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X-Men Horror Spin-Off The New Mutants Gets Freaky New Poster

 

While last year's Dark Phoenix was the seemingly end of the main X-Men series, following its commercial failure and the Disney/Fox deal, there is a spin-off movie waiting in the wings. The New Mutants was shot way back in 2017, and has suffered a series of delays ever since. But it's finally set to hit theaters in April, and a new poster has been released.

The film is a horror-themed superhero movie and the spooky new poster certainly captures this vibe. It shows the five young stars--Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga, and Charlie Heaton--with the movie's title placed over their faces, revealing their skulls. Check it out below:

No Caption Provided

This poster follow the most recent trailer, which was released earlier this month. The New Mutants releases on April 3 and also stars Alice Braga (Elysium), Antonio Banderas (Spy Kids), and Happy Anderson (Mindhunter). It's directed by Josh Boone, who previously made the hit teen drama The Fault in our Stars and is the co-writer and director of the upcoming TV adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.

The New Mutants was originally set for an April 2018 release, but rumors of extensive reshoots and repeated delays caused some to wonder if we'd ever actually see it--including the film's own exasperated cast members. But not only have a new trailer and poster arrived in the past few weeks, Boone himself recently posted an image of the main cast assembled to watch the final film. So whatever happens now, at least they've seen it. For more, check out GameSpot's guide to everything we know so far about The New Mutants.

Remembering 2010: The Biggest Games Turning 10 This Year

 

Circa 2010


After the turn of the decade, it seemed as though people had finally gotten settled into the then current-gen. While new innovations would appear in games for Xbox One and PS4 starting in 2013, 2010 saw developers take advantage of the existing hardware and push the medium in unexpected ways. With Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption revitalizing the old-west setting with a memorable story and protagonist, Fallout: New Vegas elevating the post-apocalyptic RPG franchise even further, and Bungie's swan song on the Halo franchise sticking its landing--2010 definitely started the decade off on a high note.

Continuing GameSpot's annual tradition of reflecting on the games of yesteryear, we narrowed down a list of the releases that made 2010 such a great year for gaming. As it turned out, many of the games that came out in this particular period would go on to establish a particular tone for the decade to come. Though the first year of the new decade saw a lot of platform changes, with console makers experimenting with new ways to play and the PC market continuing its growth, it was still all about the games in 2010, and many titles managed to deliver experiences with such a lasting impression, we still remember them today.

Organized by their respective western release dates, here are GameSpot's selection of the most noteworthy games of 2010, along with our thoughts on why they've stuck with us ten years later. Below, you can find our previous roundups of games we love.


Bayonetta | January 5


It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that Bayonetta changed the face of action games forever. And for director Hideki Kamiya and his team, it would be the second time they revolutionized the genre. Taking the strong foundations of his previous work in Devil May Cry, Kamiya elevated gameplay of the character action genre with fast, frenetic, and dynamic combat that to, the untrained eye, looked like uncontrolled chaos, but to those with their hands on the controller, was a beautiful ballet of precision strikes and perfectly-timed flourishes.

Bayonetta's biggest stroke of genius was in the way it allowed players to turn defense into offense using an ability called Witch Time. By tapping the dodge button at the moment an enemy attack is about to land, time would slow to a crawl and you were free to unleash a barrage of attacks unopposed. The window for executing this ability was quite lenient, thus emphasizing the sense of empowerment players felt. Couple that with the ludicrous amount of different skills, as well as the flamboyant and cinematic Torture Attacks, and it all made for an incredibly thrilling and high-octane combat experience. In the hands of an experienced player, Bayonetta would dance around gothic environments launching enemies around, peppering them with bullets, and summoning demonic entities made from her own hair to deliver crushing executions, and it was both a sight to behold and joy to execute.

Few action games at that time looked as good, and even fewer felt as satisfying to play. The impact of Bayonetta is readily apparent today, with action games far and wide striving to capture the same kind of fluidity and dynamism. Platinum Games has since iterated on its concept, and with games like Bayonetta 2, Vanquish, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Nier: Automata, the studio is now unquestionably the master of the character action genre.

Bayonetta is a game I frequently return to and it says a lot that it is as exhilarating to play today as it was back in 2010. It's so intelligently designed that someone completely unfamiliar with the genre can pick it up and instinctively understand how to play proficiently. But even those that want to mash buttons uncontrollably will be treated to something spectacular. It's a truly bewitching game. | Tamoor Hussain


VVVVVV | January 10


When I eventually heard about VVVVVV through word of mouth, it wasn't until a couple of years after its initial release. While I've always been more of a console gamer, it intrigued me enough to dust the cobwebs off of my Steam account to see what the game was all about. What I was greeted with was a retro throwback to Metroidvania style games, complete with chiptune-music and graphics straight out of the Commodore 64--and I absolutely adored it.

VVVVVV has its own unique gameplay mechanic: your character can't jump, but they can flip gravity whenever they're touching a platform. This means your only means of traversal is running and switching gravity, so you're either on the floor or ceiling. You're then set loose in an open environment where you can decide whatever direction you want to head, and explore to collect various collectibles as well as complete your vague mission of finding missing crew members. There's no real direction you're given at the beginning of the game, and no hand-holding through the difficult challenges and minor puzzles. The game can get extremely difficult, with certain optional puzzles verging on excruciating, yet all of this only makes VVVVVV so charming. The game truly does feel like a classic lost in time. And for me, it served as a sterling example of the fantastic indie scene I had been missing out on. | Dave Klein


Mass Effect 2 | January 26


Mass Effect 2 was my jumping-on point for BioWare's acclaimed sci-fi trilogy (don't worry, I did go back and play the first game too). I loved it then and I love it now. The game features an incredibly compelling opening that hooks me from the start (killing the series' main character), has one of my favorite DLC expansions (Lair of the Shadow Broker), and introduces the best video game romance in the franchise (it's Shepard and Tali; you absolutely will not change my mind about this).

In comparison to the first game, Mass Effect 2 doesn't do anything fundamentally different. If anything, the largest change between the original game and Mass Effect 2 is in how the latter adopts mechanics from other cover-based shooters to create a more action-oriented experience. This makes Mass Effect 2 far less frustrating to replay in comparison to its predecessor--combat in the original Mass Effect has long felt outdated and clunky by modern-day standards.

Because of how well it has held up and how much fun it is to replay, Mass Effect 2 was the first game I ever nabbed every Xbox Achievement for. It sort of happened by accident, but I found the act of completing the game to be so satisfying that I went on to do the same in many of my other favorite games. So really, the reason why I can't uninstall a game until it's completed is not because of my own lack of self-control and incessant need to be validated, it's all Mass Effect 2's fault for being good enough to give me the itch. | Jordan Ramée


Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars | January 26


Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, a fighting game for Wii that borrows half its cast from a Japanese publisher with a tiny footprint in the West, almost remained a Japanese exclusive. It seemed directly aimed at a Japanese audience, and the few familiar properties that had been exposed to Westerners belonged to disparate license holders, presumably creating a legal nightmare for Capcom during localization. Yet a year after its release in Japan, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom found its way to store shelves in the West, with new characters and features to boot, which would eventually be rereleased back in its home territory.

I was thrilled when the time came for me to finally play Tatsunoko vs. Capcom in English. It was such an odd pairing of properties, but filtered through Capcom's then-wacky side, it was a breath of fresh air compared to Street Fighter IV. Don't get me wrong, I was completely swept up in that game too. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, however, let me revel in its over-the-top personalities and animations, placing the emphasis on having a blast rather than honing my competitive edge. It was simple to play and wildly energetic, and something about its Wii exclusivity gave it (in my head) a chip on its shoulder. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was just a ton of fun if you could find someone willing to give it a try with you.

Ten years after its release in the West, we're effectively back where we started: Capcom lost all the necessary rights to publish the game in 2012, and the odds of it being rereleased or ported to modern consoles is currently slimmer than ever. That means it remains a Wii exclusive with backwards compatibility on Wii U. Normally, a quality game under these conditions would only appreciate in value over the years. Yet, a quick look on eBay reveals the going rate for complete used copies hovers just above $20 on average. Maybe that speaks to the popularity of Wii games, or to the popularity of this game in particular. I personally see it as a victim of circumstance, overshadowed and underserved at a time when fighting games needed all the support and marketing they could get. When it all went to SFIV, this Wii fighting game barely stood a chance. For those in the know, it was and will always be one of the most interesting fighting games in Capcom's catalog. | Peter Brown


Bioshock 2 | February 9


I've always had a soft spot for Bioshock 2. When it first came out, there were several common criticisms thrown at it. At the time, many people felt it was an unnecessary sequel, that the main character being a Big Daddy removed the tension, and that the multiplayer was added in only in an attempt to increase sales. However, as time goes by and the original Bioshock's faults become more noticeable, I find myself wanting to return to Bioshock 2 instead.

The game does so much to enhance and improve the original game's design. Combat and plasmids were given an overhaul, and the ability to use both at the same time made the combat flow in a way that was incredibly satisfying. The story was fantastic in that it actively challenged the plot of its predecessor, analyzing, critiquing, and debating the philosophies that built Rapture in the first place, all while giving nuanced context to the city's downfall.

The multiplayer was also a lot of fun in my view. For as much grief as people gave it both before and at launch, it maintained a sizable community of players for a long while. Even years after its release, I would occasionally go back to the flooded halls of Rapture to take part in the civil war that tore the failed society apart. The weapons felt just like they did in the single-player modes, the plasmids had practical uses both in and out of combat, and you could level up your character and create personalized loadouts. Fighting over the Big Daddy suit that would spawn in the middle of the match was exhilarating and could turn the tables on your opponents in many cases. It was a lot of fun, and I still wish I could jump back into it to this day.

Bioshock 2 in many ways holds up better than the original game, and is still worth a second look a decade later. | Joshua Mobley


Dante's Inferno | February 9


In early 2010, I was excited to see the conclusion of the original God of War trilogy. While I was awaiting the release of the third mainline game in March, another combo-heavy action game caught my eye: Dante's Inferno. There's no hiding the similarities between Dante's Inferno and God of War--both are very much alike in their gameplay, but instead of Greek mythology, Dante's Inferno turns its eyes to the fiction of Dante Alegheri's epic poem, The Divine Comedy.

But you know what? Despite the similar game mechanics, I didn't care. Find me another adventure that explores the Nine Circles of Hell like Dante's Inferno. The setpieces range from boiling rivers of blood, to piles of gold, to solid ice. As Dante leaps across these platforms, he battles with a giant scythe, slicing down all manner of imaginative demons. The Circle of Greed is home to giant worms that feast on the souls of the dead, and Heresy is full of quasi-religious wizards. Thematic enemy design is an inspiring touch that sticks in my mind, but boss encounters are even more memorable. These pit me against giant monsters, historical figures like Queen Cleopatra, and even Satan himself.

Over the past 10 years, I've journeyed through countless other stages and fought many more monsters, but the underworld of Dante's Inferno sticks with me. Other action series like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry have a religious bent, but none of them deal so blatantly with the tenets of Christianity like Dante's Inferno. A decade later, I still wish I'd gotten the chance to experience the rest of The Divine Comedy through Purgatory and Paradise. | Tony Wilson


Heavy Rain | February 23


Heavy Rain is one of the seminal narrative games that I compare all subsequent narrative games to. It's particularly impressive in the way it develops characters, plays with expectations of the mystery genre, and weaves the experiences of multiple protagonists into one cohesive narrative. These elements are something I've hoped to see in every Quantic Dream game that came after, but the developer never quite hit the same storytelling heights. Every character in Heavy Rain is genuinely interesting and distinct, the overarching mystery is compelling, and even the quick time events that don't lead you to a fail state feel tense and important in each action sequence. The branching storyline combined with established characters lets you feel like you're directing the narrative, but the characters are still bound to motivations and vices outside of your control, which keeps them interesting.

I've never been a big fan of trophy hunting, but Heavy Rain is one of the few cases I recall printing out a list of every possible trophy and crossing them off. It is such an easy game to play again, though nothing compares to following the story to its conclusion for the very first time and seeing who lives, who dies, and where everybody ends up when all is said and done. Heavy Rain is easy to recommend and, like all Quantic Dream games, just as much fun to talk about and compare experiences with friends. I've played so many games with wonderful narratives, but the twists and turns of Heavy Rain, the tense dramatic moments, and the culmination of the mystery in the game's final moments are completely unforgettable, even ten years on. Even if it does make me giggle every time I hear someone call out "Shaun" or "Jason". | Jess McDonell


Deadly Premonition | February 23


I was sitting in a coffee shop the first time I heard about Deadly Premonition. It was 2012 in the dead of an upstate New York winter, and my obsession with Twin Peaks was as ever-present. I was sitting with a friend who was politely indulging in one of my many barrages about the 90s television show, when he asked if I had heard of Deadly Premonition. I hadn't, but like a Twin Peaks addict on withdrawal, the strange details about the game suddenly had me itching for a fix.

Problem was, it was an Xbox 360 exclusive; a console I didn't own. But that wasn't going to stop me. Blind with desire, I drove to the nearest video game retailer and bought a used copy of the game. An hour later, I was standing knee-deep in the snow of a downtown street purchasing an Xbox 360 from a fourteen-year-old boy off Craigslist who rode up on an ATV.

After wiping down my newly purchased 360 with rubbing alcohol to disinfect it of its previous home, I booted up Deadly Premonition. What proceeded was an oxymoron of a video game experience. Everything about it felt dated from a generation prior: its visuals were bland, the controls were counterintuitive, animations were stiff, and the world map was exhaustively vacant and sprawling to a fault. But accompanied by all of its glaring flaws was its bizarre characters, the remarkably absurd yet brilliant writing-- all of which was packaged with a Sombre jazz soundtrack that felt strangely appropriate.

There was a holistic sense of vision beyond the game's rough exterior. I was engrossed in it, and unabashedly on board till the very end. It's a flawlessly imperfect experience, that not only transcended my initial love of Twin Peaks but challenged the value I seek in other games following it.

