‘Hitman’ games have brighter future thanks to Warner Bros. deal

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The Hitman game franchise has seen some tumultuous times lately: Square Enix tried to offload its developer, IO Interactive, prompting the studio to buy its independence. While that gave IO more control, it also left the company more vulnerable if s…
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HQ Trivia’s first sponsored games roll out this week from Nike and Warner Bros.

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HQ Trivia, the TV-style game show in an app, is starting to make money. The company this week is rolling out its first sponsored games, including a $ 3 million deal which includes sponsored games from Warner Bros., as well as a sponsored game from Nike, arriving today.

AdAge was the first to report on HQ Trivia’s deal with Warner Bros., which is using the popular live trivia app to promote three movies, beginning with Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”

According to the report – which HQ Trivia declined to comment on at the time – the overall deal with Warner Bros. is worth $ 3 million, and will include a $ 250,000 jackpot on a sponsored game that promotes “Ready Player One,” airing on Wednesday.

The jackpot would be the largest ever seen on the HQ Trivia app, AdAge noted. (HQ Trivia confirmed this is the case, in an email to TechCrunch.) The biggest jackpot the app had seen until now was the $ 50,000 prize from the game that aired on March 4, 2018, the night of the Academy Awards. The game also saw its peak audience that night, with 2.18 million people logged on at the same time, the company said.

On Sunday evening, Warner Bros. confirmed its sponsorship of a Wednesday HQ Trivia game in a tweet from the “Ready Player One” Twitter account:

Today, HQ Trivia teased another big name sponsor, Nike, in another tweet.

“HQ x Nike Airing 3.26,” is all the tweet said.

Nike confirmed to TechCrunch it will be hosting a surprise game today, on Air Max Day – Nike’s made-up shoe-celebrating holiday.

Nike’s game will offer a $ 100,000 prize pot, along with some sort “prize that money can’t buy” for 100 winners. While neither HQ Trivia nor Nike would provide more information on what that prize may be, folks on Twitter are speculating it’s some sort of special edition shoe to tie-in to Air Max Day.

The Nike game will be a separate, surprise game that airs in addition to its regular games, HQ Trivia tells TechCrunch. Typically, HQ Trivia runs games at 3 PM EDT on weekdays and 9 PM EDT every day.

These sponsored game launches are notable because they represent HQ Trivia’s first serious attempts at generating revenue. But they don’t come as a surprise.

The company has said for some time that it would collaborate with brands as a means of making money. For example, it told Variety in December that the focus with its brand deals would be on enhancing gameplay. And when HQ Trivia recently announced its $ 15 million round of funding, it again reiterated how it would work with brands to sponsor questions or provide bigger jackpots in the future, instead of just running ads.

However, with bigger jackpots, there comes a bigger risk of cheating – something that’s been an increasing concern thanks to the numerous bots that have been built to help people answer questions accurately.

In fact, HQ Trivia recently kicked the remaining players out of a $ 25,000 game, which it followed up by tweeting that moderators kick people out who violate its terms and contest rules. The company never officially confirmed what the players did, but the general consensus is that they were caught cheating.

The HQ Trivia app is a free download on both iOS and Android.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key are going to reunite as demon bros in a stop-motion Netflix film

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Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning series Key and Peele will reunite for a new film from Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, called Wendell and Wild. The film will be distributed by Netflix, according to Deadline.

Wendell and Wild is a stop-motion animated feature about two mischievous demon brothers, which will be voiced by Key and Peele. The film is Netflix’s second stop-motion animation acquisition to date, after Bubbles, a film about Michael Jackson’s famous chimpanzee. Selick, Peele, and writer Clay McLeod Chapman will pen the script. Selick and Chapman will also write an adaptation, which will be published by Simon & Schuster after the film’s release.

Selick…

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Super Smash Bros. Coming To Nintendo Switch In 2018

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If you were watching the Nintendo Direct live stream on Thursday, you may have been getting a little twitchy towards the end. With no mention of Super Smash Bros., everyone had to wait until the very final moments of the stream in order to be treated to arguably the most important news of the lot – Super Smash Bros will come to the Switch in 2018.

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SwitchArcade Roundup: ‘Super Smash Bros.’ for Switch Speculation, ‘Flinthook’, ‘Splatoon 2’ DLC, and More

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Welcome to the latest SwitchArcade Roundup, where we’re gonna talk about the Nintendo Direct, Flinthook, and other new Nintendo Switch releases here on March 9th! While there was a ton of cool stuff in the Nintendo Direct, including some Undertale for Switch, new Mario Tennis Aces details, some cool new Splatoon 2 DLC, and more Wii U to Switch ports, the biggest reveal was obviously Super Smash Bros. coming to Switch. But Nintendo kinda left us hanging as to just what this new Smash game will be.

