Assassin's Creed Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Assassin's Creed RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Xbox Games With Gold November Lineup Announced https://www.gameskinny.com/fjd9u/xbox-games-with-gold-november-lineup-announced https://www.gameskinny.com/fjd9u/xbox-games-with-gold-november-lineup-announced Tue, 30 Oct 2018 23:04:31 -0400 William R. Parks

Microsoft has revealed November's Games with Gold, titles that are freely available to those with active Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 will get two games each, with EA's Battlefield 1 leading the pack. 

Here's what you can expect: 

Xbox One

  • Battlefield 1 (Redeemable November 1 - 30)
  • Race the Sun (Redeemable November 16 - December 15)

Xbox 360

  • Assassin's Creed (Redeemable November 1 - 15)
  • Dante's Inferno (Redeemable November 16 - 30)

Overall, this feels like a strong showing for the subscription service.

While recent sales have made Battlefield 1 available at a hefty discount, it always feels like a coup to receive a recent AAA title for free, and the shooter's inclusion in Games with Gold is a great opportunity to further expand the player-base ahead of Battlefield 5's launch later in the month.

Further, for players that have just completed Assassin's Creed Odyssey, here is a chance for them to go back to the beginning of the franchise and see how it all got started.

However, don't sleep on Dante's Inferno, a fast-paced action-adventure based on Dante's classic poem. It might not be critically acclaimed, but it's a fun time, especially for free. 

It has been a while since we have seen a Games with Gold with so much to offer. Let's hope Microsoft can keep this trend going.

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Assassin's Creed Odyssey to Be Supported Through 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/zse6j/assassins-creed-odyssey-to-be-supported-through-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/zse6j/assassins-creed-odyssey-to-be-supported-through-2019 Wed, 22 Aug 2018 13:40:29 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Citing the fact that last year's Assassin's Creed Origins and this year's Odyssey were developed at the same time, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated at Gamescom (via GameSpot) that there will be no full-fledged installment to the series in 2019.

Instead of a brand new game next year, Guillemot said there will be regular additions of new content to Assassin's Creed Odyssey through 2019, adding there will be "some new possibilities for play" with the updates.

It appears the development team, which was separated for the simultaneous development of both Origins and Odyssey, will be brought back together for the latter's updates through the year after release.

This is the first game in the Assassin's Creed series to allow players to play as either a man or a woman, and it is also the first to take place in ancient Greece. Considering the improvements Origins brought and the series' reputation for yearly releases, this new approach may give fans and the developers the room they need to really breathe some fresh air into Ubisoft's flagship franchise.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey is scheduled to be released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 5 of this year. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on the franchise as it develops. 

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7 AAA Games That Would Make Awesome CCGs https://www.gameskinny.com/qeve7/7-aaa-games-that-would-make-awesome-ccgs https://www.gameskinny.com/qeve7/7-aaa-games-that-would-make-awesome-ccgs Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:07:09 -0500 Nicolas Entrabartolo

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Wolfenstein

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Wolfenstein: The highly acclaimed series where Nazis won the war. An interesting concept for a card game, to be sure.

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It would be easy to harmonize the card game with the main series too, where it is rebels versus the Nazi regime and all the technology you get throughout the game is what your power ups are based on. It would certainly make for some interesting story and some interesting cards as well.Making mech and gun power ups could be a fun time for the developers, as well as the players making combos, allowing you to create new power ups and weapons.

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--------

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Did you know Zelda had a card game? Though there are many more games  and card games out there, there are several that many don't know of. It just takes some digging and some imagination to come up with the next great thing!  And speaking of the next great thing, stay tuned to GameSkinny for more interesting articles about your favorite games.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/c/m/acm-ubi-thumb-leap-mobile-275895-65be4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/c/m/acm-ubi-thumb-leap-mobile-275895-65be4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179443","description":"

Assassin's Creed

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Assassin's Creed is another series just begging to be a card game. The war between the Templars and Assassins would be yet another interesting and engaging game, allowing for all out card wars between and across the many different time periods that the games take place in.

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The stories that have already come to pass only cover a few parts of history, so the card game could cover everything else that the video games have not touched. In addition to providing an almost limitless amount of  content, it allows for multiple expansions to be released (which is good for the developers), along with an endless possibility of timelines to take advantage of. AC the card game could be just what the franchise needs to be revitalized!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/3/9/8/39814594522-17f9fbbe81-da799.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/3/9/8/39814594522-17f9fbbe81-da799.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179442","description":"

God of War

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There are multiple possibilities for a God of War card game. It could turn into a simple adventure or several Kratoses battling it out across the earth. It could easily be made into different eras that one or several games take place in, and, of course, you can customize your own deck/character to fit that era.

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The cards that you gain can be power-ups, along with monsters that you fell during your adventures. Along with the many unique stories that are still to open with the Norse God of War, there are many possible storylines they can follow and many cards they could create, as many as there are myths and legends.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/a/imagehalocdncom-c30e4.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/a/imagehalocdncom-c30e4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179441","description":"

Halo Series

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With Halo being one of the most iconic franchises every created, there are so many stories that 343 Studios can follow now via other channels, now that the Halo games themselves are slowly grinding to a halt.

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With the Halo Wars stories also starting to take over the scene, they can create new content and follow the stories of not just the Spartans, but also the Covenant as well. We can also follow the stories of Master Chief and his comrades in arms! 343 can make a system that is just as simple as any -- two factions, cards on both sides, and brawl it out, straight or mixed.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/o/r/forhonor-1200x630-90650.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/o/r/forhonor-1200x630-90650.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179440","description":"

For Honor

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For Honor the CCG is the perfect way to bring about engaging combat and story between the the factions that wage war in the game. Between the Vikings, Knights, and Samurai, there can be so many compelling stories and cards to help develop the game.

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They can delve into the stories and origins behind cards that they create, and enhance to a more story based game centered around strategy, instead of just carnage.And the especially interesting part is a pillage mechanic, where you can steal power ups from other factions to use yourself. That alone would help set this game apart from all the others and manage to keep the original's tone and mood.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/w/i/wwii-zombies-meta-hero-1200px-75bec.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/w/i/wwii-zombies-meta-hero-1200px-75bec.png","type":"slide","id":"179439","description":"

Call of Duty: Zombies

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One of the most interesting card games that could be created has to be Call of Duty: Zombies, which could literally be made into the MTG card mode, the Horde. There could be a game made where you are fighting off zombies with your deck.

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It would be an interesting crawl going after better loot, and your rewards would be better power ups, even more in-depth stories, and new content for zombies and the WWII era.What's not to love? Activision can make a cash cow out of this, especially since the Horde is only really played at MTG events and player gatherings anyway.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/2/7/427711-destinyheader-53f3d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/2/7/427711-destinyheader-53f3d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179438","description":"

Destiny

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With three main classes in Destiny, Bungie could follow a route similar to Hearthstone, having several kinds of decks to fight enemies of the Light. The Bungie team could also explore stories they were never able to cover in the main game, allowing them to finally please fans --which is always nice -- and come full circle with some of those loose ends.

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But that's not all. They could also just make it where you have cards of all the alien lifeforms, allowing you to wage war with any combination of factions you desire.The content and massive amount of customization would bring about a ton of interesting playstyles and complex decks every bit as intense as Magic:The Gathering.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/hearthstone-screenshot-93b6c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/hearthstone-screenshot-93b6c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"179435","description":"

Hearthstone is breaking the scene for CCGs, but what else is out there exactly? There isn't much to compete with it, other than Magic: The Gathering. Though Hearthstone is just a card game about Warcraft, there are many other games out there that could take the same approach and be just as awesome. The question then becomes: what games out there have what it takes? Imagine a game that takes you on the space odyssey of Halo or the war that Kratos wages against the gods? That's exactly what we did with this list, and here's what we came up with.

"}]]]>
Gift Guide: 7 Best Gaming Comics and Books https://www.gameskinny.com/3iy95/gift-guide-7-best-gaming-comics-and-books https://www.gameskinny.com/3iy95/gift-guide-7-best-gaming-comics-and-books Tue, 26 Dec 2017 15:08:10 -0500 Sarah Elliman

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These are some of the best video game comics and books out there to date. If you've been stuck looking for the best gift for someone who loves books and video games, then you don't need to be stuck anymore. 

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We hope our list has made your shopping that much easier and brings joy to everyone's gaming hearts. 

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What was your favourite comic/book on our list? Are there any you love that we didn't include? Let us know in the comments below. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-god-war-ascension-17b-e0f76.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-god-war-ascension-17b-e0f76.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176385","description":"
God of War
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Price: $14.75
Buy it on: Amazon

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Kratos is a deeply troubled soul -- many say downright cruel and unforgiving -- obsessed with his brutal hunt for the Greek Gods. However, the God of War comic goes into more explicit detail about his life before the events of the game and what transpired during that time period.

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With the next installment coming soon to PS4, now is a perfect time to jump back into some God of War and relive the magic before an entirely new experience hits the shelf. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-concept-015-brute-fight-d2ffa.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-concept-015-brute-fight-d2ffa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176384","description":"
Mass Effect
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Price: $7.19
Buy it on: Amazon

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Mass Effect is another BioWare game that truly captures the heart of fans who play it. Everyone always wants more content and wants to learn more about the vast universe that is present in Mass Effect. Just like the Dragon Age books, you will return to familiar compelling characters, learning their stories, opinions, and emotions as you go. 

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This is a fantastic gift for any Mass Effect fan, and there are tons of installments in the series, with many different topics being covered throughout. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-place-west-8c31f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-place-west-8c31f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176382","description":"
Half-Life: A Place in the West
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Price: $1.49 per episode
Buy it on: Steam

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This is for anyone who is a Half-Life fan -- and let's face it, who isn't? -- who has been waiting for a new game for forever (since it would appear we are not getting one, at least anytime soon). 

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However, you don't have to wait for a new game to get a hold of exceptional Half-Life content. Although a fairly recent addition to the series, and not by the creators of Half-Life, it has already been praised as capturing the universe and creating a compelling story. 

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-assassin-creed-dlc-concept-art-guizz-5842d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-assassin-creed-dlc-concept-art-guizz-5842d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176381","description":"
Assassin's Creed: Forsaken 
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Price: $9.74
Buy it on: Amazon

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This is the only book in this guide where I wouldn't recommend the other installments in the series. Most of them follow what happened in the game, and once you've played it, you certainly don't want to read that all again. 

