Pokemon Prism Fan Game Circulates Online Following Nintendo Cease and Desist

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Fans step in to preserve the ROM hack.

Pokemon Prism, the fan-made ROM hack for Pokemon Crystal, has been make available online.

Pokemon Prism creator Koolboyman shut down his website and the project after receiving a cease and desist from Nintendo last week. Shortly thereafter, however, the files for the hack circulated on 4chan by fans allegedly unaffiliated with the project who, in an accompanying text file (via Kotaku), referred to themselves as “a group of people interested in seeing ROM hacks succeed.”

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Kotaku reached out to group of anonymous distributors to find out why they took it upon themselves to make the ROM hack available to the public. “Regardless of Nintendo’s legal rights, we do believe that they are destroying their fans’ hard work for no reason and at no gain,” they said. “Nintendo could have used this (and any other good ROM hack) as an opportunity to promote the Pokémon series in general. They don’t even have to do anything other than let the games live.”

Pokemon Prism was in development for eight years and expected to release on December 25. Despite having several pre-release versions, Koolboyman did not receive a cease and desist from Nintendo until December 21, which took the anonymous group of distributors by surprise. “We assumed that if there was going to be a DMCA takedown notice or a cease and desist, it would happen long before now,” they said.

In an effort to protect the creators of Prism, the team of leakers removed the credits from the ROM hack and added in a thank you message to fans who finish the game.

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Pokemon Prism isn’t the only fan-made project to recently shut down, with support for Pokemon Uranium ceasing earlier this year. Additionally, a fan remake of Metroid 2 called AM2R was shut down by Nintendo in August.

Alex Osborn is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

Top 10 Scariest Games

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From jump scares to psychological horror.

Horror games can conjure a wide range of emotions, from disgust and panic to the lingering pangs of existential dread.

The scariest games excel at nailing just one or two of these feelings really well, or send us on an unrelenting rollercoaster fueled by all manner of terror. With that criteria in mind, we set out to name the top ten scariest games ever made. Let’s begin.

10. Dead Space

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Necromorphs define the terror of Dead Space with their gruesome designs and unpredictable natures. Unlike the foes of most horror games, these guys don’t go down with a bullet to the brain — sometimes their heads aren’t even located where they should be.

But even with a “strategic dismemberment” system that lets us rip enemies apart in creative ways, wandering the corridors of that desolate starship is never not scary. That’s because Necromorphs are creative too, adapting to a sudden lack of limbs in disturbing new ways that keeps the stakes high and the fear factor even higher. — Destin Legarie

9. Enemy Zero

Top 10 Scariest Games

The little-played early survival horror game Enemy Zero forces you to explore a dark, lonely starship armed with an audio-based sonar device. As invisible enemies stalk you in the dark and the tension slowly mounts, your heart actually begins to sync with the pulse of your detector.

Enemy Zero’s mechanics helped inspire games like Alien Isolation, but none of its imitators have ever quite captured the same consistent sense of terror. — Jared Petty

8. Outlast

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Outlast tasks players with investigating the unnerving depths of an overrun psychiatric hospital, home to a host of ghastly secrets and lots and lots of dead bodies.

But what really prevents the player from ever feeling comfortable is an unrelenting onslaught of exhilarating chase sequences, cheap, yet effective jump scares, and a risky dependence on your camcorder’s night vision to even see where you’re going — a handicap that Outlast capitalizes on to outstandingly chilling effect. — James Duggan

7. DayZ

Top 10 Scariest Games

No amount of scripted jump scares can amount to the sheer, heart-pounding tension we’ve encountered in DayZ’s hostile open-world. But it’s never been the game’s zombies we’ve had to fear. In DayZ, the scariest thing of all is the unpredictability of other human players.

Unforgiving permadeath, a scarcity of resources, and other brutal design choices all work in horrifying harmony to bring out the absolute worst in the people playing, making DayZ one of the most stressful and scary video game experiences. — Chloi Rad

6. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

Top 10 Scariest Games

Unlike the run-and-hide trend of modern horror games, Fatal Frame 2 forces you to face your fears. In order to survive, you have to point your camera straight at the encroaching horrors and snap a picture. It’s a wonderful subversion of our natural desire to turn away from danger, and provides some of the best horror game jump scares out there as a result. — Jared Petty

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Carrie Fisher Had a Small Role in Dishonored

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Her role was hidden as an Easter egg.

Carrie Fisher, who recently passed away at age 60, had a minor role in Dishonored.

According to Glixel, Fisher recorded several lines for developer Arkane Studios’ stealth game and her work is well hidden. You have to kill a certain propaganda officer during the “Return to the Tower” mission.

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Afterwards, late in the game, you have to pay close attention to spot her voice coming over the public address system in Dunwall, Dishonored’s main setting.

