Stardew Valley’s Next Update Includes New Festival And…Secrets?

A Stardew Valley farmer holds a single bone above their head in a field with houses and trees and shrubs.

The developer threw the community a bone.
Image: ConcernedApe

Fans of pixel-art farming simulator Stardew Valley just got another tease about what to expect from the upcoming 1.6 update. While we still don’t know when it will release, developer Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone tweeted on July 17 that the patch will include another festival and more dialogue.

The next update will also feature new items and “secrets,” according to the creator’s somewhat ambiguous message. The game already has a bunch of small easter eggs for players to discover, so the new content could be in line with that. Adding to the mystery of what “secrets” could be coming, ConcernedApe ended his list of what to expect from version 1.6 with just three question marks.

The addition of a new festival is also exciting, as the once-a-year events become staples of their respective seasons. Festivals are scheduled events Mayor Lewis invites you to. The optional events are marked on the calendar and usually take several hours or nearly the entire day. The best part? Animals are automatically fed, meaning you can truly kick back and kiki with the other villagers.

Though much of patch 1.6 remains under wraps, ConcernedApe said last year that the update would “mostly” benefit modders and that the content changes won’t be as extensive as they were with 1.5. The dev confirmed as much again in April of this year and announced he was taking a step back from working on the spookier confection maker Haunted Chocolatier to work on the 1.6 patch.

Stardew Valley’s last major update, December 2020’s 1.5 patch, introduced the Ginger Island location, a beach farm layout, additional modding support, new animals and crops, and split-screen local coop, along with other changes.

Buy the game: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Star Wars Outlaws Includes Tatooine, Because Of Course

In a new video from Ubisoft about its upcoming Star Wars game, the publisher talked about creating an authentic Star Wars experience. As part of this, Outlaws will feature Tatooine, the galaxy’s most famous (and overused) desert planet.

In June, Ubisoft announced Star Wars Outlaws, a new open-world action game that takes place between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and stars scoundrel and thief Kay Vess. And because this is Star Wars, a franchise built on ragtag groups of people coming together, you won’t be alone: you’ll have a cute alien pet and an (according to the internet) oddly sexy droid partner. It all looks great, and for many fans of the sci-fi series, it’s the open-world Star Wars game they’ve been craving for decades. And if you were worried that this big, new Star Wars game wouldn’t feature Tatooine, well, good(?) news: It does. Of course, it does.

In their July 23 video, Massive and Ubisoft revealed that Tatooine, first seen in the original Star Wars film A New Hope, will be one of the vast worlds players can visit and explore in Star Wars Outlaws. That’s fine, I guess. But it’s getting really weird how this little backwater world is apparently the center of everything.

Star Wars Outlaws: Behind The Scenes – Crafting a Galaxy of Opportunity

Massive says players will be able to visit Mos Eisley, another town that Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker visit in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. It also seems that Jabba The Hutt will be hanging out on the famous planet, likely ready to make a deal with players or screw them over if you don’t do what he wants. He’s a cranky alien.

“It’s not just about recreating Tatooine as you know it,” said Outlaws’ art and world director, Benedikt Podlesnigg. “Going back to the classic sources of spaghetti westerns, we tried to recreate an authentic mood and feel as we build new points of interest to follow the already established history.”

And while that all sounds good and nice, I’m really getting tired of having to re-explore Tatooine every time a new Star Wars movie or game launches. Even if Ubisoft promises new areas and ideas, it’s still that same dust ball that’s been overrepresented in that famous galaxy so far, far away.

Please, stop making me visit Tatooine

Look, I’m a Star Wars nerd. I get why so many movies, TV shows, comics and games keep coming back to Tatooine. The desert planet is iconic. It’s one of the very first things we ever saw in Star Wars. It set the tone for the franchise and helped inspire the look of the series moving forward. Even people who don’t know much about Star Wars know about the desert planet with the two suns and the cantina. So to us fans of the franchise, it’s an important place.

But in Star Wars, Tatooine was originally meant to be an out-of-the-way planet that nobody really cares much about. In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan literally says it is “small” and “out of the way.” It’s a poor, crime-riddled wasteland that very few people in the entire galaxy know about or care to visit. It’s such a backwater planet that Obi-Wan can hide out there mostly undetected.

An image shows Anakin and Qui-Gon Jinn walking around Tatooine.

Image: Lucasfilm

However, today, after decades of Star Wars media setting stories on Tatooine, Obi-Wan is starting to look like a fool. The dude apparently picked one of the busiest and most famous planets in the universe to hide Luke and himself on. Whoops!

I understand that for many creators—given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to recreate or revisit any planet in the galaxy—Tatooine is the dream. The most iconic and well-known planet in one of the biggest franchises in human history. The birthplace of the series, the home of Anakin Skywalker, the hiding place of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the first world where we met Han Solo, etc.

