Infinity Ward confirm that missing Modern Warfare maps will return soon

Modern Warfare maps new map Killhouse

The Season Two reloaded update brought with it plenty of content to the Call of Duty franchise. Both Warzone and Black Ops Cold War received a bunch of balancing changes and a new gun. What fans didn’t expect though was three new maps for Modern Warfare.

The 2019 first person shooter had not received a major update in several months prior to these maps being added. However, the addition didn’t last long. Just a few days after the update Infinity Ward removed two of the three maps. It had remained silent on the matter until now but has finally provided a much-needed update.

They are coming back

Modern Warfare maps gunfight
As posted on the official Infinity Ward twitter, both maps will be returning soon. According to the developer they were launched earlier than intended and still require “a bit more love,” before going live.

The maps in question are Drainage and Al-Raab Airbase. Both of these maps were leaked a long time ago but didn’t enter Modern Warfare until recently. Given the lack of updates for Modern Warfare over the last year, it is disappointing to see them removed. Hopefully Infinity Ward sticks to its word and we can try them out again soon enough.

It’s not just maps that have received this treatment either. There are three guns in Modern Warfare that are fully functioning and modelled, but haven’t been released. These are the Sykov, CX-9, and RAAL. Unlike the maps, Infinity Ward has not publicly acknowledged these or provided a release date.

Whilst it is nice to see Modern Warfare receiving updates once again, these new maps are probably not a sign that things are going to improve. Raven Software is hard at work developing Warzone whilst Infinity Ward are likely working on a new Call of Duty altogether. Regardless, the communication is appreciated and it’s nice to see Modern Warfare hanging in there.

The leaked Warzone map Ural Mountains likely originated from Blackout

We’ve known for a while now that a new Warzone map is in the works. The leaks first appeared a few months back when the name Ural Mountains first appeared. Originally, we thought that Ural Mountains was a remake of the existing Warzone map, Verdansk. But the leak that has come out today has revealed some fascinating new information.

Instead of being a remake of Verdansk, it turns out Ural Mountains most likely started life as a Blackout map. Blackout was Call of Duty’s first attempt at creating a battle royale. Bundled as part of Black Ops 4, it wasn’t overly successful. Since Warzone has taken over the Blackout population has faded outside of a handful of diehard fans.

Ural Mountains is coming

Warzone Ural Mountains Verdansk map

The theory is that Warzone was not intended to have Cold War integrated into it. Instead, Treyarch had likely been working on a Blackout 2 of sorts. However, once Warzone gained so much traction plans changed and Blackout was scrapped. This left Treyarch with the difficult task of converting Ural Mountains into a Warzone map.

The leaked images suggest that Ural Mountains will be made up of several existing Fireteam maps. Fireteam is a large-scale game mode in Black Ops Cold War that sees ten teams of four battle over various objectives. It isn’t overly surprising that Ural Mountains will consist of Fireteam maps as this is what the original Warzone map did too.

The Verdansk that players know is effectively a merging of several Ground War maps. Similar to Fireteam, Ground War is another large-scale game mode exclusive to Modern Warfare. It’s an effective strategy as it allows a developer to create one map that covers multiple game modes.

However, it doesn’t look as though Ural Mountains will be coming to Warzone anytime soon. Even though Ural Mountains itself isn’t the Verdansk remake, that remake is still expected in the near future. It seems likely that the Verdansk remake will drop in Season 3 later this month whilst Ural Mountains will follow in a later season.

The Summer Game Fest is set to return alongside hundreds of new games

Summer Game Fest logo announcement

Normally gamers rally around the Electronic Entertainment Expo for big announcements. Better known as E3, it is the premiere video game conference that attracts millions ever year. However, due to COVID restrictions last year saw E3 replaced with the Summer Game Fest, an online only alternative.

It was unclear until today if E3 2021 was going ahead but we now know that isn’t the case. Instead, a second Summer Game Fest has just been announced. Much like last year’s this event will host most of 2021’s biggest game announcements. From AAA blockbuster titles to exciting indie projects, just about every upcoming game will be showcased in one form or another.

Plenty of support

Summer Game Fest Skate 4 reveal

Being this year’s largest gaming event, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the industry titans are supporting it. We already know that the likes of 2K, Activision, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Sony will all be attending. In fact, the only major publisher that probably won’t make an appearance is Nintendo. The Japanese tech giant has moved away from traditional conference events in favor of its own Nintendo Direct format in recent years.

Furthermore, you won’t have to wait too long to see the Summer Game Fest in all of its glory. It has been announced for June 2021. Once June arrives the festival will be broadcasted across several popular livestreaming website such as YouTube and Twitch.

The main appeal of the Summer Game Fest is that it is where publishers come to announce their biggest titles. Last year’s festival saw highly anticipated titles like Skate 4 and Crash Bandicoot 4 announced. Equally, Sony and Microsoft used the event as an opportunity to showcase both of the new next-gen consoles.

