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A new job ad (translated by Siliconera and IGN) reveal that the company is hiring temporary employees to work on a "globally popular RPG" whose platform will be "console."
The job requires someone with experience in creating character models to the level of Wii U and PS Vita, reports Siliconera. The title of the game is not stated, but it is apparently "an RPG game that is popular on a global scale," that "just about anyone knows."
It should be noted that the job ad is found on third-party job listing site Indeed. Similar ads can be found on Game Freak's site, though these do not state the information found in the Indeed listings.
Game Freak is best known, of course, for developing the mainline Pokemon games. Outside of the critter-collecting phenomenon, the company has made smaller titles like HarmoKnight and Tembo the Badass Elephant, the latter of which released for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Mainline Pokemon games have always been exclusive to Nintendo consoles, however.
In 2016, it was reported that a new adaptation of the latest pair of big Pokemon games, Sun and Moon, was in the works for Nintendo Switch. Called Pokemon Stars, the title was apparently due to launch within six months of the Switch coming out. No official announcement has been made, however.
Taken in Tunisia early morning Day #1 waiting for my 1st shot (emerging from home for robot auction)-Perhaps the very 1st #LukePic #SW pic.twitter.com/WMCGnWCotP— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) March 18, 2017
As Hamill notes, Star Wars began production in Tunisia, where all the Tatooine scenes were filmed, before moving to London for the rest of the shoot.
In response to that image, Hamill was asked by Warner Animation publicist Gary Miereanu how he was feeling at the time: "At that very moment, were you thinking 'This is gonna be my big break' or 'Crap, it's early, dusty and way too bright?'"
Hamill replied by saying, "Judging by my clueless expression, probably both. Crew was kind but thought #SW was 'rubbish.' I kept telling them: 'We're on a winner!'"
Hamill will reprise his role as Skywalker in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hits theaters on December 15. Earlier this month, JJ Abrams, who directed Hamill in 2015's The Force Awakens, said that he thought the actor deserved an Oscar for his work in The Last Jedi.
"I think we are all going to be very upset if he does not win an Oscar, and no one more upset than Mark," Abrams said, possibly not entirely seriously.
The Dark Tower is based on Stephen King's classic series of fantasy novels. The movie was originally set to hit theaters in February, but the release date was subsequently moved back to July 28. At the time, it was reported that the ambitious post-production process meant that hitting a February release would have added millions to the budget, so Sony decided to delay the release instead.
The film stars Idris Elba as gunslinger Roland Deschain, while Matthew McConaughey is playing demonic sorcerer Walter Padick, aka The Man in Black. The movie is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, who previously helmed the Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair. Check out The Dark Tower's first official images here.
Last September it was also revealed that Sony are planning a Dark Tower TV show. It will be an adaptation of 1997's Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in King's epic series, and will feature both Elba and his 15-year-old co-star Tom Taylor. The pair will form part of a framing device for the central story, which is set many years before the events of the film.
The Dark Tower encompasses eight novels, which King published between 1982 and 2012. The books blend classic western themes with horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Below Wildlands, Lego Worlds rises one position in its second week on sale to No.2, which pushes Sony's PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn down one place to No.3.
Grand Theft Auto V continues to chart well, up one spot to No.4, while fellow evergreen title FIFA 17 is up to No.5 and Nintendo Switch launch title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild slips two places to No.6.
Next week's chart may be be shaken up by Mass Effect: Andromeda, which launches in the UK on March 23 (March 21 in North America). For now however, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Lego Worlds, and Horizon Zero Dawn are enjoying the podium positions.
You can read the full top 10 sales chart below. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.
The latest in the series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, brings the series to a whole new galaxy, with new locations and new personalities to explore. We recently interviewed BioWare about the controversy surrounding the end to the original trilogy and how that affected the development of Andromeda--check out The Story of Mass Effect: Andromeda - Episode 1 and Episode 2 to find out more.
For now though, let's dig into reviews for BioWare's latest sci-fi adventure. In our own verdict, critic Scott Butterworth said the game "feels like a vision half-fulfilled." He said it contains "a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly." Find out more in our full Mass Effect: Andromeda review.
For a selection of other critics' opinions, check out the roundup below--or for a wider view on critical opinion, you can take a look at GameSpot sister site Metacritic.