Let’s visit some other planets or even some new places

Yet, because everyone so badly wants to revisit Tatooine and tell new stories about the world, it’s turned the place into the most boring and uninteresting location in the galaxy. Every time someone like The Mandalorian, a new character in this universe, shows up and hangs out on Tatooine—often visiting a few key locations for fan service—I sigh and roll my eyes.

There are so many worlds in Star Wars that are equally cool and filled with possibility. If you have to revisit a previously seen location, go somewhere else. Let’s go explore Utapu or Naboo or Ryloth. Maybe check out Nar Shadda? Returning to the same world over and over isn’t just boring, it makes the universe feel smaller and smaller.

To be fair to Massive and Ubisoft, Star Wars Outlaws also features a new world, as explained in the behind-the-scenes video. And I think that new planet, Toshara, looks great! I love the idea of creating a new Star Wars planet inspired by the African Savannah. That’s a legitimately fresh and exciting place that I want to explore.

As for Tatooine, well, I’ve been a Star Wars fan my whole life. And that’s long enough to know that I’ll be visiting Tatooine in video games, books, comics, and movies until the day I die. That damn desert planet is just too popular for its own good.

Borderlands Collection Includes Every Game For As Low As $30

Loot bandits fire into a crowd.

Image: Gearbox Entertainment

Gearbox Entertainment loves bundles, so naturally it just announced Borderlands Collection: Pandora’s Box, which combines every game in the loot shooter series except for last year’s Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. It’ll be available on every console except Switch, which is getting a separate port of just Borderlands 3 by way of an Ultimate Edition that includes all of the DLC.

The collection will be available starting September 1 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC. It includes the following six games:

  • Borderlands 1
  • Borderlands 2
  • Borderlands 3
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
  • Tales from the Borderlands
  • New Tales from the Borderlands

That is a ton of cel-shaded Mad Max-inspired shooting and corny jokes, and it can be yours for the whopping price of $150. But wait, for a “limited time,” the entire collection will run you just $60. It’ll be even cheaper if you already own one of these games digitally. Then the whole bundle is only $30. It’s a great deal and also ridiculously confusing.

A guy shoots giant snow monsters.

Image: Gearbox Entertainment

To break it down by platform, owning any of these Borderlands games digitally on Xbox “automatically” entitles you to the new collection for just $30. Own any of them digitally on Steam and they’ll be subtracted from the total cost. Finally, owning either Borderlands 3, the Handsome Jack Collection, or the Borderlands: Game of the Year edition digitally or physically on PlayStation will let you access a $30 discount by launching one of them and following the in-game instructions.

If you’ve never gotten into Borderlands before, you might as well just get all of them at this point. And if you’ve already played most of them, why not double-down with the definitive edition? For everyone in-between, the new collection is probably way too much Borderlands. Borderlands 2 is still an all-time great and Tales from the Borderlands, an episodic visual novel treatment from the original Telltale studio, is also fantastic. Nothing else, in my opinion at least, is a must-have. But if you own a PS5 you might consider picking up a physical copy of Borderlands 3 for just $8 and grabbing the rest of the collection at the $30 discount.


Mortal Kombat 1’s Switch Trailer Includes A Steam Pop Up

A screenshot of the Switch port of MK1 shows an ugly character model and above him, a Steam pop up.

Screenshot: WB Games / Kotaku

Mortal Kombat 1 on the Nintendo Switch isn’t the best version of the game. Players have shared numerous visual bugs, performance problems, long loading times and low res textures in social media posts and forums. And now, some of them are angry that an official launch trailer for the Switch version of MK1 seems to show footage from the PC version of the game, not the Switch port, based on a Steam notification pop up that briefly appears in it.

Out now on Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Switch—following a brief period of paid early accessMortal Kombat 1 is the latest entry in the long-running, super popular, and ultra-violent fighting game franchise. This time around, the entire universe has been rebooted following the events of Mortal Kombat 11, hence the “1” in the title. This new version of the universe features familiar faces in new roles, a kinda bad Megan Fox as Nitara performance, and rebooted origin stories for popular fighters. And while the PC, Xbox and PlayStation ports of MK1 have received mostly positive reviews, the same can’t be said for the game’s messy $70 Switch port.

Now, some Mortal Kombat 1 players are upset after spotting a Steam notification in its official Switch launch trailer. Many believe the visuals and performance in the trailer isn’t representative of the final version of the game running on actual Switch hardware, and the Steam pop up that appears at 1:52 confirms that at least some of the footage in this trailer wasn’t captured on a Switch or a Switch dev kit. It should be noted that the trailer mentions “Footage Not Final” at the start.

A screenshot of the trailer that shows the Steam pop up in the corner.

The Steam pop-up can be seen briefly in the bottom right corner of the video.
Screenshot: WB Games / Nintendo / Kotaku

Kotaku reached out to WB Games and NetherRealm for clarification.

To be clear: A lot of trailers you see for video games include footage that was captured on a PC or dev kit and not the actual console hardware. However, this instance is under more careful scrutiny as the trailer footage is at-odds with the actual game’s performance on Switch. And the Steam notification, besides just being sloppy, gives away a possible explanation for why the game and trailer don’t match up. The trailer is still live on Nintendo’s Youtube channel as of 12:50 p.m EST on September 20.

