The Massive Xbox Leak: 11 Big Reveals

This week brought us a wonderful treasure trove of leaks from deep inside the highest echelons of Microsoft’s Xbox division, accidentally shared online as a result of the company’s legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission over its now-greenlit Activision acquisition. These confidential emails, slides, and images of potential new products from the Xbox manufacturer reveal the inner workings of Microsoft’s gaming division, as well as whispers of some possible new games from Bethesda.

Read More: Looks Like Microsoft Was Responsible For Leaking Its Own Documents

The leaks happened courtesy of Microsoft itself, as it provided these sensitive documents to the court via a publicly accessible link. Yesterday Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer reacted to the leaks, saying that it “was hard to see our team’s work shared in this way.”

Microsoft considered buying Nintendo

In the leaked emails, Phil Spencer and Microsoft personnel discussed a possible acquisition of Nintendo.

Read More: Microsoft Casually Discussed Buying Nintendo Or Valve In Leaked Email

“At some point,” Spencer wrote, “getting Nintendo would be a career moment.” He speculated that the Japanese games giant could become more open to acquisition offers in the future due to changing pressures on its board of directors. “It’s just taking a long time for Nintendo to realize that their future exists off of their own hardware,” he wrote. “A long time… 🙂

The emails also reveal that Microsoft thought about purchasing Valve and Warner Bros. Games.

Bethesda might be working on an Oblivion remaster

Because I decided to flip my Xbox 360 from vertical to horizontal while it was running Oblivion, my adventuring in Tamriel was cut short via a huge circular scratch on the disc that no amount of toothpaste could remedy. Maybe I’ll get another chance; while it’s still up in the air, the 2006 Elder Scrolls adventure might get a fancy new remaster in which I could make up for those lost years.

Read More: Bethesda Road Map Leaks, Includes Oblivion Remaster And Dishonored 3

Bethesda’s roadmap was among the many recently released Xbox documents. It includes a sequel to Ghostwire: Tokyo, a Dishonored 3, and remasters of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Also, don’t expect The Elder Scrolls VI for quite a while.

Spencer: AAA game publishers lost their mojo

Phil Spencer stated that “AAA publishers were slow to react to [the disruption]” of digital storefronts like Steam and the shops built into Xbox and PlayStation.

In a leaked email, Spencer wrote that third-party publishers were unable to replicate the “dominance” they established back in the days of video game retail. After losing their advantage of highly exclusive access to consumers in brick and mortar stores, they “have not found a way to effectively cross promote, they have not found a way to build publisher brands that drive consumer affinity (the way Disney has in video).”

He noted that instead they’ve adopted a strategy of making huge bets on highly expensive prestige projects, relying on those risky, all-in bets to establish and maintain publisher brands. He concluded that “the role of a AAA publisher has changed and become less important in today’s gaming industry.”

Microsoft expected a Red Dead Redemption 2 next-gen refresh

Microsoft seemed to have anticipated an Xbox Series X/S port of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2022. This, of course, didn’t happen.

Read More: Xbox Expected A Red Dead Redemption 2 Next-Gen Update, Wanted It On Game Pass

Three-quarters of Xbox gamers had a Series S

The Xbox Series X and Series S consoles hit the market in 2020. Since then, the lower-powered, disc-less Series S actually makes up the majority of units sold. As of April 2022, 74.8 percent of Xbox Series owners were gaming on a Series S, suggesting just a quarter of the base left gaming on the more-powerful Xbox Series X unit.

Again, that was over a year ago, and more recent data suggests the install base split is approaching 50/50. But you gotta wonder how much that massive Series S install base is causing headaches for developers trying to bring high-end games to the Xbox ecosystem.

Microsoft dramatically underestimated Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a super good time. But Microsoft didn’t seem to think the D&D RPG would amount to much. In leaked comments, Microsoft estimated a $5 million expense to get the game on Game Pass, justifying the low monetary amount by describing Baldur’s Gate 3 as a “second-run Stadia PC RPG.”

Read More: Xbox Leak Estimates Cost Of Bringing Blockbusters To Game Pass

Reacting to this statement, Larian’s director of publishing noted that Microsoft was far from alone in underestimating the appeal of Baldur’s Gate 3.

Phil Spencer wasn’t impressed by PS5 reveal

In an email to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Phil Spencer described the Xbox Series X/S line as a “better product than [what] Sony has, not just on hardware but equally important on the software platform and services.” He continued, “we have the ingredients of a winning plan […] today was a good day for us.”

Microsoft accidentally got an ‘exclusive’ Sega game

As the next-gen consoles launched in 2020 fans of Sega’s long-running Yakuza series were surprised that its latest entry, the RPG Like a Dragon, was available on Xbox Series X/S but not PlayStation 5. The Yakuza series had long been associated with PlayStation; what was up?

Read More: The Silly Story Behind The Weirdest Xbox Exclusive

Yesterday’s leak revealed that Microsoft was just as surprised, and it turns out the reason for Like a Dragon landing on Xbox first was due to two competing regional exclusivity agreements Sega made essentially short-circuited each other. The result? Xbox players ate well while PlayStation fans wept into their DualSenses.

The Xbox Series X might go all-digital in 2024

We didn’t just get scans of emails from very serious people, we also got some images and details of possible forthcoming hardware, including a cylindrical-shaped Xbox Series X that won’t include a disc drive.

Read More: All-Digital Xbox Leak Reignites Game Preservation Fears

Code named “Brooklin,” the leaked data indicates that the possible hardware refresh will include “more internal storage, faster Wi-Fi, reduced power” and a “more immersive controller.”

An image shows details of a new cylindrical-shaped Xbox.

Image: Microsoft

If this thing does see the light of day I’ll happily refer to it as trash can Xbox, in honor of the similarly shaped 2013 Mac Pro refresh.

The Xbox could get a fancy new controller

The potential 2024 hardware refresh might also see a new Xbox gamepad hit the market. The image of a controller codenamed “Sebile” shows a two-tone color design and promises modular thumbsticks and features that many a PlayStation fan have known for a few years now: “lift to wake,” “precision haptic feedback,” and an accelerometer.

An image shows a possible new Xbox controller.

Image: Microsoft

Read More: Xbox Series X/S Redesign And New Controller Coming In 2024, According To Leaked Plans

Despite how the controller may look in this image, the copy indicates that it will feature the “same ergonomics” as the current Xbox Series X/S controller (codenamed “Merlin”).

