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Call of Duty Zombies: An Oral History of the Unlikely Undead Phenomenon

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 6 hours 5 min ago

There was a time not long ago when Call of Duty co-developer Treyarch was referred to, somewhat dismissively, as the B-team. For years it struggled to escape the shadow cast by Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a game that fundamentally altered online multiplayer forever and cemented creator Infinity Ward's status as the series' rightful custodian. Treyarch's immediate follow-up to Modern Warfare, World at War, was widely criticized for clinging to the franchise's World War II roots despite Modern Warfare's efforts to push Call of Duty in some exciting new directions.

But for Treyarch, World At War wasn't about stagnation. It was about self-discovery. "In terms of where Treyarch got its identity, I think it starts at World At War," says senior executive producer and longtime Treyarch developer Jason Blundell. "There's a little bit of an edge to it. Previously Call of Duty had been very 'rah rah America.' Some could criticize it for being a little bit jingoistic at times. And Treyarch was searching for like, 'What's our take on it?'"

From the original Call of Duty: Black Ops

According to Blundell, Treyarch found its take by embracing its innate "anti-establishment" attitude, one that led to anti-heroes like Black Ops protagonist Alex Mason--a character convinced by a voice in his head to assassinate president John F. Kennedy. "At the time it was revolutionary speaking," says Blundell. "Inside the halls at Activision it was like, 'What are they doing to the franchise? They're going to kill us all!' That was exciting. I remember we used to go outside and drink coffee late at night, and I'd turn to some of the directors and say, 'We might be killing Call of Duty at this point.' I think that guided the studio's future."

In spite of these anxieties, Black Ops' daring narratives did not kill the franchise. In fact, the Black Ops trilogy eventually helped Treyarch supplant Infinity Ward as the series' premier development team, and in the process of turning its rebellious streak into an asset, Treyarch accidentally invented a signature. "World at War is where Zombies was first created," recalls Blundell. "It was made out of those little bits at lunchtime. It's literally made from the things from World at War. There was no speaking in the first one because there was no budget. There were no assets. That's why there's no VO. People always forget that."

Inside the halls at Activision it was like, 'What are they doing to the franchise? They're going to kill us all!' That was exciting.

Jason Blundell, Treyarch Senior Executive Producer

According to Blundell, there was no planning, no funding, and no support for its fledgling horde mode, and the final product was relatively bare bones as a result, with only a single room and a rudimentary weapon upgrade system to keep players interested. Still, there was something undeniably magnetic about the studio's pet project--at least to its creators. "There was that kind of rock-and-roll aspect of it that we all identified with and gravitated to," admits Blundell. "It's got that kind of edge to it, and it speaks to us, and I think it speaks to the fans."

The one party Zombies didn't speak to? Call of Duty publisher Activision. "Even though Activision gives us wonderful latitude to explore different ideas, there are also certain guidelines that we have to keep within," explains Blundell. "When it comes to Zombies, and if you look at the birth of it, it was done in the lunchtimes of World at War, which was already a very trying product in terms of schedule and so forth."

In addition to scheduling and budgetary concerns, Activision may have been reluctant to include something as ludicrous as Nazi zombies in its otherwise weighty game about a real historical war. "World at War was a very serious game," observes Blundell. "It was talking about the Pacific campaign and World War II, and the campaign finished with the atomic bomb. Not a light topic whatsoever." Given Activision's understandable concerns, the devs struck a deal: "Activision enjoyed it. We enjoyed it. People playing it all around the office enjoyed it. And so it got put in. The deal was: we wouldn't promote it, we wouldn't talk about it. It was purely an Easter egg."

Originally, in order to unlock Nacht der Untoten--the very first Zombies map--players had to complete the single-player campaign. And prior to completing the campaign, there was absolutely no indication in the main menu or anywhere else that Treyarch's brand new horde mode even existed. Of course, that all changed the instant the internet got involved. "The outcry was so massive," marvels Blundell. "We didn't have as much social media exposure as we do these days, but we still heard it loud, which means that it was really loud. So we patched the game so that everyone had access to it, and then it just took off. It took off in a way that was incredible."

It was made out of those little bits at lunchtime. There was no speaking in the first one because there was no budget. There were no assets.

Jason Blundell, Treyarch Senior Executive Producer

What started as a playful afterthought lovingly assembled during the developers' free time quickly grew in size, sophistication, and significance. Three more Zombies maps were added to World at War. The original Black Ops drastically expanded the scope of the experience by introducing new mechanics and a deeper story. Both subsequent Black Ops games layered even more complexity on top of that foundation, adding countless Easter eggs and continuing the rapidly snowballing narrative. Zombies eventually grew so big that it actually started to appear in Call of Duty games developed by other studios, including the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare--a game developed by Infinity Ward.

So how did it happen? What allowed Zombies to flourish to such an unprecedented degree? "It [expanded] because of the fans," says Blundell. "It sounds corny, but it's the reality of what happened." The ongoing zombies narrative is an excellent example. Even though Nacht der Untoten contained absolutely no story content whatsoever, fans and players "just started to make the story," according to Blundell. "I always joke with our lead writer Craig Houston that he didn't have to do any work because it was all written down at the beginning. They just went into it. It was, 'Who's that guy? What's that texture over there? Oh, look, I see the devil in the wall.' Crazy stuff that we hadn't even put in. We go, 'Oh, let's do something with that.' Then I think over time what we've done is just put more and more resources and attention behind it.