The Switch port received so much online criticism that Mortal Kombat creator and series producer Ed Boon actually responded, telling the BBC that the maligned port will “absolutely be getting an update” that will address “a number of the concerns” seen online.

“It would have been ideal for us to have released the version that we absolutely wanted,” said Boon. “But anything that we’re finding a problem with is on our list and is going to be fixed. Anything that we see that is not acceptable will absolutely be addressed.”


PS Plus October Includes Disco Elysium And Gotham Knights

An image shows Disco Elysium's detective smile at himself in the mirror.

Image: ZA/UM

Halloween is fast approaching, and with it comes a new medley of games for PlayStation Plus subscribers that’ll become available Tuesday, October 17.

One of the highest-profile games coming to PS Plus next week is Disco Elysium – The Final Cut. Developed by ZA/UM, the widely acclaimed isometric RPG has Dungeons & Dragons-esque dice rolls driving deeply quirky, systems-driven storytelling. You play as a hard-boiled alcoholic detective as he uses his social skills, or lack thereof, to solve a murder in a dilapidated city. If you tend to navigate RPG chats in a centrist manner, you might as well leave your sensibilities at the door for Disco Elysium because the many conversations you’ll engage in shape the political alignment of your detective as he bumbles his way through (possibly) solving the case.

PlayStation / ZA/UM

Read More: A Year Later, I Still Can’t Stop Thinking About Disco Elysium

PS Plus’ October crop also includes Warner Bros.’ new Batman game sans Batman, Gotham Knights. Gotham Knights see the Dark Knight’s sidekicks, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Robin, take up the mantle of defending Gotham City in his stead because Bruce Wayne is super dead. For real this time. Think DC Comics’ Batman: Battle for the Cowl run but with some original story beats and superpowers by developer WB Games Montreal.

Unlike the Arkham series’ penchant for stealth puzzles woven between bone-crunching combat, Gotham Knights leans heavily into combat-centric missions where, upon completion, you can unlock a myriad of unlockable gear for the heroic quartet. It also has a huge focus on co-op. So if that’s your speed, Gotham Knights might be worth the download.

PlayStation / WB Games Montreal

Read More: Gotham Knights Six Months Later: Better, But Still Mid

PS Plus Line-Up For October 2023

Here’s everything coming to PS Plus starting Tuesday, October 17:

  • Disco Elysium
  • Gotham Knights
  • The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
  • Alien: Isolation
  • Dead Island Definitive Edition
  • Outlast 2
  • Elite Dangerous
  • Far: Changing Tides
  • Gungrave G.O.R.E.
  • Eldest Souls
  • Röki

See, I told you there were some spooky games too. Godspeed getting through Outlast 2 and Alien: Isolation with the lights off.


New Xbox Series S Bundle Includes Free Game Pass Sub

An image shows an Xbox controller resting on an Xbox Series S console.

Image: Xbox / Kotaku

Microsoft’s getting ready for the holiday shopping season with a new Xbox Series S bundle that includes three months of Game Pass Ultimate at no additional cost. When you consider how many great games are available on Game Pass and how solid the tinier Xbox Series S is as a console, this new starter bundle might be the best deal in video games in 2023.

On October 12, Microsoft announced the Xbox Series S Starter Bundle via its official news blog. The new bundle--which goes on sale October 31— includes an Xbox Series S console and three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership for $299. This means that it’s the same price as a base Xbox Series S. Microsoft says the three months of Game Pass amount to a $50 value. Once the three months are up, players will have to start paying if they want to keep using the service.

Pre-order the Xbox Series S Starter Bundle: Microsoft

While the Xbox Series S isn’t as powerful as PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, the little console isn’t a slouch either. And considering many people still game on 1080p TVs, the Series S’s lack of native 4K gaming isn’t necessarily that big of a deal. For folks looking to hop into the “next generation of gaming,” this new bundle is a good option. It’s also tempting for people who want a second console to power-up a spare TV in a bedroom or living room.

Keep in mind that the Series S doesn’t include a disc drive, so you’d only be able to play digital versions of games and movies. Oh, and this isn’t the recently announced all-black Series S with more storage, either.


Because the bundle includes Game Pass Ultimate, you don’t just get access to the base Game Pass library and all of Microsoft’s first-party games, but also all the EA Play games included with the subscription, as well as Game Pass’ library of Windows games and the ability to stream some Xbox titles to your phone or other devices.

If you’re looking for some games to play on the Xbox Series S (or X) we keep a continually updated tally of some of our favorites. We also keep tabs on the best Game Pass games and even the best spooky games available on Microsoft’s subscription service. And yes, Game Pass gets you access to Starfield, a game that runs surprisingly well on the small Xbox Series S.

Pre-order the Xbox Series S Starter Bundle: Microsoft


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