Blizzard Wants Overwatch League To Revolutionize Esports

There’s been much anticipation for the first season of Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League. As its first effort at organizing a global competition, the developers behind the popular hero shooter are looking to take things to the next level by thrusting the game into the broader realm of esports. With 12 teams scattered across the world, each with their own unique management and sponsorships, Overwatch League blends together many ideas and practices that are commonplace in traditional sports, but within the esport arena.

Ahead of the kick-off for the first season of Overwatch League, lead producer Jeff Kaplan (who also serves as Overwatch’s game director) and league commissioner Nate Nanzer spoke about their somewhat disruptive approach to traditional esports. During our talk, they discussed the importance that community and transparency have in their league and what their hopes are for this season and beyond. While Blizzard Entertainment has deep ties within esports thanks to StarCraft’s immeasurable influence over its nearly 20-year history, Overwatch looks to be the start of a new page for the developer and its connection to the growth of its community.

For more content and info on Overwatch League, such as where you can watch online, and where to get those special league skins, be sure to check back at GameSpot as we cover the League in its first week and in beyond.

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When compared to other esports games like League of Legends, StarCraft, or Counter-Strike, Overwatch is a far more accessible experience. With people of all ages and levels of experience being able to dive into the game, it’s become one of the more popular online shooters. When initially setting up the league, were you looking at the game’s accessibility to give a sort of different experience for what people can expect from an esports competition?

Jeff Kaplan: With everything that we’ve done with Overwatch from the game itself to the league, there’s always been a desire to be as inclusive with as many people as possible. We try to make things approachable both in the game and in the league structure so that somebody who’s not necessarily familiar with Overwatch or Overwatch League immediately feels welcome. That’s always the goal. It’s kind of a Blizzard goal with all of the things that we do is to speak to as many people as possible. A lot of times it gets taken the wrong way. A lot of people say, “Oh, you’re trying to dumb things down,” or, “You just want to make for the casual audience.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. I mean, there’s nothing more hardcore than trying to stand out in esports, a franchise esports league like we’ve done. It’s extremely targeted at the hardcore audience experience that we’re trying to do.

The Blizzard approach is not to make everything casual. The Blizzard approach is to find what we think is amazing as hardcore fans ourselves or hardcore players in games and then how do you bring that to as many people as possible and not be off-putting like some hardcore content and features can sometimes be.

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When you look at esports, it’s very much like the rebellious younger sibling compared to traditional sports. However with Overwatch League, it adopts more traditional systems and practices that mainstream sports has–such as regional teams and a regular season with a set schedule. Do you feel that you’re still retaining the essence and freshness that esports is all about with Overwatch League?

Nate Nanzer: Yeah, I think we are. We have a very strong record at Blizzard of making great esports content and really listening to our community, and building things alongside them. And we’ve been actively listening to our community along the way with the Overwatch League, and if you look at our talent, we’ve hired a world-class-talent team that have all been doing esports for a very long time. Just because we’re putting a professional structure around this, at the end of the day we’re still very authentic to esports.

There will be memes, there will be kappas, there will be all of those things. We’re fans of this content too, so at the end of the day, people should know that everyone who works on Overwatch League is a huge fan of the game, huge fan of what we’re doing. We’re a little bit doing this for ourselves too; one of the things I’m most excited about this week is finally being able to watch all these teams play week in, week out. There’s great players that we’ve assembled here in LA and that is what I’m most excited about and I can’t wait to see it. Fans shouldn’t be scared of additional investment and people coming into esports; it’s an awesome validation of this thing that we’ve all been doing for a very long time, playing games and watching esports. The fact that the Kraft group and Kroenkes, and all these big investors are coming into esports is a total validation that this thing that we love and we care a lot about is big, it’s important, it’s only gonna take off from here.

That’s sort of our commitment to the fans, it’s that we’re gonna always listen to the fans, we’re gonna make sure that we’re making content that resonates with them, and just know that we’re fans too, and we’re just as excited as you are to see this stuff kick off.

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What are you most excited in seeing happen with the league?

JK: I think there are two things that I’m most excited for with Overwatch League and that I hope to see. The first is we have this whole cadre of amazing pro players that I feel like have really been legitimized in their career, legitimized in their talent and their skill, and they’re going to get the recognition that they deserve. I feel like under the Overwatch League structure they’re very protected as professionals, and that’s very exciting to me. These players are at an awesome point in their lives, and this is an amazing opportunity for them. To me, more than anything, this league centers around them and this opportunity. So that’s going to be exciting. I hope they get the spotlight that they deserve because they’ve earned it. It’s going to be really exciting to see it play out.

