Microsoft Now Supports Original Xbox Games On Xbox One

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2017 - 08:33 PM |
Tagged: xbox one x, xbox one s, xbox one, xbox, upscaling, gaming, console, backwards compatible

Microsoft is adding original Xbox games to its backwards compatibility program with 13 games available now with more on the way in spring of next year. Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X owners will soon be able to play a curated selection of original Xbox games at higher resolutions and with improved color details.

Microsoft claims that original Xbox games will run with up to four times the pixel count on Xbox One (and One S) and up to 16 times the pixels on Xbox One X. Gamers will be able to use their original Xbox game disc to play or they can purchase the older titles in digital form from the Microsoft Store. Original features like co-op and System Link will work, but there is no Xbox Live service support which means online multiplayer will not work. Further, Microsoft notes that players will not earn any achievements when playing original Xbox games.

The first batch of original Xbox games includes:

  1. BLACK
  2. BloodRayne 2
  3. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  4. Dead to Rights
  5. Fuzion Frenzy
  6. Grabbled by the Ghoulies
  7. King of Fighters Neowave
  8. Ninja Gaiden Black
  9. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  10. Psychonauts
  11. Red Faction II
  12. Sid Meier's Pirates!
  13. KOTOR (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

While I have not played most of those games, I played a ton of Red Faction II with my brother, and fondly remember KOTOR on the PC. The video above shows a comparison between the original KOTOR running on Xbox and the backwards compatible enhanced version of the game running on Xbox One, and the visual difference is impressive (still not as good as it can look on the PC with mods though heh) with the game being significantly sharper with deeper colors (the original Xbox game looks extremely blurry and washed out by comparison).

It is a small list currently, but there are some gems on the launch list, and I am interested to see how the games look running on the Xbox One X. Hopefully the frame rates and loading times can also be improved ;-). As an added bonus Microsoft also pointed out that Xbox Game Pass members can grab Ninja Gaiden Black for free.

Microsoft claims that gamers have spent 700 million hours playing the 400 backwards compatible Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. There is certainly interest and it seems Microsoft is watching the numbers carefully which will be important for gamers in getting the Redmond-based company to continue adding support for additional classics.

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Source: Microsoft

If you are going to play this game at high resolution it is your Destiny 2 buy a Vega

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2017 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gaming, destiny 2, amd, 4k, 1440p

In their testing of the new PC port of Destiny 2, The Guru of 3D made some interesting discoveries.  The first is that at 1080p, the game's performance can be somewhat limited by your CPU, but not at 1440p or higher resolutions.  The second finding is the impressive showing of AMD's Vega 64 and 56 at 1440p and 4K, which both outperform the GTX 1080.  It may be that NVIDIA will release an optimized driver and repeat the improvements seen in Forza 7 but for now AMD is in the lead.  

Drop by for their full review.

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"We test that PC enhanced Destiny 2 for Windows relative towards graphics card performance with the latest AMD/NVIDIA graphics card drivers. Multiple graphics cards are being tested and benchmarked. We have a look at performance with the newest graphics cards and technologies."

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Source: Guru of 3D

Epson is quite upset someone is interfering with their license to print money

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2017 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: epson, ebay

Apparently the profits from selling a substance worth more than gold or even the blood in your veins is not enough to enable Epson to survive a bit of competition and so they have demanded eBay remove a long list of compatible cartridges which are sold on that site.  Their claim is based on the proprietary way in which "chip contacts on the cartridges are aligned"; presumably something resembling a single raised finger.  HP tried a similar approach a year ago, adding DRM to their printers and ink cartridges which prevented refilled or third party cartridges from working.  They also included an expiry date in the DRM, so even a full authentic cartridge would have to be replaced after a set date.  This did not go well for them and they reversed their policy after a public outcry.  You can read more about HP, Epson and the price of your blood over at The Inquirer

For now it continues to be more economical to toss your Epson printer out when an ink cartridge runs dry than to replace it with a full one.

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"EPSON HAS become the latest printer company to attempt a ban on third-party printer cartridges, asking eBay to issue takedown notices for sellers under the site's VeRO programme."

