, it’s all set in a cool alternate history with tools of warfare based on fantastical technology and magic. Likable characters with interesting individual arcs add personality to the lengthy campaign and its complex battles. However, plenty of smaller missions are also available if you just want to hop in for a brief diversion. With a little something for everyone, Valkyria Chronicles 4 offers a memorable experience that defies easy genre classification. – Joe Juba

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

If you’ve got a Switch and some time to kill, then why mess around with anything other than the best game on the platform? There is a good chance that you bought your Switch for this game, but there is also a good chance that you never finished it or checked out the DLC, so this might be the perfect time to dive back in. If you’re a total newcomer, Breath of the Wild is one of the most exciting entries in the Zelda series. Nintendo’s massive open world is incredibly stunning and full of interesting places to explore and things to interact with. Unlike many open-world games that highlight all the major points of interest on your map, Breath of the Wild takes a more hands-off approach. I’m not knocking other design choices, but I really liked the sense of freedom Nintendo offers here. The game also contains 120 shrines, which are delightful, bite-sized puzzle and combat challenges. I easily spent more than 100 hours with Breath of the Wild, and yet once I’d finished the game and completed all the shrines, I was a little sad that I’d run out of content. There has never been a better time to play this brilliant game – because there was never a bad time to play it. – Ben Reeves

Super Mario Odyssey

Few games capture a sense of whimsy, delight, and earnest heroism like Super Mario Odyssey. If you need a bright wonderland of constant discovery to lift you out of the humdrum of being stuck inside, I can’t think of a game that could do a better job. Mario’s odyssey takes him from one colorful world to another, each filled with opportunities for exploration, skill-based platforming, and thoughtfully constructed challenges. Childlike humor and characters bely a sophisticated and engrossing approach to design, where shortform challenges (collecting power moons) are strung together into longer and richly woven open levels. Likewise, the easy-to-control plumber protagonist hides a surprising suite of extra moves and actions to master, many of which are necessary if you want to surpass Odyssey’s biggest challenges. With its unlockable outfits, amusing interactions, and sometimes surreal game worlds, Super Mario Odyssey is an injection of joy – and one well worth taking when you’re ready for a lift. – Matt Miller

Celeste

Celeste is a special game, plain and simple. But with the world the way it is now, Matt Makes Games’ indie masterpiece feels even more imperative than ever before. The fog and very real danger of this pandemic have affected the populace’s mental health in ways we haven’t ever experienced. Celeste examines mental health with an elegance and tact almost no game has been able to replicate and tells the player that it’s okay that we’re not okay. Accepting this fact is hard and that’s why Celeste’s marriage of a challenging, yet beautiful message and its intense gameplay difficulty make it so special. Climbing the game’s mountain is difficult, just as accepting your own situation can feel at times impossible. The developer knows this and has embodied it beautifully by pushing player’s platforming prowess to the brink but never in a way that feels oppressive or unfair. You’re going to struggle in this game, and that’s okay because when you finally complete that specific stubborn stage, the sense of accomplishment you feel is palpable. Little wins are essential during today’s madness and when you combine both the thematic and gameplay rewards of Celeste with one of the best video game soundtracks to date, you get a special experience that makes for one of the true must-plays of the Nintendo Switch. – Alex Stadnik

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses was one of the best games to come out last year, so now is the perfect time to give it a go for the first time or revisit with a new house. Three Houses entrenches you in student life. As a professor, you impart your wisdom, pick your students’ lesson plans, and socialize with them after class to better understand their circumstances. Every house has a colorful cast of characters and there’s political drama around every bend. Then there are the tense encounters on the battlefield, with surprise reinforcements and traps you must avoid. What I enjoy so much about the game is how it really immerses you in the school simulation and the connection you have to your students makes their victories and failures in battle hit harder. If you have permadeath on, losing a student is downright devastating. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll also say the story twists and difficult choices don’t disappoint. – Kimberley Wallace

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Switch Remasters Of Classic Marios Reportedly Coming: Mario 64, Sunshine, Galaxy, And More

The Nintendo Switch is apparently about to get a hefty serving of Mario, including several classic 3D games from the series’ past and an all-new role-playing game.

Reported by VGC and Eurogamer, Nintendo is planning to release remastered Switch versions of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario 3D World, and Super Mario Galaxy as part of the franchise’s 35th birthday celebration.

The remastered games would be coming from four different consoles: Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, and Wii U.

