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8 things to watch out for this week

1. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina returns earlier than expected with a spooky Christmas special

It doesn’t feel like five minutes since Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (opens in new tab) debuted on Netflix (and it’s not - it only came out at the end of October this year!), but Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 2 (opens in new tab) is already on the way and a Christmas special is dropping this week to keep us going in the meantime. That’s a whole lot of Sabrina! Not that we’re complaining… the debut season put a deliciously horrific spin on everyone’s favourite teenage witch and we can’t wait for more. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter's Tale - as the festive special is called - will see the Spellmans celebrate the holiday season like any other family - with food, presents, and ghosts - and feature some new faces as well as those we’ve come to know and love. Mckenna Grace will guest star as a young Sabrina, with Alexis Denisof playing Adam Masters (Mary Wardwell’s boyfriend who’s been away and has no idea she’s been taken over by Madam Satan!) and Jedidiah Goodacre as local nightclub owner Dorian Gray. There’s been hints that the Christmas special will see Sabrina try to contact her dead mother, which may account for the spooky spirits who appear in the trailer (above), but all we really want to know is will Brina and Harvey get back together? Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter's Tale
When: December 14
Where: Netflix

2. Even in Early Access, Atlas could the swashbuckling pirate MMO that Sea of Thieves was supposed to be

Don’t talk to me about Sea of Thieves (opens in new tab). The wounds are still too sore to relive the rollercoaster of emotions experienced from first playing Rare’s Xbox exclusive back in March of this year, which was mainly marked by two hours of sheer joy followed by another five of escalating concern and disappointment. An online pirate RPG, Sea of Thieves is not, and I’ve made my peace with that, but a different type of game entirely may be able to fill my lingering hunger for massively multiplayer seafaring. Developed by Studio Wildcard (of Ark: Survival Evolved fame), Atlas is a sprawling, swashbuckling pirate fantasy MMO that can host up to 40,000 players on a single server, complete with dungeons, PvP, crew management, character customisation, and more. Naturally, the Early Access version of Atlas hitting PC next week will have plenty of teething issues that won’t be resolved in an instant, as anyone who’s played Ark: Survival Evolved will know, but if Wildcard can get anything close to Atlas’ ambition as a portal to a second life on the high seas, then I’m already climbing aboard. Alex Avard

What: Atlas
Where: December 19
When: PC

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3. Peter Jackson brings Mortal Engines’ world of roaming predator cities rumbling on to the big screen

The world of Mortal Engine is one filled with giant, mobile ‘Traction Cities’ that roam a ruined post apocalyptic world, fighting and eating each other for what scarce resources remain. It’s a world where what’s left of London now roams the western Hemisphere on caterpillar tracks the size of a state, ambushing and devouring smaller towns and cities. The original novels created a fantastically realised steampunk world full of rediscovered technology reshaping a society regressed to almost Victorian levels following a ‘60 Minute War’, hundreds of years in the past. It’s a high fantasy that’s perfect for someone like Peter ‘that guy that did Lord of The Rings’ Jackson to turn his imagination to. Just on looks alone his visualisation of monstrous wheeled cities clattering in pursuit of prey across a scorched Earth is a spectacle you won’t see often. Leon Hurley

What: Mortal Engines
Where: A cinema near you
When: December 14

4. Borderlands 2 VR’s new mode shows just how much games have to change to work in VR 

Do you have a severe lack of bullets, badassery, and BAMF in your life? Then you’ll want to invest in Borderlands 2 VR, an immersive trip to Pandora that’ll let you see the world in alls its brutality and brightness through the eyes of a Vault Hunter. But this isn’t a carbon copy of Borderlands 2 (opens in new tab) - the whole game has been built to work in VR (and no, not just in the obvious way), with a couple of important tweaks to make sure playing it in virtual reality doesn’t send your head spinning like Maya’s swept you up in a phaselock. You can move by teleporting instead of moving around on the map, and there’s a special BAMF mode (yes, that’s its real name) to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed. Slowing down time at the push of the button, it makes the edges of your vision pulse so you’re able to make enemies more deader in a short space of time, which is especially helpful as you can’t move as effortlessly via the teleport mechanic when you’re in the middle of a firefight. So if you’ve always steered away from VR games because moving around in them makes you queasy, Borderlands 2 VR might be for you...especially if you want to see a majestic diamond horse named Butt Stallion. Yes, seriously. Zoe Delahunty-Light

