DICE Explains Why Battlefield 1 Has Multiple Playable Characters

DICE has shared new information about Battlefield 1's campaign, which we got our first good look at earlier this week in an impressive trailer.

In a blog post, DICE confirmed you will play as different characters across five War Stories. "While our characters are at war, the stories in Battlefield 1 are personal. They're about people rather than history or battles," the developer explained.

World War I was fought in a number of locations by people of diverse backgrounds. DICE said it wanted to lean into that and try to spotlight many different perspectives from the Great War. The best way to achieve this, DICE decided, was to let you play as multiple characters instead of just one.

"We felt that to have one character hopping through those different settings wouldn't be as immersive or totally respectful to the setting," DICE said. "So we decided on an anthology format; a set of characters with their own more focused stories. That way we can have immersion and variety–a double win."

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In the Through Mud and Blood chapter, you play as a young soldier, Danny Edwards, who is assigned to drive a tank but has no real experience.

"Our hero is also struggling with earning the trust of his fellow crew members, so there's a social dynamic in the story, making the whole thing something personal," DICE said. "Danny Edwards… is not an ace sniper. He’s not a crack pilot. He's not a demo expert. He's a former chauffeur–a volunteer new to the war. He can drive and he can fix things. That's where we start."

Battlefield 1 will also make use of "classic cinematics" that shows the world around your character instead of from a first-person perspective.

"We wanted the player to see and feel what the characters are going through, rather than just experiencing it from behind their eyes," DICE said. "That has really payed off for us not just in storytelling ability, but in emotional engagement."

DICE also mentioned that Battlefield 1's single-player campaign won't force you down any one path per se. Similar to the franchise's acclaimed multiplayer, there will be a number of ways to complete the same objective. Thinking on your feet and improvising may be important. One example provided was an encounter in Through Mud and Blood where you can use explosives to destroy enemy anti-tank weapons–or you can creep up behind foes to take them down with melee moves.

Another element of Battlefield 1's campaign are the real-life historical figures who will show up, one of whom is Lawrence of Arabia.

"Facing off with a technically superior enemy, Lawrence is put in a true underdog situation in Battlefield 1," DICE said. "The Ottoman Empire has a giant armored train called The Canavar–or 'beast' in Turkish–equipped with a huge artillery piece that can strike from miles away. The Empire's devastating artillery engages rebel forces–who are wielding rifles from horseback."

You won't play as Lawrence of Arabia himself, but rather a female Arab rebel who fights alongside Lawrence. "This character needs to use her resourceful playstyle to scout out enemy encampments, liberate the equipment needed, and draw the armored train out to a final confrontation," DICE said. "Play it loud, quiet, long-range, close-up, on your horse, or in an appropriate vehicle–it's up to you."

For more on Battlefield 1's single-player campaign, check out the descriptions for its five main War Stories here.

Battlefield 1 comes out on October 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. You don't have to wait that long to try out the game's single-player and multiplayer, however, as a portion of both modes will be available in the Play First Trial available to EA/Origin Access subscribers starting on October 13.

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PSA: Xbox One S With Free Game Offer Is Almost Over

Microsoft's limited-time Xbox One S promotion where you can get a free game of your choosing with the purchase of a new console is nearly over. As announced previously, this offer expires on October 1, so now is your last chance to take advantage of the offer.

You can get a free game of your choosing when you buy a new console at a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, GameStop, and Microsoft's own store.

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This offer is good on Xbox One S bundles that already come with free games such as the Halo, Madden, and FIFA bundles, so you're actually getting multiple freebies. Xbox One S bundles start at $300.

The Xbox One was the best-selling consoles in the US for July and August, according to NPD data. We'll know if Microsoft can extend its winning streak to three months when September's numbers arrive in October.

The new Xbox One S debuted in August; the system is 40 percent smaller than the original model and features an internal power supply. It also features HDR support for some games and comes with a new Xbox One controller that has Bluetooth support and textured grips. You can read GameSpot's Xbox One S review here.

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NX Will Put Nintendo “Back in the Race,” Ubisoft CEO Says

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot continues to praise Nintendo's NX console.

After the Wii U underperformed, the NX is set to mix things up and put Nintendo back in the spotlight as it relates to hardware, the executive said this week. "I believe Nintendo will be back in the race with the NX," Guillemot said during a meeting with investors, according to French journalist Chloe Woitier (via VentureBeat).

