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UPDATE — Samsung Leads Holistic Health Innovation with the launch of Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro – GlobeNewswire



MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Samsung Electronics Canada today announced the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro, shaping fitness and wellness habits with intuitive insights, advanced features, and powerful capabilities. The newest addition to the Galaxy Watch lineup, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is the most durable and feature-packed watch yet by Samsung, designed to meet the rigorous demands of the most active users and outdoor enthusiasts. The Galaxy Watch5 enhances features that consumers rely on every day with a customizable iconic design. This new series represents the culmination of Samsung’s wellness vision and leadership in advanced fitness capabilities, redefining digital health and wellness for users.

“We’re dedicated to giving our Galaxy Watch community the tools, data and resources needed to not only understand their overall health and wellness better, but to coach them on their journey,” said Dr. TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung Electronics.

Cutting-edge Sensor Technology to Better Understand You
With a growing desire to ensure people can act on individual wellness goals and access fitness and wellness features, Samsung has set out to provide in-depth tracking and practical data offering users deeper insights that help guide them towards their wellness goals. Galaxy Watch5 is equipped with a unique BioActive Sensor technology from Samsung that drives the next era of digital health. First introduced on the Galaxy Watch4 Series, the BioActive Sensor uses a single unique chip that combines three powerful health sensors – Optical Heart Rate (PPG)1, Electrical Heart Signal (ECG)2 and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)3 – to deliver extensive readings that include heart rate, blood oxygen level, and even stress level4 driving the next era of digital health. In addition, users can get a deeper understanding of their heart by tracking blood pressure5 and ECG6 – right from their wrist7.


With an increased surface area and more direct contact with your wrist, the Galaxy Watch5 tracks fitness and wellness metrics now with greater accuracy than the Galaxy Watch4.

Developed in partnership with Google, Wear OS Powered by Samsung offers Galaxy Watch5 users a more connected and intuitive experience through seamlessly connected wearables designed to help achieve more for any lifestyle.

Holistic Insights to Enhance Everyone’s Wellness Journey
Designed for everyday wins, the Galaxy Watch5 offers a comprehensive end-to-end experience that goes beyond fitness activities and into the post-workout, rest, and recovery process. The Body Composition measurement tool8 provides a complete snapshot of the user’s overall wellness, providing them with a tailored approach to set goals, guide them through personalized workouts and track progress. And when it’s time to rest, the Galaxy Watch5 Series empowers users with recovery data, including post-cardio heart rate after an intense workout9, and customized recommendations on water consumption based on sweat loss10.

A good night’s rest is important in wellness, and that’s why Samsung is helping users have a better night’s sleep11. Understand sleep patterns through Sleep Scores that monitor the different stages of sleep, together with snore detection12 and blood oxygen levels. Achieve improved sleep habits with advanced Sleep Coaching13 that gives a tailored month-long guided program. Users can sleep soundly, knowing that the enhanced fall detection feature is designed to notify an emergency contact if you or your loved one stumbles at home or falls out of bed14.

No need to worry that your watch may run out of power or get damaged in rough terrain; the Galaxy Watch5 comes with a 13% larger battery than its predecessor15 and provides eight hours of sleep tracking with just eight minutes of charging, which is 30% faster than the Galaxy Watch4. An extra layer of durability protects the Galaxy Watch5, and includes the first smartwatch display from Samsung featuring a Sapphire Crystal, which offers a harder outer layer16, so your watch is fit for day-to-day use. Cue up your favourite song on Spotify with just your voice using Google Assistant. Coming soon, find your way using Google Maps from your wrist17 without a smartphone connection18. Music and audio lovers will appreciate updates that include new apps like SoundCloud and Deezer19. Additionally, One UI Watch 4.5 offers a better typing experience, an easier way to make calls, and a host of new accessibility features to make the Galaxy Watch more intuitive.

Galaxy Watch5 Pro, More Features and Greater Durability for the Outdoor Enthusiast
Created for those that love the great outdoors, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is the newest addition to the Galaxy Watch portfolio. From hiking to cycling and beyond, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is ready for the challenge thanks to the premium materials used. The enhanced Sapphire Crystal better resists any wear and tear20 and a durable titanium casing protects the display with a protruded bezel design. The Galaxy Watch5 Pro also comes with an all-new D-Buckle Sport Band21 that offers rugged durability with a sleek and clean fit.