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Forsaken is different, as it follows Haytham Kenway (Connor's father), and you begin to understand how he became a Templar and what drove him to make those decisions. It's a fantastic book for shedding light on an otherwise unknown character. Plus, it is perfect for any hardcore fans of Assassin's Creed.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-sparth-highrise-wip-flat-final-pp2-8cf71.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-sparth-highrise-wip-flat-final-pp2-8cf71.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176380","description":"
The Halo Graphic Novel
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Price: $3.22
Buy it on: Amazon

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This is the perfect gift for any die-hard Halo fan, as it's not just composed of stories that reference and relate back to Master Chief, but include numerous pieces of art. The entire graphic novel was contributed to by a variety of writers and artists who have been directly involved in the making of the game.

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This creates a strong bond with the game and allows for amazing continuity between the game and the comic book. It is an incredibly easy read, and it is a gift that your friend will want to go back to consistently.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-witcher-wild-hunt-blood-wine-concept-art-m01-291f7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-witcher-wild-hunt-blood-wine-concept-art-m01-291f7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176379","description":"
The Witcher by Andrezj Sapkowski
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Price: $25.33
Buy it on: Amazon

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The Witcher game as we know it would never have been the intense and intriguing story it is without its source material. The entire inspiration for the world comes from Sapkowski’s books, while much of the third game builds directly on the series itself.

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The Witcher books help you understand Geralt’s anxiety against those in power, explains his relationship with Yen, and reveal how he came to know Ciri. It’s an incredibly important series, and once you read it, you’ll start seeing references all the time throughout the game.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-dragon-age-inquisition-concept-art-mr15-forest-ddf5b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/s/z/rsz-dragon-age-inquisition-concept-art-mr15-forest-ddf5b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176378","description":"
Dragon Age
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Price: $33.38
Buy it on: Amazon

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The books are primarily what I will be talking about as, in my opinion, they far exceed the literary value that the comics have achieved. Most of the series is written by David Gaider who, until this year, was the lead writer for the Dragon Age game series.

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The books are incredibly well written and delve into the stories of well-known and loved characters -- stories about Maric and Loghain, Duncan’s connection to the Ferelden royal family, and Wynne. Characters that always had an ambiguous air that made you want to know about their lives. These books aren’t just trying to thrive off the popularity of Dragon Age; they are stunning pieces of fiction in their own right, making fantastic gifts for your bookworm, gamer friend.

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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-image-8ca15.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/i/f/gift-guide-image-8ca15.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176749","description":"

Are you stumped on what to buy your gamer, bookworm friend? Perhaps you are looking for something to gladden their hearts. You don't have to look any further, as we have found the perfect comics and books for gamers across the globe. 

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We promise you won't be disappointed by the high level of literary value and artistic merit of the items we have found for you. These comics/books don't just encompass a video game universe, they stand on their own. For example, one of the books on this list is one my granddad loves to read, and he's never even played the game series. 

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Sit back, relax, and hopefully find a book/comic to keep you company! 

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Why Representation Is Important in Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/gi2j2/why-representation-is-important-in-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/gi2j2/why-representation-is-important-in-video-games Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:58:34 -0500 Sarah Elliman

We live in an incredibly diverse world, where people from different ways of life and culture can meet on a regular basis. The vast majority of people may not have had this much interaction with those of different origins in the past -- certainly not to the scale the modern world can achieve. Considering that video games are now even more popular than other entertainment mediums such as film or TV (four out of five US households own a device used to play video games), having greater diversity and representation of a variety of people is an especially prevalent and pressing issue with respect to video games.

Given the wide range of people that video games are accessible to, the lack of representation of diverse groups of people is shocking. In recent years there have been more females and people of color serving as primary characters in video games, but the statistics are still overwhelmingly negative in terms of diversity. Recent games such as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy feature two female protagonists who are both women of color. Most importantly, these characters break certain tropes and stereotypes, which makes their character development and story even more important.

Diversity and representation aren't simply about throwing women and people of color into video games. You don’t want a female character who is simply a guy coded as a female character; there needs to be a subtlety and skilled writing for these characters.

Women in Video Games

Many of us can see with our own eyes that there aren’t as many female characters in video games as there are men. Forget historical accuracy and those arguments for a second, and focus on the pure statistical representation statistics. There is a roughly even split in the world between men and women, so that should be represented in video games. 

According to a 2007 article from Monica K. Miller and Alicia Summers, "of the 49 games included in the[ir] analysis, 282 male humans and 53 female characters appeared," translating to roughly 5.3 men to every 1 female character. Other research has found large discrepancies between the number of games in which men are playable and those in which females appear as playable characters. The excuses of old (e.g., women simply don't play video games, so it's a male-oriented environment) aren’t viable anymore. In fact, a 2015 study found that women make up 44% of gamers. This is a staggering figure compared to the overall representation of women within video games.

It isn’t simply lack of representation that harms people’s view of the gaming industry but also the many ways in which women are presented in them. A 2009 analysis found that "fifteen percent of (M)ature games also included characters that were coded as being naked," and "of the characters coded as 'naked,' 88% were female." That is an overwhelming figure compared to the presentation of men. 

As a gamer, you may have heard the term the “Lara Phenomenon,” which researchers Jeroen Jansz and Raynel G. Martis coined to describe "the appearance of a tough and competent female character in a dominant position." It is worrisome enough that it was known as a phenomenon to start with, suggesting the lack of female characters who ascribe to this description. However, in recent years, I believe we have moved further away from the two drastic stereotypes of the “Laras" or "damsels in distress." The importance of representation is to present realistic and depth-filled characters that audiences relate to. Although the Lara type is strong and powerful, seeing a depth to a character is much more constructive to a storyline; this is shown in the most recent reboots of the Tomb Raider series.

Overall, the position of women in video games is becoming stronger. To me, it is about what powerful and emotive characters bring to the story. Women in games undeniably tend to be beautiful, and it’s not about changing that perspective but rather adding a new dimension to these characters other than being just eye candy. 

Ethnicities in Video Games 

This is another aspect of video game representation that is seriously undervalued. It can be as ridiculous as the French Arno in Assassin's Creed: Unity having a British voice actor or even different ethnicities or cultures completely missing from games. Once again, we are seeing a slow improvement in this representation, even from the Assassin’s Creed series. Adaptations of Egyptian history and tales tend to be acted by white actors in these scenarios, so it is brilliant to see Assassin's Creed: Origins bringing in accurate depictions of those who live in the region.

However, there are massive disparities when it comes to the white versus ethnic ratio of characters in video games. Karen E. Dill and her colleagues in 2005 shared that within their research, "68% of main characters and 72% of the secondary characters were white.’" This is astounding considering the vast world we live in and the variety of inhabitants in it.

Other studies have shown that black, Asian, and Hispanic characters make up much smaller percentages of character, and considering that these can include secondary characters, it appears that some game developers just be throw in those of different ethnic backgrounds as a token gesture.

 LGBT Representation 

There is a recurring trend in the way those who are gay or transgender are represented in video games, with many shown as villains or something to be disgusted with. In the video below, MatPat of The Game Theorists looks at the disturbing representation of those who belong to the LGBT community in video games. 

There are approximately 8 million people who fall into the LGBT category in the USA alone, but in recent years, a study has shown that only 12 characters were depicted as being LGBT. There are tons of people crying out for this representation that isn’t being given the light of day.

In a 2014 interview, Lucien Soulban, an openly gay lead writer for Ubisoft, stated that it will be quite some time before we see a gay character make a meaningful impact in a video game: “So when are we going to see that gay protagonist in a AAA game? Not for a while, I suspect, because of fears that it’ll impact sales.”

Rhianna Pratchett, the lead writer for the Tomb Raider reboot, appeared slightly optimistic in an interview with Motherboard on the possibility of greater diversity for LGBT characters: “I think folding them in as regular secondary characters who are just part of the fabric of the world will be how things progress,” suggesting she believes that the LGBT community will be represented but at a relatively slow pace. 

The awful truth is that many LGBT characters, even when present in video games, are portrayed in a completely disrespectful light. Even recently, characters such as Trevor in GTA V are expressed as openly gay -- but Trevor’s character is a complete psychopath. This doesn’t provide a rounded view of gay characters, and why is this type of character reserved for the openly gay Trevor? 

In the end, the gaming industry has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. Gamers want to see themselves in the video games they play and not feel demonized even when they are.

 What are your opinions on representation in video games? Are there any games that you believe represented different types of people well? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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"Games As A Service" Is The New Norm https://www.gameskinny.com/fdlu7/games-as-a-service-is-the-new-norm https://www.gameskinny.com/fdlu7/games-as-a-service-is-the-new-norm Mon, 06 Nov 2017 16:23:05 -0500 Luke Luby

There was a time, up until only a few short years ago, that game developers and publishers would create a game, release it, and then move on to the next IP. With video game companies being a money making businesses - or, at least, businesses that try to make some money and be successful - things are changing pretty rapidly.

Now, however, video games are seen less like a product and more like a full-fledged service. Instead of seeing brand new IPs being unveiled, we're increasingly seeing games that are constantly being updated, patched or somehow improved upon years after release.

And there's a simple reason for that: developers and publishers want to make as much money out of each game as humanly possible. So far, the list of ways developers can squeeze more money out of players is pretty limited, but it's increasing pretty regularly - loot boxes, DLC and micro-transactions are only the beginning.

And this "games as a service" isn't just speculative from the likes of critics and players, developers and publishers are eagerly embracing the term. For example, in Square Enix's most recent financial report, they stated:

"Titles that have become global hits recently have tended to be offered via the 'Games as a Service' model, and we believe this is going to be the mainstream model for gaming in the future. In developing future titles, we will approach game design with a mind to generate recurring revenue streams."

The statement comes on the heels of Final Fantasy XV becoming a "service" thanks to recent patches and DLC, with more on the way. The list of developers and publishers who have recently made references to games as a service is growing. Electronic Arts and Ubisoft also explicitly mention it in their most recent earnings calls -- and even those who haven't are still following pretty similar strategies.

