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Looks like things might be getting even more tense between Valve and Epic's storefronts. After the controversial incident where Epic Games secured a deal that made Metro Exodus a PC exclusive for its store, months after it had been available on Steam, a new kerfuffle has arisen between the two giants. Keen-eyed Reddit users noticed that the Epic launcher was accessing Steam-related files apparently without users' permission.

The most noteworthy point in the post is that Epic is making an encrypted copy of localconfig.vdf. According to Eurogamer, Epic says that the launcher only imports your Steam friends list (with the permission you give the company after you sign the EULA for your account), but that's done little to ease users' concerns given that the vdf contains data relating to the games they own and "saved login tokens."

Epic has since commented on the matter saying that users are correct in that Epic should only be importing Steam friends list after users deliberately choose that option. CEO Tim Sweeney has gone to say that the company is working to fix the issue:

You guys are right that we ought to only access the localconfig.vdf file after the user chooses to import Steam friends. The current implementation is a remnant left over from our rush to implement social features in the early days of Fortnite. It's actually my fault for pushing the launcher team to support it super quickly and then identifying that we had to change it. Since this issue came to the forefront we're going to fix it.

In a statement made to the website BleepingComputer, Valve said it was planning on investigating Epic's use of that file:

We are looking into what information the Epic Launcher collects from Steam. This is private user data, stored on the user's home machine and is not intended to be used by other programs or uploaded to any 3rd party service.

It's unclear what this ultimately means for the relationship between the two storefronts given their short yet shaky history, but it is an interesting chapter of a much bigger story nonetheless.

[Source: Reddit, BleepingComputer via Eurogamer]



EA announced that The Sims 4 will no longer be supporting 32-bit PCs and non-metal Mac OS machines by this June, though players will still be able to play the game thanks to an upcoming Legacy Edition.

The Legacy Edition has a tentative release planned for the same month that the support for older machines ends. This edition will transfer saved game files, but it won't receive future updates or bug fixes. It also won't support game or stuff packs that have released after February 26. When it comes to online features like the gallery, game banners, and social integrations, those too are unavailable on the new edition.

You can read EA's full statement below.

Dear Simmers, Today we are announcing some changes to the supported specifications for The Sims 4? on PC and Mac.  As of June 2019, we will no longer support The Sims 4 on Non-Metal Mac OS machines or PC 32-bit Operating Systems. Apple has announced plans to phase out support for graphics processing technology called OpenGL and will be moving to a new technology known as Metal. Due to this change, we will upgrade The Sims 4 to work with Metal. For those that cannot upgrade to a Metal supporting OS, The Sims 4?: Legacy Edition will be made available to you. Please see the FAQ below. This update will also retire support for 32-bit Operating Systems. We regularly evaluate our technologies, and to continue growing, improving, and optimizing the game, we have made the decision to retire 32-bit support. If you are a PC player who cannot update to a 64-bit OS, The Sims 4: Legacy Edition will be made available to you. Please see FAQ below. We want to thank all Simmers who have played or are still playing The Sims 4.

The Sims 4 came to consoles a couple years ago. Read our review here.

[Source: EA Official Website]



A few days ago, Limited Run Games revealed that the long-awaited Wii U physical edition of the popular Metroid homage Axiom Verge was finally going to be released on March 29. While that bit of news garnered more than a few responses of "huh, that's interesting," the far more interesting  story emerged alongside the announcement. Dan Adelman, a producer for Axiom Verge, took to Twitter to reveal a long, twisting account that explains the Wii U physical edition's delay, as well as the reasons for his lawsuit against the edition's former European publisher, Badland Publishing. 

In his account, Adelman says both he and Tom Happ, Axiom Verge's creator, went with Badland Publishing (which is also publishing The Occupation and Nightmare Boy) for the European physical release of the game because Badland promised a generous deal. Not only would the company match what other publishers were offering in terms of revenue share, but would also contribute a whopping 75 percent of its cut in order to create a trust fund to support Happ's child Alastair, born with Kernicterus. 

Adelman alleges that when it came time for Badland to pay its share and put down money for Alastair's health fund, communications with the publisher went dark. He says that he's suing the company for at least $200,000, but that "because of the international nature of the suit, it's proving hard to make headway." Adelman ended his account by claiming Badland Publishing "has literally stolen money from a disabled toddler."

