As usual, there’s an added benefit to completing as many challenges as possible. If you clear all of the ones from a given week, you’ll also complete a Snowfall challenge, which will unlock a special loading screen that contains a subtle clue pointing to a free Battle Star or Banner hidden somewhere around the island.
If you’ve finished all nine weeks’ worth of challenges thus far, you’ll receive the loading screen pictured below. This one features the Prisoner–the Legendary skin you’ll earn for completing 60 weekly challenges–emerging from its cell in Polar Peak’s dungeon. Look carefully at the ice wall on the left side of the image, however, and you’ll spot an etching of a Battle Star above what appears to be a giant sled.
The sled in question can be found in the area to the south of Shifty Shafts. Glide there at the beginning of a match, head under the sled, and the Battle Star will appear. Collect it and finish the match, and your Battle Star will be leveled up by one tier. If you need more help finding it, we’ve marked its exact location on the map below.
As is the case with other Snowfall challenges, this Battle Star won’t appear unless you’ve completed the required number of challenges. You won’t be able to just head to the right location and pick it up until you’ve completed nine weeks’ worth of challenges and unlocked the above loading screen. Fortunately, we have tips for this season’s trickier missions in our complete Season 7 challenges guide.
There are only a few weeks remaining in Season 7, so you only have a little more time to complete any remaining challenges and unlock this season’s Battle Pass rewards. If you need help finding any of Season 7’s other free Battle Stars and Banners, we’ve put together guides leading you to their locations below.
The British Empire is on the verge of collapse. Government House, nestled on a headland just across the Thames from the center of London, is somehow simultaneously underwater and ablaze. Once the home of Oasis, the city of Manchester is now little more than a shrinking island as entire coastal neighborhoods disappear into the rising sea. Maybe the sun never sets, but it’s getting awfully late in the day.
However, this is no post-Brexit apocalypse. It’s simply the state of play in my game of Civilization VI. The upcoming expansion, Gathering Storm, introduces the concept of climate change and, as I and every other civilization on the planet burn through consumable fuel resources, global temperature rises precipitate the polar ice to melt and the ocean to breach the walls of London. Time to rethink my strategy.
Following last year’s Rise & Fall, Gathering Storm is the second major expansion for Civ VI and, based on the evidence so far, it suggests a continuation of Firaxis’ efforts to disrupt the established meta. Where Rise & Fall delivered the ability to transition from a Golden Age into a Dark Age and back again–a system designed to chart the ebb and flow of an empire throughout history–Gathering Storm is more concerned with a gradual accumulation of choices slowly building over the course of the game before unleashing fury towards the end. You can see the dark clouds approaching. The question is: how long can you keep them at bay?
“We usually look at the second expansion of a Civilization title as the one where we make sure our content is robust and complete all the way to the end of the game,” explains Civilization franchise lead designer Ed Beach. “For Civilization V, that was the additions of ideologies in Brave New World, with an emphasis on the World War period.
“We’re taking a different tack in Civilization VI–this time we are focusing on the present time and the ecological struggles with climate change that face mankind in the 21st century. That’s the big new addition with Gathering Storm, confronting players with decisions about how they are relating to the planet. There are winning strategies both ways: the diplomatic player probably wants to treat the planet well and participate in worldwide climate accords; a more militaristic player may not care and may even consider the fact that rising sea levels could deal damage to some of his coastal enemies.”
Beach says Firaxis built their climate model using the predominant scientific conclusions on how the Earth is changing. It’s a fairly straightforward relationship: CO2 emissions from exploiting resources such as coal and oil add to the global temperature. As the planet gets warmer, polar ice melts, sea levels rise, and finally flooding, storms, and droughts become more frequent.
Weather events occur from the very beginning of the game. Settle on the floodplains of a river and at some point, the banks will break. Similarly, some mountain tiles are now designated as volcanoes, which can become active, erupt, and cover adjacent tiles with lava. More randomly, blizzards, typhoons, and dust storms can now spawn on the map and trace a path of destruction through your lands.
Early on, these events aren’t too bad, and can even be beneficial. A flood might injure a warrior you had stationed along the river or require you to repair damage to a wheat farm. But once the flood passes and you’ve cleaned up the mess, it’s likely the tiles’ soil will have been fertilized, providing additional resources for the rest of the game.
The idea of “playing the map” was a big part of the design ethos driving the development of Civ VI. Opening specialist districts constructed outside the city center to all kinds of bonuses based on adjacent terrain, as well as restrictions on where World Wonders can be built, requires you to adapt to the specific circumstances in front of you. You’re playing the map as presented, rather than relying on some pre-defined optimal strategy. This idea is explicitly reflected in Gathering Storm’s climate change and weather events.