Fisher tells people not to “interfere with the regular transfer of deceased persons to disposal centers in the Flooded District” or that “any disturbance in the region of Dunwall Tower this evening has been the result of a previously scheduled training exercise.”

Dishonored’s creative director, Harvey Smith, paid tribute to Fisher on Twitter saying that, despite her small role, she was “gracious, funny and creatively open.”

It’s a little thing, but Carrie Fisher was gracious, funny and creatively open when we worked with her for a small role in #Dishonored. RIP.

— Harvey Smith (@Harvey1966) December 27, 2016

Fisher rarely appeared in video games. Her voice work, besides Dishonored, is only featured in one other title: this year’s Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Alex Gilyadov is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter

Titanfall 2 Review

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A long-awaited single-player campaign puts Titanfall 2’s feelgood mobility onto a sprawling platforming playground.

Update: Titanfall 2 has been nominated for IGN’s 2016 Game of the Year

Titanfall 2  Review

When Respawn Entertainment first showed off its concept for Titanfall and hinted at a single- and multiplayer first-person shooter full of acrobatic action and towering robot warriors that could rival Call of Duty, Titanfall 2 is the game that I wanted to play. Respawn has doubled down on its compelling formula of breakneck movement and grandiose scale, tapping the vein of those literal and figurative explosive moments that we brag about afterwards. And this time around, the first game’s lacking single-player component has been addressed with admirable results, offering an engaging trek through a universe that was begging to be fleshed out.

On The Campaign Trail

Titanfall 2’s campaign is the tale of rifleman Jack Cooper, who’s unexpectedly given the reins of Vanguard-class titan BT-7274 (AKA “BT”) when the two are stranded on the planet Typhon after their starship was brought down in an ambush by the evil mega-corp IMC. Their pairing is a good one, if somewhat predictable, with both characters playing off one another in the fashion of their archetypes. BT’s artificial intelligence personality is dry, logical, and ready to misunderstand Jack’s human colloquialisms and turns-of-phrase for slight comedic effect, while Jack is the relatable everyman grunt who knows next to nothing about being a pilot, much less a hero. Though their dynamic doesn’t quite reach the level of witty buddy-comedy quips and playful banter that some of the dialogue options strive for, what does come across is a genuine mutual respect and, in time, caring that these two find for one another.

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Nine chapters of excellent level design showcase Respawn’s genuine talent.

This sets the stage for the pair to work together through nine chapters of excellent level design that showcases Respawn’s genuine talent for conveying scale. Each chapter is a sprawling playground of twisting jungle valleys, massive factories, military structures, and debris fields, each seeped in their own dense atmosphere thanks to gorgeous vistas and dramatic lighting.

Playing through the approximately six-hour campaign I was impressed that each level felt big enough for me to sprint, hurdle, double-jump, and wall-run through while also being well enough organized that I never felt lost. It’s linear, but open enough to create an illusion of freedom. Only occasionally was I forced to stop and consult the objective beacon, which is great considering the amount of time I spent dashing through mazes of massive air ducts or across assembly lines big enough to construct entire buildings.

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Typhon’s environments are as much your enemy as the humans and robots.

Everywhere I looked I was reminded of my relatively insignificant size. I felt small standing next to a titan and significantly larger when piloting BT, but always dwarfed by the unbelievably large and intricate structures that tower over even your bulky robot. Levels are deftly crafted with both titan and pilot in mind, requiring you to wade through toxic sludge or a cloud of poison while inside the titan until a bottomless chasm or narrow catwalk forces you to hop out and pinball between walls and railings with strings of leaps and dashes in order to clear a path for your companion to follow.

In fact, Typhon’s environments are as much your enemy in Titanfall 2 as the humans and robots that bar your progression. Extreme heat, cold, fatal falls, hazardous waste, and deadly electrical discharges are ever-present obstacles that provide a sense of weight to learning and excelling at Titanfall 2’s signature movement abilities.

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Jumping Jack (Cooper) Flash

To Respawn’s credit, the platforming design is as refreshing as any I’ve encountered in a first-person shooter. Throughout the campaign, new mechanics are consistently introduced that range from neat additions to wholly new puzzle elements, like using cranes to move wall-running surfaces into place to create paths. By the end, you’re fully expected to be able to combine them all to get through a series of complex obstacle courses that mix acrobatics and combat. In one late-game on-foot section I was forced to bounce from wall to wall while swapping items midair to power switches that swung the next wall into place for me to land on it. This kind of frantic precision is electrifying when you’re sprinting above the floorless abyss, where poor timing or a missed input of the smooth and intuitive controls means falling to your death.

New mechanics are consistently introduced.

And throughout each dense level, swarms of IMC grunts, humanesque elite robots, Typhon’s indigenous fauna, and massive titans all punctuate the platforming with heavy combat encounters. While most of the soldiers and robots serve as cannon fodder with predictable but effective AI, their numbers, explosive ordinance, and well-equipped titans are still lethal if not respected.