Microsoft sees its next Xbox as a cloud ‘hybrid’ machine

Slides projecting the future of the Xbox platform indicate that Microsoft is very much looking to the cloud (where have I heard that before?) to help power its post Xbox Series X/S console, for which it’s looking at a 2028 release.

Read More: Microsoft Aiming To Release Next Xbox By 2028

Microsoft describes such a machine as a “next-generation hybrid game platform capable of leveraging the combined power of the client and cloud to deliver deeper immersion and entirely new classes of game experiences.” Cool?

So while we might get some sequels to beloved games like Dishonored and a fancy new controller for Xbox and PC, the leaked Microsoft materials also portend another nail in the coffin for physical game media . But hey, maybe Mario and Master Chief will get to go on a little adventure together at some point.

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Latest Big Update: All The Patch Notes

Baldur’s Gate 3 continues to evolve. The hit fantasy RPG received its much-anticipated and sprawling Patch 3 update today, which brings Mac support, a Magic Mirror feature to redesign your player character’s appearance, and an overwhelming number of bug fixes and tweaks.

Larian Studios’ patch notes are always a pleasure to read, and the ones for Patch 3 are no exception. They also include spoilers though, so new players beware. The development team is still promising new features and epilogue scenes in the future, but in the meantime there’s plenty to chew on for both PC and PlayStation 5 players.

On Sony’s console, for example, Baldur’s Gate 3 now matches colors more closely between the spells you’re using onscreen and how the PS5 controller lights up in your hand. Neat! More importantly, Larian says it’s improved optimization and performance, including when it comes to framerate. It’s still aiming to hit a solid 60fps in performance mode, but 30fps should be more consistent across every area in the game in quality mode.

One noteable change in the gameplay itself revolves around NPC reactions. One change reads, “NPCs will no longer run away from anything but the [REDACTED] to improve interactivity and flow.” Druids and Necromancers on the Baldur’s Gate 3 subreddit are rejoicing, since it means they can now summon their minions without frightening away everyone in town.

Other modifications are much more escoteric. “Fixed Shadowheart looking like she’s either in pain or about to sneeze in the background of a dialogue with Thulla,” reads another part of the patch notes. In case you’re wondering what the hell that refers to, fans quickly found an exact screenshot of the expression.

Some changes weren’t even part of player feedback. “Nobody asked for this, but we made the ceremorphosis scene on the nautiloid more horrifying,” reads one note. “These patch notes are massive, they fix so much, add so much, and even then add shit like this, just cause,” a fan wrote in the comments on Reddit. “Studio is incredible.”

Here’s the full list of Patch 3 changes in Baldur’s Gate 3 if you’ve got the time to read a small novella:


  • Baldur’s Gate 3 is now fully supported on Mac!
  • A Magic Mirror that lets you change your appearance is now available at camp!


  • Cazador now cannot turn into or remain in his Mist Form if in magical sunlight, such as that created by the Daylight spell.
  • Fixed Ansur’s Stormheart Nova blasting right through the ice shields you can hide behind.
  • Grym suddenly got eerily smart and was avoiding the Crucible in the Adamantine Forge. With a nervous laugh, we dumbed him back down a little.
  • Fixed Level 4 or higher Divine Smite allowing you to add Divine Smite as a reaction, allowing for two Divine Smites in 1 attack.
  • Fixed the Divine Smite damage increasing over the cap of 5d8.
  • Made several improvements to the Poltergeist enemy: they are now revealed on being attacked or hit with Radiant Spirit Guardians; they will not turn Invisible again if they are still in a character’s See Invisibility aura; in Balanced and Explorer Mode, they have disadvantage on Dexterity Saving Throws when Invisible; the range of their attacks has been reduced; and they won’t try to keep distance from the player in combat so that they are easier to find.
  • Fixed the Sneak Attack damage bonus not increasing to 6d6 at Level 11.
  • Fixed a case where multiple Smokepowder Arrows could be used for free while the Extra Attack feature was active.


  • The colours on the PS5 controller will now match elemental damage types more closely.


  • Improved performance in the Lower City. More to come!


  • Made dye colours more intense and more visible on some armours. This will only affect newly dyed items.
  • Dragonborn characters can now select any of the barbarian piercings.
  • Fixed Shadowheart going blonde when equipping a hat.
  • Improved the reflection in the Spectator’s eye in the Underdark.
  • Fixed face tattoos disappearing when zooming out.

Flow and Scripting

  • Fixed a bug where companions temporarily leaving the party (e.g. being sent to prison) would forget their partnership history and act unusually cold towards you.
  • Fixed a bug letting you trade with Cazador while he begs for mercy.
  • Improved the Astarion romance flow if you agreed to spend a night with him before going to camp by disabling some less important camp moments.
  • Fixed some dialogue options only showing up once when talking to Withers.
  • Fixed a blocker where if you knock Orin’s Slayer form into the chasm, you can’t get her Netherstone.
  • Fixed an issue causing Dammon to enter combat and die at Last Light, preventing Karlach’s story from progressing.
  • Added a journal step for when the tieflings leave the Emerald Grove. The Forging of the Heart quest will also close if Dammon is no longer available in the region.
  • Fixed the game thinking you’re dating Gale instead of Karlach in one of the dialogues with Karlach.
  • You now need higher approval for Shadowheart to confess her Shar worship to you.
  • Myshka the cat will now follow you around if told to, even if you don’t have Speak with Animals.
  • Halsin, Jaheira, and Minthara will no longer be able to undergo Volo’s icepick lobotomy. It’s just not their kind of pastime.
  • Fixed not being able to cut Vanra out of the hag by interacting with her Knocked Out body if all of her mushrooms are destroyed.
  • Lae’zel will no longer tag along (whether dead or alive) after you slit her throat when she ambushes you at night.
  • Fixed a bug allowing you to yoink the Orphic Hammer right out of the so-called Impervious Sphere in the House of Hope if someone else in your party is in an interactive dialogue with the sphere.
  • Fixed a flow issue in Shadowheart’s endgame romance dialogue to make sure Karlach appears alone in Avernus if Shadowheart says she’ll meet her there at a later point in time.
  • Fixed Karlach’s journal mistakenly saying you arrived in the Shadow-Cursed Lands when you arrive at the Rosymorn Monastery Trail.
  • Wyll should now acknowledge Karlach approaching him for the first time more consistently.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Shadowheart swimming scene to not play for some players.
  • The Narrator no longer thinks you’re a mind flayer when you’re not.
  • Fixed companions talking about killing Gortash after meeting Orin even if the former is already dead.
  • Fixed issues with Astarion discussing topics that are no longer relevant.
  • Reworked the interaction between Nere and Minthara:The ‘Travel to Moonrise Towers’ quest no longer sends you to Minthara after saving Nere – he has a lyre of his own now. He gifts it to you if you saved him from the cave-in. This lyre can now be used to call for the drider through the Shadow-Cursed Lands, like Minthara’s lyre does. Both lyres have new descriptions.Nere no longer mentions Minthara in his Speak with Dead.You can ask Minthara for a safe passage to Moonrise if you’d heard about it. She will ask to raid the Emerald Grove first. If this happens, Nere can be asked about Minthara and then Minthara can be asked about Nere.The journals for ‘Travel to Moonrise Towers’ and ‘Follow the Convoy’ were updated accordingly.Saving Nere no longer creates a danger zone if the duergar was killed before clearing the cave-in.
  • During your date with Karlach, Tender Henk will no longer walk away to reveal another Tender Henk standing behind him. Staring.