Built strong, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro has the largest battery in a Galaxy Watch yet. It’s 60% larger than the Galaxy Watch4, which is key to keeping up with you while you conquer a new route. Take advantage of GPX, that’s available for the first time on a Galaxy Watch. Head out on a hike and record and share it with fellow trail-lovers on the Samsung Health app22 with Route Workout. You can also download hiking and cycling routes as you practice for your next race or look to mix up your routine. As you hike or cycle, keep your eyes on the path and away from the map with intuitive Turn-by-Turn directions23. When you’re ready to head home, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro will get you there easily with the Track back feature that takes you back the way you came24.

Canadian Pricing and Availability25
The Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro are available for pre-order starting on August 10, 2022 and for purchase starting August 26, 2022 at, Samsung Experience Stores and with major carrier and retail partner locations across Canada.

The Galaxy Watch5 offers a modern and minimalist design, and features that help you achieve more every day. It comes with all-new neutral colour options that will turn heads, with the Large 44mm option available in Graphite, Sapphire, and Silver and the Small 40mm option available in Graphite, Pink Gold, and Silver, which features a Bora Purple strap that pairs perfectly with the Galaxy Z Flip4. The Galaxy Watch5 will start at $349 (MSRP) for the Bluetooth version and $419 (MSRP) for the LTE version.

For adventure seekers looking for durability, performance and style, the Galaxy Watch5 Pro is for you. It will be available in Black Titanium and Gray Titanium, with a 45mm display, starting at $559 (MSRP) for the Bluetooth version and $629 (MSRP) for the LTE version.

Design your own watch by selecting the model, size, case colour and strap for up to 1,032 unique combinations in the Galaxy Watch5 Bespoke Studio on Samsung.com26. Now, users can build a watch that’s unique to them. With a greater selection of straps and faces, they can mix and match to express their personal style with the new Sport Band.

To learn more about the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro, please visit:
Galaxy Watch5 Bespoke:

Promotional Offers
Canadians can enjoy a bonus Wireless Charger Pad Duo27 when they pre-order a Galaxy Watch5 Series smartwatch and complete their purchase between August 10 and August 25, 2022.

Trade-In and trade up
Canadians can also get up to a $100 credit (plus a credit for the trade-in value of their eligible old smartwatch) when they pre-order a new Galaxy Watch5 Series device between August 10 and August 25, 2022 (upon completion of purchase), or purchase an eligible Galaxy Watch5 Series device28 between August 26 and October 3, 2022.

Peace of Mind with Samsung Care+
With a Samsung Care+ Plan, Canadians can experience a total care service for their new Galaxy Smartphone, Laptop, Tablet or Wearable device. You’ll be protected for up to two years against physical or liquid damage and mechanical malfunction or defects, with a team of dedicated Galaxy experts available to help you get back on track.29

For more information about the latest Samsung Galaxy devices including specifications:

About Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. 
Samsung Electronics Canada inspires Canadians to reach their full potential through a transformative ecosystem of products and services that deliver innovation and distinct design to every aspect of their connected lives. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones and wearable devices, tablets and digital appliances. In 2022, Samsung was ranked as one of Canada’s “Most Reputable Companies” in Léger’s Corporate Reputation Study. Dedicated to helping make a difference in the lives of Canadians, Samsung’s award-winning corporate giving initiatives support public education and health-related issues in communities across the country. To discover more, please visit. 

Follow Samsung Canada at, or Instagram @samsungcanada or Twitter @SamsungCanada. 

Aneesha Singh
North Strategic
Tel: 416-988-8598

Device Specifications30 31

  Galaxy Watch5 Galaxy Watch5 Pro
Material &
Armor Aluminum case with Sport Band
– 44mm: Graphite, Sapphire, Sliver
– 40mm: Graphite, Pink Gold, Sliver
Titanium case with D-Buckle Sport Band
– Black Titanium, Gray Titanium
& Weight33
– 44mm: 43.3 x 44.4 x 9.8 mm, 33.5g
– 40mm: 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8 mm, 28.7g
45.4 x 45.4 x 10.5 mm, 46.5g
Display Sapphire Crystal
– 44mm: 1.4″ (34.6mm) 450×450 Super AMOLED, Full Colour Always On Display
– 40mm: 1.2″ (30.4mm) 396×396 Super AMOLED, Full Colour Always On Display
Sapphire Crystal
– 1.4″ (34.6mm) 450×450 Super AMOLED, Full Colour Always On Display
Processor Exynos W920 Dual-Core 1.18GHz
Memory 1.5GB RAM + 16GB internal storage
– 44mm: 410mAh
– 40mm: 284mAh
Charging Fast Charging (WPC-based wireless charging)
OS Wear OS Powered by Samsung (Wear OS 3.5)35
UI One UI Watch4.5
Sensors Samsung BioActive Sensor (Optical Heart Rate + Electrical Heart Signal + Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis), Temperature Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor
Connectivity LTE36, Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo
Durability37 5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810H
Compatibility Android 8.0 or higher and with more than 1.5GB of RAM38