Unfortunately, that used Xbox 360 stopped working six months later. I sold it for parts to another young man wearing Family Guy pajama pants outside the same coffee shop I had first learned about Deadly Premonition. Before the transaction was complete, he asked me if I had any remote control helicopters. I didn't. | Kurt Indovina


Mega Man 10 | March 1


Capcom's 2008 revival of its dormant action franchise, Mega Man 9, was a retro-style throwback that I enjoyed as a novelty, but it left room for improvement. The pixel-art style from the NES classics was an especially nostalgic touch, but it was clear Capcom was out of practice with balancing a classic Mega Man game. The follow-up, Mega Man 10, released just two years later and wasn't quite as novel as the first attempt, but it took fan feedback to heart and even added a few new bells and (Proto) whistles.

Mega Man has always been known for its brutal difficulty, but Mega Man 9 pushed the envelope a little too far. Finding the right difficulty to engage without overly frustrating is a precarious balance, and MM9 missed the mark. Mega Man 10 eased up just enough to hit the sweet spot to recall the nail-biting action without prompting me to rip my hair out or give up. It also made Proto Man a playable character right from the start, rather than as DLC, which felt like a more modern approach to extra content. Capcom did add another fan favorite through downloadable content, the rival robot Bass.

Any game in its tenth iteration is going to feel a little stale, but both Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 were aided by the long silence after MM8 on the PlayStation. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And as a proof of concept, it showed that there was still life to be had in the tough-as-nails side-scrolling platformer, which Capcom would capitalize on to even greater effect with Mega Man 11. | Steve Watts


Battlefield: Bad Company 2 | March 2


When I was 23, I was scrolling through the Comcast TV guide menu, paying for cable like a caveman, when I noticed that I was having trouble reading the text on the screen from the distance I was sitting. While it seemed odd, I didn't think too much of it and kept watching, but over the next year, my eyesight got noticeably worse. I went to the optometrist and picked up a pair of prescription glasses. The world seemed noticeably different. I could see individual leaves. I could spot street signs two blocks ahead. I could read a book without having to hold it six inches from my nose. It was a revelatory feeling, this brand new world I had forgotten.

Yet, no sensation in my life is quite comparable to playing the demo for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on my Xbox 360 for the first time. I'd played my fair share of multiplayer shooters by 2010--Medal of Honor, Timesplitters, Halo, and Call of Duty, to name a few--but Battlefield was the first game I played that provided the exhilaration of storming an objective through a haze of gunfire and explosions with its refreshing mode, Rush.

It wasn't all glory on the battlefield, though. More often than not, while playing the objective, you'd turn around and see three-quarters of your team attempting to snipe back at your spawn. Airdropping into the enemy spawn was a gamble because you could never be quite sure if the helicopter you climbed into at the beginning of the round was piloted by someone who actually knew how to fly it. That said, try to tell me that any quick scope from Call of Duty was ever as satisfying as lining up that snipe from 750 meters out and pulling the trigger. | Nick Sherman


Final Fantasy XIII | March 9


Final Fantasy XIII isn't one of the popular Final Fantasies, but whether its remembered fondly by the masses is irrelevant--like it or not, FFXIII marks a critical turning point for one of gaming's classic series. It began life as a new, major entry in the franchise, but it was announced alongside multiple other games as part of a new sub-series, Fabula Nova Crystallis, which would eventually encompass seven games over an equal number of years. There was a lot wrapped up in FFXIII's announcement, and the lasting impact of its conception would carry on for nearly 15 years until the release of Final Fantasy XV, which started life as a very different game: Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Though its legacy is clouded by bigger-picture consequences, that actually makes FFXIII a valuable game to re-examine in isolation a full decade after its release. Part of the initial knee-jerk response to the game was due to its non-traditional elements, which, to be fair, flew counter to what were then considered essential facets of a Final Fantasy game. Sure, both Final Fantasy XI and XII were non-traditional in their own way, but you also wouldn't confuse them for a typical Final Fantasy at first blush, as one was online only and the other was built in the vein of an online experience. FFXIII was supposed to be the next big traditional Final Fantasy, but players were in for a surprise when they discovered that it was mostly linear, and that the turn-based combat system leaned heavily on AI, stripping away direct control in favor of assigning and managing allies' behavior profiles.

For little else than these two reasons, FFXIII was written off by a lot of people--myself included. And in retrospect, I wish I hadn't have been so short-sighted. Yes, I wanted a different type of game at that time, and that's OK, but I've since learned the value of experimentation and a bit of patience. FFXIII was a risky move by Square Enix and the dev team, and marked the genesis of an adventurous design spirit that would carry forth into Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII--games that continually contorted familiar concepts and further set FFXIII (as a whole) apart from the series as we knew it. It's funky, often maligned, and rarely praised, yet it's worth asking: was FFXIII ahead of its time? I would have laughed at the question back in 2010, but it doesn't seem like such a far-fetched idea today. | Peter Brown


God of War III | March 16


There was so much excitement around God of War III's release. It was one of Sony's biggest flagship PS3-exclusives, but more importantly, it was the final chapter in Kratos' bloody quest for vengeance against the gods of Olympus. So you can understand why folks were eager to see it through, especially after God of War II's literal cliffhanger ending. While it's not the most consistent in the series, the game's masterful execution of spectacle was more than enough to satisfy longtime fans, myself included. With grand set-pieces and gnarly displays of ultra-violence, developer Sony Santa Monica didn't hesitate to deliver on everything it had been building up to at that point.

It's almost as if the game's premise alone guaranteed that it would be fun and ridiculous. After all, Kratos' goal in God of War III is to kill all the major Olympian gods, which kept the journey exciting and varied. I vividly remember my first time playing it. I was with a group of college friends who I'd recently introduced to the series. We binged through the first two games, and they loved it so much that we all agreed to pitch in to buy the third so we could experience it together. I'll always remember how enthralled we were scaling Mount Olympus, brutalizing Cronos in the Pits of Tartarus, and finally killing Zeus. And of course, who could forget ripping off Helios' head? I certainly wish I could. The sheer amount of rage-fueled god murder we committed undoubtedly made for an engaging group activity, allowing us to share in the glee and occasional disgust the game's myriad twists and turns made us feel.

God of War III was a special event when I first played it with my friends a decade ago, but it still endures as a remarkable display of the franchise at its peak. While the recent God of War reboot transformed and reinvigorated what the series could be, there's something about the third entry's decadent and unwavering commitment to gratuitous violence and high-flying action that's still so captivating.

But seriously, the entrail levels were off the charts in God of War III, and I still pray to this day to forget it. | Matt Espineli


Just Cause 2 | March 23


The original Just Cause came out in 2006 amidst a flurry of open-world games like Saints Row and The Godfather. It felt like a game without an identity; I remember loving pieces of it, particularly those that embraced what originally was so compelling to me about Grand Theft Auto III: screwing around. As is often the case with the second entry in an open-world action game series, Just Cause 2 saw Avalanche Studios find its footing with a distinct, over-the-top action game where the story and missions are very much secondary to the sheer joy of playing around in its sandbox. While it still had a lot in common with other open-world games--it wasn't the only one where fly planes and helicopters, parachute from high up in the air, or blow up structures--it's the way that Just Cause 2 doubles down on letting you do some stupid stuff that drew me back for years after release.

Specifically, it's the game's grappling hook that enables so much of the fun--and it's something I find myself missing in almost every other open-world game I play. With a large game world and the mediocre ground-based driving, I instead relied on pulling myself along with the grappling hook, which allows you to launch yourself into the air and into your parachute to navigate the world. This immediately gives a much different feel to the world, as there is a level of verticality to any given area. It's fun to blow things up from the ground, but if you can do so while up in the air, it's even more entertaining. Flying a plane around is cool, but you know what's cooler? Jumping out and riding on top of it while you shoot down an enemy and then jumping back inside. Or hanging from the bottom of a helicopter while you do the same.

Just Cause 2 still has the requisite missions and structure you'd expect from a game like this, but it's largely happy to stay out of the way. What I've always appreciated about the series is its willingness to let me have the uninhibited fun that I want to have. Just Cause 2 remains fun for this reason, even if its sequels have only taken this further and are probably now more worth your time if you're looking to check out the series. | Chris Pereira


Sam & Max The Devil's Playhouse | April 15


There was an era of Telltale Games that existed before they hit the big time with The Walking Dead, before they became trapped in a cycle of crunching out games attached to enormous licenses from Marvel, DC, HBO, and Universal. In 2010, Telltale Games was, at least to me, just a small bunch of ex-LucasArts folks who wanted to keep making adventure games like Monkey Island and Sam & Max. And that's pretty much what they did.

The return of Sam & Max was one of their early episodic successes, and the first two seasons were, if memory serves, actually pretty good! They retained the sharp-witted spirit of the lovable anthropomorphs and helped reset the stage for American-style adventure games in the years to follow. But The Devil's Playhouse, the third and final season of Sam & Max, felt like a turning point to me at the time. This was the season where it was clear that Telltale had finally honed their own brand of game. This season made a big impact. They had finally locked this format down.

The Devil's Playhouse was bonkers, even for a Sam & Max game. Presented in a Twilight Zone-style wrapper, it was a wild ride involving space gorillas, ancient Pharaohs, psychic powers, clones, and evil ventriloquist dummies, among other wild things. The comedic performances and writing behind the characters felt like they were the strongest they had ever been. But more importantly, the season exhibited a notable jump in Telltale's cinematic style, technical execution, and overall production values that set a new standard for the next decade. It was also one of the first games on the newly-arrived iPad, which opened up their doors to a huge, new audience for their narrative adventures.

It's not likely we'll see our beloved Sam & Max burst onto the scene again anytime soon (which is a tragedy) and the Telltale Games that exists now is certainly not the one we knew 10 years ago. But the studio undoubtedly made a huge impression on video games in the last decade, and I'd like to think that anyone who was playing The Devil's Playhouse in 2010 was there to witness the birth of it. | Edmond Tran


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction | April 27


With the first four Splinter Cell games, Ubisoft had developed a particular formula focusing on a tempered and methodical style of stealth-action. It's an approach that I absolutely loved, and I believed it was perfected in the third game Chaos Theory. So, I was hesitant at first when Conviction would lean into a more mainstream style of third-person action. The narrative shift away from techno-political thriller and toward Sam Fisher's personal life was another aspect I was suspect about. But overall, it turned out surprisingly well.

Conviction allowed you to move like a highly trained mercenary with the addition of the execution mechanic; you can simply mark targets and silently take them down in one fell swoop. At times, it took away some of the traditional stealth challenges, but it was the right way to balance the de-emphasis on stealth mechanics. The highlight, however, was that Sam Fisher came into his own as a character. Rather than a being pawn of the NSA, a government agent with the occasional sarcastic quip, we saw him internalize a lot of his own trauma and act in desperation following a family tragedy. Looking back, I can appreciate the direction Splinter Cell took after four games with Conviction as it was one of my more memorable games of 2010. | Michael Higham


Super Street Fighter IV | April 27


In 2020 we're perhaps more weary of re-releases and updated versions of games, but when Super Street Fighter IV launched in 2010, it was exciting; very much a case of getting more of something great. Vanilla Street Fighter IV was a momentous moment in video gaming. It brought back one of the most beloved franchises of all time and, in many ways, re-energized the fighting game scene. Super capitalized on this by adding more depth to a game that had already built up a passionate, obsessive community.

Undoubtedly the most significant addition was 10 new characters, some of which were returning fighters like T. Hawk and Deejay, who sparked nostalgia for the Street Fighter II era. Others like Adon, Cody, and Guy, represented the Alpha series (or Final Fight for the latter two), while the likes of Dudley, Ibuki, and Makoto were a nod to the Street Fighter III devotees. Two new characters--slightly psychotic Taekwondo user Juri and everyone's favorite oily boy Hakan--also joined the roster, expanding the cast of colorful characters.

Super Street Fighter IV was when I became most obsessed with the game, and in many ways, it felt like Capcom rewarding my lifelong obsession with the series. Not only did it represent the many eras of Street Fighter I held so dear, but it allowed me to fall in love with those characters all over again by learning to play them in a whole new game with fresh mechanics. The competitive scene was given a shot in the arm and, for those who enjoyed watching Street Fighter as much as playing it, it was a golden era. Exciting rivalries were created, new champions were crowned, and playing fighting games never felt so thrilling. | Tamoor Hussain


Alan Wake | May 18


Alan Wake was my first experience with Remedy Entertainment's games, and it immediately sold me as a fan of the studio. Remedy took some of its action pedigree--it was best-known for the Max Payne series--and applied it to a horror-thriller framework. It worked surprisingly well, creating a thrilling experience where you run through the forests of the Pacific Northwest and use a flashlight and pistol to fight off ax-wielding murderers and possessed objects. But it was Alan Wake's approach to its story that really made it special.

In Alan Wake, Remedy's influences are proudly on display. It's a Stephen King story by way of Twin Peaks, following a writer who's beset on all sides by supernatural monstrosities, wondering if he's really facing off some kind of unknowable evil force, or just losing his mind. As you play as novelist Alan, you find his latest manuscript coming to life around him, which creates a story you're both experiencing as it unfolds and seemingly powerless to understand or alter. Coupled with voice-over narration, the effect brings you closer to Alan as a character than you might otherwise feel in most games. That closeness to the characters helps make the weird world of Alan Wake feel more intimate and believable, and it's a testament to just how lovingly crafted it is that we're still interested in seeing Remedy continue to explore that world through its games--most recently by linking it to Control--10 years later. | Phil Hornshaw


Red Dead Redemption | May 18


A decade later, I still think about Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption on a regular basis. When I first played it back in 2010, I was swept away by the atmospheric world, its sharp commentary on the American Dream, and--of course--the outlaw who can't seem to shake his dark past, John Marston.

At the time, I loved Red Dead Redemption simply for what it was: an open-world Western fantasy. I could steal horses, camp out in the wild frontier, or get plastered at a saloon. Rockstar has always been known for giving players an unprecedented sense of freedom, but Red Dead Redemption felt like a huge step forward. I spent hours and hours exploring every nook and cranny of that world, wringing out every drop of information I could.

However, it wasn't until recently that I really began to appreciate John Marston and his tragic story. Despite his violent past and his obvious blunders, it's hard not to root for John. The deck is stacked against him every step of the way, yet he tries so hard to build a better future for his family. And of course, it all builds to one of the best--if not the best--endings to a video game.

