Gaming: Avengers spawns a whole new studio, Dishonored takes a breather, COD Blackout beta incoming, and more

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Aug 14, 2018

The Avengers Project, Marvel and Square Enix’s mega-collaboration to bring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to the gaming world, is evidently an endeavor so big and so ambitious that it’s spawned the birth of a whole new development studio.

Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix’s U.S.-based development subsidiary, has just opened a new office dubbed “Crystal Northwest” in Bellevue, Washington to help handle tech development for the upcoming Avengers game, via gamesindustry.biz

Best known for its award-winning work on the Tomb Raider series, Square Enix and subsidiaries Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal already have shown off a slick Avengers concept trailer that immaculately represents the familiar and unmistakable look and feel of the MCU on the big screen. The Avengers game will tell a “completely original” story, the studio pledges, “packed with all the characters, environments, and iconic moments that have thrilled longtime fans of the franchise.”

Announced in June of 2017, there’s been little new info on the Avengers project until now. Square Enix is famous (or infamous) for putting quality control ahead of a rushed development timeline, so news that it’s endowed a whole new studio with the tools to polish the Avengers to the studio's typically sterling technical and graphical standards is an encouraging sign.

Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Corvo Attano, Emily Kaldwin, and the rest of the vividly-imagined Dishonored franchise will apparently go on an indefinite hiatus in the wake of tepid returns on Dishonored 2 and its DLC add-ons, despite the game's overall success with critics. 

Ricardo Bare, lead designer for Bethesda subsidiary Arkane Studios, recently told VG247 that the series is “resting for now” and that he can’t predict “definitively what might happen down the road” for the steampunky (by way of Jules Verne, by way of H.P. Lovecraft) Victorian-inspired franchise.

While a delayed return to Dunwall might be disappointing for Dishonored fans, at least Bethesda’s plate isn’t empty. We still don’t know what Arkane is working on next, but Bethesda’s big-picture game lineup includes this November’s release of Fallout 76, followed closely in 2019 by Rage 2, a pair of Wolfenstein games, and — looking farther ahead — Doom Eternal, Starfield, and…wait for it…The Elder Scrolls VI.

If your trigger finger’s been aching for the next multiplayer expansion for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, your wait’s almost over — at least, that is, if you’re a PS4 owner. CoD developer Treyarch has announced Blackout, its battle royale multiplayer expansion, is set to hit the PS4 with a limited beta version beginning Sept. 10.

The new mode will come crammed to the gills with familiar and new characters, weapons, and places, with Activision and Treyarch promising a huge map that will throw players together to stage epic, coordinated set-piece battles as well as more conventional PvP mayhem.

There’s no word yet on when the Blackout beta will carry beyond the PS4 to hit other platforms, so stay tuned.

Finally, Nintendo Switch owners who’ve been holding off on picking up some of the diminutive console’s biggest blockbuster titles may finally be in luck. Via GameSpot, a boatload of big names highlighted by Mario, Zelda, and more are on sale at Amazon — although nobody knows how long any of it will last. 

At $44.99, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild each is currently selling at a 25 percent discount beneath its regular price, as are Mario Kart 8 and Mario Tennis Aces. An even better deal for anyone who’s played and loved the Fire Emblem series is Fire Emblem Warriors, which is currently going for a scant $35.97. 

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