It’s that time of year again. We’ve reached October, which means Overwatch’s Halloween celebration is in full swing. The Terror event, which just went live today, has its share of special treats, such as the wave-based horde mode Junkenstein’s Revenge, alongside new Halloween-themed skins, emotes, and voice lines. Every year, Blizzard raises the bar with its Halloween designs, making it a true contender for the best event skins. While the first year capitalized on its Junkenstein theme of basic (but super cool) Halloween fare, subsequent years have thrown us some nice surprises, from the far out Totally ’80s Zarya to the Cthulhu-inspired cultist Zenyatta. As the skins are the main attraction, we decided to rank all of them from worst to best. After much deliberation and compromise, here’s what we came up with as a staff for our favorite and not-so favorites.
Update 12/03/21 7:19 p.m. Central time: A new report from The Washington Post further details today's layoffs at Raven Software. According to the outlet, "at least a dozen" contractors on Raven's QA team have been let go. As the outlet points out, that's about one-third of the QA department's overall testers. More contractors are expected to be told between today, December 3, and next Wednesday, December 8, if they're being promoted or laid-off, Washington Post writes. According to the report, Activision-Blizzard has ended its staffing partnership with the company Tapfin. It will be expanding its partnership instead with the company Volt. Contractors not affected by today's layoffs will now be Volt employees. They will also receive a $1.50 raise, bringing their hourly total up to $18.50 per hour, and increased bonuses and benefits, employees told Washington Post. Employees affected by layoffs will have their contracts ended on January 28, though according to the outlet's report, people are allowed to leave the company earlier if they so choose. Some have already chosen to do just that, the outlet says. Read The Washington Post's full report at the link. Original story: Raven Software, one of the primary development studios behind Activision's annual Call of Duty series, has laid off a number of people within its QA department – some of which recently relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, where the company is based. News of the story first broke on Twitter, where Raven team members began posting about the layoffs, criticizing the company's decision, and asking people to reach out with any potential work for those affected. As of this writing, it's unclear how many people were laid off. "Our QA team does incredible work but this will not only increase their workload but crush morale," one Raven employee said on Twitter. In a separate tweet, they said the layoffs occurred today after people "were promised, for months, that Activision was working towards a pay restructure to increase their wages." "This is sickening," another employee posted to Twitter. "I've watched my colleagues one by one say they're being let go after being promised that things would be better. The devs being fired are star workers and amazing people, let go just to save a couple bucks on everyone else's promotion. #FireBobbyKotick instead," they said, referencing the ongoing issues surrounding Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who it was recently reported had known for years, as well as neglected to inform its board of directors, about the company's issues with sexual misconduct. According to Raven employees, some of the members of Raven's QA department affected by today's layoffs had recently moved to Madison, Wisconsin, for their positions. One employee says some people had paid for the move "out of their own pockets." According to employees and further reported by The Washington Post's Shannon Liao, the final day for employees terminated will be January 28, 2022. "We're all reeling from this," one employee said. "Lot of tears. Lots of people terrified for their future. Lot of amazing, highly competent testers getting laid off after YEARS of crunch after crunch after crunch. I'm as furious as I am shattered." This story is still developing. Game Informer has reached out to Activision for comment and will update the story should we hear back. If anyone affected by today’s layoffs would like to speak with Game Informer, the writer of this piece can be reached via email: [email protected] Hester is also available via Signal. Direct Message him on Twitter for his Signal number. GI can guarantee anonymity to anyone requesting.