This big shift was always inevitable. The video game industry is littered with the corpses of game studios that took the fire-and-forget approach. For developers, the best lessons are often learned once you’ve already shipped. Games such as Rainbow Six Siege is living, breathing proof of the concept working pretty well.

With video games that have a long shelf life -- and an even longer list of recurring players -- "games as a service" is going to stay around for a while yet. It's becoming such a draw that having a one-and-done approach is quickly becoming irregular for developers.

While this might be good news for some fans, it also has a number of drawbacks. The most prominent one being the fact that, as developers spend more time on games post-launch, they'll have less time to spend on developing new IP. Having new DLC, patches and more for the likes of Fallout 4 might be great and everything, but new projects might not ever get to see the light of day as publishers look to wring as much money out of sequels and DLC as possible.

One of the major drawbacks, however, could be the use of the 'games as a service' model to rush games to a release, glossing over bugs and glitches in order to make a deadline - some of the recent Assassin's Creed games come to mind. Essentially, developers know that they can release an unfinished, and occasionally broken, game knowing that patches will be released months later in order to fix said bugs/glitches. And this is where the only major concern for gamers comes into play. In many cases, players will have to wait months - possibly even years - in order to get the full experience of a game, as the developers originally envisioned for the game.

Whether the benefits end up outweighing the drawbacks in the future - as looks likely at the moment - players will have to get used to games as a service. If developers have their way, players don't have much of a choice, so better get used to waiting for the full experience of a game.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments! 

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Does Assassin’s Creed Need Multiplayer Again? https://www.gameskinny.com/9hwms/does-assassins-creed-need-multiplayer-again https://www.gameskinny.com/9hwms/does-assassins-creed-need-multiplayer-again Tue, 24 Oct 2017 15:07:34 -0400 Brandon Janeway

Assassin’s Creed is a long-standing franchise that has attempted to add variety to some releases to mix up their otherwise basic formula. One of these forms of variety was in the form of a competitive multiplayer that we saw in Brotherhood and then a cooperative multiplayer that we saw in Unity. However, the series left out both of these features with Syndicate and it does not look like they will be making a return in Origins.

Now we cannot deny that Assassin’s Creed is a successful franchise with a large following, but the question remains if they need to add something to their formula again. While the competitive multiplayer feature was not the reason fans were playing, it had enough of a backing to last three games in the series.

The multiplayer was successful at blending the actions of the campaign with a competitive functionality that worked well in the Assassin’s Creed Universe. Unity allowed players to work in tandem on missions, and worked well with the themes of the game, but lacked the same excitement and contrast of the competitive features before it.

Without either of these features, the franchise left Syndicate feeling like an old Assassin’s Creed game, not that that was a bad thing. The game also did allow you to switch between two lead characters which was a nice twist without sacrificing the traditional Assassin’s Creed feel.

Now, most people are done with franchises that add a random multiplayer feature to a game that does not make a lot of sense and bogs down the overall presence of a good game. But if it makes sense with the game and has a user base, it is a nice function to enhance a game.

Even without the multiplayer function, Origins will still be successful for long-time fans of the franchise, but it leaves little to entice newcomers. Even more worrisome is how long the game will keep people interested without new features. Multiplayer without a doubt adds content besides the campaign and allows for developers to add some easy new content.

Will we see a return of the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer or is the franchise just going to keep doing what made them so popular since the beginning? We will have to wait and see. Let us know in the comments if you think Assassin's Creed needs to bring back their multiplayer or what else they might need to change their formula.

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Why Video Games Should Be Considered Art https://www.gameskinny.com/mzcvo/why-video-games-should-be-considered-art https://www.gameskinny.com/mzcvo/why-video-games-should-be-considered-art Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:56:03 -0400 Sarah Elliman

It is incontrovertible that the debate around whether video games can be considered an art form or not is a contentious subject. Some believe it is the ultimate medium of expression, combining various art forms into one and making it interactive. Others believe that considering video games as art devalues the works of various artists in different fields. Although video games are legally recognised as art forms, the debate is still widely discussed. I personally believe that video games combine many beautiful art forms into one incredible interactive piece. You can learn from and experience situations you may never have been in before. The public's view on art and what mediums should be considered art vary as widely as the pieces of art present in our world.

In 2011 it was ruled by the Supreme Court that video games should be protected by the First Amendment.

“Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas – and even social messages – through many familiar literary devices…and through features distinctive to the medium.”

- Anthony Scalia, Supreme Court Justice

Even legally protected as an art form, many don’t see the artistic nature of video games.

People view art in different ways and without a clarification of meaning it can be hard to differentiate between the mediums. Jonathon Jones wrote for The Guardian on the matter stating that:

"...any definition of art is one person’s reaction to life. Any definition of art that robs it of this inner response by a human creator is a worthless definition."

Understanding that this is a valid point if that is how you view art is applicable, however the basic component of this definition is that art is a reflection of life. If you take the opinion of the famous playwright, Oscar Wilde, he believed that ‘life imitates art far more than art imitates life,’ having varying personal definitions of art harms our view of video games as art.

So when definitions aren’t clear it is hard to define what should fit the unstable definition of art. Perhaps, you may argue that there are much more established forms of art and their importance is greater. It can’t be denied that prose, song and visual art have been established far longer than video games. However, this does not mean it isn’t an art form--video games simply haven’t had the time to gain the prestige of other art forms. Furthermore, what are video games but an interactive medium comprised of prose, song and visual art? Albeit not every video game is a masterpiece, but neither is every single book. When video games combine these three traditional art forms and use them masterfully, they create a soulful experience.

For example, if we are to start with visual art there are plenty of examples of video games that are visually appealing. There is no one true style when it comes to the visual aspect of video games. You can have a completely realistic style with a game such as Uncharted and be blown away by beautifully rendered landscapes. Or alternatively a game such as Limbo has a simpler art style, but carries the sinister nature of the game. It is not simply how we use the visual style but how it adds to the tone of the game. What Remains of Edith Finch is an absolutely stunning game and emits a sense of quiet and mystery even from its art style. The visuals match the purpose and the narrative of the game.

The same can be said for the writing of an individual game. Nobody could deny the power and heart-wrenching nature of the opening to The Last of Us. It set the entire tone for the game. You understood Joel’s character and knew why his interactions with Ellie were tenuous at the beginning of the game. A game with a good narrative does the same thing any piece of prose does: it makes you want to continue on. Whether you’re running home to read the next chapter of the book you’re reading or complete the next mission of the game you’re on, good writing makes you want to continue the story.

In addition if you played the first season of TellTale’s critically acclaimed The Walking Dead, you would know that at the end of the season there was not a dry eye to be seen. And what about video games that take inspiration from a piece of prose? The Witcher 3 reached legendary game status back in 2015, with many games, such as Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Origins desiring to implement many mechanics from the eponymous game. The Witcher 3 had fantastic source material. (I highly recommend the books to anyone who is a fan of the series.) Does having source material based in more established art forms make it better? No, good writing comes from the team who are passionate about the game they’re making.

Lastly is the soundtrack. Song is an incredible part of human nature. Folk music is a testament to the longevity of song, and when a video game has the right soundtrack it makes all the difference. Life is Strange is a perfect example of this. It has a soundtrack that carries the message of the game, but the tracks are in themselves pieces of art. I have been introduced to so many new artists through games such as Life is Strange that I would never have found otherwise. Even instrumental music composed for a game carries a tone and a beauty within it, such as the Assassin’s Creed 2 opening instrumental. It carries an emotion and purpose that a video game would be lost without.

When you have the combination of so many brilliant art forms, how can you not justify video games being classed as an art form?

“Video games are also the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience while still retaining the authenticity of the artist,” - Chris Melissinos

is one opinion standing for the validity of video games as an art form. You’re not just a passive consumer when you engage with video games. You’re directly part of that experience and with more and more games implementing various choice paths in their games you can see the appeal. Video games allow you the option to interact with a whole new world and sometimes make it your own. You’re still experiencing someone’s vision, but you’re also part of that vision--which allows anyone who plays the game to become part of the art.

What is your opinion? Should video games be considered art or not? Leave a comment below with your opinions! 

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Learning with Assassin's Creed: Origins https://www.gameskinny.com/vywq5/learning-with-assassins-creed-origins https://www.gameskinny.com/vywq5/learning-with-assassins-creed-origins Wed, 25 Oct 2017 12:23:08 -0400 Sarah Elliman

With the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed Origins on the horizon, an aspect of the game which is rarely discussed is the educational and cultural significance of the franchise. Undoubtedly, the last few installments of the series have leaned on these attributes less, yet there is hope that Origins may return to form while simultaneously injecting the series with a fresh attitude. Over the recent years, big titles such as The Last of Us prove that video games don’t have to be mindless and that it’s not about consistently killing waves and waves of faceless enemies. A good game should give us insight into the world and reflect the depths of human nature.

Firstly, let us start with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood as well-rounded examples of a video game that nurtures a more intellectual environment. I have chosen these two specifically as they implemented a lot of new features to the series while refining other aspects from the first game. For example, the introduction of the codex was a marvelous innovation that was lacking in the first installment that further immerses the player into the world. The codex acting as snippets of information is wonderful for a brief overview of key events, buildings, etc and would have been a dream when learning about the Crusades in college--the perfect excuse to play video games all day.

Although it can be considered to offer a small and basic snippet of the history of the period, it nevertheless ignited a love for the Italian Renaissance that I never realized I possessed until playing Assassin’s Creed. Furthermore, Ubisoft were able to expertly weave the historical events in with the fictional narrative of the series that made the period of history seem exciting, which upon further investigating, is a wonderfully diverse era. The desire to learn more about the era came from the realism in the characters and the wonderfully romanticized image in my mind about Italy and its culture.

Leonardo Da Vinci is a perfect example of this, everybody knows the name and the genius behind the man, but to see him conveyed in a human form instead of the divine one written in history is what intrigued me to look into the polymath more. This is implemented exceedingly well in Brotherhood when he helps Ezio against Ceasare Borgia, it is believed by many historians that Da Vinci abhorred war and a lot of his war machines had intentional faults so that they could never be used. This is perfectly conveyed by the kind and gentle nature portrayed in Da Vinci within the series and lets you connect with the many possibilities of history in an easily consumable format. There is a more wholesome air to these installments in the series than has ever been portrayed in the later games. 