1 The heart rate software functions are not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease. Requires Galaxy smartphone with Android 8.0 or later, 1.5GB RAM or more and the latest version of the Samsung Health Monitor app (available only at the Samsung Galaxy Store).
2 The heart rate software functions are not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease. Requires Galaxy smartphone with Android 8.0 or later, 1.5GB RAM or more and the latest version of the Samsung Health Monitor app (available only at the Samsung Galaxy Store).
3 The Samsung BIA is a body analyzer that uses bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) technology to track body composition based on weight, body fat, body mass index (BMI), skeletal muscle, body water, and basal metabolic rate (BMR) measurements. The Samsung BIA measurement is to be used for fitness and wellness only and is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease. Please consult with a medical professional for any specific condition.
4 These features are intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, diagnosis, or treatment of any medical condition or disease. Availability of these features may vary by market or device. Requires Galaxy smartphone with Android 8.0 or later, 1.5GB RAM or more and the latest version of the Samsung Health app (version 6.22 or later).
5 Blood pressure feature only to be used by adults 22 years and older. Intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, monitoring, diagnosis, treatment of any medical condition or disease. The measurements are for your personal reference only. Please consult a medical professional for advice. For accurate BP readings, a calibration is required every 4 weeks by BP monitor &arm cuff.
6 Intended to create, record, store, transfer, and display a single channel electrocardiogram (ECG), similar to a Lead I ECG for adults 22 years and older. The ECG feature is not intended to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment. The ECG feature is not intended for users with other known arrhythmias. If an irregular heartbeat or atrial fibrillation is detected, consult a doctor. If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular conditions, do not rely on the notification of the device and consult a doctor. Follow the instructions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional.
7 The blood pressure and electrocardiogram measurements are only functional with a compatible Samsung device that has the Samsung Health Monitor app installed and Galaxy Watch5 Series devices with the Samsung Health Monitor app installed. Service may be restricted when users travel to non-service countries. Check out for more information and latest update on service markets.
8 The Samsung BIA is a body analyzer that uses bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) technology to track body composition based on weight, body fat, body mass index (BMI), skeletal muscle, body water, and basal metabolic rate (BMR) measurements. The Samsung BIA measurement is to be used for fitness and wellness only and is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease. Please consult with a medical professional for any specific condition. Any health-related information accessed through the device and/or application should not be treated as medical advice. Do not measure your body composition if you have an implanted pacemaker or other implanted medical devices. Do not measure your body composition if you are pregnant. Measurement results may not be accurate if you are under 20 years old.
9 To measure, select your exercise before you start to workout.
10 To measure, select ‘Running’ on your watch and run at least 5km/h for at least 2.5km. Only for use with outdoor running.
11 Sleep features are intended for general wellness and fitness purposes only. Not intended for use in detection, diagnosis, treatment of any medical condition or sleep disorder. The measurements are for your personal reference only. Please consult a medical professional for advice.
12 To record your snoring, wear your watch while you sleep and place your phone on a stable surface near your head, such as a nightstand, with the bottom of the phone pointed toward you.
13 For sleep pattern results, user must wear watch while they sleep for at least 7 nights and complete a survey.
14 To notify an emergency contact, a network connection is required. GPS accuracy may be affected by obstructions to the satellite signal, such as buildings.
15 Compared to Galaxy Watch4.
16 When compared to Galaxy Watch4. Based on Vickers hardness measured with constant load of 200gf.
17 A network connection is required.
18 App availability may vary by market, operator or device. Subscription fees may apply for some apps.
19 App availability may vary by market, operator or device. Subscription fees may apply for some apps.
20 When compared to Galaxy Watch4. Based on Vickers hardness measured with constant load of 200gf.
21 Do not store your device and the band near magnetic fields. Magnetic stripe cards, including credit cards, phone cards, passbooks, and boarding passes, may be damaged by magnetic fields.
22 A Galaxy Watch and Samsung Galaxy smartphone are required to use Samsung Health Monitor app. Supported watches: Galaxy Watch4, Galaxy Watch4 Classic, Galaxy Watch5, and Galaxy Watch5 Pro. Supported smartphones: Samsung Galaxy smartphone with Android 7.0 OS version or higher.
23 Provided when GPX format route file is imported for hiking and cycling and route is set as target under Samsung Health settings. Works with Bluetooth when connected via a Galaxy device.
24 This feature must be enabled for hiking or cycling under Samsung Health settings. Works with Bluetooth when connected via a Galaxy device.
25Supported models, colours, sizes and straps may vary depending on market or carrier.
26 The number of combinations available may vary depending on the country or region in which the Galaxy Watch Design Studio is available.
27 Some conditions apply. Offer available exclusively online at and Samsung Experience Stores in Canada. See for more details.
28 Certain conditions apply. See for more details.
29 Terms and Conditions apply. For full Terms and Conditions, please see
30 Availability may vary depending on market, model and the paired smartphone.
31 All functionality, features, specifications and other product information provided in this document including, but not limited to, the benefits, design, pricing, components, performance, availability, and capabilities of the product are subject to change without notice.
32 Measured without health sensors.
33 Measured without strap.
34 Actual battery life may vary depending on network environment, usage patterns and other factors.
35 Wear OS Powered by Samsung works with phones running the latest version of Android (excluding Go edition and phones without Google Play Store). Supported features may vary between platforms and markets with compatibility subject to change.
36 LTE connectivity only available in LTE models.
37 Galaxy Watch5 Series is rated as IP68. Based on test conditions for submersion in up to 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.
38 Device activation is only available after connecting to a smartphone that supports Google Mobile Services. Compatible devices may vary by market, operator or device brand.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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£12999 Trance Advanced E+ Elite 0 is Giant's lightest ever eMTB – BikeRadar



New Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ launches alongside unisex bike


The Trance Advanced E+ Elite 0 is Giant’s lightest electric mountain bike yet, weighing a claimed 18.8kg for a size-medium bike.

The bike uses Giant’s new SyncDrive Pro 2 electric bike motor system, which was developed in conjunction with Yamaha.

The electric mountain bike also uses the new EnergyPak Smart 400 battery. This is built around higher-density batteries and was developed in conjunction with Panasonic.

The new Trance also features (slightly) updated geometry, an adjustable one-piece cockpit and new motor controls.

The Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite is launching alongside the unisex Trance Advanced E+ Elite. This is the brand’s first carbon electric trail bike

In keeping with Liv’s design ethos, the bike feature’s women’s-specific geometry. Liv is the last major manufacturer that still manufactures separate unisex and women’s frames.

The Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite range starts at £5,499 for a Deore-equipped bike.

The top-spec Trance X Advanced E+ Elite 0 comes with Fox Live Valve, a full SRAM Eagle X01 AXS drivetrain, Zipp 3Zero Moto wheels, Quarq Tyrewiz pressure sensors and full-carbon everything. It will set you back £12,999.

No international pricing was available at the time of writing.

A lighter and more powerful motor, plus new battery tech

The bikes are based around a new motor.

The Giant Trance X Advance E+ is powered by a new battery pack developed in conjunction with Panasonic. This is based on 22700 cells.

According to Giant, 22700 cells are lighter and more energy dense than cells typically used in electric bike battery packs.

The batteries also “stay cooler, which means less stress on the system and a longer total lifecycle”, says Giant.

The bike ships with a new smart charger. Giant says this stays in constant communication with the battery pack, extending battery life.

The charger can be used to charge the battery up to 60 per cent – the ideal charge level for long-term storage, according to Giant.

The bike is built around Giant’s new SyncDrive Pro 2 motor. As with the brand’s previous motors, this has been developed in collaboration with Yamaha.

This is Giant’s most powerful motor to date, delivering up to 85Nm of torque and up to 400 per cent support.

It is claimed to be lighter at 2.7kg (Giant has not supplied savings figures) and quieter than the previous-generation motor.

The motor control is integrated into the top tube.

The bike’s Smart Assist mode can control the motor automatically via six sensors.

As with most motors, the system’s behaviours can be customised in a companion app.

Adjustments available in the app include Launch Control (this adjusts how quickly torque from the motor kicks in), assistance support level and more.

Giant notes these adjustments can be made to any existing or future bike fitted with the SyncDrive Pro 2 motor.

