Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry

Remember when a new Leisure Suit Larry popped up on Steam earlier this year? Well, here's a reminder: a new Leisure Suit Larry popped up on Steam earlier this year. It's called (brace yourself) Wet Dreams Won't Dry, and publisher Assemble Entertainment says it's legit. Larry is back, against all odds, and his titles are still groan-worthy. That said, the art on this one actually doesn't look half-bad. And with a new-age Larry on the horizon, now's as good a time as any to look back on the history of the cult-classic adventure games, as MEL Magazine did in their excellent write-up on the series' origins—and its unexpected role in a banking disaster. 

Larry Laffer, the face of the game, was created by designer Al Lowe. As Lowe explained to MEL, Larry's design was partly inspired by the hustlers he'd seen at bars in his time as a musician, and also by an insufferable coworker at Sierra Entertainment who loved to brag "about all the different women he had laid on his sales trips." As for the iconic leisure suit: that came from a joke Lowe made at a pitch meeting. "This game is so out of touch, it should be wearing a leisure suit," Lowe said, referring to Softporn Adventure, the primitive text adventure that the Larry series is based on. No, really: 

Perhaps because people didn't want to be caught buying it, the original Leisure Suit Larry was widely pirated—so much so that Lowe says "at one point we sold more hint books than copies of the game. The popularity of bootleg copies made them perfect vehicles for computer viruses, so infected Larry bootlegs spread far and wide, and even made it into the European banking system. 

As the Financial Times reported in 1988, several banks in Switzerland, Germany and England lost swathes of data to viruses after hapless employees tried to play infected bootlegs on company computers. This was so common that Activision, who distributed Leisure Suit Larry, sent out a statement affirming that the game itself didn't contain a virus, and that the best way to avoid infected copies was to go out and actually buy the damn game ya thieving bilge rats (I'm paraphrasing a bit there.)

Read MEL's full piece here. Thanks to AV News for spotting it.  

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive got a major visual update today in the form of the new Panorama UI. Valve described the overhauled interface as "the most substantial change to the look and feel of CS:GO since the game was released in 2012."

"From the Main Menu to the Scoreboard, the entire experience of interacting with the game has been updated," Valve said. Unfortunately, it's not actually finished, and so this release only supports the "practice with bots" option, either solo or with a friend. 

As Dot Esports pointed out, this is actually the second game to get the Panorama treatment: Valve gave Dota 2 a Panorama update last year. In order to check out CS:GO's hot new look yourself you'll have to opt in to a beta depot, which you can learn about here

ASTRONEER

Astroneer, the open world survival and exploration sandbox from System Era, is now in its second year in Early Access and aiming for a 1.0 release at the end of 2018. Its trailer at E3 announced the December release for 1.0, and if you watch closely you can pick up some hints for a few things it plans to deliver. Astroneer currently supports up to 4-player co-op, but a scene near the end of the trailer shows more than four astronauts running around together.

"We want to push that player number as high as we can go," said Joe Tirado of System Era when we spoke at E3. "No specifics there, but we have a dedicated server running [in-house] and we've had as many as 10 people running around." A scene in the trailer shows nine co-op astronauts—not quite enough for a battle royale match, as System Era joked on April 1st, but it's still definitely more than four.

And while many players enjoy the self-guided sandbox experience of Astroneer, "We've also heard this call of people want stuff to do," Tirado said. "They want directed goals, they want exposition about the universe we built." These goals will be a part of version 1.0. These aren't quests, Tirado told me, and there won't be a proper campaign in Astroneer. But players interested in a more directed experience will have a path to follow if they're looking for one.

"High level goals of the game that you sort of aspire to once you've learned the mechanics of the game," Tirado said. "So, I'm really good at systems, I'm really good at deforming [terrain], so some of those goals might be using those skills to problem solve and figure out how to use deformation to circumnavigate some sort of problem that you encounter."

Those who are perfectly happy to follow their own bliss don't need to concern themselves with these goals if they don't want to, said Tirado. "The game will be telling you that those things are there, but not necessarily forcing you in their direction."

