Game of Thrones: Freddie Stroma Not Returning as Sam’s Brother for Season 7

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Freddie Stroma won’t be back, and Dickon Tarly is reportedly recast.

Don’t expect to see Freddie Stroma back as Samwell Tarly’s brother Dickon in Game of Thrones: Season 7. Actor Freddie Stroma confirmed to IGN that he was unable to reprise his role because he was committed to filming his new ABC series Time After Time.

“I was shooting this, so my character, I wouldn’t be able to go back now,” he said while representing Time After Time at the 2017 winter TV Critics Association. “It was still fun. I got to be in that world. I’ve watched all of it. It’s just an incredible TV show.”

Game of Thrones: Freddie Stroma Not Returning as Sam's Brother for Season 7

Samantha Spiro, Hannah Murray, John Bradley, Freddie Stroma and Rebecca Benson in Game of Thrones

Stroma made a short appearance in Game of Thrones: Season 6 episode “Blood of My Blood” as the younger brother of Samwell Tarley. When he initially got the role he was told “there’s a chance this is going to be coming back,” but because of his series regular commitment to Time After Time he had to sit Season 7 out.

That said, he is just happy he got the chance to inhabit Westeros, no matter how briefly: “Even just to get such a toe in there is fun. Just to be on set and kind of feel like I was in that world, I was a fan sitting there at the table doing that scene.”

That doesn’t mean Dickon Tarly won’t be back in Season 7, though. Watchers on the Wall ran a report in November saying Dickon was recast and will now be played by Black Sails’ Tom Hopper. HBO declined to comment.

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Other new members of Samwell Tarly’s family who were introduced in Season 6 were Samantha Spiro as Sam’s mother Melessa, Rebecca Benson as his sister Talla and James Faulkner as his father Randyll Tarly. Expect to see Randyll in Season 7 as well, where he reportedly will have an expanded role.

Stroma stars as H.G. Wells in the forthcoming Kevin Williamson ABC sci-fi series Time After Time, based on the novel and film of the same name. Time After Time premieres on March 5. Game of Thrones: Season 7 is slated for a summer 2017 premiere.

Terri Schwartz is Entertainment Editor at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

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Nintendo’s big Switch reveal is just days away! Here’s what the company will likely discuss.

Nintendo has a lot to discuss in January, as the company heads into a presentation where it will go in-depth on its latest gaming hardware, called the Nintendo Switch. The presentation will be streamed live at 8pm PT / 11pm ET on January 12 (that’s 4am GMT / 2pm AEST on January 13 from Japan (IGN will have preshow lead in and post stream analysis, so make sure you tune in for that). Nintendo plans to launch its home console portable hybrid this March.

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The Nintendo Switch teaser video from last October kicked off a lot of excitement for the new system. The video showed us the main concept: the Switch can swap between playing games on your television and a portable mode, where you can enjoy the same software on the go. The system uses detachable Joy-Con controllers and a dock connected to your TV. As a result of its ultra-limited presentation, the company has a lot of explaining to do. Here’s everything we know about the system and what we expect the company will show.

Price, Date, and Accessories

At the company’s latest investor meeting, president Tatsumi Kimishima told attendees the upcoming livestream presentation would “include the launch date and pricing for Nintendo Switch, as well as a look at the lineup of games currently in development.” For a gaming system coming out in March, this is a top priority Nintendo needs to communicate effectively.

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Also, Kimishima hinted there’s more hardware to talk about in an interview with Bloomberg. “But in terms of the various ways you can play, you will have to see it together with the software and accessories that we’ll have, which we will reveal in January,” he said. “In terms of attachments to the core part that is the Switch, it may be appropriate to call them accessories. Or it might be better to call them add-on hardware. It’s probably more correct to call them accessories. You can assume that there will be a wider array.”

But What About Software?

Nintendo will ultimately focus on demos, titles, and release dates for big, first-party games shown briefly in the teaser video. It means you can expect finalized names, trailers, and gameplay for the new 3D Mario game, Mario Kart Switch, and Splatoon. With these last two specific pieces of software, the company has to show the audience what makes them different from Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon on Wii U, especially if they want to entice those customers to buy the Switch version. It’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll see The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but hopefully Nintendo will let us wander out of the Great Plateau and into new adventures. Finally, it would make sense for Nintendo to surprise the audience with unannounced games, like the rumored Smash Bros. port or other brands the company has been working on in secret.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

The original Nintendo Switch tease gave fans a look at the dock that outputs video to the TV. It also showed us a TV indicator light and two USB ports. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

This is layout of the Joy-Con Grip accessory. Rumors from Let’s Play Video games and Emily Rogers suggest the button located on the bottom left is a share button. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

According to a Eurogamer report, the Nintendo Switch uses an IR (infrared) sensor as a pointer similar to the Wii when the system is docked. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

The initial Nintendo Switch teaser gave us a tiny glimpse at the shoulder buttons of the individual Joy-Cons. A patent filed by Nintendo confirmed this late last year. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

The Nintendo Switch is rumored to be a multi-touch screen for its games, as reported by Emily Rogers and Eurogamer. A patent filed by Nintendo identified the system would use touchscreen technology.

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What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

OK, we’re stating the obvious here. But this is the system’s pro controller. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

When the Nintendo Switch shown at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, we got a better look at the back of the device and identified as many ports as we could. Rumors suggest the system could expand its storage using a MircoSD card. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

What to Expect From the Nintendo Switch Livestream

During the Tonight Show segment in December, we got a look at the USB Type-C at the bottom of the device. Photo credit: Lucas Thomas.

