Dang, that Last of Us Part II kiss was some great animation

Although video game graphics continue to improve every year, depicting intimacy in a human and convincing way is still tricky — as often as not, when things get hot and heavy in games, it tends to look stilted and wooden. But in its new trailer for The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog delivered a master class in intimate animation — and the most striking thing was how much attention the studio put into the smallest details.

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Just look at Ellie’s expressions in the early moments of the footage. Notice the way she raises her eyebrows, bites her lips, how small tendril of her hair sway naturally. It’s even more compelling for the ways it isn’t perfect — her face is lightly sweaty, her hair slightly matted, just like it would be in a room full of people dancing and letting loose. See the way characters look at each other, the way their eyes shine when their gaze falls on a certain person; it’s almost as if there’s a real human being there, not just pixels. And then, when Ellie and the other woman kiss, look at the way Ellie’s lips pucker hesitantly and then lock with the other woman, how their necks crane and shift as the kiss unfolds.

Fans keep raving about this moment online, because it is remarkable in how well it captures something so unremarkable. These subtle details are easy to miss precisely because they are so natural; they look the way people are supposed to look in our most awkward and intimate moments — something we aren’t accustomed to seeing in games, but one that creates an instant connection to the character.

The Resident Evil 2 remake is coming on January 25th

Sony just showed off the first trailer for Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 2, which sees Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield struggle to survive into a zombie-overrun Raccoon City. The trailer doesn’t feature live gameplay, but it’s entirely 3D-rendered; the game apparently moves away from the pre-rendered backdrops of the original game as well as the lauded remake of the first Resident Evil. Capcom says it features a “new over-the-shoulder camera mode and modernized control scheme,” suggesting it’ll play more like Resident Evil 4 than 2.

Capcom announced that it was developing a Resident Evil 2 remake nearly three years ago, and nothing has been heard since. The game is coming earlier than you might have expected, though: the release date is set for January 25th, 2019. It’ll be coming to PS4, of course, as well as Xbox One and PC; Capcom says the visuals will be in 4K but hasn’t gotten any more specific.

New 'Spider-Man' trailer shows off every villain imaginable

Were you worried that Marvel’s Spider-Man would have a lightweight, no-stakes story? You can rest easy. Insomniac and Sony have posted a fresh gameplay trailer for the game, and it’s clear the two want a game that puts Spidey in real peril. The clip sees virtually every one of the hero’s main rivals confronting him during a prison break, including Electro, Rhino and Scorpion. And by the end… well, it doesn’t look good for our champion.

The gameplay itself, meanwhile, is what you’d expect — it’s a mix of mano-a-mano brawling, acrobatics and web slinging. Lots of web slinging. It won’t surprise you with its game mechanics, then, but it looks fast-paced enough that we’re looking forward to the game’s September 7th release.

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  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.

Kingdom Hearts III’s multiple E3 trailers have pirates, Olaf, but few concrete answers

Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in the works for more than 12 years, and now we’ve finally got a release date in January of next year. To celebrate the final stretch, the publisher brought not one or even two, but three distinct trailers to E3 this year. It showed off one at each of the big press conferences, including one at Sony’s this evening that confirmed a Pirates of the Caribbean world with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow and Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner. Another confirmed a world based on Disney’s Frozen.

That said, we still have no idea what’s happening here. Kingdom Hearts 3 looks chaotic, colorful, and a ton of fun, but as far as plot goes, it’s anybody’s guess. The world of Kingdom Hearts is one of the most confounding fantasy plots in the history of gaming, and it’s looking like Square Enix isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to its signature blend of bizarre role-playing fantasy plotlines and absurd Disney mash-up elements. That said, maybe if you watch all three repeatedly, you’ll be able to glean some details about where this saga is headed.

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Control is a time-bending new game from the developers of Quantum Break

Remedy Entertainment showed up at Sony’s E3 press conference with a surprise: a new third-person action-adventure game called Control, which seemed to feature the sort of slow-motion, time-bending gameplay from the studio’s last (Xbox One exclusive) game, Quantum Break.

