Gaming

New characters, summons to expect with FF7R Intergrade

A new group of personalities makes its way to Midgar

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FF7R Intergrade

The Final Fantasy VII Remake gets a slight next generation treatment in the form of a free upgrade and new DLC. Announced through PlayStation’s State of Play in February, Square Enix unveiled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. Now, the company sheds light on more details regarding the next saga in the lore of Final Fantasy VII.

The story as far as we know

With the new DLC, Square Enix adds an entire new episode called INTERmission. It features Yuffie Kisaragi, one of the optional characters in the base game. In the DLC, she will be the main character alongside her partner, Sonon Kusakabe in a mission that takes them to Midgar.

As ninja operatives for Wutai, Yuffie and Sonon will infiltrate the Shinra Electric Power Company for its most powerful materia. In their quest, they will receive support from Avalanche, an eco-terrorist group seeking to save the planet from those misusing mako energy. However, they will encounter swift and strict opposition in fulfilling their mission.

Old faces reimagined

One of the members of the opposition is Nero, more known as Nero the Sable. With the release of Integrade, Nero receives a more modern yet sinister look, harkening back to his design from Dirge of Cerberus. For starters, he retains the dark Mako suit with mechanical wings at the back. Also, part of his redesign includes his patented handguns for combat.

In INTERmission, Nero serves as one of the main antagonists who wields the power to control the darkness. With stylized weaponry and the darkness by his side, he will stand in the way of Yuffie and Sonon from completing their mission.

From the Shinra side, Scarlet makes a grand entrance to the next-gen DLC. In the original Final Fantasy VII, she was the Head of the Weapons Department for Shinra. In INTERmission, she is responsible for creating the materia that Yuffie and Sonon will try to take from the company. As such, she will stand as one of the bosses in the game with a little assist from her weapon of mass destrcution: the Crimson Mare.

More gameplay mechanics to master

With this new episode, there are a ton of new gameplay mechanics to work with. First off is the synergy dynamic between our protagonists, Yuffie and Sonon. Unlike in the Final Fantasy VII RemakeIntergrade only allows you to control Yuffie in battle. However, you can basically give orders to Sonon and even engage in team attacks with him. For instance, both characters have access to synergized versions of their attacks when both their ATB charges are available.

Another common gameplay between these two characters is called a Limit Break. Essentially, it’s a devastating attack that is unleashed unto enemies once a character takes enough damage. This type of attack might come in handy when dealing with Scarlet’s Crimson Mare in the new episode.

Finally, you now have access to entities known as Summons — provided you have the materia for it. These powerful beings will aid you in combat, and you can even order them to do certain attacks. Before leaving the battlefield, these entities will strike with a devastating ultimate attack. In Intergrade, one of these new Summons is Ramuh, the Lord of Levin who wields lightning to strike enemies.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade will be available for the PlayStation 5 on June 10, 2021.

Gaming

Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for nearly US$ 70B

Massive acquisition

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Microsoft Activision

Here’s a move no one saw coming. Microsoft has just acquired gaming company Activision Blizzard for a whopping US$ 68.7 billion in an all-cash transaction.

This means every studio and every game under Activision Blizzard now belongs to Microsoft. These include the creators of popular franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Crash Bandicoot, and more.

The acquisition will make Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

Bobby Kotick, who has been embroiled in several issues concerning company culture will remain as CEO of Activision Blizzard. Once the deal formally closes, he and his team will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Exclusives?

The initial statement release stated that the Microsfot will continue to be present in the platforms that Activision Blizzard has established communities in. This could have allayed fears that the acquired titles will now be exclusive to Microsoft and Xbox. However, this line is no longer present and has been replaced with statements from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Phil Spencer.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella.

“Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want,” said Spencer.

Game Pass

The acquisition bodes well for Microsoft’s Game Pass. It already boasts of hundreds, if not thousands of gaming titles as well as over 25 million users.

The acquisition will add some parts of  Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries. It will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry.

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Gaming

My Hero Academia is getting a battle royale game

In closed beta right now

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Image source: Gematsu

Just when you thought the battle royale craze was over, a new contender has approached. Capitalizing on one of the most popular anime series in modern history, Bandai Namco is launching a battle royale based on My Hero Academia. My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble is currently undergoing a beta test now.

Officially teased by Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine (spotted by Gematsu), the upcoming battle royale game will come to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. Like other battle royales in the genre, the game will be free-to-play.

Image source: Gematsu

However, instead of an all-out brawl between dozens and dozens of players, the game will only feature 24 players in a single round. Though Bandai Namco has not announced a launch date for the battle royale, a closed beta announcement means things are rolling smoothly. It might not take long before an open beta and an eventual launch happens.

My Hero Academia: Ultra Rumble makes sense as a spin-off of the popular anime series. Put simply, My Hero Academia takes place in a world where superpowers are commonplace. It’s easy to see how a battle royale based on the anime can work especially with different powers acting as a way to eliminate opponents.

Curiously enough, the game is coming out in older console generations, rather than the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S.

SEE ALSO: FF7 series launches new PS5 update, mobile battle royale

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Gaming

Microsoft has stopped making all Xbox One consoles

To focus on Xbox Series X/S

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Despite the global shortage, the gaming world is steadily moving towards next generation dominance. Both Sony and Microsoft want gamers to use either the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X/S exclusively. However, the ongoing problem is preventing gamers from switching. To help with the shortages, Microsoft is discontinuing all Xbox One consoles.

This has been a slow death for the previous Xbox generation. Back in 2020, Microsoft stopped producing the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition to pave the way for the then-launching Xbox Series X/S. That was only part of the equation. Gamers could still get other variants of the Xbox One series. Of course, that ends now.

Microsoft has stopped producing new units of all Xbox One consoles. If you want to purchase an older Xbox, you’ll have to rely on existing stock.

According to a statement sent to The Verge, the company pushed through with the decision to focus its production more on the still-scant Xbox Series X/S. With enough luck, the move might help the shortage. Both the new Xbox and the PlayStation 5 still notoriously sell out seconds after new stock is announced.

Ironically, Sony is trying the opposite strategy. Because of the ongoing shortages, the PlayStation maker is instead manufacturing more PlayStation 4 units this year, ideally to fill in the lacking PlayStation 5 stock.

Which strategy will prevail? At this point, no one is. Both consoles are still missing from stores despite overwhelming demand.

SEE ALSO: Xbox creates a SpongeBob-themed Xbox Series X

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