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Evolution of Combat Mechanics in the Dragon Age Series




Another week, another article about Dragon Age. I realize it might be more topical to write about Mass Effect, but I can’t help where inspiration takes me, apparently. Last time, I talked about a particular topic in the series’ lore. This time, I’d like to discuss the crunchy side – the way the series’ combat mechanics evolved.

Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins was marketed as a return to the classical style of the western RPG, like Baldur’s Gate. However, the tactical side of the game was far simpler. There were only three classes, and the tactical considerations resembled a simplified single-player MMO game. You needed a tank – probably a warrior with a shield. Then someone to deal damage, so a warrior with a two-handed weapon or two weapons, or a rogue. Then a mage to cast spells, and of course to heal. Most of it was tragically uninspired and simple. But there was one layer to it that was truly innovative and noteworthy: the tactics screen.

Origins had a robust tactics screen, where the player could input commands for the AI to execute. It could be as simple as a mage healing someone under 50% health, or a warrior using a taunting ability when a weaker party member is in danger. Or it can be something more complex, like setting up “if this then that” operations. This allowed the player to take advantage of tactics and planning without having to babysit the whole team. In theory, if you spent the time inputting in the tactics, the party would more or less run itself.

So, how did it work in practice? …not well. The complex tactical settings couldn’t make up for the game’s relative simplicity and bad balance problems.

First, the elephant in the room: mages. By any metric, they’re devastatingly powerful. Their regular spells are powerful enough, but it gets worse if you use spell combinations. As such, the most optimal tactic is to bring at least two mages, and have them nuke everything, while the other teammates just keep enemies occupied.

Warriors’ and rogues’ abilities are very unimpressive by comparison. Many of them rely on chance, or being very specific in your skill point allotments. The two classes share some abilities – specifically, for dual-wielding and archery styles, but shields and two-handed weapons are exclusive to warriors. It’s actually possible to build a rogue who uses a shield, but also entirely pointless. The weapon talents tended to boil down to hitting enemies a little harder than they hit you, and not much else. The class-specific ones are a bit better for most character types, but in the case of rogues they take a lot of investment for basic-seeming abilities to become available. Examples include backstabbing disabled enemies and in-combat stealth, which are so elementary that it’s baffling that they aren’t default skills.

There are also more subtle balance problems, unrelated to magic. The biggest, one is that “tank” warriors find it difficult to do their actual jobs. Using heavy armor requires a large investment in strength, which prevents them from investing in attributes that help them avoid attacks. This means that, despite using shield talents to increase their defenses, a tank’s efficiency is reliant on the mage’s ability to heal them far more than the tank’s actual efforts.

This isn’t to say warriors and rogues are useless. You do need them, or at least warriors. But the point is that the combat is very decidedly mage-centric. It doesn’t only apply to the player’s mages, either. When an enemy mage appears, they’re always the priority target, because otherwise they can decimate your team with a single fireball or chain lightning.

The best way to quickly get rid of enemy mages are, of course, your own mages. There’s a combination of spells that are guaranteed to one-shot most mages, and knock half off a boss-level mage’s health. An equally cheap option is a glyph spell that blocks all magic within it and drains mana. If you thought that giving your warriors the Templar specialization will help… best abandon that hope quickly. Logic has no place in this combat system.

A frequent counter to this sort of criticism is that mages are meant to be powerful and feared in-universe. This is true, but you can give mages a unique role in both gameplay and story without having them smash the combat balance on one knee. I’ve also seen players claim the games (the first two, that is) are single player, and thus don’t need balance. This is an entirely erroneous argument. They are single-player, but they’re also party games; you have to manage the entire team yourself. If I play a warrior or rogue, I’d rather not play second fiddle to my mage companions. I should be able to play primarily as my own protagonist character regardless of what class I choose.

All in all, the combat in Dragon Age: Origins might seem varied and interesting at first, and to some degree it can be. It is simple and elegant, with a strong foundation, but there’s a lot of cracks in it. There is a ‘right’ way to play Dragon Age: Origins, and if you don’t know what it is, you can end up not being able to finish the game. Thankfully, these issues were less prominent in later titles.

Dragon Age 2

The second installment of the series proved controversial in more ways than one, and a big part of the controversy was how much it changed the combat. However, I personally think a lot of the controversy stems from aesthetics – tactically, it is not only similar to Origins, but also significantly improves on it.