The system’s controls are integrated into the top tube of the bike, with a supplementary control integrated into the grips.

Suspension and geometry

The bike’s geometry has been updated, but only a little.

All bikes in the Trance Advanced E+ Elite 0 range are built around a mullet wheel setup.

The bike is designed to run a 150mm-travel fork and has 140mm of rear-wheel travel. This is controlled by Giant’s long-standing Maestro suspension system.

The geometry of the bike has also been updated, but only slightly.

The previous-generation bike used 29er wheels front and rear. The adoption of a 27.5in rear wheel on the new bike means chainstay length has shrunk significantly to 447mm on all sizes of the new bike (down from 473mm).

Reach, stack, head angle and seat angle all remain unchanged.

The geometry of the women’s-specific bike is broadly similar to the unisex bike.

A flip chip enables riders to switch between high and low positions.

The stack and reach of the women’s-specific models is different, but all other figures remain the same.

2023 Giant Trance Advanced E+ Elite geometry table

2023 Liv Intrigue Advanced E+ Elite geometry table

An adjustable… one-piece cockpit?

Top-spec bikes get a new one-piece cockpit.

The bike features Giant’s all-new Contact SLR Trail one-piece cockpit.

Unlike the majority of one-piece cockpits, the stack and angle of the bars can be adjusted.

A series of specially moulded spacers sit beneath the stem. These adjust the stack and rotation of the bars.

The top cap for the stem features swappable inserts to fit bike computers, lights or other accessories.

Spacers are used to adjust the angle and stack of the cockpit.

The cockpit has a claimed weight of 255g in an unspecified width.

Giant claims this presents a 30 per cent reduction versus a regular two-piece carbon cockpit, and a 40 per cent reduction versus a two-piece alloy cockpit.

The bars are also claimed to offer 16 per cent more vertical compliance than a Contact SLR Trail carbon handlebar.

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Google launches Bard in the US and UK: Here's what we know – Euronews



Ever since the conversational artificial intelligence (AI) ChatGPT took the world by storm with its impressive capabilities, all eyes have been on Google to see how the tech giant would respond to this apparent competitor to its dominance over search.

Enter Bard, Google’s own chatbot which Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO, says “seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models”.

Initially rolled out to a select group of “trusted testers” in February, Google announced on Tuesday March 21 it was allowing more people to use it via a waiting list.


The company, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, hasn’t said how many people will be given access, and initial applicants will be limited to the US and the UK before it is offered in other countries.

Google has dominated Internet search for more than two decades now, so it is treading carefully with the rollout of its AI tools. If the technology doesn’t behave as expected, it could harm the company’s ad-driven business model.

Despite the technology’s potential pitfalls, Bard still offers “incredible benefits” such as “jumpstarting human productivity, creativity, and curiosity,” Google said in a blog post that two of its vice presidents – Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins – wrote with assistance from Bard.

In a blog post announcing Bard back in February, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai started by talking up Google’s work on AI with its 2017 “field-defining paper” on Transformer technology, and its progress with diffusion models which he said are “the basis of many of the generative AI applications you’re starting to see today”.

Those generative applications have been front and centre of the AI space for months, as text-to-image, text-to-video, and even text-to-music platforms have proliferated.

How does Bard compare to ChatGPT?

Bard is going to use information taken from the internet to provide “to provide fresh, high-quality responses,” according to Pichai’s blog – but the current version is not connected to the Internet.

Like ChatGPT, it is trained on a huge data set that has a cut-off point.

Microsoft, which is a major investor in ChatGPT creator OpenAI, has recently launched an AI chatbot within its own Bing search engine. Powered by OpenAI technology, Bing AI is connected to the internet.

Users will have to wait and see how Bard compares once it is connected.

Like ChatGPT, Bard can explain complex subjects, such as outer space discoveries, in terms simple enough for a child to understand.

It can also perform mundane tasks, such as providing tips for planning a party, or lunch ideas based on what food is left in a refrigerator.

Google is making it very clear that Bard is in testing mode. When signing up, a message tells the user: “Bard is an experiment. As you try Bard, please remember: Bard will not always get it right. Bard may give inaccurate or inappropriate responses”.

Users are advised to use Google search to check any responses they are doubtful about.

Bard’s existence was announced less than two weeks after Microsoft disclosed it was pouring billions of dollars into OpenAI, a company it already had a $1 billion (€0.93 billion) stake in.