As a reward for completing some of these optional high-level goals, Astroneer also plans to introduce player customization. System Era isn't completely sure yet what the nature of the customization in 1.0 will be, though they're looking at a few different options. Above you can see some concept art of different color palates for spacesuits—some could be specific to the different planets and could be worn as a sign that you've visited them. The idea of adding mission patches is also being explored as a way to decorate your astronaut to show off where you've been and how much you've achieved.

Crossplay is currently supported between Windows Store and Xbox versions of Astroneer, but 1.0 also plans to include the Steam version in that crossplay as well. For more on what's coming in Astroneer in 1.0, you can visit its official site and take a peek at its development roadmap.

Kerbal Space Program

A piece of software called Red Shell that's used by game developers for marketing analysis has caused an uproar among gamers who are concerned by its ability to generate detailed "fingerprints" of users—in many cases without them knowing about it. 

"Imagine a game developer is running an ad on Facebook and working with a popular Twitch channel," the Red Shell website explains. "The developer wants to know which of those ads is doing a better job of showcasing the game. Red Shell is the tool they use to measure the effectiveness of each of those activities so they can continue to invest in the ones that are working and cut resources from the ones that aren't."

In other words, if you click a Red Shell tracking link and then launch the releated game, the developer is able to determine that the link led to a sale. The site states that Red Shell does not collect personal information about users, such as names, addresses, or emails. It doesn't track users across games, and the data it collects is not used for targeted ads. "Red Shell tracks information about devices. We collect information including operating system, browser version number, IP address (anonymized through one-way hashing), screen resolution, in-game user id, and font profiles," it says.   

"We have no interest in tracking people, just computers for the purposes of attribution. All of the data we do collect is hashed for an additional layer of protection." 

Those reassurances don't carry much weight in this Reddit thread, however, which begins by pointing out that users typically don't have a say in whether or not Red Shell is installed in the first place. Games using the software "may offer an opt-out for any type of data/analytics services they use," Red Shell says, but that places the responsibility for declining the software entirely on the user, and could be in violation of opt-in privacy laws—and that's assuming the developer makes the option available at all. 

The list of games found to be running Red Shell is surprisingly broad, and includes everything from indies like Holy Potatoes! We're In Space? and My Time At Portia to high-profile hits including Civilization 6, Kerbal Space Program, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Vermintide 2. Some developers have promised to remove the software, but there's also widespread insistence that there is nothing sinister or spyware-like about it. 

Vermintide developer Fatshark, for instance, described it as "no more than a tool we can use to improve our marketing campaigns in the same way a browser cookie might," while Total War studio Creative Assembly stated that it's ditching the software only because "it will be difficult" to reassure players that it's not being used for nefarious purposes. 

And some studios have said that they will continue to use the software despite the furor. ZeniMax Online, maker of The Elder Scrolls Online, said in a Reddit post that Red Shell was mistakenly added to a live build while it was still being tested. ZeniMax said it would remove the program, but added: "We are still investigating how to use this technology in the future to grow and sustain ESO more effectively. When/if we do so, we will give everyone a heads up with clear instructions as to what it is doing, how it is doing it, and how to opt-out should you so desire." 

Dire Wolf Digital, formerly of The Elder Scrolls: Legends, said something similar about the presence of Red Shell in its new project, Eternal: "Red Shell is not 'spyware'; that’s a scary-'Let’s-burn-the-witch!'-word that’s getting thrown around without a lot of information behind. No personally identifying information is collected anywhere in this process," it wrote. "That’s basically it; there’s nothing nefarious going on here, just some under-the-hood analytics that help us understand how our advertisements perform." 

Reddit's rundown games containing Red Shell as of June 18 is below, although I wouldn't be surprised to see more games added to it as people become aware of them—you'll probably want to check the thread if you want to be sure you're up to date. There's also a publicly-available Google spreadsheet that contains more detailed information on how each one was identified. For games that don't offer one, Red Shell maintains its own per-game opt-out option here.   

