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Game

Wonder Woman’s first solo game was just announced and no one saw it coming

The DC comics franchise sprawls many properties that revolve around its heroes, from printed materials and animated films to live-action movies and games. The lion’s share of attention has been given to Superman and Batman, but fans are aware of how important a third hero is in the DC universe. Wonder Woman has been given a bunch of attention recently, especially now that Gal Godot has taken on the role, and now she’s finally getting her own solo game.

The Game Awards/YouTube

Unbalanced Trinity

There will definitely be a lot of discussions about who is at the center of the DC universe, but few will probably contest that Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are its pillars. The Amazon princess proved herself an equal match to the strength, intelligence, and conviction of DC’s two male icons, but Wonder Woman didn’t always get the same treatment in terms of merchandise and products until lately. Wonder Woman’s appearances in recent DC films, as well as recent socio-political events, may have contributed to a renewed interest in the character, and that is now extending to video games.

DC has launched a large number of video games based on its heroes, but few have actually enjoyed having a solo title. Batman may have the most memorable game titles, but there have been a few Superman games, as well. While Wonder Woman hasn’t been absent in video games, she is almost always just part of an ensemble rather than on her own.

There is one recorded solo Wonder Woman title, but it’s probably something better left forgotten. MIC reported back in 2017 about a Flash game titled “Wonder Woman: Last Woman Standing,” and it was noted to be a terrible one. Since it’s a Flash title, it’s unplayable today anyway, which is probably for the best.

Wonder Woman Goes Solo

Fast-forward to the end of 2021 and The Game Awards dropped the solo game bombshell. No one saw a solo Wonder Woman title coming, not even the usual leakers, giving this surprise announcement more impact — and that’s definitely a good thing.

Image Credit: The Game Awards/YouTube

As with any initial teaser, the brief trailer doesn’t reveal much aside from what could be the entire premise of the game. Queen Hippolyta is summoning her daughter home to face a new threat, and Wonder Woman will have to take on the role of a leader this time. No date has been given for the game just yet, but it is being developed by Monolith, creators of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, so expectations are running high.



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Game

Microsoft Flight Simulator Game of the Year Edition announced: Here’s what’s new

After letting the franchise sit dormant for several years, Microsoft teamed with Asobo Studio to launch Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2020. In the time since then, we’ve seen Microsoft Flight Simulator get six world updates in addition to many smaller updates. Now the companies have announced Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition, which is launching next month with a collection of upgrades.

Asobo Studio started off today’s announcement post by revealing a completely separate event: a Windows 11 collaboration. From today until November 18th, there are 11 landmarks around the world that will be lit up in “Windows Blue.” Asobo Studio doesn’t reveal what those landmarks are, so it sounds like it’s up to the community to find them. In addition, the EXTRA 330LT is getting a Windows 11 livery as part of this event.

The Windows 11 collaboration takes us right to the release date of the Game of the Year Edition, which is launching on November 18th. The Game of the Year Edition will add five aircraft to the game: the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet (which is the first military jet being added to the game ahead of next year’s Top Gun: Maverick expansion), VoloCity, Pilatus PC-6 Porter, CubCrafters NX Cub, and the Aviat Pitts Special S1S.

In addition, eight handcrafted airports from Germany, Switzerland, and the United States will be added to the game. Players will be able to visit Leipzig/Halle (EDDP), Allgäu Airport Memmingen (EDJA), and Kassel (EDVK) from Germany; Lugano (LSZA), Zurich (LSZH), and Luzern-Beromunster (LSZO) from Switzerland; and Patrick Space Force Base (KCOF) and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (KNKX) from the United States.

Add to that new missions, tutorials, updated weather systems, early DX12 support, and new photogrammetry cities, and it sounds like this is quite the upgrade. The Game of the Year content will be free for those who already own Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC and Xbox Series X/S, and it will be launching on November 18th.

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Game

Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye expansion announced with an unsettling trailer

Outer Wilds was undoubtedly one of the most talked-about games of 2019. Two years later, indie game fans are still talking about it, and it isn’t uncommon to see Outer Wilds come up in recommendation discussions or as a highlighted deal during sales. Later this year, we’re going to have a reason to return to the Outer Wilds universe, as the game is getting a new expansion.

