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Nintendo smashed sales records in March 2017… but Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands was the top-selling game

Nintendo told us all about their record-setting sales month last week, but the NPD Group made it official today when they revealed their retail report on the video game industry for March 2017.

NPD analyst Sam Naji told GamesIndustry.biz: “March 2017 will go down in history books as the month Nintendo broke records.The Nintendo Switch had the biggest hardware launch for a Nintendo platform and the second biggest launch for any video game platform since 1995, the time NPD began tracking this category.”

However, even though The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild managed to sell more than 900,000 copies, it wasn’t able to secure the #1 spot. Instead, Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands was the best-selling game last month, likely due to Nintendo’s unwillingness to share their digital sales figures with the NPD Group. Other strong sellers on the Switch included 1-2 Switch (#13) and Super Bomberman R (#17).

Big debuts weren’t limited to Nintendo’s Switch, and it was a banner month for several new releases last month, as Mass Effect: Andromeda (#3), Horizon: Zero Dawn (#4), and Nier: Automata (#9) also smashed expectations. Combined with impressive Switch hardware sales, these games helped the industry record more than $1.36 billion in total sales for the month, a 24% year-on-year increase over March 2016.

The complete list of best-selling games from March 2017 can be found after the break. (more…)

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NBA 2K17 predicts a Cavs-Warriors rematch (and a Warriors win) in 2017 NBA Finals

The 2017 NBA Playoffs kicked off late last week, and 2K’s NBA 2K17 was there to provide a simulation of this year’s bracket.

If you’ll recall, last year, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. They eventually lost the series in Game 7, and LeBron James was able to hoist his third NBA Championship.

But if NBA 2K17’s simulation comes to pass, this year’s NBA Finals will end in a rematch that once again goes the distance… and this time the Warriors will emerge victorious in Game 7.

So how do we get from here to there? According to the simulation, the Warriors will easily roll over their opponents in the first three rounds with wins over the Portland Trail Blazers (4-0), Los Angeles Clippers (4-1), and Houston Rockets (4-1). The Cavaliers will have a tougher time to reach the Finals, ultimately pushing past the Indiana Pacers in five games, the Toronto Raptors in six games, and the Washington Wizards in seven games. Cleveland’s more brutal schedule might be the reason behind their eventual defeat in the Finals.

In the real world, the Warriors and the Cavaliers are both doing their part to accurately reflect the action in NBA 2K17s crystal ball, as each team won their first playoff game this weekend. But we’ll have to wait until June 1st, and the start of the 2017 NBA Playoffs, to see if the game’s full simulation is on the mark.

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Activision is working on at least three movies in a connected Call of Duty Cinematic Universe

Activision first began discussing the possibility of a “Call of Duty Cinematic Universe” shortly after opening their film division, Activision Blizzard Studios, a few years ago. Earlier this week, a new profile in The Guardian has revealed that the studio is already working on three separate films:

“We have plotted out many years,” [Co-President Stacey] Sher tells the Guardian. “We put together this group of writers to talk about where we were going. There’ll be a film that feels more like Black Ops, the story behind the story. The Modern Warfare series looks at what it’s like to fight a war with the eyes of the world on you. And then maybe something that is more of a hybrid, where you are looking at private, covert operations, while a public operation is going on.”

According to The Guardian, Activision would like to start filming the first entry in the “Call of Duty Cinematic Universe” sometime next year, with a theatrical premiere planned for “a couple of years after” that.

Sher and her Co-President, Nick Van Dyk, also have ambitions beyond traditional motion pictures. The pair has already partnered with Netflix to produce Skylanders Academy, and they’re also envisioning a Call of Duty-branded series that focuses on historical conflicts such as World War II and the Vietnam War.

Sher also wants fans to know that, above all else, Activision Blizzard Studios wants to make good movies: “If you just chase the empty blockbuster, and have nothing to say in the genre, forget about it.”

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Cars 3: Driven To Win will be released for every available console on June 13

WB Games and Avalanche Software have announced that the Cars 3 video game, Cars 3: Driven To Win, will be released for the PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on June 13.

Taking place after the events of Disney/Pixar’s upcoming film, Cars 3: Driven To Win will ask players to master advanced racing abilities such as “Drifting, Turbo, Two-Wheel Driving, Driving Backwards and Side-Bash” as they rise through the ranks of the Piston Cup. Naturally, the game will also feature splitscreen multiplayer for competitive and cooperative modes:

Picking up after the final big race in the film, Cars 3: Driven to Win extends the storyline of Cars 3 with all-new action packed adventures and takes players through a high-speed competition that is filled with both familiar and new faces. Players will be able to join Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez as they prepare to take on rival racer Jackson Storm. The game features more than 20 customizable playable characters including popular heroes from the Cars franchise and next generation racers. Players can also select their favorite race environments from a series of iconic settings from the film, such as Radiator Springs and Florida International Speedway, with over 20 unique tracks to choose from across 13 different locations.