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This is not the first time Guillemot has spoken out to praise the NX, which Ubisoft is supporting with multiple titles, including Just Dance 2017. Earlier this month, he said the system will be "easy to use" and one that allows for "a different experience from what exists today."

The Wii U performed below expectations, selling only 13.02 million consoles since its 2012 release. By comparison, the Wii sold more than 100 million units in its lifetime.

In a presentation attended by GameSpot, Guillemot said even more about the NX. He showered it with praise on it, saying the console represents a "new approach."

"The new Nintendo [console] is a fantastic machine," he said. "It's really a new approach, it's really Nintendo, [which is] coming with something new again. We love it."

In addition to Just Dance 2017, Ubisoft is "working on some [other] projects" for the console, though these have not yet been announced.

The system is rumored to be a handheld/console hybrid, a possibility that The Pokemon Company recently lent credence to. It's also said to use cartridges.

According to analysts speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo may finally officially reveal the system in early October. The console is set to launch in March 2017, which is only six months away.

Guillemot's latest comments about the NX came during an investor meeting where Vivendi did not pursue a board seat as part of its reported hostile takeover bid, something that the company feared it might do. You can read GameSpot's full report to learn more about the ongoing story.

For even more, check out GameSpot's in-depth interview with Guillemot.

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Killer Instinct Dev Reveals Breakaway, Watch First Competitive Gameplay Video

Amazon Game Studios has announced Breakaway, a competitive multiplayer game developed by Double Helix, the team behind season one of the Xbox One exclusive fighting game Killer Instinct. Breakaway is powered by Amazon Lumberyard and designed with livestreaming in mind. As such, it integrates directly with Twitch–an Amazon-owned streaming service.

Breakaway is described as a "mythological sport brawler built for fast action, teamwork, and livestreaming." In the game, players assemble a team "from an expanding roster of legendary warriors," which includes "the relentless gladiator Spartacus, the twisted sorceress Morgan Le Fay, and the bloodthirsty warlord Vlad the Impaler."

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"At the start of each round, warriors can summon persistent buildables onto the playing field that dynamically alter the game," it explains. "Buildables can besiege foes, shield teammates, or create new pathways through the arena. Players fight for dominance across fabled locations such as El Dorado, Atlantis, and Styx. They battle to control the Relic–the center of Breakaway’s action–passing it to teammates, defending it from attackers, and smashing it into an opponent’s base to score."

According to Amazon, Breakaway also introduces new ways for players/streamers to interact with a number of in-game features. Metastream, for example, allows for "real-time stat overlays" during broadcasts. Broadcaster Match Builder "lets broadcasters invite their followers to join matches," and Spotlight "tells players when they’re in a match that’s being broadcast, and lets them follow the broadcaster with a single click."

Finally, Steam+ "gives broadcasters new ways to interact with their viewers through polls, and by allowing viewers to wager loyalty points that are redeemable for in-game rewards." You can watch the first trailer for Breakaway and 10 minutes of gameplay below.

You can sign up to play the Breakaway alpha on the game's official website.

Amazon Game Studios is an internal division dedicated to video games. In June 2015, it teased a new game that would using the latest technology, including Twitch. Breakaway looks to be that game.

"Amazon is committed to gamers, and building great teams who are excited to use Twitch, the AWS cloud, and technical innovation to radically evolve gameplay," it said at the time. "We believe that games have just scratched the surface in their power to unite players and will produce some of the future’s most influential voices in media and art.

Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 in a $1 billion deal. Double Helix was also acquired by Amazon in 2014 "as part of [Amazon's] ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers."

Breakaway was announced at TwitchCon, along with two other games, which you can read about below. The descriptions were provided by Amazon.

  • New World: A massively multiplayer, open-ended sandbox game that allows players to carve out their own destiny with other players in a living, cursed land. Players decide how to play, what to do, and whom to work with–or against–in an evolving world that transforms with seasons, weather, and time of day. Players can band together to reclaim monster-haunted wilds and build thriving civilizations, or strike out alone, surviving in the face of supernatural terrors and murderous player bandits. With emergent gameplay and rich social features, including deep Twitch integration with broadcaster-led events, achievements, and rewards, the only limit in the New World is a player’s ambition.
  • Crucible: A battle to the last survivor on a hostile, alien world. Players choose and customize heroes, making alliances and betraying allies on their path to victory. An additional player heightens the drama by triggering events, live-streaming the battles, and interacting with viewers.