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Though your impressive on-foot mobility can often allow you to dash through combat areas toward the objective without firing a single shot or stopping to clean up the enemies, doing so would be a disservice. Titanfall 2 is loaded with an enjoyable collection of punchy firearm types, like the powerhouse automatic shotgun and the electric-sphere-firing rocket launcher, most of Titanfall 2’s firearms have a sci-fi flare – culminating in the infamous fire-and-forget accuracy of the smart pistol. When combined with the smooth movement and melee attacks, this varied arsenal offers moments of catharsis and satisfaction when you decimate a room full of enemies without being tagged. Hearing an enemy soldier call out, “Where did he go?” after annihilating his entire squad like a shotgun tornado and disappearing into the rafters with a few precise leaps is next-level empowering.

The Iron Giant

But when you’re inside your slower and more grounded titan the combat becomes more conventional first-person shooting, though just as impactful thanks to its unusual flexibility. Unlike the multiplayer titans, BT is capable of swapping loadouts on the fly to become a totally different class, equipping unique weapons, abilities, and defensive items just by calling up the menu and selecting what you need at the time.

I’d regularly default to the standard machine gun loadout for its versatility, but when a fast, nimble enemy titan took the field, switching to a loadout with heat-seeking rockets and a jetpack is much more effective for connecting shots. When dozens of smaller grunts and robots peppered me with rockets, I’d swap to the napalm-infused Scorch loadout for its area-of-effect destructiveness.

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It’s a refreshing change of pace, especially considering each of these loadouts becomes available shortly after defeating a named boss titan – a la Mega Man – lending a sense of earned progression. These bosses are part of a mercenary corp called the Apex Predators, and each sports their own personality and cosmetically unique titan. When you finally square off against one, you’re treated to a brief introductory cinematic which helps to ratchet up the stakes, but I unfortunately found these chapter-punctuating encounters to be underwhelming. On normal difficulty, they regularly only took slightly more effort to bring down than the standard titans of similar chassis I’d fought before. Their personas and rewards are the memorable parts.

BT’s versatility allows you to use several of the titan chassis from multiplayer.

The advantage of BT’s versatility for the story is that it allows you to use several of the titan chassis from multiplayer without without having to swap out titans, keeping the focus squarely on BT and his relationship with Jack. At times, though, it seemed too convenient: BT is so knowledgeable and capable that at some points I had to wonder why this powerful and seemingly self-sufficient titan needs a pilot in the first place. He nearly always has the answer to any question Jack poses, points him in the right direction when they’re separated, gives him orders and instructions toward the next objective, and explains what’s happening no matter the heady sci-fi circumstance.

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Ultimately the relationship does find its footing as the two grow more dependant on each other, especially as the plot ramps up sharply in the third act’s enjoyable climax. As both characters begin to buckle under the weight of their situation that relationship begins to take on new meaning, and it becomes one of Titanfall 2’s highlights.

Jack and BT’s relationship becomes one of Titanfall 2’s highlights.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Titanfall 2’s story, its secretive plot twists and character drama probably wouldn’t sustain me on another playthrough alone. However, with four total difficulty settings (two more above the default ‘normal’ setting I experienced), combined with its welcomingly brisk runtime, I’m definitely interested in going back to see if my mobility skills are enough to keep me alive with the odds stacked against me. And to hunt down those collectibles that are placed so tantalizingly out of reach.

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Scarlett Johansson Is 2016’s Top-Grossing Actor

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Edges out Civil War co-stars.

Scarlett Johansson narrowly topped her Marvel co-stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. to become 2016’s top-grossing actor.

According to Forbes, which calculated the global ticket sales of actors’ movies released this year, Johansson brought in $1.2 billion at the box office thanks largely to her role as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War, which made over $1.1 billion worldwide. Johansson also had a minor part in the Coen brothers’ latest film Hail Caesar!, where she played 1950s Hollywood actor DeeAnna Moran.

Johansson starred in The Jungle Book, which grossed over $950 million worldwide, and the recently-released Sing as well this year, but Forbes did not count animated films where only actors’ voices were used. Johansson’s Civil War co-stars Evans and Downey each grossed $1.15 billion in 2016 and tie for second place.

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Most of the top-grossing actors on Forbes’ list made comic book films, from Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds, who comes in eighth with a $820 million box office total, to Suicide Squad’s Margot Robbie, who places fourth with $1.1 billion.

Felicity Jones is the only actor on that list without a comic book role. She’s in ninth place with $805 million thanks to her work as rebel Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The film, which is still playing in theaters, has made over $630 million worldwide so far. It topped the weekend box office in the US in its second week, bringing in $96.1 million.

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Alex Gilyadov is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter