The first batch of ‘Pokémon’ Squishmallows have been released

Pikachu and Gengar are the first to launch, with Snorlax on the way

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The Pokémon Company’s collaboration with Squishmallows sees the pocket monsters being turned into plush toys which are now available.

The Pokémon Centre’s online stores have begun stocking the plush Pikachu and Gengar toys, and items are limited to one per customer.

The plush toys will be available in physical outlets around the world at a later date but for now, the online store is the only place to get them. At the time of writing, none were left in stock after only going on sale last night (November 22). It’s unclear whether or not these will be restocked.

The first release contains the series’ legacy Pokémon Pikachu and Gengar, but a second release that will include Snorlax is coming at some point in 2023.

Pikachu from Pokemon

The Squishmallows were released days after the launch of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet last week (November 18). The release saw the arrival of the 1000th Pokémon, Gholdengo, which is made of gold coins. In the game, its pre-evolution Gimmighoul requires 999 Gimmighoul Coins which can be collected from the open world before it will evolve into Gholdengo.

It’s not the only new Pokémon to join the series. Greavard, the haunted ghost-type dog, Bellibolt, the electric frog with strangely-positioned eyes and Wiglett, the beach-dwelling distant relative of Diglett, have all been added to the Pokédex, which now has 1,008 Pokémon.

In other news, a console version of Valorant may be in the works. While the multiplayer shooter launched as a PC exclusive in 2020, recent job listings at developer Riot Games reveal the company is developing “a vision for combat in Valorant on consoles.”

The job listings add that applicants will refine “features, modes and systems to help bring console game products to market.”

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‘Valorant’ job listings suggest Riot’s shooter is coming to console

The multiplayer shooter has been PC exclusive since launching in 2020

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Valorant has been a PC exclusive since launch, but recent job listings suggest it may be coming to consoles in the future.

Since launching in 2020 there’s been no publicised talk around the multiplayer shooter coming to consoles, but Riot Games could be exploring the possibility of Valorant expanding outside of its PC exclusivity according to job listings spotted on Hitmarket (via, VG247).

Both job listings specify Valorant as the game in question, and Riot is recruiting for a senior game designer for console as well as a console game design manager.

The game design manager’s responsibilities list working with team leads “to develop a vision for combat in Valorant on consoles,” whilst the senior game designer’s duties will include designing and refining “features, modes and systems to help bring console game products to market.”

Valorant. Credit: Riot Games

Speculation around Riot Games’ products coming to consoles peaked when the developer announced a partnership with Microsoft during this year’s Xbox and Bethesda showcase. It was announced that five Riot Games titles including League of Legends, Valorant and Teamfight Tactics would be coming to Xbox Game Pass, and users would unlock all Agents in Valorant as part of their subscription.

There was no official announcement that Valorant would be coming to consoles, but the new job listings seem to confirm an arrival at some point in the future.

In other Riot Games news, the developer has teamed up with Ubisoft to tackle toxicity in multiplayer games. The duo are looking to explore “artificial intelligence-based solutions” to combat harassment and toxic communications.

Elsewhere in gaming, Marvel’s Avengers designer Brian Waggoner has been removed as a studio spokesman for Crystal Dynamics after tweeting a series of offensive statements as far back as 2010.

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Netflix to create “AAA PC game” with former ‘Overwatch’ producer

The game is being created at Netflix’s new game studio in Los Angeles

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Based on job listings posted on its website, Netflix Games Studio is seeking staff for a brand-new AAA third-person action role-playing game (RPG).

The newly-formed Los Angeles game developer, Netflix Games Studio, was announced in October and is headed by the former Overwatch executive producer, Chacko Sonny.

Currently, the studio’s job listings show that it is looking for a game director, art director, senior producer and more (mobilegamer.biz, via Eurogamer) for a “brand-new AAA PC game”. Required skills include bringing “industry-leading” experience as well as developing a game with a narrative “worthy of a Netflix film/TV series.”

Netflix Game Studio is seeking a “small, but ambitious team of creators” to create the game in Unreal Engine 5. Described as a third-person action RPG, the game aims to “create memorable game moments that leave players telling their own stories for years to come,” according to the lead engineer’s job description.

Netflix Games Studio

Back in September, Netflix announced that Zynga’s Marko Lastikka would be partnering with the streaming giant to offer “a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games” in its new studio in Helsinki. Lastikka is head of operations as the studio director and working with Netflix following its acquisition of Night School Studio, Next Games and Boss Fight Entertainment.