"It's always been about playing with the fans," continues Blundell. "That was literally the only reason. The fans started writing it, and so we saw it as fan service to be able to reply back to them." And with each reply came an even louder response from fans, excited to see their ideas reflected in the game. "It became this kind of prophecy to the point where they were able to write and make more stuff than we could keep up with because there's just so many of them, and it's grown and grown and grown," says Blundell.

Fans also began to work together to uncover secrets, which meant Treyarch had to create deeper gameplay in order to challenge the community. "The need to put multilayer, multi-discipline complexity into the experience [emerged because players are] now working like a coordinated neural network," affirms Blundell. "The whole community coordinates. It's absolutely incredible. I can put an obscure thing like 'You have to throw a grenade at that wall over there,' and they will find that within 48 hours. You can look at it at the time when you're making it and say, 'There is no way anyone will ever think that.' But just due to the sheer numbers, it will happen. They will find that Easter egg."

Despite the community's continued success in foiling his every dastardly plan, Blundell remains committed to delivering deeper, more sophisticated puzzles--and more of that trademark Treyarch spirit--with every new map. "Back when those original maps came out, it wasn't anything like this. I celebrate the ingenuity of that and the passion behind that. It's also then my job to make it harder for them," laughs Blundell. "Even as we put more people on it and it becomes more of a serious endeavor to make a Zombies experience, one of my jobs as the director is to try and always keep that attitude alive. It's hard work to keep something organic and edgy as you become more built up and structured, but hopefully that's there and hopefully the enjoyment and the passion comes through in the DLCs we make."

From Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Regardless of what the future holds for Call of Duty, Treyarch has already established a legacy thanks in part, if not entirely, to its humble undead friends. For that, Blundell seems genuinely grateful. "When we started out, no one thought that it could keep going and keep going," confesses Blundell. "My first map I got involved in was a map called Der Riese, which was on World At War. That's where we introduced a thing called Pack-a-Punch, which is the way to upgrade your guns. At the time, people were shouting heresy at me. The idea of upgrading. Then the teleporter. I was just crapping myself because my thought was, 'I better not destroy this thing that people are really enjoying.' It worked out well in the end."

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Resident Evil Episode 1 - Resident Kinevil

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 10 hours 5 min ago
Mary and Mike are starting a journey to Hell together, and you're invited! Here's episode 1 of Resident Evil.
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Top 10 Moments from Final Fantasy that will Break Your Heart

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 10 hours 35 min ago
With so many stories and characters, you're guaranteed to tear up at some point playing a Fantasy Fantasy game. Here's our list for the series most heartbreaking moments.
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The Consequences of No Man's Sky: Will Players Destroy or Preserve the Universe?

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 11 hours 35 min ago

No Man's Sky allows players to affect planets in ways that subsequent visitors can see. You will, however, have to alter a planet a lot for the changes to be saved to the game's server. Developer Hello Games has implied that you'll need to do something drastic, like perhaps full-on terraforming or wiping out entire species.

Even though we can only speculate about this mechic at this point, it both worries and intrigues me. It means, for instance, that players who want to leave their mark will have incentive to completely wreak havoc upon a planet. After all, even though you will be able to name things you discover, destroying everything in sight and taking an entire chunk out of a world might be the most dramatic way you can interact with other players.

But it also means that the game might end up being an experiment in human morality. No Man's Sky's universe is so unfathomably massive that each player will be virtually alone, with a limited system of holding them accountable for their actions. You'll probably never come across another player, nor stumble across a planet that another player had already found. You will, however, likely find really cool and interesting creatures, landscapes, and worlds. How, then, do we act when we are in a universe with no accountability, except what we impose on ourselves?

At some level, all sandbox games are like this because there aren't real-world consequences for in-game behavior. But our moral compasses still have some sway over what we do, even in video games. For example, in Mass Effect 3, a substantial majority of players picked the Paragon option over Renegade. It's a good bet that this trend holds true for other games with player choice.

However, virtually all of the sandbox games that give you the tools to sow mayhem nonetheless have some sort accountability system in place of in-game actions. Think about Grand Theft Auto V, for instance. I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of GTA V players have gone on at least one murderous rampage. But even though the massive arsenal given to you in GTA lets you destroy basically everything and everyone in sight, you can reload the map and everything will be back to the way it is, or you can stand up to virtual law enforcement. Same with most other sandbox games: things don't stay the same, and there are usually systems in place to prevent players from screwing things up too badly. Even titles like Skyrim that let you do things like murder almost every NPC or fill a poor citizen's house full of cabbages, you're faced with consequences that affect your own ability to play the game. In Skyrim, for instance, if you kill everyone you'll break many of the game's quests and anger most of the unkillable NPCs. But, if you do kill everyone, you can also just start the game over or reload and reset the world.