The other thing that I’m super excited about with Overwatch League is the first-time esport fan that’s never even paid attention to esports before. I know we’re going to attract some of them. For me, I can remember the first time my dad brought me to Dodger stadium. I have almost an emotional reaction to those memories. I can’t wait for the next generation to grow up with memories like that of their Overwatch League experiences. Also, for people to realize–like it’s a hard pill for some people to realize who’ve never sat down and watched esports that watching a video game be played at the highest professional level is actually amazingly exciting. I think [for] a lot of people, it’s easy for them to dismiss that or roll their eyes for that. Then they go to their first DreamHack or BlizzCon or International or hopefully Overwatch League match and they realize the energy and the excitement and the skill level of what’s being performed before them is actually amazing and a great experience. I’m really excited for those first-time esport fans.

The Biggest Nintendo Switch And 3DS Games To Play In 2018

Looking Forward

2017 has been a big year for Nintendo, and even though the Nintendo Switch hasn’t even been out a year, it already has a strong library of games to play. But there are still more to come in 2018 on both Switch and the 3DS; from a new Fire Emblem to the next Yoshi game, Nintendo has already announced some of the upcoming year’s games.

In this gallery, we’re looking ahead to the Nintendo games we’re most excited about. If you’re curious about the biggest games to play in 2018 on other platforms, check out our individual features highlighting the most anticipated PS4 games, Xbox One games, and PC games. You can also check out our feature focusing on the biggest games to play 2018 in general.

If you want to see our choices for the best games this year, check out our Game of the Year 2017 Top 10 List. And for more on our picks of the best games of the year across various categories, as well as features focusing on the year’s performance for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, check out our Best of 2017 hub.

Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night (Switch)

Castlevania has changed a lot over the years, but there was a time when game after game followed a familiar formula to great results. The developer largely credited for the series’ past greatness is Koji Igarashi, who is presently working on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a spiritual successor to Castlevania games of yore.

Early impressions of the game from events like E3 and Tokyo Game Show are positive. Igarashi’s handiwork is on full display, meaning that you will explore 2D, gothic environments while fending off demonic enemies and gather new abilities to extend your reach and open new pathways.

It’s the familiar “Metroidvania” formula, but the fact that it’s coming from the person responsible for popularizing it in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (after Super Metroid laid the foundation) eases the concerns that Bloodstained is just a simple nostalgia trip. Igarashi has been out of the game for quite a while after leaving Konami, and our hope is that his return to 2D action games comes with improvements and innovations. The sub-genre has been approached by many developers in his absence, and we can’t wait to see if Igarashi is able to rekindle his old flame in the light of the many great games his earlier works inspired.

Dark Souls Remastered

We only know one thing about this Switch port of Dark Souls: it’s coming out on May 25.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Continuing the tradition of updated Wii U games that get Switch ports like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Pokken Tournament DX, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is due out for Switch on May 4. The game will add a new playable character, Funky Kong, who introduces his own unique twist on the original’s platforming gameplay.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes Of An Elusive Age (Switch, 3DS)

Unlike Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest games never quite reach the same fevered level of excitement in the West as they do in Japan. That’s unfortunate, because it means there are a lot of people missing out on one of the most iconic and fun RPG experiences out there. And the upcoming Dragon Quest XI is set to continue the previous games’ traditions of sweeping musical scores, epic stories, and turn-based combat against colorful (and sometimes wacky) enemies.

DQXI already released in Japan back in July 2017 on PS4 and 3DS, but the upcoming international release is notable because it should bring the series to a new platform: Nintendo Switch. That doesn’t mean you should rule out the other versions completely, though. On 3DS, the game introduces a unique twist where the lower screen is an exact representation of the regular 3D gameplay, but redone in a classic, pixelated style.

And if this entry in the mainline series does well abroad, that raises the (very, very slim) possibility that the Dragon Quest MMO, Dragon Quest X, could also get a release in the West! Okay, now that might be too much Dragon Quest to ask for at one time.

