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E3 2018 diary, day two: Zombies, zombies, and more bloody zombies

Here’s our round-up of some of the things we saw and did on day 2 of E3 2018. Mostly we played zombie games, for some reason.

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E3 2018 Overkills the Walking Dead

Here’s our round-up of some of the things we saw and did on day 2 of E3 2018. Mostly we played zombie games, for some reason.

Evening, nerds. This E3 2018 diary is coming to you a little later in the day because we’ve been hanging out at The Mix, an indie event that featured indie games, snacks and drinks on the roof of a downtown LA hotel. The roof also has a swimming pool on it, so we’re counting that as a rooftop LA pool party. No we didn’t go in; we’re not really the skinny dipping types, and we’re pretty sure the security guards would’ve thrown us out. Anyway.

This morning was less eventful than yesterday. Nobody lost anything on the way to the convention centre (or indeed, before we left for the convention centre) so travel went off without a hitch. This was good, as our rescheduled appointment from yesterday – to see Dying Light 2, with Techland – was at 9am.

Zombie game count so far: 1.

Once we had changed our underwear, we head over to the Sony press area, in which we play Spider-Man, simultaneously. We are Spider-Men, if you like. As ever, we’ll have detailed thoughts on all the things we played over the next few days, but in short, Spider-Man is as impressive as it looks.

Next, we played Days Gone which, as hard as we try to take it seriously, always seems to descend into Benny Hill with zombies. We’re sure it’s a very serious horror game but the “Oh cock, my traps didn’t work and now a horde of fast zombies is chasing me round and round a parked truck” never ceases to be hilarious. We don’t know if “hilarious” is the tone they’re going for. It has a nice motorcycle, though.

Zombie game count for the day: 2.

Next up, we visited the Indiecade area, a collection of indie games on the E3 show floor. Which, incidentally, is pronounced in-dee-cay-de, not in-dee-cah-day – the person we know who pronounces it that way knows who they are. There were lots of interesting things on show there, with a surprisingly high number of VR games; indie devs seem to be embracing virtual reality for more experimental titles, even if mainstream publishers are struggling to tap that market effectively.

The giant chopstick food preparation game looked like fun, but we spent the most time with Desert Child, a hoverbike racing game combined with a management simulator. The aim of the game is to build your wealth and fame as a hoverbike racer so that you can resettle in a new life on Mars. We resist saying “Get your ass to Mars” to the booth demonstrator every time the objective comes up. We can’t say for sure if the presenter knows that we’re biting our tongue, but we think it’s probably appreciated. It’s also got a really nice custom arcade cabinet on the show floor, and a fun, competitive two-player mode.

We retire to the media room to write up some stories, like this one on the influences behind Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Once again, we eat lunch boxes because they are available, in spite of not actually being hungry. Not everyone in the media room is working as hard as us, however, and we struggle to concentrate over the buzzword bingo, humble bragging, and out-and-out bragging going on nearby. Another journo, with whom we’ve been stoic, quiet table buddies with for a little while, rolls his eyes at us and pops in his headphones. Headphones help a little, but it’s still hard to concentrate.

One of the team leaves the convention centre for an appointment off-site, which leads to a strange turn of events. First of all, there’s this:

And then there’s this.

All in all, it was a very odd walk, but the game was enjoyable. Upon returning to the media centre the not-so-humble bragging continues apace, but has moved to another table to try and impress others with higher status. It brought to mind some primate behaviour we’d seen in documentaries, like male bonobo monkeys. Mostly, we were thankful they weren’t waving their penises around. We charged our devices and readied ourselves for more demos, which included F1 2018 and Metro Exodus, among others.

Metro isn’t explicitly “zombies” but we’re still counting it: that puts the zombie game count at 3 so far. Don’t forget we’ve already seen Resident Evil 2 and The Last of Us Part 2 on previous days, as well. A quick stop off at Gearbox saw us playing an as-yet-unnamed competitive shooter, before we headed off for our final appointment of the day.

We ran into this poor soul en route:

And, of course, we were on our way to another zombie game: Overkill’s The Walking Dead. This is less like Benny Hill and more like The Walking Left 4 Dead, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we are quite tired of zombies by this point. And also, just quite tired. The zombie game count for the day stands at 4.

Thoroughly tired of zombies and guns, we strolled over to The Mix, to play something a little different. Also, to partake of the free drinks and snacks, but mostly to spend some time talking to a group of very enthusiastic and diverse indie developers. At the end of a very long day, towards the end of a very long week, a social mixer is both exhausting and – because of the company we’re in – energising.