This expansion, dubbed Echoes of the Eye, was revealed today during an event hosted by publisher Annapurna Interactive. However, details on Echoes of the Eye are still pretty slim, and it’ll probably stay that way until the expansion releases, given the base game’s focus on discovery.

The YouTube description for the reveal trailer (which we’ve embedded above) does shed some light on what to expect. “A strange satellite photo that can’t be explained,” the description reads. “A new museum exhibit that marks the trailhead for one last journey into the wilds. Should you pull at the thread and unravel the solar system’s deepest secret, or is some knowledge better left in the dark?”

The reveal trailer certainly has an uneasy feeling to it. While it starts with a nice shot of the solar system, it isn’t long before the music takes a very dramatic, dark shift. Many of the places we visit in the trailer are shrouded in darkness as well, which almost suggests a survival horror-like tone for the expansion.

The trailer is steeped in mystery, and of course, Outer Wilds fans probably wouldn’t have it any other way. Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye will be out on September 28th on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and the Epic Games Store.

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Game

Everything Announced at the Annapurna Interactive Showcase

Annapurna Interactive held its first-ever digital showcase, which offered tons of details on its upcoming slate of games. The show included a release date reveal for Solar Ash, details on the long-anticipated Stray, and a handful of new games coming from the indie publisher.

Spun off from Annapurna’s film division, Annapurna Interactive has delivered dozens of high-profile indie hits over the past few years. The publisher’s first-ever Annapurna Interactive Showcase collected new updates on its games, some of which were announced as early as four years ago.

Only two games got a firm release date. The Artful Escape, a trippy adventure game about a rockstar first shown at E3 2017, is finally coming on September 9. It’ll launch on PC and Xbox consoles via Game Pass. Solar Ash, developer Heart Machine’s follow-up to Hyper Light Drifter, finally got an October 26 release date at the show.

Outer Wilds is getting its first and only DLC on September 28, titled Echoes of the Eye. A cryptic trailer didn’t say too much about what to expect. Meanwhile, the base game is scheduled to come to Nintendo Switch this holiday.

The showcase gave new details on two of Annapurna’s most anticipated games. Stray got a gameplay trailer, which showed a cat wandering around a city and solving puzzles with the help of a drone. The game doesn’t have a firm release date, but it’ll come to PS4, PS5, and PC in early 2022. Neon White got a deep dive too, showing off a unique card system where players can discard weapons to perform mobility actions. The game is still scheduled for a winter launch.

The main character of Neon White faces down some monsters.

We saw a handful of new games during the presentation. Skin Deep is a first-person puzzle game by Blendo, which leans heavily into absurdist humor. A Memoir Blue is a pretty narrative-driven game by Cloisters featuring lots of jellyfish. Storyteller, a puzzler where players build storybook pages, is another new highlight among the batch.

In addition to those games, Annapurna announced several partnerships with indie studios, including Outer Loop, Jessica Mak, and No Code Entertainment Productions. The publisher is also teaming up with Ivy Road, a brand new studio founded by developers behind Gone Home and The Stanley Parable. The project is heavily under wraps, but it will feature music from Minecraft composer C418.

Finally, Annapurna offered platform updates for several of its biggest games. Gorogoa and Telling Lies are both coming to Xbox Game Pass. I Am Dead hits consoles on August 9, The Pathless comes to Steam on November 16, and What Remains of Edith Finch will hit the App Store on August 16.

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Game

Here’s everything EA announced at its Play Live 2021 event

Electronic Arts held its EA Play Live 2021 event today. During the approximately 40-minute presentation, we got a first look at Grid Legends, a new entry in Codemasters’ ongoing racing franchise that will feature a single-player story with live-action performances. Lost in Random, the upcoming Tim Burton-inspired action-adventure game from Fe developer Zoink Games, also got a release date. It’s coming out on September 10th on current and last-generation consoles, as well as PC. For Battlefield fans, EA offered a look at 2042‘s new Portal mode that will allow fans to create their own custom match types that they can share with the game’s community.       