A few hours after Adelman's tweets, Badland Publishing CEO Luis Quintans responded to the comments, and the various articles that had been published about them, with a statement stating that the company's financial circumstances made it difficult to stick to the original timeline it proposed, but that the company had every intention of repaying the debt. You can read the statement in full here:

We've reached out to Adelman for his thoughts on Badland's statement. Here's what he said:

First of all, I would like to say that my heart goes out to Luis's family and their sick child. My daughter has also had major health issues in the past, so I understand what it's like. (Unlike Alastair Happ, however, my daughter fortunately does not appear to have any major long-term disabilities as a result of her issues.) And as much as I may sound naive in saying it, I still take Luis at his word that his intent to contribute 75% of BadLand's profits to Alastair's healthcare trust fund was sincere and motivated by his desire to help. I don't believe he set out to deceive any of us and in the beginning operated in good faith.

If BadLand can make good on its end of our business arrangement, I harbor no ill will toward Luis or anyone else at BadLand. That said, they haven't demonstrated any serious attempt to make good on what they owe. Over the course of a couple months, we had discussed and agreed to terms under which they would pay Tom, but when I sent them a payment plan, I didn't hear back for a couple weeks. I asked them to get back to me, but they said they were discussing it with their lawyer and would get back to me ASAP. That was in early August and was the last email I received from them. (For context, Axiom Verge: Multiverse Edition launched in Europe on January 26, 2018. It normally takes about 3-4 months after launch for the revenues to come in so that developers can be paid.)

It was around this time that I decided to retain a lawyer, as I was getting the sense they were just stalling for time. Since then, they have published multiple games so they must have had cash at their disposal. Their decision to use that cash to publish more games instead of to pay their existing debts was a deliberate choice they made.

I do hope they re-engage with us as well as Limited Run Games. As I said, I'm sure I speak for Tom when I say that neither of us harbors any ill will toward the company. We just want to get this resolved, as the amounts involved would have a meaningful impact on Tom's and Alastair's life.

Thanks,
Dan

Josh Fairhurst, owner of Limited Run Games (which is handling the physical distribution of Axiom Verge) and part of the lawsuit against Badland also chimed in with his own perspective on the situation, saying 

It's worth reiterating that Luis only offered me a payment plan after I'd initiated legal action.

I had provided several options for repayment to him and months went by with no effort from him to resolve his debt. That silence is what lead me to a lawsuit. By the time he offered to pay in installments, I had no reason to trust that those installments would come through. From my standpoint, I had sent him my $78,000 in a single payment and I expected the same in return.

Over the last year, BadLand Publishing has released four titles physically on the Switch (Ginger, Anima, Nightmare Boy, and Operación Triunfo 2017 - and yes, despite the 2017 label, that did come out recently at retail). These physical runs require upfront cash payments to Nintendo and a minimum run on Switch in Europe for four titles is going to cost  over $100,000.

They've had the money to pay us back, they've just opted to use it elsewhere. That is why we're upset. 

Usually, these sort of situations are very complicated, with shades of gray about the whole matter. However, Quintans' convoluted response isn't doing a lot to engender sympathy to the publisher's  situation.

 

[We updated this piece on March 16 at 3:21 PM Central to include Adelman's response to Badland's statement. It was later updated on March 17 at 11:21 AM Central to include Fairhurst's comment. ]



Atta Elayyan, a professional Counter-Strike player, app developer, and national futsal player was among the 50 killed in last Friday's tragic mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Elayyan, who went by the nickname and gamertag "crazyarab," won multiple Counter-Strike: Source tournaments with the New Zealand esports team NewType back in the early 2000s. He later went on to study computer science, and ended up founding his own software company, LWA Solutions, which is the development team behind MetroTube (a YouTube app) for Windows Phone.

"I would have never gotten into the tech industry had I not been obsessed with gaming during those years and the hours of focus, intense game play and desire to succeed has actually helped me alot in many aspects of my life," wrote Elayyan in 2012 in a gaming forum. "Of course, even if it was a complete waste of time, the people and friends I met during those years made it worth it."

Outside of gaming and the tech industry, Elayyan also found success in sports. He was the goalkeeper for the Canterbury United Futsal Dragons and was received a futsal player of the year award in 2014.

The 33-year-old was born in Kuwait, and leaves behind a wife and daughter. An online campaign that gives donations to victims has been set up here, as well as a separate one specifically for Elayyan's family, here.

