Halloween
19 Comments

Ghosts in the machine? Using the Kinect to hunt for spirits

The room is completely dark, save for the soft light of a computer monitor. A solitary man stands in the middle of the old, musty foyer, surrounded by an audience of several ancient pieces of furniture. The silence is oppressive. Through the computer monitor, another man — another paranormal investigator — watches a stick-figure representation of his colleague. At first it's just the one body, a fluorescent green collection of sticks meant to represent human legs and arms. Then without warning, a second, smaller figure pops into view. The man in the room is still alone, but this second tiny figure moves across the screen, seemingly reaching out to touch the man's own, corporeal figure. Then it blinks out of existence. If you've seen the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures, you've seen...
News
7 Comments

Shadow of Mordor's Dwarven hunter was inspired by Wolverine and 'Jaws'

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's first downloadable content expansion will focus on one of the game's smaller heroes — Torvin the Dwarf. Warning: There are spoilers for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ahead. If you haven't finished the game, you may want to hold off reading. And if you forge ahead — remember, you were warned. Shadow of Mordor design director Michael de Plater told Polygon the decision to wrap the narrative DLC around Torvin stems from the team desiring equal air time for each of Middle-earth's races. De Plater explained that each major kind of being has a presence in the game — Celebrimbor is an Elf, the Wizard Saruman makes himself known through Queen Marwen, and we have the Maiar Sauron. In J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, Maiar are powerful spirits that aid the Valar,...
Cover Story
Issue 01

Oct. 27, 2014

The Plan to Reinvent Call of Duty

Go behind the scenes to see how Sledgehammer Games spent the past three years building Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

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News
30 Comments

Xbox Entertainment Studios heads leave amid studio layoffs

Microsoft's attempt at establishing its own entertainment studio under the Xbox brand is no more. According to a report in Variety, Xbox Entertainment Studios head Nancy Tellem and her second in command, Jordan Levin, are no longer with the studio after the last remaining employees were let go this week. The Xbox maker announced its plans to cut its entertainment studio, which was tasked with developing scripted and unscripted programming for Microsoft platforms, earlier this year. The cuts were part of a larger set of layoffs that would affect some 18,000 Microsoft employees. According to Variety, Tellem and Levin were working to "salvage" some existing Xbox Entertainment Studios projects and planned to work at the studio through the end of the year. In August, Tellem and her studio...
Opinion
26 Comments

Why Alien Isolation deserves to be as influential as the movies

I finished Alien: Isolation last weekend, after a glorious, 3-week slow burn with the game. Despite its issues (and it does have issues), I feel comfortable saying it's likely going to be my personal game of the year. More importantly, I think there's a lot to learn from it.Spoiler warning for Alien: Isolation ahead. Alien: Isolation is an intense first-person horror game set in the Alien universe, and it sets out to recreate the aesthetic — and the sweaty, tense experience — of the first film in the series. The best film in the series. It's a truly bold, risky, brilliant game that only fails when it remembers it's a video game. Alien: Isolation is a divisive game, for a number of good reasons. It's way too long, with obvious filler content. I put in around 28 hours. Most playthroughs...
News
66 Comments

Halo 2 Anniversary trailer shows off updated, beautiful cinematics

We've seen just how good Halo 2 looks moving at 60 frames-per-second at 1080p, and we've discussed how the more recent games in the series will be improved visually, but the latest trailer for Halo 2 Anniversary shows off the work that has been done specifically on the cutscenes. "A legend re-mastered, Halo 2 cinematic launch trailer features completely new cut-scenes created by Blur Studios," the description states. "Discover new story elements with extended cut scenes as Halo 2 Anniversary arrives on Xbox One." If you want to watch the multiplayer videos discussed above in true 60 fps, 1080p glory, they are available for download here and here.
Video
27 Comments

Final Fantasy Type-0's magical war could tear its world apart

Coinciding with the opening day of Paris Games Week, Square Enix released a new trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, introducing players to a new world and a new war. In the realm of Orience, a bloody and brutal war between nations could literally tear the world apart. The newest trailer for Type-0 showcases Orience and the various areas players' journey will take them through. As Class Zero fights to keep the peace (and stay alive), can they also keep their world intact? Final Fantasy Type-0 HD will launch on March 17, 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game will be accompanied with a demo for Final Fantasy 15.
News
252 Comments

Destiny's first expansion, The Dark Below, hits Dec. 9 and raises level cap to 32 (update)

Destiny will get its first drop of post-launch content Dec. 9, when the game's first expansion, The Dark Below, launches worldwide, developer Bungie announced today. As announced previously, The Dark Below is one of two expansions that Bungie currently has planned for Destiny; the other is House of Wolves, which will be available in 2015. Each one costs $19.99, and players can pick up Destiny's Expansion Pass to save $5 and get both for $34.99. The Dark Below will raise the Light level cap from 30 to 32 — with, of course, more endgame gear to earn in order for Guardians to get there — and add five additional bounty slots. Bungie said yesterday that a future patch will increase the number of bounties a Guardian can hold, so it's unclear if Destiny players will need to buy the expansion...
Top Games
All Games
Contest
38 Comments