According to the trailer description, players will take the role of Jesse Faden, who becomes the new director of the “Bureau of Control,” which fights against supernatural enemies, including the ominous sounding “Hiss.” Players will be able to explore the shifting halls of the Bureau’s headquarters, the equally mysterious sounding The Oldest House, and seek out upgrades for the shifting Service Weapon seen in the trailer while fighting the Hiss and uncovering more about the supernatural mysteries.

It’s not clear whether or not Control is related to Quantum Break or not, or if Remedy is just sticking to what it knows, but it certainly looks cool.

We do know one thing, though: Control will be out sometime in 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Update June 11th, 7:35pm: Control is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Spider-Man for PS4 shows off its open-world web-swinging in new trailers

But this year, just a few months out from Spider-Man’s planned September 7th release date, Sony and Insomniac Games are blowing the lid off what to expect from the swinging superhero’s video game return, with a deep dive during Sony’s E3 presentation of gameplay, combat, and the all-important web-swinging in a new extended trailer.

Sony first unveiled Spider-Man from Insomniac Games back at E3 2016, and showed off the a preview of early gameplay footage a year later at last year’s show. But today’s preview gives the best look yet at the game, with a deeper look at how combat will work in the upcoming game. There’s also appearances from a whole chunk of Spider-Man’s rogue gallery of villains, including Electro, Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture, all of whom escape from the maximum security prison “The Raft” in the sequence, likely setting up encounters for the rest of the game.

Showcased in the trailer were some of Insomniac’s three key focuses for gameplay: the acrobatic, combo-based combat, the variety of gadgets that players will have at their disposal, and of course, the web-swinging, which looks to leverage Insomniac’s skills from games like Sunset Overdrive for a thrilling traversal mechanic.

Marvel’s Spider-Man is out exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on September 7th.

Death Stranding’s gruesome new trailer has babies, toenails, actual gameplay

Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus are back to break our brains with an outlandish new trailer for Death Stranding. It’s still hard to make sense of what Death Stranding actually is, but the imagery sure is evocative. You’ve got babies, terrifying invisible monsters, and maybe something about environmental collapse?

Oh, and there is a new face here, too: Léa Seydoux, of Blue is the Warmest Color fame. Better yet, this E3 trailer showed what appeared to be in-game walking, which feels huge for a game that has largely shown us cinematic trailers. We also get a slightly better sense of what Death Stranding is about: apparently Sam, the character played by Norman Reedus, has to make a delivery. Presumably, the package is the baby.

We don’t know when Death Stranding will actually come out — likely, this one is going to be cooking for a while. Honestly, though, for many people the Death Stranding game has already begun: every new trailer is another opportunity to figure out what Kojima is teasing. It’s like an ARG or something. By tomorrow, Kojima fans will have dissected this trailer and found a ton of tiny details that tease something grandiose. Let’s hope the final product can match all the hype. For now, enjoy another wild trailer.

Ted Cruz sent Facebook 209 questions, including this bizarre one about Taylor Swift

Ted Cruz has some questions for Facebook: 209 of them to be precise.

That’s how many written questions the Texas senator submitted to the company following CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hours of Congressional testimony, and good lord were some of them were mind-numbingly stupid — including one abut a Taylor Swift song.

Some quick background: Following Zuckerberg’s marathon Congressional hearings in April, senators also submitted thousands of followup questions to the company. Facebook finally got around to submitting all those answers last week, and the Senate published the questions and answers in full Monday. 

And while Facebook’s carefully worded answers provide some interesting insight into how the company thinks about privacy, data collection, and whether or not it’s a monopoly (spoiler: it disagrees with the sentiment), the most amazing thing about the documents might be the hundreds of pages of questions submitted by Cruz. 

But none were more WTF than Cruz’s question on Facebook’s opinion of a Taylor Swift song. Specifically, Cruz was apparently interested in whether or not Facebook agreed with a GQ writer’s assessment that an Swift’s cover of an Earth, Wind, and Fire song qualified as hate speech. 