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Source: The Inquirer

Cryptonight mining with Chrome

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2017 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: cryptonight, chrome, mining, security

Have you noticed your Chrome sessions are using a lot more CPU power now than they used to and you have installed the Short URL (goo.gl) extension recently?  Congratulations, you are a cryptocurrency miner!  It seems some ne'r-do-well managed to infect the server which provides that app with a mining program called Cryptonight which enlists your browser into mining XMR coins.  For now your best bet is to uninstall that application if you have it installed; it has been removed from Google Play if you do not.  The Register has a bit more information on Cryptonight as well as some history on similar browser miners here.

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"Another Chrome extension has been found secretly harboring a cryptocurrency miner – and it appears this issue is going to get worse before it gets better."

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Source: The Register

All you need to know about Windows 10's Controlled Folder Access

Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2017 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, security, windows defender

One feature of the Fall Creator's Update which has not seen much coverage is the new Controlled Folder Access security setting under Windows Defender Security Center.  It is enabled for system files automatically, blocking the ability for all but approved apps from making changes to the files in your system folders.  You can also add additional folders as well as approved applications by following the simple instructions which Slashdot linked to.  The primary goal is to prevent ransomware's ability to encrypt vast swaths of folders on your machine but it will also help protect folders you choose from being modified by applications you have not approved.

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"With the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update last week, the "Controlled Folder Access" that Microsoft touted in June is now live for millions of users. As the name hints, the Controlled Folder Access feature allows users to control who can access certain folders."

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Source: Slashdot

Adobe Publishes "Sneaks" Clips from Adobe MAX 2017

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2017 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: Adobe

One of the highlights of the Adobe MAX show is their Sneaks segment, where they show off cute demos from their research labs. Some, but not all of these end up in future products. They can be related to any product category, from audio editing to photo touch up to video. This one was hosted by Kumail Nanjiani, a comedian and actor on HBO’s Silicon Valley, and Paul Trani of Adobe.

For a complete list, check out their blog post, but I’ll highlight some that interest me.

First, Project Cloak is like content-aware fill, but for video. Using a command-line tool, because research projects are research projects, the algorithm follows a mask as it moves over time. It then performs content-aware fill on this mask, and it does so in a way that tries to look natural from frame-to-frame. About two-thirds of the way through the clip, you see a backpack strap be removed, even as lighting conditions change throughout the environment. They then remove the whole people from the scene because why not.

Second, Project Sidewinder allows 3D VR video to be viewed from slightly different angles. If you play PC games, then you will probably notice the effect devolve like parallax occlusion mapping does, but that’s not its goal. The human brain tracks the tiny movements of the head and uses it to build a 3D environment in our mind. Since these movements are tiny, it should stay within the believable tolerance and enhance the immersion... from a stationary, pre-recorded camera.

Third, Project Scene Stitch. This one looks very practical, and it seems like something Adobe will want to roll out. Content-aware fill is an algorithm that looks at your selection, tries to find other places on the image that is compatible, and pastes from there into the fill. Project Scene Stitch is similar, except that it crawls through Adobe Stock (using their Adobe Sensei deep-learning algorithm) to find parts of other images that are compatible. They joke about how it breaks down in certain situations, but I could definitely see this being a part of their Adobe Stock push going forward.

Source: Adobe

Come on baby, IoT fear the reaper

Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2017 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: security, Reaper, iot

There is another IoT botnet running rampant, with several million devices already infected inside over a million businesses and homes, according to the report over at The Inquirer.  Experts are expecting the IoT_reaper to be worse than Mirai once it is activated as it is far more sophisticated than that botnet.  Some time in the near future you can expect serious issues as routers, IP cameras and fridges start launching DDoS attacks.  There is little that you can do at this point apart from ensuring your devices are patched and the firmware is up to date.  You can get an idea of the scope of this botnet by following the link in the story.

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"Check Point first unearthed the botnet, codenamed 'IoT_reaper', at the beginning of September and claims that, since, it's already enslaved millions of IoT devices including routers and IP cameras from firms including GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, Avtech, Netgear, MikroTik, Linksys and Synology."

