Updated 'Battlefield V' roadmap teases Pacific theater combat


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Now that Battlefield V‘s long-promised battle royale mode is nearly here, how else are DICE and EA going to keep you interested? By moving the action halfway around the world, apparently. The developers have posted an updated roadmap teasing a fifth chapter in fall 2019 that might be set in the Pacific. While the team isn’t directly sharing details beyond the hints of “all-out invasion” in a brand new theater, the title (“Awakening the Giant”) says a lot. PC Gamer points out that Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was concerned the Pearl Harbor attack “awaken[ed] a sleeping giant” by dragging the US directly into the conflict. Don’t be surprised if BFV has you island-hopping as the US first reels from the Japanese assault and eventually turns the tables.

There will be more to do in the intervening months, of course. On top of the planned updates for March through May (such as a Greek map and a Hardcore mode), the June introduction of Chapter 4 will introduce an as yet unnamed five-on-five close combat mode. There will be “several” maps designed just for these tighter matches, and there are hints of an urban close-quarter map. You can also expect another Greek map.

You’ll get more details about Chapter 4 ahead of the EA Play event in early June. While it isn’t completely surprising that there would be more in waiting for the fall, this gives you a better sense of how DICE and EA will try to keep their WWII shooter relevant a year after launch. Like Destiny 2 and other service-style games, BFV will mark its one-year milestone with a bang.

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The latest 'Star Wars Battlefront II' mode mixes human and AI players


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DICE and EA are determined to keep Star Wars Battlefront II fresh a year after the loot box fiasco effectively came to an end. They’re releasing an update on March 26th that introduces Capital Supremacy, a Clone Wars-era mode that includes AI characters for the first time in competitive Battlefront II matches. Two teams of 20 human players, each augmented by 12 computer-guided troopers, will race to invade each other’s spaceships. It’s a complex, multi-stage mode that could lead to prolonged fights if there are any big upsets.

It starts out with a territory control phase on the ground. If you control a majority of the points for long enough, you become the attacker during a ship invasion phase and have to race to a shuttle to increase the number of reinforcements you get when the assault starts. Once onboard the ship, the attackers have to break through defense systems and destroy the ship’s weak points to win. There’s a kicker, though: if the defenders hold out, they send the fight back to the ground and will even command an advantage. Any damage to ships sticks around, so attackers who get a second try could have a much better chance at victory.

The initial Capital Supremacy mode is limited to one map on Geonosis, although it will introduce two new units (Republic ARC Troopers and Separatist BX Commando Droids) to match the setting. Will this attract people burned by Battlefront II‘s initial troubles? Probably not. However, it might keep you engaged if you thought the shooter was running out of steam.

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Upscaled: NVIDIA’s RTX ray tracing put to the test

Welcome to the first episode of our new explainer series, Upscaled. We’re going to be examining the components and gadgets that are helping move technology forward, and in this first episode, we’re looking at graphics cards.

Five months after Nvidia announced its RTX graphics cards, we finally have a game that really shows off this new technology. Metro: Exodus is the first game to use the RTX cards to enable ray-traced global illumination. This is a lighting system that promises to get us closer to photorealistic light and shadows in the game. But how exactly does ray tracing work in Metro, and is it worth all the fuss? We take a close look at how RTX is implemented, but you’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth a new graphics card.

If you want more deep dives into the bits of tech that make our world run, be sure to subscribe on YouTube, we’ll have new episodes out regularly.

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The Morning After: Preparing for Apple's 'show time' event


Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to your weekend! While we prepare for Apple’s “show time” eventcheck in with us live at 1 PM ET on March 25th — it’s time to look back at some of this week’s highlight stories.

Apple kept the news rolling all week with updated Macs, AirPods and more, while Microsoft brought its Defender antimalware setup to Chrome, Firefox and macOS. Then on Friday Netflix set a date for Neon Genesis Evangelion and Clippy stepped back into the spotlight.