No Man's Sky doesn't have this ability to just turn back the clock. You'll essentially be the only actor in an colossal slice of an unbelievably huge universe, but at the same time each place you explore has permanence. Because of its immensity, there won't be anyone to stop you from creating chaos on the planets you visit except for the occasional hostile species. Even the Sentinels--the custodians of the game's worlds--will likely only show up on some of the planets. While they'll keep you in line sometimes, other times you might truly be on the frontier. Alone. With an arsenal equipped to destroy.

To explain what I mean, let's look at an analogy: consider a situation in which you were given the keys to an empty house and told to do whatever you wanted to it, without consequence. There might or might not be people living there. Some people might ransack the place, but I bet a lot of people wouldn't do anything too drastic.

Now imagine if that house looked only a little like a house as we know it, and there was only a miniscule chance of an intelligent creature residing in it. And it's one of 18 quintillion other houses in the neighborhood. Would we still restrain ourselves? Would we destroy those houses because it's fun, or would the freedom afforded to us encourage us to conserve and appreciate?

No Man's Sky seems to me like it'll be a virtual test of the theory that, to create human decency, we rely on governments and accountability structures. On Sentinel-less planets, the state of nature will reign. Players won't have accountability. But will life for native beings on those planets prove to be, as philosopher Thomas Hobbes theorized, "poor, nasty, brutish, and short" when players discover them?

In the real world, we generally like to conceive of "good" and "morality" as existing separately of laws, rules, and police. We intend our moral codes to apply universally, even when it's not necessarily good for ourselves. In games, however, it changes. We act in our own self-interest in video games, or at least in the interest of the end goal, because we play games for victory, completion, or simple enjoyment. The contextual vacuum of an alien planet that no other person may ever visit will test our capacity to place ourselves into a digital world. It's easy to feel something when you're making a choice in Mass Effect. It'll be entirely different when you're alone on a planet deep in a universe with the ability to wipe out an entire species without consequence.

It won't be too difficult to determine whether or not players moralize their actions in the game. We'll surely see some videos called things like "How to Be a Space Jerk in No Man's Sky" or "Destroying an Entire Planet in No Man's Sky," but the frequency of videos like this will give clues to how we end up conceiving of morality when applied to video games. On the flip side, if we see a concerted effort by players to chronicle and preserve the greatest sights and creatures, this might show that players are applying real-world moral considerations to the game.

I sincerely hope that we all become astrobiologists instead of space anarchists in No Man's Sky. If we end up embracing destruction and chaos, wreaking havoc on the planets we come across, then some truly amazing occurrences in the procedurally generated universe might be lost forever. After all, Hello Games says really special lifeforms exist, but they pop up on only 1 in 100 million planets. If these things are preserved and catalogued, it might be possible for players to engage in No Man's Sky tourism, traveling to the particularly cool planets out there to check them out.

But there's also the possibility that someone shows up looking to burn everything down.

There'd be something elegant about players assuming the role of explorers and pioneers rather than renegades. But even if we watch planet after planet destroyed by players hell-bent on leaving a mark, it'll still be an interesting result in a grand experiment in how we apply morality to digital worlds.

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Awesome Art Picks: Wonder Woman, Stranger Things, Mr. Freeze, and More

GameSpot's PC Reviews - 17 hours 35 min ago

Each week we search and gather up the coolest comic book art you won't see in actual comics. The reason you won't is because professional artists often draw sketches for fun or commissions and post them on their websites, blogs, and Tumblrs. Some artists even arrange commissions through their sites so be sure to check them out. This is a way to see the artists working on one book draw characters from other comics or publishers.

Skottie Young posted some art from the Netflix show, Stranger Things, on his Tumblr.

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Denis Medri also posted some Stranger Things art on his Deviant Art page.

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Chrissie Zullo posted more Overwatch art and commissions from San Diego on her Facebook page.

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Andrew Robinson also posted commissions from Comic-Con on his Instagram.

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Kevin Wada posted new art on his Tumblr.

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Ryan Stegman posted more of his Daily Sketch/commissions on his Tumblr. You can find information on how to get one here.

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Reilly Brown was also at Comic-Con and posted commissions on his Tumblr.

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Mike Henderson posted new art on his Instagram. He has some original sketches for sale here.

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Joel Gomez posted some art from San Diego on his Tumblr.

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Chris Giarrusso put up more art for sale here. He also put up more sketch cards for sale on his website.

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Daniel HDR posted some new art on his Tumblr and is taking more commissions.

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Agnes Garbowska posted some commissions from Comic-Con on her Tumblr.

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Chris Stevens posted a Wolverine vs. Hulk sketch on his Deviant Art page.

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Franco posted new paintings on his Instagram and put them up for sale here.

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Ryan Ottley posted commissions from San Diego on his Tumblr.

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Jim Cheung posted new sketches on his Instagram.

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Todd Nauck posted a bunch of commissions from Comic-Con on his Twitter page.

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That's it for this week. Let us know which ones you dug. We'll have more awesome art next time.

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Pokemon Go: Everything You Need to Know

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 21:16

After months of anticipation, Pokemon Go is finally out now across various regions. With the popularity of the app skyrocketing, it's clear that a new phenomenon has begun. To better acquaint you with the app, we've compiled below everything you need to know about it.

For more on Pokemon Go, check out our recent news stories below, and be sure to check back as we update this article with more news and features.