As discussed the series hasn’t always been able to capture the zeitgeist of whichever era it is trying to capture. This is perhaps due to the series’ inability to be able to adapt with the times and move forward in a way that fits with the changing attitudes and desires of gamers. Anyone who is close to the series and has been following it for a long time can probably remember the social controversy around Unity and its lack of playable female characters. Considering this was a game heavily leaning on cooperative play within the main campaign, there was no diversity in terms of character design. What made the situation worse was Ubisoft’s statements about the fiasco:

Assassin’s Creed Unity is focused on the story of the lead character, Arno. Whether playing by yourself or with the co-op shared experiences, you the gamer will always be playing Arno, complete with his broad range of gear and skill sets that will make you feel unique. With regard to diversity in our playable Assassins, we’ve featured Aveline, Connor, Adewale and Altair in the Assassin’s Creed games and we continue to look at showcasing diverse characters. We look forward to introducing you to some of the strong female characters in Assassin’s Creed Unity."

However, this statement was not satisfactory to a lot of fans of the series, considering that one of Ubisoft’s own spokespeople stated that putting in female characters would have taken double the amount of time. But why is this important? When you consider the four examples given in the statement above, where two of the four were simply spin offs and not part of the main series, it highlights a massive problem. A lot of people may say that it is simply for historical accuracy, however it is important to remember that the soul of the game is the combination of the historical element, but also the overarching story of the Assassins.

Any art or entertainment reflects the world we live in, and if people don’t see themselves represented it takes away from the immersion and perhaps desire to learn about the events in the games. The game doesn’t need to be one hundred percent accurate as it has its own narrative to carry it forward. In addition, if people cared about the accuracy of the game then they would be up in arms about the portrayal of the French Revolution. Then further down the line at how Syndicate deals with the horrors of the Industrial Revolution, it is clear from these examples that Ubisoft lost what made it special with these two installments.

Unity, to start with takes place in the period of the French Revolution, not the one popularised by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. If someone was truly concerned with historical accuracy or at least a lasting impression of the era, then characters such as Napoleon wouldn’t simply be thrown in to make anyone with a basic knowledge of world events jump for joy. In the words of Eric Hobsbawm, a British historian, Napoleon was:

“...as a general he had no equal; as a ruler he was a superbly efficient planner...” Eric Hobsbawm (The Age of Revolution)

Napoleon was undeniably a figurehead of the later part of the revolution which lead to astronomical political change within Europe, but his portrayal in Unity doesn’t even scratch the surface of that depth. Unlike Leonardo, there is no deeper understanding of the character and their personality. By sidelining important figures they lost that connection of history and narrative that worked so well previously. This is further evidenced by the treatment of Marx in Syndicate: he appears only for a couple of side quests so you gain no substantial information about such a key figure within this time period. Assassin’s Creed lost its charisma and liveliness by benching the history and losing a key element of what made the series interesting.

The break in the regular yearly installments to the franchise appear to have injected a sense of vitality and reawakening in the series. Although there are only short snippets of game-play, they appear to have moved forward with the times and observed what gamers have been longing for. The Witcher has had a massive influence over the industry in recent years due to its overwhelming success that took what was considered a cult game to world-wide acclaim. Many games are now implementing the open world aspect and creating quests that feel like they contribute to the wider story arch. Assassin’s Creed Origins appears to be no exception, with a map that opens up more as you explore, which should hopefully convey the expansive history and culture of Ancient Egypt. Combine this with the fantastic graphics and expansive environments we have seen within the trailers and snippets of gameplay, and we could be witnessing a revitalization of this classic series. With being able to:

“...uncover lost tombs, explore the pyramids, and discover the secrets of mummies, the gods and the last pharaohs,”

this could mean that Assassin’s Creed fans get an immersive experience comparative to the second installment. By adding diversity into the world, the reflection of Ancient Egypt will hopefully run smoothly with the tale of the Assassins and the cultural vibe of the time.

Perhaps, then, Assassin’s Creed is moving back in the direction that made it so popular in the first place: the intriguing take on historical events without losing the intricate details. The Crusades and the Italian Renaissance were very prominent time periods within European history, and the game captured this essence in a fantastic way. It fanned the flames of interest in history and made it more accessible to people. It is a popularized version of history, but a realistic and human version, too. It would be wonderful if Ubisoft could create a history of Ancient Egypt within their game that doesn’t feel commandeered by Western media. The decision to add the guided tours has given me hope that Assassin’s Creed is trying to retain the magic it started with.

“Discovery Tour is clearly focused on education and on bringing people actual facts, more academic knowledge,”

- Jean Guesdon (Creative Director AC: Origins)

Hopefully we are seeing not only a revitalization of the historical aspect but a more in depth one as well. The choice for Bayek as a main character keeps the hope alive. With fingers, crossed we await the release of Origins on the 27th of October, praying that it is a return to the series that has long been anticipated.

How do you feel about Assassin's Creed? Do you think Origins can redeem the series? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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Open World Games Lead to Lazy Design (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Narrative) https://www.gameskinny.com/ojnnq/open-world-games-lead-to-lazy-design-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-narrative https://www.gameskinny.com/ojnnq/open-world-games-lead-to-lazy-design-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-narrative Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:28:37 -0400 LuckyJorael

It all started innocently enough. I played the original Assassin’s Creed way back in 2007, and thought it was pretty amazing. Large, explorable areas, tons of NPCs to glide past, guards to attack or hide from, and – wait, I need to collect how many flags?

I’m somewhat of a completionist. Sometimes I can ignore the pull of getting every single achievement, but if I love a game, I’ll try to get every single collectible, find every ending, and nab every achievement I can. Game designers love players like me, because it takes very little effort to pad the total hours of a game through collectibles, side missions, and secret areas. And I fall for it (almost) every time.

Because it's shiny, I need to find ALL OF THEM.

The original Assassin’s Creed is kind of an egregious example. It was a long time ago, and the collectibles were done clumsily, you might argue. So instead, let’s take a look at another game I became obsessed with for a time: Tom Clancy’s The Division. (As an aside, I think I have a penchant for playing fundamentally flawed games.)

In The Division, one of the achievements is to collect every single piece of Intel: phone recordings, drone black boxes, compiled video/audio/satellite data called an ECHO, survival handbook pages, incident reports, etc. There are 293 different pieces of Intel to collect, scattered around the empty New York streets and sewers.

And while the missions where these collectibles are found push the story forward, the collectibles themselves are really just a distraction -- to both the player and the development team. 

These are boring to listen to -- unless you're REALLY invested.

Both of these examples present missed opportunities. Why? Because the resources dedicated to placing flags, phones, and crashed drones could have been put somewhere else. In Assassin's Creed, there could have been more, better fleshed-out missions (remember the endless, repetitive side missions?). In The Division, they could have fixed some of the terrible writing.

But at least Ubisoft had the foresight to make collecting everything in The Division mean (a bit of) something. Get every object in an Intel set – all of the crashed drone black boxes, for example – and get rewarded with cosmetic gear. With Assassin’s Creed, collecting all the flags gets you nothing more than a digital pat on the back.

So why should I care that you can’t help but collect widgets in games, I hear you ask? Because it’s bullshit time filler that can (sometimes) negatively impact the narrative you're pursuing. 

Look, I really like a lot of games that have hidden collectibles. Every Assassin’s Creed has them, and some of them are done well. The Division has them, even in its first DLC, and they are… acceptable. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has them in the form of Korok Seeds, and they are perhaps the worst example I’ve seen in a while.

Only 899 to go!

900 seeds.

You need to collect NINE HUNDRED SEEDS, so Hestu can have all the seeds back in his maracas, and you get a “reward” that looks like a golden pile of shit. Way to troll everyone, Fujibayashi.

I’ve collected 40 seeds in my game, and I’m standing outside of Hyrule Castle ready to kick Ganon in his stupid face. I’ve visited all 120 shrines and beaten them because they are interesting and fun. But I refuse to find Koroks because even if I get more slots for my weapon, shield, and bow inventories, it’s completely ridiculous to tie inventory expansion to random collectibles.

I love Breath of the Wild. It has eclipsed Ocarina of Time as my favorite Zelda game, but I learned something while playing it. I no longer need to find every side mission, collect every tiny piece of whatever, or get all the endings to a game. I don’t need to track down the 87 pieces of the dragon’s heart to get the Infinity +1 Sword. I don’t need to trudge through a dozen boring side-quests to get the Flaming Armor of Jotun Strength -- because I’m trying to save the world, and I don’t have time for this.

I mean, hold on dude; I have to collect 60 stone fragments first.

I can beat the game without spending an additional 20 hours grinding through content that adds nothing but time spent in the game. I say this as a fan of Destiny and Final Fantasy VI, two of the grindiest games I know (and love). Where open world games go wrong is thinking that collectibles and mundane side missions add enjoyment to the game, instead of just time.

What I won’t look back on fondly is the hours spent shooting into a cave in Destiny, hoping to find a Legendary Engram, or the hours I spent walking back and forth on the Veld in Final Fantasy VI, waiting for a random battle.

I will remember the first time I took down Atheon in the Vault of Glass and got a Vision of Confluence (still my favorite weapon in Destiny). I will remember beating Kefka the final time in Final Fantasy VI, ending his reign as the god of magic.

I don’t want to have to grind through a million unrelated things or collect a bunch of useless junk just to power up enough to enjoy the game. All I want to do is enjoy the game and the plot. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bunch of sidequests to ignore in The Witcher 3.

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Does Map Size Really Matter In An Open World Game? https://www.gameskinny.com/so6ak/does-map-size-really-matter-in-an-open-world-game https://www.gameskinny.com/so6ak/does-map-size-really-matter-in-an-open-world-game Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:50:20 -0400 Stephen Brown

Open world games seem to be everywhere. More and more developers are latching their new and already established franchises onto this style of gameplay, for better or worse. The reasoning is clear since the open world format proves beneficial from a design standpoint and is also hugely popular among gamers (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Fallout 4), so this leads to better sales and more money.

However, as each new open world game is released, developers boast about how "vast" and "dense" their particular game is. The question therefore is: "Is an open world's size really important?"