What makes me say that? It comes down to improved balance and increased interplay. Mages no longer dominate play, and all three classes have their own tricks to pull off. While the game sadly keeps the warrior/rogue/mage division, each class has a more consistent niche. Warriors who use shields are still tanks, but those that use two-handed weapons stand out from rogues with their focus on attacking many enemies at once.

Mages no longer dominate encounters with their spells, but they’re still essential for their ability to strike entire areas, support and heal. Healing is also not as absolutely crucial as it was previously– it’s possible to run encounters without a mage, or with a mage who can’t heal. Rogues remain the heavy hitting damage-dealers they were before, but then this class seems to be the easiest to balance in the entire series.

Spell combos return as cross-class combos, which is a major upgrade. Each class can inflict a specific status effect – warriors stagger, rogues disorient, and mages make enemies brittle. The other two classes can exploit those statuses for massive damage and debilitating effects. Well, mostly the former, unfortunately, but it does result in having to combine different classes’ abilities. This leads to a better sense of cooperation between the party that’s deeper than “warrior taunts bad guys and mage heals the warrior.”

The abilities themselves are more engaging both visually and functionally, particularly for warriors and rogues. There’s still plenty of talents that boil down to pure damage, but there’s also far more movement across the battlefield, area effects, ways to recover stamina, hide or cause enemies to miss.

In terms of character building, ability trees are actual trees now, rather than straight lines of four abilities each. Warriors and rogues get more abilities that are independent of the weapons they use. The most welcome change is unique specializations for your companions, not just you – this means that I could actually make my Fenris different from my Hawke, even though they are both warriors with a two-handed weapon.

The tactics screen remains the same, but there are subtle changes to the general feel of the controls. They shift from the 3/4th overhead control of Origins to a third-person scheme where you focus on Hawke. This combines with the flashy cinematic aesthetics of the combat to make it seem like the game is more of a hack ‘n’ slash than it actually is. The quicker animations are certainly a godsend after Origins‘ slow, ponderous swinging and half-hearted poking.

While I believe Dragon Age 2’s combat is the best in the series, it’s by no means perfect. It clings to the genre restrictions the series chose to burden itself with, like the outdated, limited class scheme. I mentioned only two types of warriors before, because warriors can no longer dual wield. Rogues can only use daggers and no other melee weapons, while warriors now can’t equip bows. Granted, only dual-wielding warriors are an actual lost option – rogues who use anything but daggers in melee, as well as archery for warriors, were mostly there for show. But it’s not very commendable to remove less-optimal options, rather than make them work. It’s not like Origins had a lot of possibilities for warriors and rogues to begin with.

Furthermore, Dragon Age 2 shoots itself in the foot with its encounter design. As if worried that the faster animations would make the game too quick, the designers ruthlessly padded every fight. Every random encounter (of which there are many) will involve at least two waves of trash mobs, which come out of literally nowhere. The more serious enemies have inflated health pools that makes fighting them a lengthy grind. It’s especially bothersome in the early game, where you only have a few abilities; it means a lot of auto-attacking while you wait for the cooldowns to end. Later on, you can combine your talents and spells to produce enough damage to punch through the bloat… sometimes.

There’s a lot of solid work to Dragon Age 2‘s combat, but it’s very much a diamond in the rough.

Dragon Age: Inquisition

The latest game in the series takes the evolution of the combat in a different, strange direction. It resembles Dragon Age 2, but it also does not.

Inquisition follows from Dragon Age 2 in that it makes the combat even more action-oriented. The action-like feel of Dragon Age 2 came from camera angles and controls. Inquisition explicitly moves towards action mechanics. The controls are much more geared towards controlling your Inquisitor only. There are many more abilities that require active timing, like blocking and parrying. There are far fewer active abilities for all classes, and you are restricted to a set number of slotted abilities rather than having access to all of them at once.

What it results in is a game that straddles the fence between a more traditional tactical RPG, and an action-RPG like Dark Souls or The Witcher. But it’s not actually either of those.

Visually, Inquisition seems to strike a balance between Origins‘ dreadfully stiff animations and Dragon Age 2‘s high-action, slightly ludicrous style. It’s still firmly in the realm of improbable moves, but not to the degree Dragon Age 2 did it. Archery rogues, especially, no longer cause a rain of arrows to fall down, or send an arrow straight through the battlefield. Two-handed weapons are back to their pathetic state from Origins, because there are enough people who have no idea how they work, but think they do. They’re effective – just horrendously ugly.

