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Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct Coming This Week

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Nintendo is airing a special Nintendo Direct this week focusing on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The broadcast takes place this Thursday, February 20, at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET / 2 PM GMT.

According to Nintendo, the Animal Crossing Direct will run for approximately 25 minutes and feature “an in-depth look at Nook Inc.’s Deserted Island Getaway Package.” You’ll be able to tune into the broadcast on Nintendo’s website, Twitch, and YouTube channels.

New details about Animal Crossing have been steadily coming out in the run-up to the game’s launch. Nintendo recently confirmed on its website that New Horizons will support the seldom-used Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app. While the game will not make use of Switch Online’s save backup function, Nintendo will let NSO subscribers recover their New Horizons save data under certain conditions.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches for Switch on March 20. The game is available for pre-order now on the Switch Eshop; it’s also eligible for the Switch voucher program if you still have any vouchers remaining. If you’re more interested in picking up a physical copy, Best Buy is offering an adorable bell bag as a pre-order bonus. You can learn more in our New Horizons pre-order guide.

Ahead of New Horizons, Nintendo is releasing a special Animal Crossing-themed Switch console on March 13. The system comes with pastel green and blue Joy-Cons, as well as a white dock featuring a cute image of Tom Nook and his nephews on an island. The Animal Crossing-themed Switch retails for $300, the same price as the standard model; as of this writing, however, the system is currently sold out at most major retailers.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the most highly anticipated Switch games of the year, but the system has already amassed an impressive library of fantastic titles. Check out our roundup of the best Nintendo Switch games of all time to see some other must-haves for Nintendo’s hybrid console.

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Pandemic simulation game 'Plague Inc' pulled from China's App Store – Mashable

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The coronavirus gave Plague Inc. a surge of popularity in China.
Image: plague inc: evolved

Pandemic simulator Plague Inc. became China’s top paid iOS download in January, as players flocked to the game in the wake of coronavirus concerns. Now the game has been taken down from China’s App Store, with the Cyberspace Administration of China citing “illegal content.”

Plague Inc. developer Ndemic Creations announced the sudden removal in a Feb 27. blog post. “We’ve just been informed that Plague Inc. ‘includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China’ and has been removed from the China App Store,” Ndemic Creations wrote. “This situation is completely out of our control.”

Exactly what illegal content Plague Inc. contains is unclear. Though it was only removed from the App Store this week, the game had been available in China since its worldwide release eight years ago. However, Plague Inc. had recently gained significant attention due to its thematic relevance to the current coronavirus epidemic.

In Plague Inc., players take on the role of an infectious disease and attempt to wipe out all human life. Gameplay involves choosing how to evolve, becoming more deadly and spreading across the globe. 

It feels very pertinent considering recent events.

“It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing,” wrote Ndemic Creations. “However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19.”

Ndemic Creations is attempting to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China to find out more information and work to return Plague Inc. to the Chinese App Store.

Last month, Ndemic Creations acknowledged Plague Inc. had seen a significant spike in players due to the coronavirus. “However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people.”

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Coronavirus Concerns Lead to the Cancellation of One of Tech's Biggest Developer Conferences – Gizmodo

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Photo: Getty Images

The spread of coronavirus is prompting companies to cancel nonessential travel. That includes trade shows like the smartphone-centric Mobile World Congress, which was scheduled to be held in Barcelona this week but was called off. Now Facebook has canceled its own annual event, the F8 developer’s conference, citing “growing concerns around COVID-19.”

The move is clearly out of an abundance of caution: F8 was scheduled to take place in San Jose, California, May 5 and 6. Now all eyes are on Facebook’s rival companies, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, who also have developer conferences in the works for early summer. Google I/O is slated for May 12 through 14 in Mountain View, Microsoft’s Build is scheduled for the following week in Seattle, and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is typically held in the first half of June in San Jose.

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Facebook’s Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of developer platforms, wrote in a Thursday blog post that the company is still planning local events and live-streamed sessions for developers to learn about changes and new features.

“This was a tough call to make—F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world—but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Papamiltiadis wrote. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”

Microsoft also announced Thursday that it will no longer attend the annual Game Developers Conference, slated for March 16 through 20 in San Francisco. The company joins Epic, Unity, and Sony in withdrawing from the event due to the coronavirus outbreak. Microsoft plans to host an online event that will coincide with GDC for developer sessions and announcements March 16 through 18. It’s unclear if GDC will be canceled or proceed without some of gaming’s biggest players.

It makes sense that voluntary conferences and trade shows be called off to stem the spread of COVID-19. Facebook and Microsoft don’t want to be the reason for a severe outbreak, nor do they want to be in the news for encouraging people to travel when they don’t need to. Developers will miss out on networking opportunities, but they’ll still be able to learn about the latest developments despite the lack of in-person sessions. At this point, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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It "Made Sense" For Baldur's Gate 3's Combat To Be Turn-Based, Says Dev – GameSpot

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Although combat in previous Baldur’s Gate titles has traditionally focused around the use of real-time mechanics, Baldur’s Gate III uses a turn-based system. For developer Larian Studios, it’s always been a no-brainer to make Baldur’s Gate III a turn-based game.

“It was never really a question,” Baldur’s Gate III design producer David Walgrave said, according to USG. “We’ve been doing turn-based for a while now. We’re pretty good at it. Dungeons & Dragons is turn-based in itself, so it makes a lot of sense.

“Even after we implemented the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, the result was so different from what we concocted with Divinity: Original Sin that we saw that the combat designers would have to do it completely different, so that was a challenge,” Walgrave continued. “And we’re doing things that we haven’t done before, so, for us, it was the best choice.”

Though the implementation of a dice roll is definitely Dungeons & Dragons, the turn-based gameplay of Baldur’s Gate III is very reminiscent of Larian Studios’ Divinity Original Sin series–it makes sense for the developer to return to what it knows. “Part of the decision is that we know turn-based, and secondly, it’s that Fifth Edition [D&D] is played in rounds, so it kind of made sense,” Baldur’s Gate senior writer Adam Smith told VG247.

“It lets you do things like separating the party and having one person on high ground and one person on low ground,” Smith added. “It means when the combat starts, there’s a better sense of, ‘I’m going to get a sense of the tactical situation. I’m going to send this person over here, I’m going to do that, I’m going to send this person behind and shove an enemy.'”

In our own coverage of Baldur’s Gate III, creative director Swen Wincke spoke about how he hopes for Larian Studios to transcend the legacy of the game, and also discussed the challenges of creating the game and working with Wizards of the Coast.

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