“This will be a games studio that we build from scratch,” said Netflix’s vice president of game studios, Amir Rahimi. Rahimi added that it will be Netflix’s “second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year.”

Elsewhere in gaming, The Witcher 3 is getting a next-gen makeover. CD Projekt Red has announced a stream to reveal exactly what’s coming to the game in the update. Here’s when and where you can watch the stream live.

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Netflix to create “AAA PC game” with former ‘Overwatch’ producer

The game is being created at Netflix’s new game studio in Los Angeles

The post Netflix to create “AAA PC game” with former ‘Overwatch’ producer appeared first on NME.

NME

Based on job listings posted on its website, Netflix Games Studio is seeking staff for a brand-new AAA third-person action role-playing game (RPG).

The newly-formed Los Angeles game developer, Netflix Games Studio, was announced in October and is headed by the former Overwatch executive producer, Chacko Sonny.

Currently, the studio’s job listings show that it is looking for a game director, art director, senior producer and more (mobilegamer.biz, via Eurogamer) for a “brand-new AAA PC game”. Required skills include bringing “industry-leading” experience as well as developing a game with a narrative “worthy of a Netflix film/TV series.”

Netflix Game Studio is seeking a “small, but ambitious team of creators” to create the game in Unreal Engine 5. Described as a third-person action RPG, the game aims to “create memorable game moments that leave players telling their own stories for years to come,” according to the lead engineer’s job description.

Netflix Games Studio

Back in September, Netflix announced that Zynga’s Marko Lastikka would be partnering with the streaming giant to offer “a variety of delightful and deeply engaging original games” in its new studio in Helsinki. Lastikka is head of operations as the studio director and working with Netflix following its acquisition of Night School Studio, Next Games and Boss Fight Entertainment.

“This will be a games studio that we build from scratch,” said Netflix’s vice president of game studios, Amir Rahimi. Rahimi added that it will be Netflix’s “second games studio in Helsinki alongside Next Games, which became part of Netflix earlier this year.”

Elsewhere in gaming, The Witcher 3 is getting a next-gen makeover. CD Projekt Red has announced a stream to reveal exactly what’s coming to the game in the update. Here’s when and where you can watch the stream live.

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‘MultiVersus’ adds Marvin the Martian to its roster

Marvin the Martian will be available from 6PM GMT today (November 21)

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MultiVersus developer Player First Games announced recently that Marvin the Martian would be added to the game’s roster, but it’s now been revealed that the Looney Tunes character is available later today (November 21).

Player First Games didn’t provide a confirmed release date for Marvin the Martian when it was announced that it would be added to the game on November 18, but on the MultiVersus Twitter page it has now been revealed that it will be available later today from 6PM GMT / 10AM PST / 1PM EST.

As is routine for the game’s update process, MultiVersus will go down for maintenance for around an hour prior to the arrival of Marvin the Martian. The character will be voiced by Eric Bauza, who currently voices many Looney Tunes characters and has already loaned his voice to Bugs Bunny in MultiVersus.

There’s been no further information around Marvin’s moveset or fighting style as yet, so fans of the game will have to jump in and get hands-on with it to find out. A special Marvin the Martian stream will air on the MultiVersus Twitch channel 30 minutes before Marvin is available for players which may give more information away.

It was also announced last week that MultiVersus will be getting a Game of Thrones stage which contains “all the hazards and pitfalls you’d come to expect from the land of Westeros,” as well as a remixed Game of Thrones theme. The theme dynamically adapts to what’s happening on screen.

In other news, a bug in Warzone 2 is turning players invisible. Players have shared clips on social media that show them being killed by enemy players who can’t be seen on the map, an issue that was present in the first Warzone.

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‘Warzone 2’ fans think a secret blueprint hides a bigger Easter egg

There’s a nine-digit code printed on a secret weapon and fans are speculating what it could mean

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Warzone 2.0 players think they might be about to embark on a “wider” Easter egg after finding a mysterious code on a secret weapon.

As spotted by So Broken on Youtube (via The Loadout), the Phantom’s Call weapon has a code printed on it which has no meaning as of yet. In the explanation video, So Broken clears a stronghold to obtain a Black Site key before entering and killing a Juggernaut to unlock the Vasnev-9K blueprint called Phantom’s Call.

Printed along the side of the gun is a code reading “342374075”. In a follow-up video from Geeky Pastimes it is explained that whilst there’s some “interesting stuff” in there, it’s not confirmed anywhere yet that this is part of a wider Easter egg.