Many analysts believe AI technology will be as transformational as personal computers, the Internet and smartphones have been in various stages over the past 40 years.

Pichai has been emphasising the importance of AI for the past six years, with one of the most visible byproducts materialising in 2021 as part of a system called “Language Model for Dialogue Applications,” or LaMDA, which will be used to power Bard.

Google also plans to begin incorporating LaMDA and other AI advancements into its dominant search engine to provide more helpful answers to the increasingly complicated questions being posed by its billions of users.

Without providing a specific timeline, Pichai indicated these tools will be deployed in Google’s search in the near future.

In another sign of Google’s deepening commitment to the field, Google announced last week that it is investing in and partnering with Anthropic, an AI start-up led by some former leaders at OpenAI.

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Don't Worry, Redfall Puts An Unmistakably Arkane Spin On The Looter Shooter – GameSpot



Arkane Studios is known for a very specific kind of game: immersive sims. The team made its mark on the industry with intricate sandboxes that feature systems and mechanics interacting with each other in fascinating ways. Games like Dishonored and Dishonored 2 are standout examples of why the developer is heralded as a master of the genre.

But, in recent years, the studio has started to reassess what it means to be an Arkane game. Prey, while still a science-fiction take on the immersive sim genre, served as the foundation for Mooncrash, a DLC that reconfigured the game into a roguelike. Deathloop leaned harder into that genre by embracing the run-based format to break down what makes an immersive sim so compelling and asking the player to examine the pieces and put them back together.

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Now Playing: Redfall Isn’t What We Expected | Hands-On Preview

Redfall continues this process of reflection and reinvention, and it’s perhaps the biggest departure from what we expect an Arkane game to be. But after getting some hands-on time with the game, it quickly became apparent that underneath the open-world, first-person shooting, and loot, there are systems, mechanics, and gameplay opportunities that are unmistakably Arkane.

Like Prey: Mooncrash and Deathloop, Redfall is aiming to take the fundamentals of Arkane’s tried-and-true formula and build anew on top of them. This, according to creative director Ricardo Bare, was how it ended up with an open-world, cooperative shooter that has multiple characters with unique playstyles.

“If you look at our catalog of games, we always try to do something a little bit different,” said Bare. “Dishonored is very stealth-oriented and it’s got a mission structure that’s more classic: You do a mission, you travel there, you go back, you do a mission, travel–they’re not connected together like an open world. But then if you look at Prey, [it] has stealth and it’s one big level–a big-ass space station. You can go anywhere, so the mission structure’s far more open. That’s a baby open world.

“I think you can look at those two games and go, ‘Arkane made both of those,’ but they’re very different from each other. They have a common creative core; for Mooncrash you can see there’s lots of procedurally generated content in there and you can play four different characters. So every time, we stretch ourselves a little bit and we add some different elements into the mix. We wanted to go open world for a long time, and so we’ve been stretching towards that, and we wanted to do something with multiple characters. But then some of us just personally love playing co-op games together–we play D&D together, we play Borderlands together, we play Diablo together–and we were like, ‘Can we do one of our kind of games but with co-op?’ So that was some of the drive behind Redfall.”

Bare’s cited influences are readily apparent in Redfall. Although I was only able to play the game solo–which, for the record, seems completely viable even though you don’t have AI teammates–the building blocks for a fun co-op multiplayer experience are there. Not just that, but it looks to be set up in a way that will still encourage the kind of creativity and expression that people want out of Arkane’s games. Key to this are four characters, each of whom has their own distinct personality–kind of like Borderlands.

Jacob Boyer is your classic ex-soldier, Remi De Larosa is the engineer of the group, Layla Ellison specializes in biomedicine, and Devinder is a cryptozoologist and inventor. However, these archetypes are given some extra flair both narratively and mechanically. Jacob, for example, has a vampiric eye and a spectral raven, the former of which allows him to summon a powerful sniper rifle and deliver devastatingly accurate headshots to take out groups of cultists in an instant. The latter, meanwhile, is extremely vital for scouting and marking enemies without giving away your position. Jacob can also cloak himself to sneak through enemy territory or get into a more advantageous spot before unleashing chaos.