But EA saved the best news for last. In a short teaser, the publisher confirmed Motive Studios is working on a remake of Dead Space for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S. In addition to more modern graphics courtesy of Dice’s Frostbite engine, EA promised gameplay improvements, as well as new story and character elements. 

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Tech News

Qualcomm just announced its own $1,500 phone — but who’s it for?

Qualcomm is a very well-known name when it comes to producing processors (like the one in your phone) and modems. So it feels bizarre to write that the company is now releasing a phone — and it’ll cost a whopping $1,500.

The phone has no official name and is just called a Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders. The marketing team clearly wasn’t bothered about it. Qualcomm said that it built the phone with the help of Asus. It will be initially available in China, Germany, the UK, and the US starting next month.

The phone’s specifications suggest that it can compete with any Android flagship released this year — at least on paper. It has an impressive screen, beefy RAM and storage numbers, and 65W fast charging technology. Let’s take a look at the phone’s star-studded specs heet:

Specifications

  • Screen: 6.78-inch FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Refresh rate: 144Hz (adaptive)
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Rear camera: 64-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture (Sony IMX686) + 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture + 8-megapixel telephoto camera (3x optical zoom) with optical image stabilization (OIS)
  • Front camera: 24-megapixel
  • Internal storage: 512 UFS 3.1 (for faster read and write speeds to open apps and access content quickly)
  • Battery: 4,000 mAh
  • Charging: Qualcomm QC 5.0 compatible; ships with a 65W adapter
  • Software: Android 11

Apart from having top-notch main components, Qualcomm also packs truly wireless buds by Master & Dynamic with active noise cancellation in the box. Plus, the phone features dual-stereo speakers and HDR mics for recording. 

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Game

League of Legends World Championship Host Cities Announced

League of Legends developer Riot Games has announced the five cities that will host this year’s League of Legends World Championship. The tournament will take place in the Chinese cities of Qingdao, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Shenzen.

The League of Legends World Championship takes place every year and pits the top teams from 12 regional leagues against each other. Every year, the location for this tournament changes regions and different cities host various events at different stages.

The start date of the tournament has yet to be determined, but the grand finals will be held in Shenzen on November 6.

The 2020 League of Legends World Championship also took place in China, however, Shanghai was the only city that hosted the event. For safety concerns, it was decided to hold the event in one location. During last year’s event, the tournament mainly took place in a closed environment, with only the grand finals being held in front of a live audience. It has not been confirmed whether or not the 2021 League of Legends World Championship will take place in front of a live audience. However, the Universiade Sports Center in Shanghai can hold over 60,000 guests.

This will be China’s third time hosting the League of Legends World Championship, after having done so in 2017 and 2020. North America was slated to host the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, but Riot Games decided to move the tournament to China due to the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.

Riot Games confirmed that North America will host the League of Legends World Championship in 2022.

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Computing

Computex 2021: Everything Announced by AMD, Nvidia, and Intel

Computex 2021 brought big announcements from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel. Following major product launches last year, all three tech giants announced new products during their respective keynotes, some of which will be available in the following weeks.

To get you up to speed, we rounded up everything announced from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel at Computex 2021. From the RTX 3080 Ti to FidelityFX Super Resolution to a new NUC, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.

Nvidia: RTX 3080 Ti, Superpod subscriptions, and more

Nvidia spent a lot of its talk focusing on gaming, and for good reason. The big announcement out of the keynote was the RTX 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti, which are set to release later in June, but there were a few other exciting announcements along the way.

Nvidia announced several new games supporting RTX features. The two big ones are Rainbow Six: Siege and Red Dead Redemption 2, both of which will receive Nvidia DLSS for a performance boost. Nvidia also showed off Dying 1983 and Icarus First Cohort, which will receive RTX ray tracing when they launch. Doom Eternal will also receive RTX support with ray tracing and DLSS.

RTX is also coming to a limited slate of VR games. Nvidia announced that No Man’s Sky, Wrench, and Into the Radius will receive the RTX bells and whistles in VR soon.

One of Nvidia’s key focuses for its Computex 2021 keynote was “democratizing A.I.,” and that democratization comes through the DGX Superpod subscription platform. For $90,000 per month, businesses can harness the power of Nvidia’s DGX 2 supercomputer while accessing a host of software through Nvidia’s A.I. Enterprise software suite.