Super Mario 3D World will apparently be a Deluxe Edition with new levels, and a Gematsu report also corroborated that Nintendo has a new Paper Mario game in development. The last Paper Mario game was Paper Mario: Color Splash for Wii U, which received a mixed reception when it launched just before the Switch in late 2016.

VGC said the new games are due to be announced as Nintendo shares more details on its Universal projects, including theme parks and its Illumination-produced animated Mario film. Plans for E3 announcements changed after the entire event was canceled, so the official news could be coming soon than initially planned.

Thus far, Nintendo has kept Mario platforming fans busy on Switch with Super Mario Odyssey and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe. The latter game packs in the New Super Luigi U expansion and a few extra bonus features not found on the Wii U version. Original 2D platformers like Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World are also free to play with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

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Digital Copies Of Final Fantasy VII Remake Won’t Release As Early As Physical Copies

After being in development for years as well as getting delayed, Final Fantasy VII Remake will finally release next week, and eager fans of the game will get the chance to re-experience it in a complete remake from the ground up.

But although the game is scheduled to release on April 10, there have been multiple reports stating that some players have been able to get early physical copies. For instance, players who live in Australia have reported that the game is already out and that they can purchase it from their local stores. Additionally, Square Enix itself has stated that it would be shipping out early physical copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake in Australia and Europe due to the current Coronavirus situation. However, all of the reports only apply to physical copies, so one might be wondering what the process will be for digital copies.

For players who have pre-ordered a digital version of Final Fantasy VII Remake, they can start pre-loading the game right now, but will not be able to access it as early as players who have a physical copy. The information comes from Square Enix in which it has clarified the reason why digital owners will not be able to start playing the game as early as physical owners. “[…] the bulk of our shipments to retailers around the globe are still scheduled to arrive in stores for our April 10 street date,” a Square Enix representative explained on the website’s support page. “[…] changing the digital release date at this point-in-time could lead to logistical issues that could disrupt the digital launch for everyone […].”

Simply put, changing the digital version’s release date, on top of already breaking the physical version’s street date, would cause logistical chaos and basically make things a total nightmare in regards to distribution agreements. Although this may not be the news digital players would like to hear, the game will officially release on April 10, meaning that everything has been scheduled and the possibility of yet another delay is nonexistent.

In the meantime, fans still have the demo to keep themselves busy while they have to wait one more week for the game.

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One-Year Subscription Of PS Plus On Sale For $37.50

PlayStation Plus, one of the best deals in gaming, is going for an extra-great price right now.

Over at Ebay, you can get a year of PS Plus on sale for $37.50 via reputable seller NeoGames. While the listing describes the product as a “subscription card,” this is an emailed code you’ll receive within 24 hours, according to the reviews. After receiving the code, you can then redeem it in the PlayStation Store. If you already have a membership, it’ll be extended by 12 months.

The listing mentions that there are “limited quantity available,” so make sure to take advantage of this deal while it lasts. A 12-month PS Plus subscription rarely drops below $40, so it’s worth snagging a code at this price when you see it.

PS Plus grants access to online multiplayer as well as free monthly games. This month, members can claim Shadow of the Colossus and Sonic Forces at no cost. March’s free PS Plus games are available until April 7, when they’ll be replaced by April’s free PS Plus games: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Dirt Rally 2.0.

Best Deals This Week

  • Free Games To Claim This Week: Rayman Legends, World War Z, And More
  • Amazon Just Launched A Big Sale On PS4, Switch, And Xbox One Games
  • PS Plus Drops To $40 In Limited-Time PS4 Deal
  • Where To Buy A Nintendo Switch Right Now
  • Fantastic Sale On Steam Games Includes Pre-Order Discounts On Resident Evil 3, Trials Of Mana

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Magic: The Gathering Prints Card With "Death Corona" In Title, Changing It To "Void Invader"

Wizards of the Coast may have accidentally printed a card that references the word “corona” in their upcoming Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set. And worse, that card might have been Spacegodzilla.

So we’ve got a lot to unpack here, and we’re going to start with the set arriving in Magic: The Gathering. It’s called Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and like many previous Magic sets, it’s going to focus on big scary monsters. In the case of Ikoria, those monsters are going to be very kaiju-focused as Wizards has tapped Toho Studios to get the rights to Godzilla.

Yes, you read that right: Godzilla is going to be on a Magic card.