Remi, meanwhile, has a great degree of combat experience and has a robotic pal named Bribon that she can use to pull agro and distract enemies–think Claptrap, but not annoying. She can also lob sticky explosives and do area-of-effect healing. Mysterious circumstances have bestowed Layla with telekinetic powers, which she can use to place a shield ahead of her and then use a shockwave emitted by the ability to push her away, or to summon a spectral elevator that launches her and her companions into the air. Most interestingly, however, she can also call upon a friendly vampire–her ex-boyfriend–who will go around and take out enemies for a short duration. Finally, Devinder has clearly spent way too much time online and has theories about what’s going on, but more importantly, he’s got a device that shocks cultists and immobilizes them for a short time, another that sends out a wave of ultraviolet light that instantly turns vampires into stone, making them breakable, and can throw a teleporter to get to hard-to-reach places.

On their own, each of these characters introduces a variety of strategic considerations and creates opportunities to get imaginative with how to approach a roving group of cultists, or a vampire that may be patrolling an area. And as you work your way through the skill tree, these abilities develop to unlock more potential. However, what will be interesting to see is how these characters synergize with each other in multiplayer. Since I didn’t get any co-op experience, much of that has been left to the imagination for now, but as I played, I definitely had moments where I thought the ability of one of the other characters would have come in handy, so it’s clear that Arkane has crafted scenarios where some characters excel over others to encourage comradery and coordination.

Special abilities aside, I was surprised by how solid the first-person shooting felt. Although Arkane’s previous games are built around first-person shooter dynamics, in terms of pace and intensity, these games have always been atypical, especially in comparison to the likes of Call of Duty or Destiny. But Redfall’s shooting feels like it’s in a good place, with weapons that provide satisfying feedback and have a heft to them. Pistols range from quick and snappy for when I was trying to stay on the move, to punchy when I needed to clear out a room; sniper rifles were precise and took a decent chunk off health bars when aiming for the head; and assault rifles felt suited to crowd control and getting into the thick of the battle. Coupled with the various abilities characters have, there was a good back-and-forth dynamic between guns and powers that kept me engaged.

Underneath the open-world, first-person shooting, and loot there are systems, mechanics, and gameplay opportunities that are unmistakably Arkane

I was worried that the looter shooter design trope of whittling away at health bars endlessly would become tiresome, but enemies didn’t feel like bullet sponges, and there was also an execution mechanic where, after a certain amount of damage, I could get in close and stab vampires through the heart to deliver a finishing blow using the stakes attached to weapons. Doing this is key, as otherwise vampires will heal and get back into the fight. Along with the other two pillars of combat, I found myself staying engaged throughout my time. Naturally, that time was very limited, so it remains to be seen if this can be sustained through multiple hours, but thus far I am encouraged by it.

For me, though, one of my favorite parts of Arkane’s games is the stories they tell, whether that’s the overarching plot or the smaller tales within it. Redfall’s take on vampire fiction is intriguing, as it infuses classic gothic creatures of the night mythos with a healthy amount of science gone wrong and a corporation that’s up to no good.

“We think vampires are just cool right up from the get-go. But if you look at them historically, they never really go away–they’re perennially popular. It’s just that each generation or each group of creatives reinterpret them and put their own spin on them. The reason they work is because they serve as a metaphor for something, whatever’s on people’s minds at the time.

“The thing that I think that makes them interesting is, in our case, it’s not a disease. It’s not an accident that happened in a lab. It was deliberate. It’s not like, ‘Oh no, I got bit by a vampire, I’m going to turn, let’s find the cure.’ There is no cure, just like there’s no cure for a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. They wanted to become the butterfly. You can’t reverse that because it’s not like a cold; it’s a metamorphosis. They became on the outside what they already were on the inside, and that’s why the cultists worship them. They’re like, ‘Please make me a vampire too,’ but it has to happen deliberately because the vampire has to want to turn you. It’s not like, ‘I got some vampire spit on me and now it’s inevitable.'”

The setup for my play session involved the Hollow Man, a vampire god who is worshipped by cultists. Before his transformation, he was a blood researcher, but the circumstances of his ascension are unclear, and the details are essential to bringing him down. So, off we went to his very well-guarded mansion to figure it all out.

Despite my objective being clear, I was immediately distracted by side quests and other activities. The group of survivors I was running with had made a fire station their base and, unfortunately, a popcorn machine in the building was busted, so I decided that fixing it could help boost morale. This tangent took me to the Overton, a classic theater with a spacious atrium, balconies overlooking the seating, and plenty of side corridors and rooms to explore. Once that was done, I was alerted to the fact that there were safehouses nearby that could be secured by completing a series of smaller quests and then taking out the underboss that held dominion over the area. Along the way, I rifled through dilapidated buildings to find resources and read notes to find out more about how the vampires took over and how the people were affected.