Games who used Redshell which removed or pledged to remove it (as of June 18, 2018):

Games still using Redshell according to community reports (as of June 18, 2018): 

  • Civilization VI
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Guardians of Ember
  • The Onion Knights
  • Realm Grinder
  • Heroine Anthem Zero
  • Warhammer 40k Eternal Crusade
  • Krosmaga
  • Eternal Card Game
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior 3
  • Astro Boy: Edge of Time
  • Cabals: Card Blitz
  • CityBattle | Virtual Earth
  • Desolate
  • Doodle God
  • Doodle God Blitz
  • Dungeon Rushers
  • Labyrinth
  • My Free Farm 2
  • NosTale
  • RockShot
  • Shadowverse
  • SOS & SOS Classic
  • SoulWorker
  • Stonies
  • Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation
  • War Robots
  • Survived By
  • Injustice 2
  • The Wild Eight
  • Yoku's Island Express
  • Raging Justice
  • Warriors: Rise to Glory!
  • Trailmakers
  • Clone Drone in the Danger Zone
  • Vaporum
  • Robothorium
  • League of Pirates
  • Doodle God: Genesis Secrets
  • Archangel: Hellfire
  • Skyworld
My Friend Pedro

With E3 2018 safely over our shoulder, we pick the best games we saw at the show.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

When Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was first revealed at the Xbox press conference, it honestly looked like Dark Souls: Japan. I figured it'd be the same riff on ancient Japanese history in the way that Bloodborne twisted Victorian England. But man was I wrong. Not only is Sekiro gorgeous, it's also a near complete subversion of everything we associate with Dark Souls. It's not an RPG, it has no multiplayer, and it's character isn't customizable.

But for each piece of that formula it rips out, From Software sticks a new one in. Sekiro is much more open-world, with levels designed to be scaled vertically using a cool new grappling hook. While it still has the same combat, it's completely reworked to capture the feel of dueling rather than hacking enemies to bits. It has stealth and enemies that look a lot more intelligent than your average Dark Souls lot. Simply put, it's everything I could have wanted from the next Dark Souls—which is to say, it's nothing like Dark Souls. —Steven Messner

Control

With a transforming, supernatural gun and powers like levitation and telekinesis, Jesse is sent in to figure out what went wrong inside The Oldest House, which won't be the linear environment we've seen in games like Alan Wake, but more metroidvania in its structure. My favorite part of the demo was when Faden comes upon an employee inside an observation chamber. As he hears Faden approach, he starts begging for her help: "Oh god, are you here to relieve me?" He's been staring at a refrigerator for days, possibly longer—if someone isn't looking at it, he warns that it will "destabilize." This is but one strange side quest within The Oldest House, Remedy says. —Evan Lahti

My Friend Pedro

Devolver Digital's surreal anti-conference, now in its second year, has become a highlight of E3. After last year's frenzy of satire somebody obviously said, "Hey, that was quite popular but maybe we could show some more games next time?" And so they did. Between Metal Wolf Chaos XD and SCUM was a trailer for My Friend Pedro, a game you'd be forgiven for thinking was just another of their blood-drenched parodies. But no, I've been following My Friend Pedro's development on Dead Toast's Twitter for a while now, and it's definitely real.

The pitch is basically "2D Max Payne but even more over-the-top". There's a generous bullet time meter and physics has been bribed to look in the other direction while you flip and pirouette your way through levels, doming bad guys with bullets and sometimes frying pans. The frying pans can also be used to ricochet bullets off, making for the wonderful possibility of throwing one up in the air, slowing down time, pinging a few bullets off it into bad dudes, then kicking the frypan out of the air and into a final enemy's face just as time spools back up again.

