Fortnite Battle Royale

Fortnite’s Battle Royale Mode Now Free for Everyone

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On the heels of Bluehole (makes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) making some accusatory remarks at Fortnite, Epic Games has announced that Fortnite Battle Royale is free for everyone starting today. But only the Battle Royale mode – the main co-op game (called “Save the World”) remains in paid Early Access with a 2018 release date.

Fortnite launched earlier this Summer via Early Access on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The final game will be free-to-play with microtransactions. It combines tower defense with third-person action and up to four player co-op (read our preview of Fortnite).

The PvP Battle Royale mode was a free update to Fortnite earlier this month. It’s designed exactly the same way as PUBG. Up to 100 players begin with nothing but a pickaxe and drop out of a plane over a large island. You have one life to run around, find loot, and kill (or avoid) other players while a shrinking circular zone keeps you moving. Building walls and forts is available, though you find weapons and traps instead of crafting them.

Recently Bluehole Inc made a firm statement noting the similarities between Fortnite and their runaway success, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. PUBG has reached a level of indie fame previously seen only in titans like Minecraft. The latest numbers show it has sold over 10 million copies. It is firmly entrenched as the number one played game on Steam, with over a million players online at any one time.

PUBG is currently only available on PC, whereas Fortnite is available on consoles. PUBG is coming to Xbox One later this year. Both titles are still in Early Access.

Opening up Battle Royale to everyone also comes with a new update to Fortnite. Most importantly this update will add Squads, letting friends form allied teams of up to four players. Other updates include new weapons and UI enhancements.

Fortnite is due to launch in 2018.

 

battleborn

Gearbox Officially Ceasing Updates on Battleborn

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Poor Battleborn. Gearbox’s hopeful MOBA-Hero Shooter had high hopes but was a complete non-starter when it launched a week before Overwatch in May of last year.

After a year and a half of updates developer Gearbox Software has officially pulled the plug. Battleborn’s servers will continue to stay up, but the game will essentially remain in maintenance mode, with no new updates forthcoming after the final planned Fall Update.

Battleborn’s Creative Director Randy Varnell took to the official forums to deliver news: “As of this week, there will be no more Battleplans and there is currently no planned content after the Fall Update. Details of any future changes or news will be made on our forums or through social media, so keep your radars on.”

“I want to personally thank you for giving Battleborn a chance, and dipping down into a new universe with us,” Varnell continued. “We make games for you. And many of you have shared with us how much Battleborn has meant to you personally.”

Varnell mentioned that he and “many folks at Gearbox are working on a highly anticipated project,” confirming what Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford teased during their PAX West 2017 panel. Clearly they’re busy working on Borderlands 3, though it’s yet to be formally announced or revealed.

As a final gift, there’s a free SHiFT code to unlock a skin for Deande. You can enter the following code in the ShiFT Menu under Extras. You have to redeem it by October 2.

ZKK33-FT59R-KCK3S-XCR33-B56HB

Since launch Battleborn added 5 new DLC characters to bring the total number of heroes to 30. Two more multiplayer modes were also added as well as five story missions.

After failing to garner a healthy multiplayer audience, Battleborn transitioned to a free-to-play model earlier this summer. The Free Trial offered a rotation of heroes. In-game currency could be earned to purchase more, like most free-to-play MOBAs, or to unlock the full game, including the co-op story missions.

My own thoughts on the game were mixed; you can read my review here.

 

life is strange

Square Enix Announces Life Is Strange Mental Health Campaign

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The first prequel episode to adventure series Life is Strange, Before the Storm, launches tomorrow on August 31. Square Enix is timing its arrival with a fund-raising campaign on social media called “Your Friend, Me.” The campaign celebrates the importance and strength of teenage friendship, which is the focus of the Life Is Strange episodes.

Life Is Strange fans are encouraged to post supportive video messages about friendship, as if sending that message directly to a friend who has impacted them. Shared videos should use the hashtags #LifeisStrange and #YourFriendMe. For every video done in this way, Square Enix has pledged to donate $5 (up to $25,000) to The Jed Foundation.

“We are grateful to Square Enix for helping to raise awareness for mental health and JED’s work,” said John MacPhee, CEO at JED. “We all encounter life’s challenges and support from friends can help us get through those difficult times. ‘Your Friend, Me’ is a wonderful way for people to share their story and express their genuine appreciation for a friend, all while spreading a positive message and helping to make a charitable contribution to JED.”

The Jed Foundation is a non-profit that works to prevent teenage suicide and protect and foster the mental health of teens and young adults.

The Your Friend, Me campaign kicked off at the GameStop 2017 Expo in Las Vegas on Sunday, August 27. Square Enix provided video booths where attendees could create and submit their videos.

Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is a three-episode prequel to 2015’s Life Is Strange, starring 16-year old Chloe. The first episode launches August 31 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. No release date has yet been announced for episodes two and three. The episodes are rated M for Mature.