Here’s 30 Minutes of Final Fantasy 15 Gameplay in Japanese

Final Fantasy XV's delay might have been a bummer, but you can now watch 30 minutes of new gameplay footage from the long-awaited game.

Square Enix has published a 33-minute video for the RPG on YouTube. It's only in Japanese (watch 50-plus minutes of English footage here), so you might miss out on the dialogue, but gameplay is gameplay. On display here are a series of battle and driving sequences, while the trailer also shows off the game's lovely looking visuals. Take a look:

According to people on NeoGAF (via Polygon), the video contains footage captured on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which explains why it might look different in some sequences. Forum users also mention that not all of this footage is completely new.

According to Nova Crystallis, both versions run at 30 FPS, though Sony's PS4 has the advantage right now in terms of resolution. Optimization efforts may still be ongoing.

They are still working on it. Currently FFXV runs at:
PS4: 900-1080p at close to 30FPS.
Xbox One: 756-900p at close to 30FPS.

— Nova Crystallis (@Nova_Crystallis) August 28, 2016

Following a recent delay, Final Fantasy XV is now slated for release on November 29 for PS4 and Xbox One. Director Hajime Tabata told GameSpot recently as part of a wide-ranging interview that it was delayed so that contents of a day-one patch could instead be included on-disc. He also said he has no plans to expand Final Fantasy XV into a Lightning Trilogy-style series, instead preferring to to simply leverage what the team has learned developing it.

In other news about Final Fantasy XV, Tabata explained recently that the game's open world becomes more linear in the second half. You can also watch more than 50 minutes of gameplay footage here…and this is in English.


Watch BioShock Remaster’s First 14 Minutes

2K Games has released a new "Let's Play" video for its upcoming BioShock: The Collection. This video shows off the first 14 minutes of the BioShock remaster featured in the package–and it looks great.

As you can see, the 2007 game is looking better than ever, with the water effects looking especially nice in the opening sequence. We can also see in this video that there are now jellyfish. It's not clear what platform this footage was captured on, but whatever the case, 2K has said all games in The Collection run at 1080p and "up to" 60 FPS. The video is narrated by YouTuber GhostRobo.

This video follows another one from earlier this month that showed off the major graphical improvements that the remaster delivers compared to the original. You can also watch this GameSpot graphics comparison video to see how much better the game looks today than it did in 2007.

The Collection includes remastered versions of BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite, so it's possible other videos will focus on the latter two games. All single-player DLC is included for the three games, while The Collection also comes with a video series featuring commentary from director Ken Levine and lead artist Shawn Robertson.

As announced previously, BioShock and BioShock 2 are being remastered for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, while Infinite is only getting a remastered version for consoles. The Collection for PC does include Infinite, but this will be the regular, non-remastered version that is likely on par with the PC version that is already available.

PC players may also be able to get The Collection free. Read this post to find out if you're eligible.

The Collection launches on September 13 for all platforms. The compilation is being developed by Blind Squirrel Games, which collaborated with Irrational Games in the past for Infinite.

For more, check out GameSpot's video preview, "A Remaster Done Right."


Marvel’s Luke Cage is Bulletproof in First Clip From New Netflix Show

Luke Cage will be the third Marvel show to hit Netflix, following the success of Jessica Jones and two seasons of Daredevil. The series is released at the end of September, and a first clip has arrived. Check it out below:

The show stars Mike Colter as the title character, a reluctant super-powered New Yorker who first appeared in a supporting role in Jessica Jones. Luke Cage also features Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, and Frank Whaley. A trailer was released earlier this month.

In a recent interview with Collider, Colter spoke about playing this unlikely superhero. "He's a guy that has been thrust into a place that he doesn't really want to be," he said. "He's a guy who's been endowed with abilities, as they say. To him, it's not positive. At least he doesn't see it that way. He doesn't want any part of this.

"But ultimately, it's something that he's going to have to deal with. It's perfect for me because I don't really like the spotlight either. I think with him, it feels like a glove."

