Monthly Archives: March 2020
Astro Gaming Working With Microsoft to Make Existing Headsets Compatible With Xbox Series X
It was recently revealed that the Xbox Series X will not feature an S/PDIF optical audio out port, which has raised concern for many about how they'll be able to utilize existing headsets. Astro Gaming, known for its high-end gaming headsets, revealed via Twitter that it is working closely with Microsoft to update the firmware for MixAmp Pro TR, A50 + Base Station, and A20 headsets prior to the launch of Xbox Series X later this year. Astro claims this update will "include the ability to deliver game surround sound & voice chat via USB" bypassing the need for an optical audio port. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=9-new-xbox-series-x-images&captions=true"] The firmware updates will be available across the current lineup of Astro headsets, as well as the previous generation A50 headset. Astro also confirmed that an update to the A50 Gen 2 headset is "not planned at this time" meaning those with older headsets appear to be out of luck.
Without a proper optical audio out port, Xbox Series X will instead deliver audio through HDMI 2.1 which has increased bandwidth to carry up to 8K visuals and Dolby Atmos audio through a single cable. Since HDMI has become the standard for most audio equipment and televisions it's not surprising that Microsoft opted to remove the optical audio port this time around. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/20/ps5-vs-xbox-series-x-full-spec-analysis-next-gen-console-watch"] When asked about plans for headset support on PS5, Astro said on Twitter it is waiting for additional information from Sony and will "make a separate compatibility statement" once that information becomes available. Currently, the PS4 does include an optical audio out port, so it will be interesting to see if Sony omits this on PS5. Xbox Series X and PS5 are both expected to launch this holiday season, although both consoles may be in limited supply due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Still not sure which console you're going to get? Check out our chart breaking down the key differences. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matthew Adler is a News and Features writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him stream on Twitch.
We are working with our partners at Microsoft to roll out a firmware update for MixAmp Pro TR, A50 + Base Station and A20 headsets by launch of Xbox Series X. This update will include the ability to deliver game surround sound & voice chat via USB. Stay tuned for future updates. pic.twitter.com/W65AXflRvk— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) March 31, 2020
Marvel Replaces Black Widow Composer Late Into Post-Production
It looks as though Marvel has replaced the composer for the upcoming Black Widow film. According to Film Music Reporter, Lorne Balfe has been composing music for this new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Scottish composer's previous credits include Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Bad Boys for Life, The LEGO Batman Movie, and 12 Strong. Balfe is also a regular contributor of additional music to films scored by Hans Zimmer, including The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, Rush, and many more. Balfe was also behind the soundtracks for many video games, such as Assassin's Creed III, and worked with Hans Zimmer on the score for Beyond: Two Souls. Black Widow won't be Balfe's first MCU project; he's also credited for additional music alongside Ramin Djawadi for the original Iron Man. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/09/black-widow-official-final-trailer"] It appears Balfe will replace Alexandre Desplat who was confirmed to be working on the film earlier this year. Desplat is an Oscar-winning composer who worked on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Parts 1 & 2 and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He was also hired by Disney to work score Star Wars: Rogue One but was later replaced after reshoots. This is pretty late in the films post-production to be replacing the composer as Black Widow was initially set to hit theatres on May 2020 in the United States. It has since been delayed to an unconfirmed date due concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus. This reportedly won't affect the MCU timeline despite being the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=every-delayed-movie-due-to-coronavirus-so-far&captions=true"] [poilib element="accentDivider"]Hope Corrigan is an Australian freelance writer for IGN. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Gloomhaven Sequel Frosthaven Revealed, Hits $3 Million on Kickstarter in Hours
Frosthaven, the sequel to the hit 2017 board game, and makeshift doorstop, Gloomhaven, has raised close to $4 million in hours on Kickstarter. Frosthaven is a stand-alone campaign set in the Gloomhaven world. Characters from the original Gloomhaven and its expansions — Forgotten Circles and the upcoming Jaws of the Lion — are compatible with the sequel campaign, though Frosthaven will be adding 16 new characters which are, in turn, backward compatible. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=frosthaven-new-classes-and-icons&captions=true"] Like the original Gloomhaven, players can expect a massive box for Frosthaven full of map boards, scenario books, and hundreds of game pieces. Gameplay in Frosthaven will be similar to anyone familiar with Gloomhaven. Players form parties and explore a vast world where players’ choices dictate the scenario in permanent and lasting ways. Some new mechanics in Frosthaven include loot tokens as gold is not as valuable in the sequel and frozen north. There are also buildings in which players can build up using resources for new chance opportunities. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=frosthaven-enemy-artwork-and-mini-sculpts&captions=true"] There’s also a new puzzle mechanic where players must solve a puzzle book that will reveal the history of the Northern Coast. The developers warn that the puzzles can only be solved after digging through the entire game. Finally, the campaign will cycle through two seasons: Summer and Winter. While summer months will make the campaign similar to Gloomhaven, winter will make the game and world more dangerous. Frosthaven already smashed its $500,000 Kickstarter campaign goal, but there’s still a whole month to check out the project if you’re interested. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.