Inquisition is also the first game in the series to introduce multiplayer, and I think it might be the source of the new direction. The controls are suited for commanding a single character, with every other party member also being under the control of a living person. This might not be such a big problem if it weren’t for the gutting of the previous games’ tactics screen. You can set some party behaviors, but it’s a pale shadow of what it was before.

Which, unfortunately, makes for a very chaotic combat experience. The AI simply isn’t smart enough to use all its abilities well, so combat requires the player to take a very active approach. So you control your Inquisitor and hope the AI doesn’t get itself killed. Picking your companions’ abilities is driven by what the AI can effectively use, rather than actual usefulness. For example, it makes archer rogues a lot better than dagger rogues, since an archer doesn’t need specific positioning.

The game does make some marked improvements, however, and the major one is healing. Spells that restore health are gone; you can only regain health by drinking potions, which come in limited supply, and can only be refilled at camps. Healing spells are replaced with more barriers and guard abilities. Mages apply barriers, which then act as an extra layer of health. Guard is generated by warriors and acts similarly, with the difference that it doesn’t disappear by itself.

This shifts the focus from refilling missing health to actively mitigating and avoiding damage, which is a welcome change. It’s still not perfect – it’s easy to generate so much guard that many battles become trivial. But it’s a step in the right direction.

I spoke dismissively of the multiplayer, but it does seem to break some of the single-player’s rules. While characters are divided into the warrior/mage/rogue categories, they get their own ability sets – only two each, but much larger than the single-player ones. More importantly, these trees can mix and match abilities from different sets, and even different classes.

Going Forward

Where would I like future Dragon Age games to go? First off, they need to decide what they are. Tactical RPGs, action RPGs, or something entirely different? Inquisition awkwardly tries to be both, and it really doesn’t do it any favors.

I think staying as a tactical RPG would serve the game series best. If it did return to this root, it should look back to what Dragon Age 2 got right, and what it didn’t. The improved balance and interplay was good; needlessly padded encounters and unnecessarily flashy animations were not.

The games could do much more than just stick to what worked before, though. What they really need to do in order to achieve their full potential is to break away from the traditional combat mechanic restrictions the genre imposes on them. The Warrior/Mage/Rogue division is stifling and arbitrary, particularly for warriors and rogues. Neither “warrior” nor “rogue” really mean anything. However, you can’t get rid of the class system altogether, because the series probably wouldn’t work with an entirely classless system.

Classes that more accurately describe the role that the character plays in their team would be a better design choice. More fighting styles for non-mages would also be an absolute necessity for the combat to work. More varieties of magic than “wave a stick around and make magic happen” wouldn’t hurt, either; being a mage needs to mean more than just being able to cast spells. The Knight-Enchanter specialization is a step in the right direction for this, but it just needs capitalizing on.

I don’t hold out much hope that it will happen – BioWare is very wary of backlash. But it’s something I think could help make combat in the games something to look forward to, rather than a tolerable distraction in between the story moments.

Michał is a natural meddler, driven to take fiction apart and see how it works. In The Fandomentals, he examines fantasy and gaming with a critical, and somewhat cranky, eye.



Styx Masters The Shadows In 2017





The year of 2017 is coming to an end, so nerdy writers like us are inevitably going to talk about things they’ve seen, read and played during it. And I’m no exception – I’d like to tell you all about a game you  may not have heard about. It’s Styx: Shards of Darkness.

Now, this game is a third one in the series… in a manner of speaking. So I need to provide a bit of background, first. While I will avoid spoilers for Shards of Darkness (henceforth SoD), I will talk a bit about the other games’ plots.

A Little History

The main character, Styx, first appears in an unusual action-RPG hybrid Of Orcs and Men. Arkail, an orc warrior with a temper problem (if one can call uncontrollable berserker rage that) joins a mission to kill the human emperor. The orcs see it as their last chance to prevent human expansion into their territory and enslavement of their people. Each member of the elite Bloodjaw warband is to cross the great wall and infiltrate human lands with a hired guide. For Arkail, this turns out to be a wise-cracking goblin assassin, Styx.

Arkail is less than convinced… because Styx is the only goblin to ever speak or display more intelligence than a rabid dog. All the other goblins are marauding monsters that had appeared out of nowhere, a hundred years before the game’s start. If Styx knows anything about that, he refuses to tell anything, simply saying that he’s “different” and “a survivor”.

Grumbling aside, the two companions go on with the mission, their dynamic being central to the gameplay. Arkail is a large warrior who has to manage his burning rage, while Styx is a canny assassin who eliminates targets with a pair of daggers and a set of throwing knives.