Fire Emblem (untitled) (Switch)

Nintendo announced a new mainline Fire Emblem game for the Switch during a Direct presentation in January 2017. While the company hasn’t given many details about the still-untitled game, it will be the first time a main Fire Emblem has been on a Nintendo console since 2007’s Radiant Dawn on the Wii. Plus, it’ll be playable on the go! Recent Fire Emblem games (including 2017’s Echoes) have been popular on the 3DS, so the potential for a Fire Emblem experience that’s both console-scale and portable-ready is exciting.

Indivisible (Switch)

Side-scrolling action RPG Indivisible comes from the same team that brought us 2012’s insane fighter Skullgirls. Indivisible follows the story of the rebellious Ajna. She and her father live just outside a quiet little town, but things take a turn for the worse and a mysterious power awakens within her: the ability of “incarnations” to recruit different people to help her along her journey.

Indivisible is largely inspired by a number of different cultures and mythologies, which hopefully opens the doors to positive and meaningful representation. This also means that the game could run the risk of mishandling the sources from which it draws its inspiration, but it’s worth having a little faith and hope for a game that’s trying to pull from perspectives we don’t see often. Everyone likes to have something they can see themselves in, and Indivisible may be one of those games where its representation could make it or break it.

Kirby Star Allies (Switch)

Kirby sucks. No really, Kirby sucks–that’s kind of his thing. And the next installment in the Kirby franchise, called Star Allies, is coming to Nintendo Switch next year. This new title was the same one originally announced as simply “Kirby” at E3 2017, and it looks promising. Kirby can utilize abilities such as Sword, Fire, and Water, as well as his trademark vacuum move. You can also mix those skills together to create even cooler powers.

The whole game is designed for up to four-player multiplayer, with each player able to use a single Joy-Con. Alternatively, if you have enough Joy-Cons and Joy-Con grips, you can each play with a more traditional setup.

Following the likes of Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Kirby Star Allies has a lot to live up to when it comes to Switch exclusives. Here’s hoping it becomes the console’s next big thing when it launches in Spring 2018.

Mario Tennis Aces

A new Mario Tennis game from developer Camelot–the team behind the GBA game Golden Sun as well as numerous other Mario sports titles–is heading to Switch this Spring. It will be the first Mario Tennis game to include a story mode Mario Tennis: Power Tour on GBA.

No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again (Switch)

No More Heroes and its sequel, Desperate Struggle, were some of the best action games on the Nintendo Wii, featuring gratuitous violence, crazy boss designs, a strong sense of style and attitude, as well as some, uh, interesting implementations of motion control. That was over seven years ago, and though developer Grasshopper Manufacture has had a number of cult hits (and misses) since then, talk of another No More Heroes sequel has always been a point of conversation for CEO Goichi Suda, aka Suda51.

Well, now it’s happening. After skipping the Wii U, protagonist Travis Touchdown is coming back to Nintendo consoles with Travis Strikes Again on Nintendo Switch. We got a quick teaser trailer at the Nintendo Indies Showcase in 2017, where we were reintroduced to Travis in all his self-referential glory and learned of the game’s primary conceit: A dangerous console that sucks players into video game worlds. Though these worlds will be original game concepts, Travis Strikes Again is also collaborating with other indie game titles, though this might only be superficially in the form of the game’s always-extensive t-shirt wardrobe. We always expect off-the-wall ideas from Grasshopper Manufacture, so we’re looking forward to seeing what Travis Strikes Again will surprise us with.

Owlboy (Switch)

The critically acclaimed PC-exclusive Owlboy is finally making its way onto consoles. While the console ports are receiving no major changes from the original, the Switch version bears notable mention given its portability. The game’s endearing 2D twin-stick shooter action seems a perfect fit to bring on the go. Given the high praise it received when it released (GameSpot gave it a 9), it’s certainly one of the more highly anticipated indie ports in 2018.

For the uninitiated, Owlboy is an action-adventure game set in a sky world where the lands below were torn apart by a catastrophic event many years prior. You play as Otus, an owl-human hybrid who sets out on a journey to save his village from a band of pirates. A charming and heartfelt adventure in its own right, Owlboy’s upcoming console ports are well worth keeping an eye on, especially if you missed out on the original back in 2016.