The Review

"If Pokemon Go’s initial public reception is anything to go by, its ability to draw players from multiple generations and varied gaming backgrounds together is a game worthy of attention. When it works, Pokemon Go feels like a natural evolution for the series, very much a product of the times without making the mainline series obsolete. Its bugs and high battery consumption do not outweigh the old-but-new thrill of capturing Pikachu at a local park or vanquishing a Snorlax while conquering a gym." -- [Read the full review]

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  • 6 Essential Pokemon Go Facts--Pokemon Go is a fascinating new AR-focused mobile app that's taking the iconic series to uncharted territories. Check out our in-depth feature on the six ways that The Pokemon Company's new mobile offering makes smart use of Pokemon.
  • Pokemon Go: All the Known Issues--The game is experiencing a series of technical issues, such as "heavy" battery drain and distorted audio; get a full rundown of all the problems.
  • Here's What Pokemon Go's Microtransactions Get You--Pokemon Go is a free mobile app but it features an in-game shop that allows you to buy Poke Coins using real money, and then spend those on items. Check out everything you can purchase as well as the Poke Coin conversation rates.
  • Pokemon Go Rural Trainer's Log: Nothing Here But Us Weedles--After nearly a week with Pokemon Go in a rural area, this trainer has nothing to show for her efforts. Check out Alexa's experiences playing Pokemon Go in a rural area.
Guides
  • Pokemon Go Starter Guide--Check out all of our guides offering everything you need to better understand and play Pokemon Go like a pro.
  • Pokemon Go: 20 Essential Tips and Tricks--There are many strategies to consider as you play Pokemon Go, but the app doesn't make it readily apparent how to engage some of its concepts. Check out our in-depth feature containing all the essential tips and tricks for Pokemon Go. Otherwise, watch the video above for a brief overview of tips and tricks to guide you in the right direction.
  • Pokemon Go Leveling Guide--In Pokemon Go, increasing your trainer level is the best way to raise your chances of encountering powerful Pokemon. While you can level at a decent pace just by playing the game, there are ways to streamline the process, effectively maximizing the experience points (XP) you gain. To help in your efforts to level, we've compiled the most important steps you need to take.
What's ComingFeatures/OpinionsPokemon Go Beyond Gaming
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Pokemon Go Starter Guide

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 21:15

Pokemon Go has easily become one of the most popular mobile apps available. But while it remains prominent among its multitude of players, the app itself contains gameplay concepts that aren't easy to understand or engage with at first. To help you better understand the intricacies of Pokemon Go, we've compiled all of our guides containing the essential tips, tricks, and strategies you need to better your experience.

For more on Pokemon Go, check out our recent features and news stories below, and be sure to check back as we update this article with more guides.

Essential Tips and Tricks

There's a bevy of strategies to consider as you play Pokemon Go. To help you be the best trainer there ever was, we've collated all the essential tips and tricks you need to know. Check out our in-depth guide for the full rundown. Otherwise, watch the video below for a brief overview of tips and tricks to guide you in the right direction -- [Pokemon Go: 20 Essential Tips and Tricks]

Pokemon Go Leveling Guide

In Pokemon Go, increasing your trainer level is the best way to raise your chances of encountering powerful Pokemon. While you can level at a decent pace just by playing the game, there are ways to streamline the process, effectively maximizing the experience points (XP) you gain. To help in your efforts to level, we've compiled the most important steps you need to take.--[Pokemon Go Leveling Guide]

Here Are the Best Pokemon in Every CategoryThe Silph Road

Pokemon Go resource tool The Silph Road has compiled an impressive amount of data on the monster-catching mobile game, such as how you can earn experience and what earning each trainer level gets you. Here's how you can access the site, as well as more details on the information you can obtain from it. -- [Pokemon Go: Here Are the Best Pokemon in Every Category]

How to Request New Pokemon Go PokeStops and Gyms

Don't have many PokeStops and Gyms near you? You can fill out a form requesting for a local business or landmark to become a PokeStop or Gym; here's how. -- [Here's How to Request New Pokemon Go PokeStops and Gyms]

The Secret Method to Evolve Eevee

There's a secret cheat that allows you to force any Eevee in your possession to evolve into either a Flareon, Vaporeon, or a Jolteon. Watch the video above for the full details on how to trigger this handy trick.

Here's What Pokemon Go's Microtransactions Get You

Pokemon Go is a free mobile app but it features an in-game shop that allows you to buy Poke Coins using real money to purchase useful items. Check out everything you can purchase as well as the Poke Coin conversation rates. -- [Here's What Pokemon Go's Microtransactions Get You]

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Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online Gameplay

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 21:00
We jump in for a quick match with the new Ghost in the Shell squad-based shooter, First Assault Online.
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Pokemon Go Leveling Guide

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 20:57

How to Level Up Fast in Pokemon Go

In Pokemon Go, increasing your trainer level is the best way to raise your chances of encountering powerful Pokemon. While you can level at a decent pace just by playing the game, there are ways to streamline the process, effectively maximizing the experience points (XP) you gain. To help in your efforts to level, we've compiled the most important steps you need to take. Click ahead to see the tips we've gathered.