Moon Bases Might be Built One Day Out of Astronaut Urine
Your urine could be more valuable than you think because astronauts may begin using it to create bases on the moon...well, their's – not yours, sorry. NASA astronauts are planning on returning to the moon in 2024 and intend to learn more with new advances in technology. As part of NASA's Artemis program, astronauts will need to learn how to live on the moon's surface with more than what they're bringing. This brings us to how they could one day build a lunar base using a combination of their urine and moon dust to create concrete. Once astronauts make the concrete, it can be used to 3D print a potentially inhabitable base. [caption id="attachment_232944" align="alignnone" width="720"] Image Credit: Researcher, Shima Pelehvar[/caption] Researchers published a study in the Journal of Cleaner Production analyzing how realistic this idea is and if it's possible. Part of the reasoning for using urine is because of how expensive it is to transport materials to the moon. A CNN report cites a previous study about how one pound can cost $10,000 to transport to the moon. "We have not yet investigated how the urea would be extracted from the urine, as we are assessing whether this would really be necessary, because perhaps its other components could also be used to form the geopolymer concrete," said Norway researcher, Anna-Lena Kjøniksen, in a statement. While it's impossible to know how well it will work without actually testing it on the moon, researchers are continuing to experiment with the idea. The end of the published study states, "Additional work regarding these aspects are currently in progress." [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=the-best-sci-fi-movies-on-netflix&captions=true"] Learn more about space with how engineers created a method to deflect asteroids like the one NASA identified in February. Or if you're looking for a little more video games in your space, get excited for Kerbal Space Program 2. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jeffrey Lerman is a Freelance News Writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @Snakester95.
New Mission From NASA Will Help Understand How the Sun’s Radiation Affects Space
NASA announced a new mission dedicated to studying massive space weather storms with tiny satellites under the SunRISE mission. The SunRISE mission stands for, Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment, where NASA will use six CubeSat nanosatellites to create a large radio telescope. Each satellite is around the size of a toaster oven and will be solar powered, according to a press release from NASA announcing the mission. [caption id="attachment_232934" align="alignnone" width="720"] Image Credit: NASA[/caption] The goal is to launch the SunRISE mission "by no earlier than July 1, 2023" with $62.6 million toward funding the design, build, and launch. NASA originally took interest in the project as a concept study when they approved it in August 2017. This later led to an extension and interest in studying the solar storms further under principal investigator, Justin Kasper. "We are so pleased to add a new mission to our fleet of spacecraft that help us better understand the Sun, as well as how our star influences the space environment between planets," Nicky Fox, director of NASA's Heliophysics Division said. "The more we know about how the Sun erupts with space weather events, the more we can mitigate their effects on spacecraft and astronauts." Kasper and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will work together in managing SunRISE to study solar radiation bursts. All six CubeSat satellites will fly within six miles of each other above the Earth's atmosphere to create 3D maps of each particle burst. [caption id="attachment_232928" align="alignnone" width="720"] Image Credit: NASA[/caption] The SunRISE team proposed entering space by working with space technology company, Maxar Technologies. Each CubeSat would hitch a ride on a commercial satellite and break off once in orbit. This entire mission and concept are possible due to NASA's Explorers Program which focuses on providing low-cost access to space. A list of Explorer spacecraft launches as far back as 1958 are available here. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=the-25-best-sci-fi-movies&captions=true"] Scientists are consistently discovering more about space, including 139 planets near our solar system and even a way to deflect asteroids if we one day need too. Astronomers also discovered a mini-moon that has been orbiting Earth for over three years. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jeffrey Lerman is a Freelance News Writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @Snakester95.