Persona Q2 (3DS)

Fans of both Persona 3 and 4 were treated to an endearing collaboration between the casts of both games with Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth in 2014. In a wacky series of time-bending events, both Inaba’s Investigation Team and SEES (Special Extracurricular Execution Squad) crossed paths and joined forces to back home from an alternate dimension. All characters received an adorable chibi redesign which drove home the fun, lighthearted interactions between the two squadsBut with Persona Q2 coming out next year, we’re hyped up to see how the Phantom Thieves fit into the mix (and what their chibi versions will look like) and what Atlus will do with crossover casts. The only thing that was revealed for Persona Q2’s announcement was a cartoony rendition of the phrase “TAKE YOUR HEART” with the Arsene top hat logo. Of course, this indicates the return of the Persona 5 crew, but whether or not Q2 involves past characters has yet to be shared.

We anticipate another dip into Etrian Odyssey-style first-person dungeon-crawling where you’re expected to draw out maps manually on the 3DS touch screen. The turn-based combat system also differs from the main series; in Persona Q, actions are chosen for the entire turn before anything unfolds, changing how you strategize in battle.

We should also expect another stellar soundtrack. It’ll be pretty tough to top the introduction song “Maze of Life” and battle theme “Light the Fire Up in the Night” from the first game, but with a bar set so high and coming off the Persona 5 soundtrack, it’s hard to imagine Persona Q2 without the proper music to back it up.

Project Octopath Traveler (Switch)

Project Octopath Traveler on Switch evokes the qualities that are bound to please fans of classic Japanese RPGss. Its “HD 2D” pixelated visual style offers a unique take on the much-used JRPG aesthetic, combining 16-bit style character sprites and textures with polygonal environments and high-definition effects. Combat is involved and utilizes weakness exploitation much like the Shin Megami Tensei games. And its ensemble cast of playable characters even calls back to early SaGa games. There’s already plenty of strong characteristics at play that make Project Octopath Traveler a promising adventure.

It’s worth noting that the game is being worked on by Tomoya Asano, a Square Enix veteran developer who served as a producer on both Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV for Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Bravely Default, and Bravely Second: End Layer. While we’ve only gotten a demo of the game since its initial announcement, we’re eager to see what else it has to offer. Heck, we’re still curious what the game’s final name will be, seeing as Project Octopath Traveler is technically a working title. Time will tell.

The World Ends With You

Stretching into the Nintendo DS’ back catalog, the cult hit The World Ends With You is getting a re-release on Switch. The game will let you choose from either touchscreen or traditional controls, and it will include a “sizeable new scenario.” No specific release date was announced, but the game will be available sometime this year.

Yoshi (Switch)

Nintendo’s upcoming Yoshi game was revealed during E3 2017. Simply titled “Yoshi” for now, the announcement trailer showed some gameplay similar to 2015’s Yoshi’s Woolly World but with an emphasis on flipping the stage around to see behind walls and find secrets you wouldn’t be able to notice from the initial angle. It would appear from the trailer that there will be co-op as well, though that hasn’t been confirmed. The papercraft style is definitely suited to the adorable feel of a Yoshi game, too, so it seems promising as a cute, feel-good platformer on the Switch in 2018.

Destiny 2 Faction Rally Returns Soon; Here Are Some New Weapon And Armor Rewards

Back in December, Bungie had plans to launch Destiny 2’s first Faction Rally event of Season 2 following Curse of Osiris’s release. It ultimately canceled the event as the developer shifted courses on what content would be available to those with and without purchasing the DLC. Along with Iron Banner, Faction Rally will now be open to all players whether you own the DLC or not–and after the delay, the first Season 2 Faction Rally is nearly here.

Following an upcoming hotfix, the new Faction Rally event will begin on January 16 and run until January 23. (Iron Banner returns on January 30.) Factions will return to the Tower and allow players to pledge their allegiance, with their activities then contributing progress toward unlocking Faction-specific gear. New items, including armor ornaments and base gear, will be available from the Faction of your choosing, a selection of which you can see in the images below.

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Aside from those rewards that players will earn from their Faction, the three groups will also be competing with each other. The Faction that obtains the most rewards packages will be deemed the winner, and that group’s exclusive weapon will then be sold for one week. Assuming prices remain consistent with those earlier events, members of the winning Faction will be able to purchase the weapon for 1,000 Glimmer, while everyone else can buy it for 50,000. Unlike in the past, though, all three will sell a weapon of the same type–this time around, it’s an auto rifle. You can also see those in the gallery above.

