GameSentral Rewind #046

Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.

Bloodborne’s The Old Hunters expansion patch bringing new features

Bloodborne The Old Hunters

Bloodborne players will get some new content later this month from a patch preparing the game for the game’s The Old Hunters expansion, according to Sony. The patch will bring a new weapon, more cooperative NPCs and a new The League feature.

According to a PlayStation Blog post, The League is a Hunters group that’s like a Dark Souls covenant. Joining The League lets players assist each other online and compete in the group’s online ranking leaderboard. The patch will also add new weapon The League Cane.

Sony also confirmed the Moonlight Holy Blade, which is Bloodborne’s equivalent to the Moonlight Greatsword that appeared in King’s Field and Dark Souls.

Finally, North American Bloodborne players that get the game’s platinum trophy will get an exclusive PS4 theme based on the game. European Bloodborne players got the theme earlier this year.

Bloodborne: The Old Hunters is slated to launch Nov. 24.

World of Warcraft: Legion coming next summer

World of Warcraft’s Legion expansion will be released next summer, according to Blizzard.

Legion is currently available for preorder here. Those who pre-order the expansion will receive early access to the demon hunter class and one character boost to level 100. The launch cinematic trailer was also revealed today and is embedded above.

World of Warcraft: Legion includes a new continent called The Broken Isles, increases the level cap from level 100 to level 110, and enables a reworked player-versus-player honor system. New artifact weapons are also being introduced to allow players to customize legendary weapons.

Two Overwatch special editions coming next year

Overwatch

Blizzard also unveiled two special editions of Overwatch with skins and other extras.

The game’s Origins Edition comes with the game’s 21 heroes and five skins that “harken to the back stories” of the characters portrayed, which includes Overgrown Bastion, Blackwatch Reyes, and Splitstream Tracer. It also comes with “goodies” from other Blizzard games like a World of Warcraft pet. Origins Edition is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.

The Collector’s Edition includes all of the above with a bronze Solder, 76 bronze statue, soundtrack, and source book.

Overwatch is Blizzard’s multiplayer combat game that is currently in beta and is due for a full release in the first half of next year.

Overwatch coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Speaking of Overwatch, Blizzard’s team-based shooter has been announced for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game is also coming to Windows, and is expected to arrive next spring sometime before June 21st, according to a Battle.net listing.

Hearthstone’s League of Explorers adventure pack launching next week

Hearthstone Legend of Explorers

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’s next adventure add-on, League of Explorers, was also announced during the BlizzCon opening ceremonies. The single-player-focused expansion takes players on a journey through “ancient temples filled with relics, treasures, and traps.”

This League of Explorers heads up the adventure and is made up of four Warcraft heroes, beginning with well-established dwarf Brann Bronzebeard that founded the League, cocky human Reno Jackson, night elf cartographer Elise Starseeker, and speaking murloc Sir Finley Murgleton. These four will set off on a journey to different locales in the Warcraft universe to hunt down the pieces of the Staff of Origination artifact.

Each of the staff’s three parts are in a different location that serves as a “wing” of the adventure: the Temple of Orsis, Uldaman, and Stranglethorn Jungle. The adventure’s fourth and final wing will take place at dwarven capitol city Ironforge’s Hall of Explorers, where the staff will be stolen by evil archaeologist Rafaam.

“There are less total missions to play in League of Explorers, since there’s four wings and not five, but there’s actually more total cards in this expansion than in previous adventures.”

-Ben Brode, Hearthstone senior game designer, to Polygon

According to Brode, the adventure will contain 45 new cards in total. Torch, a new mage spell card, costs three mana and deals three damage and shuffles another three-mana spell into your deck that deals six damage, allowing you to snowball into more powerful abilities later in the game.

Explorer’s Hat, a hunter spell, gives a minion one extra attack and one extra health, but when that minion dies, they’ll also drop another card into your hand.

Some of the new cards feature a new mechanic that Blizzard’s calling “discovery.” For example, a minion might have a battlecry that reads “discover a spell.” When you play this minion, you’ll be shown a choice of three spells. The one you pick is instantly delivered into your hand. According to Brode, discovery options will be restricted to neutral cards and cards of the class you’re currently playing so you wouldn’t discover a druid spell as a rogue, for example.

League of Explorers will also include some new traps in the form of secrets. Hunters will have Dart Trap, which triggers when the opposing hero uses their hero power, and deals five damage to a random enemy. Paladins get a secret called Sacred Trial; when this is active, if an enemy has at least three minions and plays a fourth, the new minion will be destroyed.