  • The following spells will now correctly break the Sanctuary condition: Call Lightning, Evard’s Black Tentacles, Polymorph, Hunger of Hadar, Fear, Ice Storm, Flesh to Stone, Divine Intervention, Hypnotic Pattern, Slow, Stinking Cloud, Banishment, Glyph of Warding.
  • Level Up will now queue all characters who can be levelled up so you don’t have to click on them individually.
  • Fixed some corpses never showing the ‘(empty)‘ tag after you loot them.
  • Fixed not being able to use some reactions while in disguise.
  • Cazador’s staff, Woe, now correctly unlocks the Blight spell when equipped.
  • Fixed several magic items and Volo’s Ersatz Eye losing their power after you are killed and revived.
  • Fixed the Spell Sniper feat not working on attack spells.
  • The Spell Sniper feat will now correctly reduce the Critical Hit threshold by 1.
  • Fixed the Idol of Silvanus buff disappearing after Long Rest.
  • NPCs will no longer run away from anything but the Dark Urge Slayer form to improve interactivity and flow.
  • Mummies raised through Create Undead can now Jump to follow you around better.
  • The Everburn Blade now correctly sets explosive surfaces and explosive objects alight when hit.
  • The Misty Escape feat will no longer break concentration.
  • Reading shop signs will no longer be considered a crime.
  • The Cutting Words reaction is now set to Ask by default.
  • Summoned zombies and skeletons will no longer be able to pick up loot and disappear with it when dismissed.
  • The Azer summon’s Overheat ability is now available on its hotbar when summoned.
  • The Nimblefinger Gloves now correctly apply their Dexterity bonus to gnomes, halflings, and dwarves.
  • Fixed an Animate Dead exploit allowing you to summon 2 skeletons from the same corpse.
  • Optimised how the game handles object selection on controller.
  • Fixed Sovereign Spaw being able to resurrect hirelings with Animating Spores. We taught him to not use this on player characters anymore.


  • Your selected trade mode (trade or barter) is now saved to your player profile.
  • Added an option to the Default Online Settings to let you automatically listen in when another party member enters a dialogue in multiplayer.
  • Clarified whether something is a Resistance, a Vulnerability, or an Immunity in the Examine window.
  • Added a notification for when another player in your party is trading.
  • Fixed spells being interrupted by climbing, allowing you to attack twice after climbing down from a crate.
  • Updated the Character Sheet on controller to place active Conditions above the list of Notable Features.

Level Design

  • Fixed some small holes in Act I that weren’t letting tiny characters through them.


  • Added a dialogue option to the first in-person dialogue with the Dream Visitor to avoid only having two antagonistic choices.
  • Rewrote some spell and action descriptions that were too vague.


  • Fixed Raphael’s boss fight music sometimes being incomplete or missing.
  • Fixed some VO not playing in dialogues on PS5 split-screen.
  • Fixed audio cutting out with 3D Audio enabled on PS5.
  • Optimised audio in merged split-screen cinematics.


  • Improved contact when petting Ketheric’s good girl, Squire.
  • Added some lovely blood spurts when Volo carries out his expert operation.
  • Fixed Wyll’s horns clipping into Karlach’s face during an Act II romance scene.
  • Fixed missing music on the Wyll path of Karlach’s endgame scene in Avernus.
  • Placed a nice purple picnic blanket in a romantic scene with Gale and fixed a camera spin if you choose to prefer to spend your time with him on a bed.
  • Fixed Shadowheart looking like she’s either in pain or about to sneeze in the background of a dialogue with Thulla.
  • Added some missing Boo squeaks.
  • Reworked the intro of the scene when you approach the altar at the Temple of Bhaal and fixed some bugs.
  • Updated cameras, facial expressions and head directions to better suit the tone in dialogue with Shadowheart.
  • Fixed some pops and camera issues when you start dating Lae’zel, including Lae’zel’s body flying elsewhere and then back again mid-dialogue.
  • Boo will now be framed in the shot as intended when you talk to Jaheira after recruiting Minsc.
  • Fixed Scratch floating in the air while you pet him by the posthouse in Rivington.


  • Fixed a crash when listening in on conversations in multiplayer.
  • Fixed a crash when loading a savegame made during an Active Roll in dialogue.
  • Fixed a crash when previewing wall spells.
  • Fixed a crash when walking away from a triggered trap.
  • Fixed a crash when switching between controller and keyboard and mouse while

Starfield Players Are Still Waiting For It’s Frist Big Patch

Art shows a space ship sitting over a giant canyon.

Image: Bethesda

Bethesda released another tiny update for Starfield on September 25 that addresses a handful of minor bugs and performance issues on PC. The studio promises a much more massive update is still on the way as fans wait for further tweaks and much needed quality of life improvements.

“This update addresses some issues with performance and stability as well as a few general gameplay issues,” Bethesda wrote on its website today. “We are continuing to work on a larger update that will add features and improvements that we noted in our last update notes.” Here are the full patch notes for Starfield update 1.7.33:


  • Characters: Fixed an issue that could cause some characters to not be in their proper location.
  • Star Stations: Fixed an issue where Star Stations would be labeled as a player-owned ship.
  • Vendors: Addressed an issue that allowed for a vendor’s full inventory to be accessible.


  • AMD (PC): Resolved an issue that caused star lens flares not to appear correctly AMD GPUs.
  • Graphics: Addressed an upscaling issue that could cause textures to become blurry.
  • Graphics: Resolved an issue that could cause photosensitivity issues when scrolling through the inventory menu.