Since so many games nowadays adopt the structure and design of an open world, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish themselves as better than the competition. It seems that because of this, developers believe that by further increasing the size of the open world, the game is all the better for it.

Part of a developer's job in creating a game is to try and make it as good as possible to sell. As consumers we get drawn to bigger numbers. We make excuses that a larger game world means more content, therefore equating it to better value for our money. What we really should be doing is actually examining the quality of the content on offer. It's a dangerous predicament as it can potentially encourage developers and publishers to focus on making pointlessly large open worlds instead of other aspects such as level design, story and side content. Unfortunately, the former regularly feels more attractive in the end. On the other hand, if done well in tandem with everything else, the larger open world can indeed work extremely well, an arguably brilliant example being The Witcher 3

CD Projekt Red was able to balance a large and varied open world in both the main game and the Blood and Wine DLC alongside an intricate story, characters and quest design. The Witcher 3 was able to handle the size of the game world with ease and filled it with truly meaningful content that never felt like filler. There was still the odd issue, though, such as the sluggish nature of Geralt's movement in small spaces, however the developers truly worked wonders in raising the bar for the RPG genre and open world games as a whole.

On the flip side, so many other games fall victim to focusing too much on the vastness of their open world that in order for it to not feel empty, developers drown the game in idle and unimaginative 'fetch' quests.

How many glowing feathers scattered across a city do we really need to collect? Is it really necessary for complete and utter strangers to ask me to pick them flowers that grow in a certain cave miles away just for a few pieces of gold? Common games that get this wrong are the Assassin's Creed series, Skyrim and Dragon Age: InquisitionThese games aren't bad -- in fact I still really like them -- however, too often we are given a massive open world that's littered with collectables and fetch quests to provide us with content that adds no real thrill to the experience. I would happily have a smaller map size in favor of quests and other side activities that were engaging and worthwhile, instead something that amounts to numbers and a completion percentage.

I understand that a bigger open world is paramount to a game's success in some instances, such as the Just Cause series, where the world is supposed to be a playground designed around the protagonist causing destruction and explosions. In this regard a large open world works just fine. For many others, though, specifically RPGs, side activities and story are more important than having the largest open world imaginable. However, it is also possible for a big open world and meaningful content to work well together if the developer really puts in the effort so that gamers can fully appreciate the game, like the previously mentioned The Witcher 3.

Don't get me wrong, I love an open world game that lets you get lost in the setting. However, what's the point if the content in the game is side-lined so that the map's size means nothing anyway? Hopefully developers will soon realize that the sheer size of a world isn't what ultimately sells; it's what the player can experience and do within that world that's crucial to its design.

What's your take on open worlds? Are today's games getting it right or wrong? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!

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E3 2017: Ubisoft Predictions https://www.gameskinny.com/pfv3l/e3-2017-ubisoft-predictions https://www.gameskinny.com/pfv3l/e3-2017-ubisoft-predictions Mon, 12 Jun 2017 13:42:56 -0400 Curtis Dillon

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And there you have our Ubisoft E3 2017 predictions! For all intents and purposes, it seems like it's going to be a pretty great show for the publisher. With several huge games coming in the next year, from South Park to Far Cry, The Crew and Assassin's Creed, there's going to be a lot to show.

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As well as the games we know about, Ubisoft is likely to have several unannounced titles that could steal the show, be it Splinter Cell 2, Child of Light 2, or the brand new IP. It's definitely an exciting year and, considering they've chosen for developers to host the briefing, it seems like games are going to be the focus.

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What do you think Ubisoft is going to show-off? Which game are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check out our other predictions! Until next time, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

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New IP

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Ubisoft can't help but close out it's E3 shows with a new IP we've never heard of. The company has done this every year since Watch Dogs was originally revealed, and more often than not it's a pleasant surprise. I expect this year to be no different.

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Of course, there's no way of telling what the new IP will be for sure, but we've already gotten a big tease. In a fantastic tongue-in-cheek mission in Watch Dogs 2, players sneak into Ubisoft headquarters and steal a new game trailer, then leak it to a games website for a nice fee. This trailer pops-up online and it shows images like the one above; weird spaceships orbiting planets with the tagline: E3_Conf_Video_v03.

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That's as on-the-nose as you can get when it comes to teases. Sources have said the game is indeed real and codenamed "Pioneer", although it was also reported that the game suffered a snag in development. This means the game is not a sure thing to be seen at E3 this year but, given Ubisoft's track record for revealing new IP to close the show, I'd still put money it.

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Far Cry 5

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Back to serious business, and that business is the awesomely-crazy, Far Cry 5! Just to get something out of the way, I do not understand the so-called "controversy" surrounding the game; it seems some people believe Ubisoft is trying to reflect the Donald Trump supporters in the American Mid-West. A notion that is simply ridiculous.

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Far Cry 5 is releasing in the spring of 2018 and it is exciting! The mainline series needed a shake-up after Far Cry 4, and moving to the beautiful plains and mountains of Montana is certainly that. Brandishing Far Cry's signature brand of charismatic cult-leader, black humour, beautiful landscapes, and fanatical action, the new entry in the series is going to be a big deal.

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I would expect Far Cry 5 to almost get as much time at Ubisoft's E3 conference as Assassin's Creed, underlining how important the franchise has become to Ubisoft. I also think it could close the show...were it now for one more surprise announcement!

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UbiArt

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Time for a complete change of pace. UbiArt Framework is a game engine created by Ubisoft to make smaller titles, the likes of which Child of Light and Valiant Hearts emerged!

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Those two titles were genuinely fantastic games and a sequel to Child of Light was confirmed by the developer back in 2015! It's been three years since the original title and I wouldn't be shocked if we seen a trailer for the follow-up. Or so I can hope. For what it's worth, a sequel to Valiant Hearts seems less liekly but no less desired.

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Moreover, we could very well see a brand new title emerge from the UbiArt Framework engine. Valiant Hearts was the last game made by the engine to release on either PS4 or Xbox One, so we're long past due a new title in the beautiful art style.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/p/l/splinter-cell-chaosory-7552c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/p/l/splinter-cell-chaosory-7552c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"161284","description":"

Splinter Cell

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Here's something that tends to get predicted every year - well since the last instalment in 2013 - but it's bound to happen at some point.

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Splinter Cell is one of Ubisoft's best-known franchises, with combined sales of nearly 18 million units! The last game in the series was Blacklist for PS3 and XBox 360 in 2013, and therefore plenty of time has passed for a new title to be almost ready to go. Not to mention, a supposed leak said that Sam Fisher's voice actor, Michael Ironside, had been spotted at Ubisoft Toronto.

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In a time when so few stealth games exist, a new Splinter Cell would be a welcome surprise to fans. We'd be very eager to see what a Sam Fisher adventure looks like in 2017 on PS4 and XBox One!

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For Honor/Watch Dogs 2/Ghost Recon: Wildlands

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Let's keep this one short and sweet. In the past year, Ubisoft has released Watch Dogs 2, For Honor, and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. These games have received varying degrees of success but none has set the world on fire.

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Regardless, support for all three of these games is unlikely to be concluded. Watch Dogs 2 has received five different DLC packs already but I wouldn't be surprised to see one more story-based DLC pack shown off at the conference. Despite selling even less than the original, the game has gathered a fan base and Ubisoft will want to show them faith.

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For Honor and Ghost Recon: Wildlands are a different story however. Despite charting well initially, For Honor only sold 1.72 million copies and it was reported this past week that the game has lost a gigantic 95% of its player base. That's horrendous news for Ubisoft but the company will definitely want to try and recoup those losses with some DLC to get fans back on board. Some decent DLC is probably a last throw of the dice for For Honor.

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Ghost Recon: Wildlands on the other hand, sold a little better and has retained a player base. A major expansion for Wildlands just launched, titled "Fallen Ghosts", and has been received well. This makes another expansion for the game this soon unlikely, however I wouldn't be surprised to see a quick trailer for the recent DLC.

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The Crew 2

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The Crew 2 was announced in an earnings call by Ubisoft, then confirmed on Twitter with the new logo. The game is set to release in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31 2018 - so we can guarantee a showing at E3.

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The Crew released in 2014 to mixed reviews but it did managed to accumulate 10 million registered players, meaning a sequel was fairly inevitable. New features are unknown as of now but it's fair to say that The Crew 2 will have to impress a lot more than its predecessor when it faces competition from the biggest names in the genre: Forza Motorsport 7, Need For Speed: Payback, and Gran Turismo Sport.

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South Park: The Fractured But Whole

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The second South Park game from Ubisoft was revealed two years ago at E3, in what was a fairly unexpected announcement. After suffering two delays, the game is finally ready for release in October.

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We've already seen quite a bit from The Fractured But Whole but I fully expect another trailer, or gameplay demonstration from Ubisoft at E3. Due to the game releasing in a couple of months, Ubisoft will wish to keep it in the minds of everyone and get them excited again. If the sequel is anywhere near as good as The Stick of Truth, we'll be in for a treat come Halloween!

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Assassin's Creed: Origins

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Ubisoft managed to hold the next Assassin's Creed game a secret for longer than usual, but still, the game inevitably leaked before its official announcement. From alleged screenshots to a season pass and even a T-shirt, Assassin's Creed: Origins leaked in some ridiculous ways in the past month.

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Ubisoft's E3 briefing will be the first official showing of the game however, and it's fair to say this is the most anticipated Assassin's Creed in a long time. You can blame Unity, glitches, and repetitive gameplay, but the reality is that fans simply became burnt out on the franchise and needed a break. Well, two years later and we're more than ready.

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Assassin's Creed: Origins is said to take place in Ancient Egypt and star a new protagonist by the name of Bayek. The game is expected to feature redesigned gameplay, vastly improved visuals, horse-riding, and a massive and seamless open-world. All of this and the game is said to be releasing this fall, fitting the usual reveal-to-release schedule for the series. I could be completely wrong but I can see Ubisoft starting the E3 showcase with Assassin's Creed and just addressing the elephant right away.

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Another year and another Ubisoft E3 briefing is at hand! This year will be a little different however because Aisha Tyler will not be hosting. This probably comes as pleasant news to some but a lot of people, myself included, really liked the personality and skill that Tyler brought to the shows.