Now, 10 years later, you can find a laundry list of games that rival and surpass Red Dead Redemption's sense of freedom, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another game with the emotional punch and nuance of Red Dead Redemption's story, characters, and world. | Jake Dekker


Super Mario Galaxy 2 | May 23


The original Super Mario Galaxy marked a stunning return to form for the series when it arrived in 2007, but its follow-up, Super Mario Galaxy 2, was even more remarkable. Despite lacking the initial novelty of the plumber's first space-faring adventure, Mario Galaxy 2 built upon its predecessor's foundation with a wealth of its own inventive ideas, resulting in one of the most consistently delightful games of its era.

Like the original title, Mario Galaxy 2 eschewed the sandbox-style environments of Mario 64 and Sunshine for a collection of denser, more linear challenges. Not only did Nintendo significantly amp up the difficulty of these stages for this sequel, but nearly every level in the game explored a new gameplay idea or mechanic, which made each new galaxy you unlocked a surprise; one of my personal favorites involved carefully guiding a bubble-encased Mario past roving lava monsters.

This creativity extended to Mario Galaxy 2's arsenal of power-ups, which still stand among the most fun abilities the plumber has ever used. Chief among them was Yoshi, who received his own new clutch of skills vital for navigating many of the game's stages. This time around, the dino's prehensile tongue could be used to slingshot him and Mario into the air, and certain berries Yoshi consumed would confer different powers, like the ability to illuminate darkened levels.

Galaxy 2 also dwarfed its predecessor in terms of content. The game featured a staggering number of stars to recover--242 in total, the last of which was hidden at the end of one of the most devious Mario levels ever created. There's a good reason Super Mario Galaxy 2 is one of the few games to earn a rare 10 out of 10 from GameSpot, and it remains just as impressive a decade on from its original release. | Kevin Knezevic


Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker | June 8


To be frank, I wasn't that impressed with the PSP for much of the handheld's lifespan. With a somewhat awkward shape and a noticeable lack of a second analog stick, I mostly saw the handheld as something of a novelty. While I liked the idea of diving into PlayStation games on the go, nothing in the PSP's growing library made me want to go out and get one--especially when I could wait for an inevitable console port of the must-haves. From its launch up until 2010, the PSP didn't do much for me. What changed my mind was Hideo Kojima's latest Metal Gear Solid game, which was apparently the biggest of the series.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was the game that I bought a PSP for, and in my eyes, it's still the game that defines the handheld. While it wasn't the first PSP MGS game, following both AC!D strategy games and Portable Ops, Peace Walker's scale and nuanced plot were much more in-line with what I loved most about the series, plus some influence from Capcom's Monster Hunter. As a direct follow-up to Metal Gear Solid 3, Peace Walker somehow ratchets up the Cold War-era paranoia and military surrealism even more with a story highlighting the role of AI in the battlefield and the actual cost of peace circa-1974.

Peace Walker has a keen awareness of the limitations of the handheld, which in turn makes it a more digestible form of tactical espionage action. In addition to a myriad of control customization options--I had to get used to the PSP's infamous "claw grip" quickly--it also ditched lengthy and elaborate missions in favor of bite-sized levels that were perfect during my commutes. Despite having to deal with the limitations of the platform, Peace Walker turned out to be the most forward-thinking MGS game at the time. Taking what worked from Portable Ops, Peace Walker nearly perfected the concept of Big Boss building an army of his own--by any means necessary. It would even serve as the model for future MGS games onward, with The Phantom Pain extrapolating many of its PSP sibling's innovations, focusing on base-building, crew-management, and extensive crafting systems.

Even 10 years later, and after it was ported to the PS3 like I initially hoped, I still look back on Peace Walker on the PSP fondly. I took the handheld a bit more seriously afterward and quickly found a lot to like with games like Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep. Still, Peace Walker is the game of the handheld for me. I couldn't get enough of the hammy plot that still managed to nail its political gravitas, even when coming from characters as absurd as Hot Coldman. Despite how ridiculous much of the story is, it somehow nails many of its key moments--especially with iconic tracks like Heaven's Divide blaring during the background. Many fans of the series see Peace Walker as a side story to the numbered entries in the series, but for me, this massive, yet still little, MGS game sits quite comfortably alongside the others. | Alessandro Fillari


Limbo | July 10


There's a peculiar feeling of foreboding and intrigue when I play the opening moments of Limbo. The game without any leading cutscene or premise simply had me stare at a screen anxiously waiting to get my bearings. In my secluded room on a whirring Xbox 360 Elite, I see the protagonist open his eyes, their stark white blinking in contrast to the grainy stylized dark background--leaving little doubt that the aesthetic of this game would pack some memorable surprises. Limbo left such a lasting impression on me with its gameplay and platform design but I'm most impressed with how it crafts a narrative without uttering a single word, the game's ambiance created solely through its chilling soundtrack and the nightmarish movements of the creatures that inhabit its world.

10 years later, I still occasionally play Limbo on current-gen consoles. In a world where I have played my share of half-baked and functionally absent indie games, seeing how polished Limbo remains a decade later stops me from growing cynical towards non-AAA games. In fact it's the thought of Limbo that has me eager every time I get a chance to play a new game I'm unfamiliar with. I always end up searching for that same feeling I get when lost in Limbo's world, trapped between terrifying spiders, mind-controlling bugs, and shuddering moments of reprieve.

Prior to Limbo's release, I didn't think indie games could deliver as much as a heavy-hitting knockout punch in comparison to their AAA competitors. Limbo entered the fray swinging with its equal parts mystery and satisfying puzzle platforming, delivering a symbolic ending that will never fail to send shivers down my spine. | David Ahmadi


StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty | July 27


StarCraft was one of those games that took on a life of its own, spawning an incredible competitive scene that spilled into much of its core player base. Blizzard nailed the RTS genre at the time in 1998, then perfected it a year later with the expansion Brood War. Then the wait for a follow up in the StarCraft series would last 11 years. So, when I knew for sure that StarCraft II would come in 2010, I counted down the days for launch that summer.

StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty kicked off the three-part rollout, and right from the start, I dove right into competitive play, learning optimal build orders and adaptive strategies for certain situations. And finally, we had a StarCraft game with the modernizations of proper matchmaking and an ELO-style ranking system. Blizzard also created a tremendous single-player campaign that lived up to the narrative watermarks of the original game, even as Wings Of Liberty solely focused on Jim Raynor and played through the guise of Terran units. It was a pretty easy romp, but great nonetheless.

It may not have made the lasting impact as its predecessor, but Starcraft II was still an expertly refined game and an absolute blast that tapped into the things we loved about RTS and the StarCraft franchise. | Michael Higham


Amnesia: The Dark Descent | September 8


One of the things I think slasher movies get wrong about horror is that they'd rather show you blood and guts than set up a genuinely chilling atmosphere. In the realm of video games, few studios nail atmosphere and tone as well as Frictional Games does with Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Not only does Amnesia keep the blood and guts to a minimum, it actively punishes the player for looking at its ghastly enemies. Amnesia's foes are few and far between, and the game takes its time to make sure you feel the fear and solitude of its castle before it ups the ante and turns its villains into a real threat. Even then, though, you'll probably scare yourself through the tension of what might happen more than what actually does--except for the invisible water monster in the flooded Archives, that thing can go right back to the hell from whence it came.

Amnesia also arrived at a time when streamer culture was escalating, and there was the quick realisation that it was the perfect game to subject other people to--or watch streamers subject themselves to. Day[9]'s terrified playthrough of Amnesia where he's accompanied by a stuffed rabbit named Manfred remains one of my favourite things on the internet. The game sparked an entire culture around what survival horror games could be, and it showed true mastery in how to establish atmosphere and engage players. Even 10 years later there is still nothing quite like it, and you better believe I'll be making my friends play it in 2020 and watch their steady devolution into absolute terror. When we're scared, we experience a rush of adrenaline which releases endorphins and dopamine. So, scientifically, Amnesia is a literal joy to play. It's no wonder people look back on it so fondly. | Jess McDonell


Halo: Reach | September 10


Halo: Reach was an anomaly for the blockbuster franchise and one that was strangely fitting for Bungie's swan song. The studio that created Microsoft's most iconic game franchise went out on a high note. Halo: Reach hinted at ideas that would manifest in both future Halo and Destiny games, expanded the universe, and told a story about the rigors and sacrifice of war with heart.

I have an affection for the Master Chief, but the single greatest Halo story in video games doesn't feature him at all. Reach has a looming sense of dread for those who know the history of the doomed planet, so it's unsurprising that Noble Team slowly whittles down to nothing. The most significant moment of the story happens at the very end when your Spartan faces against insurmountable odds. For once, the objective isn't victory or escape. The situation is hopeless, and you simply need to take as many Covenant with you before the inevitable.

The ambiguous nature of Noble Six's identity afforded the opportunity to customize the hero Spartan character to our liking. This accomplished the dual objective of making the campaign feel more personalized and making the whole experience feel more cohesive. It's a template Bungie would use years later for Destiny. 343 Industries, the new stewards of Halo, would further explore the team dynamic in the experimental but uneven Halo 5.

With another Halo game on the horizon, Reach still stands apart for its influence, its daring, and its sense of sacrifice. | Steve Watts


Castlevania: Lords of Shadows | October 5


Konami's Castlevania franchise had a rather sordid history with the third-dimension. While the 2D side-scrolling games are beloved, attempts to modernize it have resulted in--for the most part--less than stellar results. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, however, stands out as the exception, which came as a surprise certainly to me, but I imagine also to many others too. Given the history, we expected Lords of Shadow to, at best, be serviceable, but it turned out to be much more.

Admittedly, most of its ideas were borrowed from other games of the same ilk--the likes of Devil May Cry, God of War, and Shadow of the Colossus, for example--but it was hard to hold this against the game given its excellent execution.

Developer MercurySteam made Lords of Shadow feel like a grand adventure with a hero whose personal quest for vengeance and justice pits him against otherworldly forces of darkness. Lords of Shadow captured the mood of a Castlevania game as much as the fundamentals of its action and platforming gameplay. It was at times isolating, as protagonist Gabriel travels to realms of darkness and had a moody, dark tone that I really appreciated.

One of the most memorable moments, for me, is a puzzle sequence that takes place inside a music box, where players are asked to use their unlocked abilities to traverse around the internal workings of the device, while negotiating traps, to collect items. Admittedly, it's a fairly standard, video game moment, but the way in which Gabriel utilizes items and abilities reminded me of wandering through Dracula's castle in Castlevanias of old, shapeshifting to vault across large gaps, timing jumps to land on previously unreachable platforms to take me deeper. Admittedly, this moment has earned some criticism for being finicky and disrupting the pacing somewhat, but I'm a sucker for the understated music box version of Vampire Killer that plays throughout.

Lords of Shadows also managed to pull off a memorable twist in its finale. The revelations about Gabriel Belmont at the end laid the groundwork for a bold new version of the Castlevania universe and it was a compelling cliffhanger. Even now, it still packs a punch. | Tamoor Hussain


Enslaved: Odyssey To The West | October 5


In the Fall of 2010, developer Ninja Theory was in a weird place. During that September, it was announced that the next game in Capcom's Devil May Cry franchise was going to be made by a western developer, rebooting the demon-slaying action-series through a different lens. The reveal of DmC: Devil May Cry caused quite a stir, and it's still something that has stuck with the identity of the developer even 10 years later. One of the unfortunate casualties of this controversy was Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Ninja Theory's most overlooked game. I played it when it launched, and not only did I find a lot to like with the surprisingly emotional story set in a post-apocalyptic Earth with humanity struggling to survive against roaming machines, it ended up making me more optimistic about the developer taking on DMC.

As a retelling of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, Enslaved reimagines the story as a post-apocalyptic fable. While this conceit often inspires a derivative aesthetic, cluttering the landscape with different shades of grey and brown, as it turns out, Enslaved is one of the more colorful and vibrant games that I've played set in the post-apocalypse. Almost from the jump, I was taken in by the chemistry between the two protagonists, Monkey and Trip, who formed an uneasy bond to stay alive while exploring the ruins of the old world--which looked far more mythological in style than the familiar trappings of the genre. There's a pervasive sense of wonder throughout, and a lot of that was due to the strong writing and performances, with actor Andy Serkis playing Monkey.

In hindsight, Enslaved and DmC: Devil May Cry had a lot in common. They were not only re-interpretations of established stories, but they also managed to focus a lot on the value of companionship in a dangerous world, which can give rise to forming bonds with those you'd least expect. I truly enjoyed Enslaved for its Prince of Persia-style gameplay and combat, and I'm bummed out we'll never get a follow-up, but I'm happy with the game we got. In the end, it was a worthwhile journey, and it made me a fan of Ninja Theory from then on. | Alessandro Fillari


Vanquish | October 19


It's hard to believe that Platinum Games released Vanquish in the same year as Bayonetta. Despite looking like a rudimentary third-person cover-based shooter, it's the most experimental of the developer's two games in 2010. It's crazy to think that Platinum--a studio most known for its contributions to the character action genre--even made a shooter. But with director Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, The Evil Within) at the helm, Vanquish shocked and awed with its high-speed shooting, defying the genre's most established conventions with its frenetic pace.

What makes Vanquish endure to this day is its constant exuberance. The story is campy and silly, clearly choosing not to pander to the pretentious cloud of self-serious narratives dominating military shooters of the time. You play as Sam Gideon, a DARPA operative wearing a super-powered suit, who's on a mission to eliminate a Russian extremist dictator leading an army of evil robots on a space colony. Yes, the story is as endearing and dumb as it sounds, but it's really all about the combat in Vanquish. Oh, Lord, the combat.

Rather than take each firefight at a snail's pace, you're encouraged to boost slide out of cover and into the battlefield. You're always zipping past a hail of gunfire, triggering the bullet-time abilities of Sam's suit to pick off waves of robots with elegant ease. As a shooter, Vanquish is surprisingly as sophisticated and expressive as character action games like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry. You can execute a variety of over-the-top tactics during firefights, like shooting a mid-air grenade to detonate it over an unsuspecting troop of enemies, or rocket slide kicking into an armored robot, backflipping off their mangled corpse, and delivering a shotgun blast to their comrade beside them. Stylishly ripping robots to shreds is wild and exhilarating, and it rarely gets old.

