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Game

E3 will return to LA on June 13th, 2023

After missing 2022 altogether, one of the most important gaming trade shows will return next year. On Monday, the Entertainment Software Association announced that E3 2023 will take place between June 13th and June 16th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with the event open to the public starting on June 15th. Ahead of the show proper, there will also be partner showcases that will start on June 11th.

Before announcing last year’s cancelation, the ESA had planned to host a digital-only event but later changed course. At the time, the organization said it would devote its resources to delivering a “revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer.” For next year’s show, the ESA has recruited the help of ReedPop, a company with experience organizing events like PAX, EGX and Star Wars Celebration.

The 2023 show will be an important one for the ESA. Even before the pandemic, E3 had waned in importance as companies like Sony decided not to take part in the . In many ways, the ESA also has yet to regain the trust of the industry after it inadvertently of more than 2,000 journalists, analysts and content creators that same year.

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Game

The Game Awards return December 8th with a new category for adaptations

Companies already use The Game Awards to pitch related movies and shows, but now the event will officially recognize those productions. Organizers have revealed that the 2022 Game Awards will take place December 8th with a new Best Adaptation category. Companies will receive statuettes for any project that translates games to “popular media,” including movies, TV series, podcasts and books.

The event will not only retain an in-person component, but extend that to theaters. The Game Awards will offer a live “IMAX Experience” in cities worldwide. While more details are due in the months ahead, it’s safe to presume you’ll get a richer audiovisual presentation as you watch ceremonies and game trailers.

The creation of an adaptation category isn’t surprising. This year has had a flurry of game-inspired media, including the long-in-the-making Halo TV series, a well-received Sonic the Hedgehog 2 movie and an anticipated (if unspectacular) Uncharted film. This gives The Game Awards a chance to capitalize on the trend, of course, but it could also reward those studios that do justice to favorite gaming franchises.

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Game

Return to Monkey Island’s first gameplay trailer is a swashbuckling trip of nostalgia

When Return to Monkey Island arrives later this year, players will finally discover the secret of Monkey Island. That’s the pitch series creator Ron Gilbert made in the game’s newest trailer, which premiered today during Nintendo’s latest Direct showcase. “My name is Guybrush Threepwood, and this is a story about the time I finally found the secret of Monkey Island,” voice actor Dominic Armato declares at the start of the clip.

As you might imagine, the trailer is full of allusions to past Monkey Island games, including some of the series’ best gags. At one point, Guybrush drifts to the floor of the Caribbean, a sign pointing to Monkey Island and noting it’s only a six-minute walk away. Good thing our hero can hold his breath for 10 minutes. 

Many fan-favorite characters also make an appearance in the clip. Among others, I spotted used ship salesman and garish dresser Stan S. Stanman locked in the brig of LeChuck’s ship. Coincidently, you can chat to Stan on Return to Monkey Island’s updated website where he explains he’s in jail for “marketing-related crimes” that may have involved selling non-fungible items.

If you missed the news in April, Return to Monkey Island marks the, well, return of Ron Gilbert to the series he created back in the late ‘80s. Gilbert wrote and directed The Secret of Monkey Island, and went to work on the second game before leaving LucasArts in 1992. Fellow Monkey Island veteran Dave Grossman is also working on the new game, which will take place after the first two games. On consoles, Return to Monkey Island will arrive first on Nintendo Switch.   

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Game

Earthworm Jim is set to return in a new TV series

The cult classic ’90s game Earthworm Jim is coming back to TV as a new series, according to Variety and a tweet from Interplay Entertainment. Interplay holds the rights to Earthworm Jim games and recently announced it was bringing the franchise back as an Intellivision Amico exclusive. 

The project will be headed be Interplay’s newly formed TV and film studio division, working with the animation studio Passion Pictures. “There’s so much potential in this story universe: a galaxy full of animals battling for power,” project lead Michel K. Parandi told Variety. “Jim is an earthworm in a universe where Earth is nothing more than a myth. His struggle to find meaning is surreal and comical, but it’s also relatable.”