“These changes were indeed deliberate additions to accentuate this feeling of playing the map,”
“These changes were indeed deliberate additions to accentuate this feeling of playing the map,” says Beach. “Settling in a floodplain or near a volcano is obviously fraught with peril, yet mankind has continued to do just this for centuries. Why? Well, these are some of the most fertile agricultural areas on earth. With these tradeoffs in mind, these two natural disasters were the first ones we prototyped for Gathering Storm. They proved immensely popular with our testers so we kept going and added coastal flooding, droughts, and four kinds of storms before we were done.”
In the late game, as storms and floods hit with greater frequency and severity, these events can be devastating. In my game as England, I’d been engaged in a border skirmish with India when a freak storm ripped through the city of Bristol, pillaging my only Encampment district. At a crucial moment in the war, I was unable to resupply my frontline with reinforcements until the armory and stable had been repaired. Thanks to the weather, I had to pursue a peace deal or risk being overrun.
Worse, in the situation I describe at the top of the page from later in the same game, the rising sea meant my Government Plaza district was destroyed, presumably for good, taking with it the powerful bonuses of its Audience Chamber and other internal buildings. Meanwhile, Manchester lost five workable tiles, including a Neighborhood district, its sole lumber mill, and the very spot I’d planned to build a Theater Square, leaving it with a population of 23 but a housing capacity of just 14. The Civ late game has rarely been so unpredictable and dynamic.
Indeed, according to Beach, “Our primary goal with this expansion is to make the world and map seem more dynamic, more alive.” He also helpfully points out where my England game might have started to go wrong, and suggests some of the choices I could have made to, if not prevent environmental catastrophe, then perhaps mitigate or decelerate it.
“Our primary goal with this expansion is to make the world and map seem more dynamic, more alive.”
“Coal, and subsequently Oil, unlock much earlier in the game than their renewable alternatives,” Beach says. “We have added extensive bonuses to the third tier district buildings if your cities are powered, so you’ll want to get going initially with coal and oil so you don’t spend three eras of the game missing out on these significantly higher yields.
“Once uranium and renewables come online, there are several more factors to consider. Solar and wind farms consume a tile around your city late in the game when such spots are very precious. A nuclear plant has high output and very low CO2 emissions, but you need to spend city resources maintaining it regularly or an accident could result. All in all, we have eight different buildings or improvements that generate power all with unique terrain or resource requirements, outputs and tradeoffs.”
Along with some of the other existing civs and leaders, England has had its abilities revised to suit the new features found in Gathering Storm. Specifically, England gains extra Iron and Coal resources, and derives greater additional yields from powering its cities. In combination, this means England comes into its own during the Industrial Era and, to gain full advantage of the country’s unique abilities, you should be building coal power plants in every city and, uh, filling the skies above London and Manchester with horrible black smoke. Needless to say, the first time I checked the in-game World Climate report, my empire was responsible for over 90% of the world’s CO2 emissions. As the water lapped at the door of No.10 Downing St I really only had myself to blame.
Since the beginning of time–well, 1991, to be precise–Sid Meier’s Civilization has tended to view humanity through an optimistic lens. Of course, it’s a very Western Civilization-centric perspective that, amid depicting the atrocities of war and colonization throughout history, one can remain hopeful and keep faith in the idea of the march of progress. So, perhaps, all is not yet lost for England, just like all is not yet lost for our own planet.
“Our warming planet is a story that is still unfolding and will take at least the first half of this century before we get to any conclusive outcome,” says Beach.
“So to give that phenomenon time to play out, we needed to extend our game 25 to 50 years into the future. That meant adding a few new steps or considerations to both our Science and Culture victories. It also meant the era needed to include new tools to battle climate change, help with these extended victories, and provide high-tech military options.
“Since all these items are advances that mankind hasn’t yet fully unlocked, we felt it was a bit presumptuous for us to know their precise order. That’s why we hit on the idea of shuffling their order and position within the trees each game. The contents of those nodes remain hidden until you research the prerequisite.”
In previous Civ games, you would still pump Science or Culture into researching generic “future” technologies and civics once you reached the end of their respective trees. There was little point to this–it was merely counting down to the eventual winner. With Gathering Storm, there’s the admission that, however hopeful we might be, we still don’t quite know what the future holds. And as a strategy game, Civilization still has that one final curveball to throw our way. Will it be enough to save England?
