Eric Watson

Eric Watson

Eric is a freelance writer who enjoys talking about video games, movies, books and Dallas-based sports teams. Every week he watches a random film from his collection of several hundred DVDs and live tweets about it @RogueWatson. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla. He lives near Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and daughter, two dogs, two cats, two fish tanks, some hermit crabs and a bookshelf full of Transformers.

dauntless

Dauntless Welcomes Half a Million New Players On Launch Day

Posted by | News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Phoenix Labs announced that over half a million new players joined up to hunt monsters in the Shattered Isles in the first 24 hours of Dauntless’ release on May 21. This brings the total number of players for the free-to-play monster hunting game to over four million worldwide, following a year-long stint in beta. Those numbers equate to over 2 million hours played and 3 million hunts.

Dauntless is a free-to-play co-op action-RPG. Players take on the role of slayers to join forces and hunt large monsters, known as behemoths, choosing from several different weapon styles. The free-to-play game is supported by seasonal hunt passes, which can be purchased to unlock a seasonal progression system full of cosmetic items. If this sounds like a cross between Fortnite and Monster Hunter, you’re on the right track.

One of Dauntless’ biggest perks is cross-platform and cross-progression between PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The developers refer to it as One Dauntless. By linking an Epic Games account you can play with anyone on any platform, and your progress and characters will carry over between devices.

“After a year in Open Beta and a ton of great feedback from over 3 million Dauntless players, we’re proud to bring our game to console and expand our PC audience through the Epic Games store,” said Jesse Houston, CEO and Co-founder, Phoenix Labs. “When we first started talking about ‘One Dauntless,’ we knew it was a truly audacious goal. No one has ever launched on console with full cross-play support from the start, but we believed in our vision and, thankfully, our friends at Epic Games, Sony, and Microsoft did too. Keeping the community connected is one of our top priorities, and with all the new players coming in at launch, there’s never been a better time to be a Slayer in Dauntless.”

Dauntless is available for free on PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s also coming later to Switch and mobile devices.

Playdate is a New Handheld Gaming Device Coming Next Year

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In a surprise announcement, indie developer and publisher Panic revealed their next project: a yellow handheld black and white gaming device called Playdate. Playdate is set to launch next year with a $149 price tag. Pre-orders should be available at the end of this year.

“After 20 years of making software, we wanted to grow our skills, push us out of our comfort zone, and take us on an adventure,” states the Panic FAQ. “We love creating things, and it was time for us to level up.”

Playdate includes several unique features, including a physical crank on the right-hand side. The crank can tuck into the device for easier storage. Once flipped out it can be used as an additional analog controller for games that support it.

The retro-style black and white 2.7-inch LCD screen lacks a backlight, which has become a standard feature in handheld gaming devices since the Game Boy Advance in the early 2000s. Panic is quick to differentiate the screen from the original Game Boy model with Playdate’s higher resolution and no blurring or grid lines.

The device is super tiny at 2.9″ x 2.9″ x 0.35″. But the most unique aspect of Playdate is its gaming library. Games will be purely digital and will arrive in seasonal packs. The first season is included in the $149 cost of the device and includes 12 games.

The 12 games will release gradually over time at a rate of one new game per week. Games can be downloaded onto the device and can remain in your library forever, and you can always download games that you missed earlier in a season. Games will not be announced or revealed ahead of time, emulating a sort of blind box purchase.

Panic mentions working with several prominent indie developers for its seasonal games, including Keita Takahashi, Bennett Foddy, Shaun Inman, and Zach Gage. Panic is currently soliciting developers to work with.

Future seasons, or an actual game store, “depends on interest and sales,” according to Panic’s official FAQ.

Technical specifications such as internal storage and CPU have not been announced. Playdate is running on a custom OS built by Panic. The crank was developed by Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering.