The first Earthworm Jim game came out on Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo in 1994, with the last released in 1999. There’s still no word on when the new game will arrive. There was also a Warner Bros. cartoon series based on the game that ran for two season in 1995, with the lead character played by none other than Dan Castellaneta, best known as the voice of Homer Simpson. 

In a follow-up tweet, Interplay said that the original creator of the game, presumably Doug TenNapel, “is not involved at all.” TenNapel was originally brought in as a creative consultant on the game, but his participation was called into question after he made a number of racist and homophobic comments on a podcast. 

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Game

Fortnite Supercharged weekend makes a surprise return with extra XP

Epic Games has brought back its Supercharged power-leveling weekend for a second time in a row, giving players more than enough opportunities to rake in as much XP as possible. As with previous weeks, players will need to make sure they log in at some point during the power-leveling weekend to enable the Supercharged bonus.

Fortnite‘s Supercharged weekend applies an XP multiplier that awards more points for eliminations, opening chests, and other activities that award XP. This results in leveling up to new tiers at a faster rate, particularly if the player completes Punchcards and daily challenges with high XP rewards.

Some players were concerned at the start of Chapter 2 – Season 8 that too much grinding would be required to get enough points for completing the Battle Pass. Epic had said back in September that it would address the XP concerns, leading to an adjustment. On top of that, this season has brought a huge number of daily challenges in addition to the new character Punchcards, enabling players to rake in more than 50k XP per completed card by performing simple tasks.

Combined with the Supercharged multiplier weekends, many players have already unlocked all of the Battle Pass items, opening the Bonus Rewards that, generally speaking, cost considerably more Battle Stars than the initial Battle Pass rewards.

Fortnite players need to log into their game account at some point before November 1 at 4 AM PT / 7 AM ET in order to get the Supercharged multiplier. Players can tell when the multiplier has been applied to their account by looking for the “Supercharged” label above the XP bar at the bottom of the screen during matches.

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Game

G4 will return to TV on November 16th

Seven years after it disappeared, G4 has a return date. The will be revived on November 16th on Xfinity TV, Cox and Verizon Fios (Verizon is Engadget’s former parent company). You’ll be able to stream the network on too.

G4 also has a multi-year promotional and commercial deal with . The network will keep making dedicated content for social media channels, including YouTube, as well. G4 announced the return date in typically offbeat fashion, with gags about the Xbox Mini Fridge and the Nintendo Switch OLED.

Classic G4 series  are returning with their respective former hosts, Kevin Pereira and Adam Sessler. A weekly show called Boosted will focus on esports coverage, and you’ll be able to watch esports events such as IEM Katowice 2022. Also on the docket are a series in which G4 talent and guests play  along with all 167 episodes of Ninja Warrior (aka Sasuke).

As well as Pereira and Sessler, the G4 talent roster includes esports figures Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, Ovilee May and Indiana “Froskurinn” Black; YouTube creators Kassem G, Jirard “The Completionist” Khalil and Gina Darling; Twitch streamers Fiona Nova and Will Neff; and WWE wrestler and gaming personality Xavier Woods (aka Austin Creed).

Carriers the original incarnation of G4 in September 2013. The network’s gradual decline came to a head on November 30th, 2014, until now. Comcast announced plans to revive the brand in July 2020. Earlier this year, G4 started streaming shows on and Twitter in the leadup to the relaunch.

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Game

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD trailer preps us to return to Skyloft

Following E3 2021, we know that Nintendo has quite a few major releases lined up for the Switch in the latter half of the year. One of those releases is right around the corner, as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is launching on July 16th. Ahead of that release, Nintendo has published an overview trailer that prepares new players – or those who haven’t played the game since it launched all those years ago – to dive in and explore the world of Skyward Sword.

Nintendo likes to publish these overview trailers for many of its major releases, and they’re usually quite a bit longer than a standard trailer. The overview trailer for Skyward Sword HD is no different in that regard, clocking in at just a hair over four minutes and 30 seconds long.

The trailer introduces us to Skyloft, a floating island in the clouds where Link and Zelda live. The story doesn’t keep us in the sky for too long, as Link has to explore the uncharted land beneath the clouds in search of Zelda. Those who played the game back in the Wii’s heyday are already familiar with the story, so we won’t spoil more for those who haven’t played yet.