Game Informer extends its deepest condolences to Elayyan's family and friends, and to all others affected by the shooting.



The NES-inspired Alwa's Awakening is coming to PlayStation 4 in just a few days time. It has previously launched on PC, Mac, and Switch.

Alwa's Awakening blends adventuring and Metroidvania-style platforming. You spend time fighting enemies, solving puzzles, and engaging in boss battles. You also have a magic staff at your disposal which at first is only used to whack foes with, but it later upgrades to bring new abilities such as creating a green block that helps open up exploration more and allows you to reach secret areas.

Click here to watch embedded media

Alwa's Awakening arrives on PS4 on March 21.



Following an announcement that the Master Chief Collection is coming to PC, fans banded together to send countless pizzas to 343 Industries that started as a fun joke relating to a Reddit thread. Now, 343 Industries is giving a gift back to players by releasing the "Last Slice" pizza skin for Halo 5.

Everyone who plays online today in Halo 5 will receive a free pepperoni pizza skin. You can view the tweet from 343 Industries about it below.

Read our glowing review for the Master Chief Collection by heading here.

[Source: 343 Industries on Twitter]



Click to watch embedded media

YouTube channel Boundary Break, which looks at hidden secrets that are behind the camera or out-of-bounds in video games, is back with another fascinating episode.

These videos are not only entertaining, but also insightful when it comes to game development, giving us a peek behind the scenes as to how games are made. In the latest video, we find out the mysteries of The Simpsons: Hit & Run, an open-world title from 2003.

Boundary Break's host speaks to one of the game's former developers, Cary Brisebois, to explain strange findings like two images floating in the world (including George H. W. Bush's house), bizarre small metal boxes attached to the game's switches, and characters or objects that are frozen in place until scenes are activated.

For more on The Simpsons, an esports-themed episode is airing today (Sunday). Read more about it here.



Click here to watch embedded media

After a festive holiday season, Game Informer's annual 12.31 Super Replay usually brings suffering. In years past, this day has kicked off complete playthroughs of stinkers like Overblood, Overblood 2, Blue Stinger, Illbleed, Raw Danger, Martian Gothic: Unification, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Vampire Hunter D.

Figuring out which game will be honored with this spot is a stressful decision that usually takes a full year to figure out. That wasn't the case this year. The community figured it out for us. We had the somewhat official I Watched the Entire Overblood Super Replay group vote for a Super Replay earlier this year. With hundreds of votes cast, the poll ended in a tie between Killer 7 and God Hand. Rather than just flipping a coin to see which one we would do, I decided to record both of them. We knocked out Killer 7 earlier this year, and almost rolled right into God Hand, but couldn't find a window to get it done in a productive way. I shelved the Super Replay until 12.31. It was one of the games I was considering years ago for this spot anyway.

Now it's here, and I think the community made the right choice. This game is absolutely bonkers and is a sheer delight to take in. God Hand was created by Clover Studio for Capcom and released in America on October 10, 2006 exclusively for PlayStation 2. Enjoy the Super Replay. I know it was a long time coming. We haven't produced as many as we have in the past, but it isn't because we are slacking off. The recording of the Game Informer Show takes up considerable studio and editor time, and we just haven't had the window to crank the out like we used to. I'd like to say we'll try to do more in the future, but I'm always thinking that, and the stars just haven't aligned.

You can watch the latest episode up above, or click the arrows along the side of the video to see the rest of the series!



Boy it sure is good to be king! Nothing wrong with looking really good while doing it either!  To celebrate Aquaman, the latest entry into the DC universe, you can enter below for your chance to win one of 20 digital copies and see it for free! From the Studio:
Aquaman reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime?one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be... a king. Click to see more! http://bit.ly/Aquaman_MovieWBHE a Rafflecopter giveaway MUST REDEEM DIGITAL MOVIE OFFER BY 3/31/2020. Consumer must reside in the U.S. and register for a digital service provider account (go to wb.com/RedeemMovie for a list of digital service providers (e.g., Movies Anywhere). May only include HD main feature. NOT COMPATIBLE WITH ALL DEVICES. SOME DISPLAY RESOLUTIONS MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING OR DOWNLOAD ON ALL DEVICES FROM ALL DIGITAL SERVICES. Consult your digital service provider for compatible devices, available display resolutions, streaming and download capability and Terms of Service. Ultimate display resolution on playback is dependent upon connection and device characteristics, including screen resolution. High-speed Internet connection required. Go to wb.com/RedeemMovie for additional details, requirements and technical support. Neither Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. nor any affiliate is responsible for maintaining any digital service. THIS DIGITAL MOVIE OFFER MAY NOT BE RESOLD OR OTHERWISE TRANSFERRED.