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Ubisoft has a massive E3 ahead with a lot of exciting new titles coming in the near future. Rather than allow several of it's titles to get leaked, Ubisoft wisely announced a few ahead of time and we'll get to those later in the slideshow. The company has several sequels in the pipeline but each of them has more excitement than usual, not to mention a few surprised we believe may be on the way.

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But enough beating around the bush, let's get on with the predictions and, with any luck, we'll get more than a few right.

"}]]]>
The Best Gamer Gear You Can Buy on Etsy Right Now https://www.gameskinny.com/y2he0/the-best-gamer-gear-you-can-buy-on-etsy-right-now https://www.gameskinny.com/y2he0/the-best-gamer-gear-you-can-buy-on-etsy-right-now Tue, 30 May 2017 15:05:43 -0400 Jerline Justo

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Bonus: Will You Be the Zelda To My Link?
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Price: $359
Where to Buy: Gold and Sliver Co

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Jino Vazquez, owner of GoldandSilverCo, designs various types of engagement rings, many with unique bands and dazzling jewels. Along with his other amazing designs, he created this Legend of Zelda themed ring that features the Hylian crest surround by a diamond. 

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If you or your significant other are ready to take the next step, this Legend of Zelda themed engagement ring is the way to take it. 

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***

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There you have it! From Destiny themed clothing to Legend of Zelda inspired engagement rings, Etsy offers a lot more gamer gear that any player would hope to find.

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Even though there are thousands of products on Etsy for the gamer guy or gal, these items present the best gaming gear on the website. If you are looking to purchase something for yourself or as a gift, check these items out. 

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What kind of gamer gear have you purchased on Esty? Share it in the comments below!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/6/5/565924f66345ec5.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/6/5/565924f66345ec5.jpg","type":"slide","id":"159903","description":"
"Grow Up & Get a Life" T-shirt
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Price: $17.95
Where to Buy: TrendingShirts

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People love to speak their minds by wearing graphic T-shirts. If that happens to be you, you might want to buy this one from TrendingShirts. It's a design created with all gamers in mind -- those who both love games and humor. The red and green mushrooms from Nintendo's Mario pull the phrase together -- and the little angry mushrooms set the design off. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/4/5/945924f66ac3f26.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/4/5/945924f66ac3f26.jpg","type":"slide","id":"159904","description":"
Assassin's Creed Bronze Locket
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Price: $10
Where to Buy: HazelWeiss

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Want to show your loyalty to the Assassins? You can hunt down Templars while wearing this bronze locket crafted by HazelWeiss. The locket’s detailed emblazing of the Assassin’s sigil makes it fitting for any Assassin’s Creed fan. You can also check out Hazel's other products, which include lockets from The Legend of Zelda and Game of Thrones.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/0/5/905924f672043c9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/0/5/905924f672043c9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"159905","description":"
Transform Into a Pro Gamer
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Price: $14.99
Where to Buy: NerdvanaClothing

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E-sports athletes practice each and every day to improve their skills and take them to the next level. Although we all can’t be pros, NerdvanaClothing offers video game lovers the opportunity to look the part. Whether you want to feel like an athlete or support e-sports, this T-shirt’s red and yellow colors and logo fit anyone who appreciates competitive gaming. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/0/5/105924f67878a1a.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/0/5/105924f67878a1a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"159906","description":"
Destiny Ghost Onesie
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Price: $14.95
Where to Buy: RayzGraphix6

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It's hard not to be excited about Destiny 2 after seeing the recently released trailer for the game. Instead of keeping that excitement to yourself, you can share it with the little baby relative or sibling in your life with this awesome onesie. RayzGraphix6 created this design for any little Destiny fan, presenting Ghost with the words, “Little Light.”

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/3/5/135924f65aae242.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/3/5/135924f65aae242.jpg","type":"slide","id":"159902","description":"
Pokemon Red and Blue Knitted Hat
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Price: $35 
Where to Buy: Hatsbycharlotte

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As much as Pokemon fans love playing Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sun and Moon, they equally love to reminisce about Pokemon Red and Blue, with its retro design and sound. Hatsbycharlotte takes the design of the 8-bit Pokemon trainer and slaps it on a knitted hat, even taking note of the trainer’s hat and backpack. Not only does the design look on point, but it exudes Pokemon nostalgia. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-d0604.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/e/a/header-d0604.jpg","type":"slide","id":"159901","description":"

Customers use Esty to find cool hand-made items all the time. Whether it's originally designed crafts or items inspired by movies, TV shows, or video games, Etsy is one of the only places on the web to find truly unique items. 

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From hats to jewelry to clothing, Etsy store owners create truly awesome gamer gear for players who want to show their passion for video games. Whether it's Final Fantasy or Minecraftthese gaming items will definitely make you feel stylish and ready to game.

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Without further ado, here are some Esty items created by talented artists that are definitely worth checking out, especially if you're on the hunt for some great gamer gear!

"}]]]>
Crazy Video Game Cameos -- Game Characters Edition https://www.gameskinny.com/ay7p0/crazy-video-game-cameos-game-characters-edition https://www.gameskinny.com/ay7p0/crazy-video-game-cameos-game-characters-edition Fri, 07 Apr 2017 20:00:02 -0400 Shark Tank Gaming

Whenever you're playing a game and you see a character inside from a different game, it really gets your juices flowing. After noticing how many celebrity cameos have been seen in games over the last 20+ years, we noticed that there are even more cameos from other video game characters. Cue the second part of our issue.

Welcome back to the second part of Crazy Video Game Cameos. Earlier, we covered movies and celebrities which appeared in a multitude of video games. In this issue, we will be taking a look at all the video game characters that have appeared in other video games!

Duke Nukem - Blood & Bulletstorm: Full Clip

The Duke, and his developers 3D Realms, have pulled no punches when they decide to make fun of other video games, so it's only fitting that the Duke cops some insults of his own. Play long enough into 90's shooter, Blood, and you'll find a secret entrance. Continue down this path and there's poor, old Duke. Hanging upside down and horribly mutilated but it's him, no doubt. Hit him enough times and your character will steal Duke's line, "Shake it baby!"

For another (current), weird cameo, the Duke is appearing as a playable character in cult classic, Bulletstorm: Full Clip. Check out the trailer below!

Mega Man- Dead Rising Series

Capcom love to throw characters from other universes in their games. Evident throughout all the Dead Rising games, every protagonist can eventually find Mega Man's outfit and become the titular hero himself. Sure, it may just be a costume that you put on but we still get to act like Mega Man, arm rockets and all. Poor guy... it seems he always finds himself in apocalyptic situations. I'm pretty sure you can find a Blanka outfit too (from the Street Fighter series).

Creepers - Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 is a great game full of inside jokes and some very crude humor. With the success and popularity of Minecraft (even so many years later), the developers must have thought, "Ah, f**k it. Let's throw a creeper in as a bad guy." Either that or they were running out of enemy creation ideas. While making your way through some of the mines in this game, you will eventually come across a few block built, familiar characters. A nice little touch. A least they didn't throw griefers in there...

Jill Valentine & Nemesis- Under the Skin

Body snatching sim, Under the Skin, is a novel little piece to play. Similar to Destroy All Humans, this game has you playing as a blue little alien sent to cause as much chaos on earth as possible. At a certain level, you'll notice that it is called Raccoon City. Well, you get to play as Jill and the Nemesis in this level, set with locales from the first two Resident Evil games. Suffice to say, this was enough to get me to play the game.

Claire, Leon & Zombie Cop- Trick N' Snowboarder

Yes, another game that sees cameos from one of the biggest franchise of video game history. Look, it was the 90's and Resident Evil was a global smash, with everyone talking about Raccoon City and the T-Virus. It only makes sense that not so great games tried to pick up on their success, by including certain characters as unlockable players. Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy reporting for snowboarding duty, dude. The developers even threw a zombie cop from Resident Evil 2 in there, just for good measure.

Doom Marine - Duke Nukem 3D

One of those moments in a Duke Nukem game where 3D Realms just couldn't help themselves. With Doom being much more successful than Duke Nukem 3D, they decided to take a jab at the shooter that started all shooters. Get far enough into Duke Nukem 3D and you'll come across a hell-like portal, complete with inverted crosses. At the base of this portal, you'll find the torso of a mauled Doom marine. Guess he didn't have the guts...

Chun Li - Breath of Fire

Timeless RPG, Breath of Fire, by Capcom threw in yet another one of their famous characters somewhere they don't belong. During one of your quests, you meet a master who talks about an amazing fighter. Someone who can kick at the speed of light. Sound familiar? If you thought of Street Fighter alumni, Chun-Li then you'd be correct. Sure, you can't play as her and it's only a 10 to 20 second cameo but it still counts!

Lara Croft & TMNT - Shadow Warrior

Doom and Duke Nukem rip-off, Shadow Warrior, is your average cult classic, FPS. Run around, kill some monsters, blow s**t up. Pretty simple, until you come across a cameo from Tomb Raider's very own, Lara Croft. The protagonist actually mentions that, "She won't be raiding anymore tombs." Nice touch but continue further on into the game and you can find another cameo from 90's sensations, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Dead, but still a cameo.

Spider-Man - Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series has always had fun with including random cameos in their games but none stands out more than the web-slinging, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Neversoft could have just used a normal character dressed as the titular hero but I love them for going the extra mile. Definitely the best skater in the game, Spider-Man web slings, flips, and does whatever a spider can while racking up hundreds of thousands of points. I might jump back on after writing this article...

Donkey Kong - Wii Punch Out!

 In the Wii remake to Super Nintendo's, Super Punch Out!, there's a new boss character that you have to take on and boy, is he one of the most difficult! In Wii Super Punch Out!, you don't have to take on Mike Tyson anymore. Now you have to take on a 900 pound gorilla with boxing gloves. Don't be fooled as Donkey Kong is the hardest character to fight in the game. Good luck, it was nice knowing you...

Wesker, West, Marcus & Dom - Lost Planet 2

Mega cameos are starring in Capcom's sci-fi, 3rd person action-shooter, Lost Planet 2. An average game when it was released and unfortunately lost the test of time, this entry had a few cool cameos as unlockable players. Up to four different universe characters appeared to play with, being Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago from the Gears of War series, Albert Wesker from the Resident Evil series, and Frank West from the Dead Rising series. The game didn't change much but being one of these bad-asses sure made me think so.