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But what about Bethesda’s port of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the NBA game that was shown in the Switch video? Bethesda could confirm their Skyrim port, but we wouldn’t be surprised if 2K waits until they announce the next NBA2K for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC later this year. Nintendo could also win us over by showing us more third-party, indie games, eShop games, and the next step for the Virtual Console on Nintendo Switch.

What’s Coming After Launch?

Nintendo could nail the stage presentation and the launch lineup, but it also needs to paint a clear picture of what’s coming later. And that might be the company’s biggest hurdle. How do you effectively tease the future without bumping up against the most important first-party showcase in Electronic Entertainment Expo in June? Nintendo has had a strange presence at E3 the last few years, but even it has to admit that having the right game at the show means a lot. How else would you explain Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s success as an E3 Game of Show winner, despite only being playable on Wii U?

Nintendo needs to pull off a careful juggling act during the Switch presentation. One that outlines the system, its launch games, third-party games. But, at the same time, the company need to leave some breathing room for more announcements at E3.

Jose Otero is an Editor at IGN and host of Nintendo Voice Chat. You can follow him on Twitter.

Smite's New 3.25 Patch Turns Raijin Into Donkey Kong

Smite‘s first big patch of the year has arrived, introducing a new character and a number of skins.

Update 3.25’s new character is The Morrigan. As revealed at the Hi-Rez Expo last week, she’s a mage who can stealth and summon clones, but what really makes her interesting is her Ultimate. It allows her to transform into any other character in the current match and use their abilities (including their Ultimate). You can read more about her kit here.

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A handful of new skins are introduced this patch, the most noteworthy of which is Drums Out for Raijin. It turns him into a gorilla and replaces his usual drums and drum sticks with barrels and bananas in what’s not-so-subtly meant to be a Donkey Kong homage. You can see it in the video and images above along with the other new skins for Ra, Ares, Hou Yi, and Athena and updated mastery skins for Ra, Cabrakan, and Hou Yi

With The Morrigan kicking off the game’s foray into the Celtic pantheon, both Terra and Artemis get new Celtic-inspired skins. These two and one for The Morrigan are available through the new Path of the Phantom Queen event, which has you unlocking rewards as you make your way through a board game of sorts. Access costs 1,000 gems, or you can get in for free if you’re an Amazon/Twitch Prime subscriber. Other rewards include a loading frame, music theme, and pedestal.

This patch doesn’t touch balance–there are no item changes, and the only character changes are bug fixes. These include Susano’s Typhoon doing more damage than intended, Ne Zha’s Wind Fire Wheels not consuming mana in certain cases, and Skadi earning gold with Telaria Boots when marking a target for Kaldr. You can check out the full patch notes here.

Update 3.25 is out now for the PC version of Smite. It should arrive for the console versions in the coming weeks.

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Halo Wars 2 Getting Physical Release for PC

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“We are stoked to start the year with another partnership.”

Halo Wars 2 will be getting a physical release for PC through a partnership between THQ Nordic, Microsoft Studios, and 343 Industries.

The standard and ultimate editions of Halo Wars 2 will both be available in retail stores, according to THQ Nordic.

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The Ultimate Edition will cost $80 and includes four-day early access to the RTS as well as the game’s season pass and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Buying the physical copy of Halo Wars 2 for PC will grant players access to a digital copy on Xbox One via Xbox Play Anywhere.

THQ Nordic CEO Lars Wingefors said “the opportunity to buy and own this game in a beautiful physical shape is something we appreciate a lot.”

THQ previously partnered with Microsoft for physical PC releases of the Quantum Break Timeless Collector’s Edition and Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition.

Halo Wars 2 releases for PC and Xbox One on February 21. For more on the RTS, be sure to check out our Halo Wars 2 Campaign and Blitz hands-on preview.

Michael Passalacqua is a freelance writer for IGN. Chat with him on Twitter about the New York Giants’ unsurprising mediocrity.

XCOM 2's Long War 2 Adds This New Weapon Type

Following its recent announcement, we’re now beginning to learn what the upcoming Long War 2 mod for XCOM 2 will bring to the game.

Today, 2K and Pavonis Interactive revealed a new type of weapon players will have access to in Long War 2. Coilguns are a tier of weapon that sit between Mag and Beam weapons. That makes them the second most powerful in the game (behind Beam weapons).

XCOM 2&#039;s Long War 2 Adds This New Weapon Type
XCOM 2&#039;s Long War 2 Adds This New Weapon TypeXCOM 2&#039;s Long War 2 Adds This New Weapon TypeXCOM 2&#039;s Long War 2 Adds This New Weapon TypeXCOM 2&#039;s Long War 2 Adds This New Weapon Type

Although they’re coming as part of a mod, they aren’t something that will just be handed to you. As with the original XCOM’s Long War mod, which was thoughtfully designed and balanced, you’ll need to earn them in a way that makes sense. In this case, given their power, a “considerable investment” will be needed before you’re able to begin equipping your soldiers with them.

Further details weren’t shared, but we can expect to continue hearing more about Long War 2 in the weeks ahead. Long War 2–which comes from the same group of modders as the original Long War, who have renamed themselves Pavonis Interactive–represents the team’s most substantial creation for XCOM 2 yet. Prior to the game’s release, they partnered with developer Firaxis to offer mods at launch. None of these were nearly as significant as Long War, which is an acclaimed total conversion mod for XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Long War 2 doesn’t yet have a release date, nor does the other, standalone game Pavonis has announced.

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