  • Hand Scanner: Addressed an issue where the Hand Scanner caused hitching.
  • Various stability and performance improvements to address crashing and freezes.


  • Displays: Fixed an issue that would cause displayed items to disappear when applied to in-ship mannequins.
  • Displays: Fixed an issue that would cause items stored in Razorleaf Storage Containers and Weapon Racks to disappear after commandeering another ship.

It’s the second update the sprawling open-world RPG has recieved since it arrived on September 1. Another very small “hotfix” went live on September 13 that addressed exactly three bugs in major quests and more general stability improvements on Xbox Series X/S. Big ticket items like more PC display options, better accessibility features, and improvements to actual gameplay remain MIA at the moment.

Nvidia DLSS support was a big sore spot at launch due to Starfield’s exclusive partnership with rival GPU maker AMD. While players eventually modded the graphical upscaling tech into the game themselves, Bethesda has promised to provide an official fix. Brightness and Contrast controls, a HDR Calibration Menu, and FOV Slider are also all still on the docket, as is a button to automatically eat food found out in the world rather than losing it in the inventory screen.

Starfield’s now been out for almost a month, and the lack of more major updates is certainly striking in contrast to recent blockbuster RPGs like Elden Ring and Baldur’s Gate 3. Bethesda’s space exploration hoarding sim didn’t launch with any major bugs or performance issues on Xbox Series X/S, but has had a somewhat rockier reception on PC.

And while many critics have praised the game, they’ve also pointed out a lot of annoying UI issues and systems that feel dated. The lack of accessibility options has been especially bad. It’s unclear how much of that will change in the months ahead, but Bethesda and Microsoft have already said they are committed to ongoing post-launch support and future DLC expansions for the space exploration epic.

Buy Starfield: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop


Payday 3 Matchmaking Finally Fixed, Big Update On The Way

Thieves prepare to matchmake.

Image: Starbreeze Studios

After a terrible launch week riddled with error messages, Payday 3 maker Starbreeze Studios says the matchmaking issues have finally been fixed. The promises come ahead of the heist shooter’s first big patch planned for early October.

“The scheduled maintenance carried out last week has fixed the initial matchmaking issues that occurred during Payday 3’s first few days after launch,” the studo wrote in a new update on its website. “Matchmaking has been stable and has had good performance after the completed maintenance.”

Buy Payday 3: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

The studio says that matchmaking infrastructure for distributing players to different servers was updated on September 26, followed by an upgrade on September 29 that added more regional nodes for distribution to “increase the speed of matchmaking and create greater redundancy across all online services.” Anecdotally, it does appear that many of the matchmaking errors players were previoulsy bombarded with have gone away.

But Payday 3‘s widespread problems right out of the gate certainly did the always-online bank robbery sim no favors, casting a shadow over a paid “early access” period and big Xbox Game Pass launch. And even with the server issues mostly addressed, at least for now, players are still clamoring for a bunch of quality-of-life improvements. With any luck, they should be coming soon.

Starbreeze says the early October patch will include over 200 improvements across all platforms, followed by additional waves of new content and fixes in November. The fist paid DLC, “Syntax Error,” is set to arrive sometime over the winter. It remains to be seen whether an offline mode will be one of the new features added to the game in the coming months. The development team had said it was considering the possibility.

“I don’t really need to repeat that this was not the start we wanted,” Tobias Sjögren, CEO of Starbreeze, wrote today. “But at the same time, our business model is a marathon and not a sprint and we will tirelessly continue to build Payday 3 bigger and better to deliver the greatest possible value for our players.”

Every Change In Armored Core 6’s Latest Big Patch

It was only a matter of time, I suppose. Everyone’s favorite broken Armored Core VI build is no more. FromSoftware released a new update for the mech shooter that makes its beloved Zimmerman shotguns less godlike. 621’s days of skating around Rubicon smashing and staggering everything in sight with ease are over.

The update went live on October 5 on PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC, and the patch notes list a ton of changes to Armored Core VI’s arsenal. While the game has a stellar single-player campaign, it also boasts an online multiplayer mode that’s collected a loyal following. In the interest of steering players toward a more varied set of loadouts, and also keeping the competitive meta fresh and fair, it really appears to have worked overtime re-calibrating everything from plasma rifles to tetrapod legs.

In addition to reducing the attack power and impact of Zimmermans, the fan favorite “Songbird” grenade launchers have also had their damage nerfed. Several bazookas have had their projectile speed increased, and handguns like the HG-003 Coquilett and HG-004 Duckett should be a lot more viable now. Tank treads EL-TL-11 Fortaleza have seen their defense take a big hit, and my favorite frame core, the IA-C01C: Ephemera, has seen its AP taken down several notches.

Gameplay-wise, the most notable change is to Armored Core VI’s assault boost and boost kick. Punching the right stick (R3) sends the mech into a high speed mode that players could use to crash into other mechs. That will now cause less damage, as will the impact dealt by boost kicks coming out of the assault mode. But not for everyone. “Decreased Impact/Accumulative Impact dealt by Boost Kick from all leg types except Reverse Joint,” FromSoftware writes. Reverse-jointed players have been celebrating the news all over the game’s subreddit. Their OP rooster kicks remain intact.

Yesterday’s patch follows a substantial rework last month that made a bunch of the boss fights in the game a lot easier. A lot of players had complained about the “skill check” at the end of chapter one in the form of the Balteus encounter. Some negative reviews on Steam were especially angry about it. The Sea Spider and IB-01: CEL240 fights in later chapters were also particularly challenging. Patch 1.02 made all of them more forgiving. It was welcome news for new players.