It’s clear then that even the largest companies in the industry won’t hesitate to show what they have made. Expect the Summer Game Fest of 2021 to house the biggest announcements of the year. To keep updated you can sign up to the official SGF website for more information in the near future.

Stat tracker SBMM Warzone shutdown by Activision lawyers

SBMM Warzone logo feature

SBMM Warzone is a Call of Duty: Warzone stat tracker used by the battle royale’s community. It has played an important role for players looking to improve themselves. By comparing various stats, the tracker was able to give you an idea of your rough skill level. However, it appears that Activision is not happy with its existence.

American publisher Activision has ordered SBMM Warzone to shut down its operations. Their deadline to reply is today and failure to do so will end in legal action being taken. The Belgian site has since announced its closure but has reached out to Activision for a possible partnership.

Why Activision doesn’t like SBMM Warzone

SBMM Warzone office

Without an understanding of how Warzone works this move may seem odd. SBMM did not make money out of what it was doing nor was it directly affecting Activision’s operations. All the website did was provide a platform for players to see in-depth stats for themselves and other players.

However, there was two aspects of SBMM Warzone that Activision likely took issue with. The stat tracker had a system where it would create a rank representative of your lobbies skill level. These ranks varied from Bronze to Diamond. This was necessary as Call of Duty: Warzone itself does not have either a ranked mode or skill rating system.

Activision doesn’t want people to understand the ins and outs of its skill-based matchmaking system. By having a platform which ranks players and lobbies it makes it easier for players to do just that. Furthermore, SBMM Warzone could be considered a breach of privacy from Activision’s point of view.

Large corporations are held to high standards by organizations like the European Union when it comes to privacy management. Allowing a site that leaks various details of its users’ gameplay could be punishable in the future. It may be considered overly cautious, but Activision has the right to protect its user’s data if deemed necessary.

Astria Ascending is a new JRPG made in collab with Final Fantasy devs

Astria Ascending promo art

Publisher Dear Villagers has today revealed its latest work, Astria Ascending. Ascending is a JRPG made in collaboration with several industry veterans. Amongst those includes developers who have worked on Final Fantasy and Nier: Automata. It will launch in 2021 on PC, Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.

It will also feature on Microsoft’s signature Game Pass service at launch. This means that you can check it out on Xbox consoles before paying the full price. It is currently unknown if it will be making its way onto Game Pass for PC too.

A gorgeous hand-drawn JRPG

Astria Ascending screenshot official

Astria Ascending is a gorgeous title that features some of the best art the industry has to offer. Set in a world of chaos, players control various Demigods who are aiming to save the world. A mysterious force is putting their world at risk at it is up to these eight heroes to stop it.

Each of the eight heroes has their own unique story and narrative. You’ll have to cross give 5 cities, 25 dungeons, and 30 hours of gameplay in order to conquer Astria Ascending’s story. A 100% completion run is expected to take closer to 50 hours for most players.

Outside of its main story, Astria Ascending also features various side quests and mini-games. One of which is an original fantasy-themed token game not playable anywhere else. The majority of gameplay is turn based with unsurprising similarities with the Final Fantasy series. Developer Artisan Studios is best known for its work on Super Neptunia RPG and specializes in 2D RPG design.

Dear Villagers’ head of publishing Guilaurme Jamet described the development process as “a delight.” Furthermore, Jamet called it “an honor,” to work alongside so many industry veterans. It should be interesting to see what Dear Villagers and Artisan Studios can come up with.

Publisher Team17 has a new tactical shooter in the works, Ready or Not

Ready or Not Promo image

You probably know Team17 best for its iconic Worms franchise. The turn-based artillery series became a hit in the 90s and has since become the staple of Team17. But in recent years the publisher has been expanding its catalogue of games. The latest addition to its line-up is the newly announced Ready or Not.

Developed in partnership with Void Interactive, Ready or Not is an upcoming squad based tactical shooter. It depicts SWAT team missions where you and your teammates are tasked at deescalating tricky situations. This includes hostages, raids, and anti-terrorism.

Are you Ready or Not?

Ready or Not gameplay shot

The best comparison on the market right now is probably Rainbow Six Siege. Both are tactical shooters that place a focus on teamwork and strategy. However, Team17’s new project isn’t just limited to competitive multiplayer. According to the Steam page, it will also launch with a “story-rich campaign.”

Developer Void Interactive is claiming Ready or Not will have over 60 unique items at launch. These tools and attachments will allow a player to build their gun exactly as required. From optics, muzzles, magazine types, and foregrips, the weapon customization looks detailed. Potentially, it could be on the same level as something like Warzone’s gunsmith system.