Nintendo's Splatoon 2 seven-day free trial starts today, letting Nintendo Switch Online members enjoy the game's online modes for free.

The demo can be downloaded vie the Switch eShop (even if you've already had a free trial), which generates an email code you need to activate to play. Enjoy Turf War, Salmon Run, League Battle, and Ranked Battle online modes with those who already own the game.

If you like the experience, you'll be glad to know that not only does your progress in the demo transfer over if you buy the game, but you'll get a 20-percent discount if you purchase it during the demo period.

This online demo offer starts today and runs through March 25 (6:59 AM Pacific).

[Source: Nintendo]



Before Detective Pikachu the video game was even localized for North America, the internet wanted to see Danny DeVito voice Pikachu. When the film was announced the internet?s fervor for DeVito-Pikachu only grew, but the role went to Ryan Reynolds. We visited the set of Pokémon Detective Pikachu in April 2018 and we asked Producer Cale Boyter if they were aware of the demand and whether or not he was considered. ?We definitely thought about it and how it might inform the spirit of it. Danny is incredible by the way. I am a huge fan of Danny DeVito,? Boyter says.

When they were thinking about who to cast as Pikachu, VFX producer Greg Baxter says he and his team took lines from assorted actors? past roles and animated an early version of Pikachu to the audio to see how it looked. Danny DeVito was one of the actors they did a test for. ?It was really very funny, so I couldn?t speak to all the reasons why it wasn?t Danny DeVito cast,? Baxter says. ?I love Danny and some point maybe after the movie comes about, we can share those early tests. It?s absolutely hilarious.?

Boyter also offered up a strange, cryptic tease saying, ?I can?t give away too much, but in terms of where the story goes and how it evolves, we had to sort of look at everything, including what fans weren?t seeing yet to make the decision. But that spirit of Danny DeVito, I promise you, is still inside of Pikachu.? When I said that sounds like a great quote for the movie's poster, Boyter laughed and said, "By the way, Ryan would probably love that."

For more from our time on the set of Pokémon Detective Pikachu, you can head here to read the cast and director's personal histories with Pokémon and here to read about how Pokémon Go wasn't the reason the movie was greenlit, but it helped. You can also read an extended feature all about the visit in the upcoming May issue of the magazine.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is coming to theaters on May 10.



In April of 2018, after the announcement of the Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie, but before any trailers or visuals from the movie appeared online, we visited the set of the film in London and spoke with the film makers about their personal histories with Pokémon.

Rob Letterman has a history with animation and directed Goosebumps in 2015 and is the director for Pokémon Detective Pikachu. We asked him if he was familiar with Pokémon before taking the job.

I am, but I am familiar through my son. I?m a little older, so I kind of missed the craze of the ?90s. People in their 30s maybe are sort of the big fans, so I just missed it. Before I got the call, I think I had spent thousands of dollars on buying the cards. Bespoke Mewtwo cards, importing them from Japan for my 11-year-old son who was obsessed. Then it got so crazy at our school, all the kids were playing with the cards that they had to ban it at one point because it was distracting the kids, so I was very familiar as a parent. And then my daughter got into it and was buying all the stuffies for her. My house is filled with Pokémon.  And then I got the call so I was like, ?Yeah, I?ll do that! That?s my whole life!? To this day my kids are freaking out about it.

Justice Smith is best know for his roles in The Get Down and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. In Pokémon Detective Pikachu, he plays protagonist Tim Goodman who partners with Pikachu to solve a mystery surrounding his father's murder.

When I was a little kid, me and my sister had all the original generation cards, and I used to watch the show all the time and we used to play the card game. I had my favorite Pokémon. It was Totodile, and I had a little Totodile figurine that I would carry with me everywhere I went. When I got this job it was like a childhood dream come true. I did it. I had Pokémon Gold. Pokémon Gold was my first one. Totodile is in that one. That?s why he is my favorite. My girlfriend actually bought me, for Christmas, Pokémon Crystal, so I have been playing that recently. I haven?t played any of the newer generation games, but me and my brothers used to play Pokémon Snap. The one where you take pictures of Pokémon everywhere? That one was so fun.

