New Star Wars Vader Immortal: Episode 2 Story Details Revealed

New story details and images for Vader Immortal: Episode II have been revealed. The Star Wars VR experience sees you take control of a nameless salvager who’s been captured by Darth Vader.

“You will get to use the Force in Episode II,” Vader Immortal director Ben Snow said in an interview with StarWars.com. “The way we thought about this was, we wanted to give you the Vader equivalent of Yoda teaching Luke about the Force in Empire Strikes Back. So we wanted it to be slightly darker and more twisted. He talks about the power of the dark side as well as the things you can do with the Force.”

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In Vader Immortal: Episode I, your character is captured by the Galactic Empire and taken to Vader’s castle on Mustafar–first seen in the movies in Star Wars: Rogue One. After escaping from the castle’s prison, you discover a lightsaber and attempt to sneak your way to freedom. Things ultimately don’t go very well for you though, and Vader discovers you. Impressed with your skill with a lightsaber, the Sith lord makes you his apprentice–although seemingly only temporarily as you’re just a means to an end for him.

“Our goal is to make the Force in Episode II as satisfying as the lightsaber felt in Episode I,” Snow said. To that end, you’ll primarily be using the Force–and not a lightsaber–to defend yourself and take on the enemies you encounter in Episode II.

New concept art for Vader Immortal: Episode II (embedded above) reveals that the next chapter of the story will include more scenes of Black Bishop as well. Introduced in the first episode, Black Bishop is helping Vader discover the secrets to mastering death, most likely to revive Padmé Amidala. “[Black Bishop] becomes quite important in Episode II, and we learn about his background,” Snow said.

Vader Immortal is canon in the Star Wars expanded universe of stories, taking place directly after the events of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire (between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One). The VR experience is available for Oculus Quest. A release date for Vader Immortal: Episode II has not been announced.

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Author: Jordan Ramée

Google’s Nest Hub Max will be released on September 9th

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google’s largest smart display yet, the Nest Hub Max, will launch on September 9th in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The Hub Max was announced back at Google I/O, which was also where Google formally announced that it would rebrand its smart home products under the Nest name.

The $229 device has a 10-inch display — significantly bigger than the existing Nest Hub. Like that product, the Max automatically adjusts its screen’s white balance to give the illusion that you’re looking at printed paper whenever your photos are being displayed. You can watch YouTube, pull up recipes, stream TV from YouTube TV, and control your smart home gadgets with the Hub, among other things. Personally, I think the 10-inch size should…

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Author: Chris Welch

Fortnite Birthday Event Starts Soon With Special Rewards

It’s been about two years since the initial release of Fortnite, and as it did last year, Epic Games plans to celebrate with an in-game birthday event. For Battle Royale players, this will kick off soon and run for one week, adding some birthday-themed elements and offering special rewards–and presumably challenges–for a limited time.

The Fortnite Birthday Celebration event begins on July 24 and runs until July 31 (coinciding with the end of Season 9). As referenced in the newest Fortnite patch notes, birthday cakes and birthday presents will both be added to the map in Battle Royale. The presents can be opened for various in-game loot, while the cakes can be eaten to gain health and shields. Although the event begins on July 24, these two elements won’t arrive until July 25.

Also part of the Birthday Celebration is a bit of an overhaul to the Battle Bus, which will be adorned for the occasion and will have a music track to match.

A pickaxe, wrap, and “more cosmetics” will be available during the event, although Epic has not yet shown off what these rewards look like or how you’ll earn them. The safe assumption is that birthday event challenges will be offered. According to a dataminer, these will be fairly straightforward, with the exception of one that involves dancing in front of birthday cakes, which players were asked to do last year, too. Completing each challenge will reportedly net you a corresponding reward, while doing all four will earn you a fifth reward.

These are the Birthday Challenges #Fortnite (via/@HYPEX) pic.twitter.com/G14my0urRQ

— Guille-GAG // Fortnite Leaks (@Guille_GAG) July 17, 2019

Datamined Fortnite Birthday Challenges

  • Play matches (10)
  • Dance in front of different Birthday Cakes (10)
  • Outlast opponents (100)
  • Gain health or shield from Birthday Cake (50)

This event coincides with the Birthday Event in Fortnite’s Save the World component and the introduction of Overtime challenges in Battle Royale, both of which are already live. The latter present some mostly simple objectives for players to earn last-minute XP before Season 9 ends. Season 10 is expected to follow, possibly as soon as August 1, although Epic has not yet announced a specific launch date or details.

Fortnite first officially launched in July 2017 with what’s now known as its Save the World mode, a PvE experience which remains in paid early access. The popular free-to-play Battle Royale mode followed later that year in the wake of PUBG‘s massive success, and it’s this component of the game that has elevated Fortnite to its incredible heights. Fortnite, and Battle Royale in particular, continues to evolve on a regular basis, with one of its most recent events taking the form of a giant monster-robot fight.