Eventually, while the unlikely duo is going on a mental journey into a mage’s mind in order to save her, the truth comes out. Styx has to confront a deep part of himself that reveals he used to be an orc mage who experimented with a substance called “Amber” and turned himself into a grotesque version of an orc. Then he spawned the rest of goblinkind. Whether he embraces the truth or keeps repressing it is up to the player, but it doesn’t affect much.

Styx: Master of Shadows is a prequel that goes all the way back to Styx’s origins. Styx is trying to reach the heart of a World-Tree that excretes Amber… the very same thing that turned him into what he is. Although he can create clones now (and use abilities he certainly does not have in Of Orcs and Men), they disappear after a while and there are no goblins yet.

Master of Shadows ends with the World-Tree destroyed and a horde of goblins swarming out of the wreckage. Styx himself has forgotten most of what happened and moves on.

Shards of Darkness picks up some time after that. Styx has established himself as an elusive mercenary, while his sorry progeny has caused major devastation. I’m not sure how a horde of small, runty and dumb green people managed to destroy an entire town, but I’ll take their word for it.

The Essence of the Game

After a routine job, Styx encounters Helledryn, the head of the CARNAGE squad… which hunts goblins. The woman has a job for him, and plenty of Amber (which Styx is addicted to and which is the source of his powers) to give him in exchange. To the surprise of no one, he ends up getting in way over his head, just like he would do again 50 years later or so.

Much like Master of Shadows, Shards of Darkness is a stealth game. The core of the gameplay remains the same. Styx has to sneak through large maps in pursuit of primary and secondary objectives. The levels, much like in the previous game, are as much vertical as they are horizontal. Styx will jump and climb frequently. He’s got some jumping power in those stumpy legs. There’s always more than one path to your objective, and good spatial awareness will benefit you.

Map design remains pretty stellar, although once again, maps are also reused. You return to areas you’ve already explored eventually. Then again, you do so for good in-story reasons, so perhaps it makes more sense than always finding yourself somewhere new.

The Styx franchise is somewhat different from many other stealth games in that directly engaging enemies isn’t much of an option. When an enemy catches up to you, you’ll have to parry their attacks until you can go in for the kill. When two enemies attack you, or someone has a ranged weapon, they’re free to turn you into a goblin shish-kebab.

Thus it’s easy to dispatch a single enemy if things go wrong, but the game still encourages you to sneak around. If they spot you, there’s always the option to run and hide. Particularly as some enemies you can’t fight at all. Heavily-armored enemies such as knights, dark elf elite guards and dwarves will simply kill you. They’re also entirely immune to Styx’s dagger and crossbow bolts (it’s a tiny, wrist-mounted crossbow), so if you want to get rid of them, you’ll have to be clever. Poison their food, drop something heavy on them or use an acid mine. The last part also gets rid of the body, as Styx can’t carry someone so heavy.

Although it’s possible to run and hide from enemies, in both games I gave myself a challenge of never being spotted at all. Which isn’t easy, but possible and rewarding. You get extra experience for it, as well, which you spend on Styx’s skills. You also get it for being quick (something I could never get more than a bronze medal in), finding all small tokens in a given level (I never bothered to do it) or not killing any enemies.

In Master of Shadows, playing mercifully was difficult. You couldn’t kill anyone at all to get that medal for a particular level, and it could be very hard to avoid detection otherwise. So it you wanted to do it, you would have to forgo the medal for non-detection… or at least, I can’t imagine doing both.

On the other hand, in Shards of Darkness, I found it much easier to go through levels without killing. Perhaps it’s by design, or perhaps I was better at the game? It wouldn’t surprise me if it was a design decision to make such a playstyle a more attainable challenge. In addition, all medals are gradual. Killing no one gets you gold, but killing five or less gets you silver.

One Crafty Goblin

Shards of Darkness also introduces crafting. This is normally something that fills me with dread, but it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. In the original game, you pick up potions, throwing knives and other items and you have a limit of how many you can carry. The second one adds an extra decision point – you find raw materials and you must decide what to make from them. Will you use the iron ore on crossbow bolts, lockpicks or acid mines?

Of course, because crafting will always be crafting, some materials are scarce and some you’ll carry around in abundance. This depends on what items you learn to craft, but still. You’ll always be short on iron ore and raw Amber, because you use them to craft items you use all the time. Others only go into more situational and later-game items… for which you’ll also need iron or Amber, in many cases.