The obvious move would be for Nintendo to release Smash 4 (aka the version that released on Wii U and 3DS) for the Switch, and then do a new version later, there’s something curious about the announcement. Namely, if it was Smash 4, wouldn’t Nintendo just say that? Additionally, the Bandai Namco logos didn’t appear, and they worked on Smash 4. But one user points out that the other ports had different copyright dates corresponding to their original releases, and Smash did not. Hmm!

image via Reddit

Masahiro Sakurai, the long-time director and creator of Super Smash Bros., has confirmed that he’s working on the game:

For my money, I’d suggest that an enhanced Smash 4 with the Inklings from Splatoon is bound to hit the Switch this year, with Smash 5 due in the future. However, Nintendo does need a massive title for year 2 of the Switch, and it’s certainly possible that a new Super Smash Bros. game could fulfill that.

Right now, fans are running wild with speculation about the character list, with some of the characters making an appearance in silhouette form at the end of the teaser. We know Mario and Link in his Breath of the Wild outfit are there, and some familiar shapes are detectable (Bowser, Samus, and Donkey Kong are there) but we likely won’t know more about the roster until Nintendo reveals more in the future, likely in a future Direct.

Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion DLC

While I mostly play Splatoon 2 for the multiplayer and have barely touched the singleplayer, the Octo Expansion DLC looks fantastic. This will introduce a new Octoling story to the game, and some of the levels from the trailer look wild. Plus, it’ll make Octolings playable in multiplayer (just a cosmetic thing, but a cool new look!), and add in a ton of new customizations. But whatever the story adding to the Splatoon narrative should be, there look to be some interesting new mechanics introduced here. You can preorder the DLC now and pick up two new cosmetic items, including a new set of headphones. Anyone that knows me as an audiophile knows why I’m usually using headphones as my headgear in Splatoon 2.

Another World coming to Switch

DotEmu is releasing its second title onto the Switch, and it’s the classic adventure game Another World, also known as Out of This World. Original creator Eric Chahi is known for bringing this game to as many platforms as possible, and in recent years he’s partnered with DotEmu to release the game pretty much everywhere, and on modern platforms with the option for enhanced visuals. If you haven’t played the game, the Switch is yet another way to check out this unique classic, when it hits in the spring.

New Releases

Flinthook

Tribute Games brings its roguelike-inspired platformer to the Switch. The game isn’t purely a Metroidvania, or purely a roguelike. It has a lot of the roguelike flavor, particularly in the way that you have to start a bounty over if you die, and health is a precious resource that’s not always easy to refill, so you have to play carefully. The levels have a Metroid flavor with the way with the maps and doors are laid out. It’s not quite “Metroidvania” because the game uses individual levels, though you can unlock permanent upgrades by playing. Bounties serve effectively as worlds, before you choose a level for yourself. Different levels have different skull rankings, and to unlock the boss fight, you have to achieve a certain number of ghost gems. Harder levels award more ghost gems, but are more difficult and present a greater risk of failing outright.

The quickhoook the game has is a core part of the platforming, as you can quickly launch yourself from one anchor point to another by using the quickhook. Hooking also becomes important to open doors, and to use on some enemies. While the hookshot here is not entirely analogous to my favorite video game item, the grappling hook, you still can pull of a wonderful fluidity of movement by quickly launching from point to point in a way that few other movement systems really offer players. The way Flinthook handles all of this is really quite unique, though I’m holding out hope for a pure grappling hook game on Switch!

The underrated element of Flinthook, though, is the ability to slow down time. Much like the quickhook, this plays a role in specific in-game actions, but it otherwise lets you handle a lot of the chaotic actions the game tasks you with performing with greater ease. Trying to dodge a bunch of bullets? Slow down time for a bit and position yourself perfectly. Want to make sure you hit that hook point? Time slowdown! You have to get used to slowing down time and remember that it’s there, but it is so crucial for doing well in later parts of the game.

The game’s perk loadout system let you unlock and purchase treasure, and then add abilities to your loadout before you take on a bounty. However, each perk takes up a certain number of slots, so you have to choose wisely. Once you unlock the Black Market, you can start to buy more slots for yourself. If you feel like you need a lot of health, then you can go for that, but if you want more experience for further unlocks, you have that option as well.

I recommend giving the Pro controls a shot from the options. These map the four important commands: jumping, quickhooking, time slowdown, and subweapon, to the four shoulder buttons. Firing is then available with the right joystick, and actions are available by pressing B. I wish jumping was still on B just for convenience’s sake, but otherwise these controls allow you to move and fire like an expert. I actually used to use a control scheme like this for the PC version using the Steam Controller, and it works incredibly well here, as you can move and fire like an expert.

The one thing I don’t like about Flinthook is the fact that it’s a roguelike, randomized game. While the individual rooms often have cool moments and little challenges, there’s something that makes the whole experience not as special when the levels are always new, and they’re always procedurally generated. It takes away some of the memorability, though it also makes doing well at the game more dependent on the player improving their skill level.