Team17 studio head Chris Coates gave his thoughts on the announcement. Coates believes Void Interactive are a “hugely ambitious studios,” and that his team is “excited,” to be working on the title. The FPS market isn’t something Team17 has ever tried to enter but Ready or Not will change that.

Arguably, this new addition moves away from the kinds of games Team17 are known for. Their most popular three games: Worms, The Escapists, and Overcooked, are all family friendly. However, Ready or Not is a simulation focused on intense competitive play. Adding a new dynamic to its library could help Team17 diverse its brand identity.

Activison remove R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow from Warzone and Cold War

Warzone R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow early release

Yesterday Activision accidently released the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow early into Warzone. It could be unlocked via an in-game challenge or purchased from the store. It However, the publisher has reversed the change and some fans aren’t happy.

Anyone who purchased the bundle has been refunded for their purchase. You’ll be able to re-purchase the bundle again when it goes live again later. Assuming it is planned to be a mid-season release, players can expect the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow to drop early next month.

It hasn’t gone down well

Warzone R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow bundle

Had Activision simply removed the crossbow Call of Duty fans may have not been too bothered. However, the publisher has chosen to reset all progress players made with the crossbow. If you earned mastery camo on it you won’t have unlocked once the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow is released.

Unlocking Gold camouflage on a gun can take several hours. In Black Ops Cold War especially, gun levelling is very slow. This is an unusual move as in the past Activision has not punished players for similar situations. For example, some Modern Warfare players have unlocked the Sykov pistol early and have kept access to it for months.

On one hand, I can understand Activision’s position. It was an unintentional release and it likely doesn’t want anything messing up its release schedule. AAA games like Call of Duty usually have strict schedules that developers have to adhere to. It’s currently unclear why this mistake happened in the first place.

However, there was no indication that the R1 Shadowhunter Crossbow was released by accident. Therefore, it seems unfair to punish the most dedicated players who put aside time to play your game. As far as we can tell, there is no plans to revert this decision. Once the crossbow releases for real next month players will have to level it up again from scratch.

EAGate investigations continue as Electronic Arts confirm FUT corruption

Electronic Arts has today confirmed it is officially investigating the recent Ultimate Team allegations. Furthermore, its investigation has confirmed that the FUT marketplace has become the victim of corruption. In a movement labelled EAGate, FIFA fans are outraged by the allegations held against EA.

In its statement EA has said the following: “The alleged behavior is unacceptable and in no way do we condone granting or purchasing player items in exchange for money. This practice runs counter to the game’s competitive integrity. ” The sports game publisher has already begun to hand out bans to any offenders. Also, any involved employees will be fired once identified.

FIFA corruption

EAGate FIFA 21 pack screen

For those not familiar, EAGate involves Electronic Arts’ most popular sports game, FIFA. In FIFA players can buy packs with real money to potentially obtain rare player cards. However, some gamers have found a way around these unfavourable odds. Although the alternative is hardly ethical.

It turns out some EA Sports employees had been selling rare cards to a select group of players. For a cost some players have been purchasing these rare cards instead of relying on pack luck to obtain them.

The rumored price for these rare cards is in the region of $2500. Although some of the biggest transactions have exceeded $3000. For that price you can get two Team of the Year cards and three Icon prime Moments cards. Earning those same cards through packs would likely cost several times that.

By offering these cards on the market EA has effectively devalued its own pack system. Any players who have sunk thousands into packs were not being offered a fair service. For the same money they could have just guaranteed themselves better players. And given that FIFA’s packs have already come under fire in the past, this certainly doesn’t help. EAGate looks like it will be around for quite a while.

Survival horror FPS Metro 2033 is free on Steam until Monday

Metro 2033 free on steam feature

Occasionally, Valve showcases its generosity by offering a free game on Steam. Although not as common as its Epic Store counterpart, we have gotten some good deals in the past. And of the deals the current offer of Metro 2033 might just be the best.

Metro 2033 is a survival horror first person shooter developed by 4A Games. The Ukrainian developer has only worked on the Metro series to date but has staff from all over. Many of its employees have previously worked on franchises like STALKER and Cossacks.

Cream of the crop

Metro 2033 steam gameplay

Of its many works Metro 2033 is arguably the best game 4A Games has ever made. It is a critically acclaimed shooter that had critics head over heels when it released in 2010. On PC it currently sits at an incredible score of 90 on Metacritic. That’s good enough to match the likes of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Furthermore, the Metro series is well known for its drop-dead gorgeous visuals. This means even though this is a ten-year-old game it still looks good. Cranking up the settings on a modern gaming PC is sure to produce something that could pass for a modern title.

It’s worth knowing that you won’t get access to everything with this free package. Whilst Metro 2033 itself is fully playable, the same cannot be said for trading cards. Any Steam trading cards attached to Metro are only obtainable in a paid copy of the game. Also, this offer only applies for the original game and not the 2014 remaster.