Facebook didn’t answer the question directly and instead offered a brief overview of its hate speech policy. “We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics—race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disability or disease,” the company wrote.

Cruz’s bizarre line of questioning didn’t stop there, though. He also asked a truly asinine question for Facebook’s opinion on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s political opinions (seriously, you can’t make this shit up).

While we already knew Cruz was particularly preoccupied with Facebook’s alleged bias against conservatives, the senator used his written questions to ramble on about a number of other topics too. 

To be clear, Cruz was far from the only senator to submit lengthy questions to Facebook, but his appeared to be less informed by Zuckerberg’s testimony as his desire to bait the company into providing answers that could fire up his conservative base.

He asked multiple question about Chick-fil-A and why specific conservative figures had posts referencing the fast food chain removed, as well as many questions about the political leanings of Facebook’s employees and whether or not said Facebook employees had accessed data on senators ahead of Zuckerberg’s testimony.  

At one point, the senator asked the company to asses 28 different statements, such as “black lives matter,” “the abortion of an unborn child is murder,” and “gender is a social construct,” and whether or not they’d be considered hate speech under company policies. (Facebook declined and instead again referred back to its earlier statement defining its hate speech policy.)

Did we mention both sets of questions — he submitted two sets as he serves on both the Judiciary and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committees — were each preceded by a full page of instructions on how to answer? Yeah.

Naturally, Facebook ignored many of his instructions.

You can read the full 459 pages of Q&A — including all 209 of Senator Cruz’s questions in their glorious detail — over on the Senate Committee for Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s website

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Watch the first gameplay trailer for PS4 exclusive Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima is an upcoming title set in feudal Japan from the makers of the Infamous series of superhero games, and they just showed off the first gameplay trailer for the PlayStation 4 exclusive.

In the trailer, which is set during a Mongol invasion, your character mounts his horse and charges down a beautifully animated hillside into a forest. Once there, he encounters a variety of sword-wielding enemies. The gameplay appears to focus on well-timed counters and vicious sword attacks — the trailer was among the most gory of E3 so far.

The trailer also shows your fighter and a companion sneaking into a temple, using stealth to get the drop on his enemies. In one memorable moment, he stabs through a screen to kill one enemy as he attempts to call for reinforcements.

Announced last October, Ghost of Tsushima is a new open-world game from Sucker Punch that combines action and stealth inside a beautifully atmospheric version of Japan.

Watch the very first gameplay trailer for The Last of Us Part II

Sony showed a new trailer for The Last of Us II that features Ellie as a playable character in our first ever glimpse of gameplay for the title. The trailer begins with a cinematic featuring a younger, more innocent Ellie at a dance with her friends and a female romantic interest, presumably during a more peaceful time, but with unclear placement in the timeline of events beginning with the outbreak to the ending of the first game. Jumping years later, Ellie is shown to be a highly capable and deadly fighter. The trailer features the stealth elements that were a cornerstone of the first game, as well as a refined form of the brutal melee combat from the original.

The Last of Us Part II is one of the next big-budget, single-player-focused narrative games on the schedule for the PlayStation 4. Sony’s platform has had an absolutely stellar year of exclusives, specifically in that genre, including Horizon Zero Dawn and the new God of War. Sony-owned studio Naughty Dog is now tasked with delivering on immense expectations carried over from the original The Last of Us while pushing forward both the technical and narrative elements of the genre, just as the original did in the final years of the PlayStation 3.

We got the first trailer and the initial announcement for the game back at E3 in 2016. Last year during Paris Games Week, Naughty Dog made waves with an ultra-violent trailer that, despite some well-deserved backlash, did introduce a number of interesting new characters into The Last of Us universe. We know the game centers on Ellie who, now grown up and seemingly still immune to the Cordyceps brain infection, appears to be a much more hardened, almost nihilistic survivor. Joel, who made a controversial decision at the end of the first game that determined Ellie’s fate, is still in the picture, but to what extent we still don’t know.