Because of the Switch’s portability and the levels not taking too long to beat, Flinthook really is an ideal game for the Switch. Plus, the pixel art looks gorgeous whether you’re playing it on the Switch itself or in TV mode. Give the Pro controls a shot, and definitely check this one out.

Turtle Pop: Journey to Freedom

Here’s a game from DigiPen Game Studios, a studio connected to the Singapore branch of the long-running game development and computer science school. It’s centered around its 2D platforming sections, though you have 3D world maps to explore as well. It’s not quite a puzzle-platformer, though puzzle elements do come into play. There’s co-op play for up to four players, along with some battle modes to check out.

Spy Chameleon

There aren’t a lot of run ‘n gun action games starring chameleons, because if you had the ability to change colors and adapt to the environment, you’d pretty much have to be stealthy by default. Such is the case with Spy Chameleon, where you play as a sneaky chameleon trying to pick up all the flies in levels without being detected by guards. This one got decent reviews on other platforms before becoming yet another Switch port here in 2018.

One Eyed Kutkh

Wrapping up this week’s releases is a unique space adventure from Russian studio Sometimes You. It’s based on fairy tales from Russia’s Far North, where the harsh climate has led to a strong and resilient people, albeit ones isolated from the rest of Russia, since few people come to live and work in the region. AS such, the area has its own culture, and Sometimes You has created an adventure game that blends fictional elements with the fairy tales of the Far North, for a title that looks incredibly unique. It’s premiering on a number of platforms at once, including the Switch.

Keep an eye out every weekday for more SwitchArcade Roundups! We want to hear your feedback on Nintendo Switch coverage on TouchArcade. Comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!

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Nintendo is bringing ‘Super Smash Bros.’ to the Switch this year

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During today's Nintendo Direct stream, the company closed it out by using Splatoon characters to reveal that a version of Super Smash Bros. will come out for Nintendo Switch in 2018. The year and the title, plus glimpses of Mario and Link are all we…
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Super Smash Bros announced for Nintendo Switch, and the internet’s hype is real

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Super Smash Bros was confirmed for the Nintendo Switch this year in a surprise announcement during today’s Nintendo Direct. In honor of said announcement, I thought I’d express my hype by smashing on my keyboard. ZXCVSlknjewqdflkjgfqeAKHJBkijdsbkjldslk12ewlkgqfewhbl kjfdaseklALKSknjdsfibkhgerfskjnmesdfgvjnbdgvf Now that that’s out of the way, I wish I had more information to give you, but pretty much the only thing we know for sure is that Splatoon’s inkling and Breath of the Wild’s Link will be in the game. At this point, it’s not even clear if this will be an entirely new game or a port of Super Smash Bros…

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Kirby’ and ‘Super Smash Bros.’ Developer HAL Laboratory’s ‘Part Time UFO’ Has Finally Released Worldwide

HAL Laboratory’s previously Japan only game, Part Time UFO [$ 3.99] has finally released in more countries including the United States. If you aren’t familiar with HAL Laboratory, they work closely with Nintendo and have for decades bringing us franchises like Kirby, Earthbound/Mother, and more. Back in November last year, HAL Laboratory released Hataraku UFO which is the first game in their new smartphone development studio called HAL Egg. This game has you control a UFO with a retractable claw like the arcade machines except you do it to help people here. This involves things like moving cargo, stacking people, and more. The possibilities seem endless and I’m glad to see them branch out to more countries because this is exactly the kind of thing more people need to play. Here’s a gmaeplay video of it:

When it launched in November, it was Japan only and now it has released in multiple countries worldwide including the United States and United Kingdom. The full list of countries it is available in can be viewed here. It isn’t just iOS only either. It is available on Google Play and the Amazon App Store.

One thing to note is that this is a premium game. It costs $ 3.99 on the App Store in USA and has no in app purchases at all. If you’d like to see some discussion around it, check out our forum thread for it here. I hope they expand availability even further going forward and can’t wait to see what they put out next.

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Boats and bros: Bitcoin’s millionaire millennials smell like the 1980s


Here come the Bitcoin bros, partying hard and snarfing some marijuana cigarettes, or whatever 20-year-old millionaires do. Except, this isn’t the 80s and we can’t prove there’s any cocaine. A recent yacht party saw 600 enthusiasts travel to exotic Thailand in a swank affair complete with cryptocurrency-themed music and plenty of booze. While the party-goers’ vessel steamed across the ocean, Bitcoin was making waves of its own. The popular cryptocurrency’s value plummeted thousands of dollars in mere hours, which certainly shifted many of the passengers’ fortunes by millions. But the party never stops when, if you’re optimistic, you know that’s just…

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