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Author: Chris Pereira

Snap adds 13 million daily active users as it gets serious about global expansion

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Snap continues to rebound, adding 13 million daily active users to Snapchat this past quarter. Those added users bring the total number of people using the app around the world every day to 203 million, which is the highest it’s been since Snap went public. The growth indicates that Snap’s investment in product features for a more global user base is paying off and that its luck in creating viral face filters is helping it grow, too. Snap estimates that between 7 and 9 million users joined because of the face filters with the remaining 4 to 6 million users being attributable to the company’s broader product focuses.

Last quarter, it released an updated, optimized version of its Android app after years of Android users complaining about a…

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Author: Ashley Carman

Shadow Pokemon In Pokemon Go: Guide To Catching And Purifying

Team Rocket has invaded Pokemon Go. After weeks of teases, the villainous trainers have begun appearing in the hit Pokemon mobile game following its latest update, and they come with Shadow Pokemon in tow–dark versions of monsters that feature glowing red eyes and a sinister aura.

Just as in GameCube’s Pokemon Colosseum, you can rescue these Shadow Pokemon from their trainers and “purify” them, but first you’ll need to find the invading Team Rocket grunts and defeat them in a Pokemon battle. If you’re unsure of where the Rocket grunts are lurking or how the process works, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you catch and purify Shadow Pokemon in Pokemon Go.

Where To Find Team Rocket

Team Rocket grunts are appearing around the world in Pokemon Go, but the villains aren’t just hanging out anywhere; they can only be found at certain PokeStops. Fortunately, there are a few visual clues that indicate which Stops have been taken over by Team Rocket.

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First, the cube that denotes a PokeStop on the overworld map will twitch as though it were glitching out. Approach one of these PokeStops and you’ll notice it is “discolored,” appearing black instead of its normal shade of light blue. That’s your cue that a Team Rocket grunt is lurking at the Stop. Spin its Photo Disc and the Rocket grunt will appear.

At present, Team Rocket PokeStops are a rare sight, so your odds of coming across one are slim. When a PokeStop is taken over by Team Rocket, it will only be for 30 minutes at a time, giving you a brief window to battle the villains. You also need to be at least level 8 in order to encounter a Team Rocket PokeStop.

How To Catch Shadow Pokemon

After taking a closer look with Spark, Professor Willow reported that Pokémon with some sort of mysterious aura were hanging around these discolored PokéStops. We hope they can get to the bottom of this! pic.twitter.com/MfzWa73WPN

— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) July 23, 2019

Once you’ve encountered a Team Rocket grunt at a PokeStop, they will challenge you to a Pokemon battle. As previously mentioned, each grunt will have a Shadow Pokemon, which is surrounded by a dark aura. Defeat the Rocket grunt in battle and they will leave their Shadow Pokemon behind, giving you an opportunity to capture it.

How To Purify Shadow Pokemon

Once you’ve added a Shadow Pokemon to your collection, you can choose to either keep it in its Shadow state or “purify” it. This can be done by exchanging a certain amount of Stardust and Candy from the Pokemon’s information screen. While the Shadow Pokemon may look cooler, there are a few benefits to purifying them.

First, purifying a Pokemon will cause its base stats to increase. Purified Pokemon will also require less Stardust and Candy to power up, and one of the moves they knew as Shadow Pokemon–Frustration–will be replaced by the strong Normal-type attack Return.

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Author: Kevin Knezevic

UPS seeks government approval for ‘advanced’ drone delivery service

UPS is seeking permission from the federal government to operate an extensive network of commercial drones in the US. If approved, the delivery giant could be permitted to fly drones over populated areas, at night, and out of the operator’s line of sight.

UPS is seeking what’s known as Part 135 certification under the Federal Aviation Administration, which applies to “air carriers and operators.” Since they’re considered aircraft under federal law, drones from delivery operators like UPS are being put through the same safety and economic certification processes as companies that fly planes.

Very few drone companies have been given the green light under Part 135. In April, Alphabet’s…

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Author: Andrew J. Hawkins

Massive PS4 Summer Sale Launches With 400+ Deals–And They’re Good (US)

The summer heat is reason enough to stay indoors now that we’re nearing August, but the PlayStation Store just dropped an even bigger incentive to spend some quality time with your PS4 this season: its annual Summer Sale with four weeks of deals. The sale includes markdowns on everything from AAA titles to critically acclaimed indies, and it’s live now through August 20 at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET.

You’ll find some of this year’s biggest games included, like Devil May Cry 5 for $39.59, Resident Evil 2 for $36, The Division 2 for $39, and Mortal Kombat 11 for $45. Fans of the Persona series will be pleased to see Persona 5 among the mix, with the standard edition selling for just $14 and the Ultimate edition, which includes bonus Personas, costumes, items, and more, on sale for $51. Other highlights include Battlefield V for $24, FIFA 19: Ultimate Edition for $25, Metro Exodus for $36, and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony for $30. Plus, don’t miss Monster Hunter World for $25, as its hefty Iceborne expansion releases in September.