Once you take advantage of everything Sam can do, overcoming Vanquish's unrelenting challenges become an unabashed joy. It saddens me that more shooters didn't try copying the game's mechanics in the subsequent years since its release, but that only makes its accomplishments that much more remarkable. While Vanquish doesn't inhabit the same influential status as Bayonetta, it's undoubtedly one of the most distinctive games that Platinum has ever made, and one of my favorites of all time. | Matt Espineli


DJ Hero 2 | October 19


2010 was the year when peripheral-based rhythm-action games, which had been such a massive success, were on their way out the door. Ironically, 2010 was also the year when two of the best games in the genre were released. While Activision had already run the Guitar Hero concept into the ground at this point, elsewhere in the publisher, FreeStyleGames were turning up the heat with a sequel to DJ Hero--a game designed around turntabling and remix culture.

The DJ Hero concept continued to be a breath of fresh air through this era. It was a wildly different and exciting method of rhythm action interfacing, involving analog turntable scratching, faders, and dials on top of traditional button taps. It focussed on styles of music that were severely underrepresented in the genre's most popular titles, including hip-hop, R&B, electronica, dance, and soul. DJ Hero was the shakeup Western rhythm games sorely needed, and DJ Hero 2 was an excellent iteration of that concept--FreeStyleGames had gotten comfy in their new kicks and were ready to bring the house down.

The sequel included a swath of improvements--a slick new presentation, gameplay alterations that allowed for more creativity and player expression, a larger, broader, and all-around phenomenal tracklist, a comprehensive single-player mode, as well as a bunch of exciting online battle modes which were very appealing for the competitive crowd.

Unfortunately, DJ Hero 2 was to remain a favourite to critics and those cult fans only. Everyone else was done, and the game exhibited very low sales and naturally resulted in Activision shuttering the series. The genre had lost its mass appeal and would all but disappear in the following months. But for someone whose fever for rhythm games never died, DJ Hero 2 remains one of high points in my memory. Go listen to the soundtrack on YouTube and start a party. Vale FreeStyleGames. Vale DJ Hero 2. | Edmond Tran


Fallout: New Vegas | October 19


Of all the open-world Fallout games, the one that really nailed the role-playing aspect was New Vegas. When it launched 2010, it wasn't in a very good state, brought down by bugs and performance instability. But if you could just get past that, what lay ahead was post-apocalyptic Vegas full of dark humor, twisting narrative arcs, and some genuinely unpredictable outcomes from your actions.

In a power struggle between the makeshift governmental organization of the NCR and the absolutely irredeemable cult of Caesar's Legion, you hold massive influence. But you never really know that--as "The Courier," you're a nobody, a delivery person who happened to have a highly sought-after package. It's the best premise for giving you carte blanche. New Vegas hardly forces you in specific directions either; you really can align with or vilify multiple factions, choose wildly inconsistent dialogue and still have it make sense, and experience absurdity amid poignant story elements. Fallout always goes for creating a world that's stuck in '50s Americana, but New Vegas incorporates a strong old-timey Western atmosphere (especially in its music selection and radio stations) that charms and hooks you into its vast deserts and decrepit luxury.

Developer Obsidian took liberties with the franchise and put its own RPG stank on it, thus making it the best Fallout game (in my opinion). | Michael Higham


Super Meat Boy | October 20


For many, it was Demon's Souls or Dark Souls that provided people with a newfound appreciation for games that kick your ass, but for me, it was Super Meat Boy. I'd always enjoyed 2D platformers and spent a significant portion of my childhood throwing myself into the meat grinder that was Super Mario World's Special Zone levels, and Super Meat Boy tapped into that desire.

By the time of Super Meat Boy's release in 2010, new games appearing on Xbox Live Arcade weren't the event they once were, but it quickly caught my eye. The juxtaposition of this cute little square, bipedal meat man with the brutal violence that ensues when he inevitably runs into a buzzsaw or any number of other hazards makes for a striking image. The streak of meat you leave behind on any surface you touch, along with the juicy sound effects as you make contact with the level, further provides a distinct aesthetic to the whole experience (and never fails to elicit an "ew" from my wife).

But it's Super Meat Boy's precision gameplay that makes it an all-time favorite of mine. Between the wall-jumping (where you can slide down and/or jump up a vertical surface) and level of mid-air control you have, SMB felt great to play, and the instantaneous restarts upon death ensured the dozens (or hundreds) of failed attempts weren't as frustrating as they otherwise would be. Dying a lot could even add to the enjoyment, as it's always fun to watch the replay that simultaneously shows all of those attempts.

Super Meat Boy still holds up wonderfully today; it's as satisfying as ever, and ports over the years to PS4 and Nintendo Switch have provided new places to play it. However, those more recent versions do swap out the original Danny Baranowsky soundtrack, which for my money is as essential a component as anything else in SMB. Be sure to seek out the PC or Xbox 360 versions for the best experience. | Chris Pereira


Rock Band 3 | October 26


2010 was a great year for peripheral-based rhythm games. It was also effectively the last year for peripheral-based rhythm games. Rock Band, the multiplayer co-op band game that Harmonix created after separating from Guitar Hero and leaving it to its publisher Activision, was always considered by genre connoisseurs (i.e. me) to be the better, more refined game. The game whose presentation and mechanics worked in harmony to actually make you feel like you were truly in a band with your friends, and that you were actually playing the song. Rock Band defined almost a decade of my life, and Rock Band 3 represented the series at its biggest, best, and most ambitious.

If you remember the era you'll be familiar with the Rock Band concept--two guitar controllers, one drumset, and a microphone to belt out timeless rock and pop songs in time to a steady flow of colour-coded gems. While Rock Band 2 introduced dramatically improved controllers, a more robust campaign, and comprehensive online multiplayer modes, Rock Band 3 introduced an incredible amount of quality-of-life fixes, like being able to change instruments, difficulties, options, and band members anytime on the fly, as well as a robust character customisation creator that fed into the more intricate career and challenge modes.

But the biggest new additions? Three-part vocal harmonies. Keyboards. And real guitars. Rock Band 3 was the series' big push into teaching players to transfer their skills over to playing real instruments with a new "Pro" difficulty modifier. Drums were already there, with the inclusion of discrete cymbal inputs in Rock Band 2, and the new two-octave keyboard controller allowed for some pretty accurate note charts that used 26 black-and-white piano keys in addition to the standard five-button ones. But Harmonix (in partnership with Mad Catz) also released a 102-button guitar controller with strings to pick and strum at, while also partnering with Fender to release an actual electric guitar with controller inputs integrated into it. It was bonkers, and it all worked really well even if all of that stuff did cost me an arm and a leg.

And of course, the most important thing is that all of these new features ended up being backwards compatible with Rock Band's rolling library consisting of literally thousands of songs, a feat that no other rhythm game from this era managed to do. That library has continued to grow to a number that's closing in on 3000 with the release of the more focussed Rock Band 4 in 2015, and DLC songs continue to release even as I write this in 2020.

For me, nothing will ever beat the hundreds and hundreds of hours I spent playing Rock Band 3 with eager friends at parties, with colleagues in the office until the late hours at night, and by myself, all day every day, climbing the instrument leaderboards. | Edmond Tran


Dance Central | November 4


It's unfortunate that the Xbox's Kinect ended up being such a bust in the end. I like to think that new technology and innovative ways to play familiar games is something that should be embraced. Not to take over what we have, but as a new way to have fun. The Kinect also happened to feel like playing Disney Quest--an old virtual reality arcade Disney used to have in a few locations--but in my home!

2010 was a year developers and publishers were still all aboard the motion control trend, with Sony and Microsoft desperately trying to cash in on Nintendo's massive surprise success of the Nintendo Wii. While Sony created the abysmal Playstation Move, a parallel to the Wii controller but for the PS3, Microsoft came out with a genuinely interesting idea with the Kinect.

I was interning for G4TV when the Kinects first came in, and just about every producer, host, and editor scrambled in to check out what it was like. What we found out was that most of the games were pretty shallow, which likely part of why the Kinect failed.

However, one game stood out amongst what was mostly drivel (outside of Kinect Adventures, which I maintain is a great party game): Dance Central. Dance Central was Harmonix's foray into the Kinect. The same studio that had created the craze that was Guitar Hero. One of my passions--outside of video games--is b-boying. And, while you can't break in Dance Central, to my delight, the game truly worked. I felt like I was actually learning to become a better dancer, and learning new dance moves and combinations. Watching Ubisoft's continued success with the “Just Dance” series makes me a little sad because I believe that Dance Central was such a better game. It really stood as a testament that, when used correctly, the Kinect could be a lot of fun. | Dave Klein


Call of Duty: Black Ops | November 9


I was sure I wasn't going to buy Black Ops about a month before it released. I played quite a bit of Call of Duty 2, Modern Warfare, and Modern Warfare 2, so it was easy enough to convince myself that I got my fill of COD for the foreseeable future.

But then Activision released a particular trailer shortly before the game's release, and I enlisted for another round of COD. It wasn't the multiplayer overview showing off the new maps or the latest killstreaks. It wasn't the campaign trailer revealing the A-List voice talent behind its main characters or their Cold War-era escapades. No, it ended up being the trailer listing out all the ways you could personalize your loadout. Want a red-dot sight attachment that replaces the dot with a triangle? Want to make it purple? Want to add a weapon skin that had more flair than just tree or sand-colored patterns? How about creating the design of your own banner so you could show the rest of the world that you were cool and smoked weed? It showed to me that Call of Duty wasn't above not always taking itself so seriously. It also made the grind for unlocking new skins and flair more satisfying than ever.

With some of the best multiplayer maps the series had seen yet (vote Nuketown, you cowards), the frantic online battles was as stellar ever. The developers also introduced a currency system you could gamble in fantastic new game modes like Gun Game, Sticks and Stones, and One in the Chamber. In the money indeed.

With the numerics in COD titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops IV, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, or Call of Duty: WW2 representing less and less with each iteration (“The numbers, Mason, what do they mean?!”), I'll always look back fondly to Black Ops when a departure from the status quo actually meant something for a Call of Duty game. | Nick Sherman


Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors | November 16


I love escape room games. Ever since I first discovered the flash game “Crimson Room” in high school, I've regularly sought out the best room escapes online (shout out to Neutral Room Escapes and Mild Room Escape for being the best) and was thrilled when people took the initiative to make real-life escape rooms.

I remember reading about Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors--or 999, to make it simple--around the time it first came out. But for some reason, I didn't pick up the game until the mid-2000s when I was looking for something a little more niche to play. What I found was a fairly mediocre collection of room escapes, with most of the puzzles completely devoid of tension as the game is quick to give you hints.

But 999 also serves as a gripping visual novel. While the room escapes weren't as elaborate as I was hoping, I became completely entranced by the story and couldn't stop playing. When you begin the game, your character has been kidnapped, wakes up on a boat, and water starts pouring in as you have to figure out how to escape your room and eventually the ship itself.

You run into 8 other trapped characters and have to work together to escape through 9 doors within 9 hours-- hence 999. The game has branching paths and multiple endings, and it's very clear that someone trapped with you is a killer. The mysteries of the game had me staying up way too late playing the game, and despite its shortcomings, I absolutely fell in love with it, and eagerly picked up its sequels in the “Zero Escape” trilogy as soon as I could. | Dave Klein


Donkey Kong Country Returns | November 21


In 1994, I received a package in the mail from Nintendo. Seven-year-old me excitedly opened said package to find a VHS tape promoting and hyping up Donkey Kong Country. The game quickly made it to my Christmas list, and as I'd been good that year, I very clearly remember excitedly opening up a present containing Donkey Kong Country.

This was Rare's first major Nintendo game before the company would become synonymous with Nintendo during the N64 era, and it was absolutely fantastic. The graphics were stunning for the time, the gameplay was fantastic 16-bit platform action, and the music composed by David Wise remains some of Nintendo's best.

Sadly, after the SNES era and three Donkey Kong Country outings, it seemed to be a finished franchise. That was until Donkey Kong Country Returns. I was skeptical about picking up the game at first. While it was developed by Retro Studios, the same developer behind the fantastic Metroid Prime games, the game had implemented Nintendo Wii waggle controls. Not only that, I grew up during the NES and SNES era of platform games--and since then, a lot of games had lost any sense of difficulty--so I worried that DKC, known for being fairly difficult, would cater to this new design philosophy.

Instead, what I found was a fantastically designed game that was a welcome addition to the franchise. The waggle controls weren't great, but after some time I got used to them, and that classic difficulty was back. It was just the game I'd dreamed it could be, and maybe even more than that. | Dave Klein


Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood | November 16


A lot of people will say that Assassin's Creed 2 is a major highpoint of Ubisoft's stealth-action series, but to me, Assassin's Creed didn't really hit its stride until that game's first sequel, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. It's the game where Ubisoft really started to refine the franchise and explore new territory, differentiating it from the sort of "Prince of Persia with stabbing" approach that had marked the first two games. First and foremost, Brotherhood ironed out a bunch of the problems that made the first two games huge and unwieldy. Thanks to fast travel, it was easier to get around the game's huge maps, and the ridiculous number of collectibles actually mattered--affecting how you played the game and how its story developed.

But the best part of Brotherhood was how it started to experiment with the underlying Assassin's Creed formula in some really creative ways. Your job wasn't just to work as a lone assassin, knocking off evil Templars with your hidden blade--you were building up the order, recruiting new Assassins, and using them strategically in different situations. Brotherhood is also the game that introduced Assassin's Creed's incredibly inventive multiplayer mode. To take on other assassins, you had to blend into crowds of NPCs to ambush your opponents. You literally had to try to pretend not to be human in order to win. It was a great take on the core ideas of Assassin's Creed, and in a time when every game franchise was forcing multiplayer into its titles in hopes of becoming the next Call of Duty, Ubisoft actually created something that didn't just feel shoehorned in. | Phil Hornshaw


Gran Turismo 5 | November 24


Often times, when a game becomes the pinnacle of graphical fidelity and the one people look at and say, "Wow, this is so realistic, I couldn't tell it was a game," it's likely an exaggeration. But 2010 was the first time I shared that sentiment when Gran Turismo 5 came around. You could look at the screenshots taken in its photo mode and think of them as well-shot and finely edited pictures from a car meet or motorsport magazine. It was already an incredible technical achievement for a game to look so good on PlayStation 3, but GT5 managed to also be an immaculately tuned racing sim.