The events of Luke Cage will eventually tie into The Defenders, the superhero team-up show that will also feature Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. It is expected in late 2017. An Iron Fist series is expected before this, and a first teaser was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con.

It has also been confirmed that Daredevil will return for a third season. Although the show has proved extremely popular, Netflix's increasingly busy Marvel schedule hadn't included a third outing for the blind superhero until last month.

Luke Cage hits Netflix in its entirety on September 30, 2016.


Hilarious New Marvel Video Reveals What Thor Was Doing During Civil War

This year's Captain America: Civil War might have been packed with Marvel superheroes, but there were a couple of noticeable absences. Neither Thor or Hulk were anywhere to be seen, leading fans to speculate on what they were up to while their fellow Avengers were fighting it out. The answer is revealed in a hilarious new short feature that was screened at San Diego Comic-Con this year and has now been released online. Check it out below:

While You Were Fighting: A Thor Mockumentary will also be included on the upcoming Digital HD and Blu-ray release for Captain America: Civil War, which arrives on September 2 and 13 respectively. The short was directed by Taika Waititi, who is currently making Thor: Ragnarok in Australia.

While Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo initially described Ragnarok as a "buddy movie" between Thor and Hulk, a recent interview with director Waititi suggests that this might not necessarily be the case.

"It's hard to say what the movie is because it's changing," he told Polygon. "The plot has changed and the script has changed. There are buddy elements to it between Thor and the Hulk, but who knows what the final movie will look like."

Last month, images were released from the production that revealed the gladiator armor that Hulk will wear in the film. This has reinforced speculation that Thor: Ragnarok will take some inspiration from Planet Hulk, a comic book storyline in which Hulk battled monsters on an alien planet.

Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3, 2017.


Here’s How Much Money Witcher 3 Dev Made in First Half of 2016

The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red has released financial data for the first half of the year. As you might have guessed, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of the company's main contributors.

Overall, the Polish studio pulled in 319 million Zloty, which comes out to $82.7 million. The company recorded a profit of 135 million Zloty, which is $35 million. These numbers are down substantially from the same period last year, when CD Projekt Red made 512.7 million Zloty ($133 million) in revenue and a 236.3 million Zloty ($61.2 million) profit, though this period obviously benefited from the massive release of The Witcher 3.


Results were bolstered by continued sales of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its DLC. Sales of the game itself were "high," but CD Projekt Red did not share a specific figure. Additionally, the game's Blood and Wine expansion came out in the last six months. The Witcher 3 and Blood and Wine "generated most of our sales during this period," CD Projekt Red said, without providing any specific sales numbers.

The Witcher 3's first expansion, Hearts of Stone, came out in October 2015. It is not counted in this first-half report, as this only covers January 1 to June 30, 2016.

CD Projekt Red's GOG division also had a strong first-half, making 69 million Zloty ($17.9) in revenue. This represented a new record, thanks in part to the launch of Blood and Wine and "good sales of the back catalog."

Here is a chart that clearly shows how much CD Projekt Red benefits when it launches a new Witcher game:


One of CD Projekt Red's next games is Gwent: The Witcher Card game. A beta launches in October, while the full release is scheduled for later this year. The game is free, though, like other games of its type, you can spend real money on microtransactions.

On the more immediate horizon is The Witcher 3's Game of the Year/Complete Edition, which lands on August 30. It comes with the base game and all previously released DLC. CD Projekt Red is also working on Cyberpunk 2077, but don't expect this game soon; it's coming out in the 2017-2021 window. Interestingly, another "AAA RPG" is coming out in this window, but it hasn't been announced.

The Witcher 3: Wild was the last game in the series to feature Geralt in the lead role. While The Witcher 4 may not be coming very soon, CD Projekt Red's Marcin Iwinski said in a previous interview that the world of The Witcher is ripe with storytelling opportunities.

"We definitely are not annualizing a franchise or anything–it's about the experience," he said about The Witcher. "The world of The Witcher is gigantic and it's great to tell these stories, but I don't know when [The Witcher 4] will happen."