The overview trailer also explains how the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers will act as stand-ins for the Wii Remote and Nunchuck attachment, with the right Joy-Con controlling Link’s sword and the left controlling his shield. Considering that such a setup might rely on motion controls too much for some people, it’s good news that Skyward Sword HD also supports button controls for handheld mode or Switch Lite.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is a game that’s been rumored for years at this point, and now it’s finally happening for The Legend of Zelda‘s 30th anniversary. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD is out on Nintendo Switch on July 16th.

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Tech News

Return to the office — but change your approach

As COVID-19 shut down offices across the world, major tech hubs with their elaborate office spaces shuttered. The entire industry began to wonder, “how will it be possible to keep our unique culture alive over video conferences?”

But now as we see real hope for going back to an in-person setting, the new burning question has become, “how will we adjust and recreate culture and encourage attendance once it’s time to return?” 

There is, of course, no right answer to these questions just yet — sorry.

However, I believe changing how we think about returning to the office in the months to come — especially by fostering an office environment that acts as a ‘home base’ — will be vital to building a comfortable foundation for return-to-work company-wide. 

The complexities of choosing a “return date” and a return-to-work policy while managing to welcome back employees in a meaningful way, however, is presenting a new challenge for executive decision-makers as the expectation to begin “returning to normal” is upon us.

A new perspective on returning to the office

For my company, we left our respective workspaces earlier this year when it became clear a return to work would not be in the cards in the short term. This move has placated a lot of employees’ stress about commuting, sharing small spaces, and leaving the comfort of their home offices.

While the first six months of quarantine felt like a struggle, once our employees really hit their stride and built new routines, they found the convenience of working from home a bonus that they don’t want to give up entirely when a “new normal” kicks off. 

So when it comes to the timing of a return-to-work plan, I’ve seen that not having the stress of a strict return date has made our employees more relaxed, and more focused on productivity while working from home.

Although a hybrid remote work model is going to be paramount to a smooth transition once return-to-work planning is initiated again, we won’t be able to do it with our old, rigid offices. That’s why I think it’s imperative that we redefine our office space from a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. grind to a more flexible setting.

Employees have gotten used to being able to better balance at-home responsibilities with work responsibilities; blending their work hours with their personal hours in a way that ensures both are met with high productivity.

The potential for a more flexible work schedule is extremely desirable for employees and management alike as well as when it comes to the recruitment of new hires, adding curbside appeal and eliminating the various pressures that once were. So fostering a ‘home base’ for employees company-wide removes the added stress of the somewhat dreaded change of routine on their psyche. 

Reset for a culture-focused future 

When we do return to work, everything will not just simply pick up where it left off over a year ago. 

Most companies, including Tapad, will be looking for a whole new kind of space — one that allows for separation between employees, but still offers some of those cultural tentpoles like kitchen amenities. Basically — say buh-bye to the often-debated “open floor plan” with rows of desks with employees spaced only two feet apart.

[Read: Take it from me (and researchers): Open offices suck]

Thankfully, ping pong is a socially distant sport, so I’ll expect to see ping pong tables and revamped spectator spaces continue to be core to culture building in our new home base. 

Ping pong aside though, it’s essential that companies look to this return to normalcy as a reset button. So much has happened in the past year across personal lives, work lives, and just in the world in general. It’s imperative that companies look at this return as an opportunity for a cultural reset.

How do we foster more inclusivity, celebrate our people more collectively and build cultural programs that work in the new future? The answer is not going to come from one person, but rather from the feedback and participation of as many employees as possible.

The adoption of a hybrid remote-work model will mean fewer people in the office at the same time, so a fresh slate of programming is essential. A mix of virtual and physical events, regularly scheduled ‘face time’ with management, and of course, new swag to make sure employees feel connected and excited to start integrating back into office life.

Just like we experimented throughout 2020 and 2021 to find the right cadence of town halls and virtual happy hours, we’ll need time to experiment with hybrid culture to find the right blend of activities and content to keep everyone feeling engaged and motivated. 