League of Explorers will features five new legendary cards – one for each League member, and one for the villainous Rafaam. Brann Bronzebeard will cause any battlecries that get played while he’s active to trigger twice. Reno Jackson will fully heal your hero’s health, as long as your deck contains no more than one copy of any card. Sir Finley will allow you to discover more murlocs and put them into your hand, and Rafaam will give players access to three “powerful artifacts,” unique spells that cost 10 mana in exchange for “crazy effects.”

Most interesting of all, though, is Elise Starseeker. When she’s played, the Golden Monkey minion is shuffled into the deck. When Golden Monkey is played, every card in your hand and in your deck gets replaced with random legendary minions.

The first wing of League of Explorers launches this Thursday, Nov. 12.

Activision Blizzard launches film, TV studio for Call of Duty movies

Activision Blizzard Studios

Activision Blizzard is moving beyond games with the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios, a new arm of the company that focuses on developing movies and television shows based on its franchises. Its initial projects include an animated Skylanders TV series and a “robust cinematic universe” based on Call of Duty.

The Skylanders Academy animated TV show will be helmed by showrunner Eric Rogers (of Futurama and Brickleberry fame) and will feature Justin Long as Spyro the Dragon, Ashley Tisdale as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks and Eruptor, and Norm MacDonald as Glumshanks. According to studio vice president Nick van Dyk, Skylanders Academy is a “highly-comic, action-packed CGI animated TV show.”

As for Call of Duty, Activision Blizzard envisions “a series of Call of Duty feature films as well as the possibility of television adaptations.” The company expects its Call of Duty feature film in 2018 or 2019.

“Activision Blizzard is home to some of the most successful entertainment franchises in history, across any medium. With the launch of Activision Blizzard Studios, our engaged fans can now watch the games they love come to life across film and television. Activision Blizzard Studios is yet another way we’re celebrating our players and fans, and we expect that our film and television productions will entertain and delight whole new audiences, as well.”

-Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO

“Activision Blizzard Studios is not just an exciting new business for our company, it is a synergistic complement to our core business. Our movies and shows will benefit from the remarkable IP created in our games and will further increase the awareness of, engagement with, and passion for our franchises.”

-Nick van Dyk, Activision Blizzard Studios vice president

The Witcher is coming to theaters

The Witcher

The Witcher is getting a live-action film based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels.

Studio Platige Films has joined forces with the Sean Daniel Company, producers of The Mummy franchise among other films, to bring the series to the big screen for an expected 2017 release.

According to a press release, the film is planned to be the first in what the studio hopes is an eventual series.

Developer CD Projekt Red is not slated to be involved in the project.

StarCraft 2 continues its story with Nova Covert Ops DLC

StarCraft 2

Blizzard is extending StarCraft 2’s life with the story-driven Nova Covert Ops DLC focused on Terran ghost Nova, who made her first appearance in-game during Wings of Liberty.

The developer announced the news during BlizzCon. The DLC spans across three packs containing three missions each, and will focus on a spec-ops-type story that takes place after Legacy of the Void. Blizzard is planning to release the first pack next spring.

According to Legacy of the Void lead producer Tim Morten, Nova Covert Ops’ story is a political one where the Defenders of Men covert xenophobic movement seeks to eradicate all Zerg and Protoss. Nova and several other Ghosts have also gone missing.

The DLC also introduces new game mechanics, specifically focuses on a new equipment system for Nova to match her “commando-like operative” skills, and isn’t expected to impact Legacy of the Void’s multiplayer.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t introduce a unit in some of the missions, but we’ve done a lot more in campaign than we ever did in multi. Multi is very surgical, but I do fully expect multiplayer to evolve too. We may add a unit here or there as we understand where we’re at when players get there.

“We’re super excited about multi because it’s changed a lot. Legacy of the Void, the startup game is so much faster than what we saw in Heart of the Swarm. There’s going to be a real opportunity for completely new builds, completely new things we haven’t seen yet.

“Nova feels like a character who has so much story behind her that hasn’t necessarily been exposed to players. We wanted, when you see her in-game, to get that hint of backstory, and then blow that out and make it a focus on one character, more of a personal story.

“We want to see how it resonates with players, but also how we feel about the content as a team, as we get through it. We have something in mind. Hopefully it plays out as great as we’re expecting. Do we feel like there are other aspects of Nova that are worth drilling down on? That’ll be a judgment call as we get further in.”

-Tim Morten, Legacy of the Void lead producer

According to Morten, the game’s community sent “a pretty strong message” wanting more “micro content” in StarCraft 2.

“Mission packs stood out as something that felt like it would resonate.”

“What we’re doing here isn’t just some small afterthoughts to StarCraft. This is pivoting StarCraft to a new paradigm. That’s a big deal. It’s a shift for us as a team.”

– Tim Morten

According to Morten, StarCraft 2 will continue receiving content following the Nova DLC’s launch like unit skins, voice packs, co-op missions, more multiplayer content, and other mission packs.

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