Civilization VI: Gathering Storm releases on February 14.
Another fighter has been confirmed for Mortal Kombat 11: Kano. NetherRealm announced the character during a stream in Brazil, before confirming Kano’s inclusion in the game for international audiences via Twitter.
Despite being one of the seven original characters in the Mortal Kombat series, Kano hasn’t appeared in too many games. He was, however, a part of the last game in the series, Mortal Kombat X. Like Scorpion, Kano has a fairly good projectile attack and a fast moveset. His trademark attack, Kano Ball, has him roll into a ball and launch himself at his opponent, which does more damage at close range.
It’s probable that Kano was supposed to be revealed during a Mortal Kombat 11 stream that was originally scheduled for this week, before being postponed due to the harsh weather in the eastern US. We got our first good look at the upcoming game’s gruesome new gameplay during a January 2019 reveal event. Several series staples, such as Sub-Zero and Scorpion, return in Mortal Kombat 11’s roster, alongside characters that haven’t been seen in a while and brand-new fighters. NetherRealm also showed off some of the new Fatalities during the event, and they’re just as bloody as ever. A new trailer for the game’s story was revealed as well, which looks to be as filled with gore as recent entries in the series.
If you pre-order Mortal Kombat 11, you’ll unlock both Shao Kahn and access to the game’s beta–which begins on March 28. There are three editions of the game: the $60 standard edition, $100 Premium edition, and $300 Kollector’s Edition.
If you’re in the market for something new to play on Nintendo Switch, a bunch of games are on sale now in the US Eshop. Some of the system’s quirkiest indie gems are discounted as part of the Weird and Wonderful sale, while Nicalis and NIS America are offering deals on a range of titles in their respective publisher sales.
Very little has been shared about the game so far; we don’t have any screenshots, just the logo below. Nintendo describes it as an “action puzzle game” and says it’s due out early this summer. It’ll be free-to-play and available on both iOS and Android devices.
Dr. Mario World is being co-developed by LINE, a Japanese company known for a variety of things, including the development of games that have proven successful in Asian markets. Those include Disney Tsum Tsum and Cookie Run.
Nintendo had previously suggested it was looking for additional partners with which to develop mobile games as it seeks to make them a more prominent part of its business.
Eleven Arts has announced that A Silent Voice is finally getting a physical disc set release in North America. The anime movie is releasing in a deluxe package that includes the Blu-ray, DVD, and digital versions.
First premiering in Japanese theaters in 2016, the home release of A Silent Voice will be available for purchase in North America on April 2, according to Crunchyroll. The disc set includes both the original Japanese version of the film and the English dubbed version.
A Silent Voice rapidly gained popularity in Japan when it first released, and its emotional story captured American audiences when the film released internationally the following year. The movie is a condensed version of the story told in the seven volume manga of the same name–titled Koe no Katachi in Japan–that was created by Yoshitoki Oima. A Silent Voice follows the changing relationship between Shoko and Shoya, a girl who’s deaf and the male peer who used to cruelly bully her in elementary school. Shoya reaches out to Shoko when the two are in high school in an effort to make amends, as well as come to terms with his own guilt, and the two eventually spark an unlikely friendship that begins to grow into something more.
While you wait for A Silent Voice to come out, there are plenty of other options for anime you can watch. If you’re looking for something new, we’ve put together a guide of series to both watch and keep an eye on during the current Winter 2019 season. For older titles, consider looking at our guide for anime series from the Fall 2018 season or a list of our favorite anime from 2018. Sentai Filmworks also released several new home release disc sets in January 2019, including a cool-looking special steelbook collection for Land of the Lustrous–one of 2017’s best anime.
While there are plenty of people excited to see the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams go head-to-head in the final NFL game of the 2018 season, there are also lots of folks who can’t wait to see what’s going to happen during the commercial breaks of the Super Bowl.
The big game is now known for trailer reveals just as much as its known for American football. When you have the eyes of the nation glued to the TV for over three hours in one sitting, it’s easy to see why movie studios would drop trailers for their biggest upcoming releases.
Last year, we got a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War and Netflix released The Cloverfield Paradox, which was pretty terrible. With the Super Bowl airing on CBS on Sunday, February 3, we’re breaking down some of the biggest film studios’ upcoming slates and speculating what movie trailers we could see during the big game.
With Marvel’s buyout of Fox coming to a close, the comic book studio has five movies releasing in 2019. While we got a bit more in-depth about what’s going on with the movie giant here, we could expect a couple trailers during the big game.