There appears to be a clear business opportunity for another Witcher game, as The Witcher 3 itself has reportedly sold more than 10 million copies. The entire franchise has moved 20 million units.

For lots more on CD Projekt Red's business results, check out the documents linked below.

This story has been updated.


After Three Weeks at No. 1, Suicide Squad Finally Drops at US Box Office

Suicide Squad is no longer the No. 1 movie at the US box office.

The latest weekend numbers are in and the DC Comics movie, after three weekends on top of the charts, has fallen to No. 2. Deadline reports that Suicide Squad made $12.1 million in its fourth weekend that wrapped up today, August 28. It was beaten by Don't Breathe, which pulled in $26.1 million for its opening this weekend.

Suicide Squad was the fifth movie this year to stay at No. 1 for three straight weekends, following Deadpool, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory.

The R-rated horror movie Don't Breathe, from Sony's ScreenGems, had an incredible Saturday, according to Deadline, as box office receipts only fell 1 percent from Friday. As Deadline points out, other recent horror movies Lights Out and The Conjuring 2 had box office drops of 22 percent and 15 percent respectively from their first Friday to Saturday.

Sony marketing chief Josh Greenstein said in a statement that the company's huge digital marketing campaign paid off.

"This is the strongest digital campaign we've had to date at Sony where we used the power of social media to sell and reflect the experience that director Fede Alvarez created in the movie," Greenstein said. "He's a master filmmaker and to have a B+ CinemaScore and 87% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score is incredibly rare for a horror movie."

Go to Deadline for a full breakdown of this weekend's US box office performance.


Playing Pokemon Go While Driving Should Be Banned, CA Lawmakers Say

Lawmakers in California would like to see the existing ban on texting while driving to include playing Pokemon Go, among other things that could distract motor vehicle operators.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the state Assembly this week sent a new bill proposal to governor Jerry Brown outlining the measures. Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) said it's time to expand the texting-ban law to get with the times.


The bill would ban using a handheld device in any way that distracts the driver. It's an "important step in reducing distracted-driving accidents, injuries, and deaths," Quirk said.

It does more, too:

"The bill also plugs a loophole that has made it difficult for law enforcement to enforce existing laws. In 2014, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the existing ban only prohibits a driver from holding a wireless telephone while talking on it, Quirk said," according The Times.

Earlier this week, multiple fatalities were reported in Japan related to Pokemon Go, including one where a woman in her 20s was reportedly struck on her bicycle by a person playing the popular game.

Through in-game messaging, Pokemon Go itself warns players to be aware of their surroundings while playing the game. Pokemon Go encourages players to go out into the real world in search of Pokemon to catch, but playing behind the wheel is obviously a bad idea. A recent update introduced a prompt stressing that you should not play while driving a car.

Recently, two people walked off an oceanside cliff in California in search of Pokemon, while someone crashed their car into a tree after reportedly admitting to playing the game behind the wheel. Also, a man hit a parked police car because he was reportedly distracted by the game.


Master of Orion Review

Master of Orion is a game with grand scope and massive scale, and more often than not, both work to its advantage. You explore outer space, colonize planets, and swing other leaders on a clandestine dance floor of galactic diplomacy, all with an overarching plan in mind. The problem is, Master of Orion doesn't always make that process fun. It vacillates between moments of exhilaration and periods of boredom.

Commonly referred to as a 4X title (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate), Master of Orion is a reboot of an earlier series of the same name. The first Master of Orion draws easy comparisons to Civilization, another franchise in which you guide a nation from its nascent years to its swan song through various victory conditions. But over time both franchises have drifted apart, introducing their own twists on the empire-building formula throughout the years.

One of the few notable changes in this new Master of Orion is an optional real-time combat system that allows for a more hands-on approach to inter-fleet skirmishes. You can divert individual ships and focus fire on specific enemies, using the agility of your frigates and the firepower of your battleships to pick apart enemy clusters.