While $90,000 sounds like a lot, when you consider that the DGX 2 launched at a price of $399,000, it doesn’t look so bad. Nvidia didn’t announce a launch date but said businesses will know more about the platform this summer.

Gamers also have a lot to be excited about — Nvidia is launching two new graphics cards. The RTX 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti bring improvements to Nvidia’s already powerful Ampere lineup, and they’re releasing soon. The RTX 3080 Ti is set to launch on June 3 for $1,199 and the RTX 3070 Ti will come a week later on June 10 for $599.

The RTX 3080 Ti is basically a reskinned RTX 3090. Although it comes with half the video memory, the RTX 3080 Ti comes with nearly as many CUDA cores, Tensor cores, and RT cores as Nvidia’s $1,500 behemoth of a GPU. The RTX 3070 Ti shows less of an improvement over the base model, though it comes with much faster GDDR6X video memory.

AMD: Ryzen 5000 APUs, Super Resolution, and stacking chiplets

AMD laid out its plans for the rest of the year and beyond during its keynote. The talk brought several exciting product announcements, including the announcement of FidelityFX Super Resolution.

After talking about strides in the data center, AMD began its keynote with the announcement of two new Ryzen 5000 APUs — the Ryzen 7 5700G and Ryzen 5 5600G. These updated chips come with RDNA 2 graphics cores alongside Zen 3 CPU cores. Together, they can deliver playable frame rates in AAA titles without a dedicated graphics card.

AMD showed off the performance of the 5700G, saying the processor could deliver an average of 78 frames per second (fps) across a variety of titles at High settings at 1080p. Both chips are set to launch on August 5, with the 5700G costing $395 and the 5600G costing $259.

AMD’s Scott Herkelman took over after the Ryzen 5000 APU announcement to talk about RX 6000M mobile graphics cards. AMD announced three cards based on the RDNA 2 architecture — the RX 6800M, 6700M, and 6600M. The 6800M targets 120 fps at 1440p for full-sized laptops. The 6700M is targeting 100 fps at 1440p in full-sized laptops, and the 6600M is targeting 100 fps at 1080p in lightweight laptops.

All three cards bring a slew of AMD technologies to notebooks. That includes the FidelityFX suite, including Super Resolution, Smart Access Memory, AMD Infinity Cache, and SmartShift, which can dynamically shift between Radeon graphics and Ryzen processors to increase gaming performance.

A big topic of discussion going into AMD’s keynote was FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), and sure enough, AMD officially launched it. FSR is AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s DLSS, promising up to a two and a half times performance increase at 4K in supported games.

FSR comes with four quality modes, each of which upscale games from a smaller internal render size. Through a complicated process of neural networks and algorithms, AMD is able to deliver higher frame rates with demanding features like ray tracing while keeping most of the image quality intact. FSR is set to release on June 22.

AMD ended the keynote talking about the future — 3D V-Cache. By stacking 64MB of cache on top of the core die, AMD is able to deliver triple the amount of L3 cache. That’s 192MB up from 64MB, which is a huge jump. At 1080p, a Ryzen 5900X with the expanded cache delivered a 15% performance improvement while gaming.

Although not a gen-on-gen leap, the new technology is promising for AMD’s upcoming processors. AMD CEO Lisa Su said that products with 3D chiplets will be out by the end of the year.

Intel: New Tiger Lake processors and 5G

Intel focused much of its keynote on the pandemic and how it is investing in the future of domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Thankfully, Intel had a few exciting announcements sprinkled in to give enthusiasts something to look forward to.

Intel announced a new initiative to bring 5G connectivity to Windows laptops. Intel 5G 5000 will allow laptops to connect to the network globally, and the first laptops with Intel’s chip will start rolling out later this year.

The M.2 5G card has worldwide carrier certification, allowing laptops with the chip to connect to the network virtually anywhere. Acer, Asus, and HP already have laptops in the works for this year, and Intel says more than 30 laptops featuring the chip will arrive through 2022.