The challenge with Redfall, however, is balancing this kind of storytelling within a multiplayer experience where the focus is on the people you’re playing with. Bare indicated that the focus for storytelling is on the town and your efforts to liberate it, as opposed to you as a character. As a result, the team has put effort into ensuring that the fictional town of Redfall and its vampires are memorable.

“Typically we make a game with just one protagonist and so the story’s about them, it’s the story about Morgan, it’s about Corvo,” he explained. “And so we couldn’t really do that this time, at least not without multiplying our team’s size by four. Because we have four heroes, the story can’t be just about [one] hero. So I think our approach this time is the story is about Redfall and the experience of fighting the vampires.”

Redfall, Massachusetts is a virtual playground much larger than anything in Dishonored, Prey or Deathloop; the closest thing to a bona fide open world that Arkane has made. The town has been besieged by vampires that have blotted out the sun and severed connections to the outside world. That leaves it up to the player to clear up the infestation, as well as liberate the town and its people.

When it comes to finding examples of that Arkane magic in this game, based on what I saw thus far, the world itself is a pretty good indicator. Like Dunwall, Karnaca, Talos I, and Blackreef before it, Redfall has a distinct sense of place that merges the mundane with the monstrous to create a setting that feels grounded but also fantastical. At first blush, there’s a beauty to Redfall that is inviting. It has a rustic autumnal vibe that is almost picturesque, but then you look a little closer and notice how it has been corrupted; perpetual darkness that is only alleviated by the faint light emanating from a oppressed sun; people who have thrown away their humanity in hopes that they’ll be selected to ascend to vampiredom; powerful vampires menacingly gliding around and occasional unexpectedly teleporting.

As with all open worlds, one of the challenges is making the spaces in between the key landmarks and destinations interesting, or at the very least giving players a way to engage with the world that keeps them invested. For Breath of the Wild, the ability to climb anything meant everything felt like an opportunity; Elden Ring streamlined traversal by giving players Torrent, a spectral steed; and Assassin’s Creed relies on its parkour (most of the time) to ensure the player stays involved in moving around. Redfall doesn’t have any of these, at least in the time I played, and instead looks to be relying on giving players as many combat opportunities as possible. These situations are made more interesting by inviting players to make the most of the combat’s depth, and also use the openness of the environment. Cultists serve as fodder to quickly pick off, while the vampires present more of a challenge. There’s also a threat level that slowly rises as you clean the area up, and if you attract the attention of a district’s vampire ruler, it sends in a character called The Rook.

This character functions a lot like the Nightmare from Prey. It appears in a dramatic lightning storm and is a hulking, bullet sponge of a vampire that feels impossible to kill and, worse still, attracts other vampires to your location. This dynamic means that you need to be careful about how you approach certain areas and manage how much heat you’re drawing. In my playtime, I found myself being judicious about which fights I took on, occasionally choosing to use Devinder’s teleportation ability to get onto rooftops to skirt around gangs of cultists, or stealthing my way through vampire infested territory. Again, it remains to be seen whether this push-and-pull power struggle is enough to keep tedium at bay. The area I played was quite large, but was only the tutorial area–akin to Breath of the Wild’s Great Plateau–so some visual variety is likely as more of the map opens up.


“Once you beat the Hollow Man, you move to a second district,” Bare said. “That’s even bigger than this one, and it’s got three Vampire Gods that are fighting over the territory. We care about environmental storytelling deeply and so for us it was [about] picking and choosing our battles. It’s finding spots [to] just pour the density in and then leaving breathing room around it. So the big open cornfield outside the farm, that doesn’t need to have environmental storytelling details every 10 feet because it’s a big cornfield that you’re creeping through at night. It’s moody ambience. But then when you get to the farm, the farm is just chock-full of stuff for you to soak up.”

My main concern going into Redfall was that it’d be another looter shooter in the mold of what everyone thinks is popular, and in the process, lose what makes Arkane’s games special. My time with the game brought some much needed clarity to what Redfall actually is, and it is a looter shooter in the mold of popular titles like Borderlands. But, most importantly, at its core are design ideas that have enabled memorable exploration and narrative, as well as satisfying gameplay, in Arkane’s previous games. But just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’ll work, and moving into the open-world looter shooter genre is a big pivot for the studio. As a fan of Arkane’s work, I am more intrigued by it now and, regardless of how it comes together, it’ll be an interesting and distinct take on the genre at the very least.

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