Bonus XP Rundown

To increase your trainer level, you need to gain enough XP. Completing certain tasks or actions in the game awards you with XP. However, it's possible to earn additional bonus XP when you meet special criteria. For instance, catching a Pokemon you've never caught before grants you a bonus 500 XP on top of the XP you normally gain. It's essential to know these special values if you want to efficiently increase your trainer level. Above you can see a brief rundown of how much bonus XP you gain from the various special actions.


Lucky Eggs

One of the most useful items in Pokemon Go is the Lucky Egg. This special item doubles the XP you earn for half an hour, and is incredibly effective towards raising your trainer level. Lucky Eggs are found at PokeStops or purchased with Pokecoins at the shop. Be wary; the Lucky Egg timer continues even if you close out of the app. To avoid wasting a Lucky Egg, make sure you're able to play for thirty minutes without stopping.

For maximum benefits, we recommend using a Lucky Egg in conjunction with the other tips in this gallery, especially with the techniques we highlight later on.


Don't Hesitate to Catch As Many Pokemon as Possible

In the early stages of the game, don't hesitate to catch as many Pokemon as possible, especially types you already have a bunch of. Duplicates can then be transferred for candy, which is a special item that helps you evolve Pokemon.


Save Initial Pokemon Evolutions

When managing your Pokemon, make sure to keep all of your initial evolutions. Also, don't evolve them right away; it's best to evolve Pokemon under conditions that maximize your XP gain, such as when a Lucky Egg has been activated. If you Evolve a Pokémon into a species that hasn't been captured yet, you'll be rewarded the initial 100 XP as well as an additional New Capture Bonus of 500 XP.


Remember to Transfer Pokemon for Candy

Transfer your extra Pokemon to Professor Willow to obtain candy for that particular Pokemon. Be mindful that candy is specific to the earliest evolution of a Pokemon species, In addition, Pokemon require a specific amount of their Candy type to evolve. To better maximize your XP gain, avoid transferring Pokemon that are easy to evolve; these can be farmed to gain XP faster.


XP Power of Pokemon Eggs

Aside from Pokeballs, PokeStops also get you Pokemon Eggs. These eggs contain a random Pokemon with more Candy and Stardust than you'd get from one in the wild. Successfully hatching an egg grants you 200 XP, as well an additional 500 XP boost if you've never caught the Pokemon it contains.


Avoid Difficult Encounters, or Stock Up on Berries

To optimize your leveling speed, try to avoid any red capture ring encounters or Pokemon with '???' CP. These Pokemon are too strong and are likely to use up a lot more time (and Pokeballs). Stick to green or orange capture ring encounters. It's good to stock up on berries--an item that reduces the difficulty of an encounter--so when you do find yourself in a red Capture ring encounter, you can use it to easily catch the Pokemon.


An Easy Technique to Gain a lot of XP

It's possible to gain XP quickly using a combination of the tactics we described thus far. First, catch as many Pokemon as possible, but be sure to save a couple of each before transferring them to Professor Willow. Good Pokemon to keep for this method are Pidgey, Zubat, Caterpie, and Weedle, seeing as they only require 12 candies to evolve as opposed to the standard 25 to 50 candies that other types demand. Once these Pokemon are ready to evolve, head to a PokeStop with a Lure activated; a location with multiple PokeStops bunched together is ideal but not required. Use a Lucky Egg and then evolve all of your Pokemon at once; this nets you 1000 XP for each evolution as opposed to 500 XP.

After evolving your Pokemon, use the remaining time from your Lucky Egg to catch the abundance of Lure-attracted Pokemon. Don't forget to interact with the PokeStop every five minutes to collect additional XP and items. To further maximize the XP you gain from this method, try to have your Pokemon eggs close to hatching before getting to the PokeStop. This way, you'll be able to reap the XP benefits from the Lucky Egg.


Additional Resources

Websites like PokeVision and Poke Radar are useful resources for scouting farming locations. Both sites offer GPS maps that pinpoint the exact location of a specific Pokemon. While these locations are updated often, there is a small amount of lag between the game and the app; so if you see a Pokemon disappear from the app, it doesn't necessarily mean it's no longer available in the game. You just need to hurry to the location to capture it before it disappears for good. We recommend using these sites sooner than later, seeing as developer Niantic is considering taking them down.


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Yooka-Laylee - All 100 Quills Gameplay

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 20:42
If you're one of the Kickstarter backers for Yooka-Laylee, here are all of the 100 Quills in Yooka-Laylee Toybox Pre-Alpha.
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Everything You Can Do In No Man's Sky

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 20:00
Here’s all the new info we’ve gathered about No Man’s Sky and what you can expect to be doing in the game when it lands!
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No Man’s Sky Fan Buys Leaked Copy, Posts Videos

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 19:55

Update 2: Following Daily Motion taking his videos down, Daymeeuhn posted an update to Reddit saying that he would not be making any more videos. "That's it from me video-wise," he said. "[Hello Games] and Sean [Murray] don't like it, it's giving me a headache dealing with the fallout[.] I don't want to be the guy that spoiled all this cool s***, and I'm just leaving it at that!"