Today’s update may end up being a little more controversial. Here are the full 1.03.1 patch notes:

Balance Adjustments

Weapon Units

EXPLOSIVE THROWER “DF-ET-09 TAI-YANG-SHOU”: increased Effective Range/Total Rounds, decreased Reload Time

LINEAR RIFLE “LR-036 CURTIS”: decreased Recoil/Charge Time

LINEAR RIFLE “LR-037 HARRIS”: increased Chg. Attack Power/Cooling, decreased Charge Time

SHOTGUN “SG-026 HALDEMAN”: decreased Direct Hit Adjustment

SHOTGUN “SG-027 ZIMMERMAN”: decreased Attack Power/Impact/Accumulative Impact/Direct Hit Adjustment

HANDGUN “HG-003 COQUILLETT”: increased Total Rounds

HANDGUN “HG-004 DUCKETT”: increased Total Rounds

BURST HANDGUN “MA-E-211 SAMPU”: increased Total Rounds

NEEDLE GUN “EL-PW-00 VIENTO”: increased Total Rounds

BAZOOKA “DF-BA-06 XUAN-GE”: increased Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time

BAZOOKA “MAJESTIC”: increased Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time

BAZOOKA “LITTLE GEM”: increased Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time

DETONATING BAZOOKA “44-141 JVLN ALPHA”: increased Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time

GRENADE “DF-GR-07 GOU-CHEN”: increased Total Rounds/Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time. Rounds now explode upon reaching their Effective Range, even if they don’t make contact

GRENADE “DIZZY”: increased Total Rounds/Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time. Effective Range also adjusted. Rounds now explode upon reaching their Effective Range, even if they don’t make contact

GRENADE “IRIDIUM”: increased Total Rounds/Projectile Speed, decreased Reload Time. Reduced sway caused by accumulated Recoil. Effective Range also adjusted. Rounds now explode upon reaching their Effective Range, even if they don’t make contact

PLASMA RIFLE “IA-C01W1: NEBULA”: decreased Chg. Attack Power/Chg. Impact/Chg. Accum. Impact, increased Charge Time

SIEGE HAND MISSILE “WS-5000 APERITIF”: increased Reload Time, decreased Guidance

GRENADE CANNON “EARSHOT”: decreased Reload Time. Rounds now explode upon reaching their Effective Range, even if they don’t make contact

GRENADE CANNON ”SONGBIRDS”: decreased Attack Power/Impact/Accumulative Impact. Rounds now explode upon reaching their Effective Range, even if they don’t make contact

STUN NEEDLE LAUNCHER “VE-60SNA”: decreased Impact/Accumulative Impact/Direct Hit Adjustment/Attack Power on consecutive attacks

LASER CANNON “VP-60LCS”: increased Total Rounds

DIFFUSE LASER CANNON “VP-60LCD”: increased Total Rounds

PULSE SHIELD LAUNCHER “EULE/60D”: increased Total Rounds/Pulse Shield Durability, decreased Weight/EN Load

LIGHT WAVE CANNON “IA-C01W3: AURORA”: decreased EN Load. Energy Firearm Spec now applies to this weapon

DUAL MISSILE “BML-G1/P31DUO-02”: increased Attack Power/Impact/Accumulative Impact/Guidance/Projectile Speed

DUAL MISSILE “BML-G1/P32DUO-03”: increased Attack Power/Impact/Accumulative Impact/Guidance/Projectile Speed

DUAL MISSILE “BML-G2/P08DUO-03”: increased Attack Power/Impact/Accumulative Impact/Guidance/Projectile Speed

ACTIVE HOMING MISSILE “BML-G3/P04ACT-01”: increased Guidance/Homing Lock Time/Projectile Speed

ACTIVE HOMING MISSILE “BML-G3/P05ACT-02”: increased Guidance/Homing Lock Time/Projectile Speed

NEEDLE MISSILE “EL-PW-01 TRUENO”: decreased Guidance. Projectiles now follow a stable trajectory

CORAL MISSILE “IB-C03W3: NGI 006”: decreased Chg. Attack Power/Chg. Impact/Chg. Accum. Impact/Direct Hit Adjustment

LASER ORBIT “45-091 ORBT”: increased Attack Power/Direct Hit Adjustment/Ideal Range/Effective Range/Projectile Speed

LASER TURRET “VP-60LT”: increased Projectile Speed/Laser Turret Attack Frequency

Frame Parts

HEAD “AH-J-124 BASHO”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “HD-011 MELANDER”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “HD-033M VERRILL”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “HD-012 MELANDER C3”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “DF-HD-08 TIAN-QIANG”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “VP-44S”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “VP-44D”: decreased Attitude Stability

HEAD “VE-44A”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “HC-2000 FINDER EYE”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “HC-2000/BC SHADE EYE”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “HC-3000 WRECKER”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “HS-5000 APPETIZER”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “EL-TH-10 FIRMEZA”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “EL-PH-00 ALBA”: increased System Recovery

HEAD “20-081 MIND ALPHA”: increased Attitude Stability/System Recovery

HEAD “20-082 MIND BETA”: decreased System Recovery

HEAD “IB-C03H: HAL 826”: increased Attitude Stability

CORE “NACHTREIHER/40E”: increased Attitude Stability/Generator Output Adj.

CORE “IA-C01C: EPHEMERA”: decreased AP/Anti-Energy Defense/Anti-Explosive Defense/Attitude Stability

ARMS “AA-J-123 BASHO”: decreased Anti-Kinetic Defense/Anti-Explosive Defense

ARMS “AA-J-123/RC JAILBREAK”: decreased Anti-Kinetic Defense/Anti-Explosive Defense

ARMS “AR-011 MELANDER”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “AR-012 MELANDER C3”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “DF-AR-08 TIAN-QIANG”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “DF-AR-09 TIAN-LAO”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “VP-46S”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “VP-46D”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “NACHTREIHER/46E”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “VE-46A”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “AC-2000 TOOL ARM”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “AS-5000 SALAD”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “EL-TA-10 FIRMEZA”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “EL-PA-00 ALBA”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “04-101 MIND ALPHA”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “IA-C01A: EPHEMERA”: increased Recoil Control

ARMS “IB-C03A: HAL 826”: increased Recoil Control

BIPEDAL “AL-J-121 BASHO”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “AL-J-121/RC JAILBREAK”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “LG-011 MELANDER”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “LG-012 MELANDER C3”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “DF-LG-08 TIAN-QIANG”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “VP-422”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “VE-42A”: increased AP/Attitude Stability/Jump Distanc

BIPEDAL “2C-2000 CRAWLER”: increased Attitude Stability/Load Limit/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “2C-3000 WRECKER”: increased AP/Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “2S-5000 DESSERT”: increased AP/Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “EL-TL-10 FIRMEZA”: increased Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “EL-PL-00 ALBA”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “06-041 MIND ALPHA”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “IA-C01L: EPHEMERA”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

BIPEDAL “IB-C03L: HAL 826”: increased Attitude Stability/Jump Distance

REVERSE JOINT “KASUAR/42Z”: increased Attitude Stability

REVERSE JOINT “06-042 MIND BETA”: increased Attitude Stability

REVERSE JOINT “RC-2000 SPRING CHICKEN”: increased Attitude Stability

TETRAPOD “LG-033M VERRILL”: decreased AP

TETRAPOD “VP-424”: decreased AP

TANK “EL-TL-11 FORTALEZA”: decreased Anti-Kinetic Defense/Anti-Energy Defense/Anti-Explosive Defense/Attitude Stability

