EA Ditches Microtransactions For ‘Battlefront II’ Release

Electronic Arts today announced that the company is removing all in-game microtransactions for Star Wars Battlefront II, an aboutface that comes on the eve of the game’s release and after the publisher faced weeks of backlash over its system for selling timely access for in-game heroes and content.

Earlier this week, EA detailed significant cuts in the cost to unlock characters in its game and promised to continue to listen to player feedback. 

Most importantly, Electronic Arts announced at the time that they were reducing the number of credits needed to unlock top characters in the game by 75 percent.

“Making games great comes from regular tuning,” John Wasilczyk, Executive Producer at DICE, wrote at the time. “As one example, today we’re making a substantial change based on what we’ve seen during the Play First trial. There’s been a lot of discussion around the amount of in-game credits (and time) it takes to unlock some of our heroes, especially Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Unlocking a hero is a great accomplishment in the game, something we want players to have fun earning. We used data from the beta to help set those levels, but it’s clear that more changes were needed.”

 But even after those reductions a player estimated that it would take more than 4,500 hours to unlock every base-game piece of content in Star Wars Battlefront II, or about $2,100. 

It was clear that fans of the game remained unhappy with the way the microtransactions were being handled. 

While Star Wars Battlefront II is a full-priced retail game, a number of the heroes playable in the game can only be unlocked with in-game credits. Those credits can either be earned through hours of gameplay or purchased instantly with real-world cash. One gamer estimates that before today’s discount, it would have taken about 40 hours to unlock Darth Vader without spending extra money.

See Theatrical Cut of Chris Cornell’s ‘The Promise’ Video

In June, what turned out be Chris Cornell’s final video was released. A collaboration with video director Meiert Avis, he and Cornell worked on “The Promise,” which Cornell had written and recorded for the 2016 film of the same name that addresses the Armenian genocide. Now, a theatrical version of the video has been released.

In the previous official version, directors Stefan Smith and Avis used actual footage of refugees fleeing war-torn cities as Cornell’s acoustic-driven song plays. Cornell died by suicide one month prior to the video’s release. The new theatrical version features a different song arrangement and footage from the film interwoven with new footage featuring Cornell. While it includes Cornell’s pretty acoustic guitar melodies, it’s also piano-led and there are additional orchestral touches.

In the new clip, the late Cornell is seen playing guitar, tracking vocals and observing the orchestra as they perform in the studio. He’s also seen singing the touching lyrics, flanked by a sea of people in the shadows carrying lights.

“It’s from the perspective of someone singing to an older family member who is no longer around but was kind of a mentor,” Cornell told Rolling Stone of the song’s lyrics prior to the film’s U.S. release. “And it’s a concept that ties into what he learned about the preciousness of photographs of loved ones to people who had suffered during the genocide, a feeling among those who were affected that transcends age. It shows that a promise was made to the older generation and then telling them that they’re the inspiration.”

Cornell donated all proceeds from the song to the International Rescue Committee, a charity that responds to humanitarian crises by helping to restore health, education and economic wellbeing, among other things, to people stricken by conflict.

All Time Low’s TRL Visit Was Nothing But “Good Times”

Baltimore legends All Time Low touched down at TRL to re-live their glory days and make a toast to the future. Since the pop punk band was in town, we decided to show them how hardcore we could get with a special “Battle of the Bands” themed playlist. During the program, we talked to them about returning to TRL, their journey as a band, and memories from Warped Tour.

Since the band has been together for over a decade, we wanted to test how well they really know each other in a round of Most Likely To. After that, All Time Low closed out with a performance of their latest single “Good Times.” The track is featured on All Time Low’s Last Young Renegade album and has been streamed more than 8.2 millions times on Spotify. Watch them tear it up on stage in the video, below.

TRL airs on weekdays at 4:00pm ET!

The Dolan Twins Turned TRL Into A Foosball Table

Earlier this week, Grayson Dolan did TRL solo as his twin brother Ethan got sick on the flight home from the MTV Europe Music Awards in London. Luckily, Ethan had a speedy recovery and was ready to take care of business when he returned to the studio. Today, the boys picked a few fans to play a new game called Human Foosball. Ethan’s team wound up scoring the victory so his fans walked away with a pair of shoes signed by them. Watch the battle commence in the video, below.

Tune into TRL on weekdays at 4:00pm ET!

Kel Mitchell Got Really Real With Kenan Thompson On TRL

Actor and stand-up comedian Kel Mitchell had the entire TRL  studio laughing non-stop from the moment he entered the tunnel. DC Young Fly immediately jumped into asking him about sketches from his Nickelodeon days on classic sitcoms like All That and Kenan & Kel… apparently, Kel still gets recognized in public for his Good Burger one-liner! He also talked about some of his upcoming projects and how his cameo in Khalid’s music video for “Young, Dumb & Broke” came about.

During Reel Or Real, we turned the studio into the classic Kenan & Kel supermarket checkout so Kel could re-enact his iconic Orange Soda bit. As if it couldn’t get any better, Kenan Thompson phoned in to say hi to his longtime pal, which led to the comedians catching up on some of their favorite memories together. Watch it all go down in the video, below.

Tune into TRL on weekdays at 4:00pm ET!

Daily Glixel: Moira Makes Her ‘Overwatch’ Debut

Welcome to Daily Glixel, the B side of video game news, where we roundup some of the day’s other top stories. Today, we’ve got new PUBG screens, Discord and Twitch have new features, and there’s a new game out about a topic I can fully relate to – not touching a stranger’s hair.