See some of our picks from PSN’s 2019 Summer Sale below, and browse the full offering of deals at the PlayStation Store. Please note that if you have PS Plus, some of the below prices will be even cheaper for you.

See all Summer Sale deals at PlayStation Store

PS4 deals

  • A Way Out — $18 ($30)
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown — $36 ($60)
  • Ark: Survival Evolved — $17.49 ($50)
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey — $24 ($60)
  • Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 Ultimate Bundle — $9 ($60)
  • Battlefield V — $24 ($60)
  • Bloodbourne — $15 ($20)
  • Borderlands – Game of the Year Edition — $18 ($30)
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection — $15 ($60)
  • Burnout Paradise Remastered — $5 ($20)
  • Danganronpa 1/2 Reload — $20 ($40)
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony — $30 ($60)
  • Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin — $10 ($40)
  • Dark Souls III — $15 ($60)
  • Dark Souls Remastered — $24 ($40)
  • Darkest Dungeon — $10 ($25)
  • Darkwood – Special Edition — $12.59 ($18)
  • Dead Cells — $17.49 ($25)
  • Devil May Cry 5 — $39.59 ($60)
  • Disgaea 1 Complete — $30 ($50)
  • Disgaea 5 Complete Bundle — $20 ($40)
  • Divinity Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition — $36 ($60)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Game of the Year Edition — $12 ($40)
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 — $15 ($60)
  • Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition — $15 ($20)
  • EA Sports 19 Bundle — $30 ($100)
  • EA Sports NHL 19 — $9.59 ($60)
  • Enter the Gungeon — $7.49 ($15)
  • Fe — $5 ($20)
  • FIFA 19 – Ultimate Edition — $25 ($100)
  • God Eater 2: Rage Burst — $15 ($60)
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition — $15 ($30)
  • Human Fall Flat — $6.74 ($15)
  • Jump Force — $30 ($60)
  • Just Cause 4 – Digital Deluxe Bundle — $23.09 ($70)
  • Kona — $6 ($15)
  • Life Is Strange 2 – Complete Season — $30 ($40)
  • Metro Exodus — $36 ($60)
  • Metro Redux — $7.49 ($30)
  • Monster Hunter World — $25 ($50)
  • Mortal Kombat 11 — $45 ($60)
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom — $20.39 ($60)
  • Nier: Automata: Game of the Yorha Edition — $26.79 ($40)
  • Outlast Trinity — $11.79 ($59)
  • Persona 5 — $14 ($20)
  • Persona 5 – Ultimate Edition — $51 ($85)
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 – Deluxe Edition — $1.24 ($25)
  • Quantic Dream Collection — $12 ($40)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 — $39 ($60)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – Ultimate Edition — $55 ($100)
  • Resident Evil — $8 ($20)
  • Resident Evil 0 — $8 ($20)
  • Resident Evil 2 — $36 ($60)
  • Resident Evil: Deluxe Origins Bundle — $20 ($40)
  • Salt and Sanctuary — $9 ($18)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider — $19.79 ($60)
  • SoulCalibur VI — $20.39 ($60)
  • Star Wars Battlefront II — $7.49 ($25)
  • Subnautica — $19.79 ($30)
  • Tales of Vesperia – Definitive Edition — $25 ($50)
  • Tekken 7 — $15 ($50)
  • Tetris Effect — $24.79 ($40)
  • Tom Clancy’s Franchise Bundle — $40 ($100)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Complete Edition — $15 ($50)
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 — $39 ($60)
  • WWE 2K19 — $15 ($60)

PS3 deals

  • Beyond: Two Souls — $3.49 ($10)
  • Borderlands — $5 ($10)
  • Borderlands: Ultimate Edition — $15 ($30)
  • Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin — $7.49 ($30)
  • Persona 5 — $14 ($20)
  • Ratchet & Clank — $9 ($15)
  • Resident Evil 4 — $5 ($20)
  • Urban Trial Freestyle — $3.49 ($7)

PS Vita deals

  • Darket Dungeon: Crimson Edition — $12 ($30)
  • God Eater 2: Rage Burst — $10 ($40)
  • Salt and Sanctuary — $9 ($18)
  • Urban Trial Freestyle — $3.49 ($7)

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Author: Jenae Sitzes

TikTok owner may have bought Jukedeck, an AI music startup

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, appears to have acquired a startup that develops AI-generated music software. The company, Jukedeck, made a tool that could automatically generate music and then let users adjust the length, tempo, and where it climaxed.

While breakout TikTok videos tend to be based around licensed music — like “Old Town Road” or “Good as Hell” — it’s obvious how a tool like Jukedeck’s could fit in. TikTok’s short-form videos are designed to sync up to music, and customizable tracks could offer more creative control to users trying to find the perfect beat.

It could also help TikTok avoid some big monetary and licensing issues: TikTok has to pay for all that music, so…

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Author: Jacob Kastrenakes