After playing around with cards and mechanics exclusive to Magic: The Gathering Arena, Wizards of the Coast is expanding into supporting a new digital-only format called Alchemy. This new format and everything that comes with it will launch on December 9. Alchemy is built on the Standard format and its yearly rotation of sets. That means when the time comes for a year's worth of cards to drop out of Standard, they will lose legality in Alchemy as well. However, a pool of new, Arena exclusive cards will be added a few weeks after each Standard-legal set launches, meaning we'll see new batches of digital cards every few months. Players will find these via Alchemy booster packs or by cashing in wildcards like any other card in Arena. Our first Alchemy infusion will play off of the most recent pair of Innistrad sets and is called Alchemy: Innistrad, bringing 63 cards into the client. Most if not all of the cards will feature rules and mechanics that are more at home in a virtual card duel than at the kitchen table. Jumpstart: Historic Horizons introduced Arena players to mechanics like Perpetual, Seek, and creating non-token spells out of thin air; rules that make permanent changes to cards, find cards in your library without the need to shuffle afterward or go around the deckbuilding considerations of the game. Alchemy will be playing in this space yet again. You'll see creatures that will affect cards drawn on the turn to reduce or increase a spell's cost, or ones that may care about who took the first turn in the game. A new rules text word called "draft" will work a lot like Hearthstone's Discover, allowing a player the choice of adding one of three cards (chosen randomly from a larger pool) to their hand. The second huge change for Alchemy is the addition of rebalanced cards with different text or mana costs from the originally-printed Standard card. This concept was tested during a very quick Mirror, Mirror event over the summer. For example, the green artifact Esika's Chariot, which has been a strong force in Standard for months, will now have a lower Crew cost but will enter the battlefield creating one 2/2 cat token instead of two. Because Wizards now has the option to rebalance problem cards, there will technically be no bannings in the Alchemy format. Instead, cards will be tweaked to an appropriate power level. Omnath, Locus of Creation will now be one mana more expensive to cast, and its abilities have been toned down slightly. Rebalanced cards will exist separate from the original printings and will feature an Arena "A" at the bottom of the card and next to the spell's name at the top. This powershifting of cards won't just be a tool to bring down a strong effect but is being used to make cards better as well. Cosmos Elixer, seen below, now adds a Scry 1 effect to its life gain trigger. Cards introduced through Alchemy and rebalanced cards will be making their way to Historic and Historic Brawl legality, making these formats still the place to play all of your digital collection from throughout the last few years. The new alternate Standard, Alchemy, and Alchemy: Innistrad will hit MTG Arena on December 9.
Halo Infinite: 343 Industries Is Working To Add Fiesta, SWAT, And Free-For-All Playlists Before End Of Year
343 Industries is preparing for the launch of the Halo Infinite campaign next week, but it’s also kept multiplayer feedback and improvements as one of its top priorities. The team recently updated its multiplayer progression system to give players increased XP for the first six matches of any given day in response to calls from the community for battle pass progression to be sped up. Another popular ask from the community involves playlists, or specifically, the lack of dedicated free-for-all and SWAT playlists, amongst others such as a Slayer playlist. Click here to watch embedded media Halo community manager John Junyszek released an update on Twitter today in regards to playlists, and he said some highly-requested ones are on the way. “We’ve been reading your feedback, and we’re working on plans to add Fiesta, Tactical Slayer (SWAT), and Free-For-All playlists as we speak,” Junyszek said on Twitter. “They won’t land by Dec 8, but the team is pushing to get them in before the end of the year.” Junyszek continued and said that 343’s goal for events, such as the recent samurai-themed Fracture: Tenrai event, is to try new modes prior to adding to playlists. This seems to be the case with Halo Infinite’s Fiesta playlist, which debuted during the Fracture: Tenrai event. Junyszek said the team will be monitoring the community’s feedback after creating a Fiesta, Tactical Slayer, and Free-For-All playlist later this month. A Social Slayer playlist (with multiple variations) is also in the works (we see this request the most), but we won't be able to get that one ready until after the holidays. We hope you can understand and enjoy the ones that make it in before the team takes a well-deserved break! — John Junyszek (@Unyshek) December 3, 2021 He also said that a Social Slayer playlist, which will feature multiple variations of Halo’s classic deathmatch mode, is also in the works, but that such a playlist won’t be ready until after the holidays. “We hope you can understand and enjoy the ones that make it in before the team takes a well-deserved break,” Junyszek said. For more about Halo Infinite, read about how Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will receive monthly multiplayer bonuses starting next week, and then check out this exclusive side-by-side video showcasing the infamous 2020 Halo Infinite campaign demo alongside what it looks like today. Are you excited about these new playlists? Let us know in the comments below!