Because Captain Marvel’s release is right around the corner, chances are we’ll see at least one trailer for March’s next chapter of the MCU. Don’t expect anything new, though. Additionally, with Avengers: Endgame coming out in April, there is a very good chance we’ll get a brand-new trailer for the latest Avengers movie. Considering all the hype for the movie, look for it early on in the game.
2019 will be a big year for Lucasfilm, even with only one theatrical release. Star Wars: Episode IX–the final installment in this trilogy–is coming out in December. Additionally, there is a new season of Clone Wars and a TV show called The Mandalorian coming to Disney+ this fall.
However, don’t get too excited that we’ll be seeing ANYTHING from Lucasfilm during the Super Bowl. Sure, there are numerous, high-profile movies and TV shows coming out, but Chicago is also hosting the convention Star Wars Celebration in April, where we will for sure see a trailer for Episode IX and probably a sneak peek at both Disney+ series. More than likely, there won’t be any Star Wars commercials at the Super Bowl.
While so much of Disney is taken up with the likes of Marvel and Star Wars, it’s important to remember the House of Mouse has more going on than the companies it’s purchased. Disney has a massive film slate in 2019, as well as the launch of a new streaming service.
While it’s hard to know exactly what the company will promote during the Super Bowl, contenders include Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, Tim Burton’s Dumbo, and, of course, the sequel to Frozen, which hits theaters in November. It would also be surprising if we got away from game day without some mention of the Disney+ service, which will be launching later in the year.
One thing we know for sure is new Toy Story 4 footage will arrive Sunday after the game is finished.
It’s a bit of a grab bag with Warner Bros. possibilities. Obviously, the studio could release another trailer for Shazam. With so many spots for the movie already out, though, it seems like it might be a waste of ad dollars. There are two more major releases coming later in the year, however, that might be a great fit for the game.
The first is Joker, the upcoming standalone DC Entertainment movie starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime. WB and DC are taking big leaps in expanding their roster of movie heroes and villains and giving the world its first true glimpse at Joker could be very exciting. At the other end of the spectrum is It: Chapter 2. The sequel to the Stephen King horror film has finished production and will be in theaters in September. Given the massive success of the first movie, a Super Bowl debut could be in order.
Paramount has two big movies coming this fall. But is it too early to start showing off footage? First is the Sonic the Hedgehog movie starring Ben Schwartz as the blue hedgehog and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. Chances are pretty slim of us seeing anything from the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, but it’s not out of the question.
Additionally, there’s the Terminator sequel/reboot, coming out in November. Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger will return, and while the plot is unknown, Linda Hamilton is also returning as Sarah Connor. Because this is Paramount’s most high-profile movie of the year, there is a good chance we’ll get at least a teaser for the movie during the Super Bowl.
It’s entirely possibly Dwayne Johnson tipped his hand a bit early. The Hobbs & Shaw star teased that the first trailer for the Fast & Furious spin-off would arrive the Friday before the Super Bowl. Could we instead be getting a teaser for a full ad that will run during the big game? If Universal was going to buy Super Bowl ad time for anything, it’s definitely that movie.
Netflix is a true wild card when it comes to the Super Bowl. Their highest-profile upcoming series has to be Stranger Things 3, which will debut on July 4. The big game would be a perfect time to release the first trailer. However, it’s also possible Netflix is going to throw everyone for a loop like they did in 2018.
The streaming service announced during their Super Bowl commercial that they were releasing The Cloverfield Paradox as soon as the game was over, with no prior warning. Of course, that turned out to be one of the worst movies of 2018, but the streamer certainly made an impact.
CBS All Access
Given that the game is airing on CBS, it only makes sense that CBS All Access will have some kind of presence during commercial breaks, right? If that’s the case, the most exciting options are trailers for the upcoming streaming shows The Twilight Zone and Picard, which will focus on Patrick Stewart’s character from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Picard series won’t arrive until late 2019, but The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1, so it’s time to get promoting!
One of the biggest pop culture moments of 2019 is sure to be the final season of Game of Thrones, so don’t be too surprised if HBO buys up some valuable Super Bowl commercial real estate to showcase some footage from the show’s final season. Thus far, we have yet to see a proper trailer for the show’s new episodes and with the season premiere arriving in April, it’s time.
There are two movies with set release dates for Blumhouse right now. Happy Death Day 2U is coming out on February 14 and Jordan Peele’s Us will hit theaters on March 15. We’ve already seen the first trailer for Us, and it looks outstanding. If Blumhouse is planning anything during the Super Bowl, it will be new trailers for both of these movies.