Eurogamer

Rare has announced that Sea of Thieves' second major content update, Cursed Sails, will release for PC and Xbox One on July 31st - and there's a brand-new trailer to accompany the news.

Cursed Sails brings significant additions to Rare's swashbuckling multiplayer pirate adventure, some of which the developer has shared in its latest blog post. Top of the list is a new roaming AI threat in the form of "fortress-like" ghost ships manned by literal skeleton crews - which, judging by the new trailer below, will haunt the Sea of Thieves' by randomly bursting up from the depths of the ocean, ready to unleash hell.

"All that sustains these grinning terrors," says Rare, "is a thirst for battle that leads them to terrorise Outposts and call out defenders to face them on the tides...". That line about Outposts is particularly intriguing; if skeleton crews have the ability to lock-down the game's safe zones until defeated, that's going to make turning in treasure a particularly fraught endeavour.

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No Man's Sky

Hello Games has unveiled its first trailer for No Man's Sky's major, multiplayer-focussed NEXT update, which comes to PC, PS4 and - for the first time - Xbox One, on July 24th.

NEXT's flagship addition, of course, is multiplayer, which enables a small group to team up for bouts of planetary exploration, building, space combat, racing, questing, and more - all of which will be playable in both first- or third-person perspective. It'll be possible to bump into - or prey on - random players too.

That's a genuinely exciting, and very welcome, addition to what's a sometimes lonely game of exploration and expansion - but, speaking as someone who's been thoroughly ensnared by the strangely hypnotic meanderings of No Man's Sky as it's grown through multiple updates, I'm just as excited about some of the other new features briefly highlighted in the latest trailer.

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Hollow Knight

Team Cherry, maker of insect-riddled indie Hollow Knight, has today revealed the release date for the fourth and final free content pack for the game.

In a blog post on Team Cherry's website, the developer announced the new DLC will be launched on the 23rd of August. The release will be available for all players, on both the Switch and PC. Excitingly, the studio confirmed this DLC will also be "the largest one yet."

So, what can players expect from this content pack? Similar to its predecessors such as Grimm Troupe, Gods & Glory will bring "a whole bunch of new bosses," "a slew of new music," "new NPCs" and "new quests." Back when Gods & Glory was originally announced in January, Team Cherry mentioned one of these new characters would be The Godseeker: a "disturbing yet alluring being" that will expand the player's romance options (ooh la la). The DLC will also introduce a third game mode, one that has apparently been "long requested" by fans.

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Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™

Today's the day the patch ripping the market and microtransactions out of Middle-earth: Shadow of War will be released. Hooray! Good riddance!

The patch is live on Steam by the looks of things but I'm not sure about PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

After the patch, orcs recruited through Online Vendettas and Ranked Conquests are stored in your Garrison, and you spend Mirian to train, upgrade and customise them.

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Eurogamer

Years ago, I read a description of a game in Edge and it has slowly transformed, with time and a forgetting of almost all of the details, into a perfect game - a dream game. This was a while back, so far back in fact that I think the N-Gage was the platform the game was headed for. It was a game about building up a city or something like that - really, I have forgotten almost all of the details - and then your city might be attacked by another player, in real-time, and in real time you would have to do something about it.

A persistent world with things kicking off all hours! This probably doesn't sound so special these days, but back then? Back then the image from Edge, of being in a boring work meeting and getting a message informing you that your city was under attack? Man, that was just wonderful.

For me, over the years, that game has come to stand for all the interesting ways that games intrude into our lives. The way games bleed in. I love asynchronous games like Words with Friends for just this reason. It's not that I love Scrabble - man, who doesn't love Scrabble? It's that I love a game that interrupts you, that announces itself, that reminds you that beyond the layer of the world that you can see, a game is slowly ticking away.

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Eurogamer


Firefly and Castle actor Nathan Fillion did not return to record lines for this September's Destiny 2: Forsaken - the expansion which will see his fan-favourite character Cayde-6 killed off for good.

Speaking on the Kotaku Splitscreen podcast, Fillion said he was "unavailable" to voice the franchise mascot's final appearance. Cayde is instead played by Nolan North, who previously took over the role of Destiny's Ghost after Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage was replaced.