It’s going to be critical for employers not to glaze over this past year and expect team members to be able to do the same. A successful return-to-work is going to require acknowledgment that ‘going to work’ is not going to be the same for a long time, or ever even.

And while there is no perfect plan or formula, I believe it’s important that employees see the effort going into creating a new culture. The more transparency there is in building back up an encouraging workplace culture, the more teams feel, understand, and adapt to the initiatives and environments.

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Game

Cyberpunk 2077 gets a hefty update as it preps PlayStation Store return

CD Projekt Red’s quest to fix Cyberpunk 2077 continues today, with the studio publishing a new patch for the game. This patch brings Cyberpunk 2077 to version 1.23, and while it may not be as big as the version 1.1 and 1.2 patches that came earlier in the year, it’s still arriving with quite a few changes.

By far, the biggest section of today’s patch notes is the Quest section, with update 1.23 delivering fixes for several quest and gig glitches and bugs. There are too many quest fixes to list here, but it is worth noting that Gig: Family Matters, The Heist, Gig: Getting Warmer…, and Gig: Many Ways to Skin a Cat are all getting multiple fixes. If you’ve had a problem with any of those quests, then you should see if this update fixes things.

Aside from the quest fixes, several updates aim to quash bugs with gameplay, visuals, and stability. For instance, CD Projekt Red says that it has patched “various issues related to clipping in NPCs’ clothes.” Johnny Silverhand’s broken spectral appearance in some quests has also been fixed.

CD Projekt Red says that it has also applied “numerous crash fixes” across “animations, UI, scene, physics, and gameplay systems.” Just as well, it has implemented memory management improvements and optimizations to reduce the number of crashes players encounter. There are several PC-specific and Xbox-specific changes in this update, though the problems they patch seem to be rather small-scale.

Earlier this week, we learned that Cyberpunk 2077 is returning to the PlayStation Store on June 21st. Sony removed the game from the PlayStation Store shortly after it launched late last year, and it’s remained unlisted ever since. We’ll let you know of any future patches Cyberpunk 2077 receives, but for now, download this one – which is live on PC, consoles, and Stadia – and take it for a spin.

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Game

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ will return to the PlayStation Store on June 21st

Six months after Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store, PlayStation 4 and PS5 owners will soon be able to buy the digital version of the RPG once again. As reported by Eurogamer, CD Projekt Red revealed in a regulatory announcement that Cyberpunk 2077 will be available on the PlayStation Store as of June 21st.

“In relation to Current Report no. 66/2020 of 18 December 2020, the Management Board of CD Projekt S.A. with a registered office in Warsaw hereby publicly discloses the decision by Sony Interactive Entertainment to reinstate the availability of the digital edition of Cyberpunk 2077 on PlayStation Store, effective on 21 June 2021,” the announcement reads.

However, don’t expect the game to run completely smoothly on the base PS4 just yet. “SIE can confirm that Cyberpunk 2077 will be re-listed on PlayStation Store starting June 21, 2021,” an SIE spokesperson told Engadget. “Users will continue to experience performance issues with the PS4 edition while CD Projekt Red continues to improve stability across all platforms. SIE recommends playing the title on PS4 Pro or PS5 for the best experience.​”

Sony removed the game from its storefront a little over a week after Cyberpunk 2077‘s rocky launch and it offered players refunds. The game was initially full of bugs and many PS4 and Xbox One players encountered significant performance issues. Microsoft also offered refunds, but added a warning to the Cyberpunk 2077 store page about possible Xbox One performance issues instead of taking it down.

CD Projekt Red has rolled out several Cyberpunk 2077 hotfixes and major patches since December. The RPG finally appears to be in a solid enough state to satisfy Sony, even if it doesn’t run quite as well as hoped on PS4.

PS5 and Xbox Series X/S owners can play Cyberpunk 2077 through backward compatibility. A free update that optimizes the game for the current consoles is scheduled to arrive later this year.

While the studio might breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to PlayStation availability, it’s still dealing with another major issue. It was hit with a ransomware attack earlier this year. Last week, CDPR said data from the hack was circulating online, and that it may include personal information about employees and contractors as well as details about games.

Update 6/15 2:10PM ET: Added Sony’s statement and warning about base PS4 performance.

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