The return of Faction Rally and Iron Banner were just some of the announcements Bungie made today. It also shared in-depth details about what content will be free versus paid, changes to Eververse and cosmetic items, quality-of-life improvements, and a roadmap that includes the addition of Masterwork armor.

Scarlett Johansson Black Widow Standalone Movie Is Closer To Happening, Finds A Writer

A standalone Black Widow movie that will star Scarlett Johansson in the leading role has taken its next step toward becoming a reality. While the movie is unconfirmed and unannounced, Variety reports that Marvel has found a writer for it: Jac Schaeffer.

According to the report, which cites unnamed sources, the Black Widow movie is only in the “very early” development stages. Importantly, Marvel has not even given the greenlight yet. Marvel president Kevin Feige reportedly met with “several” writers before signing Schaeffer, though the names of the others were not disclosed. The conversations between Feige and the prospective writers reportedly focused on what story they wanted to tell. Schaeffer’s was apparently the best, or the one that Feige liked the most.

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You might not know Schaeffer by name but she has some impressive accomplishments to her name. She wrote the script for the a comedy called The Shower in which aliens invade Earth during a baby shower. Oscar winning actress Anne Hathaway will star in the film. Schaeffer is writing the script for Nasty Women, a female-focused spin on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels that will also star Hathaway. Additionally, Schaeffer wrote, directed, and produced the 2009 movie TiMER as he theatrical debut.

There has been much discussion about a standalone Black Widow movie for some time now. In October 2016, Johansson said time might not be on her side. “If I did it, I’d have to do it while I still actually wanted to wear a skin-tight catsuit,” she explained. “I don’t know how much longer that’s going to be.” In 2017, Johansson said she had already spoken to Feige about the movie and that the initial discussions were positive. What’s been keeping the movie from happening is the timing and schedules for Marvel and Johansson’s other projects.

Johansson played Black Widow most recently in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. She’s also going to be in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. Do you want to see a Black Widow movie? Let us know in the comments below!

Overwatch League Stage One Week One Results

The Overwatch League regular season has begun. As with any start to a half year-long sports season, it’s crucial to get off on the right foot. After all, there’s no need to rise in the rankings if you never fall behind to begin with. Each team will play a minimum of two games per week while the two most successful teams in each division compete in title matches at the end of each five-week stage. There are four stages total in the regular season. With the conclusion of each match, this page will be updated with the results.

When: Here is the schedule for the first week of the first stage, which runs from January 10 to January 13 (times are in PST).

January 10, Wednesday

4PM – San Francisco Shock 0 – Los Angeles Valiant – 4

6PM – Shanghai Dragons versus Los Angeles Gladiators

8PM – Dallas Fuel versus Seoul Dynasty

January 11, Thursday

2PM – London Spitfire versus Florida Mayhem

4PM – Philadelphia Fusion versus Houston Outlaws

6PM – Boston Uprising versus New York Excelsior

January 12, Friday

4PM – Los Angeles Valiant versus Dallas Fuel

6PM – Florida Mayhem versus Boston Uprising

8PM – San Francisco Shock versus Shanghai Dragons

January 13, Saturday

11AM – London Spitfire versus Philadelphia Fusion

1PM – New York Excelsior versus Houston Outlaws

3PM – Seoul Dynasty versus Los Angeles Gladiators

Here are the details on where, when, and how you can keep up and follow your favorite teams during this first week of the Overwatch League regular season. In the meantime, you can start getting your hands on new Overwatch League skins in-game.

How and Where: Simply go to overwatchleague.com where live matches play out through an embedded Twitch livestream. Past matches will be archived under the site’s Videos tab. You can also catch the matches directly on Twitch.com and at mlg.tv.

You track your favorite teams, keep up with league news, and set alerts using the Overwatch League app. You can even customize spoiler settings so you can watch completed matches without knowing the outcome in advance.

Download the iOS version.

Download the Android version.

The Overwatch League and Twitch are also developing innovative rewards and other programs for fans, which will bestow the league’s most steadfast viewers with unique Overwatch League in-game items with exclusives. More details about insider content and additional rewards for the biggest fans, as well as Cheering with Overwatch League Cheermotes, will be announced as they become available. The matches will be broadcast on multiple channels with three different languages: English, French, and Korean.

Why You Have To Wait Longer To Play Monster Hunter: World On PC

Monster Hunter: World launches for consoles at the end of the month, but the PC edition is coming later. Producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has now discussed why the PC edition was delayed, saying the studio wants to get things right with its first PC release for the Monster Hunter series.