Inner Parts

BOOSTER “AB-J-137 KIKAKU”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “BST-G1/P10”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “BST-G2/P04”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “BST-G2/P06SPD”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “ALULA/21E”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “FLUEGEL/21Z”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “BC-0600 12345”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “BC-0400 MULE”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “IA-C01B: GILLS”: increased Upward Thrust

BOOSTER “IB-C03B: NGI 001”: increased Upward Thrust

FCS “FCS-G2/P05”: decreased Close-Range Assist

FCS “FC-006 ABBOT”: decreased Close-Range Assist

FCS “FC-008 TALBOT”: decreased Close-Range Assist

GENERATOR “AG-J-098 JOSO”: increased EN Capacity/Supply Recovery/Energy Firearm Spec

GENERATOR “AG-E-013 YABA”: increased EN Capacity/Supply Recovery/Energy Firearm Spec

GENERATOR “AG-T-005 HOKUSHI”: increased EN Capacity/Energy Firearm Spec


EXPANSION “PULSE PROTECTION”: increased Resilience

EXPANSION “TERMINAL ARMOR”: increased Duration

  • Adjusted Attitude Recovery rate according to Total Weight. ACS Strain now dissipates much faster on lighter ACs, and slightly slower on heavier ACs
  • Adjusted various Boost Speed rates according to Total Weight
  • Decreased top speed during Assault Boost for heavier ACs
  • Decreased Boost Kick attack range for Tetrapod legs
  • Increased EN Consumption while hovering with Tetrapod legs
  • Decreased Impact reduction effect during Assault Boost
  • Decreased Impact/Accumulative Impact dealt when colliding with enemies during Assault Boost
  • Decreased Impact/Accumulative Impact dealt by Boost Kick from all leg types except Reverse Joint
  • Adjusted damage dealt by certain weapons when attacking the pulse shield deployed from PULSE SHIELD LAUNCHER “EULE/60D”

Bug fixes

  • Fixed a bug with CORAL OSCILLATOR “IB-C03W2: WLT 101” where charged attacks would have stronger tracking than intended when using Tetrapod legs
  • Fixed a bug where the attack warning marker would not display for an enemy AC firing DETONATING MISSILE “45-091 JVLN BETA” equipped to the left back slot
  • Fixed a bug where the attack warning sound would not play correctly for an enemy firing GRENADE “IRIDIUM”
  • Fixed a bug where charged attacks from LIGHT WAVE BLADE “IA-C01W2: MOONLIGHT” and CORAL OSCILLATOR “IA-C01W7: ML-REDSHIFT” would clip through certain structures/objects
  • Fixed a bug where reloading with a full magazine would cause certain weapons to fire unintentionally
  • Other bug fixes

Big Oil Using Fortnite And TikTok To Get Kids Into Fossil Fuel

Kids today only care about online free-to-play shooter Fortnite. They don’t even talk about how great gasoline is! Luckily for us, one large oil company wants to change that using Fortnite, TikTok stars, and Twitch streamers. Welcome to Hell.

Climate change is bad. I think we can all agree on that. But for kids, who have long lives and futures ahead of them, the prospect of the planet turning into a nightmare sphere of extreme weather and chaos is particularly scary. But don’t worry about all that, kids. Instead, Shell—a massive oil company and one of the many entities directly responsible for destroying our planet—wants you all to know just how rad its fossil fuel products are, and even made a whole Fortnite world for you to enjoy! But to truly enjoy it, you’ll need to use Shell’s V-Power® NiTRO+ Premium Gasoline, of course.

As reported by Media Matters earlier this week, Shell has partnered with map creators to develop “Shell Ultimate Road Trips”, a Fortnite world featuring six different areas to explore in the car of your choice. In the middle of these worlds, players will find a lonely, sad-looking Shell gas station acting as the map’s hub.

The campaign—part of Shell’s pivot back to focusing on gasoline over cleaner energy sources— is designed to promote the company’s “new and improved” premium gasoline. The idea is that in the map, players will need to occasionally fill up at the central Shell gas station and use its new V-Power NiTRO+ fuel to successfully navigate obstacles and courses.

Content creators are being enlisted to create big oil propaganda

To help promote this terrible collaboration, Shell has enlisted various TikTok creators and Twitch streamers in an effort to connect with their large audiences made up of mostly younger individuals.

Media Matters reportedly identified at least a half dozen streamers—including folks like Punisher, NateHill, Chica, and brookeab—with a combined Twitch following of over 5.5 million subscribers—who helped promote Shell’s Fortnite map and fossil fuel products during sponsored streams that racked up over a million views. Some of these creators also promoted the sponsored streams on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to their millions of followers. Media Matters also identified three content creators who advertised the ShellxFortnite map in several videos posted on the gas company’s official YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram accounts.

The creators directly promoting Shell’s gasoline propaganda have a combined audience of 8.5 million TikTok followers, 1.5 million Instagram followers, and over 11 million YouTube subscribers.

In August, Shell even paid out for a sponsored post on IGN as well as a three-part series featuring IGN staff playing Fortnite and exploring the Shell-sponsored map. The videos are covered in Shell logos and featured on a fancy IGN-hosted website dedicated to the oil company’s Fortnite map.

Kids aren’t buying this crap

So how’s all this money and effort paying off? As far as I can tell, not great. For example, looking at that IGN article, it’s got only two comments and both are negative. On YouTube, the IGN videos have mostly received negative comments from viewers, with many calling out the outlet for sponsoring an oil company. Elsewhere, the official trailers put out by Shell for their Fortnite creation are similarly receiving negative comments.

“Drop in this season and complete the objective: ‘Do irreparable damage to the environment with Shell!” is the top-rated comment on this trailer for the map.

This is all part of an ongoing campaign by big oil companies, like Shell, to connect with younger people via online influencers and content creators. In 2021, Earther reported that Shell and Phillips 66 had started campaigns with Instagram influencers. These sponsored deals and ads aren’t just about promoting oil companies and their products. These large corporations know that as climate change gets worse, it’s getting harder to convince young people to keep buying gas-powered cars and supporting the fossil fuel industry.

As Media Matters pointed out, in a 2021 survey of young people between the ages of 16-25, about 75% said the future is frightening because of climate change. It’s hard to sell gasoline and diesel to teens who know it’s destroying the planet and their futures. And it doesn’t look like some Instagram models and Fortnite videos on IGN promoting Shell are going to be enough to change their minds.