After talking about the pandemic’s effect on supply chains, Intel moved quickly into announcing its Sapphire Rapids Xeon scalable platform, which is set to launch next year. These server processors are already with some of Intel’s key customers, but the full launch won’t happen until 2022.

Intel also showed off two new Tiger Lake-U chips, promising a significant uptick in performance on thin and light laptops. The Core i7-1195G7 headed the lineup, delivering up to a 5GHz clock speed across four cores and eight threads. Intel also announced the i5-1155G7, which also has four cores and eight threads, though it can only turbo to 4.5GHz.

Both processors come with Xe graphics, with 80 execution units (EUs) on the 1155G7 and 96 EUs on the 1195G7. Intel says more than 60 laptop models featuring the new chips will be out by the end of the year.

Rounding out the keynote, Intel announced the “Best Canyon NUC.” Intel says more information is coming later this year, but for now, we know that the NUC 11 Extreme kit is powered by Tiger Lake-H processors and that this is the first NUC to support full-length discrete graphics cards.

It’s also the first to bear an RGB skull on the front.

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Tech News

Nintendo’s 4K Switch will likely be announced any day now

All signs are pointing to the 4K Nintendo Switch, which some have dubbed the Switch Pro, being announced soon. Like, really soon. According to a report by Bloomberg, the device will be released in September or October, will begin to be shipped by assemblers in July, and could be announced before E3.

Considering E3 begins June 12, that means the announcement is likely just days away. Reportedly, the announcement may come before the event so that the games can get some time to shine during E3.

The new Switch is reported to have Nvidia’s latest graphics technology and a 7-inch OLED display made by Samsung. It will reportedly be able to run games at 4K resolution using Nvidia’s DLSS(Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology, which is basically a way to upscale graphics convincingly using AI.

This would allow the Switch to actually render games at a lower resolution — likely variable depending on the graphical intensity of the game — while using DLSS to make it look almost as sharp as native 4K. That said, DLSS requires game makers to support the technology, so 4K will probably only be an option for new games (or older ones that have enough budget to run an update).

It also appears 4K will only be available while the Switch is docked, presumably because the display won’t be quite that high resolution (and who needs 4K on a 7-inch screen anyway?).

The one bad bit of news in all of this is that the 4K Switch will likely cost more than the $299 of the existing model. It’s expected the new Switch will replace the old one and live alongside the Switch Lite. We’ll find out soon enough.

The Switch Pro news is great, but please Nintendo, just give me some more Zelda news. We’ve been waiting for two years since the last trailer, thank-you-very-much.

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Computing

Everything New in Microsoft Teams Announced at Build 2021

Microsoft Teams is usually a big highlight at Microsoft’s Build developer conference, and that was the case again this year. There were several key updates announced for Teams that should be rolling out through the rest of 2021, mainly for developers.

Following the launch of Teams apps for meetings last year, Microsoft is following up to give developers more opportunities in this area. Developers are now able to build apps for the main stage in the meeting.

For you, this means more in-meeting experiences such as whiteboard apps and project board apps. Developers can also use new meeting event APIs in Teams to automate meeting-related workflows.

Other changes include the ability for developers to create new Together mode scenes. There’s also the ability for developers to have real-time access to video streams for transcription, translation, note-taking, insight gathering, and more.

Microsoft

As for the actual app-building process, Microsoft is now rolling out a dedicated app-management console (now known as the Developer portal for Microsoft Teams) that’s available via the web or within Teams. This is for developers to register and configure apps within a single, central location.

Other developer-related changes rolling out to Teams include new support for Message extensions in Outlook on the Web. This makes it easier for developers to code one extension that works across and pulls info from Outlook. Then, there’s the Adaptive Cad support in Teams and Outlook, which allows developers to easily share user interface data across both Microsoft services.

Microsoft

Finally, there are Fluid components in Microsoft Teams chat. With this developer feature, users can send a message with a table, action items, or a list that can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line, minimizing the need for long chat threads and meetings.

Some other changes rolling out include the ability to purchase third-party app license subscriptions directly from the Microsoft Teams app store and Teams admincenter. Microsoft even updated the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code in preview, so less code is needed to build Teams apps.

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