"In many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly. Its worlds and combat shine, but its writing and missions falter--and the relative strength of the former is not enough to compensate for the inescapable weakness of the latter. As a Mass Effect game, Andromeda falls well short of the nuanced politics, morality, and storytelling of its predecessors. For me, the series has always been about compelling characters and harrowing choices, so to find such weak writing here is bitterly disappointing. Yet even after 65 hours, I still plan on completing a few more quests. The game can't escape its shortcomings, but patient explorers can still find a few stars shining in the darkness." -- Scott Butterworth [Full review]
"Mass Effect: Andromeda is an expansive action role-playing game with a few great moments that recapture the high points of the landmark trilogy that came before it, and energetic combat and fantastic sound effects contribute to a potent sci-fi atmosphere. Without consistently strong writing or a breakout star in its cast to carry it through the long hours and empty spaces, however, disappointments like a lack of new races, no companion customization, and major performance problems and bugs take their toll." -- Dan Stapleton [Full review]
"When taken as its own journey (and not in comparison to Shepard's saga), Mass Effect: Andromeda is fun, and the important parts work. The narrative isn't astounding, but keeps you invested and drives you forward. The combat is entertaining whether you're in single-player or multiplayer. The crew isn't my favorite, but I like them and they have some good moments. Even with its other problems, these are the largest forces shaping your experience with Mass Effect: Andromeda, and they make it worth playing. At the same time, I was often left looking through a haze of inconveniences and dreaming about the game it could have been." -- Joe Juba [Full review]
"After a number of complaints, it might seem odd to end on such a positive note. Let's be clear: I'm conflicted about Mass Effect: Andromeda. There's a lot of roughness throughout the game, and the technical issues, while not game-breaking, are often incredibly distracting.
"But it's my time with the cast that I'm still thinking about, and the mysteries about the world that haven't been answered that make me feel like I'm waiting once again for a new Mass Effect game. And if I'm judging a game by where it leaves me, Andromeda succeeds, even if it stumbled getting there." -- Arthur Gies [Full review]
"In the end, Andromeda still manages to be more than the sum of its parts. As a critic I can point to the things that don't quite work, the things that could be better, the things that should be better after 10 years and four of these games. I can also appreciate where improvements have been made, the basic pleasure of an improved combat system and a full-feeling, spectacular sci-fi world to explore.
"Yet I'm also aware that when I'm in Mass Effect's zone a lot of these dry pros and cons don't seem to matter as much. This is a series that has always been good at getting under your skin, that has built its reputation on the moments when all of those disparate elements, good and bad, cohere into an adventure that feels like it's happening to you. Andromeda can still do that. It's not perfect. It's not consistent. But for a story about vast journeys and fresh starts, it also feels a little like coming home." -- Chris Thursten [Full review]
Thankfully, Andromeda did improve. As I progressed, I unlocked exhilarating new combat options, met characters with deeper appeal than my initial crew, and discovered freely explorable worlds that finally fulfilled the series' decade-old planet-hopping promise. And yet, some of those early problems persisted throughout, and while I did catch glimmers of the original trilogy's greatness, that shine was often dulled by lifeless dialogue, tedious missions, and even technical shortcomings.
To its credit, Andromeda boldly abandons the familiar. In place of the iconic Commander Shepard, we have Ryder, the daughter (or son) of a man chosen to lead one of four arks filled with intergalactic explorers looking to found colonies in a distant star cluster. Several disasters later, Ryder inherits her dad's job, and while the moments leading to and including that scene are pretty hackneyed, the stakes really sink in once you reach the Nexus--Andromeda's version of the earlier games' Citadel.
Here you discover the other three other arks have gone missing and that the Nexus, which arrived ahead of the arks, has suffered every setback imaginable, from growing food shortages to a veritable civil war. With leadership in shambles and no resources to revive the cryogenically frozen colonists, the sudden arrival of an ark immediately lands Ryder in an uncomfortable position of power. In practice, the scenario felt more believable than typical "you are the chosen one" cliches. I understood why those characters would look to me and felt the weight of their desperation. So when the Nexus gradually sprang to life as I started fixing problems, I felt genuinely accomplished.
The central storyline revolves around an evil alien race and its narcissistic leader.
In parallel with this more broadly-focused narrative--which encompasses much of the side content--the central storyline revolves around an evil alien race and its delusional, narcissistic leader, who poses a more immediate threat than food shortages. He's less one-dimensional than he initially seems, but the plot is largely predictable in a mindless blockbuster sort of way. The two stories intersect occasionally, and both pay off in the end.