This combat system works well on several levels. Primarily, it adds unpredictability to combat that's otherwise based on mathematics and predetermined outcomes. If your small collection of frigates faces off against a hardened group of cruisers, odds are, the "auto-resolve" option will lead to defeat. But if you take the time to direct your fleet on a micro level with daring maneuvers, you have the potential to upend the odds in your favor.

The Sakkra Brood are defensive and reticent in the galactic diplomatic scene.
The Sakkra Brood are defensive and reticent in the galactic diplomatic scene.

Secondly, this form of combat narrows Master of Orion's focus from what's otherwise a sweeping look at the history of several civilizations. It drops you from the admiral's chair to the cockpit of a fighter vessel. Not only does it change up each playthrough's pacing, but sets the stage for a fine balance between micro and macro managing your people's development.

This bouncing between big picture problems and minute concerns is where Master of Orion shines brightest. You plot the course of an entire civilization, establish your presence in numerous solar systems, and bring about the end of entire alien races–but you also upgrade your frigates' laser cannons. You bribe the Alkari leader with a few billion credits. You build mining outposts on forgotten moons in the outer reaches of the galaxy. There's a vast difference between the bird's eye view of a political leader and the tactical considerations of a hangar bay engineer. But Master of Orion uses that contrast to its advantage. It links strategy and tactics with seamless ease.

This dynamism between the large and small scale can also change up Master of Orion's pacing, which often becomes rote in the mid-game turns of playthroughs. This problem has plagued the best of 4X strategy games, and unfortunately, this reboot doesn't find any way around it.

Unless you're at the outset of your budding civilization, engaged in combat, or guiding your people in the last few years before that exhilarating grab at military, technological, economic, or diplomatic victory, turns become mundane. Colonies often lack individualism, utilizing the same structures and constructing the same military units as the planets in their neighboring systems. Aside from the occasional thrilling space battle, playthroughs are seldom all that different from the ones preceding them.

Master of Orion's chief allure–the promise of exploring uncharted solar systems–is only novel for a few hours.

Furthermore, the game's chief allure–the promise of exploring uncharted solar systems–is only novel for a few hours. It soon becomes clear that, aside from a handful of different biomes, planet sizes, and mineral types, there's not enough variety between planets to encourage exploration for its own sake. Maps also lack many surprising discoveries in the space between systems–you'll come across ancient artifacts, stray clouds of debris, and rogue pirate bases, but again, after a few hours, you'll likely see it all. Exploring can reveal bright spots on the sci-fi game's sprawling star map, but also a lot of empty space.

What Master of Orion lacks in variety, though, it makes up for in fine-tuned design. The galactic map, composed of multitudinous star systems and the quantum warp paths connecting them, leads to interesting strategic quandaries for your scouts and battle fleets. Defending individual star systems means guarding warp points and building defensive emplacements around your key settlements. Managing the interlocking web of colonies and the established lines of travel between them is key to preserving your people, or destroying someone else's. This is supported by the combat system, which pierces through the ennui of Master of Orion's exploration.

There's another web at play here: the diplomacy system is a minefield of bad tempers, interlocking alliances, and cultural pet peeves. The leader of the Sakka Brood, a reptilian race, doesn't value scientific advancement, and because of this, won't trade credits for your advanced technological knowledge. The Skylord of the Alkari Flock is aggressive by nature, and will declare war if you demonstrate too much good will toward the civilization's enemies. Master of Orion's diplomacy system isn't a separate entity from the rest of the game, but the foundation of many other mechanics. It excels in making you consider your diplomatic choices. It lends weight to hefty decisions elsewhere in your unfolding nation.

The star map necessitates strategic thinking as you close off warp points and defend key solar systems.
The star map necessitates strategic thinking as you close off warp points and defend key solar systems.