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Check Out This Trippy New Doctor Strange “Motion Poster”

Doctor Strange is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it arrives in theaters in November. A cool new "motion poster" has been posted on Instagram–check it out below:

Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch as mystical sorcerer Stephen Strange, and also features Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, and Rachel McAdams. It is directed by Sinister's Scott Derrickson.

In a recent interview with Slashfilm, Cumberbatch spoke about his decision to play the film's lead character. "I've never done a lead role in a film this big, in a franchise this big," he said. "One of the reasons was, I wanted to know what the toy box was like. And it's just insane, the amount of facility that everyone gets, and the amount of artistry and craft that's brought to every aspect of filmmaking."

Cumberbatch also discussed the fact that fans had been suggesting that he would make a good Stephen Strange long before he was cast. "I'm flattered that people thought I was a good fit, and maybe that resonated with [Marvel's producers]," he said.

It was revealed this week that the final trailer for the upcoming Star Wars spinoff Rogue One would be attached to Doctor Strange. It is set to hit theaters on November 4, 2016.

For more Doctor Strange coverage on GameSpot, check out:

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Xbox Boss Talks Project Scorpio Price, Suggests It May Not be Above $600

One of the big questions surrounding Microsoft's Project Scorpio console is how much it will cost and how it will compare to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro. Microsoft is not yet ready to talk specifics, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in a new interview with WinBeta that the console is a "premium product," so you can expect it will not be cheap.

He also teased that Project Scorpio will not carry a price tag that's unheard of in the console gaming world. This may suggest that the system won't be more than $600, which was at the high end of what the PlayStation 3 cost when it came out in 2007. That was thought to be the most expensive mainstream console price ever.

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"When we designed both of these (Xbox One S and Project Scorpio)…we kind of designed it in parallel," Spencer explained. "We thought about the price performance of what we wanted to hit with the Scorpio, relative to what we were going to be able to do with the S. So that we would have a good price continuum, so people wouldn't look at these two things as so disconnected because of the price delta."

He added: "So I think you will feel like it's a premium product, a premium console. And not something, anything more than that. So I wouldn't get people worried that this thing is going to be unlike any console price you've ever seen. We didn't design it that way. That said, the opening price point for the Xbox One S, and the different hard drive sizes that is a critical part of this whole product. When I think about it as a product line, you should expect the pricing to kind of be in line with that."

Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg used the same description–"premium product"–when asked about Project Scorpio's price in an interview earlier this year. The system is labeled by Microsoft as the "most powerful console ever made."

Sony's PS4 Pro, which comes out in November, will cost $400. The newest available Xbox console, the Xbox One S, starts at $300 for a 500 GB bundle. Prices go up from there with larger hard drive sizes and pack-in games.

Microsoft's Albert Penello recently spoke out to say the PS4 Pro is not powerful enough to support true 4K. The performance gap between the Scorpio and PS4 Pro will be "obvious," he added.

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PlayStation VR Unboxing Video Shows Off Everything It Comes With

With just two weeks to go before PlayStation VR's launch on October 13, Sony has now posted an "unboxing" video that shows off everything that comes with the $400 package.

PlayStation's Sid Shuman unboxes the PlayStation VR core package. We get a look at the headset itself, the processor box, wired stereo headphones, and all the cables you need to get started. As announced previously, a PS VR demo disc, featuring trials for 18 different games, is also included in the bundle.

One important note is that PS VR also requires a PlayStation camera, which is not included in the package. Additionally, you will need a PlayStation 4 console to power the headset.

Sony will also offer a $500 Launch Bundle that comes with everything in the core package, as well as a PlayStation camera, Move controllers, and the PlayStation VR Worlds five-game collection.

PlayStation VR preorders are sold out at many major retailers, but you may be able to find out at a store or online come October 13. Sony has warned there may be shortages, however.

You can also watch GameSpot's own PS VR unboxing video here.

You don't have to wait until October 13 to try PS VR, as GameStop and Best Buy stores across the country have units available to check out. You can find a store near you using this website.

In another PS VR news, a new game that lets you hang out in a virtual bar and play pub games has been announced. Keep checking back with GameSpot for more on PS VR in the days and weeks ahead.

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Justice League Director Teases a Surprise Villain in DC Superhero Movie

Last month it was revealed that Deathstroke would be the main villain in Ben Affleck's standalone Batman movie. However, a new image tweeted by Justice League director Zack Snyder has hinted that the armored mercenary might also appear in his upcoming superhero team-up.