The code appears on the left and right-hand side of the gun in different places and is printed very prominently, said Geeky Pastimes. As well as this, it doesn’t seem to provide any in-game notification that players have successfully unlocked the blueprint at all.

Codes were found in the original Warzone, but these were only eight digits. It could be that Warzone 2’s codes are nine digits in order to differentiate from its predecessor, but with no confirmation that this number means anything yet, it can’t be confirmed either way.

Geeky Pastimes speculated that there may be another Call of Duty alternate reality game (ARG) on the way and in any potential situation where a nine-digit code is required, he “wouldn’t be surprised”. Following up he said, “I think it’s a safe bet that it’s probably going to be this one. We’ll see.”

In other news, a Valorant coach was suspended from his team’s grand final after making an “obscene gesture” whilst on stage.

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‘Warzone 2’ fans think a secret blueprint hides a bigger Easter egg

There’s a nine-digit code printed on a secret weapon and fans are speculating what it could mean

The post ‘Warzone 2’ fans think a secret blueprint hides a bigger Easter egg appeared first on NME.

NME

Warzone 2.0 players think they might be about to embark on a “wider” Easter egg after finding a mysterious code on a secret weapon.

As spotted by So Broken on Youtube (via The Loadout), the Phantom’s Call weapon has a code printed on it which has no meaning as of yet. In the explanation video, So Broken clears a stronghold to obtain a Black Site key before entering and killing a Juggernaut to unlock the Vasnev-9K blueprint called Phantom’s Call.

Printed along the side of the gun is a code reading “342374075”. In a follow-up video from Geeky Pastimes it is explained that whilst there’s some “interesting stuff” in there, it’s not confirmed anywhere yet that this is part of a wider Easter egg.

The code appears on the left and right-hand side of the gun in different places and is printed very prominently, said Geeky Pastimes. As well as this, it doesn’t seem to provide any in-game notification that players have successfully unlocked the blueprint at all.

Codes were found in the original Warzone, but these were only eight digits. It could be that Warzone 2’s codes are nine digits in order to differentiate from its predecessor, but with no confirmation that this number means anything yet, it can’t be confirmed either way.

Geeky Pastimes speculated that there may be another Call of Duty alternate reality game (ARG) on the way and in any potential situation where a nine-digit code is required, he “wouldn’t be surprised”. Following up he said, “I think it’s a safe bet that it’s probably going to be this one. We’ll see.”

In other news, a Valorant coach was suspended from his team’s grand final after making an “obscene gesture” whilst on stage.

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‘Valorant’ coach suspended from tournament final over “offensive gesture”

Rob “Robwiz” Kennedy reportedly “made an offensive gesture” while on stage

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Coach Rob ‘Robwiz’ Kennedy has missed the  Valorant Game Changers Championship final, after being banned from participating over an “offensive gesture.”

A statement from Valorant Esports claims that on November 19, Kennedy – the coach of Shopify Rebellion GC – made an “offensive gesture” toward Cloud9 White’s players while on stage.

This breached rule 7.1.2 of the Global Competition Policy which states that coaches must “observe the highest standards of personal integrity and good sportsmanship at all times”.

The statement went on to state that any behaviour that “disrespects and insults” players is a violation of standards expected of coaches. Due to this “offensive gesture”
Kennedy was suspended from his next match, which was played yesterday (November 20) and also happened to be the tournament’s grand final. He has also been fined and “warned that any subsequent violations of this policy will result in increased penalties”.

Kennedy took to Twitter himself to express disappointment in missing the grand finals with his team, saying that he “worked so hard with them” to get there. He also apologised to fans of the team, saying “Sorry to anyone I have disappointed”.

Mel from the C9 team also commented to state, “For what it’s worth, this was not instigated by my team. Lexi and I were just talking to Robwiz about the clip earlier to tell him we thought it was funny and that there’s no bad blood between us,” before adding, “Heartbroken for them”.

Across social media, followers of Valorant esports activities have been expressing concern that there are inconsistent standards amongst penalties issued for breaches of the policy.

Fnatic’s Derke has tweeted a series of photos that show other Valorant players and team staff making offensive gestures of a similar nature, with team Heet’s ec1s stating “If that’s the case then Fnatic are playing 3v5 next official with Derke and Boaster on the sidelines”. It’s noted that a $500 (£420) fine was given to these players, but a match suspension was not.