Bethesda Cancels QuakeCon 2020
Bethesda has announced that QuakeCon 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the cancellation, Bethesda is looking for "other ways to celebrate the spirit of QuakeCon this August." In a statement posted to Twitter, Bethesda shared its "difficult decision to cancel this year's QuakeCon." This year would have marked the 25th anniversary of the con. "The health and safety of our employees, volunteers, vendors, sponsors, and players will always be our top priority, and in these times it felt wrong to be talking about a gathering when gathering is the last thing any of us should be doing right now," reads the statement. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=games-to-play-while-stuck-at-home&captions=true"] With E3 2020 being canceled for the first time in the event's history, it's not surprising to see Bethesda electing to cancel QuakeCon 2020. However, while this year's gathering has been canceled, Bethesda has assured fans that it looks forward to celebrating the return of the event next year. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/02/25/how-coronavirus-is-impacting-the-games-industry"] Earlier today, Gamescom organizers released a statement saying that the event would still be taking place digitally if not physically. On the other hand, some events like GDC have announced new dates for later in the summer. The events above are just a few of the many that have been impacted by the coronavirus – to see a more detailed list, check out our article on every game event affected by COVID-19. Additionally, there have been a handful of movie releases and shows delayed globally. With platforms like Steam receiving massive amounts of players while everyone is stuck at home, now is the perfect time to work your way through that pile of games you've been meaning to try out. Be sure to check out our favorite games to play while you're stuck at home, as well as every game IGN has given a 10/10. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Andrew Smith is a freelance contributor with IGN. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewtsmith.
Zach Braff, Donald Faison Announce Scrubs Rewatch Podcast Fake Doctors, Real Friends
Two of our favorite TV doctors are back on the job. Scrubs stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison are reuniting for a weekly rewatch podcast called Fake Doctors, Real Friends With Zach + Donald. As revealed by Entertainment Weekly, Fake Doctors, Real Friends is produced by iHeartMedia and sees Braff and Faison revisit each episode of the hit medical sitcom and provide a running commentary track. The duo will reminisce about their experiences filming the episodes and their personal friendship, as well as answer fan questions about the show. Future episodes of Fake Doctors, Real Friends will feature guest stars, including Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence. "We started thinking of doing this for the people who did watch the show, fans of Zach and I who are wondering what we're doing and how we're doing," Faison told EW. "This is a great place to check-in and hopefully enjoying conversations between two best friends." "It's almost like DVD commentary," Braff said. "We'll sit around and talk about funny stories and things we remember behind the scenes." The new podcast comes a decade after Scrubs ended its nine-season run (seven seasons on NBC and the final two on ABC). For the majority of its run, the series revolved around Braff's John "J.D." Dorian and Faison's Christopher Turk, along with Sarah Chalke's Elliot Reid, three up-and-coming doctors moving up the ranks at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital. The series was heavily retooled for Season 9, with both J.D. and Turk becoming teachers and the focus shifting to a new group of med school students. Braff told EW the two have every intention of making it all the way to Season 9 during the course of the podcast. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=every-tv-show-cancelled-or-announced-to-be-ending-in-2020&captions=true"] With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing much of the entertainment industry to a standstill, this is the latest example of celebrities trying to entertain fans by looking back at their past work. Other examples include director Zack Snyder releasing a revealing new commentary track for Batman v Superman and Power Rangers designer Sanit Klamchanuan revealing what the Green Ranger might have looked like in a sequel. For more Scrubs nostalgia, why not check out IGN's list of the 10 best Scrubs episodes? [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/11/19/scrubs-donald-faison-accuses-epic-of-jacking-his-dance-in-fortnite"] The first episode of Fake Doctors, Real Friends With Zach + Donald is available now on all podcast apps. New episodes will air on a weekly basis. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.