The Miz Tells The Craziest MTV Stories On TRL

WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin turned the TRL studio into a wrestling ring for his guest appearance on the show. During his visit, the pro wrestler reflected on his MTV days from getting his start on The Real World: Back to New York and Real World/Road Rules Challenge before taking the ring by storm. This impressive resume makes him the *perfect* host for The Challenge: Champs VS Stars.

After fondly reminiscing about his past on those legendary franchises, The Miz shared some words of encouragement about following your dreams and ignoring the haters tell you. “Anyone out there, when someone tells you that you can’t do something, believe that you can,” he said. “I am living proof, my friends. And it all started here on MTV.”

From there, Matt Rife tasked The Miz with judging a special edition of Stamp Of Approval. This time, the contenders came out dressed up as wrestling characters and had to freestyle in the fashion of a wrestling promo. It was highly entertaining to say the least!

TRL airs on weekdays at 4:00pm ET!

Inside the Unlikely Success of ‘The Chris Gethard Show’

Could the next Johnny Carson be a comedian from West Orange, New Jersey with two Morrissey tattoos? “I know that’s an unrealistic goal,” Chris Gethard tells Rolling Stone with a bemused smile. “Is it gonna happen? Probably not. But why not try to take over, see what happens?” 

Gethard, 37, is the creator and host of The Chris Gethard Show (TCGS). “It’s a show named after a guy and that guy’s not in control,” he says on the talkshow’s zany, clubhouse-like set when Rolling Stone follows him through a week of production leading up to Thursday’s live taping. “You don’t often see vulnerability on T.V., especially talkshows. If I pretended to be confident all the time, that would just be a lie.” 

And for Gethard – and more importantly, Gethard’s rapt viewership – authenticity is everything. Each episode is designed around a theme or idea that might make traditional networks cringe like, an hour devoted to talking about mental illness, suicide and depression. But Gethard finds the humor and solace in those topics with the help of his talented cast, Shannon O’Neill, Connor Ratliff, David Bluvband (“Human Fish”), Keith Haskell (“Banana Man”), Bethany Hall, Riley Soloner (“Vacation Jason”), Murf Meyer, J.D. Amato and Jersey Dave. 

“[This show] has an insane energy unlike any other TV experience,” says J.D. Amato, the show’s 29-year-old executive producer and showrunner in his signature patchwork cardigan.

“The shock of being in a live show is invigorating,” Ellie Kemper echoed. The actress is returning as a guest on TCGS for the second time, on a show that will focus on romance. There will be first dates on the air, hooking up and maybe even finding true love. Weirder things have happened: Will Ferrell once performed an actual wedding on a Gethard episode, between two people who met via a TCGS fan forum. One of the quickly-nixed ideas in this week’s production meeting was to have a “sex tent” on the show, wherein audience members would have “safe, consensual sex with one another.” “That was harshly shot down,” said the producer. 

The Gethard show was first a live production at Manhattan’s United Citizens Brigade theater in 2009. He worked on it with many of the same people he does today. The original concept of a candid, risky, anything-goes style live talkshow – where Gethard’s done everything from taken a dominatrix beating to erecting a billboard in New Mexico – was, he admits, a long shot. But now, the bizarre part is that the show’s unlikely success lets him and his production staff take even bigger risks. And with bigger guests, like Sean Combs, Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler and Paul Giamatti to name a few. 

Within eight years, TCGS hopped from Public Access television to the Fusion Network to its current home on truTV. In November, the network announced it bought an ten additional episodes of TCGS, set to air in the spring, bringing the show’s first full season on truTV to 26 episodes.

“We have an extremely hardworking production staff,” says Connor Ratliff, the actor/comedian who appears as TCGS‘s field correspondent and audience hype man. “But I’m most excited when things go wrong and all the planning goes out the window.”

Sarah Silverman on Louis C.K.: ‘Can You Love Someone Who Did Bad Things?’

Sarah Silverman grappled with the accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against her longtime friend and collaborator Louis C.K. in a moving monologue on her Hulu program, I Love You, America

“It’s a real mindfuck, you know, because I love Louis,” Silverman said. “But Louis did these things. … I just keep asking myself, ‘Can you love someone who did bad things? Can you still love them?’ I can mull that over later, certainly, because the only people that matter right now are the victims.”

Silverman noted at the beginning of her monologue that the ongoing deluge of sexual assault callouts “has been a long time coming,” and though it’s messy, “we’ll all be healthier for it.” Still, she admitted that she was reluctant to discuss the allegations against C.K. after multiple women accused him of masturbating in front of them without consent. C.K. has since apologized and admitted “these stories are true.”

“One of my best friends of over 25 years, Louis C. K., masturbated in front of women,” Silverman said. “He wielded his power with women in fucked up ways, sometimes to the point where they left comedy entirely. I could couch this with heartwarming stories of our friendship and what a great dad he is – but that’s totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes, it is.”

At the end of her monologue, Silverman admitted that she would have to continue to grapple with the conflicting emotions she felt over C.K.’s behavior, even as she remained steadfastly on the side of the victims and other women coming forward with their own stories. “So I hope it’s okay if I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend,” she said. “But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It’s vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are. We need to be better. We will be better. I can’t fucking wait to be better.”

While Silverman’s response was deeply personal, she did not mention the story her sister, Laura Silverman, shared about C.K. allegedly masturbating in front of her on multiple occasions during a cross-country road trip. While Laura Silverman said she did not consider C.K.’s behavior towards her criminal – partly because they’d been dating, and partly because they’d been sharing hotel rooms and he’d told her she could wait outside – she said she found it “compulsive, rude and gross.” Silverman added that she felt “compelled at this point to be a character witness of sorts for those brave enough to finally come forward.”