Outside of getting a free copy of Metro 2033, you can also buy the rest of the franchise on sale. Details on the full sale can be found on the official Steam website. In my personal opinion, the best deal is probably Metro Exodus at 70% off. Exodus is a great game and well worth trying at that price.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Pros and Cons

Destiny 2 - Shadowkeep Pros and Cons

Do You Want to Play Destiny 2?

Video games have undoubtedly become one of the most popular forms of entertainment for many people the world over. There are many different genres of video games and every serious player has at least one or two favorites that they consider to be the best game ever. Destiny 2 is a video game with a large player base of dedicated fans. While the exact number of players isn’t known, Gamstat.com shows that there are 21 million players on PlayStation alone and Destiny 2 is also available for PCs and Xbox. Its popularity is such that they are even considering turning the game into a movie or television show.

Destiny 2 which is also known as Destiny 2: New Light is a free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter video game that is only available online. It was developed by Bungie and debuted as a pay to play game in 2017. In October of 2019 it switched to free-to-play under the New Light title. The setting of Destiny 2 is a science fiction world and game activities include both player versus environment and player versus player elements. The premise of the game has players assuming the roles of Guardians with the job of protecting the last safe city on Earth from various alien races as well as the threat posed by the Darkness.

Destiny 2 has 3 character classes with their own specific upgrades, special abilities and perks. There are also three sub-classes for each character class. Players can gain better statistics that improve performance through experience points that are earned by playing the game. They can also increase their power level by acquiring better equipment by completing various activities such as strikes, raids and dungeons.  Gaining higher levels and obtaining the best weapons and equipment can take a lot of time, effort and skill and some players may use a Destiny 2 PC boosting service to speed up the process. Destiny 2 adds new content to the game and furthers the story through the use of expansion packs. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep is the fourth expansion for Destiny 2.

Pros: Shadowkeep

Overall Shadowkeep was a good expansion that saw some major changes that will affect the game in the future. The pros of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep include:

  • Armor 2.0: This is definitely the biggest positive to come out of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. Rather than focusing on a system where the player is trying to make a single stat number go up, the Armor 2.0 system adds the Discipline, Intellect and Strength stats to the original 3 character stats of Resilience, Recovery and Mobility. The combination of these 6 stats can be used to reduce the time it takes for health to recharge, increases health, reduces the cooldown of abilities and increase movement speed. Each armor piece contains stats so players can look for rolls that offer a specific stat they are looking for. Decisions made now have a greater effect on how a character fights and how effective they will be. Armor pieces can also be upgraded to slot more mods. Mods are abilities or stat bonuses that attach to armor pieces and provide different effects such as the ability to reload hand cannons faster. There are over 100 mods in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep that can be used in a vast number of combinations to improve a characters loadout. Upgrading armor isn’t cheap and the process is in part designed to direct players into the game’s more challenging areas. Armor pieces have a limited amount of energy and that energy is used to power mods. Upgrading using Glimmer and Legendary Shards is relatively easy early on but becomes a bit more expensive with each upgrade. Eventually players will have to seek rare materials like Enhancement Prisms or Ascendant Shards to upgrade. Fully upgrading a piece of armor will likely take quite a bit of time and will require a group working together to get through the most challenging sections.
  • The Moon: The moon is a familiar destination for anybody who played the original Destiny game but it has been enlarged and improved from the original version. It has a more eerie feel to it now. Despite the fact that it is a return to an old destination and not completely new it is still a positive for the game.
  • New Additions: While no single addition really stands out, overall they add up to something pretty decent. Two new “player versus environment” strike missions have been added and there are an additional 3 “player versus player” maps, although 2 of them are recycled. Throw in a new dungeon, a new raid, some new weapons, armor and exotic gear and it adds up to a positive.

Cons: Shadowkeep

Not everything in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep was positive. Here are a few of the negatives of the Destiny 2: Shadowkeep expansion:

  • Shadowkeep Campaign: At best the Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Campaign is just okay. It is set mainly on the moon and doesn’t add very much to the story. There are some new strikes and a new patrol area, but the main story is definitely a little short and can be completed in 5 or 6 hours. It also comes to an abrupt end and you may not even realize it is over. It is intended to be part of a bigger story that will be added to but it could have been longer.
  • Lack of Additions: As mentioned the new additions in Destiny 2: Shadowkeep are pretty good but there just aren’t enough of them. While there are new additions in almost every area, there just aren’t that many. It would have been nice to see more new stuff.

Destiny 2 is a game that is constantly evolving and being added to. The Shadowkeep expansion introduced Armor 2.0 which really affects the way players will approach developing their characters in a positive way. It is the highlight of the Shadowkeep expansion and makes the game better.