Why Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered Doesn’t Include Multiplayer
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is out now on PlayStation 4 (as a 30-day console exclusive), but players can only access the single-player campaign. That’s because Activision and Infinity Ward are trying to keep the full Call of Duty multiplayer experience within last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/31/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-2-campaign-remastered-official-trailer"] In a blog post explaining their decision to only release the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 single-player campaign, Activision explained that “the focus has been to bring players together seamlessly in one unified online multiplayer playground,” meaning Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019. Activision says that last year’s Call of Duty already saw the return of classic maps like Rust, Shipment, Crash, and Vacant, as well as past locations in Warzone like Gulag and Boneyard. The company seems to be hinting that this is the strategy for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 maps going forward as well. “Rather than release a separate, multiplayer experience as a standalone pack, Activision and Infinity Ward are looking to bring more classic map experiences to new life within the Modern Warfare universe as it continues to grown and build over time,” Activision said. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=ranking-every-call-of-duty-single-player-campaign&captions=true"] Potentially, this could mean special playlists in Modern Warfare or Warzone that add classic multiplayer maps from older Modern Warfare games. While IGN checks out Modern Warfare 2 Remastered, you can read our original Modern Warfare 2 review, or check out IGN’s review of last year’s new Modern Warfare and Warzone. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.
Ubisoft Announces Month of Free Games, Game Trials to Include Assassin’s Creed, Rayman, and More
Ubisoft announced it will provide a month-long series of free game trials, discounts, and other offers to support people staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The promotion begins with Rayman Legends, which is available to download and keep for free beginning today, March 31, until April 3. The game is free through Uplay, and is available to download with no cost on PC. Ubisoft said that offers from other popular franchises, such as Just Dance and Assassin's Creed, will be announced later in April on Ubisoft's website. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2013/08/26/rayman-legends-video-review"] As for free trials, Ubisoft is currently offering trials for Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Trials Rising, The Crew 2, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and The Division, with many of the trials available on consoles in addition to PC. A representative from Ubisoft said that they hope the free games and trials encourage people to play their part and stay home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company also participated in Twitch Stream Aid last weekend. If you're considering playing Rayman Legends, you can check out IGN's Rayman Legends review, where we said, "Rayman Legends is a fantastic example of why platformers will never stop being fun." Finally, IGN is encouraging safety and positivity for all of our readers during this pandemic. Read our tips on how to help, and stay safe, during the COVID-19 pandemic. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/03/25/will-you-go-all-digital-during-the-covid-quarantine"] [poilib element="accentDivider"] Logan Plant is a news writer for IGN, and the Production Assistant for Nintendo Voice Chat, IGN's weekly Nintendo show. You can find him on Twitter at @LoganJPlant.
Minecraft Dungeons Release Date Announced
Mojang has announced the official release date for Minecraft Dungeons, a new dungeon crawler set in the Minecraft universe. The new spinoff will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Game Pass on May 26. Minecraft Dungeons is a spinoff of Mojang’s popular online crafting game. Instead of building whatever your imagination comes up with, Minecraft Dungeons is an action-adventure game where players explore partially procedurally generated dungeons and take on monsters and puzzles while hunting for treasure. Developers were initially targeting an April release date, but due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, the final release date came a bit later in May. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=2020-platform-exclusives&captions=true"] Unlike RPG dungeon crawlers, Minecraft Dungeons doesn’t have a class system. So players can use any item or equipment regardless of their chosen profession. Minecraft Dungeons also supports both local and online co-op for up to four players. Mojang says there will be additional content coming down the pipeline, including two upcoming DLC packs which are included in the Hero Edition, and potential cross-platform co-op between Xbox One and other consoles. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2018/09/29/minecraft-dungeons-announce-trailer"] Minecraft Dungeons is just one spinoff of Minecraft, the other being Minecraft Earth, an AR mobile game currently available in Early Access. For more, check out IGN’s review of Minecraft, or our Minecraft wiki for our full coverage and walkthroughs. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.