Talking with Kotaku, Daymeeuhn explained further that Sean Murray's disappointment made him feel bad about leaking footage. He said, "I expected Sean to tweet negatively about it because, let's face it, it's his job to... But I'll admit, after watching so many of his interviews and knowing how cool of a guy he seems, it did make me feel a bit guilty. It wasn't the sole reason for my decision, but it was certainly a factor."

Update: The videos have been removed from Daily Motion, although they're being uploaded again by other users on sites like YouTube.

Original Story:

No Man's Sky is one of the most anticipated games of the year, and it's supposed to launch on August 9 on PS4 and PC. But one fan got his hands on the game early, and he has begun posting videos of it online.

A person going by the username Daymeeuhn apparently purchased a leaked PS4 copy of the game for a really large sum--according to this post on Reddit, he spent $1250 for the chance to play it early (the Ebay listing has since been removed, so take this number with a grain of salt). He has also begun publishing videos of the game on Daily Motion, and he says that he'll continue to do so.

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This is surely not what publisher Sony or developer Hello Games wanted, and it's likely that Sony is attempting to get the videos removed from Daily Motion right now. At the moment, however, they're all live, and Daymeeuhn says that he'll post a new video shortly. In addition, Hello Games' Sean Murray has asked fans on Twitter to not watch the videos, saying, "We've spent years filling No Man’s Sky with surprises. You've spent years waiting. Please don't spoil it for yourself."

If you're not concerned about spoiling the game's introduction or first moments, though, you can watch the videos here. We'll update this story with any new information we get about the leaks or Sony's response to them.

While you wait for the August 9 release date, you can check out our feature, "Making Sense of No Man's Sky's Massive Universe." You can also read about a potential copyright controversy that Hello Games has said isn't actually an issue.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Reaches Important Milestone

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 19:34

If you've been looking forward to the next game in the Deus Ex series, then you'll be excited by today's news. Developer Eidos Montreal has announced that it has completed initial development on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

On the Deus Ex Twitter account, the developer revealed that the game has "gone gold," meaning that it's ready to be sold in stores. The announcement was accompanied by a picture of the entire Mankind Divided team; you can see the photograph below.

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We recently got some hands-on time with the game, and we explored a bit of how its open world works. We also got to see how different play styles can affect the game's narrative, which you can read about here. The game also adds an interesting new multiplayer mode called "Breach." You can check out our preview of the strange, abstract heist mode here.

Mankind Divided launches on August 23 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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GS News Top 5 - The Biggest Pokemon Go News and No Man's Sky Gameplay Leaked

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 19:25
PlayStation accounts for 78 percent of Sony's profits, Metal Gear has sold over 49 million units overall, and the NX will reportedly be a handheld console with detachable controllers.
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Acclaimed Farming Game Stardew Valley Out Now on Mac and Linux

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 18:53

After a long wait, the acclaimed farming and life sim Stardew Valley has officially expanded beyond its initial PC release: You can now play the game on Mac and Linux.

Developer Chucklefish announced on its blog today that the port has gone live after months of work. It originally launched back in February on Windows computers, and it quickly became popular. It sold 1 million copies in less than two months, encouraging the developer to bring the game to other platforms.

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Back in June, Chucklefish confirmed that the game is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U. In its update today, the studio stated that these versions are still in progress. Chucklefish is also working on multiplayer and a big update for the game. The studio promises to "update everyone as soon as more info is available." You can read more about the upcoming cooperative multiplayer mode and the large 1.1 update here.

It may seem like a long time to wait for a port to Mac and Linux, but it's a little more understandable when put in context: Stardew Valley was an ambitious project made essentially by one person, Eric Barone.

Personally, as someone who doesn't own a Windows computer, I'm really excited to finally check out the game. It was previously technically possible to play it on Mac computers, but it required emulation, third-party software, and some computer trickery to get it up and running.

If you're not sold on the game, you can watch GameSpot producer Mary Kish explain why Stardew Valley will make you a happier person here.

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Uncharted Movie Adds Bad Boys 3 Director to Write Script

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 18:15

The Uncharted movie has had many names attached to it, including Mark Wahlberg and American Hustledirector David O. Russell. Now, Variety reports that the Uncharted movie has a new script writer in Bad Boys 3 director Joe Carnahan.

Carnahan has produced and directed many films, including Smokin' Aces, The A-Team, and The Grey. He's also worked on television shows such as The Blacklist and State of Affairs. Bad Boys 3 is his next project, though he says he'd love to direct an Uncharted movie as well.

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"In a perfect world I would love to do both, but right now, I’m only on board to write the script," he said. "Archaeology today is in itself an antiquity, but that world has always fascinated me. Especially when you go to a museum today and wonder how a piece got there to begin with. Plus, the property itself is so popular that it was hard to turn down an opportunity to work on it."

The Uncharted movie doesn't currently have any actors on board. It does, however, have producers in Charles Roven, Avi Arad, and Alex Gartner, in addition to Sony creative exec Jonathan Kadin's supervision.

In 2015, Nathan Drake voice actor Nolan North said that fans don't want a movie, "no matter who's the star of it."

Despite what fans may want, the Uncharted movie has had some difficulty getting off the ground. The production has seen many different castings and directors. Additionally, filming was supposed to start in 2015, though that didn't happen. Details from the film were revealed as part of last year's Sony email leak.