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Source: The Inquirer

Dive into MSI's GH70 7.1 gaming headphones

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2017 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: audio, msi, gaming headset, Immerse GH70

The MSI MSI Immerse GH70 gaming headset sports a Solid Steel Design, RGB Mystic Light as well as Hi-Res Audio and a variety of other marketing terms, however we are far more concerned with its price and performance.  The price is $130, the 7.1 sound is virtual and Modders Inc loved the effect when gaming, though they toggled it off when talking to NPCs which the included in-line controller makes incredibly easy.  The RGBs can provide up to 16.8 million colour combinations and with Mystic Sync it can be synchronized with any other compatible MSI components you have.

Just don't ask about the beard.

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"Micro-Star International, better known as MSI has sent us a treat! We will be taking a look at one of their latest products, the MSI Immerse GH70 Gaming Headset. Websters dictionary describes "immerse" as "to plunge into something that surrounds or covers..." and "completely immersed in his work". Lets see if the MSI Immerse GH70 Gaming Headset stands up to …"

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Source: Modders Inc

Podcast #472 - MAMR Tech, Office network upgrade, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2017 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: x299, Windows 10 VR, video, toshiba, raven ridge, qualcomm, podcast, MSI GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO, Mate 10, MAMR, krack, Huawei, BiCS, Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ, ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero, ASRock X299E-ITX/ac, amd, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #472 - 10/19/17

Join us for discussion on Western Digital MAMR Tech, Office Network upgrade, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:20:07

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:10:15 Ryan: Tiki torch kits
  4. Closing/outro

 

Source:

Today's shocking news; GPU vendors like the current mining trend

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2017 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: cryptocurrency, mining, gpu

At least some people are happy about the current GPU market and the effect cryptocurrency mining is having on it.  Indeed from the profit reports DigiTimes mentions, GPU vendors are making better profits from the current craze than the miners are, with all major vendors seeing major boosts to revenues.  This is good news for the average enthusiast as these vendors plan to ramp up their stocks and have greatly increased the amount of product they are ordering from NVIDIA and AMD.  It will take some time to fulfill these orders and you can expect the current memory shortage to have a minor effect on availability and price as well.  If supply can finally start to meet demand, we may soon see prices creep back towards MSRP. 

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"Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI), TUL, Colorful and Galaxy Microsystems have all been aggressive about the cryptocurrency opportunity since the mining trend emerged, and they have seen dramatic growths in related businesses. Asustek only started to see benefits from the segmnet in the third quarter."

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Source: DigiTimes

How much does the driver matter when playing Forza 7?

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2017 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: forza motorsport 7, amd, nvidia, vega 64, vega 56, gtx 1070, GTX 1080, gtx 1080 ti, gaming

[H]ard|OCP recently used Forza 7 in their GPU benchmarks and discovered that AMD's Vega 64 outperformed the GTX 1080 by a noticeable margin.  NVIDIA responded by releasing two new drivers in quick succession, claiming performance improvements of up to 25% in this title, which prompted [H] to revisit there results with the newest drivers from both companies.  They tested at both 1440p and at 4K and saw changes, though perhaps not as great as NVIDIA first announced.  Take a look at the review here and consider the question they pose in their conclusions.

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"Forza Motorsport 7 gaming performance has changed, video cards stack up differently when compared. We take Forza Motorsport 7 and apply new NVIDIA GeForce 387.92 and AMD Crimson ReLive 17.10.1 drivers to find out how these compare, what performance differences there are, and if AMD Radeon RX Vega is still king in this game."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Stalkers can choose to spend $1000 on a mobile ad instead of a private eye

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2017 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: security, spooky

Forget big brother tracking you via your phone, anyone with a bone to pick can stalk you via ad supported apps on your phone for around $1000.  Researchers conducted some disturbingly effective experiments where they created a banner which displayed geo-targeted ads and went through the usual process of paying to have it displayed inside an app, in this case Talkatone.  If the app was left open for more than four minutes, or opened twice in that same amount of time, they were able to pinpoint that phones location within 25 feet.  That let them map out a daily route, work and home addresses as well as many of the locations visited by the person bearing the phone.  Read the full article over at Wired and reconsider this the next time you are pondering installing an ad supported app on your phone.

