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The best (and worst) of Opening Night Live

The best (and worst) of Opening Night Live

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Come for all the space games, stay for some of the worst-named video games ever

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Screenshot from Dead Island 2 featuring a zombie monster called a slobber.
Deep Silver / Dambuster Games

To kick off Gamescom this week, Geoff Keighley hosted his Opening Night Live event, a two hour-long gauntlet featuring announcements and trailers of video games, including many that aren’t made in the US. Here’s a not-at-all-exhaustive list of some of the most interesting games — if you want that, check out the full video here. We also covered some of the biggest news from the show in other articles, including Hideo Kojima’s new Spotify podcast, the release date of Return to Monkey Island, Sony’s new Edge controller, and even a Pokémon concept car.

Everywhere

Everywhere — a game that’s either going to have awesome or terrible search engine optimization — kicked off the program. In the featurette, the developers at Build a Rocket Boy, including former Grand Theft Auto game designer Leslie Benzies, teased an open-world game where players can create their own stories and build their own universe.

Dune: Awakening

In addition to a strategy game and a Fortnite crossover, the world of Dune is also getting an open-world survival MMO. Dubbed Dune: Awakening and made by the same studio making the Spice Wars RTS, the short clip features someone who seems to be an older Paul Atreides reciting the famous “Fear is the mind-killer” speech as he’s about to hitch a ride on a sandworm. Beta signups are available here but there’s no word yet on beta dates, release dates, or if the game will finally let Paul become a sandworm.

Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy, the Harry Potter prequel game that’s suffering from persistent delays, has a new trailer. In it, a Slytherin and a Hufflepuff explore the mystery behind the unforgivable curses in hopes that they might be used to save lives. The trailers shows students fighting zombies and what looks like a choice system ala Telltale’s The Walking Dead series.

Under the Waves

Under the Waves, developed by Parallel Studios, is a single-player narrative game published by Star Wars: Eclipse studio Quantic Dream. Evoking the mysterious deep-sea exploration vibes of ABZÛ, Soma, and Subnautica, Under the Waves focuses on grief, isolation, and the alien wilderness of the open waters.

Goat Simulator 3

Sun’s out, tongues out. The developers at Coffee Stain Studios injected some much needed levity into Opening Night Live with the gameplay trailer of Goat Simulator 3. Bleat, baa, and ragdoll your way through the world getting up to all kinds of goat-flavored shenanigans. Due out November 17th on Xbox, PlayStation and PC, Goat Simulator 3 supports four-player online or local co-op.

High on Life

High on Life, the “Rick and Morty game without Rick or Morty” showed off a new boss fight while testing the limits of how much the general public can endure a talking gun. The consensus? Not much. Imagine repeatedly dying during a difficult boss fight and having Morty voice actor Justin Roiland repeat the same dialogue at you ad naseum until you win. No thank you.

Moonbreaker

Moonbreaker, the newest game from Subnautica developers Unknown Worlds Entertainment, might just be the most interesting game of the show. According to its website, the game a turn-based, real-time tabletop strategy game with single-player, competitive multiplayer, cooperative multiplayer, and roguelike elements. It’s a miniatures-based game evoking physical table top strategy games like Warhammer that will let you customize your units without the painstaking process of physically painting teeny tiny statues until your fingers cramp. Moonbreaker enters early access on September 29th on Steam.

Screenshot from Dead Island 2 featuring a zombie monster called a slobber.
Deep Silver / Dambuster Games

Dead Island 2

Evoking exactly none of the emotion elicited in its predecessor’s reveal trailer, Dead Island 2 finished out Opening Night Live with a silly reveal and gameplay trailer. Dead Island 2 has been firmly lodged in development hell since 2014 changing studio hands multiple times. It takes place in a zombie overrun LA known as “Hell-A” (get it?) and the game’s website describes it as, “the most intense, visceral and gory first person experience possible.” Both trailers certainly play that gore up featuring all kinds of squelching, wet noises as rotten body parts explode across the screen. Gross. The game will also be the first to include Amazon’s new Alexa Voice Control technology. Dead Island 2 launches — for real this time — on February 3rd on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 44 minutes ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

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The Verge
Mary Beth Griggs44 minutes ago
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.


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Twitter
Emma RothTwo hours ago
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.


Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther Wang12:00 PM UTC
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Twitter
Emma Roth7:16 PM UTC
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.


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External Link
Russell Brandom7:13 PM UTC
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


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Youtube
Richard Lawler6:54 PM UTC
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.


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External Link
Russell Brandom4:29 PM UTC
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.


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External Link
Emma Roth4:13 PM UTC
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.


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External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins3:37 PM UTC
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.


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James Vincent3:17 PM UTC
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.


Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
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The Verge
James Vincent3:03 PM UTC
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.


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External Link
Elizabeth Lopatto2:41 PM UTC
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.


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The Verge
Richard Lawler2:09 PM UTC
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.