Although the games play the same, I couldn’t help but feel like the second one is… easier? Perhaps it was the increased ease of a non-violent approach. And the game did grow more challenging later, particularly as we encounter dwarves. Who are entirely typical fantasy dwarves… except for their keen noses. They can pick up a greenskin’s smell easily, which means Styx can’t rely on the shadows to hide him.

They’re easily the most difficult enemy to get past, and the real purpose of acid mines. Those are normally impractical, as by the time you maneuver an enemy into it, you can just bypass or kill them. But they’re a way to kill a dwarf without being spotted.

In other ways, Shards of Darkness expands on the first game’s options. There are more skills and Styx can actually change his equipment. Each dagger or outfit comes with benefits and drawbacks… although a dagger that muffles any kill but makes parrying impossible is a straight-up benefit for a no-detection run. A dagger that instantly dissolves a killed enemy but can’t make quiet kills (which take longer but make less sound) is tricky… unless you take skills that let you muffle the sounds of assassination. An outfit you can unlock through skills lets you craft anywhere, but makes running and jumping noisier. And so on.

All of it doesn’t kick in until later, when you get all sorts of gear and skills to combine into clever strategies. I was able to, for instance, attack an enemy from several meters, then kill them quickly, noiselessly and almost invisibly. And with the dagger I mentioned above, I left no body behind. This tempts me to play the game on NG+, something I’m normally not fond of doing.

Going Too Far

Where I did notice a problem with the game was the writing. Specifically, the main protagonist. Styx captured the hearts of the audience by packing enough snark, experience and swearwords to equip a biker gang into a four-feet-tall body. He retains that personality in the other games… but by Shards of Darkness, it feels like it goes too far.

It’s not an uncommon thing, I think. Many characters find their traits exaggerated over time. And I think that’s what happened with Styx. The writers had a protagonist who was notably snarky, cynical, disrespectful and had a dark sense of humor. So Shards of Darkness has him constantly joke, swear, insult people… it grates sometimes. It’s hard to empathize with a protagonist who never seems to take anything seriously, until he gets angry.

The absolute worst case is Styx insulting the player through the fourth wall when he dies. I really don’t know who thought it was a good idea and I turned it off more or less immediately. This is a good example of that, I think. “Hey, Styx is a rude jackass, why don’t we have him be one to the player?” He also breaks, or just leans on, the fourth wall in other places. It’s not as direct, but does sound forced. Which is generally how it goes; sometimes it feels like the writers try too hard to make sure we know he’s a crude, irreverent and selfish little guy.

This is particularly uncomfortable when it comes to Helledryn, whom I mentioned early on. She’s a goblin-hunter who works with Styx out of necessity. She’s a large woman… though, frankly, not nearly as much as you’d think when hearing people mention it. Styx, who isn’t happy about working with her, never passes up an opportunity to rib her about it. He delights in calling her a “cow”, particularly. Again, he’s a bastard who insults everyone. But when the most frequent and consistent target is a woman, and most of it concerns her size… it’s not a very good impression.

The rest of the writing is serviceable. The world-building is very clearly ad hoc, the writers making it up as they go. The world and story already don’t mesh well with Of Orcs and Men, particularly as Styx has no powers in that game. The game ends with a clear sequel hook, though, so I expect Styx to lose them and his Amber addiction. It’s not really a bad thing – the world, threadbare as it is, is still more appealing than the generic setting in Of Orcs and Men.

Worth Recommending

Despite my misgivings about a protagonist I had initially loved (I very much like goblins in fantasy), Styx: Shards of Darkness is a refinement of the first game’s already solid formula, that delivers the same experience with extra features. Of Orcs and Men is an entirely different game, and very rough around the edges. But it’s still worth investigating if you want something you may not have otherwise seen. And both Styx games are ideal if you want tough, channeling stealth games where you have to think on your feet and consider every angle.


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Game Awards 2017 News Roundup





The Game Awards are, or are at least an attempt to be, an “Oscars” for video games. The successor to Spike TV’s VGA’s, this is their fourth year awarding excellence in all parts of gaming. But the awards are only half the fun. The Game Awards also serve as a place for devs to drop trailers and news about their upcoming properties. Here’s a roundup of the biggest news coming out of the Game Awards!

The Game Awards 2017

Nintendo Dominates

With the release of the Switch, Nintendo has brought their A game when it comes to releases this year. That shows how successful they were at this year’s show. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild got the big accolades with wins for Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, and Best Action/Adventure Game. Super Mario Odyssey landed Best Family Game while Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle won, of all awards, Best Strategy Game. Finally, Metroid: Samus Returns took home Best Handheld Game.