There's also skateboarding and motorbike chases and dual-wielding that lets you lock onto separate targets with each gun. Best of all there's a built-in capture that saves your best moments in each level and lets you upload them as a gif, like Opus Magnum but with more slow-motion headshots. When this game comes out next year Twitter's going to become a parade of nonsensical violence. It'll be like that one cool fight from Deadpool only I won't have to sit through all of Deadpool again. I'm down with that. —Jody Macgregor

Phantom Doctrine

The action is turn-based XCOM-style strategy featuring both stealth and shooting, but successful extraction from a mission doesn't result in anything as grand as an armored airlift. Instead, a nondescript van pulls up to the curb and then speeds away once your agents are inside. Your army in Phantom Doctrine, being developed by CreativeForge Games, isn't comprised of soldiers, but spies during the Cold War of the 1980s.

Between missions, when you head back to your upgradable headquarters, Phantom Doctrine is awash with paranoia. It even has a conspiracy board, where you can examine gathered intel and link clues together with red string and pushpins to unlock new missions. While you're dressing up your agents and forging them new passports you'll also want to rifle through their skills and abilities looking for anything that wasn't there the last time you checked. There's a chance they may have been captured while out in the field and brainwashed by your mysterious enemy. That's right, one of your own spies may be a double agent, and the presence of skill you didn't assign them might be your only clue.

The idea of having a squad of NPC agents you can never completely trust is wonderfully intriguing. So is the fact that you can brainwash enemy agents yourself, and then activate them during a mission, essentially flipping them to your side. You can even plant a tiny bomb in the head of an agent, so if they're captured they won't have the chance to talk, with the added bonus that they'll blow up whoever captured them—though this will mean the loss of whatever intel happens to be in the room when it explodes. Er, plus the loss of your agent, naturally.

The cat-and-mouse one-upmanship of espionage and counter-espionage looks incredible and makes me desperately wish Phantom Doctrine was out right now (it's coming this summer). There were a lot of great games on show at E3, but this one especially piqued my interest. Jody also got some hands-on time with it recently. —Chris Livingston

Destiny 2: Forsaken

Look, I know. I bloody know. I am the boy who cried Destiny, and I do not blame you for not wanting to hear more about it. And certainly not how this next expansion is going to fix most of what went wrong. But, but, but! From speaking to Christopher Barrett and Scott Taylor at E3, it's clear that both Bungie knows it has a mountain of trust to earn back, and more importantly has a plan that addresses the most egregious problems. That means bringing back random rolls on weapon and armor and leaning into the endgame activities that keep players coming back.

Of what I was able to try at the show, the slice of opening story mission featured typically bravura alien-shooting, with Cayde-6 front and centre Golden Gunning-escapees from the Prison of Elders and then nonchalantly tossing a 'nade over his shoulder to clear up the survivors. Until he isn't. Suddenly I was jump cut into the climactic cut scene in which Cayde dies at the blue hands of Prince Uldren. It was different, and even colder, than the moment in the story trailer released during E3. If we ignore the slight suspicion that the developer just didn't want to keep paying Nolan North for voice work, then it really does feel like Bungie is full committed to Forsaken taking a much darker turn.

Perhaps even more of a surprise was what an instant hit the new Gambit mode felt like. This hybrid of PvP and PvE provides plenty of scope for 'hero moments' as players hop into each others' arena to wreak havoc or face plant spectacularly. In order for Gambit to truly stick around, the four promised maps will need to be sufficiently varied and the loot pool will have to be worth grinding for. That latter point will conclusively answer whether the game is back on track, but with September 4 looming I now feel pretty optimistic. Don't make that face. —Tim Clark

Dying Light 2

Dying Light has quietly become one of the best and most successful zombie games in modern memory. It's basically a dramatically improved version of Dead Island: more satisfying melee combat, smoother shooting, more interesting RPG elements, and topped off with a first-person parkour system that, for my money, is infinitely more fun than holding up to climb in Assassin's Creed or Tomb Raider. Plus it lets you dropkick the hell out of zombies. 