The presentation of these various alien races, and the emotions motivating them, drives home a personal touch in a game that otherwise focuses on sociological management and technological progress. The voice acting grounds the alien leaders and makes them feel like real characters. After several full playthroughs, I know to never trust the silver tongued Darlok. I know to be on the defensive around the Terran. I know the Bulrathi are valuable allies in a tight spot. Master of Orion succeeds in depicting intergalactic events in a smaller, more intimate context, and it lends compelling reasons to steer your civilization one way or another.

And that's the thing about Master of Orion: there are plenty of weighty decisions, risky maneuvers, and impactful events to consider. But they often take place in repetitive playthroughs in galaxies that don't always differentiate themselves from the next. Master of Orion shows signs of brilliance, but it's bogged down by boredom, and sometimes, the allure of the stars wanes too much to beckon us onward.


Blizzard Reinvented World of Warcraft’s Mechanics to Add Legion’s Demon Hunters

World of Warcraft’s next expansion, Legion, was initially unveiled just over a year ago at Gamescom 2015. Now, finally, the 11-year-old MMO’s sixth expansion is due out next week, and players are bracing for its host of sweeping changes.

Legion will introduce a brand new world-scaling leveling system exclusive to the new continent, Broken Isles, as well as a new means of story progression through Class Order Halls. It’ll also grants players uniquely powerful, class-specific Artifact Weapons and, perhaps most importantly, introduce Demon Hunters–a new class of fighters that function more like the hero of an action game than another avatar in an MMO.

Now that Legion’s nearly upon us, we sat down with lead game designer Luis Garraga, technical game designer Chad Nervig, and character designer Genevieve St-Michel to discuss the long-in-development expansion in greater detail, digging into some specifics surrounding Legion’s ambitious changes and exploring the team’s post-launch plans.

GameSpot: Just starting out, can you give us a quick overview of how Legion fits into the existing lore?

Garraga: The theme of the expansion is the third coming of the Burning Legion to Azeroth. These guys have tried to invade us twice, and we've beat them back before. That kind of leads us into the first big feature that I'm super excited about, which is Demon Hunters. The Special Forces branch of the elves, if you will, they were the Demon Hunters. The most elite. All they trained for was hunting down and defeating demons.

Unfortunately, some of their means were misunderstood by their brethren. They were outlawed and thrown into prison. You play as one of these disciples of Illidan. When the Legion comes back it's like, "Well, do we want to take our chances with these renegade Demon Hunters or do we want to just admit defeat?" The good guys decide to bite the bullet and let the so-called outlaws out, and that's where Demon Hunters come in.

The Demon Hunter class represents a grey area for the good guys
The Demon Hunter class represents a grey area for the good guys

When we talked about revisiting the idea of Demon Hunters, revisiting Illidan, what excited me was we get to tell the story that we weren't able to tell before. Maybe if you didn't completely sympathize with Illidan, you understood where he was coming from. We feel like we want to change the tone and change the direction 15-degrees, 20-degrees, but we also want it to be respectful of the characters that were brought up. Players will see the return of Alturus, Akama, Illidan, Maiev–all characters where we planted the seeds of those stories a long time ago, even before Burning Crusade.

How will the story be structured in Legion? Is there a single linear campaign, or is the story content broken up in some way?

Nervig: Each zone has a storyline of its own.

St-Michel: More of the overarching storyline is held within your Class Halls, so you don't miss any of [the overarching story]. In general it's a lot of fun for [people who play a lot of alts]. You can start in one zone on one character, and another zone on another, and you get to see all the individual stories that are contained within those zones. But your overarching story is still being told through the Class Order Halls.

Can you tell us more about what we can expect from these Class Order Halls?

The Warriors' Order Hall
The Warriors' Order Hall

St-Michel: They're kind of like the natural progression from Garrisons, except we've spent a ton of work to make them very impactful and integrated into the gameplay. [Class Order Halls are] kind of bringing it all back from the story of where the Horde and Alliance are up against the biggest threat ever, the Burning Legion. All the classes just decide to band together within themselves. You collect these very personal heroes that we all know from the lore and bring them under your wing to help you destroy the threat.