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The Shutdown of Disney Infinity Is a Confusing Nightmare [UPDATE]

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 17:12

Update: We have received some clarification about the end dates of support for the PC versions of the game, although it's still complicated:

  • The PC version of the game bought directly through the Disney Infinity website will not be playable or available after September 30.
  • After March 3, 2017, the Windows Store version will not be playable.
  • The Steam version of the game will function normally (but without online support) indefinitely.

Original Story:

Earlier this year, Disney announced that it had ended production on the Disney Infinity series and it was essentially getting out of game development. Today, the company announced when it will end online services and support for the different versions of the games across all its platforms, and it's a confusing, contradictory nightmare.

Starting off with what we know for sure: All Disney Infinity online services and online multiplayer will be taken down by March 3, 2017, although services on some platforms will end earlier. Disney Infinity games on consoles and handheld devices will continue to function as normal indefinitely, albeit without online support. This means that if you play any Disney Infinity game on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, Wii, 3DS, or Vita, you'll only have to worry about the online services.

Support for community content (sharing Toy Box creations) will end for every version of the game on September 30.

Now we get to the weird part: PC, mobile, and Apple TV versions of Disney Infinity have a different fate than their console counterparts. The email provided to us from Disney implies that you will not be able to play the PC and mobile versions of the game starting September 30, and these versions will not be available on any storefront.

However, other parts of the email and Disney's own website tell a completely different story. The email goes on to state that you can play on the Windows 8 and Windows 10 versions of the game until March 3, 2017. It also says that the Steam versions of Disney Infinity 2.0 and 3.0, specifically, "will remain operational."

But then, one FAQ page on its website suggests that you'll still be able to play the Windows versions after all. It states, "The console and Windows Store versions of Disney Infinity are still available for download from their respective online stores, but all online services will be retired on March 3, 2017. However, you can continue to explore, adventure, and create on the console version of Disney Infinity without these online services."

Somehow, Disney isn't even entirely clear here, because on a different FAQ page it definitively says that the PC version will be made unplayable on September 30 and the Windows 8/10 versions on March 3.

Finally, adding even more confusion, a third FAQ page explains that the PC version will be unplayable and unavailable after September 30. It makes no mention of a different date for Windows 8/10.

You can read and try to make sense of the entire timeline according to the email Disney provided us below.

As of today (July 29, 2016):

  • No in-game purchases can be made within the PC, Steam version of Disney Infinity 2.0, iOS, Google Android, Amazon Android, and Apple TV versions of the game as this feature has now been removed
  • You can continue to make in-game purchases within the Steam version of Disney Infinity 3.0.

As of September 30, 2016:

  • You will no longer be able to log in to play the PC, iOS, Google Android, and Amazon Android versions of Disney Infinity, these will no longer be available on the respective app stores
  • The Steam versions of Disney Infinity 2.0 and 3.0 will remain operational with the exception of all online services and community features as these will be discontinued
  • Apple TV versions of Disney Infinity will be removed from the App Store
  • The Disney Infinity Community team will no longer be reviewing or approving any new Toy Boxes that are submitted to Disney for all console, mobile, and PC versions of the game. However if you are playing on any console, Apple TV, or Windows 8/10 versions of the game, you can continue to download your favorite Toy Boxes from the Community Content section until March 3, 2017

As of January 3, 2017:

  • No in-game purchases can be made within the Windows 8/10 versions of the game as this feature will be removed

As of March 3, 2017:

  • Apple TV and Windows 8/10 versions will no longer be available, supported or playable
  • All Disney Infinity online services and community features for all versions will be discontinued

This is the last step in Disney's cessation of game development. We will still see Disney properties appear in video games, though: the company announced that it will continue to license out properties to other developers and publishers. For example, Star Wars games are alive and well, with EA continuing to support Star Wars Battlefront and Visceral working on a new Star Wars action/adventure game.

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Pokemon Go Updates Will Be More Respectful to Real-World Places

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 16:47

Pokemon Go started rolling out a couple weeks ago, and many real-world locations have seen an influx of traffic. This is because they've been marked as Gyms or PokeStops, and many of these places want the ability to opt out.

In an interview with the LA Times, The Pokemon Company's J.C. Smith said that it's working on new features that are "appealing to the fans but also respectful of the private institutions that are affected by it." There's currently an option to request the removal of a PokeStop or Gym, but it's not an instant solution.

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"When something is really popular, we have to figure out the most respectful way to deal with it and make sure that everyone is playing safely and doing things in a respectful manner," Smith said. "It's only been two weeks since it launched, and there's been so much attention and so many people playing that it's tough to think of all the ways it could affect the world."

One place that has had its PokeStop removed is the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Other locations that have asked for a removal include the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the Arlington National Cemetery. A Massachusetts man's home was also marked as a Gym, and he hopes he'll be able to move it at some point.

"It's been a lot of fun, but I think it's a good idea to try and get the gym moved," he said. "It turns out there's a great park right across the street from my house. A simple fix may be nudging the coordinates a few degrees and then everyone's happier. The neighborhood keeps the gym, and I get a little more privacy."