Truthfully, Andromeda's story problems stem more from delivery than from plot. The vast majority of Andromeda's characters are just dull, and conversations rarely delve deeper than arduous "get to know you" small talk. No one yells or cries or expresses any measurable emotion at any point, even when they explicitly talk about their feelings, and there's no Tyrion Lannister or Francis Underwood to keep things interesting. There was plenty of room for Game of Thrones-style power struggles on the Nexus, yet all political disagreements are merely mentioned without being explored. Even romance options feel stilted, and the culminating scene I unlocked for successfully wooing a crew member was not as explicit or exciting as you might expect.
Worse still, your agency in these conversations is limited. Sure, you can periodically select from up to four dialogue options, but these frequently boil down to "be optimistic" or "be realistic." On paper, this system improves over the rigid renegade/paragon dichotomy of the original series, but in practice, the various options felt only superficially different. And regardless of what I picked, my inputs only rarely impacted the outcome. Even when I tried to be rude, characters generally found a way to shrug it off. And after beating the campaign, I can only recall one major decision that had serious repercussions, and even that felt contrived. It also paled in comparison to the memorably gut-wrenching choices forced on me in the original games.
In fairness, Andromeda did sometimes surprise me with poignant moments, like my crew comforting me in a dark hour and a conversation with my partner AI about the meaning of life. The game just buries these gems under hours of empty or even cringe-worthy interactions filled with heavy-handed themes, awkward lines of dialogue, and weird idiomatic phrases that felt out of place in a far flung galaxy. What person says "What's the word on the street?" without irony in 2017 let alone 600-plus years in the future?
Andromeda's worlds are breathtaking to behold and exciting to explore.
Thankfully, I didn't have to dig as deep to find the things Andromeda does well. Its worlds, for example, are breathtaking to behold and exciting to explore. You eventually uncover four mini-open worlds, as well as smaller, standalone areas like an overgrown jungle outpost and your own ship, The Tempest. The four major maps are sizable and offer drastically different environments and hazards, from frozen wastelands to arid deserts to unruly jungles. They're also filled with NPCs to chat up and side missions to undertake. You could end up solving murders in a pirate port, betting at a Krogan fighting pit, or unlocking secrets in ancient yet hyper-advanced vaults. Or you could just wheel around in your Nomad. The galaxy is vast and varied, and that's worth being excited about.
I also fell in love with the combat, especially later in the game. The core shooting mechanics feel stronger here than anywhere else in the series, and the flexibility of the progression system let me cherry pick cool powers rather than locking me into a set character class. I ended up building, well...a space ninja, basically. I could use tech to cloak myself, biotics to charge enemies, a shield-buffing sword to deal damage, and the standard jumpjets to dart away again. The results were consistently frantic and fun, though there are plenty of other options as well. I enjoyed nearly everything I experimented with, even if most enemies proved to be predictable adversaries.
Combat's one major flaw is the crafting system. I would call it more of a missed opportunity than a problem, but crafting is often the only way to get the weapons and armor you actually want, which means hours of scanning objects to accrue research points and many headaches dealing with the messy UI. Even bare essentials like comparing weapon stats can be tricky or even impossible. The crafting and loadout stations are also at opposite ends of the Tempest, which routinely forced me to run back and forth to get things done. You will occasionally find loot around the world, but it's severely utilized as a reward mechanic. I felt deeply satisfied when I finally completed my perfect loadout, but I'm not sure it was worth the energy.
Crafting isn't Andromeda's biggest time-waster, however. That would be its tedious missions. Far too many open world quests--even some that feel important or come packaged in an interesting premise--devolve into multistep "go here, hit a button" errands. There's always another navpoint somewhere across the map or an NPC who needs exactly three items or a crucial datapad that's unexpectedly missing when you arrive. I frequently felt like an intergalactic errand boy, mindlessly scanning everything in sight so my omniscience AI partner could do whatever the situation required and give me a new waypoint to reach.
I frequently felt like an intergalactic errand boy, mindlessly scanning everything in sight.
These missions aren't all bad, per se, but they desperately needed some editing--or at least a wider variety of gameplay scenarios. Forcing players to repeat the exact same action three times or drive across the map to interact with one prompt isn't fun--it's padding. The campaign and crew loyalty missions provide better crafted experiences, but there's no avoiding at least some of the unimaginative tedium, especially since you rarely receive enough information upfront to really know what you're getting into.