Scorpion, Reptile, Sub-Zero & Raiden - NBA Jam

Not content with throwing in one of the most powerful, political couples of the time (Bill and Hillary Clinton), Midway decided that they wanted to see what b-ball skills some of the Mortal Kombat roster has. Including Raiden, Reptile, Sub-Zero and Scorpion into the fold made for some pretty awesome basketball games. The only problem was arguing with your friends over who would play as Team Netherealm.

Tanner - GTA III

One of the biggest franchises of the time, Grand Theft Auto, decides to take the mickey out of another large franchise of the time. Everyone remembers Driver,  one of the best driving games to ever come out on the original PlayStation. Well so do the developers at Rockstar, when one of your missions has you dealing with a detective who 'runs funny' and also drives a muscle car. Now they don't ever say his name but the running funny and muscle car part? Definitely a rip on Tanner and his later installments when he has the ability to get out of his cars.

Heihachi & Xiaoyu - Smash Court Tennis Pro Tournament 2

Heihachi has appeared numerous times in a number of different games but who knew the billionaire CEO could use a racket? It seems that when he isn't planning on killing his son and ruling the world in Tekken, he's working on his serves. First time cameo for Ling however, which makes me wonder why they included her and not, say, Kazuya or Jin? The Mishimas could put their rivalry to the side for a few doubles games...

Solid Snake - Evolution Skateboarding

One of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater imitation rip-offs, Evolution Skateboarding was pretty much a simple, skateboarding game. Complete with challenges, time limits, decent graphics, and an amalgam of different tricks to pull off, this game wasn't so bad when you got into it. Unfortunately, the THPS franchise completely overshadowed any skateboarding game that tried to release. One way to put your game on the map is to include a cameo as a playable character. None other than 90's stealth-hero, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid.

Samus & Link - Super Mario RPG

In the 90's, RPG attempt at putting Mario in a genre he definitely didn't belong, Super Mario RPG was a surprisingly great game. Taking on RPG roots, a level-up system, and turn-based battles, this game happened to also include some cameos from other Nintendo icons. In one part of the tavern/inn, Link can be found sleeping in one of the beds. Approach him to try and talk and he will just sing one of the iconic Legend of Zelda songs. Samus from Metroid is also sleeping in a bed but this time it's in the Royal Mushroom Castle, where she lets you know that she is "Resting for Mother Brain." We'll just leave you both there until your game time comes around.

Altair Ibn-La'AHad - The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

You wouldn't expect to see it in a serious RPG like The Witcher 2, but it does give you a small hint in the game's title Assassins of Kings. Approaching one of the destroyed barns in one of the towns will have you come across a broken hale bay cart. You even notice a dead person in a white, hooded outfit, so you move in for a closer look. At this point, it's 100% clear who the developers are trying to mock. It seems Altair (from Assassin's Creed) was attempting to assassinate one of the kings in the game but failed to land one of his famous eagle drops correctly. Oh yeah, you know he's dead.

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Proving that video games and cameos are a fantastic mix, even when it doesn't make sense at all, cameos are the stuff of much conversation. I hope you enjoyed and probably even learned about some cameos you didn't know where there. Thanks for reading our latest listicle!

So what did you think? Did I miss any major video game character cameos you think should have been included? Don't forget to leave a comment below!

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Are HD Remakes Worth It? https://www.gameskinny.com/1sz5x/are-hd-remakes-worth-it https://www.gameskinny.com/1sz5x/are-hd-remakes-worth-it Wed, 04 Jan 2017 07:00:01 -0500 DannyPTP

Over the past few years, there has been a major number of HD remasters of games, such as Skyrim, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, and more. Many have argued that these are pointless as you can already get the original game for cheaper, while others have said that they are worth buying due to the amount of content that is presented in the HD version, such as expansion packs or additional missions for example -- which normally served as DLC in the vanilla games.

It's understandable why some people can be hesitant towards buying a remaster of a game. It's more expensive, there's nothing new added to the game to make it worth buying, it's taking the game and giving it a somewhat new coat of paint to make it look good along with other games available on the system, while not adding anything new to give a breath of fresh air to the game itself.

HD remasters began to appear mostly during the seventh generation of consoles (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii) with titles such as Jak And Daxter Collection, The Sly Trilogy and Prince Of Persia Trilogy, since then, it seems there's no stopping the onslaught of HD remasters welcoming themselves into the current generation and onto future console generations we have yet to witness.

Jak & Daxter

But is it really worth it for you to spend money on a slightly prettier version of the game you already own? I say YES.

A HD remaster is a perfect way to introduce someone to a series you yourself have enjoyed in the past, especially if the remaster itself is a trilogy (Such as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection) as well as give yourself the chance to try out a series yourself that you may have missed the first time around.

Perhaps you've sold a game from your PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 collection, but want to sink your teeth into it again, chances are it has been made available on PlayStation 4/Xbox One.

And whilst not many remastered games have any additional content, there are a few games out there which have heaps of content to keep you occupied well after you've finished the main story. Square Enix released Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 which housed the Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts (1.5) Kingdom Hearts II and Birth By Sleep (2.5) on PlayStation 3 in 2013 and 2014 respectively. The games will be released again on PlayStation 4 in March of this year, giving gamers yet another chance to experience the series before the release of Kingdom Hearts III.

Each of these games were at first, released in Japan only, and offered additional challenges and bosses for players to try. With updated visuals and music made for the remasters, it was an absolute delight to be able to enjoy these additions that Western fans had been asking for at last.

KH1.5

Now, of course, no remaster is perfect, you'll most likely come across bugs which were present in the original game, and may also have bugs of their own (looking at you, Silent Hill HD Collection) you should at least give a remaster a chance before you decide to cast it aside, in favour of the original.

What do you think? Should remasters continue to be made or should developers leave their games alone? Let the comments roll!

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3 Reasons Yearly Franchise Releases Should Go the Way of the Dinosaur https://www.gameskinny.com/ux8i2/3-reasons-yearly-franchise-releases-should-go-the-way-of-the-dinosaur https://www.gameskinny.com/ux8i2/3-reasons-yearly-franchise-releases-should-go-the-way-of-the-dinosaur Wed, 04 Jan 2017 03:00:02 -0500 chopchamen

Yearly released franchises. We all know about them. We've tweeted about them, read articles about them, and even paid the money for them up front by preordering them. But when will they stop? As good as these franchises could be, yearly released franchises (yeah, we're looking at you Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty) are slowly ruining themselves.

There are a few good reasons why it would be good for yearly releases to take a hike. Let's take a look.

1. More Time Between Development Cycles

Every year, there's that "new" Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed showed off at E3, but it looks relatively the same as the last installment of that respective franchise (Granted, AC has changed on that a bit, but really, the games look and play the same).

If there were a bigger gap between each installment, these games would look much better graphically and would (hopefully) play better overall -- or at least bring something new and exciting to the table.

There would also be more time to observe the community, see what problems persist within the core mechanic of each franchise, and really prevent any glitches from happening at all (I'm looking at you, AC Unity).

If developers were to brainstorm longer on ideas, it would result in better and fresher gameplay features for each successive installment.

2. A Good Mix Up in Story

By now we know that yearly releases have stories that seem pretty much recycled. They boil down to similar plots, like in Assassin's Creed, chasing down each member of the Templar order, follow each crumb in the trail until it leads to the head honcho of that area. They also have nearly unchanging mechanics and gameplay styles -- all of which can grow stale pretty quickly, Assassin's Creed 3 probably had the most change to the series.

After Assassin's Creed 3, there was really not much of a point in continuing the franchise, seeing as Desmond's story line had pretty much ended, if they re-established a new story line, with a new character in modern time, focusing on another conspiracy, or at least a different angle on the same situation, that would certainly rekindle older fans out there.

And in Call of Duty, while the story can be diverse enough, there are moments that you can almost tell will be in every game until the end of history. Helicopter crashes, a major character dies, somebody takes an enemy out epicly with a knife, and the bad guys seems to just get away again, and again. Not to mention that single stealth mission in each game. (It would be better to have an overall stealth option.)

3. Premium Memberships Being More Worth It

We've seen this from every developer, so it's not just in the case of yearly releases. But when devs put the same game out there year after year and then put out a season pass for it? With literal re-skins of old maps from previous games? They never uphold these games for longer than a year anyway, so why is it even worth buying? It makes them seem even more money hungry than before.

If they would support a game for longer than a year and keep a freshness to it, going so far as to add little stuff, like weapon skins, emblem parts, etc. exclusively for those participating in the season pass, the fire in fans would live a whole hell of a lot longer.

When will games become unique again? Would people be more willing to shell out the big bucks if every game didn't look like an expansion of the previous game? We might not ever know, but maybe after the Assassin's Creed developers taking a step back, they will develop an even better game (Provided they are actually working on it at all), achieve more sales, and that would hopefully influence the other companies to do the same, or at least something similar.

Do you agree, or disagree? Or do you have something to throw into the subject yourself? Let us know in the comments!

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Do We Need Video Game Movies? https://www.gameskinny.com/2wxum/do-we-need-video-game-movies https://www.gameskinny.com/2wxum/do-we-need-video-game-movies Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:00:01 -0500 Joey Marrazzo

2016 is almost over and it's time to look back at the monster that it might have created; movies based off our favorite video game titles. In 2016, we saw the release of The Angry Birds Movie, Warcraft and later this month, Assassins Creed. While we don't know how Assassin's Creed will perform, the box office numbers for the other two weren't as great as people were expecting.

The Angry Birds Movie released in May to mixed reviews. It is currently sitting at a 43 on Metacritic and a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite having an all-star cast including Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Bill Hader, the film did not perform well. Based on a budget of $73 million, it only grossed $349.8 million worldwide.

When you compare that $349.8 million to the other animated films like The Secret Life of Pets which grossed $875.1 million with about the same budget as Angry Birds, you could see that the movie didn't perform as well as the rest of the animated features that also came out this year, especially since Angry Birds had been a known property for 7 years already.

One of the reasons why this movie didn't perform as well as you would expect is because it released 7 years after the introduction and craze that was the original Angry Birds app. Back in 2009 when the craze first started, you would've wanted anything that was Angry Birds themed. 7 years later? That craze is gone. The buzz wasn't there.