Actually, there will be several Godzillas on several Magic cards. One of those cards is SpaceGodzilla, which is actually a clone of regular Godzilla that arrived from space (hence the name) Although SpaceGodzilla and 16 other cards will have their own special art, they’ll actually be special promo prints of beasts that already exist in Ikoria.

In SpaceGodzilla’s case, he’s actually a promo version of Void Beckoner called “Spacegodzilla, Void Invader.” Although, that’s not what he was called initially.

According to DailyMTG editor-in-chief Blake Rasmussen, “Spacegodzilla, Void Invader” used to be called “Spacegodzilla, Death Corona.” The name was decided months before the coronavirus pandemic and is actually a reference to SpaceGodzilla’s special attack, Corona Beam–both of which seem to have very unfortunate names in the current era.

Realizing how horrible it would mean to even mention the word “corona” after thousands, perhaps even millions of people are expected to die in the coronavirus pandemic, Wizards of the Coast changed the name to be something slightly less offensive. They even made a special statement about it on Thursday.

However, the first printings of Ikoria have already gone through, which means there are a certain number of Spacegodzilla, Death Coronas already sitting in unopened packs. There’s nothing that can be done to change them now, and all WotC can do is change the name in future printings and in the online Magic Arena.

For anyone lucky enough to have pre-ordered some packs, you might pull yourself a copy of Spacegodzilla, Death Corona, a card that will be extremely rare and thus extremely valuable to collectors (as noted by certain Redditors).

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EA And The Sims Team Are Keeping Spirits Up During Lockdown With Free Games

Electronic Arts is currently spreading cheer by giving away free codes through social media. The Sims team, in particular, has been incredibly generous: Sims ambassadors, called SimGurus, have been tweeting codes for different Sims 4 packs and platforms at random times of the day. Codes are also appearing on the main Sims account.

Alongside this, community spirit has been in full force. The Gurus are tweeting out support, positivity, and pictures of their dogs. All these things are exactly what people need right now.

Other EA games teams are also getting in on the act, with the Battlefield V team DMing people who respond to a forum post with codes.

Last month, EA launched the Stay Home Play Together campaign, which demonstrates the company’s strong stand to encourage staff and gamers alike to stay at home and be safe. EA offices around the world have closed, with teams working remotely in order to keep future content on track. Upcoming esports events have also been canceled, with these being replaced by different streamed events.

As the world continues to stay home, it’s encouraging to see larger companies encouraging people while still supporting their own.

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Refurbished Original Oculus Rift’s go on Sale for $299

Currently, the Oculus Rift S is proving to be very hard to come by, with Oculus’ website continually saying out of stock and other resellers aren’t fairing much better. So the company has taken a leaf out of HTC Vive’s handbook from 2019 and begun selling refurbished Oculus Rift CV1’s.

Whilst stocks last – they are limited supposedly – customers in the US can buy one of the original Oculus headsets first released in 2016 for the low price of $299 USD. That’s $100 cheaper than the current Oculus Rift S model and these are actually available now.

For that price, you get the headset, a pair of Oculus Touch controllers and two tracking sensors. Saving that cash does then mean you have to go back to finding enough USB ports on your computer (three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port and an HDMI 1.3 port). The current Oculus Rift S does away with most of that cabling hassle thanks to its inside-out tracking – Oculus Insight – requiring only one DisplayPort 1.2 port and one USB 3.0 port.

As for other feature changes the Oculus Rift CV1 does sport actual headphones instead of the built-in sound piping and manual mechanical interpupillary distance (IPD) adjustment rather than the digital version on the Oculus Rift S. The mechanical IPD offers a wider adjustment so that more users can be accommodated.

Of course, the major change between the two headsets was in the display technology. Oculus Rift CV1 has two 1,080 x 1,200 OLED panels running at 90 Hz while the Oculus Rift S boasts a single 2,560 x 1,440 LCD panel (1,280 x 1,440 pixels per eye) running at 90 Hz.

Important to note is the fact that all the titles on the Oculus Store or Steam built for the Rift platform work on either headset, so you’re not missing out if you buy a refurbished model. If you’re eager to play Half-Life: Alyx and don’t have a headset yet, this might be the quickest way to go – for those in the US.

As mentioned, HTC Vive previously sold pre-owned models of its 2016 VR headset last year for $399. These are no longer available. When stocks of headsets like Oculus Rift S are replenished, VRFocus will let you know.

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