Unity CEO Riccitiello Retires After Big Install Fee Controversy

CEO John Riccitiello has retired from game development software company Unity after possibly its worst month of bad headlines ever. The tech company that’s slowly morphed into an in-game advertising firm announced a confusing and seemingly predatory new set of fees for game makers in September, only to walk the policy back after studios threatened to abandon the Unity engine moving forward.

James M. Whitehurst, former head of the IBM-acquired open source software company Red Hat, will take over from Riccitiello as interim CEO while Unity’s board of directors search for a new long-term replacement. “It’s been a privilege to lead Unity for nearly a decade and serve our employees, customers, developers and partners, all of whom have been instrumental to the Company’s growth,” Riccitiello said in a press release. “I look forward to supporting Unity through this transition and following the Company’s future success.”

Riccitiello joined Unity back in 2014 shortly after leaving Electoronic Arts. He oversaw the game engine company’s shift from one-time licensing fees to an ongoing subscription model, launched the IPO in 2020, and made a series of acquisitions, including the in-app monetization firm IronSource in 2022. When Unity first went public, its stock price was around $68. Today it’s just over $30.

Once synonymous with the explosion of creativity and experimental design in the indie gaming space, Unity is being left by Riccitiello a month after a bungled new monetization strategy rollout burned bridges with tons of game makers. The initial messaging made it sound like game developers might be charged fees every time their game was installed, including retroactively.

A follow-up apology by president and general manager Marc Whitten later clarified that the new terms would only apply beginning in 2024, and laid out much bigger carve-outs for smaller studios whose games don’t hit a certain threshold of income. But for many developers it was too late. Their trust in the company had already been irrevocably shaken. Re-logic, maker of the Steam hit Terraria, pledged $200,000 toward the creation of a Unity competitor, and Slay the Spire dev, Mega Crit, says it will still move to rival game software platform Godot.

Rethinking monetization more aggressively was also one of Riccitiello’s legacies at EA. His seven years at the FIFA (now EA Sports FC) and Battlefield publisher saw it experiment with day-one DLC, microtransactions, and a focus on post-launch content. While there was no week-long crisis moment on the scale of what happened at Unity last month, it’s clear he helped usher in the company’s current live-service era, which many players now feel nickel-and-dimed by. Madden and FIFA’s lootbox modes were both added while he was head of EA, though they didn’t become the billion-dollar windfalls they are today until the tenure of his successor, current CEO Andrew Wilson.

Perhaps nothing summed up Riccitiello’s time at both EA and Unity better than another controvertial incident last year. In an interview with in July 2022, he called developers who don’t think about monetization early in the process “fucking idiots.” He immediately walked the comments back the next week, calling articles about it “clickbait” that took his comment out of context, but later apologized, saying he should have chosen his words more carefully.

That unforced error came shortly after the company revealed hundreds of layoffs at the same time it was buying IronSource in a $4.4 billion all-stock deal. Six hundred more were laid off at Unity earlier this year. Meanwhile, Riccitiello, in addition to the millions he has in Unity stock, will be kept on salary until April of 2024.

Update 10/11/2023 4:50 p.m. ET: SFGate reports that Riccitiello is set to earn up to $8.4 million through stock options over the next six months. That’s in addition to the roughly $253 million he already holds in current Unity stock.


Big Ideas And Bigger Flaws

Lords of the Fallen sounds like the best and worst parts of the Soulsborne genre all rolled into one. Hexworks’ grim action-RPG arrives in a year full of homages to FromSoftware’s Dark Souls, and so far critical assessments run the gamut from high praise to exhausted disappointment.

A soft reboot of the 2014 game of the same name from Deck13, the new Lords of the Fallen arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 13 with reworked combat and a different story. With full co-op available, players move back and forth between two overlapping worlds—one for the living and one for the dead—fighting tough enemies and navigating differences in the environment between the two separate realms. There was a lot of hype ahead of its release, but now that it’s finally here the reviews are decidedly mixed, with some lauding its innovation in the genre while others accuse it of being derivative and lament serious performance issues on PS5.

Buy Lords of the Fallen: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Lords of the Fallen is a great soulslike, and its killer new idea of swapping between two versions of the world to solve puzzles and slay enemies is an excellent twist to set it apart from the pack,” wrote IGN’s Travis Northup, who played on PC. “It’s an authentic facsimile of the Dark Souls experience that’s unrefined and lacks identity; a mass of clichés that made me keenly aware I was playing a copy,” wrote Eurogamer’s Ed Nightingale, who played on PS5. Both encountered plenty of technical hiccups.

The game currently has a 71 on Metacritic for the PS5 version and a 76 for the PC version, which puts it above the 2014 game but well behind other 2023 Soulsbornes like Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and Lies of P. Post-launch updates in the coming days and weeks may help improve the experience of Lords of the Fallen overall, but at the moment it sounds like parts of it can be a real slog. Here’s what else the reviews are saying:

Lords of the Fallen is a great soulslike, and its killer new idea of swapping between two versions of the world to solve puzzles and slay enemies is an excellent twist to set it apart from the pack. That concept is unfortunately hamstrung by numerous, highly annoying technical issues and weak boss fights, but awesome explorable areas and fantastic buildcrafting more than make up for those shortcomings. If, like me, you’re a sucker for a quality action-RPG even amid a clear overabundance of them, then this reboot is well worth your time.

When I rolled credits on Lords of the Fallen, I felt no joy aside from being happy I was done, which is a shame because its first half left me excited for what was yet to come. A beautiful world, distinctive two-realm mechanics, excellent voice acting, and combat that feels good when not over-encumbered by enemies and artificial challenge, create a solid bedrock. But Lords of the Fallen fails to impress beyond that, instead growing more and more frustrating the further into Mournstead adventurers travel.

How many spirits do you think are surrounding you at this very moment? Lords of the Fallen presents you with this grim newfound curiosity, then hands over the tool to satiate it. A lamp lets you take a peek at the realm of the dead — called the Umbral realm — in real time during your crusade. In an instant, the lamplight reveals that a seemingly inaccessible lake hides a traversable hollow pit, while innocuous corridors become swarmed with floating corpses. Yet, as compelling as this use of dual realities is, Lords of the Fallen can’t escape the cold touch of an array of design and pace frustrations that plague the entire experience.

It’s clear Hexworks understands the essence of why Souls games are popular. It’s not just about high difficulty or winged female bosses; it’s about precise combat, looping world design, and a twisted nightmare of monsters to conquer. Yet Lords of the Fallen also leans into the worst elements of the genre, with an oppressively dark atmosphere, poor platforming, and cheap decisions to heighten difficulty.