Remember Temple Run? There were rumors of that turning into a movie when that was the big craze. But if you look at your phone now, you probably don't have it installed anymore. You can't make movies based on mobile games because those are just games for the moment and will be gone in a few months. Pokemon Go anyone?

The second video game related film that released this year was Warcraft. This movie was based off the widely popular MMO World of Warcraft developed by Blizzard. When you think of Blizzard, you think of the incredible lore that comes with each one of their titles. So you would think making a movie about the lore of this incredible franchise would succeed, right? Wrong.

Warcraft released in June of this year to negative reviews across the board. It currently has a 32 on Metacritic and a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. People love the lore but it was adapted poorly to the screen. That is the thing that filmmakers have to look out for.

Another video game movie that came out this year was Ratchet and Clank. This was released alongside the Ratchet and Clank game that was re-imagined for PlayStation 4. It was a failure. With a budget of only $20 million, it managed to gross $13 million at the box office. It received a 29 on Metacritic and an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Assassin's Creed is the third of Ubisoft's properties that they are bringing to the theatre. The first property that they brought to the big screen was Far Cry back in 2008. Having a budget of $30 million, it managed to gross a whopping $743,634. Let's also not forget about The Prince of Persia film that they released in 2010. That managed to gross $336.4 million which isn't that bad, but it wasn't received well by the critics or the fans. It currently sits with a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 50 on MetaCritic.

With Michael Fassbender leading their third try at a  video game film -- and the first time Ubisoft have used their own production house --, you can form your own opinion of the movie when it releases on December 21. You can expect the fans of the franchise to see the film in theatres just because they are curious to see if it adapts well. But if you aren't a fan of the games, are you going to see the movie based off the trailers?

Video game movies have not had a good year. This year we also had rumors of a The Last of Us movie and the Uncharted movie. Why do we need film adaptations of these titles when the games are movies themselves?

When you play The Last of Us, it is more of a cinematic experience than it is a game. The incredible story, characters and relationship between Ellie and Joel make The Last of Us better than most movies that are in the theatres today. It is a bonus that you can play the game.

Same thing with the Uncharted franchise. We don't need Mark Wahlberg to play Nathan Drake because we are used to playing Nathan Drake. Uncharted 4 was a great game, but people praised it more for its visuals compared to the actual story. If you really want an Uncharted movie, go watch Indiana Jones. How can you perfectly bring a beloved video game franchise to the big screen without ruining its legacy, and entertaining the hardcore fan base?

There are currently no movies based on video games to be released in 2017. But there are talks of sequels to the Angry Birds Movie and Warcraft. What will be the video game movie that opens the floodgates to the rest of the video game properties being made into films? It could be Assassin's Creed. That releases on December 21 in the US (January 1 in the UK) so maybe if that gets good reviews, we will see the Uncharted movie or maybe a The Legend of Zelda movie if Nintendo is feeling spontaneous.

What video game franchises would you love to see on the big screen?

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5 Badass Women in the Game Industry You Didn't Know Existed https://www.gameskinny.com/fby6d/5-badass-women-in-the-game-industry-you-didnt-know-existed https://www.gameskinny.com/fby6d/5-badass-women-in-the-game-industry-you-didnt-know-existed Sat, 29 Oct 2016 10:45:09 -0400 Aaron Grincewicz

We often take it for granted when we see a woman talking about an upcoming game at an event like E3, or hosting a game-related show.  In a lot of cases, you'd be right to assume that the companies send models or spokeswomen to events, and shows because they look good.  That said, there are many, many women in the games industry that the men can't hold a candle.  It's because of the male-dominated industry that they had to forge themselves into the badasses listed here. 

These women aren't listed in any particular order since they all deserve a number one spot on various lists.  So I'll start with...

Tanya Short

Why she is a badass:

Tanya co-founded Pixelles (along with Rebecca Cohen Palacios), a non-profit organization based in Montreal dedicated to empowering women to make and change games. Pixelles organizes free monthly workshops, a mentorship program for aspiring women-in-games, game jams, socials and more. 

If that's not enough, she also holds a Master's Degree in Interactive Media, with a focus on level design.  In addition to Pixelles, Tanya Co-founded Kitfox Games where she is their Creative Director.

Jade Raymond

Why she is a badass:

Jade is a former programmer, and currently a video game producer.  She founded EA's Motive Studio, and Ubisoft Toronto. Her resume includes; the G4 show The Electric Playground (miss that show), leading the creation of the first Assassin's Creed, executive producer of Assassin's Creed II and Watch Dogs, as well as a BAFTA Games Award for Technical Achievement (2009).

Lillian Chen

Why she is a badass:

Lilian is a former competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee player.  After competing, she co-founded The New Meta, a panel about gender issues women face within competitive gaming spaces.  She is also a designer, works for YouTube Gaming, has a blog: LilChen.com, and has been a featured TED speaker.

 

Alisa Simola aka Nulisa

Why she is a badass:

Alisa is the first woman to make the main roster of a Smite Pro League team. With so few women currently in eSports, that is no minor accomplishment. She is currently on Team eLevate.

Stephanie Harvey aka MissHarvey

Why she is a badass: 

Stephanie Harvey founded CLG Red, an all-female Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, which is a part of Counter Logic Gaming. She and her team rank among the top CS: GO players in the world. Stephanie also participates in panels to help grow the participation of women in eSports.

These women have already made an impact on several areas of the game industry like eSports, creation, design, gender equality, and more.  When someone says, "girls don't play games," or anything equally ignorant, now you can list at least five more names to educate the uninformed.

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New Assassin's Creed Trailer Reveals More Plot for Divergent Movie Adaptation https://www.gameskinny.com/82kxz/new-assassins-creed-trailer-reveals-more-plot-for-divergent-movie-adaptation https://www.gameskinny.com/82kxz/new-assassins-creed-trailer-reveals-more-plot-for-divergent-movie-adaptation Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:26:33 -0400 Lydia M

Another trailer for Assassin's Creed was released today, and it shows us more of the plot line for the movie rendition of the long-running AC game series -- along with a preview of the cast that will be joining Michael Fassbender. 

In this film adaptation, Fassbender won't be portraying Desmond Miles nor Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. As we've already seen, the movie rendition of Assassin's Creed will not reflect the same plotline of its Ubisoft namesake.

In the movie version, Callum Lynch (Fassbender) is imprisoned, then rescued from his execution by Abstergo Industries. He is then forced to become a member of the Animus Project to relive the experiences of his ancestor, Aguilar de Nerha, during the age of the Spanish Inquisition. 

During the film's pre-production in 2014, Fassbender made the following comment about the decision to use a different protagonist and storyline:

"You know, we absolutely want to respect the game...but we also want to bring new elements to it and perhaps our own version of things that already exist in the game. "

The teaser (which you can watch above) showcases a wider look at the 'prison' portrayal of the members of Abstergo Industries, along with how Fassbender's character reacts to the knowledge of his ancestry and how Abstergo plans to utilize it.

Assassin's Creed will be released in theaters December 21st, and will also star Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, and Michael K. Williams.

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Handmade Necklaces From Your Favorite Game Franchises https://www.gameskinny.com/bnsgy/handmade-necklaces-from-your-favorite-game-franchises https://www.gameskinny.com/bnsgy/handmade-necklaces-from-your-favorite-game-franchises Mon, 17 Oct 2016 12:02:51 -0400 Kat De Shields

Sometimes you come across a game you love so much, you have to buy some merchandise. If jewelry is your thing, we've gathered some of the coolest handmade necklaces representing your favorite franchises. If you see something you like, you better move fast! Some of these Etsy artists have a limited supply. 

Xbox and PS4

If fighting in an apocalyptic universe against mutant creatures is your cup of tea, then you'll love these two necklaces that pay homage to two of the most iconic "fight to save humanity" franchises out there: Gears of War and Fallout.

Sometimes it feels so good to be bad, and assassins are the biggest BAMFs of them all. If helping Desmond parkour his way through time and space to take out foes and deliver messages was your thing, then this Assassin's Creed necklace is just for you. Or, if Elder Scrolls is your game of choice, you'll love this Dark Brotherhood pendant to signify your assassin's roots. 

Where would we be without consoles? Check out this beautiful Xbox 360 necklace complete with a bronze setting and six Swarovski crystals. This is a must have gift for any Xbox enthusiast. 

PC & Retro 

Minecraft has taken the world by storm. You could say, it's explosive. Allow the walking bombs of the Minecraft universe to tag along with this Creeper necklace

Many gamers have a soft, nostalgic spot in their heart for classic games. Show your love for Pong, the 1972 arcade game that paved the way for so many other video games with this necklace. Or, if you have a Mrs. PacMan to your Mr, this couples necklace made from a quarter would be perfect for you.

Nintendo 

The Nintendo Universe is full of adorable things, many of which lead to some truly cute necklaces. For example, who could resist this Heartless from Kingdom Hearts? With intricate detail including a Swarovski Crystal Heart on top, this necklace is sure to capture the heart of any Kingdom Hearts fan. 

If you're a fan of Shy Guys, the timid troublemakers found in Mario's world, then you'll love this stainless steel necklace. Wear it as an ode to a classic franchise, or secretly represent your inner troublemaker! 

Speaking of adorable Mario villains, how many times have you been chomped to bits by a Piranha Plant? Complete with antique brass findings, you can rep your retro Mario pride with this beautiful pendant. 

Every riddle lover is familiar with the Professor Layton series. Now,  you can represent your love for solving puzzles with a pendant. Choose from 10 Professor Layton images, and pick your finish including silver, copper, antique gold and gunmetal black. 

If you're eager to catch 'em all, then you don't want to miss these Pokemon necklaces. GlitzCouture captures Pokemon in little glass bottles that you can wear around your neck. If you have a sweetheart who shares your love for Pokemon, then the couples Pokemon necklace is a must buy. 

Would you like to see jewelry for a franchise that's not included here? Let us know in the comments and we'll create an article just for you!

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I’m always looking for new awesome products, so please send me your favorites at commerce@LaunchMediaNetwork.com. Also, sign up for our Launch Commerce newsletter to receive the best deals of the week right in your inbox. 

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