Drinkbox Studios has revealed that it is releasing a demo for its upcoming action RPG, Nobody Saves The World, next week. More specifically, the demo will hit Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Steam on December 7 as part of The Game Awards Festival. Like many of the demos playable in previous Game Awards festivals, this Nobody Saves The World sneak peek will only be available for a limited time. Click image thumbnails to view larger version “This demo will allow players to experience the opening hours of the game, giving them a preview of the silly and creative form changing action the game is all about,” a press release about the demo reads. “Players will also be able to play the demo with a friend, as the demo will support online co-op within the same platform ecosystem.” The press release also teases a sooner-rather-than-later release date for Nobody Saves The World, although an exact date is not given. Drinkbox says the game will be out “VERY early in 2022” on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Steam, and Xbox’s cloud gaming platform. It will also hit Xbox Game Pass. In Nobody Saves The World, you will control a “featureless nobody” that can transform into a slug, a ghost, a dragon, and more in this game from the creators of Guacamelee. “Complete quests to discover and swap between 15+ varied and distinct Forms,” the press release reads. “Mix and match abilities in unexpected ways to unlock and complete even more challenging quests. Explore a vast overworld – on your own or with a friend online – while clearing shape-shifting dungeons in an effort to stop The Calamity and save the world.” Nobody Saves The World was announced back in March, and it quickly gained traction as yet another exciting indie from Drinkbox Studios. We learned back in August that it’s launching in early 2022 – now we know it’s launching in very early 2022 – and it features support for online co-op. For more, watch this New Gameplay Today about Nobody Saves The World. Are you excited for Nobody Saves The World? Let us know in the comments below!
As we approach the end of 2021, every podcast and major outlet is starting to reflect on the best the year had to offer. This week, Brian invites Game Informer associate editor Jill Grodt to talk about the best indie games that came to Switch over the course of 2021. The pair runs down a ton of indie games you can find on the eShop, giving you a wide variety of titles to help you potentially find something new that you might have missed earlier in the year. If you'd like to follow the people from this episode on Twitter, hit the following links: Brian Shea (@brianpshea), Jill Grodt (@Finruin) The All Things Nintendo podcast is a weekly show where we can celebrate, discuss, and break down all the latest games, news, and announcements from the industry's most recognizable name. Each week, Brian is joined by different guests to talk about what's happening in the world of Nintendo. Along the way, they'll share personal stories, uncover hidden gems in the eShop, and even look back on the classics we all grew up with. A new episode hits every Friday! Be sure to subscribe to All Things Nintendo on your favorite podcast platform. The show is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. 00:00:00 – Introduction 00:01:36 – First Nintendo Game/Favorite Nintendo Game 00:06:53 – Why Are Indie Games Rarely "Favorite Games of All Time"? 00:15:02 – Jill Grodt's "Fall for Indies" Column 00:18:43 – The eShop Gems of the Year 00:20:22 – Blue Fire 00:21:58 – Unpacking 00:26:48 – Death's Door 00:29:40 – Unsighted 00:31:50 – Toem 00:36:07 – Lost in Random 00:41:14 – Dodgeball Academia 00:43:31 – Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion 00:45:43 – The Forgotten City 00:50:10 – The Binding of Isaac: Repentance 00:53:29 – Hoa 00:56:31 – Griftlands 00:57:55 – Dreamscaper 01:01:57 – Eastward 01:04:11 – Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights 01:05:28 – Loop Hero 01:09:18 – Tails of Iron 01:11:06 – Olija 01:12:31 – Wytchwood 01:18:12 – Definitive Ranking: Upcoming Indie Games If you'd like to get in touch with the All Things Nintendo podcast, you can do so by emailing [email protected], tweeting to Brian (@BrianPShea), or by joining the official Game Informer Discord server. You can do that by linking your Discord account to your Twitch account and subscribing to the Game Informer Twitch channel. From there, find the All Things Nintendo channel under "Community Spaces." For more Game Informer podcasts, be sure to check out The Game Informer Show, which covers the weekly happenings of the video game industry, and Video Gameography with host Ben Reeves, which explores the history of video games – one series at a time!