Playdate should ship in early 2020, with pre-orders available late 2019.

dragon quest builders 2

Season Pass DLC Detailed for Dragon Quest Builders 2

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Dragon Quest Builders 2 is launching July 12 on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. Starting July 26, Square Enix will release one free DLC pack and three paid DLC packs. The three paid DLC can be purchased separately, or as part of a $20.99 season pass. Alternatively you can purchase the digital bundle which includes the game and the season pass for $79.99, though that doesn’t include any savings.

The post-launch DLC adds new craftable content, new locations, and new customization options.

  • Knickknack Pack (July 26, Free) – This free pack includes three recipes so players can celebrate with some Hotto flair.
  • Hotto Stuff Pack (July 26, $5.99) – This pack includes more than 40 recipes to design and decorate structures that look similar to The Hotto Steppe, as well as an additional island to gather the new materials.
  • Aquarium Pack (Aug. 2, $9.99) – Adds a fishing island and 40 different fish that can be caught and added to an aquarium.
  • Modernist Pack (Aug. 9, $9.99) – This pack includes more than 70 different recipes to construct modern-looking structures, as well as additional hairstyles and clothing.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the sequel to 2016’s Dragon Quest Builders. The series combines Minecraft-like building, exploration, and crafting (and a cube-based world) with Dragon Quest’s colorful monster design and RPG questing. The sequel adds cooperative multiplayer, fast travel, and ways to explore the sea and air.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 launches on July 12. It’s rated E10+.

ea publisher sale

The Sims 4 is Currently Free on PC until May 28

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Anyone with an Origin account can download The Sims 4 for free (normally $39.99) until May 28. Simply head over to the Origin app or website and add it to your library. It’s available for both Windows and Mac. It’s not simply a trial either; after the promotion ends the full game will remain in your Origin library.

Only the base game is available for free, of course. EA will try to sell you its Origin Access subscription program, but you don’t need it to get The Sims 4. If you have Origin Access Basic, you get access to The Sims 4 Digital Deluxe version, while Origin Access Premiere also grants the Dine Out and Kids Room Stuff expansions. The Digital Deluxe edition includes the Awesome Animal Hats, Life of the Party, and Up all Night DLC packs, as well as the soundtrack.

The Sims 4 originally launched in 2014. Like previous Sims games, it quickly became a best-seller, though fans and critics had mixed reactions, noting that it stripped many of the content and features that were present in The Sims 3. Since launch the game has received numerous free updates and paid DLC packs and expansions. The most recent, Get Famous, released in Fall 2018 and added acting and influencer as new careers.

The Sims 4 is rated T for Teen with Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, and Violence. It’s also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The free period on Origin ends May 28.

Save on Last Gen Games with the Xbox Backward Compatibility Sale

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The Xbox Backward Compatibility Sale returns this year with even more discounts on original Xbox and Xbox 360 games. Over 200 games from previous Microsoft consoles have been steeply discounted up to 75% on the Microsoft and Xbox digital stores.

Every game on the sale can be played on the Xbox One via the Backwards Compatibility Program. If you’re using the same account, you’ll even keep your old game saves, achievements, and Gamerscore.

The sale includes many high profile games and series, including the first Red Dead Redemption, the Gears of War series, Halo series, the Fable series, the BioShock series, and several LEGO and Call of Duty games.

If you have an Xbox One but haven’t looked into the Xbox 360’s impressively deep library, this sale is a great place to start. We’ve highlighted some notable games below:

  • Dragon Age: Origins ($3.74)
  • Fable 3 ($9.99)
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning ($4.99)
  • Mass Effect 2 ($5.99)
  • Mass Effect 3 ($5.99)
  • Red Dead Redemption ($9.89)
  • Shadow Complex ($7.49)
  • Spec Ops: The Line ($5.99)
  • XCOM: Enemy Within ($7.99)

Note that many games in the sale have since been remastered and released for modern consoles, such as the BioShock series with BioShock: The Collection, the Halo sereis with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and the Borderlands series with Borderlands: The Handsome Collection and Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition.

Several last gen games have been enhanced when playing on Xbox One X, such as Red Dead Redemption and Splinter Cell Blacklist. The enhancement expands color, pixel count, and resolution.

The Xbox Compatibility Sale ends May 27.