It was darn good at launch, and it's only gotten better as Techland's handed out heaps of free content over the years. But Dying Light has one problem no amount of DLC can fix: the writing is terrible. I remember exactly two things about the main story: there was a bit where a kid got turned into a zombie and I wasn't sad at all, and the main villain had a bit where he screamed the protagonist's name at the sky like that scene from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. The dude you play as is so forgettable that I don't even remember the name the bad guy screamed. 

But! Dying Light 2 is a golden opportunity for Techland to deliver a good story and a fun zombie sandbox, and it sounds like they're making good headway. They've enlisted the help of some of The Witcher 3's writers, for starters, and based on what Steven saw at E3, he reckons the sequel is ripe with meaningful, world-altering decisions. And I'm so down for a humanity-driven Dying Light that takes itself seriously. — Austin Wood

Maneater

“Just a small town shark. Livin’ in a lonely seaaaaaaaaaaaa. I killed a load of stuff to upgrade my teeeeeeeeeth.”

I was knee-deep in magazine deadline when I watched the Maneater trailer from the PC Gaming Show. As a trailer it seemed pretty average. It was the moment after the trailer finished which had me enraptured. Sean ‘Day9’ Plott clarified that you play as the SHARK and it’s an RPG kind of thing so you can upgrade your shark to fulfil its lifelong dream of killing all humans (and some other fish). Then I read a bunch more promising details in Wes' Maneater interview.

Obviously there’s a bit of dissonance here—sharks are amazing, beautiful, curious creatures and we are far, FAR more of a danger to them than they are to us. But it’s also an RPG where I get to be a SHARK on a revenge quest instead of some blank-faced human on a revenge quest. I hope this ushers in a golden age for animal RPGs—geese, praying mantis protagonists, mage bees… Turns out I’m perfectly happy to park my “we shouldn’t anthropomorphise creatures” philosophy if it means I can ruin human holidays. —Pip Warr

WINNER - Cyberpunk 2077

I never want to forget that weird feeling of vertigo I had during the opening moments of the first-ever showing of Cyberpunk 2077's behind-closed-doors demo. I had a mountain of expectations, of course, but CD Projekt Red toppled all of them the moment the character creation screen closed. It almost took me a minute to understand what I was seeing—is Cyberpunk 2077 a… first-person shooter? Holy hell. I don't know why I didn't see that coming.

The next 50 minutes held several more moments when I had to sit back and check my expectations for what kind of game this would be. Drivable vehicles? Real-time dialogue choices that don't break up the action? One of the most densely packed and detailed cities I have ever seen in a game? Cyberpunk 2077 wasn't content with merely being The Witcher 3 but with androids—but it all was still pinned together by those familiar RPG systems.

It was an impressively meaty showcase (one that was running on a single 1080 Ti to boot) that showed CDPR was willing to take bold risks and try new things. And, when you consider the leap from The Witcher 2 to The Wild Hunt, that's exactly what made The Witcher 3 so great in the first place. It was a great demo that offered an exceedingly detailed look into a game that might not be out for years, which is a refreshing reveal to have at E3. So, yeah, Cyberpunk 2077 was definitely the best thing I saw all week. —Steven Messner

Fallout 4

You probably remember Cyberdog Rex from Fallout: New Vegas. Rex was a former police dog who was cybernetically enhanced, and while many of his parts were replaced with robotics he remained 100% A Very Good Boy. A quest in New Vegas involved finding Rex a replacement brain, as his organic one had begun to deteriorate.

While Fallout fans also love Dogmeat, it's nice to see Rex again, and you can bring him to Fallout 4 with the Project Cyberdog Rex Dogmeat Replacer mod created by Shadowliger. This is a replacer mod and is a visual change only, though the modder is apparently working on a larger Cyberdog mod, which is detailed on the mod's page:

"Project Cyberdog is a large project I am in the process of creating with the aim of allowing players to build Cyberdog armor for their dogs and customize everything from dog breed (fur patterns) to paint jobs (police, military, law enforcement, etc.) to how many robot legs/parts they want their dogs to have. There are also custom accessories made specifically for Project Cyberdog to allow players to further deck out their dogs."