There is plenty to do outside of missions, however. Andromeda includes a somewhat convoluted meta-game that challenges you to raise planets' viability levels by establishing outposts and completing other quests. You can also hunt for "memory triggers" left by your father that eventually reveal a few interesting secrets. And then there's mining, which uses a hot/cold indicator to let you hunt for crafting resources while driving across the worlds; space travel, which lets you jump from to location to location, scanning planets for XP; and strike teams, which give you the option to send unseen groups of soldiers out on missions or earn additional rewards by jumping into a cooperative multiplayer horde mode match. Individually, these elements don't add much, but collectively, they do round out the sci-fi fantasy.
Unfortunately, there's a dark cloud hanging over all of this: technical issues. Sure, the facial animations really don't look great, but the problems run deeper. On PS4, the framerate was all over the place both in and out of action. On both PS4 and PC, I encountered several audio issues, most notably multiple lines of dialogue playing at the same time, covering each other. I also saw other random glitches like characters that failed to load during conversations, exiting a conversation to find myself a room away from where I was previously, and enemies that fell into the level geometry. None of these issues rendered the game unplayable, but they were noticeable and pervasive.
In many ways, Andromeda feels like a vision half-fulfilled. It contains a dizzying amount of content, but the quality fluctuates wildly. Its worlds and combat shine, but its writing and missions falter--and the relative strength of the former is not enough to compensate for the inescapable weakness of the latter. As a Mass Effect game, Andromeda falls well short of the nuanced politics, morality, and storytelling of its predecessors. For me, the series has always been about compelling characters and harrowing choices, so to find such weak writing here is bitterly disappointing. Yet even after 65 hours, I still plan on completing a few more quests. The game can't escape its shortcomings, but patient explorers can still find a few stars shining in the darkness.
This performance topples Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million), which was the previous first-weekend record-holder for March.
Internationally, Beauty and the Beast pulled in $180 million for its opening weekend, giving the movie a total of $350 million. In just three days. It had a reported production budget of $160 million.
Rounding out the top five movies at the US box office this weekend were Kong: Skull Island ($28.9 million), Logan ($17.5 million), Get Out ($13.2 million), and The Shack ($6.1 million).
You can see the Top 10 March 17-19 estimates below, via EW:
This story has been updated and corrected.
Back in January, Nintendo confirmed that Super Mario Run would arrive for Android in March, but this is the first we're hearing of a specific date. The game arrives with the Version 2.0.0 update, though no other details about what the update will contain were shared (via DualShockers).
Android version of #SuperMarioRun will be available on 3/23 with the Ver.2.0.0 update! Pre-register now: https://t.co/dAxzTlppnG pic.twitter.com/nQ0T4znOBt— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 18, 2017
Super Mario Run was originally released for iOS devices exclusively back in December 2016. It was a huge hit, racking up 78 million downloads by Nintendo's latest count.
The game's free download comes with a sampling of levels, but you need to pay $10 to unlock every course. According to Nintendo, five percent of players have paid to buy all the courses, meaning the game has brought in many millions of dollars in revenue so far.
This story has been updated and corrected.
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Paladins is a team-based shooter with strategy elements and deep character customization through its unique use of collectible cards. These cards amplify and augment a character’s core set of abilities in many interesting ways.
Intel is calling its 3D XPoint SSDs Optane drives. Taking into account hardware and software overhead, Intel asserts that the P4800X is roughly five to eight times faster than leading SSDs at low queue depths, which is where most SSDs do their work. Specifically, the company says that it will allow for 2GB/s random read and write speeds. In terms of pure throughput (speed), Intel says the drive is roughly three times as fast as the company’s DC P3700 drive, which is a bold claim considering that the P3700, an NVMe drive, is capable of delivering 2,800MB/s sequential read and 2,000MB/s sequential write speeds.
The new Optane drive also uses the PCIe NVMe interface, and features a new Intel Optane controller. Coupled with the new 3D XPoint architecture, the P4800X is said to use secretive materials that allow it to run much faster than NAND SSDs.
Intel says that its Optane drives will automatically accelerate existing applications and claims that the P4800X will consume roughly 12-14 watts under a heavy load, which is slightly more power-efficient than competing high-end NAND solutions.
There are several caveats to the SSD, however. It’s not a drive that’s designed for long sequential read and write sessions, which is useful when you're transferring large files. Intel asserts that traditional high-end 3D NAND drives are better at those tasks, and says they will exist alongside Optane SSDs as a result. Another big caveat is that the drive is designed for data centers, though consumers with 200-series motherboards and Kaby Lake CPUs will be able to use it. The last caveat is that the drive is very expensive. The 375GB SSD will cost $1520.
While the P4800X is geared for enterprise solutions, you can expect to see Intel bring its Optane drive technology to consumers in the near future.