“For the main Monster Hunter game, this is our first PC title and it’s something we want to make sure we get right,” Tsujimoto told GamesRadar, as reported by their sister site PCGamer. “So rather than have it taking up resources during the console development and not it not being able to have our full attention on it. We want to get console out the door and then we’re going to take some extra time and try and get the PC version as good as possible.”

Tsujimoto added that the PC edition requires “extra work” regarding matchmaking. Whereas consoles have existing networks–PSN and Xbox Live–Capcom has to

“There’s extra work you need for PC as well. On console you use first-party matchmaking, you just kind of plug into it, whether it’s PSN or Xbox Live, but on PC we’re going to have to work more to get our own matchmaking working. So, hopefully, PC users won’t mind waiting a little bit longer for us to bring you a really great optimised PC experience.”

Monster Hunter World launches for PS4 and Xbox One on January 26, with the PC edition due out sometime this fall. The next and final beta for the game lunches on PS4 later this month with new content; you can read more about the beta and how to access it here.

Mario Movie Closer To Becoming A Reality, Nintendo President Says

In November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo was nearing a deal with Minions and Despicable Me studio Illumination Entertainment to make an animated Super Mario movie. Now, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has said the company is getting close to officially announcing a partner for the film, which remains officially unannounced.

As reported by Game Informer, Kimishima told the Japanese newspaper Kyoto Shimbun that Nintendo hoping to reach a deal soon and then, if all goes to plan, officially announced the Super Mario movie not long after that. The plan is for the movie to be in theatres before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020; that’s also when Nintendo hopes to have the Super Nintendo Land theme park open at Universal in Japan.

The WSJ report from November said that Nintendo planned to have a creative role in the production of the film, and that series creator Shigeru Miyamoto will potentially serve as a producer. Miyamoto has previously experimented with film, even releasing a series of Pikmin shorts. Last year, Nintendo made it clear it was interested in expanding to films but that it would like to do “more than just license something.”

1993’s live-action Super Mario Bros. movie was a critical and commercial failure, with star Bob Hoskins–who played Mario–said it was the worst movie he’s ever been a part of.

Over the years, Nintendo has been very hesitant to bring its franchises–which with Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and others are among the biggest names in all of entertainment–to movies and TV. Given their prominence in the entertainment world, Hollywood has surely come knocking for adapatations, and now it appears Nintendo is ready to move ahead. Netflix was reportedly interested in making a Zelda TV show, though this never happened.

As for why Nintendo is looking at more licensing deals, Kimishima said in 2016 that fewer and fewer young people are finding out about Nintendo games through…games. Instead, they’re discovering Nintendo and its characters through things like officially licensed Mario toothbrushes. So you can expect these kinds of licensing deals to continue and possibly increase, Kimishima said at the time.

Madden 18 Update Out Now, Here’s What It Does

A new update is out now for Madden NFL 18 and while it is not a particularly big one, it does include some notable changes for EA’s professional football game. Starting off, it fixes an issue where some AI-controlled running backs would move too slowly or fail to perform special moves. This patch also fixes an exploit where you could force kick-returners to run out of bounds inside their own five-yard line in some situations.

Additionally, this new Madden 18 update substantially reduces how often you’ll get faked out on defense with a player-controller defender when trying to defend a ball carrier who is performing a special move. With an AI-controlled defender, the number of fake-outs in the same scenario sees a “slight” reduction.

In addition to these changes, EA said in its blog post that it is aware that players want to be able to better tackle a ball-carrier who is performing a juke or a spin. The developer is working on this, for both user-controlled and AI-controlled defenders. You can see the full patch notes below for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

With the NFL playoffs now in full swing, you might be thinking about picking up Madden NFL 18. If you can wait, EA typically offers a less-expensive Super Bowl edition of the game in late January/early February, though nothing has been confirmed for this year as of yet.

Madden NFL 18 January 9 Patch Notes:

Gameplay Updates

  • Substantial reduction to fake-outs for user controlled defenders when defending ball carrier special moves
  • Slight reduction to fake-outs for AI controlled defenders when defending ball carrier special moves
  • Addressed an issue that was causing some AI controlled ball carriers to move slowly and/or not perform special moves
  • Tuned to decrease range of width on kickoffs to address the kickoff exploit that could force returners out of bounds inside their own five-yard line