As it stands, however, we’re quite tired now.

Goodnight, nerds. We’ll see you all again tomorrow, when this insanity comes to a blessed end at last.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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New Xbox One releases: March 2-6, 2020

Just four games are on next week’s lineup of new Xbox One releases.

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New Xbox One game releases

Here is next week’s lineup of brand new Xbox One releases. Please don’t be excited.

Well, this is awkward. Just four new games are currently set for release on Xbox One in the next week. We can make it five if we include the new Warlords of New York expansion and bundle for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.

The add-on includes new exotics, gears, and skills, plus an increased level cap and revamped progression system. New players will also appreciate a boost to level 30, and we’re keen to see the expansion’s New York location and extended endgame.

Xbox One gamers can also look forward to RTS action game Amoeba Battle, and a port of the 2015 visual novel, Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet. Completing next week’s roster of new games is 60 Seconds and Baron: Fur Is Gonna Fly.

So there you have it. If you need more games to play, don’t forget to check out the latest additions to Xbox Game Pass.

Every new release can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the confirmed lineup.

New Xbox One games – March 2-6, 2020

Monday, March 2, 2020

  • Amoeba Battle

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Warlords of New York Expansion
  • Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

  • Baron: Fur Is Gonna Fly

Thursday, March 5, 2020

  • 60 Seconds

Friday, March 6, 2020

  • No releases

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for news of the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 games. Follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter for more video game news headlines.

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Last chance to save in the Nintendo eShop Blockbuster Sale

Save on big Switch games – including Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Witcher III – in the Nintendo eShop Blockbuster sale.

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Nintendo eShop Blockbuster sale

Here’s your final call to save on big Switch games – including Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Odyssey, and The Witcher III – in the Nintendo eShop Blockbuster sale.

It’s not often that first-party Switch games get big juicy discounts on the Nintendo eShop, but the Blockbuster Sale in Europe is doing just that. Make sure you take a look before the promotion ends on March 1.

Some of the Switch’s most popular games are discounted by 33%, including Super Mario Maker 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Strategy RPG Fire Emblem: Three Houses is also reduced to coincide with the release of the Cindered Shadows DLC.

Some big third-party titles are also on offer. The recently updated port of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt is reduced by 30%, as is Diablo III and Overwatch. The price of Mortal Kombat 11 is also sliced by 60%.

If you’re looking for a good couch-co-op game, ColdWood Interactive’s Unravel Two is also highly recommended.

Visit the Nintendo eShop in your country for the full lineup of Blockbuster sale titles, and check out some of our highlights below.

Nintendo eShop Blockbuster sale

  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses – 33% off
  • Overwatch: Legendary Edition – 30% off
  • Super Mario Maker 2 – 33% off
  • Super Mario Odyssey – 33% off
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – 50% off
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – 33% off
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI – 50% off
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection – 30% off
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete Edition – 30% off
  • Unravel Two – 75% off
  • Team Sonic Racing – 30% off
  • NBA 2K20 – 50% off
  • Lego CITY Undercover – 70% off
  • Mortal Kombat 11 – 60% off

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Procedural mountain biking game Descenders adds hand-crafted bike parks

You can’t fault the hustle of Descenders developer RageSquid and publisher No More Robots.

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Descenders free hand-crafted bike parks update

You can’t fault the hustle of Descenders developer RageSquid and publisher No More Robots.

The procedural downhill mountain biking game has been one of the most frequently-updated and best-maintained video games of the past couple of years. The game was built and improved upon during early access, and then they just carried on in the same vein.

And yes, these updates have all been free. You lot don’t deserve RageSquid. They are good eggs.

That’s not to say we were entirely enamoured with Descenders when we reviewed it in early access. (And yes, there are arguments for and against reviewing games while they’re still in development. Our argument is that if you can pay money for a game it’s “out” and we might, therefore, want to critique it. It’s kind of our job.)

Mechanically and visually, Descenders is great. It’s an absolute rush to play and those end-of-section “bosses” are ridiculous. But the roguelite nature rubbed us up the wrong way and we often felt irritated by the limited lives and progress gated behind procedural generation. (Also, we hated the music. Sorry. We know that’s very subjective, but still.)

Then, just as we were about to hit publish, RageSquid pushed an update to Descenders that included a freeride mode. That helped our impression a bit, but do you know what we really wanted? To play hand-crafted tracks rather than procedurally-generated ones, and get really good at them. Procedural generation is cool and all – and we can see the benefit in replay value – but to our mind, there’s no substitute for the hand of the creator.