Cuphead Gets Well Deserved Love

Cuphead has been an indie monster this year. The game combines old school, hard-as-nails gameplay, with almost-slavish devotion to the beautiful animation of yesteryear. That pairing earned them a Best Art Direction Award, as well as Best Independent Game and Best Debut Indie Game. You can view Cuphead’s launch trailer below:


Female Video Game Pioneer Recognized

One of the first female game developers ever, Carol Shaw, was recognized for her contributions to gaming. Working in the 70’s, when there were barely any game developers period, let alone women, Shaw helped design games like Super Breakout(1978) for Atari. Her biggest success was the creation of River Raid (1982) for Activision. After leaving Activision in 1984, she worked for Tandem Computers until an early retirement in 1990. She now mostly does volunteer work. You can see her award speech below:

News From The Show

Bayonetta 3 Teased

Everyone’s favorite overly sexualized witch is (barely) suiting up for another game on Nintendo’s new console. It’s been three years since the digital embodiment of the Male Gaze has had her own game, but she did make a strong showing in 2015’s edition of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. While we have no word on release date, Bayonetta 3 is being developed purely for the Switch. Nintendo also announced that Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 would be coming to the Switch in February. Watch the trailer below:

Nintendo Lets Breath of the Wild Get Silly

Even though the Legend of Zelda series is ostensibly one of Nintendo’s more serious franchises, it’s still made by Nintendo. As such, there’s always a bit of lighthearted fun, and humor sprinkled around each game. But in Breath of the Wild’s new DLC, The Champions’ Ballad, Nintendo seems to be ramping up the fun. In addition to giving Link access to cosplays of Zelda characters like Rovio (Link Between World), Zant (Twilight Princess), and Ganon, Nintendo also saw fit to give the Hero of Time a MOTORCYCLE! See all this, and a peek at the new dungeon below:

People Still Have No Idea What Hideo Kojima Is Doing

Norman Reedus is pregnant? And vomiting oil? But the oil grabs people? And maybe it made him pregnant? How does Mads Mikkelsen play into this?

Veteran Fighting Series Gets New Entry

It’s been five years since Namco last released a new entry in their popular Soul Caliber series.  The series is well known for both its weapon-based combat system as its unique taste in women’s wear. The new trailer doesn’t reveal much, except for the return of classic characters Sophitia Alexandra and Mitsurugi. Soul Caliber VI is set to drop for PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018. Watch the trailer below:


World War Z Shows Up Late To Zombie Game Craze With Starbucks

Even though it’s been four years since the world gave the film adaptation of World War Z a collective “meh,” it appears someone still thinks there’s gas in the franchise. Taking the sort of “same world, different characters” approach as The Walking Dead, the video game adaptation will be a four-player co-op shooter taking place in various infested locales around the world. The game will be developed by Saber Interactive (Halo Online, R.I.P.D The Game). Catch the trailer below.

Image courtesy of The Game Awards

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Nintendo Is Making A Live Action Detective Pikachu Film…Starring Ryan Reynolds





After all of the calls, tweets, and letters…after over 50,000 people signed a petition…after the actor himself stated he doesn’t even know what Pokemon is…Danny Devito will not be playing the title roll in Nintendo’s upcoming live action Detective Pikachu film. Instead, the Electric Mouse Pokemon will have a decidedly smoother voice. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds.

Detective Pikachu has only been around for a little over a year, making his debut in 2016 in Great Detective Pikachu. The “cinematic adventure game”  stood out immediately thanks to its star: a deep voiced, flirty, coffee chugging Pikachu in a deer stalker hat. While not as powerful as others of his species, Detective Pikachu makes up for it with his intelligence and knack for crime solving. With his ambiguously young friend/driver Tim Goodman, the Detective solves Pokemon related crime around the city.

Alongside Reynolds, Justice Smith (The Get Down) and Kathryn Newton (Lady Bird, Big Little Lies) will star in the main human roles. Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) will be taking the director’s chair. Writing chores are being handled by Alex Hirsch (Gravity Falls) and Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel). The film will be produced by Legendary Pictures (Jurassic World, Straight Outta Compton), and distributed by Toho and Universal. Detective Pikachu will be the first live action adaptation of a Nintendo Property since 1993’s Super Mario Bros. Not doubt Nintendo is hoping that this film turns out a little better.

Image Courtesy of Nintendo

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