Twitter user Razur also mentioned that according to the official rules for the Championship, two issues of “flagrant misconduct” are needed in order for a match suspension to be given. “What other act of Flagrant Misconduct did Robwiz commit?” they asked, “Does suspending him from the Grand Finals uphold the spirit of competitive integrity?”

They do mention that, if there was one other instance of this behaviour, it may not have been publicised and therefore cannot assume that there has not been one, but others have said that this should also have resulted in a “separate competitive ruling statement”.

In other news, a God of War Ragnarok developer has revealed that one of the game’s side quests is a tribute to his deceased partner and former developer. 

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‘Overwatch 2’ will transcribe voice chats to minimise “disruptive behaviour”

Players will see a notification warning that voice chat “may be recorded”

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Overwatch 2 has introduced audio transcription in its most recent “Defense Matrix” update in the hope of combatting “disruptive behaviour”.

In a new blog, Overwatch 2 developer Blizzard has outlined changes to the way voice chat will be moderated in online matches.

Among those is the addition of an audio transcription feature which is currently on a “limited” rollout for PC players. If a player is reported, voice chat in their match can now be recorded and transcribed, providing Blizzard with a text file to review.

According to Blizzard, “temporary audio recording” will be used to make the transcriptions through speech-to-text software. Blizzard added that no one will be listening to the recordings, and they will be “quickly deleted” once the transcription is finished.

The transcriptions are only made when reports of disruptive behaviour have been made,  “which includes team and match chat” and excludes group or party chat.

Alongside these transcription features, Blizzard has detailed tuning for competitive play, changes to aim assist in cross-play, and several hero adjustments. The full patch notes can be viewed on the Overwatch website.

Overwatch 2. Credit: Blizzard Entertainment

In terms of balance, Blizzard is “continuing to monitor the health of competitive play and matchmaking” across the game, and the developer states it has “made numerous tuning adjustments on the server for both the initial and continued determination of a player’s skill tier and division.”

Elsewhere in Overwatch 2 news, Blizzard has promised to improve the rewards system due to the battle pass system being criticised by fans.

The game’s executive producer Jared Neuss addressed these concerns in a blog post on the official Overwatch website, where he admitted Blizzard is not “completely satisfied with how everything feels right now.”

Neuss also addressed the shift to the free-to-play model, and while celebrating it bringing new players to the game, he conceded that it had been a “big shift.”

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‘God Of War Ragnarok’ side quest pays tribute to late developer

Developer Jake Snipes passed away in 2020

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A moving tribute to a developer who worked on God of War Ragnarok has been detailed on Twitter by his fellow developer and partner, Sam Handrick.

“There’s something in God Of War Ragnarok which is the most special to me,” Handrick began, “I got to pitch it and the team made it into everything I could have hoped. I had hoped to wait for some time to talk about it but want to share it now, just in case. It’s the Ballad of Jari and Somr.”

Handrick goes on to explain the meaning behind the side quest, known within the game as favours. This specific favour is first signalled by green hearts with runes inside which are painted on rocks around the world. The idea behind them originated when Hanrick and his fellow developer and partner, Jake Snipes, began thinking about how they’d love to leave a symbol of themselves within the game some years ago.

“Some indication within this game that had been the reason we’d first met, our first game made together. He once suggested simply a heart, with our initials in Norse runes, carved into this world we made,” explained Handrick.

Sadly, Snipes passed away due to his epilepsy in 2020. Once Handrick felt able to return to Santa Monica Studio and continue working on God Of War Ragnarok he approached the game’s director, Eric Williams, to see whether it would be possible to include a memorial in the games. Williams, says Handrick, “made it so much more”.

“I told Eric and the team about Jake’s suggestion of our initials carved into a heart and he and the team returned with that and something even more special,” Hanrick explained. “A story of two men who find each other in an often cruel world, and who find a place to belong simply with each other.”

Handrick said that he hoped for the side quest’s story to be one that “many queer people know: journeying through a world that doesn’t always understand you to find a place that truly feels like home.” He commented that “sometimes that place is simply a person.”

During the quest, players will find a rainbow campfire that “never stops burning” and Hanrick says that this fire carries “the story of a man in whom [he] found something unnamable.”

Also found on Twitter, Snipes’ brother Tom has tweeted about the recent loss of his sibling. “Ever since then I’ve felt hollow, broken and hopeless without him,” says Tom. “Thanks to his boyfriend, Jake is forever enshrined in God Of War Ragnarok, the game they both helped create. I love you Jake, you will never be forgotten.”

In other news, Team Ninja is reportedly rebooting both its Ninja Gaiden and Dead Or Alive franchises.

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