We also got a glance at the first trailer for Cars 3: Driven To Win, and its been embedded above.

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4/1: AMC and the creators of Breaking Bad are NOT working on a Grand Theft Auto TV show

It’s April 1st, which means you shouldn’t believe everything anything you read on the Internet today. For example… AMC did not hire the creators of Breaking Bad to develop a television adaptation of Grand Theft Auto V.

The trailer making the rounds today was actually created by IGN, but the narration from Steven Ogg (he played Trevor Phillips in GTA5) gives it that extra jolt of authenticity and might help fool a few people.

While this trailer is just an April Fool’s Day prank, Take-Two Interactive might actually be working on a film adaptation of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Earlier this year, CEO Strauss Zelnick told MCV that his company has “licensed a couple of titles for motion picture production.” The executive didn’t name Grand Theft Auto as one of the titles, but prolific film director Roger Corman has repeatedly claimed that a settlement he signed with Take-Two more than a decade ago prevents the publisher from adapting Grand Theft Auto for the silver screen.

Corman produced Ron Howard’s directorial debut, 1977’s Grand Theft Auto, and he’s been trying to remake it for years. But instead of a gangland drama like The Godfather or Scarface, Howard’s film is a road comedy more closely related to something like The Blues Brothers. But if Corman is holding up the creation of a Grand Theft Auto film, it’s never been publicly acknowledged by Take-Two.

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #64: Pac-Man

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

With more than 40 years of history behind it, it’s not surprising the video game community has developed its own catalog of urban legends that have been passed from player to player over the years. Everyone who played it desperately tried to resurrect Aerith after her tragic demise in Final Fantasy VII, and we all heard stories about the “nude codes” that supposedly existed in games like Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat II, and The Sims.

Unfortunately, every one of those rumors has more in common with the hook man at lover’s lane than they do with the unvarnished truth. But some of the legends are true. And nearly all of them revolve around Pac-Man in some way. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #78: The Secret of Monkey Island

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

Game publishers have been concerned with digital pirates illegally copying their games since the very beginning of the medium. Some have even gone so far as to include booby traps in their code for these would-be thieves. But when it comes to depicting actual pirates, gamemakers (along with major Hollywood players and one of the most celebrated fantasy authors of the last few decades) are content to pillage, plunder, and steal all the best ideas from each other.

It all began in 1967 when Walt Disney himself oversaw the construction of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. Over the years, the ride would go on to be recreated at Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris. Borrowing a bit from Treasure Island, the ride’s exciting ship-to-ship battle, raid on a coastal outpost, group of prisoners trying to bribe a dog for a key, and the frothy ditty “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” created the quintessential image of a pirate that was shared by kids the world over.

Tim Powers was not one of these kids. Already a teenager by the late 60s, Powers rose to prominence as one of the earliest authors of steampunk (and he, along with K.W. Jeter and James Blaylock, helped coin the phrase). In 1987, he published one of his most famous novels, On Stranger Tides. The novel tells the tale of John Chandagnac, an inexperienced youth who becomes the debonair pirate “Jack Shandy” and rescues the girl after he has a run-in with several undead buccaneers. (more…)

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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #38: Tomb Raider

“The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time” is a statistical meta-analysis of 44 “Best Video Games of All Time” lists that were published between 1995 and 2016. Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100 in the Introduction.

You can also help support the completion of this project through Patreon.

For better or worse, Lara Croft is the most famous woman in all of gaming. But all her fame might be a fluke, because the developers behind her creation claim it was all an accident.

Formed in the late 80s, Core Design was an unlikely candidate to be creating a wide open 3D title like Tomb Raider. The developer’s biggest claim to fame at the time was Rick Dangerous, a game that could charitably be called an “homage” to Indiana Jones. Other gamers might remember Chuck Rock, a platformer created by Core that starred a dimwitted caveman. But like many British developers of the time, they didn’t think about their limitations and just went for it. This definitely applied to Toby Gard, the artist behind Lara Croft’s original look.

Like Rick Dangerous, Lara began life as a man with no name that bore a striking resemblance to Harrison Ford. Fearing a lawsuit, Gard redrew the character as a woman and began tinkering with a number of different personalities. The artist told IGN in 2008 that the proto-Tomb Raider began life as a “sociopathic blonde” before morphing into a muscle woman, a “flat topped hip hopster,” and a “Nazi-like militant in a baseball cap.” None of these looks fit the game that Core envisioned, but Gard’s final pass at it proved to be the winner. Laura Cruz, “a tough South American woman in a long braid and hot pants,” was born. (more…)

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