Kathryn Newton plays Lucy Stevens who helps Tim in his investigation. Newton is perhaps most recognized as Claire on Supernatural and was in the 2018 comedy, Blockers.

Yeah, I was definitely a fan of Pokémon. Especially at the age I was when I still had a playroom. I?m very upset I don?t have that playroom anymore, but was into the show. I watched the show. I?m an artist, and it actually got me into drawing and I would draw the Pokémon characters, which got me into drawing anime characters, and now I am a fashion illustrator and I am really into fashion, so it is interesting that Pokémon really lead the way for that for me. I had a Game Boy and I played Pokémon on my Game Boy. I had the wide one ? the Advance ? and the box one that flipped, and I had a PSP. I was quite into games.

For more from our time on the set of Pokémon Detective Pikachu, you can head here to read about the producer's thoughts on potentially casting Danny DeVito, and here to read about the popularity of Pokémon Go's role in the film getting made. You can also read an extended feature all about the visit in the upcoming May issue of the magazine.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is coming to theaters on May 10.



In April 2018, we visited the set of the Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie and spoke with the producer, Cale Boyter, about what factors lead to live-action Pokémon movie finally coming into existence. The film was announced near the height of Pokémon Go's popularity, so the obvious assumption was that its popularity was what made Hollywood finally see the Pokémon property as a viable franchise worth adapting.

"It?s so funny because everyone assumes that Pokémon Go happened and that?s when we wanted the rights to Pokémon, but we?ve been in talks and trying to get to Pokémon for over five years now," Boyter says. "It was wonderful. It was a great coincidence that Pokémon Go happened, and it just so happened that that?s when we were finally figuring out the rights, but really it was driven by we love Pokémon and tempering the live action world was just this huge opportunity that had never happened."

If anything, it was the release of the Detective Pikachu video game that pushed the live-action Pokémon movie into existence. "It has been a dream project of ours for a long time, Boyter says, "I think Detective Pikachu is the why now. It really provided for us a great way into a live action version of this world." Boyter and the team at Legendary Pictures saw the Detective Pikachu's father-son story as an easy in for telling a story with some emotion to it. "It felt very relatable. There was a way into it that people were going to connect with, and it got us really, really excited," Boyter says. The Pokémon Company also felt it was the right opportunity. "They know it better than anyone in the world and I think, smartly, they really felt like we need to do this and we need to take that leap at the right moment and we all agreed that Detective Pikachu gave us that."

For more from our time on the set of Pokémon Detective Pikachu, you can head here to read the cast and director's personal histories with Pokémon and here to read about the producer's thoughts on potentially casting Danny DeVito. You can also read an extended feature all about the visit in the upcoming May issue of the magazine.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is coming to theaters on May 10.



Dragon Ball FighterZ is the talk of the Dragon Ball video game town, but about a year prior to Arc System Works' fighter, Xenoverse 2 released and it was a big hit that Bandai Namco has continued to support. In an effort to bring in even more players, the game is receiving a "lite" version that is more than demo, but less that a full free-to-play transition.

The Lite version of the game will be available on March 20 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Here's what players can experience with this version:

  • Play five story episodes, ?Raditz's Attack?, ?The Saiyan Threat?, ?Ruckus on Planet Namek?, ?The Ginyu Force Strikes? and ?The Galactic Emperor?, from the main game.
  • Take part in Online Battles and Online Quests with the option to play against those with the full version of the game (Online events and expert missions will remain exclusive to owners of the full game).
  • Compete in Hero Colosseum mode, with all content and online matches.
  • Additionally, players will be able to transfer saved data from the ?Lite? version to the full game if they choose to purchase the full version of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.

For more on Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, head here for our original review.



Click here to watch embedded media

Far: Lone Sails was a surprise treat for those who played it on PC in 2018. But for those who missed out on the somber world, they will get another chance when it launches on PS4 and Xbox One on April 2.

Kyle Hilliard reviewed Far: Lone Sails last year and had lots of positive things to say about the moody puzzler, likening it to other indie games such as Inside and Little Nightmares. Like those games, Far contains little-to-no text or narration, but instead tells a story through its world and tone.

There's no word on a Switch release for the game, but you can check out the trailer above to get a better sense for the unique vehicle you'll be traveling aboard.



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