Want your key to the Evolve Big Alpha? We've got 20,000

Here's how to get access to the Evolve beta: 1. Head to this link 2. Fill out the form using the code from our Facebook page (now live) and referral code "PolygonGoneHunting" 3. Keep an eye on your email for the code in the coming days If you're among the first 20,000 to complete those steps, you're in! ——- The multi-platform Evolve Big Alpha is going to be the hottest ticket in gaming this weekend, and we have 20,000 invitations to join in on the fun. Getting one is going to be simple, but you may have to be quick. We'll be publishing a code on our Facebook page that you'll need to grab, along with the referral code "PolygonGoneHunting," and the first 20,000 readers to redeem the offer right here will be let in on the console of their choice, or the PC. The only thing you need...
Deals
11 Comments

Walmart ramps up used game offers as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare arrives

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be available to buy a day early at 3,600 Walmart stores, the retail giant announced today. Walmart also announced it would begin selling used games in 1,700 stores. The Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition will be available to customers starting at 12:01 a.m. local time on Monday, Nov. 3. The game is scheduled to fully launch on Nov. 4 although the "Day Zero Edition" is also available via other retailers, when pre-ordered. Earlier this year, Walmart began accepting video game trade-ins. On Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, the company will offer 50 percent more for customers trading in any used video game when they purchase Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Customers can also receive double trade-in value when trading in any used video game and...
News
8 Comments

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's season pass gets you an extra multiplayer map at launch

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare publisher Activision announced the game's season pass today, releasing a trailer that shows off a bonus multiplayer map included in the package. The season pass comes with four add-ons — Havoc, Ascendance, Supremacy and Reckoning — for $50, which represents a $10 savings over buying each $15 DLC pack individually. Customers who purchase the season pass will receive instant access to an additional multiplayer map, Atlas Gorge, which is featured in today's trailer. The season pass also offers early access to bonus DLC weapons. Atlas Gorge is a reimagined version of the Pipeline map from 2007's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, although it takes place at a dam rather than a Ukrainian railyard. The map is also included in both of Advanced Warfare's special...
Quality Control
3 Comments

Lords of the Fallen is up on our game review podcast Quality Control

In each episode of Quality Control, Polygon managing editor Justin McElroy talks to a critic after they review a new game and allows them to add a little bit of extra context and insight. Why did they feel the way they did? What do they wish they had been able to discuss in more depth in their review? Also: Did they play it wrong? In this episode, we talk with Phil Kollar about his review of Lords of the Fallen which you can find right here. We'd love to know what you think in the comments below! Read the review Subscribe to the podcast (RSS) Subscribe on iTunes Email: qualitycontrol at polygon dot com Music: Goodwill by The Custodian of Records
News
72 Comments

Bungie makes Destiny's final Vault of Glass boss even harder

Destiny's latest patch, released today by developer Bungie, makes it tougher to take down the final boss of the raid — both for people who are trying to do it fair and square and for those who are using an exploit. Bungie previously announced its intention to fix what it referred to as a "bug" with the Atheon battle at the end of the Vault of Glass, the sole raid currently available in Destiny: the ability for players to defeat Atheon simply by knocking him off his platform. Patch 1.0.2.3 introduces "baby bumpers" to prevent that from happening. According to the patch notes, this update also changes the way the boss battle proceeds. Until now, Atheon periodically teleported the three players who were the farthest away from him through a portal. From this point forward, Atheon will...
Review
14 Comments
6.0

NBA Live 15 review: the rebound

Finding a fair standard by which NBA Live 15 can be judged is difficult. Holding this game to the standard of NBA 2K15 — which left it behind years ago — seems just as unfair as setting for it the low bar of NBA Live 14, which finally succeeded at simply getting something on shelves, but not by much. The series has been so badly mismanaged and EA Sports has broken so much trust that it makes calling NBA Live 15 a good game an uncomfortable statement. I went out on that limb two years ago after getting an early look at something that did appear intriguing; then we learned it was supposed to be a half-price downloadable title, and then it never even launched. NBA Live 15 is an understandable game with every mode of play I expect in a sports title, and nothing is broken. NBA Live 14...
Opinion
22 Comments

Sunset Overdrive perfected checkpoints by putting fun above logic

Sunset Overdrive is a game that focuses on the enjoyment of the player. Just moving around the in-game world can be a joyful experience as you grind and jump and string combos together to unlock in-game bonuses.It’s a game that knows how to cut out much of the bullshit that can hurt the enjoyment of that sort of game, and one of the things Insomniac Games handled nearly perfectly are the checkpoints. "We wanted them to be forgiving. We knew pretty early on that this was a game centered around fun," Drew Murray, Insomniac’s game director, told Polygon.  "And frankly, replaying the same thing over and over tends to not be that much fun."Checkpoints can be very hard to do well, and the technical challenges of enjoyable checkpoints are many. The trick in the case of Sunset Overdrive was to...
News
57 Comments