In the meantime, this Dogmeat Replacer mod will do just fine, if only to see Rex again. And here are bunch of pictures that let you do just that:

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been $30 on Steam since its Early Access release in March of 2017. It didn't participate in any seasonal Steam sales, or run special promotions of its own. It never needed to, having sold millions of copies in just over a year, but now for the first time ever, PUBG is 33 percent off on Steam, bringing it to $20 (or £18.08).

In the sale announcement post, PUBG Corp says that the game's combined Xbox and PC sales now total "over 50 million units worldwide." Include mobile players, and "over 87 million people play PUBG every day," it added. 

The promotion lasts until July 5, and coincides with Friday's big patch, which will add the new 4 km x 4 km Sanhok map and a Sanhok-exclusive gun, the QBZ95 assault rifle, which replaces the SCAR-L on that map. The update is currently live on the test server, where Sanhok is accessible through the Mini Royale playlist. The other two maps, Erangel and Miramar, are grouped into the standard Battle Royale playlist.

The update also includes bug fixes, UI changes, performance adjustments, and a couple gameplay updates. Accuracy modifiers will no longer be instantaneous, meaning that you must complete an action like aiming down sights before you get the full accuracy benefit. Additionally, winners will now get several seconds to celebrate their chicken dinners before the game ends.

The Sanhok update will graduate from the test server this week, on June 22. You can read the full patch notes here.

Frostpunk

For the iron-willed survivalists among you who think that Frostpunk's "hard" mode is too damn easy, today's 1.10 update introduces the new Survivor Mode promised last month. The mode, which I assume is named ironically, ratchets up the challenge by eliminating the ability to pause the game unless you open a menu, and only saving progress when you exit. 

The core difficulty is also cranked up in Survivor Mode: Developer 11 Bit Studios didn't get into the details but said that "meeting the people's needs or balancing the delicate economy of your city will be even harder." The good news is that all the innocent people who will inevitably suffer slow, grim deaths because of your insistence on playing this way won't have died in vain, thanks to the addition of new Survivor Mode achievements. 

On the technical side of things, Frostpunk now supports Nvidia's Ansel, which enables—among other things—"super cool high-resolution screenshots like this one." (That's 12672 × 6432, by the way.) There's also a new quicksave/quickload option (F5 and F9 by default), and multiple other changes and fixes that you can dive into below. And if you haven't already picked it up, Frostpunk is also currently on sale on Steam for 15 percent off, taking it to $26/£21/€26 until June 21. Read the patch notes below.

 Smaller changes and balancing: 

  • Constructed streets now more easily connect to already existing street net
  • Rebalanced amount of starting resources and resources on frostland for Refugees and The Arks scenarios in easy and hard difficulty setting
  • Hunters will now have to rest for a few hours after coming back from the hunt. It will no longer be possible to send them to other work immediately
  • Added blocking other panels by in-game menu Changed extraction rate value for all pickable resources - replaced potential value with all employees by actual value based on efficiency
  • It is now possible to bind keyboard shortcuts to “Fast speed” and “Very fast speed” commands
  • Increased precision of the gathered Steam Cores amount to 2 digits after comma
  • Added emergency shift trackers to pickable resources

 Fixes:

  • Fixed certain endlog variations that didn’t display properly when Cannibalism law was passed
  • Fixed overlapping trackers on frostland (sites, expeditions, transports, survivors)
  • Fixed missing recurring consequences of Emergency Shifts. Watch out when you exert your workforce!
  • Fixed showing tutorials after loading save
  • Fixed a bug causing snow caps to accumulate on buildings that were just built inside heat zone
  • Fixed scrollbars in all expedition building selection panels
  • Fixed some translations
  • Fixed many UI show/hide animations
  • Fixed closing notifications on pause
  • Enabled notifications visibility on Frostland
  • Fixed queuing unlocked resources on resource bar
  • Fixed texts serializations - all texts will be in current language, even after changing language in main menu and loading save
  • Fixed calculating average discontent for expeditions
  • Fixed states (selected, pressed) for many buttons in selection panel
  • Fixed current research description text on workshop selection panel
  • Fixed displaying prohibited citizen groups on population panel
  • Fixed disabled people outside care house count
  • Fixed two crashes that occurred in rare circumstances
  • Fixed a bug causing upgraded buildings to overlap adjacent streets
Grand Theft Auto V