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"They then used that DSP to place a geographic grid of location-targeted ad buys around a three-mile square section of Seattle, which for their tests they set to appear on the popular ad-supported calling and texting app Talkatone."

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Source: Wired

The new Windows 10 VR update falls upon us

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2017 - 03:12 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, creators update

Today marks the launch of the Windows 10 Fall Creators update which will be pushed out to your machine some time in the near future.  Microsoft will be taking it slowly, so if you do not see the update yet do not fret as it will come to you eventually.  If you can't possibly wait another second, you can install it manually instead of waiting for the recommended process via Windows Update.  The update includes Paint 3D and Story Remix, which brings back capabilities similar to the old MovieMaker, along with enhanced VR support and much more.  You can read some of the highlights over at The Inquirer.  

Remember patience is a virtue.

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"But the main update involves virtual reality (VR) support ready for the wealth of cheapish headsets that are on the way supporting Windows Holographic. Devices from HP and Acer lead the charge."

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Source: The Inquirer

Someone out there will be excited, Logitech's brand new MX Ergo trackball

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2017 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: trackball, logitech, MX Ergo, wireless, input

You do not see trackballs every often anymore; new product launches even less.  There are a group of users who will be very interested in this updated trackball from Logitech, either due to personal preference or a run in with carpal tunnel they never wish to repeat.  The trackball sits on a magnetic base plate with a pivot point that allows you to tilt the body up to 20o for greater comfort.  Logitech added basic Bluetooth connectivity in addition to their proprietary driver and dongle for those who do not wish yet another USB port occupied as well as switching to a rechargeable battery.  If you want to know more about what has been added, you can read The Tech Report's full review here.

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"It's been seven years since Logitech released a new trackball into the world. Join us to find out what Logitech has learned with time and whether it's kept up with some new blood."

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Report: Laptop Powered by AMD Ryzen APU Revealed in HP Datasheet

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2017 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: Vega M, Ryzen 5 2500U, ryzen, laptop, hp, Envy x360, APU, amd, 2-in-1

Details on the first notebook featuring an AMD Ryzen APU were revealed by HP from a data sheet on an upcoming Envy x360 2-in-1 notebook, though the PDF was subsequently pulled and now the page leads to a 404. Thankfully, VideoCardz.com has a screen capture:

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HP datasheet capture via VideoCardz.com

In addition to the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core CPU with integrated Radeon Vega M graphics, the notebook as configured offered just a single 8GB stick of DDR4-2400 - and we all know APU’s like memory bandwidth, so hopefully this will be offered with a dual-channel option (memory “up to 16GB” is offered).

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The current HP Envy x360 2-in-1 design (image credit: HP)

Storage for this Ryzen 5-powered 2-in-1 is listed as a 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and the convertible design offers a 15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS multi-touch display, premium B&O sound, and of course runs Windows 10.

Naturally, we'll have to wait for some official word from HP on this, as the page and document were apparently put up in error - but not before a few outlets (other than VideoCardz posts include ComputerBase and PC Gamer) released the details from the datasheet. Perhaps that will prompt an announcement? (Here's hoping.)

Don't let todays WiFi security Krack drive you into a panic

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2017 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: krack, wifi, security

If you are running Windows 7 or a more recent version and applied the patches from last Tuesday then you are essentially immune to KRACK attack, however older Android OS, Chromium, Linux, OpenBSD and Android Wear 2.0 are. There are several attacks that can be carried out via this vulnerability but all rely on modifying the key which connected devices use to protect data transferred over the wireless network.  KRACK replaces that key with one which the attacker has crafted, which allows them to intercept and decrypt packages sent over the wireless network, or to send there own disguised as an authenticated system.  Depending on the security you use and the OS you are on the attacker can carry out a variety of tasks, which Ars Technica describes in full.

