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SYFY WIRE Death Stranding

Gaming: Apple Arcade debuts early; Shenmue III teases gorgeous new world; more

By Benjamin Bullard
iPhone 11 Pro

Well, that’s one Apple that ripened quickly. Only days after peeling back the full details on Apple Arcade, its go-anywhere gaming subscription service, Apple has opened free beta access to the service three days ahead of schedule — so long as you’ve updated your mobile device.

Via C|net, the Cupertino tech giant has gone ahead and made Apple Arcade live for anyone who’s signed on early for the iOS 13 public beta, three days before Apple releases the service into the wild. Anyone who’s taking part in the iOS beta will be granted a chance to sign up for Apple Arcade, which includes a one-month free trial, starting today (Sept. 16).

Apple revealed tons of details about its much-buzzed gaming subscription service at last week’s iPhone event, including a targeted Sept. 19 launch date, a single-price signup cost of $4.99 per month, and a preview of more than 100 gaming titles — some old, some new — heading to the platform from a long list of established game developers. A single subscription account grants access to six separate login options, effectively making Apple Arcade a fixed-price family affair, and the service works with any device in the Apple product ecosystem, including Apple TV.

After years of anticipation and a few unexpected bumps along its crowdfunded journey, we’re only two months from the arrival of Shenmue III. And in what’s probably the best overall look yet at the new, current-gen gaming world developer Ys Net has carved out for the modern-day sequel to the Sega Dreamcast classics, a new trailer from last week’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS) is serving up a whirlwind tour through all the game’s colorful eye candy. 

Check out Shenmue III’s gorgeous and surprisingly diverse environments in the “Spirit of the Land” TGS clip below:

Essentially serving as a visual crash course for all the cities, villages, and vividly-realized natural areas we’ll be moving through on Ryo’s journey, the clip shows off a diverse mix of the exotic (sprawling temple grounds in the moonlight) and the pleasantly mundane (a quiet and lonely market stall at night). 

Coupled with Ys Net’s earlier release of the “A Day in Shenmue” trailer, which shows off all the ways Ryo can spend his time outside of the main story, the new clip gives us a pretty good indication that the game has its ambitious sights set on being a worthy successor to its pair of intensely beloved predecessors. It’s all headed our way soon: Shenmue III arrives for PlayStation 4 and PC on Nov. 14.

Hideo Kojima personally walked TGS fans through a flood of new gameplay and story clips for Death Stranding last week, at once shedding light on the enigmatic game with a star-studded cast, while leaving fans with perhaps even more questions about what it’ll actually feel like to walk around a shattered American landscape in the shoes of lone soldier Sam (Norman Reedus). 

In addition to an hour-long deep dive into the actual gameplay (you can check out the Japanese-language stream of that clip here), Kojima also shared a lengthy new story trailer that introduces Sam to Amelie (voiced by Lindsay Wagner), the mysterious character who serves as a bridge between the ragtag paramilitary factions vying for political control; the remnants of what used to be the U.S. government; and a hidden-dimension world. 

While the self-contained clip tells an interesting story, fitting it in with Kojima’s larger plot remains as elusive as ever — but as any veteran of the Metal Gear franchise can attest, that kind of deep, labyrinthine storytelling is a feature and not a bug. We can’t wait to finally dive into Kojima’s first post-Metal Gear game when Death Stranding arrives for PlayStation 4 on Nov. 8.