Opinion: How Crash Team Racing Beat Mario Kart at Its Own Game

Confession time: I only tolerate the Mario Kart series because it reminds me of Crash Team Racing. There. I said it. Right now there are likely a few of you wondering why IGN would play host to such heresy. The audacity! Mario Kart: the second highest-selling racing series of all time behind Need for Speed. Mario Kart: the original kart racer, and the blueprint for every kart racer ever since. Mario Kart! The greatest spin-off series since they decided to build a new Starship Enterprise and put Patrick Stewart in charge of it. But the rest of you are saying, ‘Duh. Crash Team Racing crushes Mario Kart. This isn’t a radically unique opinion.’ And yet, after just a pair of PS2 sequels that never resonated with me in quite the same way, Crash’s four-wheeled follies dried up. A fourth, unannounced Crash karting game was reportedly in development at High Impact Read the full article…

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Version 1.2.0 Brings Pikachu/Eevee Spirits for Pokemon Let’s Go Players

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has been updated to version 1.2.0 and it brings with it online connection stability in Battle Arenas, character adjustments, Pikachu/Eevee Spirits for players of Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and/or Let’s Go, Eevee!, and more. Announced by Nintendo Versus, in addition to the online connection stability, version 1.2.0 also contains “matchmaking improvements to further prioritize Preferred Rules in Quickplay.” Read the full article…

Fortnite developer Epic Games to release SDK for cross-platform profiles

Epic Games unveiled plans for a new developer framework for online services. This framework will let other game developers add cross-platform support into their games. The SDK will be free and roll out in multiple parts over 2019. Fortnite has been one of the best examples of cross-platform gameplay. A single player can install Fortnite on a console, a PC and a phone and find their profile on all platforms. Many games support multiplayer matches between players on multiple platforms, but very few games “port” your profile from one platform to another. That’s why Epic Games wants to make that easier. The SDK will work with all game engines (not just Unreal Engine) and support many identification methods (Facebook, Google, Xbox Live, PSN, Nintendo accounts and Epic accounts). After you sign up, you can customize your profile, add friends and win items. Everything you do on one platform shows up Read the full article…

Pokémon Go’s PvP Trainer Battles are now live

Trainer Battles, the long-awaited PvP mode for Pokémon Go, are now available. Niantic started rolling them out for level 40 players a couple of hours ago, but they quickly became accessible for players as low as level 10 as well, which will be the permanent minimum required level for the mode. For the most part, you’ll need to be in the same location as your rival in order to battle them, either through your friends list or a QR code-scanning feature. You can remotely battle players with whom you’ve achieved Best or Ultra Friends status, however, as well as practicing against AI-controlled team leaders. Battling against human players can earn you in-game rewards including the currently much sought-after Sinnoh Stone, which lets you… Read the full article…

Epic will let other game developers use Fortnite’s cross-platform tools for free

Epic Games today announced that it’s going to offer up the underlying software infrastructure and tools used to run its massive, cross-platform hit Fortnite to other game developers for free. Those tools include the ability to sync a player’s profile and in-game purchases across multiple platforms, to provide cross-platform voice communication, and to allow cross-platform partying and matchmaking, among other features. “Throughout 2019, we’ll be launching a large set of cross-platform game services originally built for Fortnite, and battle-tested with 200,000,000 players across seven platforms,” reads the announcement. “These services will be free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores. As a… Read the full article…

Blizzard’s Overwatch League will have its first home games in Atlanta, Dallas, and LA next year

In its first season, every match in the Overwatch League took place at Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. But the big-picture promise for the league is that of home and away matches, where each team plays games out of arenas in their respective cities, much like in professional sports leagues like the NBA or NFL. That ambitious goal likely won’t be fully implemented until 2020 or later, but next year we’ll get a preview of what it’ll look like. For season 2, Blizzard is introducing something called “homestand weekends,” where select teams will play a handful of matches in their home cities. The first clubs to participate are the Dallas Fuel and Los Angeles Valiant, along with expansion side Atlanta Reign. The Fuel will host matches at the… Read the full article…

Spawn Creator Todd McFarlane Believes Spawn Is Coming to Mortal Kombat 11

Todd McFarlane, co-creator of Venom and creator of Spawn, believes that Spawn will be part of the upcoming Mortal Kombat 11. During a reddit AMA, McFarlane was asked “Will you please let Spawn be in Mortal Kombat 11?” He responded, simply, “I believe he’s on his way…” Mortal Kombat 11, by NetherRealm Studios, was officially announced at The Game Awards for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Read the full article…

The Biggest Celebrities to Star in Call of Duty

Activision recently announced that Harry Potter’s Helena Bonham Carter, Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, and Metal Gear Solid’s Kiefer Sutherland would be joining the cast for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Zombies mode. Which got us to thinking – the Call of Duty series has a rich history of celebrity voices – why not round ’em up? Here are the most prolific celebrities to star in the Call of Duty series…some of them may surprise you. Lucy O’Brien is Executive Editor of Features at IGN. Follow her on Twitter. Read the full article…

Gift Guide: the 17 best board games for holiday family fun

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide! Need more gift ideas? Check out our Gift Guide Hub. Ah, holiday board gaming. A roaring fire. A glass of nog. And a raging debate over whether the blue guy was next to the red square or vice versa. Buying a gift for a board game fan? Just need something new to bring along to the get together? In this roundup we highlight some of what we’ve been playing lately — from the easy to the immensely complex — and give you and your family fodder for your next bout of holiday fun. Some new, some old, all great.   Machi Koro This super-cute card game involves building a city using special buildings and attractions. Will your city have a power station, a noodle bar and a playground? Or will you focus on a TV station, a bakery and city hall? Think of Read the full article…

‘We’re going to find out if it’s a horrible idea’: James and Michelle Silva put a physical edition of their indie hit ‘Salt and Sanctuary’ on store shelves

On Tuesday, Ska Studios’s Salt and Sanctuary releases its “Drowned Tome Edition” for the Nintendo Switch. The package includes the game, a download code for the original Salt and Sanctuary soundtrack, and a double-sided poster that features art on one side and a map of the game’s setting on the other. Salt and Sanctuary has been available for download on the Switch since August, but the Drowned Tome Edition marks the first time it’s ever been offered for sale on physical media. It’s a final send off for Salt and Sanctuary, which was released in 2016 on the PlayStation 4 to critical acclaim. It’s a dark, moody action game, meant to deliberately blend the unforgiving gameplay of the popular Dark Souls series with the graphics and two-dimensional map of earlier games, most notably Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The combination’s proven popular, and Salt and Sanctuary has gradually made its Read the full article…