Eurogamer

The latest Fortnite update has dropped, and this time, it's all about skillful long-distance shooting. Not good news for me, then.

In the notes for update v5.21, Epic finally announced it's added the heavy sniper rifle, which was originally discovered by dataminers on StormshieldOne several weeks ago. The weapon deals a high amount of damage to players - between 150 to 157 points worth, in fact, but the main impact it should make is on buildings, where bullets can deal a huge 1100 points of damage. The only downside is increased reload time, but as highlighted by commenters on Reddit, the heavy sniper rifle only takes one second longer to reload than the bolt-action.

When the heavy sniper was initially leaked, some players expressed concern it was an "anti-building" addition. It will be interesting to see how the update changes the game's current meta, particularly as scoped assault rifles are also being removed, while the minigun is receiving a nerf.

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Eurogamer

Beloved British shooter series TimeSplitters has been bought by Koch Media, and it sounds like something is in the works.

TimeSplitters was created by the Nottingham-based Free Radical Design back in 2000 by many of the team behind the legendary Goldeneye. It spawned two sequels - the best of which was TimeSplitters 2 - but the franchise has now lain dormant for more than a decade.

As Free Radical Design became Crytek UK, and then Deep Silver Dambuster Studios, Crytek has held onto the TimeSplitters license. There were initial efforts to investigate a revival of the brand, but nothing transpired.

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Lovely Planet

Jerks, that's what they are, plain and simple. I'm talking about the cube-shaped villains that populate the vivid world in Lovely Planet, a speed-running game that's haunted me ever since I purchased it in a Humble Bundle over three and a half years ago. Yet for some reason, I decided to buy it again a few months back, this time for the Xbox.

Playing difficult games for the sake of being frustrated is nothing new, even in recent years as we all secretly agree games are much easier than they used to be. For example, something that's always struck me about Dark Souls, apart from the mystifying acclaim lauded on the series, is the enjoyment people share regarding its difficulty. The repetitive "YOU DIED" dissolving onto the screen when you're beaten by an enemy has become a great meme, prompting the kind of feelings you might experience through cold rejections from a potential employer or an unrequited crush.

Lovely Planet is that stuff too. There isn't much of a story to the thing, but it appears that you've missed your trip to the lovely planet and have to get past all of the enemies and obstacles to make the next flight to that wonderful new world spinning in the background. And don't be fooled by the cheery soundtrack. (Personally, I would compare it to the work of Lullatone, a delightful musical duo who are the embodiment of "quirky".) There are many ways to die: you can succumb to the bastard cubes that spit bullets towards you, or a descending apple that forces you to restart the level, or you might simply lose your footing and fall off one of the numerous platforms.

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Eurogamer

Activision has announced that Blackout, Call of Duty Black Ops 4's so far only briefly seen battle royale mode, will begin its private beta testing schedule on September 10th.

The caveat here is that the Blackout beta start date only applies to PlayStation 4 users at present; it looks like interested parties on Xbox One and PC will once again be forced to sit it out until Sony's exclusivity window expires.

News of the Blackout beta, if you're wondering, comes via a brief video on the official Call of Duty Twitter feed (see below), which also teases solo, duos, and quad modes for Black Ops 4's battle royale experience - so nothing particularly revelatory there.

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Dishonored

Arkane Studios has confirmed that its superb first-person assassination series Dishonored is "resting right now", with no further instalments seemingly currently planned.

News of Dishonored's dormancy comes via Arkane Studios lead designer Ricardo Bare (speaking to VG247 during QuakeCon), who qualified that, "I can't say definitively what might happen down the road, anything could happen".

The original Dishonored launched back in 2012 to much critical acclaim, with reviews celebrating its superb world design and the sometimes dizzying freedom with which the game's supernaturally enhanced assassination missions could be approached.

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Insurgency

Developer New World Interactive's hardcore multiplayer tactical shooter Insurgency is currently free on Steam - and if you pick it up now, it'll remain in your library to play whenever you want.

Insurgency, if you're unfamiliar, originally released for PC in 2014 and was the fully fledged standalone successor to New World Interactive's popular Half-Life 2 mod Insurgency: Modern Infantry Combat. The series gained quite a following (and still has an active player base today), thanks its more realistic take on the classic first-person shooter formula.

In Insurgency, for instance, head shots are instantly fatal, and you don't have access to a mini-map, on-screen crosshairs, even an ammo or health counter - all of which makes for an experience that rewards tactical planning and carefully orchestrated team work.

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DARK SOULS™: REMASTERED

Dark Souls Remastered launches for Nintendo Switch on 19th October, publisher Bandai Namco has announced.

The Solaire of Astora amiibo comes out alongside the game on the same date.

It's been a bit of a wait - we were expecting the Switch version alongside the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One editions back in May, until it was pushed back to "summer". October isn't really summer anywhere, but at least now we know for certain when it'll arrive.

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Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Classic, 2005)

Veteran EA exec Patrick S derlund is to leave the publisher after nearly two decades.

A familiar face during EA press conferences, the towering Swedish giant has held numerous senior positions in the company over his long tenure - most recently as its chief design officer.

Before all that, S derlund was previously CEO of DICE, the Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront and Mirror's Edge studio which EA bought back in 2006, which is when S derlund transferred onto EA's own management team.

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Eurogamer

Patrick Stewart, the well-loved actor who brought X-Men's Professor X and Star Trek's captain Jean-Luc Picard to life so memorably, will narrate promising new platform game My Memory Us.

My Memory of Us is a Polish-made game about a friendship between a boy and a girl, but has been particularly attracting attention for having Holocaust undertones. The themes of terror, exclusion and separation are central to the game's story.

It's been in development for a while; perhaps publisher IGMN.Pro needed additional time to secure a big name like Patrick Stewart in order to pull more focus to the game. Or maybe developer Juggler simply wanted it to be as slick as can be.

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Team Fortress 2

Despite being released over 10 years ago, Team Fortress 2 still boasts one of the biggest player bases on Steam. Today, the number of players peaked at 54,350 - placing the game at seventh on Steam's leaderboard of most-played games. And behind the player count, there is still a significant esports community organised by a series of leagues unaffiliated with Valve. TF2 players have run a small but passionate competitive community for several years.

Over the past few weeks, however, a darker side of the community has emerged. Several competitive players and community members have reported experiencing a culture of harassment and toxicity. The community members took to social media to reveal harrowing personal stories of racism, sexism, transphobia and sexual abuse. To make matters worse, some professional TF2 players have responded to the social media posts with insults and derogatory terms aimed at the victims. Since the reports of toxicity in the competitive scene emerged, other players have come forward with their own stories, and it seems the problem is pervasive. The affected branches of the TF2 community include the TF2 workshop, Steam comments and public matches in the game itself.

Although many of the competitive leagues have responded with statements, bans and policy changes, some have remained silent on the issue. Players have also reported the toxicity goes beyond the competitive sphere to almost all parts of the Team Fortress 2 community - so the question is, should Valve do more to discourage it?

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