GTA 5's returning players will receive this 'exclusive content' on PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Grand Theft Auto 5 players returning to the game on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC will receive "exclusive content" for their loyalty, including new events, rewards, weapons and a murder mystery, developer Rockstar Games announced today. According to Rockstar, the events are "connected to activities designed for players to experience the game's massive world in new and exciting ways." GTA 5 will ship with new events across the open-world game that unlock new vehicles like the Dudo seaplane. New weapons include rail gun and a hatchet. Blaine County and Los Santos are also filled with new wildlife, and an accompanying Wildlife Photo Challenge will challenge players with cataloging the species. As a reward, they'll unlock the Kraken Sub. Compete in new Stock Car races, and...
News
14 Comments

Evolve video explains what you're up against when 'Big Alpha' begins this week

Evolve's "Big Alpha" test kicks off this week, and developer Turtle Rock Studios anticipates 100,000 people will get involved, playing more games on its first day than have been played so far in Evolve's development. To get everyone acclimated, 2K and Turtle Rock have begun a video series called "The Evolution of Evolve" and, with host Adam Sessler, the first episode catches everyone up on the development of a pure multiplayer game with two radically different sides. It takes a lot of work to balance a game like Evolve. Design director Chris Ashton and creative director Phil Robb discuss that process and how the game has remained largely consistent since Turtle Rock's earliest visions for it. A ton of work has gone into balancing the game, to make sure that some combination of four...
Review
108 Comments
7.5

Lords of the Fallen review: doppelganger

If Lords of the Fallen had a thesis, it would be that “derivative” doesn’t need to be a bad word. For the past five years, we’ve witnessed a resurgence in punishingly difficult fantasy action games, led by Japanese developer From Software and its Souls series. Many titles have gravitated toward lessons learned from games like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, but no one has so brashly and blatantly copied From’s successful formula until now. That part’s not so surprising, but Lords of the Fallen is a shocker in other ways. The balance between challenge and frustration in this type of game is delicate, as are the relationships between systems of loot, character growth and level design under the surface. It requires some real skill to not screw it up. I wouldn’t have expected that level...
News
34 Comments

Xbox One Domino's Pizza app reportedly on its way (updated)

Remember that Xbox 360 app that let you order Pizza Hut direct from your Xbox 360? According to online reports, Microsoft is planning an Xbox One pizza delivery app ... with Domino's. According to The Sunday Times, the Kinect-optimized app will merely require users to say, "Domino's, feed me!" before making the appropriate base and topping selections. The report says that an announcement will be made next month. Polygon has contacted Microsoft for comment. Last year, Microsoft and Pizza Hut partnered up to launch an app for Xbox Live that allowed users to order from the chain's menu directly through their Xbox 360. In its first four months, the app accounted for a claimed $1 million in sales. Update: Microsoft confirmed that a pizza app is on the way, but only for the UK market....
News
22 Comments

Halo 2's classic 'Coagulation' map reborn as 'Bloodline'

Microsoft today revealed Halo 2: Anniversary's remake of one of the original game's iconic maps — Bloodline, a completely rebuilt take on Halo 2's Coagulation (which itself was a remake of a map in the original Halo: Combat Evolved.) Bloodline is touted as "bigger, better and deadlier than ever before," and a from-the-ground-up remake undertaken by 343 Industries and Certain Affinity. Vehicles feature heavily into Bloodline, such as the UNSC Hornets of Halo 3 that are stationed behind each of three different bases. Halo 2: Anniversary is part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which offers all four of the numbered Halo games in the series in high definition, the ability to play any mission from them in any order, and all the multiplayer maps of the original games. For more on H...
Quality Control
7 Comments

Sunset Overdrive discussion on our game review podcast Quality Control

In each episode of Quality Control, Polygon managing editor Justin McElroy talks to a critic after they review a new game and allows them to add a little bit of extra context and insight. Why did they feel the way they did? What do they wish they had been able to discuss in more depth in their review? Also: Did they play it wrong? In this episode, we talk with Arthur Gies about his review of Sunset Overdrive which you can find right here. We'd love to know what you think in the comments below! Read the review Subscribe to the podcast (RSS) Subscribe on iTunes Email: qualitycontrol at polygon dot com Music: Goodwill by The Custodian of Records
38 Comments

Confirmed: Winter is coming in 2014

While it feels like the big release dates for the fall and winter months are all pretty much set in stone, Telltale's Game of Thrones title, called Iron From Ice, has been an unknown. On Friday Telltale PR specialist Laura Perusco definitively stated that the game would be out in 2014. @RatedR2012 No specific release date announced yet, but I can confirm that the season IS premiering later this year. :) — Laura Perusco (@lauraperusco) October 24, 2014 Polygon has reached out to Telltale for comment. Details on the game have been hard to come by. The most recent tidbit came from New York Comic Con where quotes from George R.R. Martin relating to ironwood trees was attached to some marketing material. You can view the painfully short trailer below.
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