Nervig: We definitely learned a lot from Garrisons. For the first month or two in Warlords of Draenor, Garrisons were looking great. But as many people would attest, it got pretty lame just sitting alone in your Garrison for a whole lot of time. The Class Order Halls are not like that. The things you do there are related to stuff outside of the Order Hall, and they send you off to do other things.

Can other people enter your Class Order Hall?

Nervig: They're shared with your whole class. So all the monks will see each other, all the mages, et cetera.

St-Michel: Horde and Alliance are together also.

But opposing Horde and Alliance players won't be able to communicate with each other, obviously.

Nervig: Correct. Actually, on that note, Pandaren and Demon Hunters are able to communicate cross-faction now. When Demon Hunters metamorphosize, they speak Demonic. So two metamorphosized Demon Hunters can talk to each other. It was just an edge case where we were like, “Yeah, okay, that makes sense.” And Pandaren have always been an oddity. They know neutral Pandaren, and as soon as they choose Horde or Alliance, they forget the other one? So we were like, "Fine, we're letting that line be crossed. Let Pandaren all speak Pandaren."

Metamorphosized Demon Hunters will be able to speak to each other, regardless of Horde/Alliance allegiances
Metamorphosized Demon Hunters will be able to speak to each other, regardless of Horde/Alliance allegiances

From what we’ve seen so far, Demon Hunters seem way more mobile than any existing class. What was it like trying to build out those mechanics?

Garraga: Our game was never designed with any sort of movement ability system for player-based movements, so it's very conservative in that end. A lot of our engineers had to basically look at the game, the way our engine worked, and make it do what an action game would do: double jumps, glides, and all sorts of almost twitch-based gameplay. We didn't even know if it was going to work. There was a moment when an engineer said, "Well, I got everything you wanted except the ability for you to change direction mid-double jump." I was like, "Okay, well, I guess we can't win them all." Then I went in and played it and I'm like, "What are you talking about? It did work." It was almost supernatural that we got it all in there.

Will Legion update or alter the rest of the core gameplay in any way?

It was almost supernatural that we got it all in there.

Luis Garraga, Lead Game Designer

Garraga: We have basically looked at every system in the game, and many of them that were showing their age have gotten upgrades. New PvP system, new profession system–one of the coolest things is the way that experience and leveling work in Legion. We have basically a world with five zones. Previously you would have to pick, “What are the two low level zones that I start the expansion with?” Now we have world-scaling, which basically allows us to say: If you go into Azuna at level 100, it'll be level 100 for you, but if you do Azuna last and your friend is level 108, you can group up together. It'll be 108 for him, 100 for you, and you will both contribute and you will both get appropriate awards.

It lets us leverage the whole world for the end game. Previously we'd do an expansion with a continent and a little bit of that continent was suitable for the end game. Now, with world quests, we have the entirety of the Broken Isles for players to do quests and get rewards. The rewards keep scaling and they stay pretty competitive with dungeons.

Nervig: There's a lot of under-the-hood magic that's going on so that it just works. You don't have to worry about it. You can just be a level 102 grouped with a level 107, and the game just handles that right.

So will the levels of the enemies appear differently to you than they would to your teammates?

The Broken Isles houses five zones
The Broken Isles houses five zones

Nervig: Yeah, if I'm level 102, I'll see the creatures and they'll look like level 102 to me. If [my teammate] is 107, they'll be 107 to her. Her fireball will do the right amount of damage, my backstab will do the right amount of damage and take the right amount of health off the mob. It all just magically works. And if [another teammate] is healing us, it works fine too.

And it works for multiple varying levels?

Nervig: Yes. [In] the pre-launch content that has invasions happening right now, you can be all the way down as low as level 15 and be grouped with a level 100 player and it works fine.

WoW's been around for so long. Why introduce this now? Was it a technical limitation?

Nervig: Pretty much a technical limitation. Doing that is a new concept to us. It's been considered and brought up before, but it's been like a neat dream. But how would we even make that work? But we finally looked at it and did the due diligence on it to figure out how it would work, what the implications would be, what impact it would have, and said,“Hey, we can do this.” So we did.