What: Borderlands 2 VR
Where: PS4
When: December 14

5. Can James Wan’s Aquaman restore faith in the DC Extended Universe?

Aquaman (opens in new tab) hits theatres this week and despite the success of Wonder Woman (opens in new tab), everyone’s still pretty nervous about seeing more of the DC Extended Universe. Can you blame us? Batman v Superman (opens in new tab) was soooooo bad and Justice League (opens in new tab) wasn’t much better. Now we’re set to get a solo film for one of the more… shall we say, interesting characters from the DC comic book world. I mean, there’s no nice way to say it, but Aquaman’s original costume is ridiculous and he talks to fish! How is this movie ever going to work? Well, thanks to director James Wan, it may well be the film that restores your faith in the DC Extended Universe. He’s helped along by an incredible cast which includes Jason Momoa as the fishy superhero himself, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Willem Dafoe, and the silliness of the subject material could go in its favour too when it comes to creating the lighter DC Extended Universe movie we so desperately need. Find out for yourself when Aquaman hits cinemas this week. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: Aquaman
When: December 14, 2018 (UK)/December 21, 2018 (US)
Where: Cinemas

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6. Firewatch is coming to Switch, and it's the perfect kind of sleepy, snuggly Winter warmer that you need this Christmas season

Firewatch is another of the excellent upcoming Switch games

When a Nintendo Switch port of Firewatch was announced earlier this year, it's been one of my most highly anticipated games of the year. If you missed it, Firewatch originally launched back in 2016 on PS4 and PC, and wowed gamers with its art style (by the wonderfully talented Olly Moss), along with its powerful narrative. It's one of those games that's meant to be played in a single session (or two, at a push) with a run time of around six hours. You play as Henry, a man who's taken a job as a fire ranger watching out for wildfires in the heat of summer in the forests of Wyoming. It's quite an isolated experience, with no other human contact bar the voice in your ear of your fellow fire ranger, Delilah, but one of the most powerful short narratives that you'll experience in gaming. Go on, treat yourself to a hot slice of Firewatch action this Christmas. Those colours are going to pop on Switch. Sam Loveridge

What: Firewatch
Where: Nintendo Switch
When: December 17

7. Monster Hunter World’s free trial has so much stuff to do it’ll devour your weekend

If you’ve ever been even mildly curious about killing a giant monster, gutting the carcass and using its bones to craft weapons that let you kill even giant-er monsters, then has Capcom got a weekend for you. Until Monday you can download and play the opening section of Monster Hunter World (opens in new tab) for free, and join online with players of the full game. In terms of  content you can play up to Hunter Rank 4 with two areas - the Ancient Forest and Wildspire Waste - to explore, across eight in-game assignments and three quests, with more optional quests, investigations and challenges to unlock along the way. All 14 weapon types are there to try, and six of the game’s star monsters are around at a level you can tackle. There’s also a chance of running into a higher level Rathalos or Diablos, but good luck hacking at one of those with Level 4 gear. If you give it a try and like how it goes then all your progress can carry over to the main game should you buy it. Leon Hurley

What: Monster Hunter World free trial
Where: PS4, Xbox One
When: December 11 to December 16

8. Shadow of the Tomb Raider keeps churning out more DLC, but why is it all such a big secret?

Square Enix is releasing quite the stack of content post-launch for Shadow of the Tomb Raider (opens in new tab) as part of the game's Season Pass, with the aim being that players get a new chunk of content every month for the seven months after launch. That actually kicked off with the first DLC called The Forge, which arrived last month. But now, for December, Season Pass holders are getting the second chunk, entitled The Pillar. But what's strange is that neither Square Enix nor developer Eidos are giving any details as to what exactly it contains. We imagine that it'll take a similar form to The Forge, which delivered a new Challenge Tomb, a score attack mode, new weapons and an assortment of other extras, but it would be better to have a bit more clarity around the content of each DLC, particularly if you're on the fence about shelling out for the Season Pass like I am. All we do know is that the Season Pass will deliver seven new adventures called "Paths", with each offering a new narrative, new missions, a new weapon, a new outfit, new skill and a new Challenge Tomb, so fingers crossed that's what The Pillar will entail too. Sam Loveridge

What: Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Pillar DLC
Where: Season Pass on PS4, Xbox One and PC
When: December 18

8 Things to Watch This Week picks the best games, movies and shows of the next seven days every Friday at 9am PDT / 5pm BST.

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