But not the Nolan flicks.DC Universe celebrates Batman’s birthday with free access March 30th

Batman is about to celebrate his 80th ‘birthday’ (his first appearance in Detective Comics) on March 30th, and DC Universe is using that as an opportunity to hand out more freebies. That means free access to a wide swath of its Batman movies, TV shows and (of course) comics for 24 hours that day, starting at midnight ET.


Some even labeled themselves as viruses.Two thirds of Android antivirus apps don’t work properly

It can be wise to secure your Android phone with antivirus software, but which ones can you count on? You can rule out most of them, apparently. AV-Comparatives has tested 250 antivirus apps for Google’s platform, and only 80 of them (just under one third) passed the site’s basic standards — that is, they detected more than 30 percent of malicious apps from 2018 and had zero false positives.


The dream of an all-in-one PC card that slips into and out of device shells is dead.Intel is ending development of its Compute Cards

The company will continue to sell its existing line of Compute Cards for the time being and will continue to offer support for the current generation of products through 2019. Beyond that, Intel will leave the modular computing concept behind.


Get ready for the State of Play.Sony will stream a PlayStation news event on March 25th

After declining to run PlayStation Experience last year and pulling out of this year’s E3, Sony is turning to a different strategy for game announcements and updates. On March 25th, its State of Play streams will debut on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Facebook at 5 PM ET. The plan is to air these throughout the year, similar to Nintendo Direct or Inside Xbox, with the first episode focusing on trailers, game reveals and gameplay footage.


Some people like reference books.The Nissan Leaf Plus adds more EV range but not more fun

The Leaf Plus’ 226-mile range should be enough for most, but it’s short of its competitors. ProPilot Assist is one of the best driver’s assistant systems on the market, so the driving companion is great. The only problem? Roberto Baldwin found its acceleration and steering uninspired, more like “a well-written reference book instead of a piece of great fiction.”


Bad news/Good news: All evidence of your music career is gone.MySpace lost 12 years of user content

According to the site’s banner announcement, “As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago, may no longer be available on or from MySpace.” Some estimate nearly 50 million songs from 2003 to 2015 have been lost. According to MySpace users on Reddit, all pre-2015 music stopped working about a year ago.


Half a decade later, Google’s wearable OS is facing new, different problems.Google Wear OS at five: Older, wiser, but unpolished

Half a decade has passed since Android Wear debuted. During that time, we’ve seen in-screen fingerprint readers, rollable TVs, self-driving cars, super-smart AI, phones with folding screens and more. In the midst of all that technological advancement, Android Wear hasn’t really changed all that much. Sure, it’s smarter and has a new name (Wear OS), but it still doesn’t quite feel fully-baked.

But wait, there’s more…


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'Battlefield V' gameplay trailer shows its take on battle royale


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In the wake of seemingly endless teases and leaks, DICE and EA are ready to show gameplay from Battlefield V‘s imminent Firestorm battle royale mode. True to the scoops, it’s not quite a cookie-cutter BR experience. While you’ll have familiar mechanics like dropping into the arena, an ever shrinking circle and varying gear quality, you can also complete objectives (such as contestable resupply points) and unlock safes to score better equipment. Get knocked down and you’ll still have a pistol to defend yourself, so enemies take a risk if they come to finish you off.

And if you like vehicles, it’s your lucky day — the developers clearly want your choice of ride to play a greater role. You’ll find 17 vehicles in total, including tanks (usually only found in special vehicle lockups), a prototype-only helicopter, an amphibious Schwimmwagen (above) and, yes, a tractor. You can even tow anti-aircraft or anti-tank guns for some extra support.

As hinted earlier, there’s just one Firestorm map on offer so far (Halvøy), but it’s about ten times the size of the already large Hamana map in regular BFV.

Firestorm should be available to everyone for free on March 25th. It looks promising, although the challenge as always will be to convince gamers to give it a try. Between Fortnite, PUBG, Black Ops 4 and EA’s own Apex Legends, battle royale has a well-established audience. It’s not certain how well this lure gamers, especially when it’s part of a paid game in a mostly free-to-play market.

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