I always had a soft spot for racing sims due in large part to the early Gran Turismo games, which eventually influenced my own endeavors in motorsport--GT5 came right at the peak of my own involvement in tuner culture, too. I'll never forget how engrossed I was in online races, flexing my Nissan 350Z and R33 Skyline, one of which I'd go on to own in real life (and it definitely wasn't a Skyline). Forza had done it for a while up to this point, but something about GT5 pristine aesthetic, impressively wide roster of cars, and variety of race types were distinguishing factors. Racing in the PS3-era was at its best with GT5. | Michael Higham


Back to the Future | December 22


Telltale Games became known for its licensed story-heavy adventure games with The Walking Dead, but it first really showed off its chops in that department with Back to the Future. For a big-time Back to the Future fan like me, the announcement of a game continuing the franchise was a thrill--especially when it attached folks like screenwriter Bob Gale. The game acts as a sequel to Back to the Future III and expands on the relationship between Marty McFly and Doc Brown while further fleshing out both characters. It also has its fun with time travel, sending you to Hill Valley in a couple of time periods we haven't seen before and messing with the Back to the Future timeline in some fun, goofy ways.

In Back to the Future, Telltale captures the humor and characters that have made the movies classics, and it pretty effectively expands on the ideas that make the franchise so much fun. As Marty McFly, you meddle with time, create a bunch of unexpected consequences, fundamentally change your hometown and the people who live in it, and deal with all-new Biff Tannen ancestors. Back to the Future shows how good the studio was at digging into existing franchises, capturing the great things about them, and turning them into game experiences that feel right at home alongside their counterparts in other media. It's not the greatest game in Telltale's stable, but as an early example of what was to come, it's definitely worth checking out for adventure and BttF fans. | Phil Hornshaw


Dr. Kawashima Is A Jerk And His Brain Training Makes Me Feel Stupid

 

There was a moment I had while playing Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training for Nintendo Switch, which is currently only available in Australia and Europe. I had just finished my daily set of three exams to calculate my "Brain Age," the metric used to assess how strong and flexible your mind is. The lower the score the better, and 20 is the absolute best you can get. Anyway, the disembodied head of Dr. Kawashima popped up on the screen to deliver my result--it was 27! Wow! What a great score. I had some issues with one of the tests, but I had set a couple of new records on the others, so I was feeling pretty happy with myself. But that emotion didn't last very long.

"Oh dear!" the head lamented, "I miscalculated your Brain Age". He threw up a new number: 59. "Your Brain Age is a little underwhelming." I could've snapped the Joy-Cons off my Switch then and there.

Dr. Kawashima, or at least this polygonal version of him, is an insensitive jerk. He pulls dumb stuff like that, he's visibly disappointed when he's telling me that I can do better, and the only time he's encouraging or visibly pleased (at which point he's freaking ecstatic) is when I make a really significant improvement on something. Improving incrementally? Maintaining a superb result day after day? Nothing. Maybe just a "good for you" if I'm lucky. I have Asian parents, so I'm used to this level of support. But when it's coming from a video game, from a cartridge I can easily rip out and never look at again, this low level of encouragement and high level of trolling really discourages me from wanting to keep going with it. Especially when I'm mostly doing math anyway.

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I'm disappointed because I know Nintendo knows how to motivate me to keep coming back. Their video games are often very morish. I've been playing Ring Fit Adventure pretty consistently over the past few months, and a big part of the reason I've (surprisingly) kept coming back to it is because of the consistent positive reinforcement and the feeling that you're only ever making progress, not losing it. Ring Fit Adventure only ever has helpful advice and encouragement for me, and every session I have is positive. There's never any judgment if I'm having an off day, and I always feel welcomed back. Brain Training shows me my dips on a graph and makes me sad.

Am I just upset because I'm starting to realise that I'm actually stupid? Eh, maybe a little. But believe me, I would happily just own it and keep on working at if it wasn't for the other frustrating issue: the occasional, but hugely detrimental, issues with handwriting detection.

The first Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training came out for the Nintendo DS, and it made a huge deal about how you held the dual-screen console sideways like a book and wrote your answers with the console's included stylus. It had a pretty great version of Sudoku, and I played a lot of Sudoku on that thing (Sudoku was really big back then). My Brain Age was also much better than it is now. Now that Brain Training is on the Switch, it comes with its own stylus and requires you to hold your Switch sideways as well. It's still very novel, but because of the reliance on this kind of handwritten input in a number of minigames, you're likely to run into a lot of issues depending on how you write certain letters and numbers.

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The DS version of Brain Training had these issues too, but for some reason it feels far more egregious on the Switch. Maybe it's the new fat Switch stylus versus the more precise and pointy DS one. Maybe it's some change in how the software translates strokes, or the ways certain activities are designed. Maybe it's all exactly the same and just a factor of my growing impatience as I get older and grumpier. I'm pretty sure I don't have terrible handwriting--my letters are usually bold and clear, maybe even a little cartoony, and the game can detect what I'm writing 98% of the time. But if I find myself getting caught in that 2% trying to get it to recognise a "5" or a "Y," I'll be screaming, because my results, progress, and my self-esteem are on the line.

Here's an example: There's an exam in Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training for Switch where you get two minutes to memorise the placement of 25 numbers on a 5x5 grid, and then two minutes to recall them. The catch is, you only get one guess for each square, so if you guess wrong, you lose that opportunity for a point. The last time I took this test, the game had real trouble interpreting how I wrote the numbers "5" and "9," so as soon as I would finish writing something like "25," I could see that the game interpreted it as 18 for whatever weird reason, and I wouldn't have a chance to hit the erase button in the split second before it buzzed and basically told me, "No, that's wrong. The number that's supposed to go here is 25."

There's a similar, slightly more gracious exam with the same kind of memory test, but you're trying to remember and write down all the four-letter words the game showed on a previous screen. You don't get locked out at all here, but when the game keeps misinterpreting the letter you're trying to write for another one? Well, your mind gets preoccupied with constantly erasing and rewriting the letter in the hopes that it will catch, and your focus is pulled away from all those words you were trying to juggle in your head. It can be infuriating.

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The daily exercises that game has you do to prepare for these exams are mostly free from these issues. I can multitask and make an avatar jump hurdles while picking out the highest number in a lineup, no problem. I can mimic hand shapes and do finger calculations (which are tracked with the right Joy-Con's IR sensor, a pretty neat feature) faster than you can blink. I can sight-read music and play it on the touchscreen piano perfectly (because I've had years of training, but nevermind that). And when I perform all these tasks, I get that satisfying brain-squeezing sensation that makes me feel like I'm working my mind and getting smarter probably.

But when it comes to calculating your Brain Age, the game throws a whole different set of activities at you, most of which are specific to the examination mode and largely involve writing letters and numbers. That's when things get disastrous and Kawashima thinks I have rocks in my head. That's when he starts trolling me and telling me how disappointed he is. Brain Training's handwriting detection is not perfect. And it needs to be perfect if I want to feel like my mistakes are on me.

I have fond memories of the original Brain Training for Nintendo DS, and after how taken I was with Ring Fit Adventure, I was eager to hop back on Nintendo's weird lifestyle software train and ride it anywhere it would go. But Brain Training for Switch is pushing me away. Hopefully, now that we're in the age of software updates and user telemetry, the writing detection is something that Nintendo can improve over time. And maybe Tipp and whatever the sentient Ring from Ring Fit Adventure is called can give Dr. Kawashima a few pointers on how to talk to players, too.

Sudoku is still pretty good though.

Apex Legends - 9-Kill Win On Kings Canyon After Dark Gameplay

 

Kings Canyon makes its glorious return to Apex, and we fight our way to the top. Kings Canyon After Dark is available to play in Apex Legends from January 24 through January 25.

Royal Rumble 2020: The 15 Toughest Rumble Participants in WWE History

 


The WWE Royal Rumble match is defined by its winner--the man or woman who goes on to main event WrestleMania and compete for the WWE Championship. But due to the Rumble's structure, the person who works the hardest and the person who wins it are not always one and the same.

This gallery is for the standout WWE Superstars in Royal Rumble history: who lasted longest, eliminated the most competitors, or did both. Lasting long is a distinction that carries cachet; traditionally, the role is assigned to a veteran, who can direct traffic and call audibles from inside the ring. There's a lot of moving parts to a Royal Rumble. For it to go down the way it was scripted backstage requires a ton of communication and coordination.

Make sure to tune in on Sunday, January 26, to watch the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble live on pay-per-view and the WWE Network. And if you liked this gallery, be sure to check out our gallery on the most shocking eliminations in Royal Rumble history.


1. Bret "Hitman" Hart


Event: Royal Rumble (1988)

Entered At: 1

Time: 25:42

Elimination(s): 1

Before Bret Hart was a singles star, he was one half of Hall of Fame tag team the Hart Foundation. In the very first Royal Rumble, the Hitman showed off his potential, three years before winning his first Intercontinental title. He lasted longer than any other competitor--a little over 25 minutes. But records, as we shall see, are meant to be broken.


2. Hulk Hogan


Event: Royal Rumble (1989)

Entered At: 18

Time: 11:31

Elimination(s): 10

The following year, Hulk Hogan sent a different sort of benchmark, this time for number of wrestlers eliminated. Hogan threw 10 other men over the top rope, and it took two men to eliminate him. Hogan needed only 11 minutes to cause this much mayhem, which gives him bonus points for efficiency.


3. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase


Event: Royal Rumble (1990)

Entered At: 1

Time: 44:47

Elimination(s): 3

Ted DiBiase entered at #1 in 1990. It was karmic justice; the money-hungry superstar had previously attempted to buy the #30 spot. Despite this disadvantage, however, DiBiase made an impressive showing. He nearly doubled the prior longevity record, established by Mr. Perfect the prior year.


4. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair


Event: Royal Rumble (1992)

Entered At: 3

Time: 1:00:02

Elimination(s): 5

WWE's first "Iron Man" entrant, Ric Flair won not only the Royal Rumble, but also the vacant WWE Championship. Did he do so with heroic panache? Of course not! This is Ric Flair we're talking about. But the dual accomplishment, of not only winning the Royal Rumble but lasting the longest--over one hour in the ring--deserves praise.


5. Bob Backlund


Event: Royal Rumble (1993)

Entered At: 2

Time: 1:01:10

Elimination(s): 2

Poor Bob Backlund. This man was practically the face of WWE right before the company exploded in popularity nationwide, which meant that he got none of the massive paydays that Hogan, Savage or even Andre received. But he did have a bit of a career resurgence in the '90s, including this spot in the 1993 Royal Rumble. The veteran entered at #2 and lasted over an hour, proving that experience has its worth.


6. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels


Event: Royal Rumble (1995)

Entered At: 1

Time: 38:41

Elimination(s): 8

Michaels was smaller than most of his contemporaries, but his athleticism and sheer charisma pushed him to the top of the card. In 1995, the Heartbreak Kid became the first man or woman to enter at #1 and win the Rumble. This was a short match in comparison to other years' Rumbles; Michaels only had to last 38 minutes. But his 8 eliminations were all entertaining, especially the final, surprise elimination of the British Bulldog to win the whole thing.


7. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin


Event: Royal Rumble (1997)

Entered At: 6

Time: 53:46

Elimination(s): 10

The first time Austin won the Royal Rumble was as a heel, and he eliminated Bret Hart to get the job done. But if you replay the match and listen to the crowd, you can clearly hear that the audience starts to get behind Austin; it's foreshadowing for the iconic antihero that he will eventually become. Part of the reason why the crowds loved Austin so much was his intensity and grit; he lasted 53 minutes and tied Hogan's elimination record. That record wouldn't stand for long, however.


8. Kane


Event: Royal Rumble (2001)

Entered At: 6

Time: 53:46

Elimination(s): 11

In 2001, Kane eliminated an unprecedented 11 competitors in the Royal Rumble. It was a WWE record that would stand for over a decade. And ever since, Kane has been a force to be feared. He's competed in more Rumbles than any other WWE Superstar in history.


9. Chris Benoit


Event: Royal Rumble (2004)

Entered At: 1

Time: 1:01:35

Elimination(s): 6

The other man to win the Royal Rumble from the #1 spot, Chris Benoit, like Shawn Michaels, was a small-statured competitor in a roster of giants. He showed iron grit and determination, especially with his final elimination of the Big Show. His landmark accomplishment, as well as his main event victory at WrestleMania XX, has unfortunately been lost in the annals of history, for obvious reasons.


10. Triple H & Rey Mysterio


Event: Royal Rumble (2006)

Entered At: 1 & 2

Time: 1:00:09 & 1:02:12

Elimination(s): 6 & 6

Two months after Eddie Guerrero's death, Rey Mysterio won the Royal Rumble from the #2 position (which, if you really think about it, is identical for all practical purposes as entering at #1). Mysterio dedicated his victory to his fallen comrade and would win the world title at WrestleMania. The #1 entrant was Triple H; like Rey, he also lasted an hour, and was part of the final four before Mysterio eliminated him as well.


11. Roman Reigns


Event: Royal Rumble (2014)

Entered At: 15

Time: 33:51

Elimination(s): 12

Roman Reigns had the misfortune of losing the Rumble when he shouldn't have in 2014, and winning it when he shouldn't have in 2015. It was in 2014 that Reigns broke Kane's long-standing record, with 12 eliminations in all. The winner, Batista, was booed as the Big Dog lay on the outside, hands clasped to his head in frustration.


12. Chris Jericho


Event: Royal Rumble (2017)

Entered At: 2

Time: 1:00:13

Elimination(s): 2

In 2017, Jericho had a late-blooming career peak. He wasn't winning world titles, but he was doing some of the best character work of his career ("YOU JUST MADE THE LIST!"). Jericho lasted over an hour in the Rumble that year, which, if Vince McMahon had followed his original plan, would have led to a Universal Championship victory at WrestleMania. Unfortunately, both he and Kevin Owens were shunted to the side in favor of a marquee match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar.


13. Finn Bálor


Event: Royal Rumble (2018)

Entered At: 2

Time: 57:38

Elimination(s): 4

Finn Bálor lasted nearly an hour in the 2018 Rumble. He rode a wave of support; he was the first Universal Champion, and had to relinquish the title the day after winning it at Summerslam (2015) due to a shoulder injury. Could this have been his return to the main event stage? Unfortunately, however, Bálor couldn't get the job done. Instead, Shinsuke Nakamura won that year, which set up a dream match between him and AJ Styles at WrestleMania.