The picture shows Snyder working on a Justice League storyboard. A close look at the image reveals that one of the illustrated characters is eye-patch-wearing Slade Wilson, Deathstroke's alter ego. Check the main picture out below, with the zoomed-in version at the end of this story:

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Last month, Affleck released some early test footage of Deathstroke, who he then confirmed as the villain in his Batman film. A week later, it was confirmed that Joe Manganiello had been cast in the role.

Deathstroke first appeared in a 1980 issue of The New Teen Titans, and has gone on to appear in a wide variety of DC comics over the years. He is associated with Batman, and is a main adversary to the Green Arrow.

On TV, Deathstroke appeared in Season 2 of the CW show Arrow, played by Manu Bennett, and will return in the fifth season which premieres next month. He also featured prominently in last year's Batman: Arkham Knight.

Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017, and also stars Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Willem Dafoe, and Amber Heard.

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Pokemon Go Traffic Was 50 Times More Than Expected

At launch, Pokemon Go's traffic was 50 times what developer Niantic had expected and "ten times more than the worst-case estimate," according to Google, which has discussed the Google Cloud infrastructure powering the popular mobile game.

When Pokemon Go launched, there were widespread connection issues and, according to Luke Stone, director of customer reliability engineering at Google Cloud, this is because Pokemon Go went through an unusually sharp increase in adoption.

"Throughout my career as an engineer, I've had a hand in numerous product launches that grew to millions of users," he said. "User adoption typically happens gradually over several months, with new features and architectural changes scheduled over relatively long periods of time. Never have I taken part in anything close to the growth that Google Cloud customer Niantic experienced with the launch of Pokemon Go."

Stone published a graph showing just how much of a disparity there was between the original launch target for traffic, the estimated worst case, and the actual traffic.

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Traffic exceeded Niantic's expectations within 15 minutes of the game's debut in Australia and New Zealand, which where the first two regions to get the game.

"This was the first indication to Niantic's product and engineering teams that they had something truly special on their hands," Stone continued. "Niantic phoned in to Google CRE for reinforcements, in anticipation of the US launch planned the next day. Niantic and Google Cloud–spanning CRE, SRE, development, product, support and executive teams–braced for a flood of new Pokemon Trainers, as Pokémon GO would go on to shatter all prior estimates of player traffic."

When the inevitable issues began to impact the game, Google and Niantic tackled each problem as they arrived in sequence. Following its launch in the US and ahead of its Japanese release, Google upgraded its Cloud platform to add "a thousand additional nodes" to its container cluster, which meant it could accommodate significantly more players.

Looking ahead, Niantic has teased that "exciting features and changes" are coming to Pokemon Go soon.

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Vive Launches New VR App Store, Viveport, With a $1 Sale

HTC's Vive VR headset is launching its own PC app store today, and to celebrate, it's kicked off a sale that drops the price of select software to just $1.

Viveport, as the new store is called, will be home to all manners of apps; today's announcement says it hopes to "showcase VR experiences across art, creativity tools, design, education, fashion, music, sports, travel, video, and more." The company speaks quite aspirationally about the service, saying its mission is to "democratize access to the world's most diverse selection of immersive experiences by empowering all content creators to reach and engage the fast-growing global VR audience."

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Vive originally announced Viveport back in August. A developer beta came shortly after that reveal, but as of today, it's open to all Vive users in more than 30 countries. To encourage people to check it out, a $1 sale is underway for the next 48 hours on things like TheBlu and Mars Odyssey. You can check out what's on sale on the Viveport website.

Some content will make its debut first through Viveport. Dubbed Viveport Premieres, this includes a new version of TheBlu (an existing version is already available on Steam for $10), Mars Odyssey, Stonehenge VR, and more.

Vive's announcement teased that there will soon be a way to earn free access to all content on Viveport.

"Any Day now we will Relay a secret message that will Reopen a path to unlimited Viveport content for worthy contenders," Viveport president Rikard Steiber said, emphasizing three words that are presumably meant to serve as some sort of clue. "We hope you will follow us on social media, install the Vive software, visit Viveport.com, and explore Vive Home over the next month as we unveil more clues and keys to unlock the treasures."

Vive is one of the two major VR platforms to launch for PC this year, alongside Oculus Rift. Oculus recently encountered something of a PR nightmare when it was discovered founder Palmer Luckey had supported an alt-right group of self-proclaimed "s***posters." This resulted in a number of VR game developers pulling support for the Rift. Luckey has since released a statement on the situation.

In October, Sony will launch the first new major VR platform for consoles with PlayStation VR.

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