There's a bizarre irony to North's casting in Fillion's role, as yesterday Fillion released an Uncharted fan film where he took over the role of Nathan Drake - a character voiced by North in all of the Uncharted games.

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PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

One of the modes PUBG fans have wanted most desperately in the game is the ability to create custom matches. It seems their wishes have finally come true, as PUBG Corp has today announced the mode is in open beta on test servers.

But, of course, there's a catch.

Custom matchmaking will be available for free, but PUBG Corp mentioned in its update notes this could change in the future. "Creating custom matches won't have an associated cost during this phase," the developer stated. "However, due to the extremely large amount of resources required to allow custom games to be available to all players, we may change this in the future to ensure everything runs smoothly and the system remains sustainable long-term."

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Eurogamer

Amazon Prime Day, our favourite mid-summer shopping holiday, has entered its second day in the UK and will begin soon in the US. Prime Day will run for 36 hours in total, concluding in the UK at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday 17th of July - that's tonight!

As in the past, Amazon has negotiated hard with manufacturers to ensure deep discounts for Amazon Prime customers (or those on a free 30-day trial - sign up if you like, you're free to cancel at any time). There are a staggering number of items on offer of potential interest to Digital Foundry readers, including electronics, PC components, 4K HDR TVs and more. What follows is our curated roundup of the best deals available - the stuff we'd consider buying with our own money. As this is a curated selection rather than a straight list of deals, feel free to check back later - we're still filtering through and adding stuff that catches our eye. Also note that prices may change at any given point, so some sales may have finished by the time you arrive. One more thing: sometimes, the price isn't immediately revealed upon clicking through, requiring you to press a 'view deal' button on the top-right of the page.

You can also head directly to Amazon's Prime Day 2018 hub pages if you want to wade through the offers yourself. You can find the UK Prime Day Hub here, and the US Prime Day Hub here.

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Eurogamer

A bird indoors, I read recently - I cannot remember where - is an omen of bad things. I have no idea why this is, except there's just something very wrong about it, I guess, a topsy-turviness to the order of the universe that brings on panic. I have a distant memory of a thrush getting into the house when I was very small, all of these grown-ups around me suddenly flung into a state of chaos: standing on chairs, looking for towels and brooms - to guide it rather than clobber it, I think - and opening windows. The thrush seemed calm, as I remember the moment, and it left when it wanted to. I don't know how long thrushes live or the kinds of things they can expect to get up to over the course of a busy flapping life, but I imagine I think about that particular incident more of then than the thrush in question ever did.

Anyway, birds indoors: last week, on a hot day during the develop conference in Brighton, a bird got into our office. A man brought it in, safe on a laptop and also - in a mobile version - on their iPhone. Fugl. Is that what the bird is called? It's certainly what the game is called. You play as a bird, and you soar and glide and explore glorious landscapes. That's about it.

And "that's about it" is just what I wanted to hear. Fugl is the sort of game you can so easily ruin with an objective or two. The movement is so wonderful and freeing and energising, so much of a thrill, that it's so lovely to be able to tell you that nobody ever forces you to thread yourself through glowing hoops in the sky or attempt an Immelmann for style points. If you want to do an Immelmann in Fugl it's because you work up that morning and really wanted to do an Immelmann, and not because the man told you to. You shouldn't listen to the man if you're a bird: it's a core tenet of birdness.

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Eurogamer

Developer Nightdive has offered backers of its beleaguered System Shock remake a fresh look at the progress being made toward the project's big September milestone, dubbed the Adventure Alpha.

Nightdive's September milestone was originally mooted in April, when the studio laid out plans to get its System Shock remake back on track. This came after the project was put on temporary hiatus at the start of the year, following massive feature creep and increasing concern from Kickstarter funders, who pledged over $1.3 million USD in 2016.

As part of its revised roadmap, Nightdive said that it expected to have a version of its System Shock remake, one that was fully playable "from start to finish" - minus the majority of art, ready for September. And now, in its latest Kickstarter post, the studio has offered a promising progress report on its highly anticipated September milestone.

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