GTA Online's latest weekly update adds seven new Issi-sporting, Italian Job-style races. In no particular order, the Repeater, The Issi Job, the Goal, the Sidewinder, the Turbine Trouble the City Jumper, and the Paleto Palace races all offer double RP and GTA$ and are described by Rockstar as such: The Southern San Andreas racing circuit has been hijacked by Britain's fiercest export since Hugh Harrison—the Weeny Issi Classic. Pilot the pint-sized star of The Vespucci Job against 29 other battle-scarred racers across seven all new tracks designed to put your compact automotive skills to the ultimate test.

After its recent double RP and GTA$ showing, GTA Online's Prison Break heist offers similar spoils this week. Likewise, its Humane Labs Raid and the Doomsday Heist Act 2's The Bogdan Problem finale get the same treatment—the latter of which will net you $2,375,000 all told. Which is a good return for not too much effort.  

I was a wee bit hard on poor Simeone last week, but I stand by what I said: his Contact missions are guff. Lamar's, on the other hand, are a bit more sophisticated, a bit more fun, and are this week's boon. Funeral Party launched with GTA Online— it's a good laugh, and is one job I'm particularly looking forward to trying again.

Similar to last week's discounted properties, Facilities are going for 40 percent less their normal cost; while Hangars and Executive Offices have 50 percent off. You'll need the former to take on the aforementioned Bogdan Problem—whose returns you might spend on any one of the vehicles listed here

I reckon the best shout there is The Avenger, but the Valkyrie chopper is an equally worthy investment. At 30 percent off, they come in at $3,351,250 and $2,653,350 respectively. If you fall short, here's how to make money in GTA Online

Oh, and mind look out for your World Cup-inspired bonus. It should be in your Maze Bank account by now. 

Rocket League®

Back in May 2018, Psyonix revealed that Rocket League would be getting a Rocket Pass. Similar to Fortnite's pass, the Rocket Pass is a kind of secondary progression system in which players reach new tiers and unlock progressively rarer cosmetic items, rather than earning them solely from drops and loot boxes, which can't be opened without purchasing keys or earning decryptors during special events. 

The Rocket Pass will be split into free and premium modes, with the latter offering many more cosmetics at each tier. During a meeting at E3 last week, game director Scott Rudi revealed that this premium pass would cost $10.

No matter which Rocket Pass you use you'll be able to level it up to around tier 70, unlocking new cosmetics and occasionally decryptors at each tier. Premium owners will get a whole lot more, though, including new car bodies and loot box keys (which are better than decryptors as you can trade what you open). Once you reach the max level, however, premium Rocket Pass owners are able to unlock endless 'pro tiers' and continue earning randomized Painted and Certified variants of those same cosmetics, which will be a nice carrot on a stick for those hardcore players—especially because you won't get duplicates until after you've completed the full set. It's a nice alternative to loot boxes, which a lot of people have been too fond of for a while now for obvious reasons.

Each Rocket Pass is expected to last a few months before it and all of its rewards are retired and replaced by a new Rocket Pass with a whole new set of cosmetics to level up and earn.

All of this comes as part of the Summer Feature Update which is expected to arrive in July or August. Other major changes include cross platform parties with the Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, and a revamped leveling system that is now infinite and doesn't require exponential amounts of experience. Combined with the Rocket Pass, it means that players will see a much steadier stream of cosmetic rewards. I can't talk though, I'm still rocking a common paint job and a wizard hat. Sometimes it's nice to keep it simple.

You can read more about Rocket Pass here and other features coming this summer here.

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