Can you explain more about Legion's follower system and how that works?

Nervig: Significant differences there from Garrison, which had many different followers. Class Order Hall followers are a small subset of major heroes that you have more interaction with. You can still send them on missions, but you'll also have a slot for one of them to be your combat ally. So when you're outdoors in Broken Isles, that one will be assisting you.

If you don't want anything in your way, you don't want that follower-type gameplay, you can pick one that just runs in and stuns everything, then runs out, and that's your only interaction with it. And that's a cool ability for you to effectively have. Or you can have one that goes to the full extent of being a tank for you.

Druid Order Hall
Druid Order Hall

So they function like a pet in a way.

Nervig: Yeah…kind of.

Are they around with you all the time, even when you're back in Azeroth?

Nervig: No, just in Broken Isles.

How do you gain new followers?

Nervig: The Class Order Hall storyline will introduce them to you. You can only get them through that storyline.

St-Michel: That's what makes it a lot more personal and related to your classes. You've definitely heard of this person before if you've played your character a lot and you're really into the lore of your class. You'll see them and they'll go out on actual quest lines with you too, in some instances.

Nervig: They are class-specific. I played a whole lot of Legion beta on a monk, and I had Li Li and Monkey King assisting me. There are major characters in the lore assisting you.

Are there Horde/Alliance-specific followers?

Nervig: No, they are neutral ones.

Have you learned any other lessons from previous expansions that changed the way you approached Legion?

Suramar's quests open up after hitting level 110.
Suramar's quests open up after hitting level 110.

Garraga: Our fans held our feet to the fire a little bit [because] there might not have been enough content for them to do in Warlords for their play style. There was a lot of raiding content, a lot of PvP stuff to do, but some people wanted a little bit more. We didn't support Warlords enough with updating the content that players had at their disposal, especially at the end game. Players ran out of stuff to do. I don't think that there was an aggressive enough patch schedule. That's what I want to promise our players: we will be very aggressive with making sure that there's content on the table, and we should not see a content drought like we saw before. Even as we're getting ready for players to play Legion, we're already working on stuff that's going to very rapidly get put in the content pipeline for them.

St-Michel: You also have the level 110 zones that open up. So hitting the level cap, you're not even close to the end. You have Suramar, which just opened up. You still have your artifact that you're levelling. There's a lot of content to just going past level 110.

Which actually brings us to the new Artifact Weapons–can you tell us a little bit about what those are and how they work?

Garraga: So players might be familiar with legendary quest lines from before where some classes got special quests to go and get a very special weapon unique to their class. For Legion, we did one quest line for every class spec. That means mages have three individual acquisition lines for each of their specs. Druids have four. Once again, one for each of their specs. A very, very hand-tailored story about how you get the weapon. Very specialized powers that come along with this weapon. Then as you grow in power, the weapon grows in power with you. It's basically the classes' version of Excalibur.

From what I understand, these weapons are not going to carry over into the next expansion, should one ever come. Can you comment on the thinking behind that decision?

Garraga: In a way, it gives us permission to make these weapons as awesome as we want them to be. If there's anything about the powers that we really like and feels like this should be core to the class, we have the ability to move that skill over to the main class. If right off the bat we said, “This is something we have to carry over,” you would see a much narrower field of design space [and] much more conservative powers. Some of the talents at the end of each branch of the tree are very powerful and they change the way that you play, so we want to treat them a little bit as experimental. In a way, it's a way for us to try new things without having that commitment of [being] married to this idea from here on out forever.

Artifact Weapons themselves will disappear after Legion, but the skins will remain.
Artifact Weapons themselves will disappear after Legion, but the skins will remain.

Like Garrisons, for example, was the first time we said, "Hey, we really want to try this feature, but we're not sure we want to try it out forever." I think that paid off because everything about them felt very integral to Warlords of Draenor, but by the time Warlords was done, we were kind of like, "Okay, Garrisons had their place, but we want to move on." Had we said garrisons are a feature of the game rather than the expansion, we would have a very cumbersome system to have to upkeep and facelift over and over again. This is a new model that we like better.