Basically, we wanted the gameplay of Descenders with fixed levels. Tony Hawk’s Pro Mountainbiker, if you will. Then RageSquid pushed another update to Descenders in October 2019 that included a modding toolset, and all bets were off.

It would appear we’re not the only ones who appreciated the addition of the ability to create hand-crafted tracks in Descenders. The feature has proved so popular that the latest update – which is available today on Steam – adds a selection of hand-crafted bike parks to the game.

“It became clear that players loved the crafted bike parks that modders were creating,” says Mike Rose, director of No More Robots.

“For this reason, we’ll now be bringing brand new, hand-crafted bike parks to the game on a monthly basis, starting with a selection from Descenders art director Roan Albers, and bike park designer Spe. In particular, the fully kitted out Stoker Bike Park is now available to ride with friends, complete with numerous new trails to explore.”

To celebrate this welcome addition, Descenders is free to play this weekend on Steam. If you like it, you can also buy it at a 40% discount for the duration.


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Gearbox reveals Borderlands 3 Steam release date, next DLC

During its PAX East stage show, Gearbox reveals the next DLC for Borderlands 3. (And announces when the game will release on Steam.)

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Borderlands 3 Steam Hammerlock Wainwright DLC

During its PAX East stage show, Gearbox reveals the next DLC for Borderlands 3. (And announces when the game will release on Steam.)

Much like Metro Exodus, Borderlands 3 caused a bit of a stir when its Epic Game Store exclusivity was announced. Not that it should be the case. A platform holder offering developers a bigger slice (and even more money to tempt them to the store) shouldn’t be so contentious. But this concerns nerds on the internet, so of course, the sky was falling.

Metro Exodus recently released on Steam, a year after its release on the Epic Game Store. That makes sense. Exclusivity deals often last for a year in the console world.

But today, Gearbox announced that Borderlands 3’s Epic Game Store PC exclusivity will end on March 13, 2020. That’s just six months after the game originally released, on September 13, 2019.

Prepare yourselves for a torrent of “YouTube analysis” that states that the game is failing, or that it hasn’t sold well on Epic, or that it can’t survive without Steam, incidentally. And prepare to ignore it. All we can say for certain is that Gearbox is releasing Borderlands 3 on Steam. We don’t know exactly how it’s performed on the Epic Game Store, but 2K and Gearbox were pretty bullish about its figures. Six months might have been the plan all along. (TL;DR: Ignore armchair analysts and shouty YouTube folks. In general, obviously, but also in this instance.)

But that’s not all the Borderlands 3 news from Gearbox’s stage presentation at PAX East. There’s more! The game’s next DLC, the horrifically unwieldily named Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock DLC, releases on March 26, 2020.

You’ll “reunite with old friends and team up with some eerie new characters to help true love triumph over eldritch horror,” apparently, as Sir Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs are due to marry. The vault hunters – teaming up with Gaige and, of course, Claptrap – will have to save the day, and the nuptials, from tentacle monsters.

In case you missed it, that’s a gay wedding in Borderlands 3. That’s very cool.


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Improve your Zzz-Power with this lovely Pokémon Sleep merch

Snuggle up with Snorlax with a new range of Pokémon Sleep clothing, lamps, and alarm clocks.

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Pokémon Sleep “Snorlax used Rest” lamp

Snuggle up with Snorlax with this delightful new range of official Pokémon Sleep merchandise.

We don’t have a confirmed release date for the upcoming mobile game Pokémon Sleep, but the game’s new range of official merchandise from online retailer Merchoid is a good indicator that it’s coming soon.

Developed by Japanese studio Select Button, Pokémon Sleep was announced last May for iOS and Android. The game tracks the sleep patterns of its players using the Pokémon Go Plus+ peripheral and then transfers that data into some kind of game.

We love Pokémon as much as the next Pikachu, but we’re not entirely sure we want to gamify our sleep to prove our fan credentials. But, then, we’re old. Just watch it become another phenomenon.

In any case, Merchoid’s new range of official merchandise is really rather nice. The clothing line includes t-shirts, hoodies, sleep masks, all adorned with Pokémon favourites like Eevee, Pikachu, Charmander, and Jigglypuff. The sleep masks look particularly luxurious, and the “Snorlax Used Rest” lamp (pictured above) is pure genius.

Pokémon Sleep Merchandise

Head over to the Merchoid website for the full range of new Pokémon Sleep goodies.


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We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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