Pokemon Go has seen massive popularity over the past couple weeks, but both Nintendo and the Pokemon Company say they won't change their business plans because of it.

"We don't need to directly tie anything to Go for it to benefit our fans or the brand as a whole," Smith told the LA Times. "In the end, the characters are the same. Pikachu in our animated series or Pikachu in our upcoming Legendary film or Pikachu in Go are all the same."

For more Pokemon Go stories from around the world, check out GameSpot's news roundup.

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Four-Year Investigation Into Kingdoms of Amalur Dev Results in No Criminal Charges

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 16:25

Rhode Island State Police and the state's attorney general announced today that no criminal charges will be filed as part of the four-plus-year investigation into the 38 Studios deal.

During a press conference on Friday afternoon, State Police Colonel Steven O'Donnell described an indictment as a "life-altering event that should never be taken lightly or for granted" and suggested one shouldn't be filed simply because something is a bad deal.

"It is our collective duty and responsibility to uncover the facts and let the facts take us where they will take us," he said. "In order to prosecute any individual for a violation of any Rhode Island criminal statute, we have to establish probable cause that laws were broken. In this particular matter … we have found no probable cause to establish that a crime was committed. It is the investigative opinion of the Rhode Island State Police and the Department of the Attorney General that a bad deal does not always equate to an indictment."

This was echoed later by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, who also said he and those working on this process "share the frustrations of all Rhode Islanders when it comes to the entire 38 Studios episode."

38 Studios famously went out of business in 2012 after receiving a $75 million loan to move to Rhode Island. This loan was backed by Rhode Island taxpayers, and there have been allegations that investors were defrauded.

The federal government previously concluded an investigation that determined the 38 Studios deal hadn't violated any federal statutes. Rhode Island's investigation continued, but as Kilmartin explained today, "The quantity and quality of the investigation of any criminal activities fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. And, as such, the rules of professional conduct prevented even offering a criminal charge for the grand jury to consider."

Kilmartin said he believes most Rhode Island citizens have faith in the investigation, but acknowledged that some skeptics will loudly doubt the findings. He did note that some people interviewed during the process were "less than candid" but declined to identify who they were.

Kilmartin was a state representative when the 38 Studios came up for a vote, and he was among those who voted in favor of it. When it then fell on him to conduct this investigation as the new attorney general, there were questions raised if he should recuse himself. This subject came up today, and O'Donnell stepped in to say he had "full faith and confidence" in Kilmartin and his prosecutors.

"To make an allegation that the prosecutors wouldn't look at the facts would be ludicrous," he said.

O'Donnell also brought up the fact that, when the investigation began, there were questions of where the $75 million ended up. "At the end of the day what you see in that report is where it went," he said. "That's what I thought the public needed to know. … We had to prove that money went there. That $75 million is accounted for [in terms of] where it went; if it should have gone there or it shouldn't have gone there is certainly not a violation of the law."

Civil suits, as well as fraud claims filed by the SEC earlier this year, are still pending (and are completely independent of this investigation). The attorney general could consider findings from those cases and facts that may still be uncovered, but the state's ongoing investigation is inactive for now.

When the prospect of bringing 38 Studios to Rhode Island was first pitched, the RI Economic Development Corporation's board of directors was told it would result in 450 "direct" jobs being brought to the state within three years. It would also result in more than 1,000 more indirect jobs. It voted in favor of issuing $75 million bonds to help the company relocate to Rhode Island.

The 38 Studios collapse began when owner (and former baseball player) Curt Schilling was unable to keep up on debt payments to the state of Rhode Island for the aforementioned loan. (An estimated $89 million in principal and interest were owed due to the default on the loan.) After that, the government assumed ownership of the company and shut it down. The government then filed a lawsuit against Schilling and other architects of the state's loan to the studio.

At an auction in December 2013, 38 Studios properties Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends were purchased, but Kingdoms of Amalur and the MMO Copernicus were not picked up. Subsidiary Big Huge Games, which was closed amid the 38 Studios bankruptcy, was resurrected by co-founder Brian Reynolds.

In September 2015, the Rhode Island Superior Court released thousands of documents and deposition transcription excerpts pertaining to the loan agreement.

This story has been updated with additional details and quotes.

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Get This New PS4 Game for $7 if You Claimed a 2014 PlayStation Plus Game

GameSpot's PC Reviews - Fri, 2016-07-29 15:36

If you happened to buy Metrico on Vita, then you get a discount on the updated version, Metrico+, on PS4. However, if you redeemed Metrico while it was a free PlayStation Plus game and are still subscribed, you can pick up Metrico+ at the discounted price as well.

Metrico+ launches for PS4 on August 23, lead designer Roy van de Mortel announced on the PlayStation Blog. Mortel noted that the game isn't called "Metrico 2" because there are a number of puzzles still present from the original game. He added that Metrico+ has "so much new content and other new features."

Some of the additions include include Trophies, a speedrun mode, new animations, and an entirely new story. Metrico+ also features over 40 new puzzles. The original game made use of the Vita's unique functionality, and Mortel says that developer Digital Dreams had to revamp and come up with new gameplay mechanics that fit for the PS4.

When Metrico+ releases on August 23, players who already own the game will be able to pick it up for $7. The price for everyone else is $14.

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