So will all Artifact Weapons disappear completely before the next expansion, even if players invest time in leveling them up?

Garraga: For players that did level up their Artifact Weapons and unlocked the special looks and all that, they earned those transmogs, so they can make future weapons almost like a badge of prestige. Say, "Hey, I was part of Legion, and I unlocked this prestige skin."

What was the rationale behind the decision to remove stat bonuses from gear when players enter PvP arenas?

Nervig: To ease the barrier of entry to PvP so you don't feel like you're way behind if you're not up to date on full PvP gear. We wanted to get more people PvP'ing. Also to be more fair, so that we could balance and tune classes based on the gear stats that we assigned them. For example, if [Warlock's] Destruction mastery is overpowered in PvP, we'll just give them less mastery on their PvP set of stats.

We will be very aggressive with making sure that there's content on the table, and we should not see a content drought like we saw before.

Luis Garraga, Lead Game Designer

Now that Legion’s almost here, I wanted to ask about the long-term future of World of Warcraft. Do you think there's ever going to come a point where the team decides, "We're going to do one more expansion, we're going to wrap everything up in some way, and we're going to put an end cap on this as opposed to letting it fade out the way so many MMOs do"?

Garraga: It's a very hard question to answer. We have generations of players that will basically have grown up playing World of Warcraft. You imagine one of those kids gets to grow up and work on the game, bringing that fresh new take on things. I'm sure there will be a time when we pass the torch, but it's a game that instils such passion in people that, at least in the near future, I don't see that point of just calling it quits.In terms of momentum–and in terms of the energy that we and our community have for the game–this is the expansion I've been the most excited about. This is an expansion where we have gotten to do basically everything we wanted, from the new class to all the new features. We had systems before that we weren't happy with. We just said, "Our players deserve better." As long as we keep doing that, we hope that our players will continue to reward us with playing the game.


Here’s All the Reqs for Halo 5’s Anvil’s Legacy DLC

After announcing Halo 5's new Anvil's Legacy DLC this week, developer 343 Industries has now released the full Req lineup, detailing the expansion's new maps, weapons, items, and more.

As announced previously, the new maps are Temple (Warzone Assault) and Mercy (Arena), the latter of which is a reimagining of Halo 4's Haven map. Some of the new weapons include the Tactical Magnum, as well as Wicked Grasp and Berserker's Claw, which are classified as rare and ultra-rare respectively.

Halo 5 senior systems designer Dan Wiksten shared more insight on the new assaults cannons in 343's newest weekly blog post, which you can find below the video.


Assault Cannon: Wicked Grasp

"Need to protect a base against infantry? The Wicked Grasp should make it easy to hold on and defend. It fires a burst of homing plasma shots that will drop a Spartan really quick. The projectiles have a slower velocity than most UNSC weapons, so effective range is diminished and the weapon is best used at short to mid-range."

Assault Cannon: Berserker's Claw

"Equally effective against infantry as well as medium vehicles, the Berserker’s Claw requires a short charge up before it can be fired, but does fire projectiles that will explode on impact and possibly take out a cluster of targets with one shot. The projectiles also track flying vehicles, and are a great counter to early vehicle play."

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2

In other Halo 5 news, Microsoft also confirmed this week that the game's Forge tools will be released on September 8, the same day that Anvil's Legacy comes out. For more, check out the PC requirements here. 343 will talk more about Anvil's Legacy and show it off during a livestream event on September 6.

Additionally, Microsoft announced a new Halo PC app and canceled Halo Online.

Halo 5's other expansions included The Battle of Shadow and Light (November), Cartographer's Gift (December), Infinity's Armor (January), Hammer Storm (February), Ghosts of Meridian (April), Memories of Reach (May), Hog Wild (May), and Warzone Firefight (June).