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8 things to watch out for this week

1. The Walking Dead returns with a fresh coat of paint (and promises of greater things) for season 9

Eight years after Frank Darabont’s incredible first season debuted on TV, and The Walking Dead - AMC’s hit zombie show based on the Skybound comic books of the same name - has come a very long way. More specifically, it’s come a long way down. The Walking Dead season 8 (opens in new tab) was nothing more than an incoherent mess, full of bloated histrionics and tangential story threads, but the drama series returns this week, and it’s got its sights aimed confidently on a comeback. The Walking Dead season 9 (opens in new tab) features not just a new showrunner in longtime contributor Angela Kang, but will write out two of its leading lights from the show altogether, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes and Lauren Cohan’s Maggie Rhee respectively. With such dramatic changes in store, season 9 could well be on its way for a rebirth of sorts, and our recent preview of the premiere (opens in new tab) implies there’s good reason to grab the popcorn and see what happens. Alex Avard

What: The Walking Dead season 9
Where: AMC (US)/Fox (UK)
When: October 7, 9PM (US)/October 8, 9PM (UK)

2. Assassin's Creed Odyssey has arrived and is the best open-world RPG we've had in years

After the absolutely epic beast that was Assassin's Creed Origins (opens in new tab), I don't think anyone was expecting another entry in the long-running series the very next year. But here we are, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey (opens in new tab) is too. And deary me, what a game it is. Ubisoft really has excelled itself this time, crafting an open-world RPG of huge proportions, which could stand shoulder to shoulder against something like The Witcher 3 and not pale in comparison. Its world is thick with storylines, the kind that blur the boundaries between sidequest and main storyline, tease you with quest markers that divert you for an hour or two, or even just the ones you create yourself as you explore Odyssey's vast, vast recreation of Ancient Greece. This is the game you never thought Assassin's Creed could be, and if you were even vaguely impressed with Origins, you better strap on your Greek sandals because you're about to go on one of the best gaming journeys of your life. Sam Loveridge

What: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Where: PS4, Xbox One and PC
When: Out now

3. Venom is Sony Pictures' first step into a cinematic 'spider-verse,' but will it also be its last?

Venom (opens in new tab) is one of Marvel's most popular characters, so it was only a matter of time before we saw him on the big screen now that comic book films (those tied to Marvel in particular) dominate pop culture entertainment. Even so, don't go in expecting a bunch of cameos and winks to the wider MCU - this origin story for the monstrous anti-hero has been reworked so that it exists separate from all that. Why? While Disney owns the majority of Marvel characters, Sony alone retains the movie rights to our favorite wallcrawler's rogues gallery, and is gearing up to launch its own 'spider-verse,' with movies all about webhead's allies and villains. Of course, those plans likely depend on how well Venom is received, and early impressions (opens in new tab), well... they could be better. Sam Prell

What: Venom movie premiere
Where: US, UK cinemas
When: October 5, 2018

4. Overwatch’s Halloween Terror brings back a fan favourite co-op mode before Blizzcon’s upcoming reveal of Hero 29

You feel that strange sensation in the back of your brain? It’s early onset symptoms for Overwatch (opens in new tab) fever, which is starting to spread all over again in light of upcoming developments. Not only are Blizzcon 2018 and official Overwatch Lego sets on the way, but the Halloween Terror annual event is making a return to the game, bringing a spooooky set of limited availability modes, items, and themes for players to enjoy during its three week run from October 9 - 31. There’s only been a teaser trailer so far, but it looks like the popular Chateau Guillard map will be getting a fresh makeover for the event, though Overwatch’s Lead Designer Jeff Kaplan (you know, the one from the Overwatch team) has ruled out the possibility of any new gimmicky modes in the vein of Lucioball or Mei’s Snowball Offensive. Instead, last year’s wave-based Junkenstein Revenge will likely be returning with a few added features but, given how addictive a mode that’s always been, Overwatch players can hardly complain. Alex Avard