14. Sasha Banks


Event: Royal Rumble (2018)

Entered At: 2

Time: 54:46

Elimination(s): 3

2018 was also the year of the first women's Royal Rumble. And the ladies started things off right with an exciting match that main-evented the show. Asuka would win and face Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania. But it was Sasha Banks who was the event's star, entering at #2 and lasting nearly 55 minutes before being eliminated by the Bella Twins.


15. Natalya


Event: Royal Rumble (2019)

Entered At: 2

Time: 56:01

Elimination(s): 2

Natalya has spent an unselfish career making everyone around her look great. And keeping with this, she did an incredible job of running point in the 2019 Rumble. Like Sasha Banks, she entered at #2, and she bested the Boss by lasting a little over a minute longer than she did in 2018. The Queen of Harts is an understated leader who doesn't get nearly enough credit for playing her role perfectly.


Vine Successor Byte Has Officially Launched, Partner Program In The Works

 

In October of 2016 the world lost one of the greatest platforms for short-form comedy of all time. The app that gave us masterpiece skits such as 'Chris, Is That A Weed?,' 'And They Were Roommates,' 'Um, I Never Went To Oovoo Javer,' and 'Fre Sh A Vacado' was cruelly taken away from us. In its wake, the world mourned and, if we're honest, we never got over that loss. To this day, Vine lovers spend hours reliving the glory years. Like a person sadly scrolling back through their ex's Instagram thinking about what went wrong and how it could have been different, we latch onto compilations like Vines That Keep Me From Ending it All, Vines That Butter My Croissant, Vines That Give My Depression A Suppression, and Vines That Are Cleaner Than Your Grandma's Kitchen on YouTube to recapture some of the glory.

Fans were given hope when Vine co-creator Dom Hofmann announced he was creating a successor called Byte and, despite some doubt as to whether it would be realized, the app has launched on iOS and Android. Designed for the modern age of social media, Byte allows users to shoot six-second videos and upload them, which others can share (ReByte).

In a Twitter post announcing its launch, Hofmann described Byte as "both familiar and new" and said the team behind it hopes it will "resonate with people who feel something's been missing." If you're wondering whether that's you, take a look at the image below and if you know who that lad is going to see, it is.

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The next step for Byte, and what distinguishes it from many other social video platforms, is its partner program, which will be implemented to pay creators. "Byte celebrates creativity and community, and compensating creators is one important way we can support both," reads a tweet from the Byte Twitter account. As of yet, details on the partner program have not been provided.

While getting a Vine successor from one of the original creators is certainly a big deal, whether it succeeds remains to be seen. Byte joins a competitive landscape--one that is very much built on the successes of Vine. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram all offer users a way to deliver bite-sized videos to their followers and have additional social networking hooks. TikTok is perhaps the most direct competitor to Byte and its where much of the same kind of content is now being produced. (Read: TikTok has big Vine energy). Stars are being created on TikTok daily, and major celebrities have a presence there. Global corporations are also recognizing its marketing capabilities and potential to reach a massive audience. TikTok is very much having its moment right now, and it may be difficult for Byte to draw attention away from it.

Nevertheless, a new video platform that evokes the heyday of Vine is certainly exciting. Plans to compensate its creators give it an edge in theory, and if it can execute could be just enough to make Byte competitive.

Star Trek: Picard - Here's Why JJ Abrams' Star Trek Movie Matters

 

Star Trek: Picard jumps ahead in the main timeline of Star Trek to find Captain Jean-Luc Picard years after he's retired from Starfleet. The series also includes a lot of references to Trek history and storylines from different sources, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager.

But Star Trek: Picard isn't just drawing on the stories told in contemporary series as it expands on the life and career of the legendary captain. It also takes a cue from a somewhat less-likely source: the 2009 Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams. Though that movie and its sequels, Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, take place in an alternate timeline to tell new stories about the iconic Captain Kirk and the crew of his Enterprise, the story still has some influence on the main Star Trek timeline--and on the events of Star Trek: Picard.

The influence comes from the setup of Star Trek 2009, which established a big change in the Star Trek universe: In the backstory for Abrams' movie, a supernova destroys Romulus, the homeworld of the Romulan Star Empire. Star Trek fans know that the Romulans have been one of the United Federation of Planets' longest enemies. During the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which first introduced Picard and his crew, the Federation and the Romulans were in the middle of a tenuous cease-fire, with the territory between them known as the Neutral Zone. Though the Federation and the Romulans sometimes were at odds during the series, for the most part, they left each other alone.

The Romulans were still a threat even well after the end of TNG, however. In Star Trek: Nemesis, the last of the Star Trek movies to feature the TNG crew, some Romulan military leaders planned a massive, devastating attack on the Federation. Picard and the Enterprise crew managed to circumvent that attack and prevent a war, with the help of Romulan commanders who weren't so keen on restarting hostilities.

Cut to Star Trek 2009, which starts its story in the original Star Trek timeline, known as the Prime timeline. In that story, a supernova destroys the Romulan homeworld, and with it, millions (or billions) of Romulan lives. In the movie, Spock (at this point an ambassador) attempts to stop the supernova and save Romulus utilizing a strange substance known as Red Matter, which can be used to create black holes. Spock's plan is to use a black hole to basically suck up the supernova and save the planet--but the star explodes before he can execute his plan, and Romulus is destroyed.

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That event leads the commander of a Romulan mining ship, Nero, to chase down and attempt to kill Spock in order to take revenge on him. Instead, however, both Nero and Spock's ships are drawn into the black hole Spock creates, which catapults them back in time. Nero's presence in the past alters some formative events in the life of Captain Kirk, fundamentally altering history--and creating a new alternate timeline for those movies, known as the Kelvin timeline.

But the destruction of Romulus is an event that still occurred back in the Prime timeline, before time travel became a thing (in this context), and Star Trek: Picard picks up after that event. In the premiere episode of the CBS All Access series, we learn that it wasn't just Spock who tried to prevent disaster on Romulus. In response to the planet's impending doom, the Romulans asked the Federation for help in saving its citizens. Some in the Federation were reluctant, but Jean-Luc Picard managed to convince Starfleet to mount a massive rescue effort, and to create an armada of ships to get it done. That was 14 years before the events of the first episode of Picard.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck before the rescue effort got underway. A group of rogue synthetics--essentially, non-sentient androids--attacked Mars and the Federation's Utopia Planitia shipyard, where the rescue armada was utterly destroyed. After that, the Federation refused to help the Romulans despite Picard's instance, and the planet was annihilated, just like in Abrams' movie.

Though Star Trek: Picard doesn't mention the Spock connection, the destruction of Romulus looms large in the new series. It's clear in the first episode that the Federation's relationship with the surviving Romulans is going to be a major part of the show--but we'll have to wait and see how that relationship develops.

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company.

Star Trek: Picard - 9 Key Things To Know To Understand What's Going On

 


The last time we saw Captain Jean-Luc Picard before the start of CBS All Access's latest series in the franchise, Star Trek: Picard, was in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis, which came out way back in 2002. Before that and three other movies, there was Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ran for seven seasons and ended in 1994. That's a whole lot of material about Jean-Luc Picard to know, and a long time to remember it. Even though it tries to explain some things, Star Trek: Picard's first episode is full of references to TNG history from the show and movies, and picking up story threads begun years earlier.

Luckily, you don't have to rewatch all of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its movies to understand what's going on in "Remembrance," the first episode of Picard--because we've done it for you. Here's a quick rundown of all the Star Trek backstory that goes into setting up Picard's story that you might not remember.

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company.


1. The Romulans


The Federation has been in various degrees of conflict with the Romulans for quite a long time. The Romulan Star Empire was a recurring threat throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation and occasionally in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well. War with the Romulans was also the threat in Star Trek: Nemesis, the last of the TNG movies. In that movie, it was revealed the Romulans had created a clone of Captain Picard in hopes of infiltrating the Federation--but the clone, Shinzon, wound up taking over the Empire and attempting to destroy the Federation instead. A few rogue Romulan military leaders allied with Picard and the Enterprise crew to stop Shinzon, circumventing the destruction of Earth and preventing war between the two powers. The Romulans also have a secret, scary, KGB-like spying operation known as the Tal Shiar that has agents all over the galaxy.


2. But Then Romulus Blew Up


A few years later, a supernova threatened to destroy Romulus, the Romulans' home planet (which was covered in JJ Abrams' 2009 Star Trek movie). The Romulans reached out to the Federation for help evacuating their world, and after some convincing by then-Admiral Picard, the plan was to build a rescue armada that could save the Romulan people. That rescue never happened, however. Instead, a group of rogue synthetics (basically worker robots) attacked Mars and its Utopia Planitia shipyard where the armada was being constructed. It was destroyed, and the Federation decided not to help the Romulans. Their planet was destroyed, along with a huge number of Romulans.


3. What Are Synths?


The definition of "synth" isn't super clear yet. They appear to be Data-like robots that aren't as sophisticated as Data was--essentially, they're just machines that look like people, not actual lifeforms. It sounds like synths were used as laborers. A group of them went "rogue" on Mars, destroying not just Utopia Planitia, but the entire planet and its colony--as noted during Picard's interview, Mars "is still on fire today." We're not sure why the synths did what they did, but the result is that the Federation has banned all creation of artificial and synthetic life.


4. Why Did Picard Quit Starfleet?


We don't have all the answers on that score yet, but Picard gives a bit of insight during his interview. After its armada was destroyed in the attack on Mars, the Federation decided not to go forward with the rescue mission to save the Romulans. Picard fought that decision, because he believes that all life is important, even the life of an enemy. When the Federation still wasn't swayed to help the Romulans, Picard apparently retired from his position as admiral and returned to his family home in France.


5. Data And Picard


Other than his maniacal brother, Lore, Data was the only sentient android known to exist--meaning that while he was a machine, he was also considered alive. Picard and Data developed a close friendship during their time serving together on the Enterprise. Data helped save Picard when he was assimilated by the Borg, and Picard, in turn, saved Data from the Borg Queen during the events of the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

Picard also argued on Data's behalf during a legal hearing brought by Bruce Maddox (the same Maddox Dr. Agnes Jurati mentions during the premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard), a Starfleet scientist who wanted to disassemble Data and study him to try to replicate his technology. The hearing was meant to determine if Data was Starfleet's property or actually a person. Picard successfully argued that Data was a person and not property, and while Maddox lost, he gained a respect for Data and the two continued to correspond over the years as Maddox continued his studies. Here's even more Data info to catch you up and a list of Data episodes you should check out, since it seems like he'll be a big deal throughout Picard.


6. Data Had A Daughter Once


During The Next Generation, Data attempted to create another android like himself, using his own brain as a roadmap. Data named his android daughter Lal, and proceeded to try to raise her to fit in with the Enterprise crew. Starfleet eventually wanted to separate Lal from Data to study her, but before that could happen, Lal's android brain broke down and she effectively died. Nobody else has been able to replicate the android technology that made Data possible even to this day--except, maybe, for Bruce Maddox.


7. So Is Data Dead?


Yup. Data's final mission was in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. During that movie, Data sacrificed himself to save Picard and destroy Shinzon's ship, saving Earth and the Federation as well. The ship exploded with Data still onboard. Clearly, Picard is still haunted by the loss of his friend.


8. Wasn't That A Disassembled Data At The Daystrom Institute?


No. What you saw there was B-4, Data's prototypical "brother." Data was built by a cyberneticist called Noonien Soong, who also built two other androids before Data: B-4, the first android who is similar to Data but has a much more limited mental capacity, and Lore, a more human take on Data's design who was capable of emotions. Lore was basically Data's evil twin and was eventually permanently dismantled. The Enterprise discovered B-4 in Nemesis (he was part of Shinzon's plan to lure Picard and kill him), and Data attempted to transfer his memories into the other android to help him become sentient. Apparently that process didn't work--and B-4 has been disassembled and studied in the meantime.


9. What's Up With The Borg?


The final shot of the first episode of Picard reveals that the "Romulan Reclamation Site" is actually a ravaged Borg cube ship. If you're not super familiar, the Borg are a race of cybernetic beings that combine organic beings with technology, in an endless pursuit of becoming "perfect." When they encounter other races, they usually conquer and assimilate them, forcibly incorporating those races' genetics and technology into the Borg race. Here's a big rundown on everything you need to know about the Borg, their history, and Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine.

Suffice it to say the Borg have attempted to conquer the Federation on more than one occasion, but while the battles have been devastating, the Borg hasn't succeeded, largely thanks to the Enterprise and its crew.

Nowadays, the Borg are a seriously diminished threat. They popped up several times in Star Trek: Voyager, where we saw them fighting a losing war against a race they referred to as Species 8472. That war devastated the Collective, and other events that involved Voyager also helped some drones to break free of the Borg Collective and start a resistance from within. At the end of the series, Voyager dealt another serious blow to the Borg by introducing a virus into the Collective and blowing up one of the Borg's "transwarp hubs." The Borg Queen was killed (again) in that explosion.

We're not sure what the state of the Borg is in the first episode of Star Trek: Picard, but it seems like one of the greatest threats to the Federation is still dealing with those major setbacks--at least for now.


Star Trek: Picard - Data Backstory You Need Understand What's Going On

 

The premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard makes it clear almost immediately that the next chapter of Jean-Luc Picard's story is also a story about Data, the android member of his Enterprise crew that also became one of Jean-Luc's closest friends.

Part of the reason Data is such a big deal in the new streaming series is that he remains basically one-of-a-kind in the universe. He was a sentient android created by the cyberneticist Noonien Soong and spent his life endeavoring to be more human. Other than the two androids Soong built before Data, B-4 and Lore, there are apparently no other artificial lifeforms who are quite like him. That's not for lack of trying, though; as we learn in the first episode of Star Trek: Picard, the Federation created a number of "synthetics," or robots who look a bit similar to Data, but who apparently weren't sentient (although there are those who said the same of Data himself, as TNG fans know).

Data's relationship with Picard, and the Federation in general, was built up over the course of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its films. But you don't have to watch the entire series and four movies to understand the important facts about Data that come up in Star Trek: Picard. All the relevant Data backstory referenced in Picard's premiere comes from just four TNG episodes--episodes we'll summarize here to save you a few hours. And if these sound intriguing, check out our list of the 10 essential Data episodes and you can learn even more about the unique being.