If you are running an older Android device, especially one which no longer receives regular updates you should be concerened, Apple will offer a patch soon as will Google; for now if you have an up to date installation of Windows, the risks have been minimized thanks to the recent patches from Microsoft.

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"While Windows and iOS devices are immune to one flavor of the attack, they are susceptible to others. And all major operating systems are vulnerable to at least one form of the KRACK attack. And in an addendum posted today, the researchers noted that things are worse than they appeared at the time the paper was written."

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Source: Ars Technica

Want another reason to dump that HDD? It can be used as a microphone

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2017 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: security, paranoia, microphone, hdd, hack

Some of you may remember the days when it was inadvisable to yell at a HDD array, the latency issue has been mostly overcome with the advances in technology over the last decade.  That does not mean it is completely gone, as the read head in a HDD cannot read from a disk that is oscillating due to external input such as sound, and those tiny delays are how this researcher was able to use the HDD as a low quality microphone.  He also found a tone which created even more latency than in that video; enough to have a system drop the disk as bad.  There are links to the research over at Slashdot, including the new improved way to verbally abuse your storage devices.

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"It's not accurate yet to pick up conversations," Ortega told Bleeping Computer in a private conversation. "However, there is research that can recover voice data from very low-quality signals using pattern recognition. I didn't have time to replicate the pattern-recognition portion of that research into mine. However, it's certainly applicable."

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Source: Slashdot

Hollywood Plexes it's muscles and now offers a digital movie locker and store

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2017 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: movies anywhere, plex, Amazon Video, google play, itunes, vudu

Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment have teamed up to offer Movies Anywhere, a service that provides access to stores for purchasing movies as well as a place to store and watch them.  The access to stores is what differentiates this from Plex, as Amazon, Google, iTunes, and Vudu all use the same DRM technology this new service will show you the results of a movie search on all four of those providers and let you purchase them using your existing accounts.  If you link those accounts to your Movies Anywhere account, any previously purchased movies will appear under your new account.  Currently there is an offer for a few free movies for those who sign up; there is no fee to do so.  Check out more information at Ars Technica.

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"Signing up for a Movies Anywhere account gives you access to the digital locker, which you can then populate with purchased or redeemed movies by logging in to the accounts you have with those online retailers."

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Source: Ars Technica

Podcast #471 - Intel Coffee Lake, Lenovo ThinkPad, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2017 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: Z390, Z370, windows 10 mobile, video, ThinkPad Anniversary Edition 25, Thinkpad, strix, Q370, Q360, podcast, Mechwarrior, maximus x, Lenovo, Hydro 750W, H370, H310, GTX 1070Ti, fsp, evga, enermax, edge, coffee lake, B360, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #471 - 10/12/17

Join us for discussion on Intel Coffee Lake, Lenovo ThinkPad, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom, Ken Addison, Sebastian Peak

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:40:25

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
        1. 6.8Ghz under load
  2. News items of interest:
      1. Consumer: H310, H370, and B360
      2. Server / Workstation Q370 and Q360
      3. Maybe a Z390 to replace Z370?
      1. ICQ is still around though! With stickers!
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

 

Source:

MechWarrior returns

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2017 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: gaming, mechwarrior 5, unreal engine 4

There will still be a long wait for a new mech game, but at least now we are waiting on a definite product or two.  Piranha Games have started showing off gameplay of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and those who have tried it have been quite impressed.  MechWarrior Online has been somewhat satisfying but there are many that have missed a campaign based single player game.  This new game will share the DNA of previous Mercenary releases, putting you in complete charge of a mercenary lance of mechs, searching for contracts that bring in enough money to keep your mechs repaired and provide your pilots salaries.  PC Gamer had some hands on time with the new game as well as a discussion with the developers.  Head on over to take a peek.

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"To that end, MechWarrior 5 will feature an unprecedented number of mechs to choose from. "Most MechWarrior games have had maybe 12 to 15 different mech chassis," Bullock explains. “We’re looking at having upwards of 60 chassis with 300 to 400 variants. You could probably play the game multiple times within just one Great House’s space and see different combinations on the free market.""

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Source: PC Gamer