What: Overwatch Halloween Terror
Where: PC, PS4, Xbox One
When: October 9 - 31  

5. Can Super Mario Party recapture the magic of the N64 classics?

Mario Party is one of those series that seemed to peak early on, mostly because of how Nintendo totally nailed it right out of the gate. For all the infamous moments of suddenly swapped fortunes and underdog victories based solely on luck, there's an inherent charm to jockeying for position against other players as you roll dice, traverse a giant board, and duke it out in hectic minigames. It seemed like players were getting a bit weary of the recent games' gimmicks - particularly the contentious ride-sharing from Mario Party 9 - but Super Mario Party looks to bring the series to Switch in style. Super Mario Party reviews have been pretty favorable, with praise for the fun of Joy-Con controls across 80 all-new minigames and the subtle strategy of character-specific dice. If you're a Switch owner looking to start a little four-player shindig, Super Mario Party deserves an RSVP at the very least. Lucas Sullivan

What: Super Mario Party
Where: Nintendo Switch
When: Available now

6. Is New York set to take the Comic Con crown this year?

If you were a little bit disappointed with the offerings at San Diego Comic Con this year, you weren’t the only one. While it was great to get a first Aquaman trailer (opens in new tab) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ return (opens in new tab) had fans pumped, it just didn’t have the same array of geek-tastic revelations and announcements as usual. A big part of that was down to the fact that Marvel Studios decided to skip this year, but whatever the reason, it’s left a gap in our Comic Con loving hearts… one that NYCC is looking to fill. While New York Comic Con is always a fantastic event, it’s often overshadowed by its bigger San Diego sibling, but that might all be able to change thanks to the incredible line-up planned for this year’s NYCC. Hellboy, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Shazam, Lucasfilm, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Daredevil, Star Trek Discovery, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who… they’ll all be at NYCC this weekend and they’re bring friends. If you’re still feeling the need to get your Comic Con fix, NYCC is for you! And don’t worry if you don’t have tickets, because we’ll be bringing you all the news, trailer, and more to come out of the event over the four days right here on GamesRadar. Lauren O’Callaghan

What: New York Comic Con 2018
Where: New York (and on GR)
When: October 4-7, 2018

7. Will Candy Crush Friends Saga manage to mix up the match-three genre? Or does it even need to?

It's sometimes hard to find a game that doesn't play on the match-three genre in the Google Play Store or App Store, they're pretty rife in the mobile game world. And that's because games like Bejewelled and Candy Crush Saga made them incredibly popular - and managed to monetise them too, which is always good for the people making these games, right? Well, developer King is the powerhouse behind the series of Candy Crush games, and is on the verge of launching yet another one. We've had the original, Soda Saga and now we're getting Candy Crush Friends Saga. It'll drop players into an all-new 3D Candy Kingdom where you have friends to help you through the levels. It's not clear yet how much this will attempt to revolutionise the match-three genre or the gameplay staples the series has thrived on. But, does it really need to? Candy Crush Soda Saga and the original Candy Crush are still two of the top grossing games on both Android and iOS, and as a Candy Crush addict myself (it got to the point I had to uninstall them both, it got so bad) I know the formula works. Does King really need to change things, or is the illusion of 'new' good enough to reel us all in again? Sam Loveridge

What: Candy Crush Friends Saga
Where: iOS and Android
When: October 11

8. Doctor Who’s first female incarnation steps out of the TARDIS and that’s just the start of the big changes

The Doctor is back and this time he’s… a she. It’s complicated but after the Master regenerated into Missy, and more than enough hints made it clear a Time Lord’s ability to cheat death isn’t locked to gender, Jodie Whittaker is the first woman to play the role. That in itself is a welcome shake up but it’s only the start. There’s the Sunday evening air date, instead of the usual Saturday, and a season that features 11 stand alone episodes - the first time in five years the show hasn’t had any multipart stories. It’s also using some special fancy lenses I won’t’ pretend to understand to look a little more cinematic. Despite all that, everything’s obviously going to be focused on one thing: Whittaker becoming the first woman to drive the TARDIS in search of adventure. Initial reactions from screenings are positive and it’s clear she’s loving the chance to play the character, so it should be exciting to finally see her in action. Leon Hurley 

What: Dr Who season 11
When: October 7

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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