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Measure of a Man (Season 2, Episode 9)

One of the best early Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes has a big bearing on what's going on in Star Trek: Picard. In "Measure of a Man," a cybernetics researcher, Bruce Maddox, wants to disassemble and study Data in hopes of creating more androids like him. Data isn't into it--he doesn't think Maddox has the skills necessary to do the procedure without Data potentially losing the essence of who he is. Maddox argues that Data doesn't have a choice; as a machine, Data isn't a person, but rather the property of Starfleet. Therefore, Data has no right to refuse to take part in Maddox's experiments.

The argument eventually goes to court, with Picard serving as Data's advocate in arguing that the android is alive and therefore has rights, and Picard's first officer, Commander Will Riker, forced to argue against Picard as Maddox's advocate. Picard eventually prevails after he suggests that creating more androids like Data in a world where they have no rights would be tantamount to creating a slave caste. Picard always shows a profound respect for life throughout TNG, and in "Measure of a Man," he gains even more respect for Data and artificial life in general--a feeling that's obviously still a major part of him in Star Trek: Picard. And the events in the trial cause Maddox to gain a new respect for Data as well. The pair continued corresponding over the years (Data narrates a lengthy letter to Maddox about his typical day in Season 4, Episode 11, "Data's Day"). That's the same Maddox who Picard hears has disappeared when he visits the Daystrom Institute in the first episode of Star Trek: Picard.

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The Offspring (Season 3, Episode 16)

After attending a cybernetics conference, Data discovers a way to replicate his positronic net--essentially, his brain--to create another android. He uses that knowledge to create Lal, who he considers his offspring. Lal selects her own gender and appearance, choosing to present herself as a human woman, and thus becomes Data's daughter.

Data tries to raise Lal and teach her how to fit in aboard the Enterprise, an experience he finds incredibly rewarding. Of course, Starfleet again wants to study the androids, and attempts to separate Lal from Data to take her back to the Daystrom Institute. Before that can happen, however, Lal's positronic net starts to break down. She eventually dies, although Data downloads her memories into himself so he can keep a part of Lal with him.

Like "Measure of a Man," "The Offspring" further establishes the idea of synthetic life based on Data's design and Picard's respect for it. It also builds on the idea of Data as a form of life and his ability to produce offspring, both of which are a big part of Star Trek: Picard's first episode.

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Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Data spends most of Star Trek: First Contact as a captive of the Borg Queen after she and her drones manage to board and take control of part of the Enterprise. The movie establishes some changes to Borg lore by adding the Queen, and suggests that she wants more than to just assimilate more drones--she wants a true equal. To that end, she grafts real skin onto Data to help him become more human, trying to convince him to join her. Picard eventually rescues Data and together they defeat the Queen and the Borg on the Enterprise, while Riker and the rest of the crew stop the Borg's attempts to disrupt humanity's first contact with alien life (it's a time travel movie, just go with it).

First Contact does a lot of heavy lifting in reestablishing Picard's lingering trauma over being assimilated by the Borg, and builds on his close relationship with Data--though he's planning to destroy the Enterprise to defeat the Borg, he goes back to rescue Data rather than leaving him behind. Data played a major role in saving Picard from the Borg when he was assimilated in TNG, and the captain felt he couldn't leave his friend behind, even though there was a good likelihood Picard and Data would both have been killed in the attempt

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Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

The final of the TNG movies brings Picard's relationship with Data to an end. After the Romulan Star Empire makes overtures toward peace with the Federation following the installment of a new leader, Shinzon, Picard and the Enterprise head to Romulus for negotiations. They discover that Shinzon is actually a clone of Picard the Romulans created in hopes of installing a spy in Starfleet, a plan they eventually abandoned. Shinzon eventually gained power as a wartime commander, and means to destroy the Federation with a weapon that uses a powerful kind of radiation.

The movie is mostly about Picard worrying about what kind of man he could have become under different circumstances, but the part that matters is that Picard heads over to Shinzon's ship to destroy it--with the belief that he's going to die in the process. At the last moment, Data arrives with an emergency transporter, a little gizmo that can automatically beam a single person back to the Enterprise with the press of a button. Data slaps the emergency transporter on Picard and then destroys Shinzon's ship himself, dying in the process.

Nemesis also introduces B-4, a prototypical brother of Data that Shinzon discovered. Though Data attempted to download his own memories into the prototype, B-4's appearance in Star Trek: Picard suggests the transfer didn't take. So as of Star Trek: Picard's first episode, Data is gone, and Picard is still feeling his loss even years later. Data still resonates with the people who were close with him, and with the scientific community in the Federation that studied him. He might be gone, but Data's influence is a huge part of Star Trek: Picard, and it doesn't seem like it'll be waning anytime soon after Episode 1.

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company.

Star Trek: Picard - Here's Why Jean-Luc Quit Starfleet

 

When we again see Jean-Luc Picard for the first time since 2002's Star trek: Nemesis in the premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard, we learn a key piece of information about his character (other than the fact he's still hung up on Data): He has abandoned his service in Starfleet. That's a pretty big deal: Picard is a guy who spent his entire life forwarding the ideals of humanity's exploration of space as captain of the Enterprise, who wanted to be a Starfleet captain from childhood, and who sacrificed the prospect of having a family for his career. For Picard to leave behind the life of an explorer behind suggests something major must have happened.

In the first episode of Star Trek: Picard, "Remembrance," we get some sense of what happened to drive the legendary captain, and later admiral, from Starfleet service. We don't have all the details yet, but some exposition in "Remembrance" explains the broad strokes of what finally caused Picard to leave space and head back to his family's vineyard in France. Put simply: Starfleet let Picard down.

The situation started when the Romulan Star Empire learned a star in its territory was going to explode in a supernova, destroying Romulus and killing a whole bunch of Romulans. That's actually the setup for J.J. Abrams 2009 Star Trek movie, and while most of that movie takes place in an alternate timeline, the events that destroy Romulus are part of the prime Star Trek timeline where Star Trek: The Next Generation, its four sequel movies, and Star Trek: Picard take place.

With impending doom bearing down on them, the Romulans reached out to the Federation for help. The thing is, the Romulans and the Federation have been enemies for a long, long time. Throughout The Next Generation, there's an uneasy cease-fire between the two factions, but the Romulans always seem to be on the verge of war and they're constantly spying on everyone around them. In fact, Star Trek: Nemesis is all about how the Enterprise crew narrowly stops a Romulan leader from destroying Earth and starting a war with the Federation. So basically up to learning about the supernova, tensions between the Romulans and the Federation are relatively high.

So when the Romulans asked for help, there were a lot of people in the Federation who were reluctant to expend a bunch of resources and maybe risk a lot of lives in order to help their enemies. But the tenets of the Federation and Starfleet are all about respect for life and the duty to help others--so Picard manages to convince Starfleet to mount a rescue to save the Romulans, despite their history, because it's the right thing to do.

Starfleet builds a giant rescue armada of ships at the Utopia Planitia shipyard orbiting Mars colony, and everything's going pretty well. Then tragedy strikes--a group of rogue "synths," or robotic workers, attacks Mars. The colony is utterly destroyed, as is the rescue armada.

As a result, the Federation bans all synths, and Starfleet decides not to mount the rescue of Romulus. As Picard says, he believes that not helping the Romulans demonstrates the Federation and Starfleet turning its back on its duties and principles, and that caused him to resign.

We don't know much else about the details of Picard's departure, although the Romulans who work in the Picard Chateau, Laris and Zhaban, make it clear that a lot of Romulans respect Picard for what he did. Unfortunately, Picard's decision took him out of Starfleet, and it's clear in the first episode of the show that he regrets the decision. We'll have to wait for future episodes to expand on Picard's backstory even more.

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company.

Solved! Destiny 2 Bastion Secret Quest - Guide For The Corridors Of Time

 

Every now and then, something huge takes place in Destiny 2: Developer Bungie adds a major secret to the game, often tied to a big reward. The latest was a quest called "Explore the Corridors of Time" that includes a massive, intricate puzzle that brought the entire Destiny 2 community together. Finally, it's solved, unlocking the Kinetic fusion rifle Bastion--and a new way for Destiny 2 to tell its story.

If you've been dreading trying to pass through the maze that is the Corridors of Time, good news: You can now just grab the Bastion quest from Saint-14 in the Tower, provided you've completed his storyline quests, which include An Impossible Task and Recovering the Past. Check out our complete Bastion guide to get your new Exotic weapon as quickly as possible. If you need Exotics without the work, you can visit Xur, who's back in the solar system and is offering Monte Carlo, a new Exotic from the Shadowkeep expansion that was previously only available from random drops.

If you want to unlock the lore, story dialogue, and secret emblem from the Corridors, make sure you get it soon. The Corridors of Time will collapse and stop being available with the weekly reset on Tuesday, January 28.

Editor's Note: This post previously repeated Pathway 3 as Pathway 12. We've corrected the error with the correct version of Pathway 12.

The quest returns you to the Corridors of Time, that weird interdimensional gateway used by the Vex and which is linked to Osiris's Sundial on Mercury. We last ventured through the Corridors of Time to find and save Saint-14 earlier in the season. Now that that's accomplished, Osiris wants you to head back into the Corridors and explore them to figure out what their deal is.

To start the quest, head to Osiris on Mercury and talk to him. Claim the "Exploring the Corridors of Time" quest from him, then activate the Sundial to transport yourself back to the strange realm. After that, it's a matter of figuring out the path; the Corridors are a series of doorways that link to big rooms full of Vex, and each of the doorways is marked with a sign. Community members on Destiny's r/raidsecrets subreddit have worked together to determine which paths are required to navigate the Corridors and avoid getting lost.

Corridors Of Time Solution

As it turned out, each pass through the Corridors of Time produced a code, which the Destiny 2 community determined created a map of the Corridors. Piecing together the map provided a new pathway through the Corridors, which ultimately completes this step of the "Exploring the Corridors of Time" mission. Note that if you want to unlock all the lore and the secret emblem hidden in the Corridors of Time, you should do those steps first, before completing the quest by entering this solution.

Here's the sequence to complete the Corridors of Time:

  1. Clover
  2. Diamond
  3. Snake
  4. Clover
  5. Plus
  6. Plus
  7. Hexagon
  8. Hexagon
  9. Hexagon
  10. Plus
  11. Diamond
  12. Plus
  13. Snake
  14. Diamond
  15. Clover
  16. Snake
  17. Plus
  18. Plus
  19. Snake
  20. Snake
  21. Hexagon
  22. Diamond
  23. Clover
  24. Plus
  25. Diamond
  26. Hexagon
  27. Hexagon
  28. Diamond
  29. Plus
  30. Diamond

Finishing the quest leaves you with a bit of story dialogue and reveals who that tomb you've been seeing in the Timelost Vault actually belongs to. The quest also gets you set up to complete the quest to earn Bastion, the season's next Exotic weapon.

The Pigeon and the Phoenix Lore Book Codes

The codes denoting your pathway through the Corridors of Time appear on the obelisks. Read them starting with the top-right corner and going clockwise, with the final symbol being the one in the middle.
The codes denoting your pathway through the Corridors of Time appear on the obelisks. Read them starting with the top-right corner and going clockwise, with the final symbol being the one in the middle.

Discovering the final solution to the Corridors of Time was a pretty huge undertaking. The first step in the puzzle was to work through 19 different pathways through the maze, with the Corridors dishing out lore drops as you complete each one in the new "The Pigeon and the Phoenix" lore book. The codes for each pathway appeared each hour on the Sundial obelisks scattered around the solar system. The paths lead you to a place called the Timelost Vault, and activating an object there (marked, ominously, with "???") reveals a bunch of symbols on the floor below.

Looking down through the glass floor of the Timelost Vault reveals these hexagonal codes. By finding codes with patterns on the edges that correspond, the Destiny 2 community managed to create a map that provides a new path through the Corridors of Time.
Looking down through the glass floor of the Timelost Vault reveals these hexagonal codes. By finding codes with patterns on the edges that correspond, the Destiny 2 community managed to create a map that provides a new path through the Corridors of Time.

Each of the 19 codes reveals a portion of a larger map that the community reconstructed--and following that map earns you a secret emblem. In the meantime, to get all 19 pieces of the lore book, you'll need to access the Timelost Vault through all 19 pathways. The pathway to unlock the emblem is located below.

Once you reach the Vault and activate it, you can keep walking forward to get teleported back to the beginning of the Corridors. Approach the blank sign to the left of the first door to reset the Corridors so you can start the next pathway.

Pathway 1:

  1. Plus sign
  2. Snake
  3. Clover
  4. Interlocking Hexagons
  5. Snake
  6. Plus sign
  7. Diamond with three plants

Pathway 2:

  1. Clover
  2. Clover
  3. Interlocking Hexagons
  4. Inerlocking Hexagons
  5. Plus sign
  6. Diamond with three plants
  7. Snake

Pathway 3:

  1. Plus
  2. Clover
  3. Diamond with three plants
  4. Diamond
  5. Snake
  6. Diamond
  7. Diamond

Pathway 4:

  1. Diamond
  2. Clover
  3. Plus
  4. Hexagon
  5. Clover
  6. Hexagon
  7. Clover

Pathway 5:

  1. Diamond
  2. Plus
  3. Snake
  4. Hexagon
  5. Hexagon
  6. Diamond
  7. Plus

Pathway 6:

  1. Diamond
  2. Hexagon
  3. Snake
  4. Hexagon
  5. Clover
  6. Clover
  7. Plus

Pathway 7:

  1. Diamond
  2. Plus
  3. Clover
  4. Hexagon
  5. Snake
  6. Hexagon
  7. Snake

Pathway 8:

  1. Clover
  2. Plus
  3. Clover
  4. Hexagon
  5. Clover
  6. Diamond
  7. Snake

Pathway 9:

  1. Clover
  2. Clover
  3. Clover
  4. Snake
  5. Diamond
  6. Hexagon
  7. Diamond

Pathway 10:

  1. Plus
  2. Hexagon
  3. Clover
  4. Hexagon
  5. Plus
  6. Diamond
  7. Hexagon

Pathway 11:

  1. Snake
  2. Hexagon
  3. Snake
  4. Hexagon
  5. Diamond
  6. Hexagon
  7. Snake

Pathway 12:

  1. Diamond
  2. Plus
  3. Plus
  4. Clover
  5. Snake
  6. Plus
  7. Diamond

Pathway 13:

  1. Hexagon
  2. Snake
  3. Plus
  4. Hexagon
  5. Snake
  6. Hexagon
  7. Plus

Pathway 14:

  1. Clover
  2. Plus
  3. Clover
  4. Diamond
  5. Snake
  6. Snake
  7. Hexagon

Pathway 15:

  1. Hexagon
  2. Diamond
  3. Snake
  4. Plus
  5. Hexagon
  6. Plus
  7. Plus

Pathway 16:

  1. Clover
  2. Hexagon
  3. Plus
  4. Diamond
  5. Plus
  6. Snake
  7. Diamond

Pathway 17:

  1. Snake
  2. Hexagon
  3. Hexagon
  4. Hexagon
  5. Plus
  6. Diamond
  7. Diamond

Pathway 18:

  1. Clover
  2. Diamond
  3. Hexagon
  4. Clover
  5. Plus
  6. Diamond
  7. Plus

Pathway 19:

  1. Hexagon
  2. Plus
  3. Plus
  4. Diamond
  5. Hexagon
  6. Snake
  7. Snake

There's also a special emblem that the Destiny 2 community discovered hidden in the Timelost Vault: the Savior of the Past emblem. That code was discovered by piecing together various players' images from the floor of the Timelost Vault every time they entered it with a new code, and stitching those pieces together revealed a new code that led to the emblem. It requires a slightly more involved pathway to unlock. Here's how to reach it.