The sheer density of enemies is a real problem, too. By the halfway point, every combat encounter comes flavored with an entourage of dogs, archers, footsoldiers, zombies, zombies that can fling fireballs—sometimes they’ll just double up on the bigger, badder late-game foes, most of which have the ability to create mines, sling magic, or close the distance in a handful of frames.

When all is said and done, I think part of the problem is that Lords of the Fallen never quite manages to carve out its own identity. It’s a bit Lies of P and a bit Nioh and a bit Blasphemous and a whole lot of FromSoftware, and even though it manages to build on some of these, I suspect all those other titles will last in my memory a lot longer than Lords of the Fallen will. It’s not that it’s a bad experience – I honestly don’t think it is! – but there’s little about it that one could consider great.

Lords of the Fallen is brutal. I mean like, really brutal. I fully intended to have beaten the game and written a full review in time for release. But according to a recent tweet by the developers, there are 30 bosses in total. Which means I have…uhh…a few more to go. And for the record, I’m no Soulslike newbie. I’ve Platinumed most games in the series, and at least beaten those I haven’t. But like I said, Lords of the Fallen is hard.

I really want to like Lords Of The Fallen more than I do. Sure, its bosses might not be spectacular or its maps brimming with character, but thrills abound when you defeat a tough enemy or finally poke your head into a crumbled house and see the cozy light of a Vestige. Moreso when you shine your magic lantern on a wall and it fizzles away to reveal a secret passage or a levitating platform that looks like the Adams Family’s kitchen island. The lantern almost elevates it into special territory! And at times, there are flashes of a grand adventure to cleanse a kingdom of rot. But there are just too many little annoyances that prevent the journey and its umbral counterpart from ascending into Soulslike royalty.

GTA 6 ‘Leak’ Has Fans Hopeful A Big Reveal Is Imminent (Again)

A 4chan user alleges they’ve watched a new trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI, Rockstar Games’ years-in-the-making action-adventure game that’s already been leaked so hard we might as well call it a river. And GTA fans, always eager for the smallest morsel about their upcoming obsession, seemed ready to turn off their critical faculties and enjoy a sweet dose of hopium.

Fans on Reddit in particular got worked up, clinging to the October 26 trailer release date the 4chan user claimed to have seen (or lifted from a GTA leaker on Twitter, who “confirmed” in September that the 26th would be important), as well as the supposed game details 4chan’s alleged leaker claimed to have memorized (many of which were previously provided by 2022’s info flood). The fans don’t fully believe the 4channer, they say, but…what if?

GTA lovers have been clinging onto “what if?” for most of the decade since Grand Theft Auto V released. They’re aching badly for more big-time crime in Rockstar’s huge, seedy, cynical worlds, so much so that they see portals to it everywhere. This dirt road in Virginia is shaped like a roman “6”—surely that’s a sign. The golden femmebot embracing the Rockstar logo in some random promotional art is also a sign, somehow, that GTA 6 is on its way. This nondescript photo of a flat house in the recent San Andreas remaster, nestled next to images of instantly recognizable Rockstar environments, is a sign, too, as is this t-shirt in GTA Online.

Rockstar, of course, remains habitually silent through all of this all-consuming sleuthing; it hasn’t made any official GTA 6 announcements since 2022, when it informed fans in a Twitter post that the game’s development “is underway.” GTA obsessives have had to make their own fun since then.

Kotaku reached out to Rockstar for comment.

Read More: GTA 6 Leaker Hacked Rockstar With Just An Amazon Fire Stick In A Hotel Room

“Saved this for the 26th,” a popular Reddit comment said about the 4chan post, which claims the predicted October 26 trailer will reveal “two cars drag racing,” “underwear guy running down street with snake,” “ferris wheel,” and about two dozen other Mad Libs entries. “I don’t believe it but we’ll see.”

“idec if its fake,” wrote another commenter, “the miniscule chance that it’s real is enough to get me going.”

“Hope is a beautiful thing,” someone replied.

Publisher Take-Two expects GTA 6 by 2025, suggests its financial forecasts—but those are also subject to wishful thinking.

Big Lords Of The Fallen Update Chills Enemies Out

The latest Soulslike to grace us this year is Lords of the Fallen, a reboot of the 2014 game of the same name. While reviews have been mixed and I’m spooked by its dual-world exploration shenanigans, it’s painfully difficult to play because enemies are after your ass all the time. They’re relentless. Or they were, anyway, until a recent patch made a pretty massive change to the game’s trash mobs.

Dropped on October 23 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, patch 1.1.224 for Lords of the Fallen introduces all kinds of tweaks to the action-RPG. Alongside fixing some rather irritating bugs, like T-posing models and collision issues, the latest update also changes enemy density and hostility, putting baddies on a much tighter leash. This alteration will shorten how long enemies chase you once you’ve aggroed them, meaning you can more freely roam the worlds of the living and the dead without a rabid group of vicious paparazzi vying to get a picture of your mangled corpse.

Read More: This Action-RPG May Have The Funniest Renaming In Game History

This is just one of the many planned changes developer Hexworks has in the works. As outlined by the studio on Lords of the Fallen’s official subreddit, another patch landing on October 26 for all platforms will reduce the overall number of goons “in areas where players most struggle”—which unfortunately wasn’t specified in the Reddit post. They’ll still be present in New Game Plus, with enemy density and hostility ratcheting up with each journey through the game’s dual worlds of Axiom and Umbral. But during your first playthrough, enemies should appear less frequently. The October 26 update will also tweak mob behavior so that enemies don’t jump you as often.

The latest update also makes a significant change to New Game Plus. If you beat the game, you can now choose to reset the entire world or continue in your current one. Both decisions let you retain your character, items, and progression. But starting a New Game Plus in your current world will maintain your existing difficulty, rather than increasing it. Once the October 26 update lands, Vestiges (this game’s version of Dark Souls’ bonfires) will no longer disappear when embarking a New Game Plus. These two changes are meant to make trophy hunting and general exploration a little easier.

Read More: Lords Of The Fallen Sounds Like 2023’s Most Divisive Soulsborne

That’s the main takeaway from the current and upcoming patches: It seems Lords of the Fallen will get incrementally easier with each subsequent update. Don’t get it twisted, it’s still a hard-ass video game. This is a Soulslike, after all, but tweaks like these will go a long way in making it a bit more approachable.