Savior of the Past Emblem Code

  1. Diamond
  2. Clover
  3. Snake
  4. Plus
  5. Hexagon
  6. Hexagon
  7. Plus
  8. Hexagon
  9. Diamond
  10. Clover
  11. Snake

While the 19 pathways gleaned from obelisks earn you the lore book allowed the community to build the map to the emblem, that wasn't enough to finish the quest and solve the mystery of the Corridors of Time. The community used the codes found in the emblem Timelost Vault to construct the Corridors of Time map, using the images revealed beneath the floor of the Timelost Vault. Building the map took days, but it's finally been solved.

Visit Saint-14

Once you enter the final code for the Corridors of Time, you'll be sent back to Saint-14 for the next step. Talk to him and he'll send you to the Tangled Shore to kill Fallen enemies. Make sure you complete the Corridors of Time on a character with which you've also finished the other Saint-14 quests in order to progress the "Exploring the Corridors of Time" quest. He'll give you the next step, "Memento," which puts you on the road to earning Bastion.

Ahead Of Season 4, Apex Legends World's Edge Map Has Changed

 

Ahead of the start of Apex Legends Season 4: Assimilation, the World's Edge map has begun to change. In certain places on the map, you can now find signs that advertise future construction. You can see the signs in the images embedded below.

The signs advertise that the valley between Fuel Depot and Thermal Station is the future location of a worksite. And the company responsible for the construction? Hammond Robotics--the same company that sponsors Forge, the new legend scheduled to release in Apex Legends at the start of Season 4, and the one responsible for creating the IMC's technology in Titanfall and Titanfall 2. The signs seem to tease that some type of building or Forge-themed town takeover is scheduled to appear in the valley during Season 4.

You can find the first sign at the top of the ridge that leads out of Thermal Station.
You can find the first sign at the top of the ridge that leads out of Thermal Station.

Respawn has done teases like this before. You could spot flyers on Kings Canyon ahead of the start of Season 2: Battle Charge, which saw the flyers and Leviathans on the outskirts of the map invade the battlefield. Prior to the Voidwalker event, flags appeared on Kings Canyon that outlined where Wraith's town takeover would be built.

It's worth noting that these Hammond Robotics construction signs on World's Edge mark off a significantly larger area than the construction flags that teased Wraith's town takeover. That doesn't necessarily mean anything, but World's Edge could see an addition that's fairly big--perhaps large enough to count as a new landmark.

You can find another sign on the hill overlooking both Fuel Depot and the tunnel that leads to Train Yard.
You can find another sign on the hill overlooking both Fuel Depot and the tunnel that leads to Train Yard.

Based on an image revealed during the Season 4 Reveal Devstream, the structure appears to be a giant apartment complex composes of a skyscraper and several garage-looking and office buildings. The image is embedded below. You can see the new structure in the background on the left, which looks to be located directly across from Fuel Depot on the right.

Respawn hasn't confirmed it yet, but the buildings on the left look like they're being added to World's Edge.
Respawn hasn't confirmed it yet, but the buildings on the left look like they're being added to World's Edge.

Additionally, in the image that showcases when Season 4's Ranked Mode will transition from being located at World's Edge to being located at Kings Canyon, you can see what looks like Capitol City on the left. However, it can't be Capitol City. Based on where the train station is, Epicenter should be on the left of this city, not the right. This image seems to suggest a city is going to be built to the right of the cliffs that surround Epicenter--so where Refinery is right now. Either that or something is going to happen to World's Edge where all the structures get moved around and Capitol City and Epicenter somehow switch positions. Regardless, it looks like we can expect World's Edge to look very different come February 4.

That...that's not where Capitol City is supposed to be? And is that a...glowing pit of lava in the middle?
That...that's not where Capitol City is supposed to be? And is that a...glowing pit of lava in the middle?

Season 4: Assimilation will do a lot more than add a new character and introduce some map changes. Respawn has announced Season 4 will see the return of Kings Canyon, the addition of a new firearm, and changes to the ranking and Assist systems.

Apex Legends is currently in the final weeks of Season 3: Meltdown. To send the season off, the game is hosting a limited-time event, Grand Soirée Arcade, which adds seven additional modes to the game, along with new rare and legendary character and weapons skins. The event launched alongside an update for the game that implemented a nerf for Wraith, buffs for Gibraltar and Crypto, and took away extended energy mags--which Respawn teased is a hint for something that's coming in Season 4.

PSA: Be Sure To Finish Destiny 2's Corridors Of Time This Week

 

Destiny 2's community has solved the secret of the Corridors of Time last week, uncovering the quest for Bastion, the Season of Dawn's latest Exotic. As of the weekly reset on January 21, you don't need the final run of the Corridors of Time to access the Exotic quest--but that doesn't mean there's nothing else to do in the Vex's strange interdimensional domain. In fact, you should definitely see what's in the Corridors of Time for yourself.

The Corridors of Time still hold a few additional rewards. There are 19 paths through the maze that unlock lore items, allowing you to get a deeper look at the story of Saint-14. Another path rewards you with a secret emblem, the "Savior of the Past," for your trouble. And finally, completing the 30-doorway solution path for the maze offers some Saint-14 dialogue that advances the story of the season. The thing is, if you haven't unlocked those things, you're now on the clock to do so: the Corridors of Time will only be in the game for another week. According to Bungie, the Corridors will collapse on Tuesday, January 28, and you won't be able to get any of the stuff from inside once that happens.

In order to earn rewards from the Corridors of Time, you need to take specific pathways through it. Each room of the maze includes several different exits, each marked with a signpost and a symbol. For the lore book titled "The Pigeon and the Phoenix," you need to follow the pathways made up of seven different symbols; for the emblem, the pathway is 11 symbols long; and for the maze solution, you need to complete a pathway of 30 symbols.

That sounds like a lot, but navigating the maze is actually pretty easy. It's filled with Vex enemies but they can almost always be safely ignored. Completing a run takes only 5-10 minutes. For a full rundown of the pathways, check out our complete Corridors of Time guide.

If wandering the Corridors doesn't sound interesting to you, you can safely skip it and still get Bastion. Use our Bastion guide to complete the quest for the Exotic fusion rifle quickly.

Bastion Wasn't Why Destiny 2's Corridors Of Time Mattered

 

Note: This post includes spoilers for the story in Destiny 2's Season of Dawn, specifically what's hidden in the Corridors of Time. If you still intend to brave the maze, you'll need to get it done before the Corridors of Time disappear on January 28. Best to stop reading and use our Corridors of Time guide to see what's in there for yourself.

Last week, a huge chunk of the Destiny 2 community banded together to pour its efforts into solving the Corridors of Time--a massive, confusing maze that required the work of hundreds of players to map and traverse. For days, players filled Discord channels and the r/raidsecrets subreddit to trade information, theories, and assistance, all with the goal of revealing what new and fascinating rewards developer Bungie had secreted away in its latest puzzle.

Moments like these are Destiny at its best. Bungie occasionally introduces secrets into the vast world of its shooter MMO for players to uncover, almost always leading to exciting rewards. Most recently, there was The Whisper, a secret mission that uncovered a must-have sniper rifle and required some serious patience and skills to earn; Niobe Labs, a lengthy puzzle combined with difficult combat to unlock new content in the Black Armory expansion; and Zero Hour, a mission unlocked only after the community worked together to solve another in-depth puzzle, with lots of secrets along the way.

The Corridors of Time is the biggest of Bungie's opaque, fascinating brain-teasers to date, requiring the combined efforts of many people in the community to solve because of the requirement of a ton of crowdsourced data. Events like these are kind of amazing if you're a Destiny player, as you watch (or participate in) something wholly inscrutable slowly being altered to make sense through the sheer effort and brainpower of dedicated fans working together.

No Caption Provided

But when the Corridors of Time was finally solved, not everyone was especially happy about it. The reward for days of effort wasn't a powerful new Exotic weapon, like with The Whisper or Zero Hour. Instead, completing the quest in the Corridors unlocked another quest, which allowed Guardians to earn an Exotic weapon called Bastion. A lot of people were disappointed--and even angry--about this reward, primarily because it wasn't a secret; Bungie had included Bastion on its content roadmap for the current Destiny 2 season, indicating that it was a reward players should expect. All that effort from streamers and community members only served to unlock Bastion's quest a week earlier than it would have appeared otherwise.

Some disappointment on the part of players is understandable. After all, past Destiny 2 secrets have hit so hard because nobody expected them, and powering through Bungie's complex puzzles has led to really remarkable, essential rewards. Because everyone knew Bastion was coming, completing the Corridors of Time to unlock it early felt like Bungie sucking the air out of the room, and some even were annoyed that so much work had been done for a reward that players would have gotten anyway. That emotional response seems reasonable, although in the usual way of the internet, extremely overblown.

The thing about the Corridors of Time puzzle, and a lot of what Bungie has been doing lately with its new approach to seasonal content, is that Bastion wasn't the only reward. Traversing the Corridors wasn't just meant to be a means to a new gun--it was meant to be a major moment in the season, and a further extension of the Season of Dawn story. It seems like what Bungie is trying to do with things like the Corridors is fundamentally alter how Destiny 2 tells its story, transitioning away from campaigns where you get a mission briefing, go kill a thing, and then come back for another mission briefing, to making you more of a participant in story moments.

The solution for the Corridors of Time doesn't just unlock the Bastion mission. It also treats you to a short dialogue cutscene with some serious ramifications. Hidden in the center of the maze is a room called the Timelost Vault, and at the center, players discovered a strange, unmarked tomb. Only by solving the Corridors could you get close enough to the tomb to discover whose it was. A eulogy given by the star of the Season of Dawn, Saint-14, revealed the tomb's owner: all of us, Destiny 2's players.

No Caption Provided

As a continuation of Destiny 2's story, that's pretty huge. For the last year, players have been bracing for major threats to make themselves known in the game--first the Hive god Savathun, who is responsible for the Groundhog Day-like curse that befell the Forsaken expansion's Dreaming City, and now the Darkness, a race of powerful evil creatures teased in the Shadowkeep expansion. Plus, we spent the early part of the Season of Dawn saving Saint-14 from his own demise by using time travel. The tomb revealed that we too might be doomed to fall facing what's coming, and that we might have to be the instruments of our own salvation (along with some fun time-travel shenanigans).

So the Corridors of Time weren't just about the gun we got at the end. Exploring the early part of the puzzle revealed a ton of new lore surrounding Saint-14 and Osiris, the other major character of this season. It also yielded a secret emblem to show off your involvement in solving the puzzle. Sure, as tangible in-game items, those aren't especially exciting. But the point wasn't just the idea that you "get stuff" for your work in the Corridors of Time. The point is that, as a community, Destiny 2's players just worked together to broaden the world.

The reward for all the effort in the Corridors of Time wasn't just Bastion, although it would have been nice to discover some wholly secret cool new thing, as has happened in the past. What made the big puzzle so cool was the way it worked the meta world of Destiny and its players into the storytelling of the game. We just used an army of players and some time travel to uncover a huge story thread that fundamentally shifts the way Bungie has delivered the story of Destiny.

The Corridors of Time is an event that made Destiny 2 different--it's more aware of itself and denser than ever before. The thing we earned solving Bungie's latest puzzle was a world that lets you get a little more lost in it. And in terms of Destiny's story approach emphasizing "you had to be there" moments, this was a pretty memorable one.

Marvel's Dazzler And Howard The Duck Shows Have Been Canceled

 

Sorry, fans of extremely niche Marvel superheroes, but The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Hulu will not move forward with two of its previously announced animated superhero shows. Both Howard The Duck and Tigra & Dazzler have been given the ax and will not proceed. The other two shows announced on the animated slate, M.O.D.O.K and Hit Monkey, however, are apparently still happening.

This news doesn't come as a complete surprise. Since the advent of Disney+ and the shift of Marvel Television over to the MCU-integrated Marvel Studios under the direction of Kevin Feige, the era of disparate, disconnected Marvel shows seems to be drawing to a close. It was also recently announced that Hulu's plans for a live-action Ghost Rider TV show had been similarly called off--though, at the Television Critics Association winter press tour this month, Hulu VP Craig Erwich did confirm that the live-action Helstorm show was currently in production. Likewise, the cast list for the animated M.O.D.O.K show was announced, confirming that the streaming service still plans on the comedy seeing the light of day.

This news also likely means that the animated crossover event, The Offenders, which was slated to bring the casts of all four animated Marvel shows together, will also not be happening. After all, it would be pretty challenging to do a major crossover event with only two surviving shows to pull from.

Meanwhile, production on the Disney+ Marvel TV shows is proceeding with the first of the roster, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, well underway. It is scheduled to premiere in the fall.

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